As a school community, the Calgary Science School embraces the Alberta Minister's Inspiring Education Vision for developing students who are:
- Engaged Thinkers and
- Ethical Citizens with an
- Entreprenurial Spirit
We strive to embed these three characteristics into the learning experiences that we create for our students.
From our own school community, perhaps there is no better example of these three elements of Inspiring Education being lived out than the experiences of our grade 9 students during the recent Mayoral Election in Calgary.
During the lead up to the election, our grade 9s hosted a forum for youth at the school. However, rather than just inviting the candidates to our building to speak with our students, we decided to broadcast the event to any interested schools and students across the city. We welcomed questions from other schools, both before and during the event. The event was completely student-run as they took on roles as researchers, hosts, moderators and tech-crew for an event watched by over 1500 Calgary students.
After the youth forum at the Calgary Science School, the grade 9s were deeply engaged in the election. During their research they had learned that voter turn-out is typically lowest with college-aged students - a demographic they thought they could influence. On one afternoon, a few weeks before the election, 100 grade nine students descended on two local university campuses, armed with posters, campaign materials and a deep interest in the election. Their goal was to convince apathetic college students to go to the polls to vote.
Serendipitously, two great things happened that day.
First, the advance polls were open at both campuses, so our students were able to easily convince hundreds of college students to vote. They were able to see their impact on the election through the university students who changed their minds and voted because of the passion of our grade 9 students.
Second, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was at one of the campuses that day, and he witnessed our grade 9 students engaged in this powerful and influential act of citizenship. Nenshi was quite impacted by the actions of our students, to the point where he now speaks about our grade 9 students "almost every day" a fact he shared during his address as the speaker at our recent grade 9 graduation ceremony.
We believe this story is a powerful example of engaged and ethical students taking a huge risk to impact their world. Their learning was deep and authentic and taken beyond the classroom walls - which we have learned from the Galileo Educational Network - are hallmarks of strong inquiry-based learning.
Get the whole story here:
Two of our Grade 9 students were asked to speak on CBC radio about the events: