New advisory group launched to guide fall roll out of new K-6 curriculum subjects

Alberta Education has created a new advisory committee to help guide the fall implementation of three subjects of the new kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum.

Announced in a release on Thursday, the committee will be made up of Alberta Education officials, teacher representatives from piloting schools, school division officials, and other stakeholders.

It is expected to meet monthly until June, with the first meeting having taken place already earlier this month.

According to the province, the new advisory group will review the English language arts and literature, math, and physical education and wellness curriculums and advise how to roll them out to students and staff for September.

Adriana LaGrange, education minister, said in a statement that the province is committed to ensuring curriculum piloting and implementation are done on a manageable timeline and that a "thoughtful approach" is taken.

"Alberta's government has been listening to all input from Albertans about the draft K-6 curriculum review process," LaGrange said.

"With the expertise of the Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group, Alberta's government will carefully consider how to address the implementation timelines and support the education system throughout the process."

Members of the curriculum implementation advisory group are:

  • Marilyn Dennis, president, Alberta School Boards Association
  • Wilco Tymensen, president, College of Alberta School Superintendents
  • Bevan Daverne, past-president, College of Alberta School Superintendents
  • David Keohane, executive director, College of Alberta School Superintendents
  • Michael McMann, superintendent, Fort Vermilion School Division
  • Robert Lessard, superintendent, Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord
  • Andre Tremblay, deputy minister, Alberta Education (chair)
  • Jennifer Flaman, assistant deputy minister, Curriculum Division

Other members will also include representatives from the Alberta School Boards Association, two teachers from piloting elementary schools, one teacher from an elementary school, a representative from Edmonton Public Schools and the Calgary Board of Education.

In addition, the executive directors of Early and Middle Years Curriculum, Curriculum Coordination and Implementation, and Learning and Teaching Resources will sit on the committee.

The province says the advisory group members in positions where their names are "already publicly available" have been disclosed. The names of other members will not be released.

"To ensure the personal information of the individuals working in non-public roles, such as teachers, remains private and to help ensure they do not become targets of online harassment, Alberta Education will not be releasing the names of these members," the province said in a statement.

The draft curriculum has received criticism from teachers, parents, education experts, Indigenous leaders, and school divisions for its lack of consultation, plagiarism, and content.

The announcement comes after LaGrange said in December that some subjects receiving large amounts of criticism — including social studies, fine arts, and science — would not be implemented this fall but at a later date. 

TEACHER EXPERTISE IGNORED: ATA

At a media availability on Thursday, Jason Schilling, Alberta Teachers Association president, said that school boards and superintendents do not implement curriculums, but teachers do.

"The expertise of the 46,000 Alberta teachers has been yet again ignored," Schilling said. "While there is some teacher representation in this new advisory group is woefully inadequate.

"This government continues to change the curriculum on the fly, and they have not responded to teachers' concerns," he added. "It is moving too quickly without the proper phase of piloting.

"We can be helpful if the government chooses to allow us."