We are very excited that you will be part of our second graduating class at Robert Thirsk High School (RTHS). We know that this last year of public school will happen in a heartbeat, as together we learn, grow and prepare for your next steps. We all have important roles to help you, as young adults, 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. Talk to your teachers, parents and other advocates about grade 12 – what will be different, the same? What will make this year a memorable experience as you prepare for next steps? What legacy will you leave RTHS as an individual? as a class?
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 ask questions and com to know about these influences.
- High School Redesign in Alberta
- IRIS (Learning Plans)
- Graduation Requirements (Diploma and Certificate) 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 communities in Grade 12- Blue, Orange and Red.
This year, you are expected to attend FOCUS – as a senior student and leader, we are confident that you will use your time responsibly to be successful in your Grade 12 courses – an important skill for post-secondary and the world of work. Teachers will be available to give extra help and enrichment opportunities throughout the semester during Focus time. All 30 level courses require students to maximize their focus time to complete course work.
At significant times, teachers may require your attendance during Focus for mandatory instruction or activities.
Various other learning opportunities (career, wellness, post secondary information) will also be available during this time so watch the digital monitors for these announcements.
Your Connect teacher is your school advocate and mentor. This teacher will help you navigate high school and help ensure you have the necessary grad requirements. We will continue to work on learning plans, help prepare you for graduation and your post-graduation plans. Please continue to communicate with your connect teacher about your ideas for connect time.
If you did not complete CALM requirements in Grade 11 see your Connect Teacher for opportunities to complete this grad requirement as soon as possible.
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.
English Language Arts (ELA) (ELA 30-1/30-2/30-4)
In ELA 30-1, students demonstrate critical thinking about literature and communication. Emphasis is on critical analysis and response to literature, including extended texts including Shakespeare. This course is for students considering careers that may require strong reading and communication skills and for those interested in post‑secondary education.
In ELA 30-2, material will often have daily life or practical applications for students. Emphasis is on personal response. This course is designed for students considering careers that require basic reading and communication skills and for those interested in a range of post-secondary education or other opportunities.
In ELA 30-4 students demonstrate clear language skills and success in ELA to support goals for work and life. Knowledge and Employability ELA 30-4,is the last in a sequence designed for students who may transition directly into the world of work, pursue further training/courses or pursue other opportunities that may not require post-secondary education.
**New this year: English 30-1 students can choose to complete the course by November 2015 and write the November ELA diploma exams. This accelerated path would mean attending the class initially registered in with an additional commitment to attend two Focus blocks a week from mid September to the week of the diploma exams (one weekday specified by the teacher and one chosen by the student). In this Focus time, students will complete a novel study and develop diploma skills for multiple choice test taking and timed writing.
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 thestudy 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 (SS 30-1/30-2/30-4)
In Grade 12 Social Studies, you will explore different perspectives on ideology through a variety of 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. Current Events will also be incorporated into the program.
- Related Issue 1: To what extent should ideology be the foundation of identity?
- Related Issue 2: To what extent is resistance to liberalism justified?
- Related Issue 3: To what extent are the principles of liberalism viable?
- Related Issue 4: To what extent should my actions as a citizen be shaped by ideology?
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 is your first contact should you or your parents have any questions about school.
Focus Time is expected for additional support, or may provide enrichment activities related to your courses.
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 will be able to see information about 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.