We had the opportunity to tour the new Career and Technology Centre (CTC) last week during their most recent open house. We use the Calgary Board of Education as our homeschooling board and found out about the open house through our Vice Principal Monti Tanner. Interestingly that morning Superintendent Cathy Faber was at our school (the CBe-learn homeschooling and online programs have a dedicated school where students can take classes part-time and meet face to face with their online instructors) discussing the state of education in Alberta. She was looking for our ideas around how to continue to support our program and give us some insight into current issues and trends. She sighted an alarming statistic: only 46% of Alberta high school students complete high school in the 3 years allotted – grades 10 to 12. We all made a noise at that number (most of us gasped) and she asked “what are we doing wrong?”. Not surprising others in the province are looking at homeschooling and part time education as a option. With the new school act passed last Wednesday extending funding for education to 21 years of age, places like the new CTC are looking like a viable option for those not wanting the traditional exit strategy for completing their high school years.
So now I was really curious, despite my children not being remotely close to the age to take advantage of this program. Impressed doesn’t quite cover what we discovered there. WOW!!! comes a little closer.
By the time we finished the tour with Principal Karen Bird (construction is only 2/3rds complete), my husband and I mourned the loss of what could have been our high school years – we want to go there!
Here is a preview – but I highly recommend if you live anywhere in Alberta you make a trip for their next open house January 12, 2014. Visit their site for details: http://projects.cbe.ab.ca/sss/ct-strategy/centre.asp
This is Zach – a student in the Environment Studies program. I love his air quotes. He did a great job of showing us around. I like the green wall too. The space is just newly completed and a little sparse as they get their program underway. The green wall helps. Check it out.
The Auto Body program was empty at the time, but we were told industry employees are also trained here because of the state of the art facility. They have examples of completed work in the learning commons explaining the process. Very nice work!
The Cosmetology and Spa program has a gorgeous facility! I refrained from taking pictures of all those ladies having their hair done. Cause that would be rude. In fact thinking back on that moment I’m sure seeing my camera wiped the smiles off their faces. A potential student on the tour with us asked what credits she’d get at the local salon school (name escapes me) and Principal Bird noted that college’s program is somewhere around $17,000. The CTC’s program offers identical training. For free. Did you catch that? FREE! And their Salon Service prices for public use are really, really, really good. Really.
This program has me so excited. Because I can come buy what they make!! And it is so conveniently located right off the end of Crowchild Trail by Glenmore – zip – food on my way home. Oh yay baby. This is the pastry oven? Fridge? Sorry I wasn’t listening. Something about “you can drop by after period two and buy tomato basil bisque” and my brain shut down. Pastry, blah, blah, blah, moisture control, blah, blah, blah. Nope. Can’t remember. Soooo….check out the Culinary Program. Yum.
This is a weird shot of a pneumatic device designed by the Pre-Engineering program. Cool. The boys liked it (ooo’s and ah’s). I chose this photo to post because my husband had a similar experience to my culinary brain fart. See that beige box with the tinted window in the back corner? That my friends, is a 3D printer. In a high school engineering classroom. This is where he walked out complaining about his mediocre high school experience. I hear ya brother.
This department however was the bee’s knees. The cat’s meow. The Pièce de résistance! For my 5, 7 and 9 year old boys at least. The Welding and Fabrication program was actually the second room we toured. And the first thing my 7 year old asked (that would be the one with huge grin on his face) was “can we weld something?”. We all chuckled and said no, but the instructor invited them back at the end of the tour. “Come back and I’ll have something for you”, was all he said. The instructor (who’s name I cannot remember for the life of me) was waiting with three little men all set up at three different welding stations. He had us all put on the required safety equipment and took them one by one at his side to create their own little guy out of bits of metal. Each one tried their hand at welding a bit of the “toy” and then it was dipped in water and smoothed of its sharp bits. He had so much patience and was so kind. Then we find out he was pulled out of retirement to teach this program. I can see why. What an incredible asset to this school.
And that folks concludes our tour. We didn’t see anything else, as we ran out of time and some programs are still under construction. This is how education should look. This program is built by industry, for industry. It is used and benefits the community as part of the program design. Theory and practice; usable, viable, employable practice side by side. The pre-engineering student told us by year three he will have completed a majority of the first two years of university engineering credits. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Check out their super amazing blog hosted by the Learning Commons Specialist Karena Munroe. I’m on there constantly checking out the additions and amazing creations from the current students.
They are located, as I mentioned in my food love coma, just off Crowchild Trail (the opposite direction of MRU off 50th) at:
2336 – 53rd Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta T3E 1L2
t | 403-243-4500 ext. 0
f | 403-777-6299
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