by Curtis Walty
(Editor’s Note: The Alberta draft K to Grade 6 curriculum was released last month and it has been met with a great deal of controversy particularly surrounding its treatment of First Nations history as well as its lack of coverage of Indian Residential Schools until Grade 6. Edmonton Public and Edmonton Separate Schools Divisions have both indicated that they will not be piloting the new curriculum in September 2021. The Northland School Division issued this statement to explain their position.)
The Northland School Division (NSD) is focused on student and staff well-being during a time where continuity of learning and recovery from the pandemic is paramount. There is concern over learning loss and getting all students back into school. NSD considered the current realities we are living through as a result of COVID-19 and will be supporting the modernization of the curriculum by engaging our parents, students and staff and gathering their input for possible revisions. Accordingly, at this time NSD will not be piloting the draft K-6 curriculum for the 2021-2022 school year.
In addition, the Board of Trustees and Administration reviewed the draft content, outcomes and measures proposed in the applicable subject areas, and discussed alignment with the vision, commitment, core values, and priorities of the Board. The Board recognizes the importance of redesigning the curriculum for the benefit of student learning. The Indigenous perspectives and experiences that were included in the previous curriculum seem to be omitted.
As we move forward, it’s important Northland students, parents/guardians, staff, and community members have an opportunity to give their input. The communities we serve need to be heard and Northland students must see themselves in the draft curriculum. The Board and Administration will focus on encouraging NSD students, parents, guardians, staff, and community members to review the draft curriculum and submit feedback to Alberta Education. We will work with our community partners to gather information to share with Alberta Education for possible revisions of the social studies curriculum.
A new curriculum is important and will impact teaching and learning for years, so now is the opportunity to make sure we get it right for our students. To view the curriculum in its entirety, please visit: www.alberta.ca/curriculum and provide your input at: www.alberta.ca/curriculum-have-your-say.