Last Wednesday, Florence MacDougall Community School in High Level had the honour of hosting Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange for an important announcement.
Implementation of the K-3 Mathematics, K-3 English Language Arts and Literature and K-6 Physical Education and Wellness curriculums will take place across Alberta in the 2022-2023 school year.
Fort Vermilion School Division has played an important part in the development and review of the final curriculums released this spring. As well as piloting each of the three new curriculums in K-6, FVSD has been very involved in providing valuable feedback used to help shape the final versions. Staff in our schools have gone above and beyond during the piloting process and achieved phenomenal results. Superintendent Mike McMann said “I have never been more proud of teachers and teachers assistants that have moved to a level where 83% of our kids, during a pandemic, are no longer at risk of not learning how to read. I work with the best staff in the province I believe, they get down to work and they work hard.” As a member of the Curriculum Implementation Advisory Group, Superintendent McMann is pleased to see the release of this revised curriculum and proud of the contributions made by Fort Vermilion School Division.
FVSD students in grades K-6 have shown incredible improvement, moving 10 standardized points in numeracy and 15 points in literacy – the equivalent of 2 and 3 years of growth respectively. These results are attributed to targeted interventions and small group instruction that really focus in on the specific parts of literacy or numeracy a student is struggling with. Jump Math has been a great resource for FVSD schools and has been incorporated into the new Alberta K-6 Mathematics curriculum. Fort Vermilion School Division has also found phenomenal success with the Science of Reading program and interventions developed by University of Alberta researcher George Georgiou and his team.
“Reading is undoubtedly the foundation of learning. The new English Language Arts and Literature curriculum is grounded in research and allows for explicit and systematic instruction in foundational skills such as phonological awareness, phonics, fluency and vocabulary. These skills set children up for success in comprehension and reading enjoyment.” – George Georgiou (Source: Alberta News Release, April 13, 2022)
Minister LaGrange and Dr. Georgiou were given a tour of Florence MacDougall Community School and had the opportunity to observe veteran teacher Sandra Eagles instructing her grade one class. “I was so excited to show the minister and George how great the students are learning with the program started by George that follows the new curriculum for grade one language arts,” said Sandra. “The minister was very informed as we chatted after the demonstration of how our class does phonemic awareness each day.”
FMCS Principal, Stefanie Brown had this to say, “I'm very appreciative that I had the opportunity to tour Minister LaGrange and Dr. George Georgiou around our school. The staff of FMCS, and across the Fort Vermilion School Division, have worked hard to implement the Science of Reading and the draft curriculum, so it was wonderful to have an opportunity to showcase the work being done.”
Fort Vermilion School Division is looking forward to moving ahead with the new curriculum and continuing involvement with curriculum development for the remaining subjects. As one of the piloting schools, FVSD has the advantage of familiarity with the three new curriculums.
Superintendent McMann closed his remarks at Wednesday’s press conference with an invitation to Alberta school districts, “If you need help, we’re here. Just call.”