What do we do well? What can we do better? How do we ensure academic excellence, rigour, and deep learning remain at the core of what we do? And how do we gauge how STS is meeting its mission and value-driven goal of continuous improvement across multiple fields?
Middle School - No middle ground
STS Middle School students enjoy a safe-haven where they can explore this new chapter in their education and their burgeoning independence.
Grounded in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP), students experience course content through real-life context and state of the art technology. They are encouraged to ask questions, think critically, and work collaboratively.
Students benefit from highly-qualified, dedicated faculty and a learning environment with a small teacher-student ratio, consistent homeroom groupings, and individual teacher-advisors. Students build supportive relationships while maximizing their full potential.
Middle School students are provided with an excellent foundation in the core academic subject areas of math, science, English, and social studies, with equal time dedicated to languages, fine and performing arts, design, and physical education including exploring the great outdoors. Outside the classroom, students can follow their passions and explore new talents by joining student-led clubs, speech and debate, athletic teams, community service and leadership activities.
The opportunities provided both in and out of the classroom inspire students to move forward as well-balanced, confident individuals who go on to lead purposeful lives.
Middle School Fast Facts
- Grade 7 = 3 classes with 22 students
- Grade 8 = 3 classes with 22 students
- Grade 9 = 4 classes with 18 students
- Subjects studied: English, French or Spanish, math, sciences, design, art, band, drama, music, physical education, social studies, health, debate (Grade 7), classics (Grade 8)
From the Blog
Research findings demonstrated that even our youngest students could articulate a deeper connection to the campus, a need to steward it, and that the spaces themselves could be known and understood through different perspectives. It is probably no surprise that teachers and students alike reported increased levels of wellness during these experiences as well.
Speech taught me how to harness my natural “motor mouth,” but most importantly, speech afforded me the ability to connect with older students who I knew would support me. Because of speech, I learned to be comfortable in my own skin, “motor mouth” and all. I learned how to deal with difficult social situations, how to approach teachers and adults, how to manage co-curriculars and school work, how to win, and most importantly how to lose. Many of these lessons came from my coaches, peers, and older students whom I looked up too, which makes these memories very special. Even now as I graduate, I am still in contact with those older students whom I formed connections with and I still find myself turning to them for advice about the transition to post-secondary school.
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) places the wellbeing needs of students at the center — and it begins with teachers. Walk into any Kindergarten to Grade 12 classroom and you will notice authentic and meaningful connections established between students and teachers. Why? Because at its core, every educational encounter is a relational one that is anchored in trust-building. STS teachers understand the critical role they assume in providing a safe space for students to take well-supported risks in the classroom and on the field. Raising a hand to ask a question in calculus class and trying out for a new co-curricular activity are made possible when students trust the adult overseeing the experience cares about their learning experience.
A teacher, historian, storyteller, and visual artist - Saa’kokoto is providing STS students with a deep understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture. His lessons carry a wealth of first hand experience, drawn both from his years as a business leader in his community and as an ambassador of his culture. “I learned a lot about the people, the land. I come from the largest First Nation in Canada which is Kainai west of Lethbridge, and we have two elementary schools, a middle school and high school, and our own college. In my last term in office, I taught a course there at the college and it was accredited through the University of Lethbridge. It was on governance - (a concept) that I could share.”
In the Speech program there are many different categories of public speaking but the category that challenges even the most seasoned of public speakers is probably Impromptu Speaking. The Impromptu category is completely unprepared. After you are given a topic you’ve never seen before with only two minutes to prepare, you deliver a speech for up to five minutes that is essentially created as you perform it. As a young public speaker, this category terrified me, and I avoided it at all costs. However, encouraged by my dad and my coaches, I worked at the skill, and naturally, it improved over time. The differences between me at the beginning of my STS journey, and who I am now are many.
In Grade 10, their final year of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP), students explore an area of significant personal interest over an extended period of time as part of their appropriately named Personal Project. STS MYP students develop and demonstrate key 21st century learning skills they will need later in their education and in life beyond the classroom. Through this highly personalized undertaking, students also develop confidence and strengthen their abilities as principled, life-long learners.
In July, twenty STS students headed off to Geneva to attend Swiss Summer School in the picturesque mountain town of Gstaad. After landing in Geneva, the group wasted no time and headed from the airport to the waterfront to see the Jet d’Eau. Then they strolled over to the old town to visit St. Pierre Cathedral and tour the downtown district.
"What drew us in was the global application of the project. Since we have honeybee farms so close to our campus, learning that they could also be found in South Africa, and that they faced similar issues was very interesting. In other preliminary research, learning about the economic benefits and support honey farming could provide for strengthening quality of life was something that drew us in. Knowing that the premises of this project could be seen only a few kilometers away, and the initiative supporting not only the environment but also people’s wellbeing was key in our choice to take on this project."
STS Middle and Senior School Speech students have been enjoying great success this year, winning various medals, trophies, and awards including placing second in Impromptu Speaking at the World's Debating and Public Speaking Championships on April 17.
On Friday, April 22, Grade 9 students participated in Model United Nations and had the opportunity to engage in discourse with one another to discuss international issues. This year the topic was the ongoing Ukraine refugee crisis. In the morning they were joined via Zoom by retired Canadian Forces Major-General David Fraser who served as a NATO operations commander in Afghanistan. He spoke with the students about NATO and how militaries work with refugees abroad.
Creating this art piece was truly eye opening for me. It was a remarkable hands-on experience, with many opportunities to reflect on the beauty of our campus and School buildings. It helped me visualize the School with a new perspective, and I hope it will help the STS community gain a new perspective of the School as well; hence the name “STS in Perspective”.