Classroom investment fund creates teaching jobs
Alberta students are receiving more individual attention and a better classroom experience after the government provided funding for hundreds of teaching and support staff positions.
The Classroom Improvement Fund (CIF) was created as part of the central agreement reached with the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) last year, providing a dedicated fund to help ensure students have richer learning experiences. It is anticipated the $75-million fund will create over 250 teaching jobs and 200 support positions this year.
“When there are more teachers in classrooms, everyone benefits, from the students to the community at large. The Classroom Improvement Fund is putting money directly into classrooms, making sure students and teachers have the tools they need to succeed. We are pleased that many school boards are choosing to hire additional teachers and support staff with their funding.”
The CIF is flexible to the needs of school authorities and teachers, meaning it can be used anywhere funding is needed. For example, some school boards have introduced new programs and improvements to existing practices, while others have focused on hiring.
“Elk Island Public Schools has used the Classroom Improvement Fund to hire staff, access resources and promote teacher collaboration in order to enhance positive outcomes for students in both literacy and numeracy.”
Peace Wapiti and Wetaskiwin School Divisions introduced a program called Empower Reading which offers a comprehensive approach to teaching students with reading disabilities the skills they need to analyze text, decode words and successfully learn and gain knowledge from written materials.
Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools chose to give each teacher $750 to purchase resources for their classrooms. As each classroom is unique, teachers had the flexibility to purchase anything from books to assistive technology for students with learning disabilities to makerspace materials like, K’NEX, a snap-together building system that helps students learn science, technology, engineering and math skills.
Medicine Hat Public School Division is using its funding to develop an embedded collaborative structure, which will support professional learning by giving teachers more time to collaborate and share lessons and successes.
To date, all school authorities have successfully applied for their portions of the CIF. The funding must be spent by the end of the 2017-18 school year, with reporting to Alberta Education following in the 2018-19 school year.