About Westmount

/About Westmount
About Westmount2018-09-19T15:17:10+00:00

About Westmount

Specialized, Gifted Education

Westmount is the only K-12 congregated setting in Alberta for students who are gifted. The school serves approximately 1200 students who represent a broad range of diversity including race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, English as an Additional Language (EAL), special education needs (twice exceptional), under-achievement and high-achievement.

At Westmount, we look at giftedness “from the inside out.” What does this mean for us? It means we strive to first know and honour who our students are before we can help them become the best they can be.

Westmount embraces asynchronous development – uneven intellectual, physical, and emotional development. In average children, these three aspects of development progress at about the same rate. That is, the development is in “sync.” An average 3-year-old has the intellectual and physical abilities as well as the emotional maturity as most other 3-year-olds. However, in gifted children development of those areas can be out of “sync.” The gifted child’s intellectual development can be more advanced than her physical and emotional development, which progress at a different rate.

Westmount’s content and curriculum delivery are modified to account for this asynchrony, thus affecting the way the school implements instructional methods in particular circumstances.

Vision:

Fostering gifted education from the inside out.

Mission:

To provide students who are gifted an authentic educational experience that:

  • supports need, ability and potential;
  • provides opportunities for inner growth;
  • develops genuine relationships; and
  • is facilitated by empathic, passionate, creative educators whose ethical practice develops lifelong learners.

Perspectives on giftedness: How are we different?

Gifted students not only think differently from most others, they also feel differently. They were born with a heightened awareness of and sensitivity to their surroundings, as well as enhanced cognitive ability. This heightened awareness can lead to isolation. “Why don’t I fit in? Why do I feel things so deeply? What’s wrong with me? Who is there to turn to who really understands?” Our students need others who understand and empathize with their complex lives, their need for meaning, and their difficulties living in a world in which they often feel alien.

At Westmount, we look at giftedness “from the inside out.” What does this mean for us? It means we strive to first know and honour who our students are before we can help them become the best they can be.

It means we know our kids are often not in sync with society. Why? Most people think in terms of simple cause and effect. The gifted tend to be more aware of interdependence. Our students see cause and effect as many pebbles thrown in a pond, which may look like chaos but in fact follows a logical pattern and structure. Our students tend to be highly aware of themselves and others, which can make them unusually concerned for others and critical of themselves. They see shades of grey – the overlap, exception and contradiction. No wonder our students are at times out of step in the world.

From this perspective, giftedness is not equated only to high academic achievement. Giftedness is how you are wired, not what you produce. At Westmount, we encourage students to choose to demonstrate their abilities in their individual ways. When students are not achieving what we believe is their potential, we work to understand the gap and help them bridge it, modeling perseverance, resilience and respect. From our perspective, achievement is the outcome, not the starting point. And that makes all the difference.

(Gifted 101, Silverman, 2013; Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child, Neville et al., 2013)

To improve gifted pedagogy from the inside out

Guiding Principles:

At Westmount Charter School, we believe:

  1. students who are gifted are capable of exceptional performance;
  2. students who are gifted require comprehensive, specialized educational programming if they are to understand and maximize their varied abilities;
  3. teachers of gifted students require specialized training and experience in the education of the gifted if they are to effectively guide the development of those students’ learning;
  4. parents and guardians are vital partners in their children’s education; and members of the community at large have an important role to play in the education of students who are gifted.

Our Staff

Westmount staff are trained to work with gifted students. Our team includes a variety of support staff, certificated teachers and specialists who can provide unique support and guidance to meet each students’s needs.

Charter School Status

Westmount was granted a 15-year charter by the Minister of Education, effective September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2031. Westmount is one of 13 charter schools in Alberta, each with a separate programming mandate and a common requirement to engage in research-based innovative practices. We continually explore new ways to enhance student learning and engage them in a culture that is a safe, secure environment where opportunities for enhanced development are recognized, time for research and professional development are provided and where risk-taking, failure and success are integral parts of the learning process.

Learn More About Charter Schools in Alberta

Alberta Education

“What are Public Charter Schools?” Videos

History

Meet Our Administrative Teams

School Administration

Elementary Campus

Principal, Elementary Campus 
Mr. Hal Curties

Assistant Principal, Elementary Campus 
Ms. Colleen Thomas Groot

Mid-High Campus

Principal, Mid-High Campus
Mr. Graeme Finlay

Assistant Principal, Mid-High Campus
Dr. Laurie Alisat

Assistant Principal, Mid-High Campus
Ms. Dani Sever

Board Office

Superintendent
Mr. Joe Frank

Secretary-Treasurer
Mr. Johnathan Liu

The Alberta Association of Public Charter Schools (TAAPCS) provides information to all Albertans about our publicly-funded charter schools. Learn more by watching these two new videos!

Charter Schools

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