Celebration of Mastery
Adolescent females benefit from being recognized publicly for their accomplishments as this enables them to see themselves as successful. Opportunities are sought to recognize these in a public arena at performances within the school and beyond, at assemblies where academic and other talents and accomplishments are celebrated and in the classroom where improvement and performance are voice in class discussions and presentations.
|Artists in residences work with students at refining a variety of skills.||Students in our strong band program play for others, including Calgary's Mayor.|
Cooperative learning is a teaching strategy where students are placed in groups to accomplish a common learning goal. Groups can be structured so that each member has a role such as a facilitator or recorder. The purpose of this structure is to allow students to support and motivate one another and to build on each other's knowledge, making connections that might not be seen if one were working alone.
|Sharing, discussing and engaging in the tasks at hand.||Working together in class on projects.|
Interdisciplinary Approach to Curriculum
A topic is explored in more than one subject area so that students can explore an idea from many different perspectives and draw connections. Subjects are intentionally integrated to support an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum. Language arts and social studies, for example, are integrated to support these connections. Teachers also deliberately structure units and long range planning so that connections among many subjects are supported.
|Students explaining the details of their project.||Students discussing their work with younger students.|
Leadership and Decision-Making
Learning is enhanced for female learners when they have opportunities to participate in democratic processes that result in a change in the school, local or global community. School council participation, petitions and letters for change, and supporting students in voicing their opinions are encouraged and celebrated in the school. Students also participate in local and global change initiatives.
|Working to improve the skills of younger students.||Demonstrating strong leadership and confidence in working with younger students.||Student-led events, such as "Run/Walk for Water", demonstrate hope and a desire to help the less fortunate.|
Students experience expressions of optimism regarding their capabilities individually and collectively from peers and staff. This is stressed as research suggests that collective support from a community is an action which greatly supports the learning of adolescent females.\
|Mayor Nenshi visits the school to encourage the girls to succeed!||Leadership Camp provides an opportunity for students to see that they are a critical part of our community, and will flourish!||Student-led events, such as "Run/Walk for Water", demonstrate hope and a desire to help the less fortunate.|
Personal Growth and Personal Best
Students are encouraged to create concrete plans for self improvement based on personal best rather than a comparison or competition with others.
|Students work in one of our computer labs either individually or collaboratively to note and track personal goals in Iris.||Students are encouraged to set personal goals, such as in Physical Education, and celebrate personal achievements!|
Post-Program Pathway Opportunities
Students are provided with information about post secondary education and career pathways. Mentors, guest speakers, offsite visits, specific instruction and career conferences are some of the ways in which support for this protocol is facilitated.
|Visiting the World Skills Competition.||Visiting the World Skills Competition.||Learning about law enforcement and anti-counterfeiting techniques in an Option class.|
Science and Technology
Access and exposure to technology is supported in almost all subject areas and linked to possibilities for careers. In terms of computers, we have both PC and Mac labs, as well as mobile laptop carts for classes to use.
|Students working on their group projects||Students working on their group projects|
Social Construction of Gender
Students are made aware of the manner in which all forms of media send messages as to how women should act and look and how these can negatively affect self confidence. Content regarding the social construction of gender is infused into humanities and health lessons in particular, and is explored in complementary courses such as film studies and digital media.
Digital Media option class comments from students:
"In digital media we have been learning about Photoshop and how it has the ability to turn something imperfect seem perfect. We had the opportunity to look at before and after pictures of models, and saw the vast amount of changes that occurred through the process of photoshop. This helped us realize that no one is perfect. Many people feel the need to look like the girl on the 'front cover of the magazine' but the truth is, it's all fake. These unrealistic ideas of perfection have a huge affect on peoples self confidence, especially girls. Being a part of a girls school, I've realized how important it is for people to not believe everything, because what you see online or in the magazines is usually never true, and we cant let these fake ideas of perfection bring us down, because it's not something one can achieve." Sara P.
"We are learning Photoshop. This relates to boosting and trying to preserve self-confidence because a lot of the times when we are looking at before and after pictures including people, especially girls, it helps us realize that being perfect on the outside is not important or realistic. A major target of media are teenage girls because they are very prone to low self-confidence, and being in an all girls school full of teenage girls, things such as this have an enormous impact on they way we act and behave which can have a long lasting impact." Wahida R.
"In digital media, we are learning how to use Photoshop and are currently using women as our models. This proves that not everything that we see in the media is true and can be edited and changed to look like someone totally different. Using programs like photoshop, companies change their models to the stereotypical "Pretty" women, by making them skinny and removing marks and blemishes, etc., creating the need to look like those women. Doing this work in class opens our eyes to the real and the fake." Rheanna T.
"In our computer class we are learning how everything is not what it seems especially when it comes to models' physical appearances. When you are looking at catalogues or walking into a store there are a lot of pictures of girls that are skinny and attract guys, and instantly a girl can lose her self-confidence. Our school is helping us learn that these pictures are actually full-out Photoshopped and the only reason why their skins are so flawless or why the models are so skinny is just the use of simple tools. We watched a video of a model transforming from one girl to another, the changes were crazy but it gave the message that you're perfect regardless of colour, race, or size. We also learned how to make the exact changes and I knew right then after seeing the difference between the girl before and after was that she was perfectly fine as she is." Verneet L.
"When our class learned how to Photoshop we learned that the models on ads are just covered up with 'technology techniques' such as paint or the healing brush to hide their imperfection even though they are beautiful naturally." Haiqua J.
"In AJA News we edited models that in theory we couldn't look like without Photoshop. It makes girls want to be what they see in photos, though they go to extremes in figuring out how they could look like the models in photos but what they don't know is that the models don't look like that. They look like that only because of Photoshop." Hannah N.
|At WorldSkills, learning about gender and media.|
Mentorship with Female Adults
We are mentored by women role models who are older than we are. They help solve personal problems and talk with us about what we might do in the future.
In the 2013-14 school year, our junior high program was one of only about 25 schools across Canada to partner with an Olympic Athlete as part of the Classroom Champions program. Students communicated with ski-cross Olympian Danielle Sundquist about personal journeys, hard work, goal setting and perseverance several times per month, integrating readings, writing, listening, speaking, technology and character. See below for artifacts about this unique opportunity!
|Olympian Danielle Sundquist speaks with students about hard work.||Silver medalist Sherry-Ann Brown talking with students.||Discussions with an expert around counterfeit money in an ption class.|