Explore top educational opportunities in our guide to the best schools in Calgary. Our comprehensive guide highlights the best schools in Calgary, helping families navigate their educational choices effectively.

Nestled in Alberta‘s vibrant heart, Calgary offers a variety of schools that cater to different educational philosophies and student needs, making it a prime choice for families seeking quality education. From public and private to charter schools, our guide reviews each institution’s unique programs and facilities, helping you find the perfect fit for your child’s academic and personal growth. 

Discover how the best schools in Calgary are dedicated to fostering student excellence and supporting each child’s educational journey. We remain dedicated to guiding you through the best schools in Calgary, ensuring that every family can access the ideal educational fit for their children at the best schools in Calgary.

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Public vs. Private Schools: An Overview

Choosing between public and private education in Calgary involves several considerations, from budget constraints to educational priorities. Public schools, funded by the government, offer no-tuition education and reflect community diversity while adhering to provincial standards. Private schools, although tuition-based, provide advantages like smaller class sizes and specialized programs. 

Both options contribute to Calgary’s reputation for hosting some of the best schools in Calgary, each catering to unique family needs and educational goals.

Public Schools

The cost of education is funded by the government, so there are no tuition fees. The schools are accessible to all students, reflecting the diversity of Calgary communities. Class sizes can vary depending on the school, but they typically average around 25-30 students. The curriculum follows the Alberta curriculum, ensuring a standardized education across the province. Extracurricular activities include a variety of after-school programs and clubs, although availability may vary.

Private Schools

Tuition fees vary depending on the school, ranging from $8,000 to $30,000 annually. Class sizes are typically smaller than public schools, averaging around 15-20 students. The curriculum may follow the Alberta curriculum or offer specialized programs like Montessori, Waldorf, or International Baccalaureate. Many schools emphasize specific skill development through enriched academics, advanced placement (AP) courses, or a focus on arts or athletics. Due to smaller class sizes and potentially more resources, these schools often have a wider range of extracurricular activities.

Choosing Between Public And Private Education Involves Weighing These Factors

Choosing between public and private education involves weighing several factors. Public schools are significantly less expensive, making them a more affordable option for many families. When considering the curriculum and focus, think about your child’s learning style and interests to determine if a standard curriculum or a specialized program would better suit their needs. Class size and environment are also important; private schools often have smaller class sizes that offer more individual attention, while public schools provide a more diverse learning environment.

Additionally, extracurricular activities should be explored in both public and private schools to see which aligns with your child’s interests. By considering these points and available data, you can make an informed decision about which educational path best suits your child and family in Calgary.

Top-Rated Public Schools in Calgary

Calgary boasts a diverse array of public schools that excel in various academic and extracurricular areas. To help guide your decision, here’s a detailed look at some of Calgary’s top-rated public schools, incorporating rankings and other factors that contribute to their reputation.

Elementary Schools

Sunalta School: Achieving a perfect score of 10 out of 10 in the Fraser Institute’s 2024 rankings, Sunalta School is renowned for its exceptional educational standards and nurturing environment. Learn more at Sunalta School.

Hillhurst School: Known for its strong community and academic performance, Hillhurst provides a solid foundational education in a supportive setting.

High Schools

Western Canada High School: Ranked 10th among Canadian high schools by the Canadian University Real Estate school rankings in 2023, this school is known for its rigorous academics and comprehensive extracurricular programs.

Ernest Manning High School: Esteemed for its innovative programs, especially in technology and sciences, Ernest Manning prepares students for success in higher education and beyond.

Sir Winston Churchill High School: Offers a robust academic curriculum with a wide range of AP courses, supporting students in achieving their best academic potential.

William Aberhart High School: With a strong emphasis on arts and technology, this school fosters creativity and technical skills alongside traditional academics.

Beyond Rankings: Factors to Consider When Choosing a School

School Culture and Size: The atmosphere and values of a school can significantly affect a student’s experience. Smaller schools often offer a more personalized education, while larger institutions might provide broader extracurricular opportunities.

Extracurricular Activities: These programs can enhance a student’s educational experience, providing opportunities in sports, arts, and leadership that help develop well-rounded individuals.

Special Programs: Look for schools that offer special programs that align with your child’s interests, whether it’s a science and technology focus or arts integration.

Location and Commute: Convenience and safety of the daily commute can impact your family’s daily routine and should be considered in your decision-making process.

For a comprehensive overview of all public schools in Calgary, including ways to tailor the search to your specific needs, visit the Calgary Board of Education website. Here, you can search for schools by location, program, and various criteria, ensuring you find the best fit for your child’s educational journey.

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Leading Private Schools in Calgary

Calgary’s landscape of private education offers a dynamic range of options, each designed to nurture individual growth and academic excellence. Below, we delve into the distinctive qualities of some of Calgary’s premier private schools, providing a snapshot of their programs, environments, and unique offerings.

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School

Unique selling points of Alberta’s exclusive K-12 IB school include its sprawling 220-acre campus. The school offers small class sizes and integrated learning experiences, along with over 90 co-curricular activities. Located in a serene country setting just south of Calgary, it also provides city-wide bussing. For more information, visit the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School website.

Bearspaw Christian School

Bearspaw Christian School (BCS) offers a unique blend of Christian education from junior kindergarten to grade 12, incorporating biblical studies into the standard Alberta curriculum. Located at 15001 69 St NW, Calgary, AB T3R 1C5, BCS aims to mold students into holistic beings who contribute positively to their communities. In addition to discipleships, BCS organizes special events to enhance students’ talents, physical fitness, and leadership skills. The school caters to over 700 students, ensuring an excellent teacher-to-student ratio.

BCS provides several highlights, including Christian discipleship, busing services, and affordable education. Operating hours are Monday to Friday, 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Parents have praised BCS for its nurturing environment and strong community values. Gbenga Ogun noted, 

For more information, visit Bearspaw Christian School’s website or contact them at (403) 295-2566.

Delta West Academy

Delta West Academy (DWA) is renowned for its liberal arts education, catering to students from junior kindergarten to grade 12. Located at 414 11a St NE, Calgary, AB T2E 4P3, DWA emphasizes academic excellence and social responsibility. Their curriculum fosters a global spirit through activities that build students’ confidence, efficiency, and independence, ranging from academic learning to athletic participation. Unique to DWA is their practice of conducting surveys to learn their students’ interests before setting up student clubs, ensuring a student-centered approach. Operating Monday to Friday, from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, DWA stands out for its small class sizes and holistic education approach. One parent noted, “The small class sizes and the student-centered education is what makes DWA one of the best private schools in Calgary for your children.” For more information, visit Delta West Academy’s website or contact them at (403) 290-0767.

Zebra Crossing Academy

Zebra Crossing Academy offers a unique Montessori curriculum for children from daycare to kindergarten, located at 1110 Panatella Blvd NW #640, Calgary, AB T3K 0S6. The academy promotes personalized learning to help students understand their strengths and weaknesses. They prioritize safety, happiness, and learning, incorporating the Waldorf play-approach and Reggio project-based approach into their curriculum. Zebra Crossing Academy ensures a nurturing environment to support child development. Highlights include their Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio curriculums, before and after school care, and an accessible location. The academy operates Monday to Friday, from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. For more information, visit Zebra Crossing Academy’s website, call (403) 457-0707, or email info@zebracrossingacademy.com.

Students at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, one of the best private schools in Calgary, enjoying outdoor activities

Charter Schools: Unique Educational Choices

Charter schools have gained popularity for their unique approach to education, supporting students’ academic, social, and emotional development. These schools provide diverse learning environments that attract students from various backgrounds, promoting cultural awareness and understanding. As an alternative to traditional public schools in Calgary, charter schools offer innovative educational models tailored to specific learning styles or interests. They have more flexibility in curriculum and teaching methods compared to traditional schools. 

For example, Calgary Arts Academy integrates arts across all subjects for a creative learning approach, while Connect Charter School focuses on experiential learning using technology and outdoor activities. Charter schools prioritize inquiry-based learning, encouraging students to actively question and explore subjects. They also frequently partner with local businesses and organizations, providing students with unique learning opportunities and access to resources, helping them gain real-world experience and prepare for college or the workforce.

Specialized Programs: Arts, Sciences, and Technology

Calgary’s schools offer specialized programs that cater to a broad range of interests and talents, providing students with the opportunity to dive deep into specific areas such as arts, sciences, and technology. These programs allow students to engage in advanced scientific research and technological developments, preparing them for high-tech careers in the future. 

Specialized programs in Calgary focus on arts, sciences, and technology, catering to specific interests and talents. They allow students to deeply explore their chosen fields, develop skills in a supportive environment, and prepare for future careers. These programs also help students achieve academic excellence, ensuring they are well-equipped for their professional journeys.

French Immersion and Bilingual Education Options

In Calgary, the demand for bilingual education continues to grow, with numerous schools offering French immersion and bilingual programs. These programs are designed to develop fluency in both of Canada’s official languages through a comprehensive curriculum that integrates French language instruction into various subjects.

French Immersion

French Immersion programs in Calgary provide fluency in both French and English through an integrated curriculum. Schools like Westgate French Immersion School offer an immersive environment with significant daily French instruction, allowing students to develop bilingual proficiency. These programs integrate French into various subjects, ensuring students receive comprehensive language exposure and practice.

Bilingual Education

Bilingual Education in Calgary goes beyond French, including languages like Spanish and Mandarin. Schools such as Calgary French & International School offer these programs, preparing students for a multilingual world. By developing skills for global communication and cultural awareness, these programs equip students for future opportunities in a globally interconnected world. Parents who choose bilingual education often value language as a critical skill, recognizing its importance for their children’s future success.

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International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools

To provide a detailed understanding of the impact and scope of International Baccalaureate (IB) programs in Calgary, here are some facts and statistics that highlight their significance:

  1. Global Recognition: The IB Diploma is recognized by universities worldwide, often giving IB graduates an advantage in the university admissions process. Research indicates that IB graduates are more likely than their peers to be admitted into top universities.
  2. Program Enrollment: As of the latest reports, Calgary has several schools offering the IB curriculum, with thousands of students enrolled in the various programs. For example, Western Canada High School and Sir Winston Churchill High School have significant enrollment numbers in their IB programs, reflecting the popularity and perceived value of an IB education in the region.
  3. Academic Performance: Students in IB programs typically outperform their non-IB counterparts in standardized tests and college preparedness exams. Studies show that IB students are more likely to perform well in advanced literacy and problem-solving tasks.
  4. University Success Rates: IB Diploma students have a higher university retention rate and higher graduation rates than non-IB students. This is attributed to the rigorous academic preparation and the development of critical thinking skills fostered by the IB curriculum.
  5. Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: The IB programs promote intercultural understanding and respect, which is increasingly important in a globalized world. In Calgary, IB schools report a diverse student body, with a significant percentage of students coming from multilingual and multicultural backgrounds.
  6. Program Offerings: Calgary offers all three levels of the IB program: the Primary Years Program (PYP), the Middle Years Program (MYP), and the Diploma Program (DP). Each program targets different age groups, providing a continuum of international education from early childhood through to pre-university.
  7. Educational Outcomes: The IB program’s emphasis on global citizenship and independent learning helps develop well-rounded individuals who are prepared for the challenges of the modern world. Surveys of IB graduates indicate that they feel well-prepared not just academically, but also in their capacity to engage with and understand people from different cultures.

These statistics and facts underscore the value and impact of IB schools in Calgary, highlighting their role in preparing students for academic success and global engagement.

Graduates from an International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Calgary, showcasing academic success

Post-Secondary Institutions in Calgary

Calgary is not only renowned for its primary and secondary education but also for its post-secondary institutions that cater to a diverse array of academic interests and career aspirations.

Calgary's Thriving Post-Secondary Landscape

University of Calgary (UofC) (Icon: University/Academic Building)

    • Focus: Research & Diverse Programs (Engineering, Business, Health Sciences, Humanities)
    • Highlights: Innovative Education, Global Reach
    • Fact: Over 34,000 students (including undergraduate and graduate programs) pursuing academic excellence at UofC.

SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) (Icon: Gear/Tools)

    • Focus: Practical Skills for Workforce (Trades, Technology, Health)
    • Highlights: Hands-on Training, Industry Partnerships, Job Market Alignment
    • Fact: Renowned for its high graduate employment rates, with SAIT boasting over 90% of graduates finding jobs within their field of study.

Key Strengths:

    • Academic Excellence: Both UofC and SAIT offer high-quality education.
    • Diverse Options: Caters to various academic interests and career aspirations.
    • Industry Focus: SAIT programs align with current job market demands.
    • Economic Impact: Graduates contribute to Calgary’s economic and social vitality.

Both institutions highlight the commitment of Calgary’s educational system to not only foster academic excellence but also to contribute to the economic and social vitality of the region.

Choosing the Right School: Factors to Consider

When selecting the ideal educational environment in Calgary, several key factors should be considered to ensure the best fit for the student’s needs and family preferences:

  • Academic Reputation: Evaluate the school’s performance in terms of test scores, college acceptance rates, and academic awards.
  • Programs Offered: Consider whether the school offers specialized programs that align with the student’s interests, such as STEM, arts, or international baccalaureate.
  • Quality of Facilities: Assess the quality and availability of physical resources like libraries, sports facilities, and science labs.
  • School Culture: Reflect on the school’s ethos and values to ensure they match the student’s personality and learning style.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Look at the variety and quality of extracurricular options, including sports, music, arts, and clubs.
  • Location and Transportation: Consider the school’s location relative to home or work and the availability of transportation.
  • Support Services: Check for the availability of counseling, tutoring, and special education resources.
  • Safety and Security: Ensure the school has a strong record and policies regarding student safety.
  • Class Size and Teacher-to-Student Ratio: Smaller class sizes can mean more personalized attention, which might be crucial for the student’s learning experience.
  • Inclusivity and Diversity: Evaluate how the school supports a diverse student body and fosters an inclusive environment.
  • Parent and Community Involvement: Consider how well the school engages with parents and the local community.

These factors collectively contribute to making an informed decision that places the student in a school where they can thrive academically, socially, and personally.

University of Calgary, a leading post-secondary institution in Calgary, offering diverse academic programs

Conclusion

Selecting the best school in Calgary is a crucial decision that can deeply influence a student’s educational trajectory and future success. Throughout this guide, we have detailed the wide array of educational opportunities available in Calgary, focusing on the best schools in Calgary that cater to diverse needs, from top-notch public and private schools to specialized and innovative educational programs. 

Each category of the best schools in Calgary offers distinct advantages, whether it’s in fostering academic excellence, providing innovative programs, or supporting bilingual education.

The journey to finding the best school in Calgary requires careful thought and active engagement, but the effort is well worth the outcome—a school environment where students not only achieve academic success but also grow personally and socially. 

In the end, the right choice among the best schools in Calgary should provide a nurturing, stimulating environment that aligns with a student’s personal growth and academic goals, ensuring they are well-prepared for whatever the future holds.


Julce

Julce is an expert content writer specializing in topics about Canada, adept at blending practical advice with engaging stories that capture Canadian life.

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