At Guthrie School, teachers work hand-in-hand with military families to bring out the individual strengths of each student and set them on the path to a promising future. A public school located on Edmonton’s military base, Guthrie proudly serves military families and students from preschool to grade 9, focusing on both personal and academic development.
“Our school is located on the base, and a large percentage of our students are military,” says Vernice Pollmann, principal of Guthrie School. “We understand military families face unique challenges, and we offer various supports and flexibility to help military children transition successfully and thrive.”
More than 400 students attend Guthrie School today, a beautiful new building filled with natural light. Originally opened in 1952 and named in honour of Air Vice-Marshall Kenneth M. Guthrie, the school was part of the Department of National Defense School District until June 1993 when it amalgamated with Sturgeon Public Schools. The new building was opened on May 2, 2003, and provides students space to achieve at a high level and explore their love of learning. "The school may be in a new building, but it is still steeped in tradition and values", says Pollmann.
“It’s important to us that our students perform academically, but it’s equally important that they are resilient,” she says. “As a school, we have a strong, traditional value system that’s very thoughtfully woven into our programming and everyday interactions with students and families.”
Parents can find more evidence of Guthrie’s values in the Alberta Education Accountability Pillar Survey, which measures what students, parents and staff think of the school, gathering information on the quality of education. For the 2016-17 school year, Guthrie earned excellent in the categories of Safe and Caring Schools, Parental Involvement and Continuous Improvement.
Guthrie School is proud that students and parents feel that warm welcome, a cohesive school environment that accepts and embraces families from all walks of life.
“We believe our diversity makes us strong,” says Pollmann. “We welcome new students with open arms and work hard to help them integrate with ease. We strive for our students to feel they belong, demonstrate respect and good citizenship, achieve at a high level and have their choice of futures.”
Connected in the Community
The school is closely tied to the Military Family Resource Centre, which offers before and after-school care. A liaison agreement with the military base also allows use of facilities like the running track, curling rink, ice rinks, swimming pool, golf course and driving range, outdoor bike and run track and tennis courts. Guthrie School is physically attached to the military language school and has had great success offering English immersion to students with support through the use of interpreters and technology when required.
Preschool and Kindergarten
Guthrie School offers the highly-regarded preschool Headstart Program. Headstart is designed for children between the ages of three to five who need communication and/or developmental support. Children get a jumpstart on their education, building skills in communication, social development, physical development and emotional development. Screening is required for the program.
Four Headstart programs and two Junior Headstart programs are offered at Guthrie. The programs either run in the morning (8:30 - 11:20 am) or afternoon (12:30 - 3:10 pm).
The kindergarten program is offered in the mornings (8:50 – 11:30 am) or afternoons (12:35 – 3:15 pm). Children must be five years old by March 1.
Reggio Emilia Inspired Programming
Guthrie School is a Reggio Emilia-inspired school—from kindergarten to grade 3, the school offers a variety of learning spaces, plenty of natural light, elements of nature and more. Teachers engage young students with the innovative Reggio Emilia approach to learning, which develops a lifelong passion for learning and exploration through a child-centred philosophy, play and project-based instruction, student-led curriculum and joyful classrooms.
Students are challenged to pursue their own learning interests and given various opportunities to develop their individual potential. Reggio-inspired programming is incorporated through three teaching components: home (parents), teacher (school) and the environment. These include welcoming parents and family pictures in the class as well as different seating, work areas and soft lighting.
Guthrie School strongly encourages student leadership to develop confident, responsible and helpful citizens. In many ways, the school is led by the students, allowing them to voice their thoughts, mentor one another and manage certain school activities. The school offers many leadership programs and provides opportunities for students to play leadership roles—students organize Games Day, mentor younger students through Positive Playgrounds and run the school store.
Career & Technology Foundations
Junior high students can expand their knowledge by choosing from 10 CTF courses within five terms during the year. Unique courses include Sports Leadership, Chef Wars, Film Studies, Makerspace, Fit for Life, Guitar Club, Robotics, Media Development and Entrepreneurship.
Knowledge & Employability (K&E)
This unique program is available for students in grades 8 and 9 who learn best through hands-on activities. In an inclusive setting with peers, K&E classes offer modified academic expectations, individualized design and more one-on-one interaction. Students work at their own pace. Learning skills essential for the workplace, community and home, students obtain a sense of success and entry-level job skills.