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Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School

RR 2, Okotoks, Alberta, T1S 1A2

Traditional,  International Baccalaureate
Grades (Gender):
K to Gr. 12 (Coed)
$15,000 to 22,285/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
16 to 18
Day: 675 (Gr. K - 12)

School Address
RR 2, Okotoks, Alberta, T1S 1A2



About this school:


STS is a Kindergarten to Grade 12, World IB School. Students flourish through well-rounded programming and enriched learning on our 220-acre campus minutes from Calgary, guided by talented and caring teachers. STS students become global citizens, embracing social responsibility, while striving for success in all that they do. In addition to vigorous academic curriculum, students experience a wide-variety of co-curricular activities, and benefit from a supportive community, rooted in our school’s 112-year history. — Visit school website



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Our Take: Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School

our take

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir became a school, in that name, in 1971, though it’s history stretches back more than a century. It is essentially an amalgamation of three schools that excelled in different ways: St. Hilda’s School for Girls, Strathcona School for Boys, and Tweedsmuir, a girls’ school. The current school motto, Nil Nisi Optimum, “nothing but the best,” was originally used by Tweedsmuir, as was the black watch uniforms—in that and other traditions that remain in place reflect the founding schools long, shared histories.
The amalgamation came at a time of economic growth due to a boom in oil and gas exploration in the region. Each school was outgrowing its footprint, and so looked to combining forces. The world, too, was changing, and the move to a co-ed academic atmosphere was equally emblematic of the time. The newly minted Strathcona-Tweedsmuir also moved to a sizable parcel of land, where the school remains today.
In time, the school would continue to grow its curricular offerings, including advance placement courses, adoption of Round Square, and the growth of the International Baccalaureate program. STS was also an early adopter of digital technologies in the classroom. Those things are an expression of perhaps the most important tradition that STS expresses, namely that of looking ahead, being flexible, and working to adapt the program to student need. The ideal student is one who will thrive in large, vibrant, and challenging academic environment.

School busing:

STS offers bus transferring. Service options offered are regular rider. The regions it offers busing from are Calgary, Okotoks.

Principal's Message


Dr. William Jones, Head of School

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School traces its roots back more than 110 years to its founding schools. Over time, we have developed a set of rich traditions and shared values that strengthen our sense of community and provide an enriched learning environment for all our students in Grades K through 12. Our school motto, Nil Nisi Optimum, compels each of us to do nothing but our best in all of our endeavours. Our mission is to develop well-balanced students for a life of purpose by inspiring excellence in scholarship, leadership and character. We strive to achieve this mission and live up our motto through our rigorous academic and diverse co-curricular programs.

STS is both an IB World School and a Round Square School. The philosophy, values and ideals that we share with these organizations such as internationalism, service and intercultural understanding dovetail beautifully. Together they shape a unique learning environment and philosophy, allowing us to instill in our students the knowledge, values and qualities of character that will enable them to live purposeful lives and be the leaders of tomorrow.

At STS, we recognize the uniqueness of each of our students and we strive to meet each of them wherever they are, inspiring a journey that will lead them beyond anything they could have imagined.


Curriculum Traditional, International Baccalaureate

Primary Curriculum: Traditional

Secondary Curriculum: International Baccalaureate

What STS says: At Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, students thrive in a culture of academic excellence. Students are empowered in their learning and strive to exceed their own expectations for achievement. STS supplements the standard Alberta Education curriculum with the International Baccalaureate Programme beginning in the Elementary with the IB Primary Years Programme, moving to Middle School with the IB Middle Years Programme and ending with the IB Diploma Programme in Senior School. Excellence in teaching and learning is fostered through critical thinking and inquiry. Throughout our students' years at STS, we focus on new and effective practices, incorporating current research and literature into all of our courses. We educate our students in an environment that combines state of the art technologies, outdoor experiential education with opportunities to develop the individual as a whole.

  • International Baccalaureate offered:
    Program = offered
    Primary Years
    Middle Years
    Diploma program
    Career-related program
  • Approach:

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Equal Balance

      These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What STS says: The STS math curriculum balances traditional skill acquisition with real-world application. Examples of real-world application include applying knowledge of exponents to pay-it-forward challenges, using statistical analysis to debate climate change, and turning learning about profit margins to running ones own mini-business.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: This information is not currently available.

    • Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.

    Early Reading Balanced Literacy

      Balanced reading programs are typically Whole Language programs with supplementary phonics training. This training might be incidental, or it might take the form of mini-lessons.
      Learn about the different early reading approaches  

    • What STS says: Elementary students work closely with their homeroom teachers and our Early Literacy Instructor to assess, build, and challenge reading skills. Students use multiple learning tools and approaches to build reading fluency including high-frequency site words, phonics, one-on-one reading with teachers and peers and iPads among others.

    • DIBELS Testing: This school does not use DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

    • What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    Writing Equal balance

      Programs that balance systematic and process approaches equally likely have an emphasis on giving young students ample opportunities to write, while providing supplementary class-wide instruction in grammar, parts of sentences, and various writing strategies.
      Learn about the different writing approaches  

    • What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    Science Inquiry

      Inquiry-based science emphasizes teaching science as a way of thinking or practice, and therefore tries to get students “doing” science as much as possible -- and not just “learning” it. Students still learn foundational scientific ideas and content (and build on this knowledge progressively); however, relative to expository science instruction, inquiry-based programs have students spend more time developing and executing their own experiments (empirical and theoretical). Students are frequently challenged to develop critical and scientific-thinking skills by developing their own well-reasoned hypothesis and finding ways to test those hypotheses. Projects and experiments are emphasized over textbook learning. Skills are emphasized over breadth of knowledge.
      Learn about the different science approaches  

    • Teaching approach: This information is not currently available.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    Literature Traditional

      In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  

    • What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    Social Studies Expanding Communities

      The Expanding Communities approach organizes the curriculum around students’ present, everyday experience. In the younger grades, students might learn about themselves, for example. As they move through the grades, the focus gradually broadens in scope: to the family, neighbourhood, city, province, country, and globe. The curriculum tends to have less focus on history than Core Knowledge programs.
      Learn about the different social studies approaches  

    • What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    Humanities and Social Sciences Pragmatism

      Pragmatism in the humanities and social sciences emphasizes making learning relevant to students’ present-day experience. Assignments tend to centre around projects and tasks rather than argumentative essays; these projects will often have a “real-world” application or relevance. There might be more of a social justice component to a pragmatic program, though that isn’t always the case. Subjects like history and philosophy are still covered/offered, but they play a less prominent role in the overall program than in the case of perennialism. The social sciences (contemporary geography, sociology, psychology, etc), meanwhile, might play a more prominent role in pragmatic programs. The key goals are to make learning progressive and relevant, while teaching students real-life skills and critical thinking.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  

    • What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    Foreign Languages Communicative

      The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  

    • What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    • Studying a foreign language is required until:   12
    • Languages Offered: • French • Spanish

    Fine Arts Creative

      Creative arts programs are studio-driven. While historical works and movements may still be taught to add context to the program, students mainly engage in making art (visual, musical, theatrical, etc). The goal is use the actual practice of art to help educate students’ emotions, cognition, and ethos.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  

    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    Computers and Technology Heavy integration

      A major effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy throughout the curriculum and in everything students do. Digital literacy is understood to be a fundamental skill in the 21st century: it therefore follows, the idea goes, that teachers should find ways to connect every lesson back to technology. Effort is made to ensure the use of technology is meaningful and advances students’ skills beyond what they would otherwise be from using computers outside the classroom.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What STS says: Technology is woven into the curriculum from Grade 1 on. Our 1-to-1 laptop program begins in Grade 6 with school provided laptops. Grades 10-12 students use laptops and/or tablets of their choice. Students in Grades 7-9 are required to take courses in design which includes engineering, architecture, digital media, and robotics.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What STS says: The Athletics Program at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School is consistent with our mission. Character and leadership are the cornerstones of our program and we look for ways to enhance them at every opportunity. Character is developed through successes and failures in team and individual sports including basketball, badminton, volleyball, field hockey, rugby, cross country running and track and field. It is through these athletic endeavours that students learn the values of sportsmanship and co-operation as well as determination and perseverance towards a common goal.

    IB Diploma Courses
    Group 1 (Language A)
    • English Literature HL

    Group 2 (Language B)
    • French SL
    • Spanish SL
    • French ab initio SL
    • Spanish ab initio SL

    Group 3 (Individuals and Societies)
    • Economics HL
    • History HL

    Group 4 (Experimental Sciences)
    • Chemistry SL
    • Chemistry HL
    • Biology HL
    • Physics SL

    Group 5 (Mathematics)
    • Mathematics SL

    Group 6 (The Arts)
    • Music SL
    • Theatre SL
    • Visual Arts SL

    Sex and Health Education Alberta curriculum
    Topics covered in sex and health education: This information is not currently available.

    What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.

    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.


    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.


    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.

    What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    Preschool/K Curriculum Academic

    • Play-based
    • Montessori
    • Waldorf
    • Reggio Emilia
    • Academic

    Academic-based preschools and Kindergartens are the most structured of the different types, and have a strong emphasis on math and reading readiness skills. These programs aim to expose children to what early-elementary school is like. While time is still allotted to free play, much of the day is built around explicit lessons guided by the teacher. Classrooms often resemble play-based ones (with different stations set up around the room), but at an Academic program the teacher leads students through the stations directly, and ties these activities to a whole-class lesson or theme.

    If you want to learn more about preschool education, check out our comprehensive guide. You can also read our in-depth answers to important preschool questions: What is preschool? What are the main preschool programs? What are the main pros and cons of preschool? What do children learn in preschool? How much does preschool cost?  What makes for a great preschool?

    What STS says: Kindergarten at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School is an innovative, collaborative and inquiry-based program that instills a joy and love for life-long learning. It promotes the development of the whole child in a safe and nurturing learning environment. We believe each day should be filled with laughter, shared stories and learning experiences so their unique talents will emerge and flourish.

    Curriculum Pace Standard-enriched

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What STS says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.

    Academic Culture Rigorous

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.

    What STS says: This information is not currently available.

    Developmental Priorities Balanced, Intellectual

    Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
    Equal attention is paid to a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
    Academically strong, creative, and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions.

    What STS says: Our mission – to develop well-balanced students for a life of purpose by inspiring excellence in scholarship, leadership and character.

    Special Needs Support No support

    No support

    STS offers no/limited support for students with learning difficulties or special needs.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      Learning disabilities
      Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
      Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
      Language Processing Disorder
      Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
      Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
      Asperger's Syndrome
      Down syndrome
      Intellectual disability
      Williams syndrome
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Clinical anxiety
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      Multiple sclerosis
      Cerebral palsy
      Muscular dystrophy
      Spina Bifida
      Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple physical
    • Forms of support delivery:
      Support Type = offered
      A regular class with indirect support
      A regular class with resource assistance
      A regular class with withdrawal assistance
      A special education class with partial integration
      A full-time special education class
    • Additional Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Social skills programs
      Occupational therapy
      Speech-language therapy

    Gifted Learner Support No Support

    STS does not offer any specialized programming for gifted learners.

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Homework Policy

    In grade 12, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School students perform an average of 1.5 hours of homework per night.

    Nightly Homework
    STS 15 mins15 mins15 mins30 mins45 mins45 mins60 mins60 mins60 mins90 mins90 mins90 mins
    Site Average16 mins18 mins24 mins29 mins34 mins40 mins53 mins57 mins69 mins80 mins95 mins108 mins

    Report Card Policy

    How assessments are delivered across the grades:

    Lettered or numbered grades1 to 12
    Prose (narrative)-based feedback1 to 12
    Academic achievement reporting1 to 12
    Habits and behaviour reporting1 to 12
    Parent-teacher meetings1 to 12

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.


    What STS says:
    • The rich and robust co-curricular program at STS is a key component in the delivery of our ambitious mission. Because most parents typically have children in only one or two grades at any given time, it is difficult to grasp the full breadth of our co-curricular programming. The elementary division offers over 20 different clubs throughout the school year. Middle and Senior School students have access to dozens of sports teams, performing arts groups, speech and debate teams, outdoor programs, service opportunities and a host of other activities. It is through this bounty of experiences that STS develops the character and leadership qualities within our students and set them on a pathway toward living purposeful lives. Beyond the important aspect of scholarship, these constitute the key tenets of our mission. Many of these activities also have a positive impact on students’ mental and physical well-being, foster creativity, confidence and poise, and cultivate life-long interests that will contribute to their enjoyment and appreciation of life throughout adulthood.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Field Hockey
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
      Cross-country skiing
      Ice Skating
    • Clubs Offered
      Art Club
      Community Service
      Debate Club
      Drama Club
      Environmental Club
      Foreign Language Club
      Jazz Ensemble
      Math Club
      Musical theatre/Opera
      Outdoor Club
      Outdoor Education
      Poetry/Literature club
      Robotics club
      Round Square
      Science Club

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    What STS says: Tuition and fees cover the exceptional experiences, teachers, and resources not covered by government grants and philanthropy. These unique aspects of an STS education ensure that we stay true to our mission – to develop well-balanced students for a life of purpose by inspiring excellence in scholarship, leadership and character.

    Need-based financial aid

    Grade range that need-based aid is offered: K to 12
    Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid11%
    Average aid package size$8,900
    Percentage of total enrollment on financial aid11%
    Total aid available$280,000

    Application Deadline:
    February 15, 2018 Repeats annually

    More information:

    Application Details:

    This school works with Apple Financial Inc. for processing financial applications
    Need-based bursaries are offered to families who demonstrate a gap between their available income and the expected cost of a STS education. Qualification is determined by the Financial Assistance Committee in conjunction with a recommendation from Apple Financial Services. Families apply for assistance through Apple Financial’s Financial Assistance for Canadian Students (FACS) application found on their website (www.applefinancialservices.ca). Apple Financial in turn makes a recommendation for bursary directly to STS. The Financial Assistance Committee reviews each application and awards assistance in accordance with School policy. For more information on the various bursary funds and STS awards, please visit: www.sts.ab.ca/admissions/FA/Bursaries.

    Merit based Scholarships

    STS Scholars
    Amount: $10,000
    Deadline: 02/10/2017
    Eligibility Details: Students grade 10—

    Students graduating from Calgary Girls’ School, Glenmore Christian Academy, and River Valley School are eligible to apply to become an STS Scholar. These merit-based scholarships are awarded to students committed to excellence in scholarship, leadership and character. To learn more, please visit: www.sts.ab.ca/admissions/STSScholars.

    Application Details:

    STS seeks students who are committed to excellence in scholarship, leadership, and character. To that end, the STS Scholars Scholarship program was created to attract mission appropriate students from the top elementary and middles schools in Calgary. At this time, students graduating from Calgary Girls' School, Glenmore Christian Academy, and River Valley School are eligible to apply to become a STS Scholar. In addition to the application process for admission to the School, potential STS Scholars must complete the application below:

    Application for STS Scholars

    The STS Scholars Scholarship programme awards up merit scholarships up to $10,000 per year to students from selected feeder schools. The scholarships are renewable up for three years or until a student graduates from STS. For additional information regarding the STS Scholars programme, please email Director of Enrollment, Lydia Hawkins ([email protected]). 

    For more details, visit: www.sts.ab.ca/admissions/STSScholars
    Forever Woods Scholarship
    Amount: $5,000
    Deadline: 02/10/2017
    Eligibility Details: Students grade 10—

    Merit scholarships are awarded to students who, along with criteria specific to each scholarship, are demonstrating the potential to achieve excellence in scholarship, leadership and character. We currently offer the following merit scholarships:

    Forever Woods Scholarship
    The Forever Woods Endowment Fund supports scholarships for students entering Grade 10 at STS in the form of the Forever Woods Scholarships. Both students new to STS and continuing their education at STS are eligible to apply.

    Application Details:

    Candidates for scholarships will be selected by the Scholarships Committee on the basis of merit and financial need. All scholarships are annual and renewable, and the Committee will consider students who best fit the various criteria outlined for each scholarship. In the event a recipient fails to sustain a satisfactory record as to scholarship and character their award may be revoked. 

    To download application forms for printing please click here and submit to [email protected]

    For more details, visit: www.sts.ab.ca/ForeverWoods


    Total enrollment 675
    Average enrollment per grade52
    Average class size16 to 18
    Gender (grades)K to Gr. 12 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution:

    Day Enrollment303038395050666666758278



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    InterviewK - 12
    SSAT6 - 12
    SSAT (out of province)6 - 12
    Entrance Exam(s)1 - 12
    Entrance Essay7 - 12
    Application Fee

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:
    February 10, 2017

    What STS says:

    Early decision - November 30, 2016

    Regular decision - February 10, 2017

    Rolling admission begins February 11, 2017

    The full application to STS includes:

    1. Online Application

    2. Confidential School Report Form

    3. Final Report Cards from previous two years

    4. Most Recent Report Card or Progress Report

    5. Interview

    6. Individual or Group Assessment


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School is looking for: The Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School experience encourages students to find their passions, give back to their community, and prepare themselves for a life of purpose. To that end, our students are inspired to seek excellence in scholarship, leadership, and character.

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypeK123456789101112
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    32 (93%)4 - 6 (100%)0 - 2 (33%)4 - 6 (83%)15 - 20 (90%)0 - 5 (71%)6 - 10 (60%)0 - 2 (80%)0 - 2 (66%)15 - 20 (100%)0 - 2 (100%)0 - 2 (100%)

    University Placement

    Services = offered
    Career planning
    Mentorship Program
    University counseling
    Key Numbers
    Average graduating class size75
    *Canadian "Big 6" placements35
    **Ivy+ placements5

    *Number of students in 2015 who attended one of McGill, U of T, UBC, Queen's University, University of Alberta, or Dalhousie University.

    **Number of students since 2005 that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)

    What Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School says:

  • The STS Class of 2016 had a total of 70 graduates, with confirmed attendance at 22 universities in four countries (Canada, USA, England, and Scotland), with offers made from 51 schools across five countries, and close to $650,000 in scholarships.

  • Notable Alumni

    Alumnus Graduation Year Accomplishment
    Dan Hays 1954 Retired Senator, member of the Privy Council of Canada, partner at Norton Rose Canada
    Nick Graham 1976 Owner of Fresh Happy People & former Chief Underwear Officer of Joe Boxer Corp.
    Shanoon Bowen-Smed 1982 President and CEO, Bowen Workplace Solutions
    Jill Nation 1970 Physician and professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary
    Justice Rosemary Nation 1971 Justice of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench
    Albert Schultz 1981 Actor, director and founding artistic director of Toronto’s celebrated Soulpepper Theatre Company
    Jamie Clarke 1986 Extreme adventurer, Everest summiteer, owner of Out There Adventure Centre & Live Out There web business
    Dave Pierce 1990 Emmy award-winning songwriter, composer, producer
    Judd Palmer 1990 Owner of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop
    Craig Adams 1995 Professional NHL player
    Heather Gilley 1978 Physician
    Harvey Locke 1975 Conservationist, writer and photographer, co-founder of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
    James Cross 1980 Professor, University of Calgary
    Ryan Harris 1990 Marine Archaeologist
    Alim Mitha 1993 Neurosurgeon
    Mark Alexander 1982 President – Americas, Campbell Soup Company
    Susan Elliott 1989 Scientist, Entreprenuer, Principal and Co-founder, Virtus Insights Inc.
    Robert-Falcon Oullette 1995 Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre

    Alumni Highlights

    • The STS Alumni Association fosters a lifelong relationship with alumni, keeping our school’s deep-rooted traditions alive, while providing opportunities to be engaged with the STS community. Our ever-growing alumni community consists of more than 6,000 former students, parents, retired teachers and staff – and this family loves to get together together and reconnect with each other and the School. We hold many alumni events on the STS campus and around the globe each year. These events give our alumni the chance to reconnect, reminisce and celebrate. They also bring our current students and successful alumni together to share stories of their experiences, paths taken and lessons learned. These invaluable mentorship opportunities add to the STS student experience, giving them a supportive and nurturing network, far beyond their grade school years.

    Stories & Testimonials


    Marti McKay Week

    In 1984 a fine arts week was founded at STS. It was created to commemorate Marti McKay, a student who died suddenly in 1981. She was a talented poet, and her creative legacy is a thriving Fine Arts Program at STS. Over 20 years later, Marti McKay Week has become an integral and much anticipated part of the School year. Every year, an artist-in-residence is invited to the School to discuss and demonstrate an art form they love. Over the years, the variety of talent represented has been incredible. Poets, writers, actors, musicians, dancers, puppeteers and sculptors have all come to the school to share their knowledge and skill with the students. The week gives students a change from their regular schedule, and allows them to explore art in a new way or medium. The interactive time with the artist involves students from all grades and can be tailored to their skill levels and interests. Marti McKay Week is evidence of the value STS places on the arts. The Fine Arts Program has an important place in the curriculum of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, and is as important as academics and athletics in the history and life of the School. ...

    Outdoor Education Program

    The Outdoor Education Program is a powerful part of the STS curriculum. Traditional classroom subjects such as science, mathematics, history and geography are enhanced with practical application and experience in the outdoors - providing a unique and concentrated opportunity for social interaction, stewardship and adventure in a remarkable and effective learning environment. Students from Grades 1-12 participate in the OE program at STS. The elementary students begin building a foundation of learning and experience that will continue to develop in junior and senior high, including an extensive program in environmental education and outdoor pursuits. Junior high students participate in cross-country skiing expeditions, canoeing, cycling and backpacking trips, designed to develop their skills. The junior high OE trips are part of the physical education requirement for all students. In senior high, OE becomes an elective. However, physical education is still a requirement and there are some aspects of outdoor education in all three years of the senior high phys-ed program. The students may take part in ski touring, multi-day backpacking, river canoeing and cycling expeditions, as well as activities such as rock climbing, telemark skiing and mountain biking. There are few, if any, more extensive programs in Canada. Students' benefit from the Outdoor Education program in many ways. Students are exposed to basic safety and survival skills; instructed on specific activity skills, such as skiing, cycling and canoeing; and challenged to work with a team and in an environment other than the classroom. Students during their time at STS are required, and then encouraged, to participate in many of the curricular and co-curricular Outdoor Education trips offered each year. This program challenges students to achieve more than they thought possible. ...

    Mini Mall

    In 1995, Mrs. MacLean and her Grade 5 class visited a local school to participate in an exciting math enrichment program. She was so impressed by the potential for the program and the opportunity for learning it provided, that she decided to bring it back to STS. Ten years later, Mini Mall has grown and evolved into an annual School tradition. Students, faculty and even returning alumni look forward to shopping at rummage sale prices. It is so popular that an encore edition of the "Mall" was included in the School's Centennial Celebrations Spring Fair this year. But what is Mini Mall? The central idea that guides the Mini Mall program is that owning and operating a small business requires a multitude of skills. As part of the Primary Years Program (IB), these skills begin with math, but include an introduction to marketing, credit applications and budgeting. As small business owners, the students must take into account costs for rentals, operating costs and related service fees. For example, they must pay for a health inspection if they are serving food. Other important learning that occurs is effective teamwork, paying off debts, saving for the business and contributing back to the community. This last lesson is a large part of the success of the Mini Mall program. Proceeds from Mini Mall are donated to the Kids Help Phone and used to fund the DARE Program for Grade 6 students at STS. Students are only allowed to sell "recycled" goods and must provide at least one service. It is an opportunity for kids to "spring clean" and sell unused or unwanted belongings for charity, or to create something new with existing materials. They must also enter an agreement with their parents to earn the money needed for their business by doing chores or errands for family and friends. The students receive a number of evaluations throughout the process and learning is separated into five transdisciplinary categories: Thinking, Social, Communicating, Self-management and Research skills. The Mini Mall legacy is alive and well at STS, and plans are already underway for the 2005-2006 School tradition. ...

    Community Service

    Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School regards community service as an integral part of student life. The School's humanitarian and global focus and the School's high expectation for academic excellence encourages and reinforces a balanced lifestyle that includes giving back to the community. Volunteering is a rewarding endeavour that brings self-fulfillment and allows the individual to expand the borders of their own experience and awareness. To this end, the Agencies Program is a mandatory requirement of the Grade 11 Social Studies curriculum. Students spend an afternoon every week volunteering in seniors' homes, rehabilitation centres and daycares for an entire semester. The Agency Program encourages students to leave the comforts of classroom and school for the unfamiliar environment of public community and institutions. Helping the elderly and working directly with immigrants, disadvantaged children and disabled youth and adults to improve their quality of life makes the students aware of the invaluable gift of volunteerism. Through their participation in the program, STS students are given the unique opportunity to offer their time and talent to benefit others in their community For many of our students, exposure to the needs of others begins in Grade 1. Since its debut in 1988, the Elementary Jump Rope for Heart has been an eagerly anticipated, boisterous and entertaining event benefiting the Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation. The Grade 1 students invited seniors from a local retirement lodge to join their physical education class regularly throughout the year. The program is a great success and ended for the summer with a celebratory picnic. The entire School takes part in the Terry Fox Run, which is organized by the School Prefects each September. Though the primary objective of the run held at STS is the participation of all students and staff, funds raised from the event go to a worthy cause. Through the generous support of our families, friends and staff, STS has consistently raised significant funds for cancer research. The Community Service Program at STS is preparing for a new stage of development. The very popular and successful Humanitarian Outreach Program is evolving to Round Square, a worldwide association of schools. The six pillars that guide Round Square, I.D.E.A.L.S., stand for Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership and Service. STS is well aligned to become part of this association, as our flagship programs and mission statement demonstrate, and we look forward to the next stage in our Community Service Program. ...

    David Pierce 1976-1988

    Dave Pierce's most recent accomplishment was as musical director of Alberta's Centennial show in Calgary, performed for the Queen and Prince Phillip. He worked on the show with Bill Avery, who is also the producer/director of Calgary Stampede's Evening Show. Avery and Pierce have collaborated musically for over a decade on the annual Stampede extravaganza, and their long friendship began when Avery was impressed by Pierce's performance as a drummer with the Calgary Fiddlers. "Dave has tremendous enthusiasm, talent and ability, and these traits have enabled him to thrive professionally," says Avery. Pierce's enthusiasm, talent and ability were evident early on at STS, where he spent much of his school career. He was involved in many of the School's musical productions. "Dave was a wonderful musician at an early age. He was my first student to need an independent teaching plan because he was just so far ahead in his musical development," says Suzanne Colborne, Pierce's elementary music teacher. He was a drummer/percussionist extraordinaire for a number of School shows including the first STS Broadway musical, Annie Get your Gun in 1982, at 10 years of age. Musical talent runs in the family; his father, Arnold, accompanied the STS musical productions for many years on the piano. "My time at STS provided me with amazing connections to life-long friends and associates that now impact my daily life. The team building and personal skills learned through the Outdoor Education program, Marty McKay Week and Speech Day are tools I draw on every day," says Pierce. Now Pierce has a multi-faceted career in music. A composer, arranger and producer, he has worked with Jann Arden, Michael Bubl�Ian Tyson and Petula Clark. His composition, "Century ? Portrait of Alberta", was performed by the Calgary Philharmonic for the Queen, and conducted by Pierce himself. "When I visit the School nowadays, I?m so happy to see the evolution of a quality music and drama program. The growth at STS is fantastic. Kudos to all staff and parents for structuring a great environment for the students to learn, make friends, and grow into adults." Pierce currently lives in Calgary, Alberta, and has just completed the 10-day run of the 2005 Calgary Exhibition and Stampede's Grandstand Show. ...

    Albert Schultz

    Albert Schultz is well recognized by Canadians, as the lead in two well-known CBC dramas and as the three-time host of the Gemini Awards. He is now the artistic director of the Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto, which is committed to performing theatre from classic writers. Part of Soulpepper's mandate is to provide opportunities for youth. Through their Youth Outreach Program, the company is dedicated to bringing the performing arts to children who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity. Schultz explains how this desire to give back to the community was nurtured and encouraged through the programs at STS. "I was in drama at STS. Pat Foster was my drama teacher and I got involved with the theatricals and they were one of my best times. In Grade 12, I also taught drama to the young kids. I went into the Grade 3 class and taught them. That's where the beginning started for me ? and the joy that I got out of that is the seed that has sprouted into what I'm doing now." "I have STS to thank for a lot of this stuff. There were a lot of things that were quite remarkable. In Grade 11, Jack Hay sent us out into the community for the Agencies Program. Those volunteer programs are vitally important for a young person even if they don't understand it at the time. The lessons that you've learned of citizenship and understanding and that you exist not as an individual, but as a community and have civic responsibilities, is what you take away with you. There's a deep sense of spiritual pride that occurs even in a Grade 11 student." Soulpepper also provides classical training and mentorship for artists by offering several professional development opportunities for actors and directors. His commitment to the next generation also has its roots at STS, as Schultz taught elementary drama classes while at the School, and returned as an artist-in-residence for the junior and senior high drama program a few years after he graduated. Schultz is currently busy with his summer season of classic plays, and is preparing for Soulpepper's move to a new location in the fall. He currently lives in Toronto. ...

    Harvey Locke Class of '75

    Harvey Locke is an internationally respected environmentalist. He has served on and founded many important committees including the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. In September of 1999, Time Canada named Locke one of Canada's leaders for the 21st century. Locke says his time at Strathcona School for Boys and at STS played an important role in shaping the man he has become, who is so actively involved in conservation today. "The public school system is the bedrock of democracy, but it doesn't always meet the needs of all students. I was struggling in public school. When I entered Strathcona in Grade 6, I was introduced to teachers who were interested in me personally. And they challenged us to think more broadly, outside of conventional ideas," says Locke. "The value of the School goes beyond paying tuition and wearing a uniform. Schools like STS are the safety valves for the public system." He has fond memories of the people and times at STS, and is still close to a few of his teachers. The boy who was once a struggling elementary student became a silver medal winner at law school and had a successful, 14-year legal career in Calgary. Locke has found his calling in his current conservation and management duties with various environmental organizations. He has written many works on conservation and the environment that have been published around the world. "STS stressed the importance of citizenship by introducing us to a variety of social contexts and viewpoints. They encouraged us to engage the world." Currently spending time in Nahanni National Park, NWT and in Waterton National Park, AB, Locke continues his work, hoping to improve and preserve the earth's natural places. He lives in Toronto, Ontario and will cross Canada on a speaking tour in the fall of 2005. ...

    In the News


    January 24, 2018 - Modern education enhanced through STS’ $24-million expansion

    Calgary’s oldest independent school, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS), opens its brand new $24-million, 100% donor-funded expansion. ...

    January 28, 2014 - Students Integrate On-Campus Cross-Country Skiing into Education

    One of the many amazing benefits of being located on a country campus - just a few minutes south of Calgary - is the cross-country skiing. ...

    January 28, 2014 - Shrek the Musical Wows Audiences

    STS was proud to present Shrek the Musical for the first time in Western Canada. ...


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