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Archived Principal Message

Principal Message: May 2014

Michelle Speight, Principal Glendale SchoolIn 2009, Albertans gathered in person and online during “Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans” to share their hopes, dreams and aspirations for K-12 education in the 21st century and beyond. Inspiring Education generated rich conversations and thoughtful insight; highlighting values, skills, practices and knowledge that will be vital to our children and grandchildren in a rapidly changing world. Out of these many conversations, a broad policy framework document was developed to describe the overall direction, principles and long-term goals for education in Alberta.

Albertans told Alberta Education that our education system must grow and adapt in order to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities of a constantly evolving world. While we may not know exactly what the future holds, we do know that some competencies and attributes will be particularly important to the success of our students. We call these the “Three E’s.”

  • Engaged Thinkers: Alberta must cultivate students with an inquisitive, engaged mind. Students that are prepared to ask “why?” and think critically about the answers they receive.
  • Ethical Citizens: Knowing the answer is not enough. Our children and grandchildren must be ethical, compassionate and respectful to truly grow and thrive.
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit:  To shape innovative ideas into real-world solutions, our education system should develop motivated, resourceful and resilient citizens. Alberta would do well to encourage our students to be bold, embrace leadership and actively seek new opportunities.

Since the conclusion of the Inspiring Education dialogues, Alberta Education has been working hard to transform our educational system and bring the vision of Inspiring Education to life. Some examples of this transformation include:

  • A new Provincial Dual Credit Strategy:  Creating opportunities for students to earn both high school and post-secondary credits for the same course. These credits could also lead to workplace certification or advanced standing in post-secondary programs.
  • Improvements to the provincial diploma exam: Providing students with more flexibility in writing diploma exams through a digital format.
  • A high school flexibility program:  Empowering students to show learning through mastery of the subject, rather than linking credits to the number of hours at a desk.
  • Review and replacement of the old Provincial Achievement Test: Introducing student-friendly assessments to replace existing Provincial Achievement Tests. The new Student Learning Assessments will maintain a strong focus on literacy and numeracy, but will also help educators and parents understand how well students demonstrate competencies such as creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving.
  • The Education Act Regulatory Review: Regulations related to the new Education Act will help provide students with the supports and environment they’ll need to succeed. We will be opening this process up to public and stakeholder input in the summer/fall of 2013.
  • Curriculum Redesign: Through Curriculum Redesign, Alberta Education is revising provincial curriculum, which includes programs of study, assessments, and learning and teaching resources, as well as the processes for developing these components of curriculum.

More About Curriculum Redesign or “Prototyping”

Curriculum Redesign is one of the initiatives helping to bring the vision of Inspiring Education to life. It is an opportunity to review Alberta’s provincial curriculum to ensure it is engaging, relevant and enables students to reach their full potential. 

The Calgary Board of Education, along with more than 15 school districts, post-secondary partners and over 50 community, corporate and parent groups including First Nations, Métis and Inuit partners, are working together to design a Curriculum Development Prototyping process for Grades 4-12 in Alberta.

This is a very exciting time to be an educator.  Alberta Education is undertaking a significant redesign of curriculum and we are key participants in this process.  This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to shape the future of learning for the students and teachers in this province.  We need to build on the incredible wisdom and expertise that is living in our classrooms every day.

As we discussed at April’s School Council meeting, curriculum development prototyping is about learning from and enacting creative and innovative practice in schools so that students are able to thrive. Prototyping is a new collaborative approach to engaging community partners in innovative ways to develop responsive, relevant and engaging curriculum. Prototyping allows schools to draw on the expertise, insights and perspectives of a variety of stakeholders. Prototyping will inform the continuous development of new Programs of Study.

The goal is to take the best of what we know today to prepare students for a better tomorrow. At the same time, other school districts in Alberta will be gathering information from their communities. This information will help guide Alberta Education as it writes new curriculum for our students.  

There are many resources available to parents to learn more about this work. I welcome you to explore them and should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to come and see me.

Michelle Speight

Principal, Glendale School

Archived Principal Messages