Alberta charter schools
Alberta charter schools are a special type of public schools which have a greater degree of autonomy than a normal public school, to allow them to offer programs that are significantly different from regular public schools operated by district school boards. Charter schools report directly to the province, bypassing their local district school board, may not exceed their assigned quota of students without provincial permission, and are currently limited to fifteen schools. Alberta, which passed enabling legislation in 1994, is the only province in Canada to have them. They are similar in many ways to charter schools in the United States.
The following is from an official list of charter schools in Alberta (current as of 2008). As charter schools tend to be new and small, the exact grade range is more likely to change than with older and larger schools. Schools late in completing required reports to the provincial government may be excluded from the list.
|Location||School||Grades||Unique features focused on (only small sample mentioned)|
|Almadina Language Charter Academy||K-9||English as a Second Language. Two campuses.|
|Calgary Arts Academy||K-9||Students learn Alberta Curriculum through Arts Immersion. Two locations; Glen Meadows Campus (K-4) & Knob Hill Campus (5-9)|
|Calgary Girls' School||4-9||All female school which follows the Alberta curriculum, with a focus on developing a strong sense of self and understanding historical and contemporary gender issues.|
|Calgary Science School||4-9||More instruction time on mathematics, science, and technology employing a problem based approach to learning.|
|Foundations for the Future Charter Academy||K-12||Structure and standards oriented. It is unique in having several campuses (locations) throughout the city (normally charter schools have just one or two).|
|Westmount Charter School||K-12||Gifted students. Two campuses as of September 2011.|
|Edmonton||Aurora School||K-9||Directed instruction|
|Boyle Street Education Centre||up to 12
|Helps mainly native students aged 14–19 whose education has been interrupted.|
|Suzuki Charter School||K-6||Teaches music using the Suzuki method of learning. The philosophy behind the methodology, originally developed by Shin'ichi Suzuki, extends into other areas of study as well.|
|Valhalla Centre||Valhalla Community School||K-8||Rural students|
|Stony Plain||Mother Earth's Children's Charter School||K-6||Traditional Indigenous Teachings based on the concept of the Medicine Wheel.|
|Medicine Hat||CAPE - Centre for Academic and Personal Excellence Institute||1-8||Academic focus|
|Ardrossan||New Horizons Charter School||K-9||Designed for gifted children, it was the first public charter school to open in Canada.|
The Global Learning Academy, in Calgary, was once the largest charter school in the province, with 480 students. However, mismanagement and financial problems caused it to fail in 1998. It went in trusteeship before finally having the province shut it down. Also, Moberly Hall Charter School operated for a number of years in Fort McMurray before closing because of low enrollment.
- Alberta charter school handbook (pdf). Executive Council of Alberta. 2002. ISBN 0-7785-2550-3.
- Provincial government information about charter schools
- McLean, C (2003-02-03). "Foundations for the future". Alberta Report 30 (3): 8–10. ISSN 1488-8084.
- Sheppard, R (1998-07-06). "A school failure". Maclean's 111 (27). ISSN 0024-9262.
- University of Saskatchewan On Campus News (February 6, 2004)- Article discusses findings of professor who studied charter schools in Alberta, and is critical of them.
- Canada West Foundation. Innovation in Action: An Examination of Charter Schools in Alberta