What can we help you with?
These are answers to a variety of commonly asked questions. If you have additional questions, please send us a note through our "Send Admissions a message" on our Welcome page. Or you can reach out to our Admissions Team by calling 403-948-5100.
What are the hours of a school day?
We have a full day Kindergarten program with that runs Mondays and Wednesdays with some full day Fridays. Classes start at 8:30 am and end at 3:15 pm.
The doors open at 8:20 am and classes begin at 8:30 am. Elementary classes have two recess breaks as well as a lunch break while Grades 7 - 12 have some breaks between classes and a lunch break each day.
The rest of the school is dismissed at 3:15 p.m. Monday to Friday.
What are the minimum ages for admission to kindergarten and grade one?
Children must be five years old by December 31st to enter kindergarten and six years old by December 31st to enter grade one. We believe that this entry age requirement helps children to be more successful in these grades.
Are all children from a family required to enroll?
We are eager to work with families who are committed to Christian education in principle. If parents believe in the importance of a Christ-centered education, they will want that for all of their children. In most cases all children are expected to be enrolled. We wish to have a well-balanced student population. Sometimes parents look to Christian schools to provide for one of their children who have special needs. Although we welcome these children, we do not wish to become a school exclusively for learning disabled children or those with discipline problems. Exceptions are made on a case by case basis where it is clearly in the interests of the individual child, or for a junior or senior high student who is opposed to attending. Students in Grades 7 to 12 need to sign our Student's Pledge.
Do you offer transportation?
We offer transportation between Calgary and Airdrie. The cost is $75 per month for each student in Grades 1 to 12. More details are available at the office. Airdrie families transport their own children and many of them carpool.
What qualifications do your teachers have?
All of our teachers are born-again Christians who subscribe wholeheartedly to our Statement of Faith and live out their Christian commitment in an exemplary manner. They must have provincial certification and a Bachelor of Education degree. We seek to employ teachers who also have Bible college training, advanced degrees, and previous teaching experience. So far, the Lord has been very faithful in providing us with exceptionally qualified and skilled staff!
Do your teachers receive any in-service training?
All teachers attend in the fall the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Teachers' Convention as well as the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges of Alberta (AISCA). Teachers have additional opportunities to attend seminars of their choice during the year. Additionally, the board provides funds for teachers to subscribe to professional journals and to further their education at a Bible college or university.
What expectations do you have of students and parents?
All families attending ACA are required to be actively attending a Christian church.
We also have behavior expectations of students and parents beyond the obvious Christian standards of honesty, respect and hard work. Some of these standards are:
- No smoking for students anywhere or anytime.
- No smoking for parents on school grounds or during school activities.
- Inappropriate touching between students is discouraged.
- Parents are asked to monitor their child’s TV and internet viewing as this has a huge impact on child behavior.
- Make-up is discouraged for elementary students.
Is there a dress code at ACA?
Yes, we have a dress code policy. Clothing is to be modest, neat, clean and in good repair. Students are not to wear clothing with offensive pictures, inappropriate slogans, or logos. There are length requirements for shorts, skirts, dresses and shirts. Tops should also have adequate coverage over shoulders to cover undergarments. Students are expected to wear their chapel shirts on chapel days.
How is your school governed?
The Board of Directors, elected by and from members of the Airdrie Christian Academy Society, determine the policies which guide the school. The Principal is responsible to supervise daily operations.
Can anyone become an ACA Society member?
Full Membership is open to those who are 18 years of age or older, who have children or grandchildren attending ACA or who are adult employees of ACA or are alumni parents. Members must also accept the Airdrie Christian Academy Society Statement of Faith, support the Objectives of the Society and support our Moral Conduct Policy. Application for admission as a Member must be approved by the Board of Directors of the Society, and members must pay an Annual Membership Fee. Membership runs from July 1 to June 30.
Do you teach the Alberta curriculum?
As an Accredited Private School, our long range plans, unit plans and lessons follow the Program of Studies provided by Alberta Education. As the choices for textbooks are concerned, we try to avoid the Alberta texts, which are filled with humanistic values and biases. Instead, we use texts from Christian publishers, where possible. We are also very intentional to integrate Scriptural truths throughout all curriculum and texts, regardless of the grade level.
How are classes at ACA different from those in a public school?
The primary difference lies in the fact that each teacher is a committed Christian who is free to teach every subject from a Christian perspective. Another major difference is the high degree of personalized instruction. The small pupil-teacher ratio, smaller class sizes and emphasis on mastery learning enable teachers to adjust the program to meet the needs of each student. The most important difference, however, is simply the presence of Christ in the school. If Christ has made a difference in your life and home, then you will understand how He makes a difference in our school.
How do you teach Mathematics from a Christian perspective?
The Scriptures are full of numbers and testify to the importance of math from Genesis to Revelation. An understanding of math was and is crucial for God's people to do His will. Furthermore, our motivation for learning math is different. For example, we teach children to divide accurately because that is the only way we can share fairly. An understanding of percent is important in order to tithe. In short, mathematics, like every subject, should be viewed differently by Christians.
Can your school accommodate learning disabled or gifted children?
Through our excellent teaching and resource staff, we can support the needs of a wide range of student abilities, from those with moderate disabilities to those who are gifted. While government special-needs funding for mild or moderately disabled children is minimal, we can still accommodate the learning needs of quite a number of these coded students. Teachers also strive to challenge and hone the abilities of students who are especially gifted. We do not, however, have the resources available to provide the specialized services for students requiring extensive personalized supports and/or programming modifications. Considering each student's success is important within the context of the existing classroom dynamics and available resources.
Do you accept children of all learning levels?
We believe that Christian education should be available to as many families as possible, and therefore, we seek to provide Christian education for as many children as possible. However, due to our limited resources as an independent school, we cannot offer the same range of programming that is available in the public system and must be careful not to overpromise our services. Every student who comes to ACA is first assessed so that we have a clearer understanding of their needs, after which we talk with their parents about recommendations to best serve the child. There are some occasions when we hold a child back to repeat a grade, and some rare occasions when we cannot accept a child based on their programming needs.
What kind of program do you offer for high school?
Our program is designed to allow students to enter university, technical school, or the world of work. We encourage all students to aim high and take as many core subjects as possible. Regardless of their ultimate goal, most students will find that broad general education is the best foundation for the future. All core courses and a select group of electives are taught by direct teacher instruction. A number of additional electives are also available either online or through the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.
Do you have a program of standardized testing?
Students in grades one through eight write the Canadian Achievement Tests (CAT4) in the spring of each year. This is a comprehensive battery of achievement tests which enables us to compare our students with students in schools all across Canada. Areas covered are: Reading, Spelling, Punctuation, Capitalization, Vocabulary, Word Analysis, Math Concepts, Math Problem Solving, and Math Computation. New students write the test in the fall as well as the spring in order to provide a basis for comparison. Our grade 3 students participate in the Alberta Government Student Learner Assessment testing in the fall. Students in grades six, and nine write the Provincial Achievement Tests, and those in grade twelve level classes write the Alberta Diploma Exams.
How well do ACA students do on these tests?
Exceptionally well. Our students consistently exceed provincial expectations on the Alberta Achievement Tests and Diploma Exams, typically performing in the top 10 - 15% of the province.
Do you have single-grade or split-grade classrooms?
That depends on our enrollment. In the case that we have low enrollment in certain classes we will add a split class. It is our goal to keep the student-teacher ratio as low as possible and sometimes that involves split-classes.
Can teachers maintain high standards with different grades in one classroom?
Most definitely. There are a number of techniques teachers employ to ensure that both grades receive the appropriate instruction and adequate teacher time. Our experience has been that students do very well in either a split-grade or single-grade classroom. It should be noted that split-grade classrooms are used very effectively throughout both public and private schools.
How do new students adjust to your program?
Most students have no trouble at all, but for some (particularly older ones) the first year can be difficult for several reasons. First, our emphasis on personal responsibility and accountability requires a change in work habits. Students who, in the past, have accepted a failing grade rather than complete their homework assignments find it hard when they discover that homework must be completed (if not at home, then in detention). Our focus on excellence (an 'A' is 90% in elementary school) and emphasis on mastery learning in the basics requires that students put out more effort than they have in previous schools. Nevertheless, most students take pride in their accomplishments once they realize that they can do well if they really try. Success then leads to more success.
How does your physical education program work?
We use our gym and outdoor space throughout the year for physical education classes and practices. We do a variety of physical activities including soccer, cross country running, skating, volleyball, basketball badminton and track & field. Our elementary students also participate in a weekly Terry Fox Run. We offer Cross Country running in the fall as our team sport for Elementary, and Volleyball, Basketball, Badminton and Track & Field as team sports for secondary school. Our sports teams are members of leagues based out of Calgary. We also have a full PE program as part of our school, plus the option of taking part in Outdoor Education and Advanced Fitness classes. Beyond this, we encourage our students to get involved in city leagues as much as possible. The community programs for hockey, skating, soccer, gymnastics, and baseball provide excellent opportunities for our students to mix with and be a witness to students in our community.
Do you use computers in the classroom?
Each teacher has a computer with up-to-date productivity software on which to plan lessons and produce materials to use in their classes. Elementary students have scheduled access to Chromebooks throughout the day. A variety of Computer Studies courses are offered at the middle school and senior high level. Internet access is available to all teachers and junior and senior high students. Access is strictly controlled and monitored. Junior and senior high students are required to bring their own devices (laptop or tablet). We use Google Classroom as a tool for students, parents and teachers.
Do the students go on field trips?
Each class typically goes on about two field trips per year, although Kindergarten goes on far more. Elementary students may attend the Science Center, Tyrell Museum, Chinese Cultural Center, Heritage Park, the Calgary Zoo, etc. There is a two day retreat for junior and senior high students in the fall, as well as trips to the Calgary theatres and other events.
How much homework is assigned?
The amount of homework varies with the age and ability of the student and the subject matter being taught. Teachers may choose not to assign any homework, but students who do not complete their assignments in class will automatically have homework. This encourages students to use their class time wisely. Grades one to three may be assigned up to thirty minutes a night, grades four to six up to sixty, junior high up to an hour and a half, and senior high up to two hours. While most students do not need this amount of time, some students will. Those who routinely exceed these maximums should have their program adjusted. Our students also do scripture memory work that may involve some extra practice time at home.
How does your Kindergarten program run?
The program emphasizes hands-on experiential learning. Students are exposed to basic math and pre-reading concepts and given the opportunity to develop their skills in these areas as they are able. Many, in fact, do learn to read while engaging in pre-reading play activities. The Bible is taught as a separate subject and Christian principles are reinforced throughout the day. One parent and a Teacher-Aide assist the teacher each day. The parent is responsible for providing a snack for the children. The program runs two full days each week, plus alternate Fridays, which is more efficient and simplifies transportation for families. Students must be five years old by October 31st in order to enroll.
What is your discipline policy?
Teachers are encouraged to use a biblically-based combination of rewards and correction. On the positive side these include such things as praise, privileges, stickers, etc. On the corrective side they use reprimands, loss of privileges, written assignments, and detentions. Above all, teachers are encouraged to rely on the Word of God and prayer when disciplining students. We maintain close contact with the home about any disciplinary problems and try to work together with the parents to resolve them.
How do you handle controversial issues?
Teachers are encouraged to discuss these issues when they are raised by students or occur in the natural course of class discussions. While teachers are free to indicate their own personal views, they stress that Bible-believing Christians differ on some things. They then encourage students to discuss the issue with their parents to understand their position. The school emphasizes those standard doctrinal positions which are held by all evangelical Christians. (See our Statement of Faith.) On essentials there should be unity; on non-essentials liberty; in all things love.
Who should I contact if my child has issues?
Your first person to contact should always be their teacher who works closest your child on a day to day basis. If you want to further discuss the issue it should then be taken up with the Vice Principal of your child’s division. If these people have been contacted and you still need more of a resolution, then you may contact the principal.
How can parents be actively involved in the school?
Parents are encouraged to attend our Parent/Teacher meetings, Connection nights and the Annual General Meeting. There are a number of other ways parents can help the school. Parents are needed to help with Field Trip supervision and transportation, assisting with a variety of special events throughout the year. A Volunteer response form is sent home in the fall where you can indicate the areas you are interested in volunteering. There are also several board sub-committees such as Marketing & Recruitment, Facilities Maintenance, Policy, Board Nominations, Finance, Hospitality etc.
What documentation is required of volunteers?
Each volunteer must complete a Volunteer Application form, read the Moral Conduct Policy and sign to indicate their agreement with it, and provide us with a Police Record Check with Vulnerable sector screening.
Are parents required to help in the school?
Parental involvement is a hallmark of our school. One parent from each family is expected to contribute approximately four mornings a year working assisting with classroom support in the elementary school. Many parents choose to do more than this. A Classroom Support Parent’s (CSP) duties consist of helping with supervision at recess, photocopying, and the marking of some student work. A schedule is assigned by the office staff at the beginning of the day, and then by the classroom teacher once in a classroom. Parents with children in kindergarten are expected to do classroom support in the kindergarten, but are exempt from doing classroom support in the grade school. All CSP’s must submit their volunteer documentation as mentioned in the previous point.
We also ask that parents volunteer a total of 16 hours over an above this classroom support, 8 hours in each half of the year. We ask that you give us two post-dated cheques for $125.00 each. At the end of each Semester we will either cash your cheque or return it if you have completed your volunteer time. You will be able to sign up for your choice of volunteer opportunities. We will have things you can do from home and at the school. Tasks may include:
Cleaning, painting, maintenance, stuffing envelopes, helping with school events, delivering flyers etc.
Are all families expected to do fundraising?
Not all families will be able to contribute in the same fashion, but each family is asked to raise a minimum of $250 per year (or $100 if you only have a child in Kindergarten). Most families find it very easy to do this because of the creative fundraisers that we have planned. For example, many raise well over this amount on the Read-a-Thon alone. By specifying a dollar amount on the fundraising, we have virtually eliminated the problem of some families simply coasting on the hard work of others, and it makes it clear to all what is meant by "helping with fundraising." Those who prefer may simply write a cheque to cover their fundraising commitment and not participate in the fundraising activities.
Tuition and Fees
Please visit our Tuition page by clicking here or on the link in the right hand column.
There you will be able to request this tuition information.
The majority of tuition paid is eligible for a charitable donation receipt (not including Jr. Kindergarten).
What if we can't afford tuition?
The question to be answered is rather, whether God wants your children in the school or not. If He doesn't, then you won't need the money for tuition. If He does, then He is responsible to supply it. Over the years we have heard many wonderful testimonies about God's provision of funds. Where God guides, God provides. Sometimes, of course, God's provision will come through God's people. The Board is committed to the principle that no family will be turned away for lack of funds. Tuition Bursaries may be available from our school or possibly through other organizations.
We would like to enroll our child(ren) at ACA, what is our next step?
There are 5 steps to our admissions process for students entering Grades 1 - 12. Please visit our "Application Process" web page for details.