Blended+ at Calgary Academy is a new program starting this fall for Grades 9-10 that combines the best parts of online, on-campus, and off-site learning. It provides high levels of academic support and increased flexibility while also nurturing face-to-face connections and shared hands-on learning experiences.
We’ve had quite a few questions about the program, so we’ve tried our best to answer them.
1. Why is Calgary Academy adding a new learning program?
At Calgary Academy, we know that the learning needs, strengths, and interests of our students are all different. Blended+ is another way for CA to bring to life our organizational belief of creating pathways as unique and varied as our learners. It provides an additional option for families who feel overserved by traditional school programs or underserved by fully online programs.
2. What’s does the plus in Blended+ mean?
Blended+ combines the flexibility and personalization of highly supported online learning with active in-person learning on campus. The plus refers to off-site experiential learning as well as the option for students to participate in Knights Athletics, drama productions, International Travel Studies, student leadership groups, and CA events. Students have access to guidance and career counselling as well as other Calgary Academy services.
3. What types of students are a good fit for Blended+?
Blended+ is designed for students who demonstrate a commitment to academics. It’s a highly supported program for students interested in more flexibility with their schedules including high performance athletes, students who experience barriers to learning, and students who are interested in a less traditional, more personalized school experience.
4. How does the weekly learning format work?
Learning is planned around a weekly format that empowers students to develop self-directed skills through instruction, guided practice, and 1-1 conferences. Students have the option to accelerate in some areas during the week while slowing down in others to receive extra help from teachers. Flexible asynchronous learning (both on-campus and online) is combined with live online direct instruction, on-campus hands-on learning, and tutorials.
Click here to read more about how Blended+ schedules can be customized depending on individual learning needs.
5. I’m worried my child won’t have friends in Blended+. Is there a focus on socialization?
Yes. Blended+ is a cohort-based program with a focus on wellness, belonging, and relationships. Students learn together with their class during scheduled live online classes, in-person during hands-on learning on campus, and during shared experiences off-site. They can also choose to attend Integrated Studies and PE courses in person with their Calgary Academy peers. Additionally, blended-flex learning blocks give students a choice to have more academic time on campus with peers or to learn online.
6. Can students stay in Blended+ for Grade 12 and graduate from the program?
Yes. Blended+ is starting with Grades 9-10 this fall and will expand to a full secondary program by 2023. Students who start in Blended+ this fall will be able to graduate from the program.
7. How does Blended+ prepare students for their future?
Blended+ is a university preparatory program designed to teach and provide guided practice with transferable skills. These include active reading, note-taking, studying, and test preparation skills to become more independent, self-directed learners. For example, teachers in this program will guide students to set goals and develop systems to plan, prioritize tasks, organize materials, initiate tasks, maintain task persistence, reflect on progress, and course correct when needed.
8. How does the on-campus part of the program work?
Students in Blended+ will learn in-person for 50 per cent or more of instructional time. Weekly in-person learning on campus is organized to make the most of time together while also building on the core of the CA learning model: belonging, relationships, self-awareness, and wellness. Designed for engagement and competency development, instruction includes projects, labs, and interactive seminars as well as PE and integrated studies. Time on campus is also used for students to take secured tests. Scheduled blended-flex blocks provide students the option of learning on campus with teachers and peers. Students have the option to attend Integrated Studies and PE on campus.
9. What will the off-site experiential learning activities include?
Built into the cost of tuition, off-site learning leverages networks, experts, and facilities in our extended community. It includes academic and physical education experiences. Academic examples include participating in field studies and service-learning initiatives, learning at local maker spaces, attending community programs, and joining events like Beakerhead and WordFest. Off-site PE learning includes guided activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, wall climbing, curling, and outdoor education pursuits. Students can either meet at Calgary Academy to bus to off-site learning together, or they can meet the group at the location of the activity.
10. How does transportation work?
Due to the non-traditional schedule of the program, families of Blended+ students have the option to sign up for one-way bussing (either a.m. or p.m. service) at a prorated fee. Two-way bussing is also available. For those interested in public transit, a bus stop that connects with the 69 Street C-Train station is located about a block from campus.
11. What’s the role of parents in Blended+?
Open communication is important for student success. Parents can support their children in Blended+ by speaking with them about their learning and coaching them to self-advocate with teachers when they have questions or run into barriers. Helping to ensure accountability is built into each day will reinforce the online learning expectations and strategies set by teachers.
A key role for parents is to help plan their children’s online workspace and co-create a daily/weekly learning rhythm. Workspaces at home are ideally predictable, quiet, and free from distractions. Blended+ is a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program—meaning students require their own laptop. A second screen, while not necessary, can help with posture and productivity. Parents can also support their child by reviewing the Calgary Academy family handbook together.
12. What are the tuition and fees for Blended+?
Tuition and fees for Blended+ mirror those of Calgary Academy’s Collegiate Program. Additional information can be found on the admissions tab on Calgary Academy’s website or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.