Tutorials

Tutorials are designed to give students an extra opportunity to fill gaps in their learning. For example, students who struggle with reading are assigned to tutorials that address their specific reading issues; or students who didn’t quite get a certain math lesson can be assigned to a re-teach tutorial where they can do the lesson over again but in a different way. Alternatively, students who don’t require extra help can engage in extension activities to deepen their understanding of their studies.

Tutorials run every afternoon for 25 minutes. Mondays and Wednesdays are dedicated to humanities with a focus on literacy. Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math with a focus on numeracy. For the most part, teachers assign students to the tutorial that best addresses the student’s needs. However, students can be given some choice in this process. Ferocious Fridays are all about student choice when they are given a variety of interesting activities to explore that they wouldn’t normally be exposed to in their studies.

Tutorial offerings change over time depending on student needs. For example, a group of students may have difficulty proofreading their own work, so a teacher would offer a 4-week mini-course on this subject. Other humanities tutorials may address reading fluency, vocabulary building, graphic organizers, grammar, syntax, poetry, school newsletter, short story writing, and so on. STEM tutorials include math re-teach, real world math, problem-solving, number sense, remedial math, and so forth. Ferocious Friday tutorials include computer coding, photography, run club, ceramics, origami, driver’s ed., yoga, choir, fantasy hockey, chess, crossfit, Lego, guitar, etc.

Ask your child what tutorials they’re in. What’s their favourite? What else would they like to see offered?

Choice in Programming

Grades 7 & 8 students have choice in the complementary courses they take at Pioneer. While Alberta Learning prescribes the core courses students must take, there is some flexibility in Division III (aka junior high).

Core courses are LA, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Health & Phys. Ed. Complementary courses at Pioneer include Band, Woods, Foods, Design Studies, Art, Drama, Environmental & Outdoor Education (aka Outdoor Ed.), Robotics, Fashion Studies, and Mad Science.

Pioneer runs three equal length terms over the course of the year. Core courses and Band run all three terms (all year). The remaining complementary courses run each term.

Each grade 7 or 8 student has two complementary course slots in their timetable. In those slots, the complementary courses change each term. So in one slot, a student would have three different complementary courses over the year. In two slots they could have six complementary courses. Which is the case for many of our students. However, as it runs all year, if a student chooses to take Band, one of their slots would be filled by Band all year. Leaving them with three other complementary courses in the other slot. Therefore, a Band student takes four complementary courses a year and a non-band student takes six.

In the end, students still take the prescribed core courses, but, with guidance of their parents, they get choice in their complementary programming.

Attendance

On any given day in September, 6.8% of our students were absent. The number of absences so far in October, has grown to 10.5% for an overall year-to-date average of 8.7% absentee rate. When you look at a typical class of 28 students, that equals 2-3 students missing lessons and learning activities. On an individual scale, an average Pioneer student missed 1 day of school out of 18 in September. Over the course of the year, that would be 10 absences. Recent research out of the US indicates that for every day of school a child misses, their achievement on standardized tests drops 1%. For a student who misses 10 days in a year (once per month), that’s a drop of 10%. That 10% compounds year after year and students quickly find themselves struggling with course content. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing more than 2 days of school per month. By grade 6, chronic absenteeism is a leading indicator that a student will drop out before graduation. In order to improve opportunities for your child’s success, we ask you ensure they are in school everyday unless they are sick or in bereavement.