Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the important role that education plays in building our society. The Alberta Teachers' Association supports schools, school boards and locals to plan activities that send consistent messages about the value of education in the community.

SharablesTop of page



Ad (4 in x 4 in, jpg) 


Why Education Week?Top of page

Education Week was established more than 75 years ago to call attention to the importance of education and to show the public some of the good things happening in Alberta schools. Education Week is an excellent opportunity to (a) advocate for public education and the important role that schools play in communities, (b) assure taxpayers that public funds are being put to good use, (c) invite the public into classrooms for first-hand experiences, (d) highlight the partnership between teachers, parents and students, (e) demonstrate the important leadership role that the teaching profession plays in student learning and (f) celebrate the contribution that all staff and volunteers make in the school.

Key MessagesTop of page

  • Alberta has been celebrating Education Week for over 75 years. It was established by the teaching profession to give Albertans an opportunity to celebrate education and its importance to society.
  • Today, more than ever, teachers are committed to creating an inspired future for every child. Teachers and their professional organization, the Alberta Teachers’ Association, are working hard with education partners to ensure that students have optimal learning conditions.
  • To be lifelong learners, students must have ingenuity, creativity, critical thinking skills, and citizenship skills.
  • Students need a broad range of learning experiences that go beyond the basic subjects of math, language arts, science and social studies. Schools, while preparing students for a diversity of possible futures, must also ensure students experience the joy of learning while at school.
  • Albertans are encouraged to join in the celebrations by going to their local school and attending special Education Week events or visiting their child’s classroom.

Advice on Promoting Education WeekTop of page

  • Try to incorporate the Education Week theme and key messages into your Education Week activities. Communication may consist of a short speech at school, a news release on an event at school, or a response to an interview question by the media.
  • If you need help with publicity and no one at the school level is interested in putting together a communications plan, contact your ATA local communications officer or local president. He or she will provide guidance and the names of contact representatives and editors for your area’s newspapers and broadcast media. Effective publicity can also be carried out through school councils.
  • If you are planning an event, prepare a news release and send copies to all media. Include photographs, if possible, which newspapers may use in their coverage of the event. A news release is particularly useful if the media representatives are not able to attend the event. Send the news release at the same time as the event or immediately after. Stale news does not get published or broadcast.
  • News releases for broadcast media should be short and should include the “Five Ws” of good reporting: who, what, when, where and why. Newspaper reporters often reprint quotes from news releases. Broadcast reporters rely on “actualities” or tape-recorded quotes. Be sure to include the name and phone number of someone willing to be interviewed.
  • Keep Barnett House informed of your efforts. Staff in the communications program area may be able to help. They are always interested in hearing about effective publicity ideas so that they can pass them on to others.

Suggested School ActivitiesTop of page

Consider the following ideas and activities for Education Week at your school. Better yet, set up an Education Week Planning Committee at your school.

  • Invite successful community members (preferably educated in Alberta) to talk to students about how public education helped them become successful Albertans. Consider inviting a newspaper reporter or a radio talk show host to cover the event.
  • Get your drama or music students to prepare an “Education Week Show” and put it on in senior citizens centers, hospitals and shopping centres. Include a short talk about Education Week and this year’s theme.
  • Contact former graduates and find out something about their careers. Ask if they have any advice for today’s students. Then publish the information in the school’s newsletter. Reading this information will give students a sense of pride in their school. Then set up a graduates’ “hall of fame” in the school or some other public place. Invite the graduates to an assembly.
  • Hold an open house and have students conduct tours. Invite government leaders, senior citizens, the mayor, school board members, administrators, parents and community members. Prepare a videotape on your school’s Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) project and run the tape at your open house or give it to your local cable station to run during Education Week. Incorporate the theme in your message.
  • Host a breakfast at the school for the local chamber of commerce, a service club or other community organization. Ask three or four students to demonstrate something they have learned at school.
  • Post the Education Week poster in your school and in local businesses or community buildings. Attach a notice promoting upcoming events that your school will be hosting.
  • Schedule a community potluck lunch for Education Week. Ask students to develop a brief program of entertainment for the potluck.

Suggested Local ActivitiesTop of page

  • Apply for an ATA Community Relations Grant and use it to fund an Education Week project. (The purpose of the grant program is to support local projects, including Education Week Projects, that profile public education and show teachers as active, concerned members of the community.)
  • Urge your local television or radio station to include an Education Week series in talk show. These 10- or 15-minute items can run every day during Education Week at the beginning or end of the show. Alternately, produce public service announcements and urge local radio stations and schools to broadcast them.
  • Contact local media outlets and ask them to run a “Teacher of the Day” segment during Education Week. Supply the station with the names of, and background information on, teachers that you believe should be featured.
  • Host an Education Week kick-off breakfast and invite trustees, administrators, staff, parents, students and media. Provide guests with opportunities to learn more about the wonderful things happening in public education.
  • Hold a recognition night to honour the efforts of people who have made outstanding contributions to education. Good candidates include teachers, superintendents, trustees, bus drivers, businesses, sports organizers, parents and others who have given time and effort to public education.

A Brief History of Education Week in AlbertaTop of page

Year Development
1928 The first Alberta School Week (Education Week) was held December 2 to 8, 1928. It was initiated by the Alberta Teachers’ Alliance (later to become the Alberta Teachers’ Association) “for the purposes of interesting parents and others in the many problems which confront educationalists. [It was] the first definite attempt on the part of teachers to explain the problems, the difficulties and the triumphs of the school,” reported the ATA Magazine in January 1929.

A number of enthusiastic editorials appeared in newspapers throughout Alberta, including this excerpt from the Calgary paper: “It is a praiseworthy characteristic of the profession of education that the school teacher evinces no desire to keep the workings of his craft a secret. He not only invites the public, particularly parents, to inspect the factory but to learn the whole trade. It was such a spirit that motivated the institution of Alberta School Week which commences tomorrow and in which have been asked to cooperate the church, parent-teachers’ associations, women’s organizations, school boards, local and provincial departments of education, political organizations both party and non-party, the service clubs, boards of trade, chambers of commerce—Could the appeal have been more broadcast?” (Calgary Albertan,December 1, 1928)

1934 The concept of a special week for celebrating the work of schools and of teachers was brought to the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) at its Annual Meeting in August 1934. Teacher representatives decided to adopt the idea in all the provinces and CTF assumed responsibility for coordinating the week. “It was decided that the (CTF) should take School Week under its wing, every provincial organization conforming to the general plan laid down by the CTF Executive, but free to adapt it to meet provincial conditions.” The slogan, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new,” was selected as the organizing theme. (The ATA magazine, January 1935)
1935 The first Canada-wide Education Week was held February 3 to 9, 1935. The editorial in the Halifax Herald had this to say: “The idea of an Education Week is new in Canada. Most of the provinces are well-organized, and there is close cooperation among the profession in the best interests of what is after all the biggest thing in the country—the education of its youth. Through the press, the pulpit, service clubs and radio broadcasts the subject of education in its various aspects had a thorough discussion last week; and here in Nova Scotia the result we trust, will be to inspire teachers afresh with the importance and dignity of their high calling, and parents and school officials with a sense of the responsibility which the problems of the day place upon proper standards of education.” (The Halifax Herald, February 13, 1935)
1937 A daily program of topics on the theme “Equal Opportunities for All Canadian Children” for Education Week, February 21 to 27, 1937, was published by The ATA Magazine in apparent frustration with national efforts at coordination. The topics promoted discussion that went beyond issues specific to education. “As there have been no supporting statements from the Executive (CTF), I am taking the liberty of presenting the following schedule of topics for the week. I hope that it will be a swing away from our traditional Education Week themes in order that we may interest those not directly concerned with school affairs.” (The ATA Magazine,January 1937)
1946 Responsibility for Education Week was transferred to the Alberta Education Council, a new council of 21 organizations formed largely through the efforts of the ATA. Among other purposes, the Council was intended “to arouse public interest in and to cooperate for the promotion and improvement in legislation relating to all phases of elementary and secondary education. [The council] took over sponsorship of Education Week, a baby that had been handed back and forth between the ATA and the CTF, and mounted some promotional campaigns designed to persuade the public that education was a good thing. However, in 1953, ATA President Marian Gimby charged that ‘Our handling of Education Week has been spotty. We have let the Alberta Education Council fall by the wayside.’” (Chalmers, John. Teachers of the Foothills Province, 1968, p. 242)
1980 In an entry in its 1979/80 Annual Report, Alberta Education stated that it had provided general supervision over provincial Education Week activities. “This year’s Education Week theme, ‘75 Years of Knowing and Growing’, commemorated not only the province’s anniversary, but also the 75th year that the Department has provided Albertans with quality education.” (Alberta Education Annual Report,1979/80, p.12)
1983 The entry in the 1982/83 Annual Report suggests that Alberta Education had encouraged greater involvement of the education partners through a provincial education week committee. “The Communications Director coordinates the province-wide activities of Education Week and chairs the Provincial Education Week committee.” (Alberta Education Annual Report, 1982/83)
1992 Alberta Education’s budget for communications activities was reduced, but the department continued to support a province-wide campaign. The ATA offered to produce Education Week kits for use in schools use because Alberta Education’s Communication Branch no longer had the money to prepare them.
1993 Alberta Education, after consultation with partners, moved the date for Education Week from the spring to November. Some schools had complained that Education Week had been occurring too close to the end of the school year; others had said that education should be celebrated year round, or whenever the time was optimal for a school. The department focussed its Education Week campaign on the value of education to the taxpayers and the promotion of high standards of achievement for students. The department’s goal was to increase taxpayer confidence in the system during a time of budget cuts. The department partnered with Canadian Regional Air to give passengers a pop quiz using difficult questions typically found on diploma exams. Education partners questioned the purpose of an Education Week committee. Alberta Education developed a terms of reference, but the committee was disbanded after 1993.
1994 The ATA partnered with the Alberta Home and School Councils’ Association, the Association of School Business Officials of Alberta, the Alberta School Boards Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents, and the Faulty of Education at the University of Alberta in developing an Education Week campaign. The group chose the slogan “Celebrating Success” for the event. Education Week no longer appeared as a separate entry in Alberta Education’s budget or as an item in its annual report.
1995 - 2006 The ATA helped schools and locals plan activities that sent a consistent and topical message to parents and the community through the media.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association worked with Alberta Education to develop a theme and supporting communications for Education Week.
2011 The Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Alberta School Boards Association and Alberta Education worked together to coordinate communications for Education Week.

Education Week ThemesTop of page

Year Theme
1985 Give a little…Get a lot!
1986 Education, Working Together
1988 Learning for Life
1989 Learning for Life
1990 Education is Everybody’s Business
1991 Education is Everybody’s Business
1992 You Are What You Learn
1993 You Are What You Learn
1994 Celebrating Success (Public Education Works campaign)
1997 Your Children, Our Students, Everyone’s Future (Public Education Provides Opportunities for All Students.)
1998 Your Children, Our Students, Everyone’s Future (Public Education Provides Opportunities for All Students.)
1999 Public Education: Endless Possibilities
2001 Public Education: A World of Opportunity
2002 Public Education: Turning Today’s Dreams into Tomorrow’s Realities
2003 Public Education: Discovering Choices, Creating Opportunities
2004 Public Education: The Learning Edge
2005 Public Education: Proud Legacy. Inspired Future!
2006 Learning: It’s Yours for Life

Innovative. Inspired. Our future . . . our students!

2008 Today's achievements expand tomorrow's horizons
2009 Learning Connections: Celebrating Student Engagement
2010 Education: The Heart of Our Communities
2011 Public Education: The Heart of Our Communities
2012 Opening Doors, Unlocking Potential
2013 Inspiring Education: Building Connections, celebrating relationships

Education Week 2016Top of page

May 2 to 6, 2016


For More InformationTop of page

For help in planning or publicizing Education Week, teachers and local executives are encouraged to call Shelley Magnusson at 1-800-232-7208, ext 478 or e-mail