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. Have a discussion with your teachers, parents and other advocates. What is important to you in grade 11? How will it be different/the same as your first year of high school? How will you prepare for grade 12?
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 (Diploma 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 11.
Eventually this year, you will have scheduled FOCUS – a time where you will have more choice as a learner. Remember, during some FOCUS times, you teachers will require you in specific classes for additional enrichment and support.
Your Connect teacher is your school advocate and mentor. This teacher will help you navigate your learning plans 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. These competencies and outcomes combined will help you reach a deeper understanding of the Progams of Study.
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
Our ELA courses in grade 11 are blended; by the end of grade 11 students may get credit in one of these:
- Dash 4 ELA which focuses on: verbal and social communication; real world of work; home and school texts; earning a Knowledge and Employability Certificate
- Dash 2 which focuses on: text study of character and plot; visual and persuasive text; functional ideas, diction and syntax; writing visual responses, literary explorations, speeches and letters; earning high school graduation requirements; and is required for some post-secondary institutions
- Dash 1 ELA which focuses on: text analysis of theme and symbol, print and analytical text; sophisticated ideas, diction and syntax (example: Shakespeare); writing responses to text and critical analytical responses; and is required for university entrance.
At the grade 11 and 12 level the math courses are sequenced to provide a foundation of mathematical knowledge that is personalized to the individual goals and aptitudes of each student. Each course sequence is designed to provide students with the mathematical understandings, rigour and critical-thinking skills that have been identified for specific post-secondary programs of study and for direct entry into the work force.
“-1” Course Sequence
This course sequence is designed to provide students with the mathematical understandings and critical thinking skills identified for entry into postsecondary programs that require the study of calculus. Topics include algebra and number; measurement; relations and functions; trigonometry; and permutations, combinations and binomial theorem.
“-2” Course Sequence
This course sequence is designed to provide students with the mathematical understandings and critical thinking skills identified for post-secondary studies in programs that do not require the study of calculus. Topics include geometry, measurement, number and logic, logical reasoning, relations and functions, statistics, and probability.
“-3” Course Sequence
This course sequence is designed to provide students with the mathematical understandings and critical thinking skills identified for entry into the majority of trades and for direct entry into the work force. Topics include algebra, geometry, measurement, number, statistics and probability.
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.
These courses involve:
- An integrated approach to the sciences
- A strong foundation of background knowledge and skill development in biology, chemistry and physics with content connections to other non-science fields of study
Science 20 Units:
- Chemical Changes
- Changes in Motion
- The Changing Earth
- Changes in Living Systems
Science 30 Units:
- Living Systems Respond to their Environment
- Chemistry and the Environment
- Electromagnetic Energy
- Energy and the Environment
Success in these courses will lead to: Post-secondary academic courses for students who do not intend to pursue a Science-related program
These courses involve:
- An introduction to the biological sciences and an academic approach to fundamental biological concepts
Biology 20 Units:
- Energy and Matter Exchange in the Biosphere
- Ecosystems and Population Change
- Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration
- Human Systems
Biology 30 Units:
- Nervous and Endocrine Systems
- Reproduction and Development
- Cell Division, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- Population and Community Dynamics
Success in these courses will lead to: Post-secondary studies in science and the biological sciences.
These courses involve:
- An introduction to the basic study of the chemical sciences
Chemistry 20 Units:
- The Diversity of Matter and Chemical Bonding
- Forms of Matter: Gases
- Matter as Solutions, Acids and Bases
- Quantitative Relationships in Chemical Changes
Chemistry 30 Units:
- Thermochemical Changes
- Electrochemical Changes
- Chemical Changes of Organic Compounds
- Chemical Equilibrium Focusing on Acid-Base Systems
Success in these courses will lead to: Post-secondary studies in science, chemistry and engineering.
These courses involve:
- An introduction to the basic study of the science of Physics
Physics 20 Units:
- Circular Motion, Work and Energy
- Oscillatory Motion and Mechanical Waves
Physics 30 Units:
- Momentum and Impulse
- Forces and Fields
- Electromagnetic Radiation
- Atomic Physics
Success in these courses will lead to: Post-secondary studies in science, physics, astronomy, and engineering.
This course involves:
- an integrated approach to general science and science literacy
Science 24 units:
- Applications of Matter and Chemical Change
- Understanding Common Energy Conversion Systems
- Disease Defence and Human Health
- Motion, Change and Transportation Safety
Success in this course will lead to: completion of the Grade 11 Science requirement for a high school diploma.
Biology 20/30/35 AP (Advanced Placement)
The Biology Advanced Placement program:
- An extension of the mainstream Biology program through the AP curriculum
- Provides enrichment and acceleration
- University advanced placement or credit may be awarded based on the Biology AP exam mark
Chemistry 20/30/35 AP (Advanced Placement)
The Chemistry Advanced Placement program:
- An extension of the mainstream Chemistry program through the AP curriculum
- Provides enrichment and acceleration
- University advanced placement or credit may be awarded based on the Chemistry AP exam mark
Please Note: The Biology AP and Chemistry AP course combinations rotate every second year. Please take this into consideration when scheduling.
Social Studies 20 explores the issue : To what extent should we embrace nationalism? The course includes the following four related issues:
- To what extent should nation be the foundation of identity?
- To what extent should national interest be pursued?
- To what extent should internationalism be pursued?
- To what extent should individuals and groups in Canada embrace a national identity?
Blended Core Course Sequences – At RTHS we blend the dash 1, 2, 3 and 4 courses in ELA, Social ONLY – so that all of the Grade 11’s work together. We blend because we believe that you still have room to grow and succeed. Take the time to understand the outcomes required for each course sequence (dash one outcomes are more complex). Challenge yourself to complete the most challenging outcomes that you can based on your abilities, interests, past successes and future plans. Think about your “next steps” for Grade 12 and beyond – research what courses are required for your plans.
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
For many of you, your Connect teacher will be the same as last year. (For those whose Connect teacher has changed, your Connect Teacher from last year – if at RTHS – and your Connect teacher from this year will work closely to help this transition.) Your Connect teacher is your advocate in learning, and is your first contact should you or your parents have any questions about school.
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 thrive.
We look forward to learning with you this year.