A New Curriculum for the Cree School Board since 2011
As part of the overall School Improvement plan, three language teams consisting of teachers and consultants have worked diligently over the past years to create a CSB Guaranteed and Viable Language Curriculum (GVC) that honours the languages of Cree, English, and French while ensuring that students learn the essential information related to reading, writing, speaking, listening and media production.
A guaranteed and viable curriculum is one in which:
- Quebec Education Program/Ministry program documents are unpacked to determine what students should know, understand, and be able to do;
- A progression of learning is developed both horizontally (from the beginning to the end of a school year) and vertically (from one grade to the next) to eliminate gaps, omissions and repetitions in the curriculum;
- The essential content students are expected to learn is clearly stated for all grade levels;
- The curriculum is organized and sequenced in calendar-based curriculum maps that provide students with adequate opportunities to learn the essential content;
- There is adequate time to teach the essential content;
- The curriculum is monitored to ensure the essential content is being taught; and
- Time for instruction is protected.
The GVC lays out all students need to know, understand, and be able to do. The curriculum outlines mandatory learning expectations and mandatory weekly lesson plans. Expectations are divided into weekly expectations as well as term expectations. Teachers will be expected to follow weekly lesson plans in order to give students the opportunity to fulfill learning expectations. For the Cree Language program that was presented to teachers at the beginning of the 2010/2011 school year, daily lesson plans were combined and adjusted to fit into weekly lesson plans.
Along with expectations and weekly lesson plans, the language teams have also developed an overview for a cultural aspect to the Language program. Monthly themes with certain cultural areas of focus are included. Along with the cultural themes, there will be a monthly focus on one of the 7 Cree values (for example: respect, courage, etc).
Developing a language curriculum for our board has required using different levels of language programs in the QEP to blend into one CSB language program. Blending aspects from mother tongue, immersion, and second language programs has resulted in a GVC that progresses steadily from immersion and second language programs into mother tongue programs as it moves through the secondary grades.