Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School

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Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School
Sts logo.jpg
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T1S 1A2

Coordinates50°46′30″N 114°01′58″W / 50.7751°N 114.0329°W / 50.7751; -114.0329Coordinates: 50°46′30″N 114°01′58″W / 50.7751°N 114.0329°W / 50.7751; -114.0329
School typePrivate/Independent
MottoNil Nisi Optimum
PrincipalTrevor Julian (Senior School), Cole Carlson (Middle School), Jennifer Conway (Elementary School)
HeadmasterCarol Grant-Watt (September 2018)
Director of AdmissionLydia J. Hawkins
Average class size17
Classes offeredLanguage Arts, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, Design, Art, Drama, Music, Band, French as a Second Language, Spanish as a Second Language, Classics, Outdoor Education, Film Studies
Medium of languageEnglish
LanguageEnglish (French and Spanish available for second language)
Hours in school day6 hours, 35 minutes
Campus size220 acres
AreaFoothills of the Rocky Mountains
HousesBurns, Buchan, Dover, and Howard
AthleticsCross-Country, Track & Field, Basketball, Rugby, Field Hockey, Volleyball, Badminton
MascotSpartacus the Spartan
NicknameStrath, STS
Team nameSpartans
RivalWest Island College
School fees$15 450 - $22 930 (Depending on grade level)

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School is a private university prep school in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada. It has students in Grades K to 12 . Its Grade 12 provincial exam scores are consistently some of the most highly ranked in the province.[1] Strathcona-Tweedsmuir is Southern Alberta's first full IB World School, and Alberta's only independent school authorized to deliver IB Programmes in Grades 1 through 12.[2] Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School ranks well in the annual Fraser Institute surveys.[1] Strathcona is also an active participator in the CESI (Canadian Educational Standards Institute) program, and often volunteers teachers for inter-school evaluatory interaction. STS is also a member of Round Square and CAIS (Canadian Association of Independent Schools).


The school opened in September 1971 as the result of the amalgamation of two of Calgary's oldest independent schools – Strathcona School for Boys (founded 1929) and Tweedsmuir: An Academic School for Girls (founded 1959). St. Hilda's School (1889–1905) preceded Tweedsmuir School for Girls (1905–1949).[3]

In 2003, seven students from the school were killed in an avalanche in British Columbia while on a skiing trip.[4] The students, Ben Albert, Marissa Staddon, Michael Shaw, Alex Pattillo, Scott Broshko, Daniel Arato and Jeffrey Trickettwere were on a school ski trip on Mount Cheops near Revelstoke when the avalanche occurred. Out of the seventeen skiers involved in the avalanche, ten were rescued. Despite the incident, Strathcona Tweedsmuir School has not abandoned it's outdoor education program, which is mandatory for grades 7-9 students and optional for grade 10 students.[5]

Educational divisions[edit]

  • Elementary School: Composed of Kindergarten through Grade 6, the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School Elementary School is an active participator in the PYP (primary years programme), or the developmental IB program, optional preparatory course, designed to enable students to develop the skills necessary to continue into the rigorous MYP and IB programs in later years at the school. Currently headed by Ms. Sharon Gibson.
  • Middle School: Composed of Grades 7 though 9, the Middle School is designed to continue the lessons learned in PYP (see "Primary School"), into the MYP. Headed currently by Mr. Cole Carlson.
  • Senior School: Composed of Grades 10 through 12, the Senior School is a fully certified participator in the IB program, and consistently delivers some of the highest scores across the province on the diploma exams, and enriched course material. Currently headed by Mr. Trevor Julian.

IB and Alberta curriculum[edit]

At STS, students take mandatory standardized provincial tests in Grades 3, 6, 9 and 12.

For Grades 11 and 12, students have the option between full IB Diploma, a mix of IB and Alberta Diploma or just Alberta Diploma. All students, including full IB students are required to write the standardized Alberta Diploma Exams.

The rotunda at STS.

STS is authorized to offer Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and IB Diploma.[6] The IB Diploma courses include Biology HL, Biology SL, Chemistry HL, Chemistry SL, Economics HL, Economics SL, English A1 HL, French Ab. SL, French B SL, History HL, Mathematics SL, Physics SL, Spanish Ab. SL, Spanish B SL, Theatre Arts SL and Theory of Knowledge.[6]

Student life[edit]


Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School places high value on athletics. Students can participate in solo sports like long distance running, short distance running, golf, javelin, shot-put, high jump, and long jump, or team sports like badminton, basketball, field hockey, rugby, and volleyball.[7]

Fine and performing arts[edit]

Students in Grades 1-6 are offered a variety of curricular and co-curricular music programs including choir, handbell choir, and musical productions. In the Elementary art program students are introduced to drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and woodworking projects.

Grade 7 fine arts students take one full year of performing arts, exploring equally the disciplines of drama and music.

Grade 8 fine arts students take one semester of visual art and one semester of performing arts.

Grade 9 fine arts students are offered a choice of three arts disciplines which are visual art, drama and music. Choosing their two preferred courses, students pursue each for one semester.

Students in Grades 10-12 are offered instrumental music, visual art, drama, and film studies as well as fine arts co-curricular programs including choir, musical productions, jazz band, jazz combo, and art club.

Speech and debate[edit]

STS offers speech and debate clubs to all students from Grades 7-12 and requires that all students Grade 7-12 participate in a speaking event each year in March.

Model United Nations[edit]

Student delegates in Grades 9-12 join model international organizations and represent their assigned country's position on given global issues.

Round Square[edit]

STS is a member of Round Square. The IDEALS (Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Action, Leadership, and Service) of Round Square serve as the framework for STS' curricular and co-curricular programs.

Outdoor education[edit]

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School has an outdoor education program involving various outdoor activities, typically a different activity each year for Grade 4s and up. Grade 10 students can take OE15, a class with several outdoor trips, as an elective.[8][9]

Educational technology[edit]

STS technology immersion program begins in Grade 6. Students in Grades 6 to 9 are required to rent a School prescribed notebook computer for their personal use. Senior School students (Grades 10-12) are required to bring their own device.

The school also provides a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) WiFi network that allows all students to connect a maximum of three devices to WiFi.

Foreign Exchange Program[edit]

STS offers an exchange program for students in grades 7 and 10. Grade 10 exchanges generally last between six and twelve weeks.[10]

The newly renovated cafeteria at Strathcona Tweedsmuir School.
Entrance to Library at STS.

2017 expansion[edit]

In late 2015, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School announced an expansion of the school that began in the summer of 2016. The new facilities include a new elementary wing, new fine arts spaces, and new performing arts spaces.[11] STS welcomed its first Kindergarten class in September 2017.

Notable alumni[edit]

Inside the Peter B. Ditchburn Library at STS


  1. ^ a b The Fraser Institute – Report Cards – School Performance
  2. ^ "IB World School". Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  3. ^ "History of STS". Strathcona Tweedsmuir School. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  4. ^ "Seven Teenage Skiers Are Killed In British Columbia Avalanche". Agence France-Presse. 3 February 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2017 – via The New York Times.
  5. ^ Weismiller, ,Richard Cuthbertson and Bryan. "10 years later: School safety policies improved after seven Strathcona-Tweedsmuir students died in 2003 avalanche". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  6. ^ a b IB Organization – School Statistics
  7. ^ "Student Life - Athletics - Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School". Retrieved 2017-03-05.
  8. ^ "Senior High – Physical Education". Strathcona Tweedsmuir School. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  9. ^ "Outdoor Education". Strathcona Tweedsmuir School. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  10. ^ "Student Exchanges". STS. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  11. ^ "Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School - New Facilities - Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School". Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  12. ^ Notable Events in JOE BOXER History

External links[edit]