We are very excited to have you join us at Robert Thirsk High School (RTHS). We know that these last years of public school will happen in a hearbeat, as together we learn, grow and prepare for your next steps. We all have important roles to help you be successful and thrive.
As learners, leaders, and citizens, your job is to provide evidence of what you know – think CSI. Engage, help us understand how you learn and advocate.
Our job is to teach – that is, provide subject expertise, get to know you, adapt for your learning and assess what and how you understand. Take the time to get to know us as well – to advocate, to ask questions, to connect. Together we can create a positive Comet Culture.
Our External Guides
Our work together is influenced by what is happening in the world (like changes in technology, education, and careers), by our government (The School Act, graduation requirements, etc.) and by your learning plans. It is important that you know and understand these influences.
- High School Redesign in Alberta
- IRIS (Learning Plans)
- Graduation Requirements in Alberta (see page 87)
Some RTHS Structures
RTHS has many structures to support your learning. These are a few important structures to get you started:
Our communities are one way to make our big school feel smaller. There are three learning communities for Grade 10.
Eventually this year, you will have scheduled FOCUS – a time where you will have more choice as a learner.
Your Connect teacher is your school advocate and mentor. This teacher will help you navigate high school and complete Career and Life Management (CALM).
Thirsk Days are scheduled prior to the end of each term. They are shortened days focused on more intensive enrichment and support for your learning.
Alberta Education identifies the outcomes required for completion of all Programs of Study. They also identify broader competencies and life skills linked to each course.
In all of your core and complementary courses, we will refer to and assess discipline/subject specific outcomes, and the Alberta Education Competencies for 21st Century Learning.
At RTHS, we blend the dash 1, 2, 3 and 4 courses – ELA, Math, Social Studies, and Science – so that all of the Grade 10s learn together. We blend because we believe that you still have room to grow and succeed beyond your capabilities as they were assessed in Grade 9.
English Language Arts (ELA)
All ELA Focuses on:
- a broadened definition of text; a text is anything that communicates meaning (clothes, ads, gardens, cakes, words….)
- responding to text and the world personally, critically and creatively
- student improvement in skills, confidence and strategies for creating effective communication (speaking, reading, listening, viewing, writing and representing)
- exploring what it means to be human, exploring worlds that text creators develop and managing those ideas in the context of our own understanding of the world and people
- celebrating the human spirit and student accomplishments
All Math focuses on:
- solving problems
- communicating and reasoning mathematically
- making connections between mathematics and its applications
- becoming mathematically literate
- appreciating and valuing mathematics
- making informed decisions as contributors to society.
You will learn to investigate and inquire through these topics:
- Algebra and number sense
- Relations and functions
All Science focuses on the investigation of and inquiry into scientific phenomena. Ultimately you will design your own experiment to solve a problem (building a machine, models, circuits, structures, measurement techniques and equipment). You will learn to design your own experiments by initially following given scientific procedures and analyzing then communicating your findings.
Students will learn how to investigate and inquire through these topics:
- The Cell
- Movement across membranes
- Climate and Ecosystems
- The Atom, Molecules and chemical formula
- Chemical reactions and equations
- Forms of energy (kinetic and potential)
- Energy transformations
- Energy conservation
In Grade 10 Social Studies, you will explore different perspectives on globalization through important issues and questions. You may address the issues and questions through international or national examples (-1), or through personal examples (-4), according to the course outcomes.
- Related Issue 1: Should we embrace globalization?/Should globalization shape identity?/To what extent should globalization shape identity?
- Related Issue 2: Should people in Canada respond to the legacies of historical globalization? /To what extent should contemporary society respond to the legacies of historical globalization?
- Related Issue 3: Does globalization contribute to sustainable prosperity for all people?/ To what extent does globalization contribute to sustainable prosperity for all people?
- Related Issue 4: Should I as a citizen respond to globalization?/ To what extent should I as a citizen, respond to globalization?
We encourage you to take complementary courses – many, because they are required for high school completion, and some, because they are areas of interest and growth. Get involved in Athletics, Physical Education, Career and Technology Studies (CTS), Fine Arts, Global Studies, and more.
The goal of assessment is to improve your learning. It is an ongoing conversation between you, the teacher, and your parent/guardian throughout the school year. We will assess both outcomes and competencies using both words (RTHS spectrum descriptions) and numbers.
Report cards are just one piece of the overall assessment process. They include achievement information (usually percentages) and comments regarding you progress in the course, including the alignment with Outcomes and Competencies, at a particular point in time. The marks used in Report Cards are not averages. Use D2L or Edmodo, so that you are aware of your grades before the report card is issued. Your participation as a learner in the assessment processes, and conferences, are critical to the overall process of assessment.
Homework and Attendance
You will be most successful in school if you attend classes, and complete your homework. Your teachers design assignments as building blocks to reinforce existing skills, and to build new skills.
As all assignments, tasks, and projects are important, you are expected to complete them, and provide evidence, on the due date in order to achieve “Exemplary”.
- You may ask for help and negotiate alternative deadlines – a window for completion – prior to the due date of an assignment.
- We will identify times for completion – these include FOCUS time, Thirsk Days, community access times, etc.
- We will identify opportunities to challenge, redo outcomes, and demonstrate competences.
- We will identify times when challenges are not possible, such as during summative times including report cards.
Supports and Enrichment
Your Connect Teacher
Your Connect Teacher will be identified in the fall. This teacher is your advocate in learning, and is your first contact should you or your parents have any questions about school.
Our Core Block
You will work on one or a combination of core subjects (ELA, math, science, social) during this time – the subject work may be distinct or may combine outcomes from across disciplines. Be prepared to be flexible about what might be scheduled at what time.
Our Focus Time
Focus Time is for learning and is part of your core block – your core teachers may plan for an extended activity from the core block such as a science lab, may regroup you for additional support, or may provide enrichment activities related to science, ELA, math or social. You may also be asked to participate in a complementary course activity. As you become a strong self- advocate for your own learning, you will be able to direct, in consultation with your teachers, your focus time and determine the flexibility that you require.
D2L, Edmodo and the Virtual Learning Commons
Resources related to RTHS and the programs of study are available on our website. These resources will help you understand more about the outcomes, give you examples of assignments and tips for completing your homework. You will be able to track your progress on D2L or Edmodo. You may also access information on your marks on Home Logic.
Your Learning Plan
Your learning plan (on IRIS) is also online – you will use Career Cruising to help you track your credits. Your learning plan is where you will highlight specific assignments for discussion at student-involved conferences.
Teacher Access Time
Ask your teachers when they are available, before and after school.
Prior to the end of each of the four reporting periods, we have two “Thirsk Days” for extra support and enrichment.
While assessment happens all year long, at the end of each term we will have a scheduled summative assessment time. There will be no regular timetable; you will attend based on your personal schedule, as required for outcome/competency challenges, projects, presentations and exams.
Expect community updates on our learning community section of the website. We are available via phone, email or in person. Our goal is to get back to you within 48 hours during regular school days. Please note that, because our unique work is focused on instruction and students during the day, we may not be available for immediate email or social media response.
Robert Thirsk High School is your school. Get involved – participate as a learner, leader and citizen. It is a very human place – we will have many successes, we will make mistakes, and we will grow – our goal is to be successful – to thrive togther.
We look forward to learning with you this year.