Parker: Master's Academy & College expands global reach of educational excellence

Master’s Academy & College is preparing students for future challenges

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Founded in 1997, Master’s Academy & College ranks among the top 10 in the province, and has always been driven by a vision of going beyond academic excellence. The K-12 school has a goal to prepare students for the 21st century by equipping them to be seers, designers and creators of the future.

Master’s is a fully accredited school with Alberta Education, and its students consistently exceed provincial standards for excellence on standardized tests. More than 90 per cent of graduates gain acceptance into their university of choice.

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But founder and CEO Tom Rudmik says at the heart of its mission and vision statements is academic excellence through profound learning, developing students to become master learners and imaginal leaders.

“Profound learning unleashes academic excellence in the many, not the few,” he says. “Students are more motivated to learn, and learn better, when empowered to take ownership of their learning.”

Master’s is a prototype research and development school that is transforming educational systems, locally and globally. It has had a partnership with the Jacto Group, a large agro manufacturing company in Brazil since 2014. The philanthropic business built a school in the town of Pompeia, and Master’s has been training teachers in the area in profound learning since 2015.

Earlier this month, Rudmik was in Brazil to address a gathering of teachers to announce a new model called Imaginal+, and 700 teachers in a city of 50,000 were in attendance. Among the audience was the mayor and the secretary for education for the public school system, who was so impressed she “wanted to be first” to get the benefit of what she saw could have a significant effect on student learning.

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Imaginal+ provides a hybrid learning blend for junior and senior high school students, combining online and on-site project-based courses. Anchored in Christian values, it promotes critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving, making learning engaging and applicable while preparing students for future challenges. It was designed at the Calgary campus as an end-to-end solution that can be implemented immediately — a comprehensive ecosystem of tools, processes and technologies that unleashes the imaginative and innovative spirit.

Master’s has been working for several years with a partner organization in Uganda, where the first lady — a strong supporter of its programs who hired Rudmik’s team to help her country — and a new partner in Hungary is ready to launch the new emphasis on competency development.

Going global is a huge mission — Rudmik is not afraid of the challenge of 72 million children that have no school. The secret is to train and empower teachers with new systems of teaching, and they don’t really need built classrooms. He tells of one area in Uganda where simple solar panels are connected to power cheap laptops that are providing students with learning.

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Rudmik says there is no need for a student to spend so much time sitting in a classroom here; save the daily travelling to and from school for better use.

Yet, the Calgary campus has a need to expand its physical space. Today it has a student population of 824 and there is always a long waiting list for all grades by students eager to benefit from its programs.

Plans are for the construction of a 16,000-square-foot Imaginal+ Transformation Centre. The expansion will not increase the student count on a daily basis, since with the growth of Imaginal+ the attendance should decrease. The design will include creative labs; a large commons area — with digital resources, books and other learning tools — and studio workshops where Master’s will be able to engage with its growing number of global partners.

Notes:

The investment sales team of Manish Adiani and George Larson, vice-presidents and partners of Barclay Street Real Estate/TCN Worldwide, have completed the sale of a 42,000-square-foot office building in the west end for $4.4 million. At $104.76 per square foot for the 75 per cent vacant five storey at 1000 8th Avenue S.W., the team was able to achieve the highest price per square foot in the downtown in this asset class over the past 12 months. Sold by a private vendor to local Calgary investors, it is conveniently located close to both east and west LRT stations.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622.

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