The Palliser School Division Will Not Pilot the Draft Curriculum

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The Palliser School Division Board of Trustees has taken the opportunity and time to listen to its teachers, parents and senior administration. Since the Draft K-6 Curriculum was released on March 29, 2021, Palliser School Division has sought feedback from teachers and administration, listened to concerned parents and attended information sessions on the proposed pilot projects. The information that was gained from all these sources has led to the Board’s decision not to pilot the Draft K-6 Curriculum. The Board does not feel it would be in the best interest of the Palliser School Division, its students, its staff or the community to be involved in such a major pilot project at this time. COVID-19 has placed a tremendous challenge on the staff and students in the division and the community. The Board’s priority is, and will continue to be, creating and maintaining safe and healthy learning environments for students and staff. Preparing to return to school next September will already be a challenging and complex task without a pilot project involved. Creating a positive, safe environment for students to return to in-person learning next September will be the Board’s focus.

While the Board will not be involved in the pilot project in the current circumstances, Palliser teachers will be invited to join consultation teams to analyze and provide feedback to Alberta Education on the Draft Curriculum. Robert Strauss, Palliser School Division Board Chair, says that the Board and School Division feel it is very important to still be part of the feedback loop that is required to ensure everyone’s voices are heard. He has great confidence in the professional staff of Palliser School Division and looks forward to hearing their suggestions and feedback for the province on the curriculum.  

The Board understands and supports the need to update and improve some aspects of the present curriculum, but the Division and its staff do not see the proposed draft as the best solution to this issue. Palliser School Division supports working towards a renewed curriculum, one that is representative of all Albertans and that will prepare our students for the future. Palliser staff will be providing further and in-depth feedback in each subject and grade level but an overarching concern that has come to light in all aspects of the curriculum is the approach taken with diversity. An underrepresentation of First Nations, Metis and Inuit perspectives as well as the limited alignment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission findings and calls to action have been noted by staff. Concerns with how the curriculum deals with ethnic diversity and racism have also been brought to light by staff and parents in Palliser. While these are only two examples of areas that Palliser will provide feedback on, it is important to note that these are seen as important to the Palliser community, as is the volume of the content and the depth of the learning outcomes at each grade level. Like the Ministry, Palliser School Division is committed to quality education. We believe a thorough and in-depth review by our teachers is key to the success of any curricular change. We encourage the Ministry of Education to reconsider the plan to pilot the draft K-6 curriculum at this time in this format.