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  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 02, 2013 06:00 am

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Catholic division partners with MacEwan

Greater St. Albert Catholic students will get a chance to earn university credits next year thanks to a new deal with an Edmonton university – a deal that could eventually send them to China.

Catholic board superintendent David Keohane announced Thursday that the Catholic board had signed a five-year deal with Grant MacEwan University’s School of Business to offer three university-level courses at local Catholic high schools.

The three courses – which are based on business, management and business law – will be available at St. Albert Catholic High, École Secondaire St. Marguerite d’Youville and Morinville Community High. Each will be worth high-school credits, taught by university professors and (unlike IB or AP courses) will be worth actual credits at any post-secondary institution.

The courses will launch alongside the district’s new Mandarin language courses this fall.

This is likely the first partnership of its kind in the Capital region, Keohane said in an interview.

Keohane said he got the idea for the courses after he visited Chongqing, China, as part of a board delegation.

Many high-school students simply aren’t challenged by or interested in regular course work, Keohane said. The province, meanwhile, is pushing the importance of business literacy, entrepreneurial spirit, and student-focused learning in schools.

MacEwan already had an Asia-Pacific program, said assistant superintendent David Quick, so he and Keohane proposed a partnership to them. Two years later, and they’re ready to roll it out.

This partnership will give students a taste of university and business life within a high-school environment, said Mike Henry, MacEwan’s associate dean of business. B.C.’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University has a similar program, he noted.

The three university courses will be open to high-achieving students next year, Quick said. Students will take preparatory courses in business and Mandarin during Grades 10 and 11 to qualify for the university ones in their final year. Students entering Grades 11 and 12 this fall should have time to qualify for at least one of the university classes before they graduate, he added.

Quick wasn’t sure where the university courses would be taught, but said students would likely be brought to a central school by bus or video-conference.

About 20 students should qualify for these courses next year, Keohane said. Within three years, he hoped to send students in this program on exchanges to Chongqing, where they would take the same courses as here except in Mandarin.

Registration for this program starts next week at high school open houses. Visit www.gsacrd.ab.ca for details.

Library cards for all

A local principal hopes free library cards will get his students hooked on books.

W.D. Cuts students will be getting free memberships from the St. Albert Public Library later this month.

Cuts wanted to make e-books available to its students, said principal Mike Tod, but found they were really expensive. The school decided to partner with the public library to make use of its collection.

“Reading is such an important part of education,” Tod said, and students might read more if they can read using their smart phones. “It doesn’t matter to me if they’re reading hard-covers or e-books. I just want my kids reading.”

The library also wants to encourage reading, said Heather Dolman, public services manager at the public library, and had recently decided to offer free memberships to any city resident under 18.

This is something of a pilot project, Tod said, and if works well, it could spread to other schools in St. Albert.

The library hopes to get cards out to the 250-some Cuts students later this month, Dolman said.


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