(BLACK PRESS file photo)

Alberta issues new guidelines to direct how students will learn while in-school classes are cancelled

Approach was developed with a focus on the safety of our staff and students

The Government of Alberta has worked with the Alberta School Boards Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents, the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Association of Independent Schools & Colleges of Alberta to identify how to continue teacher-directed learning for students across Alberta.

This approach was developed with a focus on the safety of our staff and students, ensuring resources continue to flow to the education system and providing boards with the flexibility required to meet the unique needs of their students.

“I want to thank every Albertan involved in our province’s education system. Everyone has come together to chart a path forward as part of our COVID-19 response – teachers, support staff, superintendents, administrators, elected trustees, parents, education associations, the provincial government and many others. It is important that Albertans know that we are all working towards the same goal – to provide the best possible learning situation for our students during this very challenging and unprecedented time,” Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, said

Continuity of student learning and content delivery

For all kindergarten to Grade 12 students, school authorities will offer at-home learning opportunities, either through online means or through other accommodations, such as course packages and telephone check-ins. Government expects that every student, regardless of their geographic location or socioeconomic status, will continue to learn while in-school classes across the province are cancelled. This includes students in public, separate, Francophone, charter and independent schools, and Indigenous students attending provincial schools.

To identify what content needs to be delivered, teachers will evaluate curricular outcomes that have not yet been covered, prioritize remaining outcomes based on what is manageable for students working from home, and will plan specific tasks and projects for students.

Content delivery for each grade is broken down as follows:

Kindergarten – Grade 3

Education content will focus on language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy outcomes of the provincial curriculum.

Teachers will assign an average of five hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

Grades 4-6

Education content will continue to focus on language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy outcomes, and there will be opportunity to incorporate science and social studies outcomes through cross-curricular learning.

Teachers will assign an average of five hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

Grades 7-9

Education content will focus on core mathematics, language/literacy, science and social studies curriculum outcomes.

Teachers will assign an average of 10 hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

Grades 10-12

Education content will focus on specified and core courses required for high school graduation requirements, including language (English, French and French language arts), social studies, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics.

Content from other courses will be delivered where possible, and accommodations for students unable to complete courses are in place.

Teachers will assign an average of 3 hours of work per course per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

Grade progression and report cards

Every student will receive final grades and will receive a report card, appropriate to their grade level. Teachers will be responsible for assessing a student’s progress and assigning a final grade. School authorities have committed to ensuring parents are consulted and kept informed of how assessment will be determined in this unique circumstance. All students who were on track to progress to the next grade will.

Where possible, schools will work with high school students to complete their courses to the best of their ability, providing a final mark and awarding credits. If a student is unable to complete a course that would have allowed them to progress to the next grade, principals have the ability to award credits to ensure student progression.

High school diploma criteria

Students on track to receive 100 or more credits will still be eligible to graduate and receive a high school diploma. Principals have the ability to award up to 15 credits to students in Grade 12 whose program has been negatively impacted by class cancellations. For any courses that are started, schools will complete them with the student to the best of their ability, provide a final mark and award credits.

If the student is unable to complete a course that would have led them to achieving a high school diploma, such as a work experience or a career and technology studies course, principals have the ability to award credits to ensure the student graduates.

Provincial assessments

All Grade 6 and 9 provincial achievement tests and Grade 12 diploma exams are cancelled. Under special circumstances, students can request to write a diploma exam. Students wishing to do so should speak to their teacher and school administrator.

Resources for parents

Parents may want to supplement student learning by providing their children with additional resources. The following provincial resources are available to parents:

  • LearnAlberta.ca: more than 4,000 digital resources aligned with Alberta’s K-12 curriculum.
  • My Child’s Learning: A Parent Resource: provides parents with information specific to each grade level.
  • Additionally, many Alberta school authorities have a variety of resources available to support parents and students in learning at home. The following list provides a sample of what is available:
  • Aspen View Public Schools: Educational Supports for Families provides a series of resources, many of which are publicly available to support literacy and numeracy.
  • Calgary Board of Education: Learning at Home provides a number of supports for kindergarten to Grade 12.
  • Clearview Public Schools: Student Resources provides resources for study skills and useful learning sites.
  • Edmonton Catholic Schools: Parent Resources provides links to a wide variety of informational resources.
  • Edmonton Public Schools: Activities for Parents provides a number of activities that can be done at home for kindergarten to Grade 12.
  • Foothills School Division: Parent Learning Link provides a number of resources to support parents.
  • Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools: Parent Resources link provides a number of resources to support parents.
  • Northwest Francophone Education Region: Liens Utiles provides a number of resources to support parents.
  • Southern Francophone Education Region: Ressources et Liens Utiles provides a number of resources to support parents.

Funding continues to flow to school authorities for the remainder of the 2019/20 school year. This will help school authorities deliver at-home learning to their students.

“The Alberta School Boards Association appreciates that government has given us the opportunity to provide input on the continuing student learning plan. In this unprecedented time, school boards appreciate the flexibility and clarity as they make decisions that put students first and meet the diverse needs of their communities,” said Lorrie Jess, president, Alberta School Boards Association.

Jason Schilling, president, Alberta Teachers’ Association said: “We’ve seen teachers across the province stepping up in a variety of ways to ensure students feel supported during these unprecedented times. This continuity plan is a great start for providing guidance and consistency for school boards and teachers to make sure learning continues and stability is provided for students. We look forward to continue working with government and key stakeholders on an operations plan.”

-Submitted by the Province of Alberta

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