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Building & Modernizing Schools : Questions & Answers | Chinook Learning Services Transition
Skip Navigation LinksCBE Home Schools Building & Modernizing Schools Questions & Answers | Chinook Learning Services Transition

Building & Modernizing Schools

Questions & Answers | Chinook Learning Services Transition

This information will be updated regularly.


Q. What is Chinook Learning Services (Chinook) Feb. 16

Chinook is the Calgary Board of Education’s (CBE) provider of High School Upgrading, Adult English Language Learning (ELL) and non-credit Continuing Education (professional development, personal development and corporate training).

Starting in the 2018-19 school year, Chinook will be moving out of its current locations and changing the scope of programs offered to students. See the Chinook tab on the Building & Modernizing Schools page to learn more.

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Q. Why is this happening now?

Though the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) has known for several years that the Viscount Bennett campus is near the end of its life cycle and it is not cost effective to renovate, other construction and community engagement initiatives needed to be completed prior to identifying suitable sites for Chinook Learning Services (Chinook) programming. We first needed to do two things:

  1. Complete the construction and modernization of 24 schools.
  2. Engage with and make decisions for 27 schools impacted by the opening of new schools in 2016-17.

By completing this work prior to making decisions for Chinook programming, we were able to develop a sustainable plan and identify the most suitable locations. Locations were chosen to provide Chinook students with access to strong learning programs closer to home.

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Q. What are the changes to Chinook high school programming?

In September 2018, Chinook will no longer operate out of the Viscount Bennett campus and will no longer offer high school upgrading classes to students who are 20 or older as of Sept. 1.

As of the 2018-19 school year, Chinook will offer high school programming in two locations – James Fowler High School (located in NW Calgary) and Lord Beaverbrook High School (SE Calgary).

At these north and south campuses, we will offer high school programming for Calgary students aged 16-19 (students must be 19 years of age or younger at Sept. 1) who need to take courses to complete their diploma. At these same locations, we will also offer high school courses for students aged 16-19 who previously attended a CBE high school and want to take additional high school courses or upgrade their marks.

There may be opportunities to offer select high school courses through our continuing education programming in the evenings and on weekends for students 20 years of age or older.

Summer School 2018 will offer programming for all ages.

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Q. Will there be any interruption to summer school 2018? Feb. 1

There will be no interruption to summer school 2018 and summer school 2018 will offer programming for all ages. Summer school locations are currently being determined and those locations will be shared once they become available.

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Q. Why won’t we continue to offer high school programming to students 20 years of age and older?

The School Act states that Alberta school boards are required to provide access to educational programs for students who are six years of age or older and younger than 19 years of age at Sept. 1. The CBE remains committed to our high school success strategy and has chosen to focus on the mandate set out by the Alberta Government.

CBE’s Chinook high school programming is one of several options available to Calgary students to complete, upgrade or enhance their high school education. We will work with adult learning organizations to help provide a smooth transition for our students. We will also provide information to our students about the opportunities that may be available to them. Once more discussion has taken place with these organizations, we will share additional details.

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Q. What are the new locations for Chinook?

Chinook is moving out of the Viscount Bennett and Erlton campuses. Because of their age and condition, these buildings cost a significant amount to operate and maintain, and they do not qualify for government maintenance funding.

In selecting new locations, we wanted to ensure they were centrally located in the north and south areas of the city. It is important for students to be able to access programming closer to home, ensure transportation is available, and maximize space within existing high schools. After careful review, it was determined that only four CBE buildings met this criteria and would have enough long-term space available (James Fowler, Lord Beaverbrook and Forest Lawn high schools and the Career and Technology Centre). Starting in the 2018-19 school year:

  • High school programming will move out of Viscount Bennett and into James Fowler and Lord Beaverbrook high schools.
  • A diploma testing centre will be located at Lord Beaverbrook High School.
  • ELL/LINC programming will move to Forest Lawn High School.
  • Continuing education programs will continue at schools across the city. There may be opportunities to offer select high school courses through our continuing education programming in the evenings and on weekends for those students 20 years of age or older.
  • Chinook central administration, student registration and some continuing education classrooms will move to the Career and Technology Centre.

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Q. Why can’t Chinook move together to a single location?

To access government maintenance and renewal funding, Chinook programming needs to be paired with K-12 CBE programs. It is not cost effective to house Chinook programming on its own in one location.

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Q. What happened to the Booth Centre that was supposed to accommodate Chinook? Feb. 1

The opening of 24 new and replacement schools these past two school years has created many new opportunities for Chinook that did not exist when the Booth Centre was transferred to the CBE by the Government of Alberta in 2012. Upon reviewing these opportunities, it was determined that creating a Chinook north and south campus would improve accessibility, enhance programming options and utilization rates within the selected high schools while concurrently balancing the need for sound stewardship of the limited resources entrusted to the CBE.

In 2012, Alberta Education provided the CBE with a $10.5 million grant specifically intended to renovate the Booth Centre to accommodate Chinook. However, in June 2013 the Booth Centre was flooded and a detailed analysis concluded that restoring the building was not financially supportable. Approximately $725,000 of the grant has been used to make the Booth Centre safe following the flooding experienced in 2013 as well as to create a redevelopment plan for the Booth Centre. The redevelopment plan work was placed on hold in early 2017 as the opening of new schools presented new possibilities that needed to be explored. Should it ultimately be decided by the CBE Board of Trustees that the Booth Centre site is surplus to the CBE’s needs, both the site and the remaining grant funding that was intended strictly for renovations to the Booth Centre will be returned to the Government of Alberta.

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Q. When are these changes happening?

Chinook programming will be moving to the four identified sites by August 2018. Chinook students will begin taking courses in these locations starting in September 2018.

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Q. What will happen to students 20 years of age and older who are currently taking Chinook courses?

Students who are 20 years of age or older can take high school completion and upgrading courses at other adult learning organizations (e.g. Bow Valley College, SAIT). We will work with these organizations to help provide a smooth transition for our students. We will also provide information to our students about the opportunities that may be available to them. Once more discussion has taken place with these organizations, we will share additional details.

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Q. What programming will be available to students 19 years of age and younger who did not previously attend a CBE high school and who want to take additional courses or upgrade their marks?

Students aged 16-19 who did not previously attend a CBE high school will be able to take courses to complete their high school diploma through Chinook.

Students who did not previously attend a CBE high school will not be able to take courses to upgrade their marks or take additional courses that are not required for completion of their diploma at Chinook. They may apply to take these courses with other adult learning organizations (e.g. Bow Valley College, SAIT).

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Q. Do other adult learning organizations have space for Chinook students?

The CBE has been in discussions with adult learning organizations about future opportunities for current Chinook students. Interest has been expressed by these organizations to offer programming for these students. We will be working with these organizations to respond to the learning needs of our students.

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Q. Would the CBE consider offering high school courses in the evenings and on the weekends for students 20 years of age or older?

Currently, Chinook offers three types of programming:

  1. High school courses
  2. English language learning for adults
  3. Continuing education

Starting September 2018, the high school programming that will be offered at James Fowler and Lord Beaverbrook high schools will be available to students who are 19 years of age or younger as of Sept. 1.

We are investigating opportunities to offer select high school courses through our continuing education programming in the evenings and on weekends for those students 20 years of age or older.

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Q. How integrated will Chinook and high school students be at all the sites?

As much as possible with the move of Chinook to four new sites, we will offer courses based on student requests and look for future opportunities where integration with existing school courses would be beneficial.

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Q. Are adult learners going to be integrated with minors at James Fowler and Lord Beaverbrook high schools?

Chinook students attending classes at these locations will be 19 years of age and younger at Sept. 1, the same age cohort as current high school populations.

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Q. How many Chinook students will be coming to James Fowler and Lord Beaverbrook high schools? Feb. 16

While there is always a degree of uncertainty when a location move occurs, our current projections estimate approximately 300 to 500 students could access Chinook high school programming at each of the new sites - James Fowler High School in the north and Lord Beaverbrook High School in the south.

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Q. Are adult learners going to be integrated with minors at Forest Lawn High School?

Adult English Language Learners will take courses at this location starting in September 2018. We recognize the desire to have some separation between high school students and adult learners and are exploring possibilities and options. We will share more information about this in the spring of 2018.

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Q. How many Chinook ELL/LINC students will be coming to Forest Lawn High School? Feb. 16

While there is always a degree of uncertainty when a location move occurs, our current projections estimate approximately 400 students could access Chinook ELL/LINC programming at Forest Lawn High School.

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Q. Will Forest Lawn High School families have priority to register in LINC? Feb. 16

No, Forest Lawn High School families won’t have priority registration in Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC). LINC is funded by Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (www.cic.gc.ca) and provides free English language instruction to permanent residents and refugees. The curriculum includes information that teaches newcomers about the Canadian way of life and helps them integrate into Canadian society. For more information regarding registration for the LINC program, please visit Adult ELL Registration & Fees .

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Q. Will there be different behavioural expectations/code of conduct for Chinook students than what is expected of other high school students?

The CBE Student Code of Conduct outlines behavioural expectations for all students. Our Student Code of Conduct is Administrative Regulation 6005 and can be found on the CBE website:

Student Code of Conduct | Administrative Regulation 6005

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Q. What will happen to the Viscount Bennett building and land?

It is not cost effective to renovate the building. Therefore, the CBE plans to explore a possible sale of the property or other future uses of the property in accordance with municipal and provincial regulations.

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Q. What does the CBE consider when they set boundaries for new schools? There are at least two, if not three communities that are closer to Lord Beaverbrook than Joane Cardinal-Schubert. Keeping these communities designated to Lord Beaverbrook would allow for future growth in the communities surrounding Joane Cardinal-Schubert

The CBE Planning Principles that are considered when making decisions about where students are designated for school are as follows:

  1. minimize disruptions for students;
  2. provide program continuity from Kindergarten to Grade 12;
  3. keep cohort groups of students together;
  4. allow students to attend school as close to home as possible;
  5. provide long term sustainability;
  6. use space and resources effectively; and
  7. provide equitable access for all students to quality learning environments and choice of programs.

These principles are not a checklist and it is not always possible to meet all of them at the same time. With respect to Lord Beaverbrook and Joane Cardinal-Schubert high schools, some parts of the Douglasdale/glen community are closer to Lord Beaverbrook High School. Students in Douglasdale/glen community attend Grade 5-9 at Mountain Park School with students from McKenzie Lake community. McKenzie Lake community is closer to Joane Cardinal-Schubert High School. Designating both communities to Joane Cardinal-Schubert High School keeps the cohort of students together and maintains program continuity from K-12.

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Q. Why does the CBE build new schools that require students to move and reduce enrolment at existing schools?

Over the past decade, Calgary has experienced a high level of growth and CBE’s student population has been increasing every year. The City of Calgary Suburban Residential Growth 2016-2020 report indicates that 74 per cent of the population growth over the past five years has been in new communities. Forecasts over the next five years estimate approximately 78 per cent of population growth will continue to occur in these areas.

Even with all the new schools that have opened in the past few years, CBE still requires schools to be built in the communities where students are living or will be living in the future. The CBE prepares a Three-Year School Capital Plan every year that tells the story of why new schools are needed and where our priorities are. The most recent is for 2018-2021. Information about how CBE plans for new high schools can be found on pages 28 to 31 and 80 to 84.

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Q. With Henry Wise Wood, Dr. E.P. Scarlett and Lord Beaverbrook high schools all in such close proximity and ease of transportation between those schools, would it not be more fiscally responsible to close one of those and put more students, staff and money into fewer buildings to keep programs better equipped? Feb. 1

The opening of new schools provides opportunities for students to attend schools closer to home. When new schools open, particularly high schools, there is a period of adjustment regarding enrolment. We want to ensure access to schools and programming that meets the needs of all students. In addition, we recognize that with the growth Calgary continues to experience, that there may be occasion when our new schools reach capacity and we need to overflow students. In such instances it is important to have space available.

The CBE hopes to start discussions about CBE high school learning opportunities and spaces in the 2018-19 school year. Any decisions resulting from these engagements may also impact the use of high school space in the future. And if following public input and feedback, a recommendation is made to consider school closure then the CBE would follow the protocols outlined in the Alberta Closure of Schools Regulation.

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Q. When is high school engagement going to kick-off? Feb. 16

We plan to start discussions about CBE high school learning opportunities and spaces in the 2018-19 school year. The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) began talking with parents, staff and others in February 2016 about schools that would be impacted by new school openings. Due to the timing and impacts of different openings, we began with the elementary and middle/junior high schools that were affected. We also plan to talk with staff, parents and community members about affected high schools in the future as success for high school students is important and we recognize that the openings of Nelson Mandela High School and Joane Cardinal-Schubert have and will affect existing high schools in a variety of ways.

More information will be shared once we have timing and details confirmed.

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Last modified: 2/16/2018 10:59 AM
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