Locally developed courses
Education Act, Sections 18(1), 53(2)
School authorities have the flexibility to develop or acquire locally developed courses to address particular student and/or community needs. These learning opportunities complement, extend and/or expand upon provincial programs of study. Locally developed courses may be used to:
- accommodate student needs and interests
- encourage and support innovative learning and teaching practices
- address unique community priorities
- engage students who may be at risk of leaving school early
- promote successful transitions to further education by exposing students to advanced subject matter and learning environments
Locally developed religious studies courses
Section 58 of the Education Act allows boards to prescribe religious instruction to be offered to students. This instruction may be offered through locally developed religious studies courses, provided that such courses develop respect for and promote understanding of individual and minority group differences, and develop an understanding and appreciation of the beliefs, customs, practices, literature and traditions of other major world religions.
Locally developed religious studies courses must include 20% course content addressing a comparative study of other major world religions in addition to the religion of study.
Religious studies courses are required to meet the same course requirements and criteria as other locally developed courses.
School authority procedures
School authorities offering locally developed courses must develop, implement and maintain current written procedures consistent with the Guide.
School authorities must approve locally developed courses by a resolution or a motion of the board of a school authority or governing body of a private school prior to offering the locally developed courses.
Ministry authorization is required in order to obtain funding for senior high school locally developed courses and for students to receive credits.
Funding for senior high school locally developed courses is allocated as per the Funding Manual for School Authorities.
Only senior high school locally developed courses require ministry authorization and must be submitted to the ministry. All locally developed courses must be approved at the local level according to established procedures.
Locally developed courses must align with the Ministerial Order on Student Learning.
Authorized senior high school locally developed courses are to be instructed by a certificated teacher (Education Act, Section 198).
Locally developed courses must adhere to all applicable provincial education standards and guidelines; for example, Teaching Quality Standard, Off-campus Education, Guiding Voices: A Curriculum Development Tool for Inclusion of First Nation, Métis and Inuit Perspectives Throughout Curriculum.
Locally developed courses must also respect all relevant intellectual property law, and the entirety of the locally developed course content must be legally able to be shared with the public.
In addition to the above course requirements, proposals for senior high school locally developed courses will be evaluated according to the submission criteria outlined below:
Philosophy and rationale
Locally developed course proposals should provide a clear philosophy and rationale that is informed by student, school, parental and/or community input. Key considerations include:
- relevance to the local context, including student and community needs, interests and goals
- whether or not existing locally developed courses, provincially authorized courses or other activities could be used to address the identified need
Locally developed courses should emphasize the extension of learning being offered to students beyond the scope of existing locally developed courses or provincial programs of study. Proposals must also identify existing locally developed courses or provincial programs of study that may overlap with and/or are similar to the proposed locally developed course, provide clarification of overlap/similarity and provide a rationale as to why the new course is needed.
Locally developed courses shall not replace activities that are a normal part of:
- extracurricular or co-curricular programs offered by a school
- community programs offered by individuals or organizations
Locally developed course proposals will include learning outcomes that:
- develop the competencies described in the Ministerial Order on Student Learning
- describe sequenced expectations for learning
- provide coherence and rigour within the course and/or course series
Locally developed course proposals must include an implementation plan that addresses the following:
- unique or specific facilities or equipment necessary
- safety components specific to the course
- controversial issues, including notice under section 58.1 of the Education Act if required
- specific processes required for the review and approval of the proposed course
Authorized locally developed courses will be available to be acquired by other Alberta school authorities and Alberta Accredited International Schools at no cost.
Senior high school locally developed courses may be authorized to a maximum duration of the four following school years, at which time the expiring locally developed course will need to be revised and submitted to the ministry for review and authorization.
Funding is provided for locally developed senior high school credit courses where instruction is provided and the school authority is authorized to deliver the courses.
Proposals from school authorities developing senior high school locally developed courses must be submitted to the ministry according to the following dates:
- November 1 for Semester 2 of the same school year
- March 1 for Semester 1 of the following school year
Proposals from school authorities acquiring authorized locally developed courses must be submitted to the ministry according to the following dates:
- January 1 for Semester 2 of the same school year
- June 30 for Semester 1 of the following school year
Refer to Locally developed courses for additional information.
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