Who We Are
Welcome to Almadina Language Charter Academy, a charter public school of parental choice since 1996. We were named one of the top twelve schools in Alberta by the C.D. Howe Institute (August 2013).
Almadina Language Charter Academy operates as a charter school with a unique emphasis on English language acquisition. This charter was granted in 1996 by the Alberta Minister of Education and is mandated to deliver the Alberta Program of Studies (Early Childhood Services (ECS) – Grade 9) with English language acquisition as a major outcome.
The uniqueness in this school comes through the programs we offer that focus on English language learning acquisition for students whose second or third language at home is English. Therefore, we serve not only newcomers to Canada, but also Canadian born individuals who have a need to increase their English language proficiency level. Research studies have shown that students who are learning a second language require a minimum of five to seven years of support before they can catch up to native speakers in cognitive academic language proficiency. All Almadina teachers hold Alberta teaching certificates, have English as an Additional Language (EAL) training, and are associated members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA).
Almadina is a member of the Association of Alberta Public Charter Schools (www.taapcs.ca). Each of these public schools has a unique charter mandate, a student enrollment ceiling and is governed by a volunteer school board. The Almadina School Board has seven parents elected by the members of the Almadina School Society.
The Almadina Language Charter Academy (ALCA) emphasis is on English language acquisition. Other international languages, depending on interest, may be offered to help those students make a connection between their prior knowledge in another language to increase their conceptual understandings in the English language. Currently, our students are offered French, Urdu, English Language Learner Enhancement or Arabic Language and Culture as an International Language option.
Character development is enhanced through a deliberate focus on values and virtues that encourage respect and shared values in safety, caring and acceptance of diversity.
Almadina has two school campuses in East Calgary: Mountain View Elementary Campus with ECS to Grade 4, and Ogden Middle School Campus with Grades 5 – 9. Our student population is capped by the Minister of Education at 979 students (ECS – Grade 9). These two campus settings share one school standard while at the same time respecting unique approaches in individual school delivery of programs. Our students come from all parts of Calgary and most are transported through First Student Canada, operated by Cardinal Coach Lines Ltd. First Student Canada may be reached at (403) 531-3900. Our walk limits are from one to three blocks.
For further information, please contact ALCA campuses.
History of Almadina
With the changing demographics in Calgary during the 1990s, many immigrant and first generation parents were concerned about the cutbacks to English Language Learner (ELL) services that occurred and decided to initiate an application for a charter school.
The following founding members of the community: Abdulrahman Abbas, Dr. Nidal Al-Hanbali, Dr. Bahjat. Alani, Abdulnasser Kadri, Khaled Rafih, Imad Elhowari, Dr. Syed Qasim Muhammad, Dr.Saif Mabrouk, Muhammad Ahmed Hammoud, Ismail Amir, Carol Kadri, and Ahmad Jamal El-Rafih collaborated and worked tirelessly for the charter to see the light. As a result of their immense effort and dedication, Almadina was granted a charter. The charter was granted in 1996 and Almadina Language Charter Academy began as a Grade 1 to Grade 9 school. Kindergarten started as a part-time program as the school progressed (it is now a full time program).
Over time, the school has evolved into a leading educational organization for students with ELL needs. This is evident through our long wait list to get into the school in addition to excellent standardized testing results (recognized through special awards). Almadina has a strong character education program which is linked to action projects such as fundraising for local charities and encouraging volunteerism with staff and students.
Mission And Vision
The Almadina School Society, through its partnerships with the Minister and all stakeholders, ensures that our students whose second or third language at home is English reach their full potential as they prepare to meet the challenges of high school, lifelong learning and citizenship in a dynamic, democratic, knowledge-based society that respects each child’s special gifts and the commitment to promote diversity in shared values.
To strive to operate as Canada’s best Public Charter School by providing students whose second or third language is English with the opportunities to reach their full potential.
Reach the Height. Read and Write
In 1996, the ALCA school logo was proudly created through collaborative efforts with parents and other members of our learning community. The Triangle symbolizes the need for stakeholders to work towards helping students reach their full potential regardless of community origin, previous schooling or home. The Maple Leaf represents Canadian Society with its ideal of diversity in shared values. The book represents not only school discipline and the Alberta Programs of Study, but also the need to make learning a central objective in a student’s life. Green is the chosen colour because it is the symbol of renewal within the context of the Alberta learning community, school campus and home environment.
At each campus, the motto is implemented by every homeroom teacher with daily time (10 to 15 minutes) each set aside for uninterrupted student reading and writing. Students are given appropriate and differentiated ability level activities during the daily reading and writing times. These activities are part of the Language Arts Program. The reading and writing activities based on the motto may vary each year at each campus.
Reach the Reading Height
Teachers in the primary grades send home leveled reading materials for the reading component of the Language Arts Program. Each student is tested with the San Diego Quick Word Assessment, the Woodcock Munoz, DRA and Gates MacGinitie. As a result of these assessments, an appropriate passage reading will be administered to determine students’ “Independent”, “Instructional”, or “Frustration” levels. There may be three different ability reading levels/groups established in each class. A guided reading lesson is provided to one group while other groups read material at their independent reading level. Students continue in these instructional groups until DRA re-testing is completed in February, at which time there may be some regrouping.
Based on the results from the Provincial Achievement Tests, we may incorporate the weaker skills into guided reading lessons. Specialized Kits have been developed which are signed out from the library. These are made up of materials that cater to the different grade/instructional reading levels.
Reach the Writing Height
The Language Arts writing program will consist of all of the following:
- Independent Writing – Students work independently with little or no support.
- Shared Writing – Teacher works with an entire group and provides a great deal of support.
- Guided Writing (teacher-directed)
- Teacher selects the topic and scaffolds learning.
- May be carried out in small groups.
- Focuses on a particular aspect of writing.
The writing groups are the same as the reading groups because they are closely inter-related. Various text types described in the “Momentum Series Guide” and the handouts on “Inter-linking Criteria: A Point of Reference for Text/Genre” are used during the year in the writing program.