MacNeil: Two new faces and a new religious education resource

13 January 2021

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

Alberta’s school superintendents have welcomed two new faces to support Catholic education in the province, and a new religious education resource to be implemented this year.

The Council of the Catholic Superintendents of Alberta welcomed executive director Michael Hauptman in September of this school year.

Michael Hauptman

Hauptman has extensive experience in education as a leader in four Alberta Catholic school divisions from assistant principal to superintendent of schools (Elk Island Catholic School Division).  Hauptman shared, “It is truly a blessing to be able to share my past experience and current skill set in support of Catholic Education across the province.”

“Michael brings a wealth of experience as a previous superintendent and as a senior Ministry of Education staff member. We are blessed to have him lead us in curriculum coordination provincially and specifically with the development of this new resource,” shared Dr. Rhonda Nixon, president of the CCSSA.

In addition to Hauptman’s appointment, the CCSSA created a new Alberta Catholic Education Curriculum Resource Coordinator position to provide support and consistency of resources to teachers in Catholic schools. This role is being completed by Sandra MacNeil who is currently working with all Catholic stakeholders, including the newly formed Alberta Catholic Education Resource Advisory Committee.

“Stacey has the enthusiasm and drive to make this new role a true service in the support of resources for Catholic School divisions in Alberta,” Nixon said.

The committee also works closely with Hauptman to support the Religious Education Network that consists of religious education consultants from school divisions around the province whose work includes supporting teachers and students in the provisions of authentic Catholic education support resources.

Committee members include the Bishop Liaisons of Alberta/Northwest Territories, Council of Catholic School Superintendents, and the Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association.

MacNeil’s work includes supporting the newly released Fully Alive supplemental teacher resource, piloting Grade 9 resources, developing recommendations for the Catholic Resource Advisory Committee, and identifying areas in the curriculum that may require additional resources that support Catholic permeation.

Stacey MacNeil

MacNeil says, “Fully Alive beautifully expresses the wonder of our creation as human beings and what it means to be a child of God. Students across the province will explore the beautiful stories about God’s purposeful intention in creating human beings in His image and likeness. In my new position, I am so excited to see our Catholic educators bring this alive in their classroom and the beauty of students seeing how deeply God loves them.”

Hauptman and MacNeil are currently working on a variety of projects to support Catholic education but are most excited about the implementation of the Fully Alive supplementary teacher resource and aligning it with the Alberta Education Program of Studies and the Health and Life Skills curriculum.

In this program, students will learn about the uniqueness of God’s creation and the gift of the body given to us by God. The resource uses age/maturity content to discuss the human being in the themes of Created and Loved by God, Living in Relationship, Created Sexual, Growing in Commitment, and Living in the World as a Catholic.

The Fully Alive resource includes the teaching of the gift of sexuality as given to us by God, each person as a gift of God’s love and the uniqueness of each person. It acknowledges the role of the conscience for moral decisions, participation in building a just society, and the responsibility for stewarding the gifts of creation.

Implementation of this resource is being rolled out in most school divisions this year. This includes professional development for teachers, parent communication, and support documents that help guide the use of the resource.

“In addition to the Alberta Program of Studies, as Catholic trustees it is our responsibility to assure that support materials facilitating the permeation of faith – such as Fully Alive – are developed to support the work of teachers in the classroom. We are also confident that this document will be of great value to our students and families as they grow in knowledge of the faith.” Serena Shaw, president of the Alberta Catholic School Trustee Association

The Fully Alive resource has been in use in Ontario over the last several years and was first published in 1988 with additions and revisions over the years and the last update in 2016.  The resource is available for Grades 1-8 with roll out of the newer digital resource in Alberta this year for Grades 1-2. As part of the agreement with Pearson Canada Publishing, this resource was made available at no cost to school divisions that were currently using their digital Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ resource.

“Fully Alive will support teachers and students in exploring who we are created to be as human persons, a dignity which comes from God and that we share with all God’s people.  Through this program of study the Catholic school provides the learning environment, the resources, the leadership, and the community of faith that supports parents in the full human development of their children which will ultimately reflect the glory of God,” said Calgary Bishop William McGrattan, Alberta Catholic education liaison for the province’s bishops.

Pearson Canada, who published the teacher, parent, and student resource Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ Resource. Grade 1 and 2 resources have been aligned in support of the current Alberta Education’s Health and Life Curriculum and further development for other grades and any new curriculum from Alberta Education will be done over the next several years.

“The Glory of God is the human person being fully alive”St. Irenaeus of Lyons

-Stacey MacNeil is a Junior High Religion teacher and Religion Department head at St. John Paul II Collegiate in Okotoks. In addition to her teaching duties over the past two years, MacNeil has been reviewing the Grade 9 provincial Religious Education curriculum and is developing pilot lessons for the new Alberta Grade 9 Religious Education Curriculum. She also participated in the development of the Hashtag Relationship Program in Christ the Redeemer Schools