Dear Westmount Staff and Families,

I am pleased to share the following information provided to school authorities by the Minister of Education.

Diploma Exams

In response to feedback from students, parents and education partners about stress and anxiety around academic achievement, Alberta’s government will temporarily change the weighting of diploma exams to 10 per cent from 30 per cent for the 2021/22 school year. This will help ensure provincial standards are maintained while taking into account the learning disruptions that have occurred since March 2020. The weighting of diploma exams will return to 30%, effective September 1, 2022.

To further support grade 12 students whose learning has been impacted by COVID-19, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Advanced Education have sent a letter to the Presidents of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions, asking them to consider this unprecedented experience when admitting students.

Provincial Achievement Tests

Provincial Achievement Tests (PAT) will continue this school year, consistent with the 2021/22 school plan and as they would in any other school year.

Learning Disruption Funding

In May 2021, the government committed up to $45 million in new funding for school authorities to jump-start targeted programming this fall for students in Grades 1 to 3 who are struggling as a result of COVID-19-related learning disruptions.

Alberta Education has confirmed that Westmount Charter School Society has been approved to receive $10,000 in learning disruption funding to support these students in Grades 2 and 3 for the 2021/22 school year.  The learning disruption funding is intended to provide between 12 and 16 weeks of targeted programming during this school year. School authorities will have flexibility to design this programming to best meet local needs. Programming interventions using this funding should begin as soon as possible.

Funding supports for students in Grade 1 will be announced, making this funding available in early 2022 in recognition of the transition time these students needed.

Rapid Testing

As announced on October 5, 2021, Alberta’s government is offering a targeted rapid testing program for kindergarten to Grade 6 schools experiencing outbreaks, as vaccines are not yet available to this age group. Tests are now available to school authorities for distribution for kindergarten to Grade 6 schools, starting first with schools that are currently experiencing an outbreak status. The rapid testing will be optional and free, with tests administered at home by parents as a screening tool only for students who are asymptomatic. School staff are also eligible to participate.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) will contact schools to confirm outbreak status. Once AHS has confirmed the outbreak, the school must submit a request form in order to participate in the program. Once the request is submitted, test kits will be shipped within two to three business days – subject to availability of test kits.

Joe Frank