Guided Customized Learning is an alternative learning approach that provides an opportunity to students and parents that is better suited to the changing nature of students, curriculum and society. St. Joseph High School is the only high school in Edmonton that offers the GCL model and is the only GCL International Baccalaureate Programme in the world.
The GCL model is a way of learning for students which enables them to ‘take charge’ of their education in a partnership role with their parents and teachers. As a result, the students learn to become more independent, responsible and goal-oriented in their studies and personal lives. To be successful in the GCL model, students need to demonstrate proficiencies in the following areas: strong reading skills; strong organizational skills; strong communication skills; goal-setting skills.
Our faculties objective is to help all students gain the essential skills required to be a self-directed learner upon graduation from our school. Although St. Joseph Catholic High School is classified as a self-directed school, the method of instruction is based on a Guided Customized Learning (GCL) Program.
In a Guided Customized Learning Program, students develop the essential skills required to build effective working relationships with their peers and faculty. At St. Joseph, the following methods have been put in place to ensure that students become self directed learners:
- Teacher Advisor (TA) Every student is assigned a TA that monitors their progress daily. Course Advisors are in constant contact with the TA, collaborating on how to best support each student. The TA helps the student plan their school day during morning and afternoon check-in. Students follow the schedule that has been approved by their TA.
- Personalized Scheduling Students have scheduled seminars that they must attend. When not in a seminar, students work in the various learning floors and/or laboratories where they work individually, collaboratively, or have one-to-one instruction at guided help desks with subject area teachers.
- Customized Learning Experiences Workshops offered during Guided Customized Learning blocks are created by Course Advisors based on the current needs of the students in their class. Students are encouraged to attend these workshops as a way of gaining an understanding of course material.
- Authentic Assessment To prepare for seminars, students must access Google Classrooms and Moodle resources provided by the Course Advisors. When it is time for assessment, the Course Advisor will authorize a student’s electronic test slip when the student has shown competency in the course outcomes. This is often completed during one-to-one meetings at the guided help desk. Students are given opportunities to challenge selected assessments to gain a full understanding of the curriculum.
It is our belief that parental involvement is crucial to the success of a student’s time at St. Joseph Catholic High School; therefore, there is open communication between Teacher Advisors, Course Advisors and parents/guardians. Communication between TA, CA, parent and student is supported by:
- phone calls, emails or interviews that take place minimally once per month
- quarterly report cards called Performance Reviews that are sent home
- course advisors consistently communicating with home regarding student progress through our in-house messaging system (QMS)
- PowerSchool access that provides students and parents with real time information regarding grades and progress
- both Teacher Advisors and Course Advisors are available to all families should there be questions or concerns related to student progress
The Guided Customized Learning Program has yielded countless success stories of students transitioning to the post secondary experience. Alumni from our school repeatedly comment on how well this experience has advantaged them as they transitioned to the university/college environment where being a self-directed learner is an expectation.
Please Contact St. Joseph High School for information on the GCL program and for registration.