Supporting Culture Change at Bishop McNally High School

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

All In for Youth (AIFY) is a five-year, city-wide initiative to support youth in successfully completing high school. Developed by United Way of Calgary and Area, AIFY’s broad strategies include removing barriers to academic and personal success, connecting youth to positive adults, and linking youth to further education and career paths. The collaborative involves the participation of both Calgary school boards, 20 Calgary high schools, a number of local companies like Devon, Fluor and Imperial, and youth-serving agencies (e.g. YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary, Big Brothers Big Sisters). In Fall 2015, AIFY conducted a case study of Bishop McNally High School (McNally) in Calgary, the first high school to join the initiative, beginning in the 2012-13 school year. For many years, McNally had the lowest high school completion rate in the Calgary Catholic School District, but recently has seen significant progress, achieving a 79.4% completion rate in the 2014-15 school year, up from 69.4% the previous year. The objective of the research was to investigate the ways in which AIFY has contributed to a shift in school culture at McNally that supported this success. McNally is part of Alberta Education’s Moving Forward with High School Redesign (HSR) program, which aims to shift school culture, pedagogy and leadership to transform the high school experience for students. A core principle of HSR is flexibility, creating learning environments that support personalized learning and the development of meaningful relationships. The school’s vision is that success looks different for every student, and thus their paths to success will look different. AIFY was influential in co-creating this vision of student success, in particular through learning from the Call Back program.

Publication Date: 
2015
Location: 
Calgary, AB