Alice Jamieson Girls' Academy
Dare to Dream, Dare to Do, Dare to Succeed
Building a Community of Learners One Step at a Time
An optimistic future for your girls began at their birth and was advanced in August 2002 when the feasibility committee conceptualized Alice Jamieson Girls’ Academy (AJA). AJA is a relationship-based program that emphasizes collaborative, inquiry-based learning. The success of this innovative, learning-centred program thrives through students, staff, parents and members of the broader community working together to explore curriculum that highlights how women contribute meaningfully to society and lead change.
Advocacy for student voice is evident throughout the Calgary Board of Education. The students, staff and parents of Stanley Jones School have warmly welcomed AJA, knowing this sharing of space benefits the entire learning community. The girls in our program enter high school with confidence in their critical thinking skills, individual talents and leadership abilities. As AJA focuses on learning through an interdisciplinary approach, the students in AJA learn how to thrive in their academic and social environments.
Welcome to the Alice Jamieson Girls' Academy. The Alice Jamieson Girls' Academy is an alternative program offered within the Calgary Board of Education. We invite you to explore our website to gain insights into aspects of program and school.
Our program was initiated as an alternative program within the Calgary Board of Education in response to research that suggested that girls are more apt to pursue careers in science or technology if they are able to attend programs tailored to the learning needs of female students. Research has continued to support the idea that all-girl learning environments can create a culture of achievement while ensuring girls have the space to voice their thinking, question and learn in an environment free from potential limitations in a co-ed classroom (Riggers-Piehl, T., et.al 2018).
In a recent study “Fostering Academic and Social Engagement: An Investigation into the Effects of All-Girls Education in the Transition to University”, authors Tiffani Riggers-Piehl, Ph.D., Gloria Lim, Ph.D. and Karen King (2018) highlighted key areas in which all-girls environments have better outcomes for their students in preparing them for university and civic engagement. Some areas highlighted are:
- Indicate being more academically engaged
- Demonstrate higher science self-confidence
- Display greater levels of cultural competency
- Express stronger community involvement
- Increased political engagement
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ALL GIRLS’ PROGRAM
Experience as leaders.
We endeavour to provide our students with a variety of leadership experiences in our learning community and within their local and global communities. Students act as volunteers, peer mentors and members of various teams, clubs and initiatives. Our girls act as strong, positive ambassadors for our program. Teachers, coaches, parents, students from other schools, and members of the community frequently comment on the confidence and character our students demonstrate when they visit other sites.
An understanding of the biological and social construction of gender.
AJA is an inclusive learning environment, where we value and honour each individual’s uniqueness. Research indicates that gender is socially constructed (Berkowitz, Manohar, & Tinkler, 2012, Connell, 1987; Lorber, 1994; West & Zimmerman, 1987) meaning that students, like most people, perceive the social world as an objective reality rather than as a product of human interaction and interpretation that is transformed over time (Martin, 2004). This requires the teachers to challenge perceptions and help students unpack the “how’s” and “why’s” of what has become societal norms, for example, expectations of how girls should behave in school. Engaging in discourse about gender constructs supports students in coming to understand themselves as learners and future leaders.
We celebrate our students' successes through assemblies or events which highlight academic and social achievements. The girls are given opportunities to share their learning and be honoured for the excellence they show in personal growth, academics, character and citizenship. The celebration of our students is evident at Science Fair, Character Assemblies, Band Concerts, Drama productions, and Athletic performances.
An emphasis on independence, empowerment, and leadership.
AJA has many opportunities for students to show agency over their learning. We have complimentary courses that ignite interests in various skills and talents such as: construction, leadership, foods, art, band, fashion, and digital media. These courses offerings, combined with experiential opportunities, such as leadership camp work to create optimal learning conditions for girls to engage in critical thinking and thrive.
Exposure to modelling of equity principles and ownership in policy and procedures.
Our students are asked to contribute their opinions, values and beliefs regarding their education to support and guide our School Development Plan to best meet their needs. We encourage our students to voice suggestions for growth in current policy and structure. This year we are focussing on sense of belonging, learning environments, and problem-solving.
Exposure to women who can act as mentors in science and technology.
In the past, our students have had access to the SciberMentor Program through the University of Calgary, where students are introduced to a woman involved in the field of Science or Technoogy with whom they correspond by email. Thes students have also participated in the Alberta Mentor Foundation for Youth program. These partnerships have been very successful. Mount Royal University students have been guest speakers, promoting STEAM education. We often have a number of professional women from different fields present to the students in AJA.
Specific learning needs are addressed.
A central focus of our program is to provide a relationship based curriculum, the exploration of personal growth paths, and an emphasis on collaborative learning. Students are expected to participate in shared literacy experiences to build relationships and understand identities as this relates to their personal experience. Our goal is to provide the students in AJA with an engaging environment in which they can use their skills, talents and passions to thrive and become successful citizens in a complex and dynamic world.
Please feel free to contact us regarding our program at 403-777-6800.
Andrea Sarson, Principal & Anna Johnston, Assistant Principal
This alternative program is named after Alice Jamieson who came to Calgary in 1902. Her contribution to building a strong community includes the development of Calgary's Local Council of Women and the YWCA. She was the first female to be appointed to any judiciary in the British Empire; she was appointed police magistrate to hear women's cases; and she was a member of the women's suffrage. She retired in 1932, after her involvement in the "Persons Case".