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GNWT releases timeline and implementation plan for renewed JK-12 school curriculum

December 01, 2022

Original Article:

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has released its timeline and implementation plan for renewing the Northwest Territories (NWT) Junior Kindergarten (JK) to Grade 12 school curriculum.

After extensive research, consultation, analysis and engagement, it was announced in December 2021 that the GNWT is partnering with the British Columbia (BC) Ministry of Education to renew the NWT JK to 12 curriculum.

Throughout public and stakeholder engagement on curriculum renewal, the GNWT heard that it should not rush the transition and implementation of the new curriculum. Based on this feedback, the finalized timeline will see a gradual transition.

BC’s curriculum will be adapted and implemented in the NWT by multi-grade divisions (JK/K, Grades 1-3; 4-6; 7-8; 9; 10-12). Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, schools will have the option to trial one, some, or all subjects of the BC draft curriculum in certain grades.

The first group to trial the draft curriculum will be Grades 4-6. This group is best able to take on learning in the BC curriculum that is ‘inquiry-based,’ which means it’s interactive and engaging, emphasizing the student's role in learning based on questions or ideas students want to explore. Students in this age group, and their teachers, are already familiar with these approaches.

The last group to trial the draft curriculum will be Junior Kindergarten/Kindergarten. Although the current play-based NWT Junior Kindergarten/Kindergarten curriculum is a good fit with BC’s, the curriculum renewal process requires further review to ensure a seamless transition for young children moving into our elementary schools.

Grades 10-12 will implement the curriculum after the earlier grades, as ECE works to determine to what degree BC’s high school curriculum will be adapted to the NWT.

The 2027-28 school year will be the final year of implementation, with the final curriculum implemented in all grades and subjects, and all of BC’s assessment tools (exams, standardized testing) will be in place.

Feedback received from educators during the trialing phases will inform any additional revisions and/or adaptations of the curriculum. The GNWT will continue to update the public as it progresses on implementing the renewed curriculum.

For the full implementation plan and timeline, see ECE’s website.

“Renewing the NWT’s JK-12 curriculum is a big process and it’s important that educators, students and families have time to adapt, plan and ask questions. Indigenous governments, education bodies, and other partners will be involved in key focus areas. Teacher training and supports will be top of mind as we transition, ensuring that all teachers are properly supported to offer this new curriculum to their students.”

- R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Quick facts
  • There are five key areas that the GNWT is focused on to effectively implement BC’s curriculum in NWT schools:
  • Finalizing the timeline and sequence for adapting the curriculum and implementing it in NWT schools.
  • Determining the minimum Grade 12 graduation requirements for students using BC courses.
  • Adapting BC’s curriculum so it meets the contextual needs of NWT students and communities.
  • Updating student assessment programs (i.e., standardized tests and diploma exams) with BC’s large-scale assessment tools.
  • Developing a schedule and structure for training teachers on the new curriculum.
  • Indigenous worldviews, knowledge, and perspectives are reflected in all BC’s curricula and in mandatory learning for all students. BC’s curriculum is flexible, which allows the NWT to adapt the curriculum at the territory and local levels, by incorporating place, school and community ways of learning and doing.
  • NWT-created curriculum, such as Our Languages, Northern Studies, Health and Wellness, Hunter Education and Junior Kindergarten/Kindergarten, will remain in schools. Dene Kede and Inuuqatigiit, foundational curricula that weave Dene and Inuit core concepts, language and traditions into learning in NWT classrooms, will also remain in schools.


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