Glossary of Educational Terms and Acronyms
Alberta Teachers Association (ATA): The Alberta Teachers Association is the union and professional association for the teachers of Alberta, Canada. It represents all teachers and teacher administrators in all schools in Alberta’s public, separate and francophone school divisions. It also represents teachers in some charter and private schools. The Alberta Teachers’ Association, as the professional organization of teachers, promotes and advances public education, safeguards standards of professional practice and serves as the advocate for its members.
Career and Technology Foundations (CTF): Career and Technology Foundations is a project based, hands-on, program of studies for grades 5 to 9 that focuses on essential skills common to all 28 occupational areas. The program also allows for the development of specific skills through the processes of design, create, appraise and articulate.
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE): The Canadian Union of Public Employees is a Canadian trade union serving the public sector. CUPE is the largest union in Canada, representing some 650,000 workers in health care, education (educational assistants, secretaries, janitorial staff, etc.) municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines.
Differentiated Instruction (DI): Differentiated Instruction is a framework or philosophy for effective teaching that involves providing different students with different avenues (often in the same classroom) to acquiring content; to processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and to developing teaching materials and assessment measures so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability. Students vary in culture, socioeconomic status, language, gender, motivation, ability/disability, personal interests and more, and teachers need to be aware of these varieties as they are planning their curriculum. By considering varied learning needs, teachers can develop personalized instruction so that all children in the classroom can learn effectively. Differentiated classrooms have also been described as ones that are responsive to student variety in readiness levels, interests and learning profiles.
Educational Assistant (EA): Educational Assistants constitute part of what, in the education community, is known as support staff, a term designating personnel who help teachers carry out the educational mission of the school and who make the educational experiences of children more rewarding. Some support staff are highly qualified professionals who provide such specialized services to students as diagnostic testing, speech therapy and physical therapy. Others have non-professional credentials earned through college studies. Still others have no post-secondary qualifications at all. The duties that support staff are assigned depend on their qualifications and competencies and on the provisions of the School Act and other legislation.
First Nations, Métis, & Inuit Education (FNMI): Alberta Education is committed to improving education outcomes for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students and to closing the gap in education achievement between FNMI and other provincial students. We work with First Nations and Métis leaders and communities to engage FNMI parents and families to support student success through collaborative partnerships with schools and by developing culturally relevant programs, resources and student supports.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP): The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act strikes a balance between the public’s right to know and the individual’s right to privacy, as these rights relate to information held by the Fort McMurray Public School District. The Act ensures individuals have the right to access their own personal information. It also provides for access to other records held by the School District, and includes strict standards that the School District must follow for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information.
Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Convention Association (GETCA): Teachers’ conventions have been established through provincial legislation in the province to provide teachers a forum to renew their professional skills on an annual basis. The Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Convention Association develops programs of general interest to teachers at all levels across a broad field of curriculum. Convention planning takes into account the needs of individual teachers to become aware of new knowledge and trends in teaching and school organization, and also their needs to establish and broaden communications with other teachers on matters of professional concern. The general nature of the convention is emphasized; by choosing programs and frameworks with broad appeal; by retaining keynote speakers whose message will be of interest to a majority of teachers; and, by limiting the influence of external special interest groups. The Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Convention is the designated teachers’ convention for all Fort McMurray-based members of the Alberta Teachers Association.
Individualized Program Plan (IPP): An Individualized Program Plan is a written commitment of intent by the learning team to ensure appropriate planning for students with special education needs. It is a working document and a record of student progress that contributes to a common understanding and coordination of efforts. The Standards for Special Education, Amended June 2004 defines an individualized program plan as: “a concise plan of action designed to address students’ special education needs, and is based on diagnostic information which provides the basis for intervention strategies …” (p. 4).
Learning Assistance Coordinator (LAC): A Learning Assistance Coordinator is a school-based teaching/learning professional who allows students with special needs the opportunity to reach their full potential by helping teachers implement the necessary accommodations and modifications within their classroom.
Learning Through The Arts (LTTA): Learning Through The Arts provides specially trained artist-educators who work in partnership with teachers and program coordinators to deliver inclusive, culturally appropriate arts-based in-school and after school programming for Aboriginal youth preparing for or attending high school in Fort McMurray and/or several other Wood Buffalo communities. The program goal is increasing school attachment, improving the percentage of students meeting grade level literacy, increasing numeracy scores, boosting the percentage of youth engaged in pro-social after school programming and reducing the percentage of youth experimenting with drugs, anti-social behavior or criminal activity.
Project-Based (or Problem-Based) Learning (PBL): Project-based (or Problem-based) Learning is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of problem solving. Students learn both thinking strategies and domain knowledge. The goals of PBL are to help the students develop flexible knowledge, effective problem solving skills, self-directed learning, effective collaboration skills and intrinsic motivation.
Professional Learning Community (PLC): A Professional Learning Community is an extended learning opportunity to foster collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field. It is often used in schools as a way to organize teachers into working groups. Within these groups, staff are encouraged to collectively undertake activities and reflection in order to constantly improve their students’ performance.
Response To Intervention (RTI): Response To Intervention is a process designed to ensure that students are receiving responsive, high-quality instruction according to their needs, as determined by regular benchmark assessment. Identifying students who need corrective intervention and delivering specific learning supports requires skill development by educators in the context of learning supports in their school community.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone – not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.
Understanding By Design (UBD): Understanding By Design is a framework for designing curriculum units, performance assessments, and instruction that lead students to a deep understanding of the content being taught. UBD expands on “six facets of understanding”, which include students being able to explain, interpret, apply, have perspective, empathize, and have self-knowledge about a given topic. Understanding by Design relies on ”backward design” (also known as “backwards planning”). Teachers traditionally start curriculum planning with activities and textbooks instead of identifying classroom learning goals and planning towards that goal. In backward design, the teacher starts with classroom outcomes and then plans the curriculum, choosing activities and materials that help determine student ability and foster student learning.