Sherwood Park 50 years
May 24, 2006
Sherwood Park has seen the development of a number of independent schools over the years.
There are a variety of private preschool and kindergarten programs in Sherwood Park and one of them got its start 37 years ago! Loretta Meek, who moved to Sherwood Park in 1964, saw the need for preschool preparation and in 1969, opened the Sherwood Heights Kindergarten. Meek has seen a number of changes over the years. Attitudes to strangers have changed with a modern emphasis on "streetproofing". As well, since the advent of "Sesame Street", most children come knowing many things that would have been taught at kindergarten in the early years.
The Robin Hood Association, under the guidance of Col. E.W. Cormack and Dr. Barbara Cormack, opened its school in 1963 in a renovated home on Cottonwood Avenue with eleven students. With a growing number of students, a building was constructed on Spruce Avenue in 1968. The school began its adult vocational program and opened its first group home in 1974. The Robin Hood Learning Centre opened in 1997 on Broadway Boulevard and provides a wide range of services to people with disabilities. The Cormacks, both recipients of the Order of Canada, were interviewed in 1983 and described their efforts as follows, "It's a community triumph. It isn't one person or two persons, it's the whole community that's done it."
In 1978, Reverend Harald Throness approached the Strathcona County Board of Education with a vision to operate a Christian school under the umbrella of the board, but the proposal was declined. A decision was made to open the Strathcona Christian Academy as a private school in September 1980, despite a fire the previous May that gutted the classrooms and heavily damaged the rest of the building. There were 339 students enrolled in kindergarten to grade 11. 1982 saw the first graduating class of nine students. In 1989, talks were underway again with the public school board to become an alternative program, but were to no avail. In 1998, after 2 years of discussion, the SCA became an Alternative Christian Program under the Elk Island Public School Board. Today, there are over 840 students attending the SCA and plans are underway for construction of a new elementary school campus to be ready in September 2007.
The New Horizons School is not a private school, but is a public school that operates under a Charter with the Alberta Minister of Learning. It is directed by a non-profit society. The school, with about 160 students in kindergarten to grade nine, began in 1995 and is designed to meet the needs of gifted children. The school is located on Spruce Avenue in the former home of the Robin Hood School. New Horizons has a cooperative relationship with Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, located across the street, for sharing their playground and school busses. In the 2006 Fraser Institute Report Card on Elementary Schools, the New Horizons School was ranked third out of 720 schools reviewed!
See also: Information on current local schools.