No splitting hairs in offering option
Education: St. Luke’s Outreach School providing plenty of choices
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 06:00 am
Students looking for an alternative when they registered at an Okotoks school last fall got more than that – they got plenty of options.
McKenzie Robstad, a Grade 12 student at St. Luke’s Outreach School, was one of the students taking cosmetology on Monday Jan. 15 in what is her first year at the alternative school.
“I was excited to find out there was cosmetology here – I always wanted to take cos,” Robstad said. “Here, I was just able to jump in [as a Grade 12] student.”
St. Luke’s Outreach School is an alternative school, which offers both online and a classroom setting for students who have opted not to go to a traditional school. It is ideal for students who may not fit in to traditional schools, for reasons such as work and other concerns.
Robstad is taking three other courses along with ‘cos:’ English 30-1, Biology 30 and Math 20-2. A decent workload, and there’s nothing like braiding hair to help wash away the reading, writing and arithmetic blues.
“Having ‘cos’ helps get me excited and ready to come to school,” Robstad said. “On Mondays I am kind of tired and stuff. Knowing I have cos makes it more relaxing. I find it therapeutic.”
Crystal Benz, a hair designer with Shear Madness in Okotoks, teaches St. Luke’s students her trade every Monday at the alternative school on Elizabeth Street.
“I teach the students all the practical stuff – Mrs. (Val) McLellan teaches the theory and then I do the practical, the hands-on things,” said Benz, who has been helping at St. Luke’s for about four years.
She said St. Luke’s can’t run the full-program such as offered at Foothills Composite, but it can fit in with the student schedules, some of whom have extensive work hours.
“I think for these young students it’s a great introduction to it,” Benz said. “It teaches the basics, design, long-hair design. It’s fun for them and it gives them credits towards graduation.”
Giving students plenty of options is a priority at St. Luke’s, said vice-principal Dylan Sinclair.
“There are students where St. Luke’s would be an incredible fit for them but they might not come here because we are a smaller school and might not offer options,” Sinclair said. “We are outreach but we can offer like any other schools.”
He said often when parents and students inquire about St. Luke’s, they are surprised there are options.
“We are just like any other school – we have phys-ed, food sciences and others,” he said.
Sinclair is also the physical education teacher and while he must follow the curriculum, being an alternative school with no gym, about 90 students with varying schedules, some creativity is needed.
“We still have to follow the program of studies, the fundamentals of soccer, volleyball, basketball, we do all that,” Sinclair said. “But we also go off campus for show-shoeing, hiking... it’s cool. Other schools do that as well, and we can do it all.”
Several activities are done at the Crescent Point Regional Field House, with the Okotoks and High River St. Luke’s students joining forces. They recently participated in a game of capture the flag, using Nerf guns.
Other courses include Sinclair firing up the skillet and/or oven for food sciences. There are also art classes and enhanced reading studies to name a few.
Need someone to give you an educated guess on the Academy Awards winners from the list of recently announced nominees? Ask a St. Luke’s student.
“We did film studies last year and it was a big hit,” Sinclair said. “It’s not just watching films, it’s film studies, film shots, wide angles, it’s awesome.”
Having plenty of options is important, according to Robstad.
“It’s more opportunity,” she said. “I think it’s really important that St. Luke’s, like all schools, have them.”
St. Luke’s has four outreach schools within the Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools systems. They are in Brooks and Drumheller as well as Okotoks and High River.
For more information go to redeemer.ab.ca