With Sarah Hoffman declaring her intention to seek the nomination for a provincial seat as a Member of the Legislature, the Board elected Michael Janz as Chair and Michelle Draper as Vice Chair.  Sarah brought many excellent qualities as Chair and I wish her well in her pursuit to serve Edmontonions from the Legislature. I look forward to supporting our new leadership team.

The Board received an information report on lessons learned from the introduction of the Grade 3 Student Learning Assessments (SLAs) – pages 18-21 of the package. The SLAs replaced the Grade 3 Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs). While teachers reported value of an assessment early in the school year, and in the various means by which students could respond to demonstrate their learning, numerous issues and challenges including a lack of clarity around exemptions and accommodations, technical glitches, and misalignment of exemplars of student performance with the scoring rubric were also reported.  The District observations will be shared with Alberta Education.

The Board also received a report on what recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Inclusive Education in Alberta Schools we should consider adopting, and the associated costs – pages 22-24 of the package. The Alberta Teachers Association released the Blue Ribbon report last September.  While administration noted all 38 recommendations have merit, 3 were singled out:

Recommendation 7: Provide a safe environment for teachers and administrators to express their experience as inclusion is implemented.

Recommendation 23: Ensure there is adequate funding for students requiring behaviour support.

Recommendation 28: Provide ongoing professional development during the school day to learn and share strategies to support inclusive practices.

The cost for Edmonton Public is estimated at $30 million per year, not including staff time to explore and implement new strategies.  Our administration spoke to the success achieved to date, but that building more capacity is an ongoing task. This information will help the Board in its advocacy and budget decisions.

Trustee Hoffman has been seeking detailed information to ensure good stewardship of the funds provided by the Edmonton Public School Board to the Alberta School Boards Association.

The Board package can be accessed here.