Curriculum renewal underway in Saskatchewan

Sask Bulletin
December 21, 2017
By Ian Krips, STF Senior Administrative Staff

During the 2016-17 school year, Lisa Lambert, Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Education (Curriculum Development and Consultation), consulted with teachers and stakeholders regarding the continuing renewal of Saskatchewan curricula. As a result of her consultation, the Ministry of Education restarted curriculum renewal processes for secondary social sciences, secondary arts education, Physical Education 20/30, and secondary practical and applied arts beginning in the fall of 2017.

The Ministry has articulated three Guiding Principles for Curriculum Development:

  1. Consult with stakeholders, sector partners, parents, interest groups and non-sector subject matter experts in curriculum development.
  2. Ensure curricula and related policies meet the needs of students, including the Fransaskois, First Nations and Métis people, multi-graded classrooms and the growing immigrant population.
  3. Provide ongoing supports to assist teachers to develop and apply the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate student learning in a rapidly changing world.

Reference committees for each of the targeted subject areas have met over the course of the fall to review foundational curriculum principles and documents, analyze enrolment trends, examine research, review curriculum work already done and review curricula from other jurisdictions. The reference committees include classroom teachers, university faculty, experts in the area of study not employed in education and Ministry staff. Each reference committee has developed recommendations for the writing committees.

Secondary Social Sciences

The Secondary Social Sciences Reference Committee has not yet made any recommendations and is contemplating what a renewal of the entire course of studies at the secondary level might look like. Further meetings are planned to develop the courses offered at each grade and identify the broad ideas within each course.

Secondary Arts Education

The Secondary Arts Education Reference Committee recommended that the Vocal Jazz 10, 20, 30 curricula be implemented as they were complete prior to the pause on curriculum in 2013. The Committee recommended the renewal of the 10, 20, 30 curricula in music, band, choir, dance, drama, visual art and arts education. The Committee endorsed the development of Guitar 10, 20, 30, and Studio Art 30. Support was indicated for the development of arts education curricula and resources for French schools and classrooms.

Physical Education 20/30

The Physical Education 20/30 Reference Committee recommended that a writing committee be struck to continue to develop the draft outcomes created in 2012. The Committee also recommended that separate documents for Physical Education 20 and 30 be created.

Secondary Practical and Applied Arts

The Secondary Practical and Applied Arts Reference Committee suggested exploring renaming the area of study and reorganizing the course structure of practical and applied arts courses. The Committee recommended surveying school divisions regarding the modules taught in Life Transitions and in survey courses at the middle and secondary level, as well as request new course ideas. The Committee gave the go-ahead for the development of internal ministry processes to develop two locally developed courses, Personal Finance 30 and Robotics 10, 20, 30, into provincial practical and applied arts courses.

Presently, classroom teachers are serving on a writing committee for Physical Education 20/30 and a call is out for teachers to serve on the secondary arts education writing committees. Federation members are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities to participate in the curriculum renewal and development process.