My Visit to the Calgary Science School

Today I was able to go and observe a morning at the Calgary Science School.  Calgary Science School is a charter school with a mandate to present education in a way that is new and research based.  Spending the morning at the school really showed me how my philosophy could be applied in a school setting.

Here are some of the things I observed (sorry the video is so long, I tried to shorten it, there were just so many exciting things going on):

There are a lot of great ideas on the Calgary Science School Connect! Blog and because they’re so great…the ideas are free!

 

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7 thoughts on “My Visit to the Calgary Science School

  1. I’ve known of this school and know many of the teachers from the school. I keep wondering why we don’t see more schools like this in SK and other places. The notion of a charter school in this context makes so much sense largely because you have like minded staff working together. I think that’s such a key. Most schools don’t have a strong vision and common pedagogy that promotes student engagement and inquiry. Seems like a no brainer.

    • After I watched Cole’s reflections and the “Calgary Science School – Our Story” video (http://vimeo.com/52081986#), I thought the same thing. So either I need to move to Calgary or one of the existing schools here in Saskatchewan (preferably in Moose Jaw) needs to step up the teacher collaboration, inquiry based activities, and personalized student learning options. Perhaps one of the answers is individual teachers doing whatever they can to demonstrate this model of teaching to the rest of their staff at school. Maybe just seeing the potential would be enough to change things in Saskatchewan…at least for one or two schools!

      • I agree with Dean that it is definitely easier when everyone in the building has the same goals. It seems that in Saskatchewan there is sometimes a disconnect between the goals of the division and the goals of the teachers in their specific schools. It is sometimes easier to focus on doing, or trying to do, one thing well (assessment for example) although this seems to mean that other important aspects of student learning get lost in the process.

  2. Hi Cole, I am glad you had a meaningful morning at the school last week. It was nice to (unofficially) meet you. I am happy that you touched on the Inquiry rubric (http://www.galileo.org/research/publications/rubric.pdf) For teachers who have been at CSS for awhile, it is something that we often ‘forget’ to refer back to as it has automatically become part of our planning process. I hope that you and your fellow classmates can find it useful in the planning that you do as well. One thing to note is that while the entire rubric is part of the big picture, choose 2 or 3 categories that specifically resonate for the project you are working on. For example, right now my students are working on an extreme weather inquiry and how extreme weather may or may not be related to climate change. For this project, I am deliberately focusing on “Authenticity”, “Meaningful Integration of Technology” and “Connecting with Experts”. This is not to say that the other categories aren’t coming into play as well, but you can bog down the process by trying to explicitly focus on too many things at once. Best of luck with finishing up your degree and all that follows!
    Dean: Why do you think that SK has been resistant to Charter Schools? We definitely have experienced the ‘push back’ in Alberta from some of the traditional public systems and the teachers union, but most Charters have now demonstrated that they are fulfilling the purpose they were set out to meet.

    • I think there’s a general lack of will and leadership to try new things. In the US, it often happens in independent or private schools because someone, at some point is willing to roll the dice and spend some money. Public education is so conservative, there’s very few folks willing to push and ask “why not?” Although I think you’ve proven your success, your story is not widely known and even to those that do know it, again, it takes will and leadership combined to make it happen. I guess it’s a rare combination.

  3. Pingback: A School Worth Knowing About | danieljatkins

  4. Pingback: Our Meeting With An Archaeologist | Cole Hintz's Blogfolio

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