Exemplary Teaching and Learning Frameworks

by Dan McWilliam  In 2011 staff at the Connect Charter School, Calgary Science School at the time, were asked “What does exemplary teaching and learning look like?” The process and rationale for the creation of the frameworks is described here.  “In addressing this question, reference was made to the work that has been done on student assessment through our AISI project; the Galileo longitudinal research study of the Calgary Science School one-on-one laptop program and student engagement initiatives; the expectations for exemplary teaching outlined in the Alberta Teaching Quality Standard and a variety of artefacts including school evaluation reports, survey data … Continue reading Exemplary Teaching and Learning Frameworks

Connect Board Retreat

It’s never just an ordinary day: Directors cutAshley Nixon– Connect Charter School Board Member. Tessellation shown in this pavement mosaic from Rio de Janiero, Brazil.  It was a privilege to spend my afternoon visiting classrooms and interacting with students and teachers at the Connect Charter School, Calgary on Friday. Two students, Will and Oman, guided myself and other Board Directors in and out of various learning places, the “field survey” part of the review of the school’s strategic plan “Lead, Share, Transform” conducted annually. The tour began with an iPad training session in the library led by some young experts from … Continue reading Connect Board Retreat

A Principal’s Perspective: Back to Basics

Darrell Lonsberry – Connect Charter School Principal It seems as though the pendulum is swinging once again, this time motivated by some people who are espousing a back to basics approach to mathematics education, in large part as a response to the most recent PISA results. I don’t want to remain mute on this, as mathematics education is near and dear to my heart. One of the difficulties in using results from standardized tests such as PISA, TIMSS or PIRLS to compare nations on the quality of their educational systems, and even in determining change over time within a single … Continue reading A Principal’s Perspective: Back to Basics

Celebrating Connect Charter School

Dr. Garry McKinnon – Connect Charter School Superintendent New Year’s Day 2014 will have special significance as Connect Charter School officially replaces Calgary Science School as the name of our school. This will be the third time the name of the school has been changed and the name change reflects its ongoing evolution. Originally when the charter school received approval in 1999, through an application by the Science Alberta Foundation, the school was known as the Science Alberta School. The belief by the founding members was that there was a need for a charter school which fostered cross-curricular learning with … Continue reading Celebrating Connect Charter School

Highlights of the Annual Superintendent Interviews of Calgary Science School Parents, Students and Staff

Garry McKinnon~ Calgary Science School Superintendent  June 25, 2013 The fourth annual superintendent interviews of parents, students and staff members were conducted over several weeks in the spring of 2013 as a component of the ongoing school evaluation process. On March 7 and 8 during student-led conferences, 50 parents were interviewed. In May and June, grade 4 to 9 students as class groups (24 classes – approximately 600 students) were interviewed. As well, teaching and support staff members (42 participants) were interviewed. The feedback generated through the two questions (without any prompting) “What causes you to believe that the Calgary Science … Continue reading Highlights of the Annual Superintendent Interviews of Calgary Science School Parents, Students and Staff

Student Teaching: Mentorship and Collaboration – A Video Reflection

Jenna Callaghan and Deirdre Bailey Deirdre  Working with a student teacher these past few months has been an exciting and rewarding experience. From our first meeting, it was evident that Jenna and I shared a similar pedagogical philosophy; with a strong focus on reflection and discipline-based inquiry. Jenna’s early ideas and questions were guided by an honest vulnerability that allowed for a number of frank conversations around assessment, engagement and lesson design in an inquiry based classroom. My understanding of collaboration – developed and deepened through a powerful team-teaching relationship with Amy Park – had led to a familiarity with … Continue reading Student Teaching: Mentorship and Collaboration – A Video Reflection

The Struggle to be an Instructional Leader

Darrell Lonsberry Principal I don’t know that there can be any debate that the primary responsibility of school administrators is to provide sound instructional leadership. Certainly, this aspect of administration is recognized in the Alberta Professional Practice Competencies for School Leaders. Our own superintendent, Dr. Garry McKinnon discussed the importance of this aspect of school leadership in a previous blog post. Additionally, I haven’t yet met a school administrator who doesn’t want to make a positive difference in the quality of teaching and learning in their school through working directly with teachers. With all of the reasons why school administrators … Continue reading The Struggle to be an Instructional Leader

Launch of the Imperial Oil Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative

Dr. Garry McKinnon Dennis Sumara, dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary, talks with Grade 4 student Sasha Longley, left, as Bruce March, chairman and CEO of Imperial Oil talks with Grade 4 student Owen Leveille, right, during their science class at the Calgary Science School after Imperial Oil and the University of Calgary announced a major partnership. Photograph by: Leah Hennel , Calgary Herald One of the 16 descriptors of Exemplary Teaching in the Calgary Science School makes reference to a research focus where classrooms are thriving places of active research and teachers and students are … Continue reading Launch of the Imperial Oil Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative

Dialogue with Alberta Education

Dr. Garry McKinnon The members of the Calgary Science School leadership team (Superintendent, Garry McKinnon; Principal, Darrell Lonsberry and Assistant Principals, Phil Butterfield and Scott Petronech) were invited to make a presentation to the Deputy Minister, Assistant Deputy Ministers and senior Alberta Education staff in Edmonton on October 15. The purpose of the dialogue session was to share some background information in regard to the Calgary Science School with a specific focus on exemplars in learning, teaching and leading relating to the Inspiring Education agenda. The Calgary Science School leadership team members invited Dr. Pamela Adams, professor in the Faculty … Continue reading Dialogue with Alberta Education

Field Experiences

54 University Education Students between October 22-23! From October 22 to November 2, 2013 we will be hosting two cohorts of 14 Education Students from the University of Calgary. The program is titled “Life in Schools” and will give the students a week of observation, participation and reflections at two public schools in Calgary. The purpose of the course is to have the students inquire into and document the lives and cultures of students, teachers and schools. At the end of the week the students will prepare a digital/visual presentation of what they experienced. We were also host to a … Continue reading Field Experiences