Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 7, 2005
Girls' school planned
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Edmonton Catholic Schools is launching an all girls junior high leadership academy, the district's first gender-based program in years.
The academy will be one of five focus programs launched or expanded in September.
"It all comes down to offering a choice," said school division spokesperson Lori Nagy. "In our parents' surveys we do every year parents are suggesting these types of programs. I think parents are looking at different options for children."
The new set of programs include a German bilingual program to be offered at St. Brendan School, a Spanish bilingual program being expanded to John Paul I School, a Grade 10-12 soccer academy beginning at Holy Trinity High School and the Hand in Hand preschool program to be offered at Our Lady of Peace and Anne Fitzgerald schools.
Edmonton Catholic has resisted having gender-based programs for years now, but that changes with the launching of the all-girls academy, which will be based at St. Basil School, 10219-115 Ave.
"My understanding is we have never been against having an all-girls or even an all-boys academy," Nagy said. "We just didn't feel there was a need (for that type of program) in our district (before); our parents did not suggest that was the direction that they wanted to go."
That changed in the last number of years as the district started to notice an increase in the number of parents suggesting the creation of an all-girls academy and asking for that option to be available, Nagy said.
"So that's why we decided the timing was right now to proceed with this (girls' academy)".
The program will begin with two Grade 7 classes or a minimum of 48 students, Nagy said.
The academy's mission is to provide a Christ-centred learning environment and to inspire young women to develop in spirit, in leadership and intellectually, Nagy said. "The academy will help the girls to discover things about themselves that they might not have had an opportunity to do in a classroom that had both boys and girls."
The programs of studies will emphasize math and sciences as well as the study of Catholic "female role models and mentors that can have a positive influence on the young girls."
If enough students enroll in Grade 7, then next year Grade 8 will be offered. "And so eventually we would have it as a junior high leadership academy so it would be Grades 7, 8 and 9," Nagy explained. She said the academy students might have to wear a uniform.
Two information nights on the girls' academy are coming up. The first information night will be on Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. at St. Anthony's District Archives and Meeting Centre at 10425-84 Ave. The second information night will be held Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. at St. Edmund's School, 11712-130 Ave. And then there will be an open house at St. Basil's School on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m.
Holy Trinity High School has had a strong soccer program for several years but now is being transformed into an academy to give it a higher profile, Nagy explained. The shift might translate into more resources and more advertising, "which hopefully would translate into higher numbers for that program."
Edmonton Catholic Schools also offers a golf academy at Austin O'Brien High School and St. Kevin's Junior High.
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