To support implementation of the new social studies curriculum, Alberta Education provided implementation grants to the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium, on behalf of the districts it serves. A total of $1 550 000.000 was provided for two years spanning 2005-2007. A further $1 020 000.00 was provided for three years spanning 2007-2010.
Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC) is one of seven consortia in Alberta established to support regional professional development needs in an ongoing, coordinated and cost-effective manner. The ERLC creates professional development opportunities for all those who influence student learning. To do this, we work with schools, school authorities and our seven partner organizations: Alberta School Councils’ Association, Alberta School Boards Association, Alberta Teachers’ Association, Association of School Business Officials of Alberta, College of Alberta School Superintendents, The University of Alberta and Alberta Education. The ERLC facilitates learning opportunities for eighteen school districts, as well as charter schools, private schools and band schools in the Edmonton region. District representatives from the eighteen school jurisdictions advise ERLC on program interests and needs. The region includes:
- A large number of districts with diverse needs including different jurisdictional and AISI priorities.
- A large geographic area.
- Districts that must travel a distance to attend sessions in Edmonton, (e.g., 6 districts include schools more than 3 – 5 hours away from Edmonton).
- Districts that are increasingly using technology to access professional development.
- Jurisdictions with limited access to supply teachers.
- Districts that have a significant percentage of new teachers including teachers from out of province who are not familiar with the Alberta Program of Studies.
The ERLC Social Studies Curriculum Implementation Support Plan consisted of a number of activities and components that were interrelated and should be viewed as part of larger plans (e.g. district plans, individual teacher plans, and other stakeholder plans). The plan was developed with the social studies advisory committee consisting of representatives of all districts in the ERLC region. Six priority areas were identified:
- ERLC Learning Opportunities: Both current
and past learning opportunities are listed on the ERLC website
found at www.erlc.ca. Learning
opportunities included face to face, planning and assessment
cohorts, supper sessions, videoconferences, webinars and summer
- ERLC Regional Team: The ERLC regional team
was made up of the ERLC coordinator/consultant as well as consultants
from Edmonton Public, Edmonton Catholic and St. Albert Protestant
Schools to provide a depth and diversity of expertise to the
- District Curriculum Facilitator Support: District
leaders and emerging leaders accessed ERLC learning opportunities
to support growth in both content knowledge and facilitation/leadership
skills. District curriculum facilitators are responsible for
sharing what they have learned in their districts. This is one
way the region believes that implementation of social studies
will be sustainable.
- PD Leadership Capacity Series provided learning
opportunities diverse enough to meet the varying needs of participants
who may be at differing places in their leadership journey. It
also provided opportunities for teacher leaders to see and learn
from renowned experts while networking with others in “support
of implementation” roles across the region.
- Emerging Technologies/Distributed Learning is
becoming of increased importance both in communication across
the region as well as in the delivery of professional development.
There is an increasing demand for delivery of PD via technologies
such as videoconference, webinars and web casts.
- PD Resource Development provides support for local facilitators who may not have the time and expertise to develop their own support materials. The materials are a means to provide a consistent message about the content being covered as well as provide for effective adult learning practices. Over time the region has advised ERLC about the format for these PD resources. PD resources to support sustainability of implementation are found on the ERLC website at http://www.erlc.ca/resources/default.php.