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GPCSD teachers, students preparing for challenges with new K-6 curriculum: Shirley

The Grande Prairie Catholic District School Board (GPCSD) is preparing for challenges associated with the new Alberta K-6 curriculum that is set to be implemented next fall.

Superintendent Dr. Jessie Shirley says that the school board has dealt with curriculum changes before, but nothing like this.

“Back in 2007, when the new K-9 Math curriculum was released, we phased that subject in over a 3-year period. When I think about taking on three subjects for a single teacher, I’m wondering what that workload is going to be like for our teachers,” she says.

Shirley says that that with the blueprint released, there are still many questions about what everything will look like.

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“I just wonder if we’re starting with English and Math, does that indicate that there are not going to be any of the suggested changes in those two curriculums. I’m also not sure how financial literacy fits into physical education and wellness, as it was previously associated with Social Studies,” she says.

The GPCSD wonders if focusing too much on content will prevent students from being able to hone those important skills for use in everyday life. These are the skills teachers continually work with students on.

“We feel that the curriculum is very content-heavy, and although the content is a very important part of the curriculum, that needs to be balanced with the process of learning, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, being respectful of others opinions, and being able to convey one’s beliefs in respectful ways.”

GPCSD officials are hoping that additional resources will be provided to help the teachers adjust and become more comfortable.

The new curriculum will be implemented next September and focuses on literacy, numeracy, citizenship, and practical skills.

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