Though the original Two Hills District and Two Hills School was built circa 1909, the first school on the present location was built in 1950. In 1961, Two Hills School was divided into two separate schools (the elementary and high schools), and remained two distinct buildings until the 2005 renovations were completed and the K-12 students were once again in one school. With the closure of Hairy Hill School in 1982, centralization of Willingdon high school students in 1984, and the eventual closing of Willingdon School in 1992, Two Hills School serves many students who travel from smaller communities in the surrounding area.
Currently, Two Hills School is a K-12 school with an enrollment of approximately 200 students, offering all regular academic programs, daily physical education (40 minutes/day) in grades K-9, an art program for available for all students in K-12, CTF (Career and Technology Foundations) for grades 5-9 students, Coding and Outdoor Ed options in junior, and music for K-6 students. 2018-2019 was the first year that we were officially a high school redesign school. In high school, full academic programing, as well as a variety of complementary courses, is offered. High school students can earn credits in the area of CTS, Green Certificate Program, RAP, and Work Experience. We are excited that the division signed agreements with Lakeland College, Blue Quills University, and Portage College that enables our high school students to take courses for dual credit, such as Play, Environmental Sustainability, Introduction to Heavy Oil and Gas, Introduction to Esthetics, Introduction to Soil Science, Health Safety and Nutrition, and Health Care Aide. Portage College provides many entry level University courses. Blue Quills University offers courses including Cree Syllabics. We have also acquired several locally developed adapted courses from other school divisions as options for our students to take. We cycle Chemistry 20/30, Physics 20/30, and Physical Education in high school to ensure that acceptable class sizes are maintained, while allowing all students to have a better opportunity to take more courses that can be applied to the Rutherford Scholarship. With continued use of technology, students are accessing courses any time, any place, at any pace! We have a one-to-one ratio of Chromebooks in the grades 3-12 classrooms, which are used consistently by all students. Two computer labs are shared by all students.
In elementary, Guided Reading continues within each classroom. We have implemented the Science of Reading in our K-3 classrooms and have cross-grade reading groups so that each and every student succeeds. Elementary teachers have training/PD in the areas of Daily 5, Reading Power, Empowering Writers, and Lana Lane, a literacy Consultant (Words Their Way, RRST, vocabulary building, fluency, comprehension, phonemic awareness benchmark assessment), in addition to continual PD in reading strategies and assessment. We have staff members on our Divsion numeracy and literacy committees to ensure consistency within our school and division counterparts.
Counselling and support services are improving with a division counsellor available for approximately 6 days every month, complemented by a teacher counsellor for the times when the division counsellor is not at our school. The FSLW counsellor at Two Hills School is a full time position. Grades 7-12 students have access to MyBlueprint and high school students have access to Alberta Education via MyPass. Students have had several in-person and virtual opportunities to watch presentations from post-secondary institutions to ensure they are choosing their best path for after high school. Elementary staff continues to use our Makerspace and elementary staff is developing a plan for collaboration and usage of that space to help meet competencies starting with grades K-6. The intent is to engage all grades 1-6 students in weekly 40-60 minute activities, which will promote problem solving, collaboration, innovation, critical thinking, global citizenship and entrepreneurship. Whole school activities, with a common goal, purpose, and reason to celebrate, will be organized throughout the year. The Countdown to Christmas includes a daily event activity for all grades in December and was a huge success; a similar plan is in place for next year. The evening elementary Christmas concert has become a tradition at THS. Our goal is to create traditions within our school, while also remaining innovative and open to new activities and opportunities.
Student leadership groups composed of members from grades 7-12 initiate, plan, and implement numerous cross-grade activities to promote school spirit, establish relationships among students of different ages, and enhance the culture of a K-12 school. As well, athletic endeavours are popular throughout the grades, including intramurals, extra-curricular team sports, and activity day challenges. A breakfast program began mid-year in 2009/2010, and will continue with K-12 students offered a snack daily this year, paid for with provincial Nutrition program money and grants. As well, we have been fortunate to receive many donations from community members and businesses to supplement our program. Hot lunch Monday will continue with K-12 pre-orders, and pizza will be sold out of the concession booth on Wednesday to 7-12 students. The community of Two Hills takes great pride in continued academic excellence, overall student improvement, athletic achievements and activities and events that promote interaction and participation of students within the community.
Kara Matiaszow, Assistant Principal