Foothills School Division (FSD) is committed to high quality instruction and excellence in learning. Learner engagement, support and success are priorities for all programs offered by Foothills School Division. A variety of programs improves opportunities and learning experiences for students. Foothills School Division promotes innovative thinking and practices in support of optimizing student learning, achievement and success through regular and alternative programs.
Alternative programs, as programs of choice, are established to meet the specific educational interests and/or needs of students and their parents. Program Advisory Committees consisting of students, parents, community members and teachers work with the school administration to support the program, provide input on matters related to the program, as well as, assist in the recruitment of students and promotion of the program.
As referenced from Section 19 of the Education Act, ‘Alternative Program’ means an education program that emphasizes a particular language, culture, religion or subject matter or uses a particular teaching philosophy. The uniqueness of Alternative Programs lies in the existence of the following defined set of elements:
- A defined and consistent set of unique features intended to be long-term and sustainable.
- The program usually involves the entire school or a combination of grades/classes at the school.
- A program where the educational approach influences the schooling experience of a child.
- A school culture or learning environment that reflects the uniqueness of the program.
Alternative Programs in FSD include the following:
International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program
Millarville Community School has been an authorized International Baccalaureate World School offering the Primary Years Programme since April 2009. Millarville Community School offers the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to students from Kindergarten to Grade 5.
The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. For more information about the IBO, please visit their website.
Foothills School Division offers an Elementary Montessori Program for students in Grades 1 – 6 at Big Rock School in Okotoks. No prior Montessori experience by students is required to attend the program. Our teachers hold Alberta Teaching Certificates and are trained in the Montessori methodology. Montessori education balances freedom with responsibility in the classroom. It is a logical and consistent plan of education that follows the child from one developmental stage to the next. By appealing to inherent motivation, children develop through exploration and discovery with hands-on materials. The method combines more active participation by the child in their own learning, combined with high standards of academic excellence, social awareness and moral development. It also integrates a vision of humanity and its accomplishments designed to encourage children to ultimately take their place in their communities as responsible contributing adults. Our program follows the Alberta Program of Studies and integrates the Montessori Philosophy & Method of Learning including:
- Large blocks of uninterrupted learning time
- Small group lessons and independent work choices that personalize student learning
- Multi-aged students learning together
- Infusion of modern-day technology into curricular areas
Contact: Caroline Roberts, Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services