LAKELAND – Northern Lights Public Schools (NLPS) decided against being part of the province's Kindergarten to Grade 6 draft curriculum pilot project for the 2021/22 school year.
Superintendent Rick Cusson made the recommendation during the board of trustees April 14 meeting, a motion that was passed unanimously.
“We want to encourage and stimulate a dialogue with our professional staff, review the curriculum and provide feedback, while not impacting our students,” Cusson said in a statement. “Providing our staff with time to work through things next year will be beneficial to our students when we’re required to implement the new curriculum in the 2022/23 school year.”
A major component for Cusson was the stress the COVID-19 pandemic caused across their division. This concern was echoed by board chair Arlene Hrynyk.
“The last two school years have been very challenging for our students and staff, and we need to focus on addressing the pandemic and try to restore a sense of normalcy for our students,” she expressed. “We support administration’s decision not to proceed at this time, as this will only add to the stress and anxiety our students and staff are already experiencing.”
Although NLPS won’t be involved with the pilot of the new curriculum, a comprehensive review will be completed by the division with their teaching staff and their feedback will be provided to Alberta Education. They will also collaborate to evaluate and develop resources for teachers to use when the curriculum is implemented, and provide professional development opportunities for teachers to help them prepare for the transition to the new curriculum.
In a statement, the board said they’re "encouraging stakeholders, including parents and guardians, students, and community members to participate in any opportunities available to them to provide input to Alberta Education."
“We value all of the feedback we have received since the new draft curriculum was announced and we will certainly use what has been shared with us when we are providing input to Alberta Education and our provincial elected officials,” said Hrynyk. “We believe strongly that parents play a critical role in education and their voices need to be heard in the decision-making process.”
NLPS will also be looking for ways to engage parents in discussions about the draft curriculum and collect feedback locally. Further details into what that will look like will be shared once they have been finalized.