Schools and Education in Calgary

Schools and Education in Calgary

The single biggest factor for families determining their new home is the school system. There are so many educational choices in Calgary that community boundaries are not usually an issue. If you want a public elementary school that your kids can easily walk to, then specific communities can be isolated based on that criteria. If you have kids that might be in different levels of school (example elementary and junior high), or a child that prefers french immersion, sports programs or science/inquiry-based learning, then the community you live in is more personal preference as your children will be bussed to your chosen school. The Fraser Institute puts out an annual ranking system of schools in Alberta. Worth checking out, but be sure to look beyond student test results.

Schoold and Education in Calgary

Public Schools

There are many great public schools in Calgary and all are managed by the Calgary Board of Education. The CBE offers many specialty and alternative schools as well for everything from exceptional and special needs, giftedness, and autism to science-based learning, arts (fine arts and performing arts), immersion programs in many different languages and sports programs. The impressive list of options for all levels of schooling is so extensive it is worth as much consideration as your home search. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Very few new communities have elementary schools and the ones that do usually only go to grade 3 or 4. CBE lists the schools the kids will be bussed to. Cross-check with a map of communities. It is further than most parents are willing to drive every day, especially for younger kids, if you are not comfortable with the idea of bussing.
  • Just because an elementary school is in your chosen community, doesn't mean your child can attend. Some community schools are full to capacity and change their boundaries from year to year. Call the school directly to confirm boundaries and what school you will be redirected to in the event that school is full.
  • Grade five and Six students are often bussed to the junior high they will be attending. This isn't as scary as it sounds. When a community's elementary school only goes to grade four, the grade 5 & 6 student population is relatively small. The CBE will bus them to the junior high they would be attending anyway. It serves as a middle school and works well for most kids.
  • The Alberta Curriculum is taught at all schools, even if it is a speciality program. In other words, whether your child is enrolled in a hockey program or spanish immersion, they will still be taught all the same material that is being taught in the regular English public or Catholic school. They will write the same Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) as every other student in the same grade in Alberta.

Catholic Schools

The Calgary Catholic School District governs the Catholic schools in Calgary from kindergarten to grade 12. They also offer a variety of specialty and alternative programs that include catholicism in the curriculum. Bussing is also offered to students outside the school's immediate community.

Charter Schools and Private Schools

If the public and Catholic school boards do not offer what you need, you have even more choices with the many charter and private schools Calgary has to offer. Read more at Live in Calgary. Charter schools have a very modest registration fee that is very affordable. Bus transportation is offered for an additional cost. Like all schools, they follow the Alberta curriculum but with an additional mandate (all girls, science, gifted learning).

Private schools have tuition fees that require a significant investment but cover a variety of educational specialties, some in combination. While there is a high concentration of private schools in the southwest quadrant, there are a good mix in other areas of the city as well, expanding your housing options.

I have been a full-time realtor since 2006. As a Certified Relocation Specialist, I have assisted clients from all over the world for a successful relocation to Calgary.


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