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Academic Challenge

Does your child demonstrate characteristics associated with being gifted, such as superior intellectual achievement, high motivation and interest, verbal proficiency, strong problem-solving ability, logical thinking and creativity? Would they benefit from a supportive a learning environment, which includes positive behaviour supports and social participation?

Our Academic Challenge Program (AC) enables gifted students to achieve excellence by providing differentiated instruction and strategies to support their intellectual, social and emotional needs. The AC program allows students who are gifted to have opportunities for thinking and learning in ways that enhance their individual needs through meaningful programming.

To qualify for the AC program, students must have a current psychoeducational assessment in which they have scored in the superior range on an individual cognitive assessment (preferably the WISC-V). They must also demonstrate characteristics that would have their current school, in consultation with their parents, recommend the AC program as an appropriate program for them.

What is unique about Academic Challenge?

Academic Challenge allows students to:

  • engage in independent and group learning projects;
  • learn creatively, using alternative ways to process concepts and information;
  • follow their interests;
  • set goals in a learning plan and conduct
  • learn at their own pace in smaller classes;
  • discuss and work with like-minded peers;
  • use a variety of resources, including technology and field trips, to conduct research;
  • understand their interests and strengths; and
  • learn time-management skills.

Which students will benefit from AC?

Students will benefit from the AC Program if they:

  • enjoy a challenge;
  • are highly motivated to learn;
  • enjoy finding solutions and synthesizing information;
  • are independent and responsible learners;
  • need mental stimulation; and
  • are curious. 

What unique opportunities are available to AC students?

Sir Alexander Mackenzie Elementary School students take part in a variety of group and individual-focus projects. Examples include: cultural and heritage festivals, math and science fairs, mechanical device construction, and drama productions.

École Sir George Simpson Junior High School students showcase their talents and abilities through special projects that require higher levels of sophistication. Enhanced resources, such as videoconferences with prominent people and the use of guest speakers, provide enrichment. Students may also pursue unique option courses.

What happens after Grade 9?

The majority of AC students go into academic programs in high school. International Baccalaureate (IB) is offered at Bellerose Composite High School and Advanced Placement (AP) is offered at Paul Kane High School. In a recent group of AC students, 50 per cent enrolled in the IB program, 32 per cent enrolled in the AP program and 18 per cent enrolled in the regular high school program.

Offered at

Sir Alexander Mackenzie
Grades 4-6
61 Sir Winston Churchill Avenue
St. Albert, AB T8N 0G5

Sir George Simpson
Grades 7-9
50 Grosvenor Boulevard
St. Albert, AB T8N 0X6
St. Albert Public Schools