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Backgrounder

Chronology of curriculum reform in Ontario

June 2000

Fall 1996
In order to restructure the high school program, the government launched the largest public consultation on education ever carried out by the province. Two million copies of a discussion paper in booklet form, Excellence in Education, were distributed and more than 20,000 responses were received. The input received has been used to shape Ontario's high school reform. 

Spring 1997
The government announced that the new four-year high school program would begin with the students who would be entering Grade 9 in 1999. 

The new Mathematics and Language curriculum for elementary schools was released. 

Summer - Winter 1997
Meetings were held with representatives of 55 provincial organizations to discuss required and optional courses for the high school curriculum, co-operative education, work experience and the participation of the private sector in education, as well as how students could best be linked with teacher-advisers. 

New elementary report cards were announced. The new report cards were phased in beginning with the 1997-1998 school year and were in use in all elementary schools for the 1998-1999 school year. 

Spring 1998
Twenty-six teams of specialists began writing the new high school curriculum for English and French language schools. Teams averaged 20 members each and included Ontario secondary teachers, and faculty members from post-secondary institutions. 

School boards received approximately $1 million in extra funding to help them begin planning for the use of the new curriculum in classrooms. 

The new elementary Science curriculum and the new Kindergarten program were released. 

Summer 1998
Between July 1998 and January 1999, 250 organizations, as well as individual teachers, parents, universities, colleges and business leaders provided responses to each draft of the curriculum for Grades 9 and 10. 

New curriculum documents for Health and Physical Education, French or English as a Second Language, the Arts, for elementary schools were released along with the new Social Studies curriculum for Grades 1 to 6, the new History and Geography curriculum for Grades 7 and 8. 

Drafts of the Grade 9 and 10 curriculum were posted publicly on the Internet to allow school boards, teachers and textbook publishers time to prepare to use the curriculum in classrooms. The site received 30,000 hits. 

Fall 1998
The Ministry established a coalition of key education partners to ensure ongoing co-ordinated support for the implementation of the new curriculum. Partners include: the Ontario College of Teachers, the Ontario Teachers' Federation, the Education Quality and Accountability Office, the Education Improvement Commission, the Ontario Parents' Council, the Minister's Advisory Committee on Special Education, faculties of education, the Council of Directors of Education, and associations of principals, supervisory officers and trustees. 

The province established professional teams to deliver and co-ordinate teacher training on the new policies and the new Grade 9 and 10 curriculum. Ten district steering committees of ministry and school board staff provided training to school teams and helped establish school/community networks. A team consisting of a principal or administrative staff and at least four teachers was established in each of Ontario's 805 high schools to provide training to teachers in their schools. 

An investment of $100 million in textbooks, software, science equipment, teacher manuals and student workbooks was made in elementary schools between September 1998 and March 1999. 

Winter 1998
The "Stepping Up" booklet was published. This guide provided detailed information for Grade 8 students and their parents and guardians and helps them know what to expect in high school. "Stepping Up" also contained information on the most recent aspects of education reform such as the Grade 10 literacy test, co-operative education programs and the teacher-adviser system, and annual education plans. 

Spring 1999
After more than two years of extensive consultations, the new curriculum for Grades 9 and 10 was released. The new curriculum built on the previously announced new curriculum for Grades 1 to 8. The teacher training teams established in the fall of 1998 monitored and assisted with the implementation of the new curriculum. 

Work and consultation on Grade 11 and 12 curriculum continued. Detailed information on community involvement was distributed. 

Over two years, $150 million was allocated for textbooks, professional resources, training videos, and school-based training to implement the new Grade 9 and 10 curriculum. This funding was in addition to the Foundation Grant which provides $100 per secondary student per year for textbooks and learning materials. 

New Secondary School Report Cards were announced and an accompanying guide for teachers was developed for subsequent release. 

Summer and Fall 1999
Summer Institutes were held around the province to train teachers for implementation of the new Grade 9 curriculum. 

Sample courses of study were made available to schools. These "course profiles" were designed by teachers for teachers to assist with daily lesson plans. 

Draft curriculum documents for Grades 11 and 12 were posted publicly on the Internet to allow school boards, teachers and textbook publishers time to prepare for implementation. 

All Ontario high schools began using the Ontario Student Transcript, a complete record of each student's high school career. 

Winter 1999/2000
New course descriptions for Grades 11 and 12 were released to school boards and teachers so students in Grade 9 could choose their Grade 10 courses with their later plans in mind. 

Support materials for teacher-adviser system and annual education plans were released. 

Spring 2000
Remediation funding of $25 million for students who require extra help in reading, writing and math skills was announced. The funding will be used in the 2000/2001 school year. 

The government announced $64 million of additional annual funding to support the teacher-adviser program as a part of the instructional day. The funding will first apply in the 2000/2001 school year. 

June 2, 2000
Curriculum documents for Grades 11 and 12 were released, completing the comprehensive overhaul of Ontario's Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum. 

Next Steps
Ongoing training and support for the teachers who will teach the new curriculum will be provided. The Curriculum Implementation Partnership, a forum for discussion among education partners, will continue to provide feedback as schools prepare for the implementation of the new Grade 11 and 12 curriculum. 

A monitoring and renewal process will continue beyond the initial implementation to ensure that the curriculum remains rigorous, up-to-date and continues to fulfil students' needs for their careers or further studies after high school. This process will involve the education partners who have helped in the development of this curriculum: universities and colleges, employers, parents and students themselves. 

In the fall of this year, the first province-wide literacy test will be given to all students at the Grade 10 level. In 2001, it will be a diploma requirement for all students to take and pass this Grade 10 literacy test. Other province-wide tests in Grades 3, 6 and 9 will tell us how students are adapting to the new curriculum. 

Students now in Grade 9 will be the first to take the new Grade 11 curriculum starting in the fall of 2001. These students will be the first to graduate from the new four-year high school program in 2003. 


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