Province earmarks more funding for schools to close learning gaps

The Alberta government is providing an additional $10 million this year toward helping Grade 1 students catch up on math and literacy learning.

This new source of funding will be in addition to other money from the government that is being used to combat pandemic-related learning disruptions.

From ongoing research and feedback, it is understood that Grade 1 students are experiencing difficulties in reading and math skills. Affected by learning disruptions due to the pandemic during kindergarten or preschool years, many are entered their first year of learning in Grade 1. The funding is coming now, rather than last September, because schools have had time to work with students to determine their needs.

The foundation of a child’s long-term academic achievement is based on early literacy and numeracy skills. If struggling learners are helped early, research shows they are usually able to catch up to grade level.

Flexibility will be provided to school authorities to tailor programs to their students’ needs.

The additional funding could be used to hire teachers, educational assistants, provide more training for staff or to purchase books or online resources.

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News