​​​Regular Program at the CBE

Even though most of our schools offer a regular program, no two are quite the same. All schools teach according to Alberta Education’s mandated curriculum, however a school’s focus, optional courses and school activities are as unique as every school.​​​

Program, Focus & Approach

Circle of Success

As a school staff and community at John G. Diefenbaker it is our goal to accomplish the mission of the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) for each of our students. The mission states that:

Each student in keeping with their individual abilities and gifts, will complete high school with a foundation of learning necessary to thrive in life, work and continued learning.

The Circle of Success is a series of visible and available interventions at John G. Diefenbaker High School intended to proactively support the CBE mission, foster student achievement and enhance academic success. As students use the resources from the “Circle of Success” that are available to them and apply a solid work ethic to their studies, they will be able to achieve academic success, become responsible citizen, grow personally by developing individual gifts, talents and interests and cultivate a strong moral character.

We also work extensively with education partners to provide additional services in tutoring, health education and career exploration. This year we have collaborated with our partners, Alberta Health Services, RBC Youth Empowerment Program, The Bridge Foundation, the Alex Youth Bus, All In For Youth (AIFY), United Way, YMCA, Calgary Parks and Recreation and many others to provide additional supports for students.

A Key to the Circle of Success | Teacher Advisor Program

The Teacher Advisor Program is designed to complement instruction by assisting students in effectively organizing their time and talents as members of our school community. The focus is on success in learning. Students are assigned to one Teacher Advisor (TA) throughout their time at JGD. TA is a compulsory part of every student’s learning program at JGD. Teacher Advisors are mentors and ensure that every student knows a significant adult who is committed to their success.

Career Planning

Annually, there is a Job/Post-Secondary Fair hosted at JGD. This activity exposes students to many career and post-secondary choices available to them and provides an opportunity to ask questions—what a great tool for long-term planning!

There are also Off-Campus Education / Dual Credit opportunities for eligible students.

Course Loads

Students who take a full schedule of courses are more likely to earn a high school diploma (100 credits) or certificate of achievement (80 credits) within three years. To set the stage for success, students at JGD strive for more than the minimum number of credits. In most cases, students earn 113 credits and they register as follows:

  • Grade 10 – 8 courses
  • Grade 11 – 7.5 courses
  • Grade 12 – 7 courses

Course Challenge

Students who believe that they already possess the expected knowledge, skills and attributes, as defined by the Program of Studies for a particular course, may be eligible to challenge the course. Details for each Program of Studies are available on the Alberta Education website. Please see your guidance counsellor for details.

Course Withdrawal

There are reasons that might precipitate a student’s need to drop a course. In an effort to best support these students, there is a Course Withdrawal Deadline in each semester. This year that deadline is October 27 and April 9. Student timetables will not be adjusted beyond the Course Withdrawal Deadline, unless there are extenuating circumstances as determined by Administration and Guidance.

Repeating Courses

Students unsuccessful in academic course(s) in Semester One may not be eligible to repeat the course(s) in Semester Two. Many classes are fully subscribed and cannot be overloaded to accommodate students who have previously taken
the course. In such circumstances, priority consideration will be given to students requesting a course for the first time.

No Zero Policy

It is our philosophy at John G. Diefenbaker High School that all students are responsible for the completion of all assessments. We believe failure is not an option and will intervene to ensure that student learning is not compromised. Such a position provides the opportunity for students to be more responsible than if they are able to opt out of doing the work by “taking a zero”. We encourage our parents and teachers are able to work together to support students as they learn to be accountable – by doing the work.

Teachers must have a credible body of student work, in a timely manner , in order to make an informed professional assessment of the student’s level of achievement. With MyCBE / PowerSchool, there are a range of icons that will inform the status of assignments such as: late; missing; incomplete; collected or absent. None of these flags will directly impact a student’s mark, rather it shows which assignments and outcomes have not been addressed and why.

Literacy Support

All entering Grade 10 students write a vocabulary and reading assessment in ELA, which is used to measure skills. To ensure that students develop the literacy skills they need to succeed in lifelong learning, employment, and citizenship, teachers incorporate literacy strategies into their daily lessons. Students who could benefit from more intensive literacy support may also be encouraged to enroll in a Learning Strategies course or to take advantage of assistive technologies
that are available in the Student Learning Centre.


Tutorials are held in all subject areas Monday-Thursday morning from 8:15 AM to 8:50 AM. In addition to voluntary attendance, teachers may require students to attend tutorial to complete missed assessments or for extra help. If a student is assigned to tutorial, attendance is compulsory.

Student Learning Centre/International Students/All in for Youth

The Student Learning Centre in the Learning Commons is the “hub” for students with specific learning styles, Individual Program Plans (IPPs), for English Language Learners (ELLs), and for International Students. Help and access to assistive technologies is available—please see a member of the SLC Team for details and support.

Flexible Learning Time (Flex)

Flex blocks are designated blocks of time when students can extend learning opportunities and get additional support from teachers and peers. Flex blocks are about students taking responsibility for their learning. This JGD strategy fits into Alberta Education’s High School Redesign and aligns with the High School Success Strategy of the CBE’s 3-Year Plan. In cases when students are behind in their learning, Flex becomes mandatory.

Study Periods

We are committed to maintaining a work–like atmosphere in student work areas. The upper level of the mall is not a student work area. During study periods, students are expected to abide by the following by:

  • going to the learning commons for quiet study or homework;
  • going to the cafeteria for a quiet snack and study;
  • going to the Humanities Open Area for study and/or computer use; or
  • leaving the campus after signing out in the Main Office.
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​​​​Dual Credit at the CBE

As a CBE student, you may choose to take a dual credit program as part of your high school learning plan. Dual credit programs allow you to:

  • Study in an area of passion and interest
  • Get a jump start on post-secondary learning.
  • Earn high school and post-secondary credits (transferable).
  • Build confidence and develop skills that will support a successful post-secondary transition.
  • Experience a post-secondary learning environment and learn about ongoing opportunities.
  • Reduce first-year course load and the time required to complete a program.

As a dual credit student, you would be concurrently enrolled in both a post-secondary institution and your high school​. You would earn credits towards both a high school diploma and a post-secondary degree or diploma.

Application packages and program details will be posted on:


​​​​​​Exploring Career Choices

Career and Technology education provides CBE students with dynamic, personalized learning opportunities that​ support them to transition into education, training and work. It is a part of the Alberta Programs of Study and is offered in every school, every day and for every student.

 Career and Technology Studies (CTS) is a complementary program for high school students. Students develop career and technology-related skills while enhancing employability competencies. Here is an overview of CTS pathways and Knowledge and Employability (K&E) Occupational Courses and information on specialized facilities.


Career & Technology Centre at Lord Shaughnessy High School

The Career & Technology Centre (CTC) is a hub for CTS learning for students registered in CBE high schools across Calgary. Students who attend the CTC will take courses at their designated high schools. Still, they will also access the CTC to enhance their learning through credentialed, dual credit or pre-placement programs for specific periods.