Red Deer Public School District

Students at North Cottage High School have 10,000 reasons to celebrate!

The school was recently selected as the recipient of the Best Buy School Tech Grant - a value of $10,000. The money will go towards building an enhanced computer lab and will allow North Cottage to be equipped with high end desktop computers which will be used to provide instructional opportunities in photography, video production and other industry standard graphic software. Ten computers and one printer will be purchased using the funds.

In addition, the new equipment will allow staff to expand their method of delivery for coursework as much of the work was still done on paper, white boards and even chalkboards in some cases.

“Our students are talented and creative, but due to our size many options that require technology are not available to them,” said Evelyn Chan, Teacher at North Cottage High School. “This grant allows North Cottage to expand its list of options that can be offered to our students such a digital media and graphic arts using the ‘Adobe Creative Cloud’ software.”

The annual grant, which is put out by Best Buy to all schools in Canada, awards nine schools with $10,000 to be used to enhance technology to improve opportunities for students. This year, there were 276 applicants.

Students apply to attend North Cottage High School as they find the small setting and opportunity to be self-paced the best place for them to succeed. There are currently 26 students at the school.

“We want to make sure our students have every opportunity for learning, and the grant helps level the playing field,” said Rick Ramsfield, Principal of North Cottage High School. “The biggest thing is it really raises them up to feel like they aren’t second class citizens - in other words there is equity. I think that is a huge piece. The kids are feeling like they are valued and they have similar opportunities that they would at a big high school and another part is they feel like they are being acknowledged as a school.”

Chan said there is much excitement at the school about the grant.

“We were super stoked as a staff, me especially, because I had been bringing my computer from home for the kids to run their stuff on,” she said. “The kids that are doing the digital arts and photo/video are so excited that they can process a video in 15 minutes as opposed to four hours.”

The grant has provided the school with high capacity computers, a colour printer and a GoPro camera. The students and staff at North Cottage hope to use these new tools to help the students build portfolios for post-secondary applications and compete at the Skills Canada Regional and Provincial Competitions.