Dear Cambrian Heights School families,
As in all CBE schools, at Cambrian Heights we continue to work daily to ensure that we have created a safe, caring learning environment that includes all of our diverse learners. You may already be aware of some of the school-wide learning we have undertaken through events such as Pink Shirt Day, Orange Shirt Day, Black History Month, and so on. We believe that the learning that takes place leading up to these days, and our actions following these days are critical to ensure that we maintain a focus on inclusion.
Something I would like to ensure you are aware of is the work that we are undertaking to ensure that our day-to-day learning tasks and text selection promotes a similar vision of an inclusive learning environment. One of the guiding documents we access is the Alberta Education Guidelines for Recognizing Diversity and Promoting Respect Document.
This document outlines many considerations necessary when programming for students by inviting us to explore how the resources and experiences we bring to students may or may not contain implicit or explicit statements, bias, or stereotypes, and how the content of our instruction honours diversity. We realize we must, as educators, consider whether the use of a certain learning resource will help each student to build a positive self-image by nurturing a positive approach to similarities and differences in our human experiences.
The choice of instructional texts has been a particular focus for our staff recently. In this process, we consider an expanded definition of 'text', as below:
A text refers to any object or experience that readers, writers, listeners, speakers,
viewers, and representers engage with to make sense of their world. Texts are
more than oral, print, visual, digital, and multimedia resources; they also
encompass cultural artifacts, encounters with the land, and everyday
communications. (Draft Alberta Curriculum, ELA Subject Introduction, 2018)
When considering which texts we might engage in with students, teachers consider questions such as:
-What are the essential understandings to be developed with the text(s)?
-How are these essential understandings and the tasks taken up with the
text(s) connected to the Alberta Programs of Studies?
-Will the text(s) engage readers, extend their understanding, and promote
meaningful literacy experiences?
-Is the text(s) adaptable, inclusive and representative of different
communities, perspectives, and positive reflections of identities?
-Have authentic authorship, connections to primary resources and
contemporary issues been considered?
-Do the text(s) reflect Canadian content? Current content?
-What additional resources support a wider lens inquiring into this topic,
concept, or time period?
It has been our experience that these guiding questions have prompted many meaningful discussions about our varied human experiences, viewpoints, and values. These conversations are critical for the success and well-being of our learners.
As always, we welcome your feedback and perspectives, as we believe an open dialogue helps us strengthen our learning community.
Thank you for your ongoing support!