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These questions have been posed by parents in the past and are grouped by topic.  The answers are provided by either the administration at ERS or by CRPS. 

 

Please feel free to send other questions to erscouncil@gmail.com

 

 

Class Size and Composition

 

 

 

Q: How does class size affect my child’s education?

A: Here are some perspectives:

2011 Calgary Herald

See Pages 28-33 of this Alberta Education document from 2003

Q: What are the projected class sizes for the upcoming school year?

A: As of June 30, 2014 the projected class sizes for 2014/15 are as follows:

French Immersion

Grade 1 - 22

Grade 1/2 - 21

Grade 2 - 22

Grade 3 - 24

English

Grade 1 - 24 & 24

Grade 2 - 21 & 21

Grade 3 - 23 & 22

 
 

Q: How does class composition affect my child’s education?

A:

Q: Are these issues of class size and composition handled differently by other school boards?

A: 

 

French and English Learning

 

Q: Are there differences between how English classes and French classes are supported?

A:

 

Q: Can my child transfer between English and French classes?

A:

 

 

 

New Methods of Learning and Teaching

Q: Why are we using a new way to teach math?  What’s wrong with the old way? 

A: Dr. Sharon Friesen from the Galileo Network speaks about this here.

Videos from Alberta Education also explain the approach.

 

Q: Where can I find out more about the Curriculum Redesign I’ve been hearing about?

A: Here are a few perspectives:

http://education.alberta.ca/department/ipr/curriculum.aspx

http://www.phrd.ab.ca/view.php?action=object&id=9467&stream=Latest%20News

 

General Comments from Superintendents:

1. Although there is much innovation in the system currently occurring, the comments on the curriculum redesign is seemingly causing some consternation. The first erroneous myth to spread is that literacy and numeracy will no longer be a focus in this new education system. Nothing could be more contrary as literacy and numeracy are fundamental in curriculum redesign and need to be further embedded in all subjects. The mastery of basic skills in both of these areas is foundational for student success in future years.

2. While excellent teaching in the classroom will be the most important factor to impact student learning, a robust, challenging and practical curriculum must also be present. For years both teachers and students have articulated that there is an overload (1400+) of curricular outcomes. It is unfathomable for teachers to teach with any great depth or students to have any rich experiences with that many outcomes. Consequently, one of the major roles of the redesign process is to thin the curriculum to ensure that  teachers and students can delve into the subject area more thoroughly. Simply “covering” the curriculum is insufficient and needs to be replaced with the teaching and learning of essential outcomes-those that a student “needs to know” as opposed to “nice to know.”


3. Furthermore, subject areas must be taught, like in real life, as inter-related. Cross curricular outcomes will enhance subject specific disciplines and raise the level of student engagement. Language arts and social, math and science and health, wellness and fine arts must be seamlessly woven into the day to day classroom. Engaged students, learning relevant and practical curriculum stay in school. With 1 in 5 students not completing high school (not CCHS or BCHS) within five years in Alberta and a cost to Canadian society of $37 million annually. It is understandable why curriculum redesign with a focus on student engagement needs to be a priority.
 
4. The education system must adjust to address the growing needs of our society. Students need to be more creators of information as opposed to consumers. They must be able to communicate effectively both with and without the use of technology. Curriculum must unleash opportunities s for students to work alone to build resiliency, as well as in groups to master collaboration skills. And finally, students must become problem solvers and critical thinkers. Curriculum redesign is just part of the vision of Inspiring Education, a vision that will lead students to become, “Engaged Thinkers, Ethical Citizens, with an Entrepreneurial Spirit.”

These are the general notes Superintendents in the province are presently discussing with parents and staff.  I hope these help.

 

Q: How and when will I know whether the Curriculum Redesign is being effective?

A: Currently the curriculum redesign is only being prototyped with a few classes in Alberta.  Wide-spread adoption (including ERS) would not come for several years.

 

Q: What is the Learning Commons?

A: A learning commons is a common, or shared, learning ‘space’ that is both physical and virtual.  It is more a perspective than a “place.”  A learning commons perspective supports a student-centred approach that emphasizes active and collaborative engagement and encourages the co-creation of knowledge by all learners.

A learning commons provides individual, small and large group space, either physical and/or virtual, for instruction, social/collaborative learning, and production and presentation. It also promotes global and cultural understanding as students collaborate with their local and broader community to investigate and create solutions to complex problems.

Finally, the virtual aspect of a learning commons (a VLC) promotes more efficient use of technology for creation and sharing of knowledge as well as enabling 24/7 access to resources and shared collaborative space for all students.

Research shows that students who have access to quality school library services, which a learning commons perspective enables, are more likely to exhibit advanced student achievement and literacy development. 

Here's some links to find out more:

Alberta Education's new Learning Commons Policy

Alberta Education's Learning Commons Resources

 

Q: What is the Galileo Project?

A: Galileo Educational Network is an independent, charitable organization that consists of thought-leading educators and a high profile Board of Directors. The Galileo Educational Network creates, promotes and disseminates innovative teaching and learning practices through research, professional learning and fostering external collaborations. Galileo works with students, teachers and policy makers across Canada both onsite and online.

To find out more, visit their website

Sharon Friesen has spoken on this work at numerous schools throughout Alberta.

 

Miscellaneous

Q: How can I be more engaged with the school and my child’s education?

A: Volunteering within your child's classroom or attending the ERS Council meetings will give you a perspective on what is happening within the class and school as well as give you a voice in education decisions.

 

Q: How is Alpenglow funded?  Are they partially funded by CRPS?

A:

1.   Alpenglow is not being run at the expense of Canadian Rockies Public Schools funding. The program has brought additional funds to the division through enrolment which allowed me to add the .5fte teacher to ERS grade 3.
 
2.   Alpenglow classes are not capped but because they are an Alternate school the School Act allows them to charge a fee ($750) + (215) and accept and decline students based on their inability to support students with special needs. (ie Autism)
     I did cap the number of students leaving ERS because we were not going to start a new program unless they had enough NEW NON CRPS students to support running the program. During the past year they had approx 47 new non CRPS students that never attended school in CRPS. Therefore, I can say with total confidence, public funds are not used to support the program. They have brought in more than enough new students for it to be viable all on its own.
 
3.   Many classes at ERS are smaller than Alpenglow
 
4.   Alpenglow has all double grading in all three classes.
 

5.   They purchase their EA time and the individual is hired by the school division..
 

Notes:  besides the budget numbers the following are some other messages
 
1.    Student supplies of $99 /student are not supplied by the division to Alpenglow which every other school receives.
 
2.    The registration fee for Alpenglow is  $750 in addition to another $215 to cover Friday morning activities. TOTAL $965

3.    All renovations were covered by the Alpenglow society and work done by volunteers. (plumbing, electrical, painting etc)

4.    Alpenglow receives no Reading Specialist teacher or Learning Support teacher that ERS receives.

5.    Students with special needs in ERS are not disproportional in the classrooms any longer.

6.    The emergence of Alpenglow has actually reduced class size significantly in ERS without teacher staff being reduced. In fact we just added a .5fte teacher for grade three.

7. Alpenglow receives school administration, space and transportation in kind and nothing else.  These all do not cost us funding because they are already in place.

 

Q: Is the quality of teaching/learning different on Fridays when attendance is only in the morning?

A:

 

Q: If I have questions or concerns about my child’s education or learning environment, what is the best way to address those concerns in-between Parent/Teacher interviews?

A: