Edmonton Public marks 100 days of school a week after Edmonton Catholic – why the gap?

Edmonton’s public schools marked 100 days of learning on Thursday. To celebrate, at Malmo School, the day started with 100 exercises.

The themed activities continued in the classroom — brainstorming 100 acts of kindness and contemplating life at 100 years old.

It’s a milestone Edmonton Catholic reached a week ago — and the difference comes down to how the two school divisions treat professional development.

Both Edmonton Catholic Schools (ECSD) and Edmonton Public Schools (EPSB) started the elementary school year on Sept. 3 and they will both end the school year on June 26.

Global News compared two elementary schools in the same neighbourhood — Glenora Elementary and St. Vincent Elementary.

Edmonton Public Schools

There are 31 days students are not in class. That includes holidays, PD days, teachers convention, non-instructional days, as well as winter and spring break.

At Glenora, there are five hours and 22 minutes of instructional time each day, except on Thursdays when kids are let out an hour earlier.

Edmonton Catholic Schools

There are 24 days students are not in class. That includes three non-instructional days and holidays.

The first development day of the school year came on Feb. 4.

At St. Vincent, about five-and-a-half hours are spent in class. On Thursdays, students are let out at around noon.

Edmonton Catholic said teachers take that time on Thursday for professional development.

“We make our decisions based on what’s best for student learning, for teacher learning,” said assistant superintendent of education planning for ECSD, John Fiacco.

“We felt having the ability for teachers to collaborate every week to work on their professional development, to work on their professional responsibilities, is very important.”

Edmonton Public said when it builds a calendar, there are a number of considerations like “requirements for winter recess, statutory holidays, diploma exam dates, Provincial Achievement Test dates,” to name a few.

“Professional development days are placed in such a way as to support teacher learning and practice over the year and to assist in balancing the length of first and second semesters.”

In the end, both schools are getting the same instructional time.

The provincially mandated hours of instruction for students are:

  • Kindergarten (half-day) — 475 hours per year
  • Grades 1 to 9 — 950 hours per year
  • Grades 10 to 12 — 1000 hours per year

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