Your Guide to Calgary Schools
Calgary's education sector is comprehensive and award winning, so no matter what kind of learning experience you're after, you'll have options. Explore Calgary Schools, from primary to post-secondary, and make your relocation process an easy one.
From preschools to secondary schools, Calgary offers a wide variety of options when it comes to education for all ages in a wide range of disciplines. With two school boards operating within in the city, charter schools and private institutions, parents have their work cut out for them when deciding where to send their students to class.
The overseeing body of schools in our province is Alberta Learning. Children must be six years of age before February 28 on the upcoming school year calendar to begin Grade 1.
Formal education for three and four-year-olds is not mandatory in the Province of Alberta and are generally run by community associations or by private teacher/owners. Tuition and program fees for preschools are set by the individual operators and are not subsidized in any manner.Programs are usually half-day in nature, available several times a week. Choosing a preschool is completely at the discretion of parents and not geographically ordained.
The Calgary Board of Education (CBE)
The CBE is a public school board operating programs from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in 220 schools throughout the city. There are several schools which offer a focused curriculum such as science, athletics, the arts or languages. The CBE has schools with immersion instruction in English, French, Spanish, German and Cantonese. The CBE also offers online instruction for students.
The CBE offers inclusive education for all students with Special Education instructors employed alongside qualified teachers on an as-needed basis.
In Calgary, 37,000 students are bused from neighbourhoods where a school facility is not within reasonable walking distance. Transportation is provided by yellow school buses or city transit buses and Handi-Bus service when required. Students attend elementary (K-6), middle school (Grade 5-9), junior high (Grade 7-9) or high school (Grade 10-12) designated to their geographic location. Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs are offered at selected high schools.
A school directory is available on the CBE website.
Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD)
Known as Calgary’s separate school board, the CCSD offers Roman Catholic education to students in the City of Calgary and in surrounding areas, such as Airdrie, Cochrane and Chestermere. It is smaller than the CBE and also offers instruction in immersion languages such as French. With fewer schools, grades are often combined, so often schools accept students from K-Grade 9 or Grade 7-12 in one facility.
Even though religion is a core subject in CCSD schools, the Roman Catholic Church does not have jurisdiction over CCSD schools.
High school students who are independent learners attend Bishop Carrol, a self-paced program in which students can earn their high school diploma (minimum 100 credits) at their own pace.
CCSD schools compete with schools in the public system in inter-school athletics in the City of Calgary and provincially.
Alberta was the first province in Canada to adopt a charter school system, which is popular in the U.S. Governed by the province, charter schools are publicly-funded independent schools which are granted a fixed-term charter to provide education programing in a specific discipline. In Calgary, there are charter schools which offer traditional learning, girls-only programs, science and technology and gifted education programs. Some schools mandate that students wear uniforms. School fees are higher than in regular public school and enrolment is not dictated by geography. There is often a waiting list for charter schools.
Private schools in Calgary offer world-class options and an opportunity for exceptional student enrichment. Private schools are funded in part by the province but mostly by students; therefore tuition and other education fees are charged by each school.
There are two types of private schools in Alberta – accredited and registered. Students at accredited private schools are required to write provincial exams and teachers must be certified by the province of Alberta. Registered schools are not governed in this way by the province and do not receive funding however students are expected to achieve similar outcomes as students from accredited schools.
Take a look at our top recommended elementary schools and the best private schools in Calgary.
For the extra education edge, look to the schools that offer specialized programs for student success:
- French & Spanish Immersion
- International Baccalaureate
- Advanced Placement
- National Sport School
Already know which quadrant you’d like to live in? Explore the schools nearby with our relocation guides.
Relocating to Calgary for school? Let us know and we’d be happy to make some living recommendations.