The senior high school program at Foothills Academy fully prepares students for entering a post-secondary program or the workplace. The intensive academic program strictly adheres to the Alberta Education Program of Studies, and students write the same diploma exams as every other student in Alberta, often with results much higher than the provincial average. While students follow the same curriculum and basic resources as in other schools, choose from a variety of elective courses, and can participate in a rich physical education program, there are several unique features at Foothills Academy which provide learning disabled students with the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve their best.
Every student at Foothills Academy operates with an Individualized Program Plan or IPP. In the senior high school program students become increasingly responsible for establishing and evaluating their IPP goals. By taking ownership of setting and meeting their academic goals, students have an exceptional rate of success. Beyond academics, goals often include organization, time management and social skills. Based on a student-strength model, not only does this aid them in achieving success in their courses, it also helps establish life-long skills useful in future education programs and the workplace.
Learning Strategies Courses
All students in Grades Ten through Twelve at Foothills Academy are enrolled in a 5 credit course focused on establishing and reinforcing individual strategies to ensure success in their academic classes. By continually introducing new strategies, and applying already established ones, students build an individual repertoire of proven tactics for learning, studying and taking tests. Teachers of this course help students identify their strengths and learning styles to facilitate their choice of the most effective strategies.
Although it is becoming increasingly common for students in all schools to use computers and laptops, students at Foothills Academy have access to staff dedicated to the use of innovative assistive technology which provides them with software and training to become even more successful. Every classroom is equipped with a SMART© Board and each student is provided with a laptop. Many use voice-to-text or text-to-voice programs when completing written assignments or reading. The first student in Alberta to use a voice-to-text program on a diploma exam was from Foothills Academy. Students are involved with other emerging uses of technology such as blogs, websites and social media. Staff and students have access to an on-line video conferencing facility.
Guiding students in their transition from high school to a post-secondary program or the work force is a priority. All high school students at Foothills Academy spend time directly focused on their future career path, and among many activities, they create a transition portfolio, attend career fairs, and complete their applications to post-secondary. Many of our students receive scholarships, including the Rutherford Scholarship, and graduates have attended universities and colleges across Canada and the United States. In fact, a scholarship offered by Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, consistently ranked in the top three by Maclean’s magazine, is offered exclusively to students from only two schools, one of them being Foothills Academy.
Safe and Caring Environment
Students and parents consistently praise the exceptional staff at Foothills Academy for the safe and supportive environment they provide. Graduates of the high school program often reflect on all the extra effort the teachers contributed towards their success. Many graduates come back to the school to act as a volunteer or mentor to current students, and even as staff after achieving their degree in education! Foothills Academy provides a learning environment where each student can close the gap between their capability and their achievement.