Spotlight on CBE Schools: Bishop Pinkham School

Apr. 06, 2023

​​​​​​​​Bishop Pinkham School is named after Bishop Isaac Stringer Pinkham, who was the Bishop of Calgary from 1918 to 1942. The school opened in 1957.

​​Bishop Pinkham School is a vibrant learning community that provides students with a well-rounded education and prepares them for success in all of their future endeavours. The school's commitment to academic excellence, inclusive education and community involvement makes it a model for student success.

Serving almost 600 students from Grades 7 to 9, Bishop Pinkham School offers a diverse range of academic programs. In additio​n to a strong regular program, the school features a continuing and late French Immersion program, as well as a Communication, Sensory and Social Interaction program for students with complex learning needs. 

Principal Rishma Hajee proudly noted the school’s motto is “Bishop Pinkham First,” which highlights a commitment to making everyone feel welcome. 

“Together, we support one another and we're inclusive of everyone here,” Hajee said. “If you are a student or community member of Bishop Pinkham School, no matter what program you’re in, you belong with us.”

One of the many strengths of Bishop Pinkham School is its commitment to language education. Many students follow a path of immersion education right from Westgate School to Bishop Pinkham School to Western Canada High School​. Other students enter the late French Immersion program in Grade 7. 

Martin Poirier, Education Director for Area 6 and Languages, said interest in languages has surged over the last couple of years, noting that there are about 10,000 students enrolled in bilingual and immersion programs at the CBE. 

"Language education is about more than just learning a new language, said Poirier. “At the Calgary Board of Education, we immerse students in a new culture, broaden their perspectives, and help them develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world around us." 

At Bishop Pinkham School, students enjoy many cultural and educational experiences, which have included trips to other provinces and a mountain experience in Jasper. The school also celebrates “semaine de la Francophonie” — or Francophone week — every March, complete with BeaverTails, sugar shack snacks and a pep rally.

The week-long celebration was a highlight on the school calendar for Charlie Shore, a Grade 9 student. Shore said the carnival-style atmosphere helps contribute to a general sense of belonging.

 “I am proud to be part of the Bishop Pinkham Community. Our community is so kind, and caring and respectful,” he said.


Bishop Pinkham School has a safe and inclusive environment where students with varying needs and abilities can thrive. 

As a school that offers CSSI programming​, staff and teachers are experienced in working with students with complex needs. 

Opportunities for peer mentorship and meaningful incl​usion in the school community are provided and programmed according to individual student interests and abilities. Learner supports and accommodations may include the use of assistive technology, augmentative communication systems, work-systems and sensory activities.

Another key aspect of the school is community involvement. The school keeps a close relationship with the community, and students are encouraged to participate in community service projects and volunteer work. 

In March, students in the leadership program led members of the Board of Trustees and Superintendents on a tour of the school. Trustee Nancy Close thanked the students for being so “wise and wonderful” in sharing their knowledge and passion about the school. 

“Bishop Pinkham has always been known as a place of excellence, equity and making everyone feel welcome,” said Close, who represents Wards 11 and 13. “This is a vibrant and welcoming school community. You feel the energy when you walk down the hallways. 

“Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, we will proudly share our experiences across the system and with the community.”