From educational approaches tailored to individual learning needs, an array of academic and co-curricular experiences to opportunities to travel and study abroad, discover more about how attending an independent school can give your child an edge personally and professionally no matter where life takes them.
Lycée international de Calgary
From a diverse school community that welcomes local and international students alike to a unique French education program, Lycée international de Calgary provides students with the knowledge, tools and resources to thrive in all walks of life.
“Our school is a beautiful community with families coming from countries all over the world,” says Emily Christmas, communications specialist and community events coordinator. “These international students contribute to the multiculturalism of our community.”
Nestled in the quiet, residential neighbourhood of Altadore, Lycée Calgary spans from preschool to Grade 12 with a student body of 452 students. As a result, class sizes stay small, with approximately 16 students, allowing for more teacher-student interactions. The smaller student body also helps foster a strong sense of community, which is a core aspect of the school since it was established in 1966. Today, Lycée Calgary is home to students from 34 nationalities and all linguistic backgrounds.
Lycée Calgary is also the only school in Calgary that teaches the French Ministry of Education and Alberta Education curricula. The French curriculum is taught by native French teachers certified in France, meaning students learn from a blend of traditional and progressive teaching styles. Additionally, students from Grade 6 onwards learn Spanish as part of the French curriculum.
Come graduation, students earn two diplomas — an Alberta high school diploma and a French baccalaureate — are fully trilingual and equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed in their post-secondary studies and professional lives.
There is also ample learning opportunity for students beyond the familiar setting of their classrooms and city. Lycée Calgary is part of a much larger network made up of more than 500 schools that also teach the French curriculum across 150 countries. Known as “lycées,” the prestigious Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) network gives students the opportunity to spend a term or a year overseas in another AEFE school, starting in Grade 9. These experiences further help influence the career path, worldview and self-confidence of each Lycée Calgary student.
For new students enrolling in Grade 1 or 2 who have little or no prior exposure to French, Lycée Calgary provides a unique accelerated French immersion program. French Language Intensive Program (FLIP) offers individualized learning plans and significant one-on-one time with a dedicated teacher in a small class setting. FLIP ensures students can seamlessly transition into the regular bilingual academic stream by the end of the school year. As for parents who don’t speak French, Christmas says Lycée Calgary uses modern technology and teaching tools to ensure parents can easily communicate back and forth with their child’s teacher and help them with their homework.
Outside of class time, Lycée Calgary also provides a robust extra-curricular program for students from three years old through to Grade 12. Students can participate in basketball, fencing, volleyball, track and field, dance, yoga, rock climbing and more. Before- and after-school care is also available for busy families, ensuring community support is always present.
West Island College
The future is bright for students at West Island College (WIC). The university preparatory school offers small class sizes, English and continuing French immersion and rigorous academic programming. But, learning beyond the classroom is also integral to student success at WIC.
To support this, the school secured 30,000 square feet of additional space in 2021, which is dedicated to student and staff wellness.
“At WIC, we focus on academic wellness, but also on emotional and social well-being,” says Erlynn Gococo, director of admissions at WIC. The new space — named the Wolves Den — is used for wellness-focused extracurricular clubs and activities, like spin classes, and as an additional learning space for Sports Medicine and Sports Performance classes. There is also a yoga, meditation and prayer space on the upper level of the Wolves Den.
“These additions allow us to provide a more balanced programming experience by giving students other opportunities to explore their potential,” says Gococo, adding that WIC also acquired a 40-foot by 65-foot greenhouse, and gardening will be a new course option for students.
“In addition to following the Alberta Education curriculum, we implement experiential learning opportunities. The Institute Program is really what makes us unique — it is providing those learning opportunities outside of the classroom to help students explore potential career paths,” says Gococo, explaining the new greenhouse contributes to WIC’s hands-on learning experience.
At WIC, building for the future is possible because the school community comes together to support new projects. With inspired and dedicated collaboration, opportunities are endless.
Since opening its doors in 1981 with 44 students and a handful of staff, Calgary Academy (CA) has prioritized nurturing its now 680 students throughout Kindergarten to Grade 12 with a focus on personalized learning.
“When students feel good about themselves as learners, they’re more apt to engage with their learning and open doors they might have considered closed,” says CA principal Timothy Carlson.
To meet the individual needs of each student, CA offers three streams of learning: Collegiate, Academy and the newest, Blended+. The Collegiate program prepares students who are learning at or above grade level by encouraging them to collaborate, challenge themselves and continually embrace new opportunities. The highly supportive Academy program develops foundational reading, writing and math skills for students in Grades 2-12, setting them up for success throughout their entire learning journey. Blended+ is a flexible approach to learning that allows Grades 9-12 students to choose their schedules and whether to learn online, in-person or off-campus. This program, Carlson explains, maximizes the best approaches to learning and extracurricular activities without sacrificing anything. “It really is the ability to be connected to the life of the school through Knights athletics, integrated studies and clubs, but can also manage their learning at the pace that works best for them while taking their learning deeper.”
At CA, students have access to 14 different sports and 30 clubs, including the Calgary Academy Ski and Snowboard Club (CASSC) for Grades 5-12 and the International Travel Studies (ITS) program, where Grades 10-12 students learn the importance of giving back to the local and global community.
By creating a learning environment that mirrors an inclusive community and a supportive family, all CA students can thrive. “The impact this place and these teachers have on students cannot be understated, but it’s almost magical in some ways,” says Carlson. “It’s about caring for our students, wanting the best for them and helping them drive their own growth within a supportive environment.”
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