About Our School
By Sheila Gardiner, Principal
We are a K-12 school with aproximately 200 students offering programming focused on meeting the needs of every learner and building community. Click here to see the Swan Hills 2014-2017 School Education Plan.
Together We Can; Together We Will!
Our Motto & Mission
Ask any student and they can tell you without hesitation what our school Motto is: "Together We Can; Together We Will!" Developed in 2012, this motto has really come to life in our school and with our parents and community partners.
Our mission is that "together, in cooperation, we will provide a diverse education which challenges individuals to achieve exemplary academics, character and citizenship".
Swan Hills School
4707 Ravine Drive
Swan Hills AB T0G 2C0
Swan Hills is a young community, developed during the resource exploration years since 1959. The first school consisted of 2 portables placed on site in 1960. Two classrooms were added in 1962 and by 1964 the community had grown to the point where some permanent facilities were needed. An addition consisting of 6 classrooms, a science room, an ancillary room (large classroom), a library and the present large gym were added.
This complex served the community until 1972, when 2 more portable classrooms were added. These were removed in 1985. In 1984 the school board, with its own funds, added space for gym storage and a mechanical room. In 1975, 6 classrooms were added to the building. At the same time the Town of Swan Hills funded an indoor heated swimming pool.
Image: SHS School Classroom 1960 - Teacher Mrs. P. Arkinstall (Photographer unknown)
In 1979, 2 classrooms, 2 ancillary rooms (present stage), a primary gym and a new library were added. Aside from regular upgrading, the facility remained the same until 1995,
when a new administrative suite, staff work room, no barrier washroom, wheel chair access, counselor’s office, staff washrooms, computer lab, conference room and a renovated staff room were added.
In terms of numbers and grade configurations, Swan Hills School has seen many changes. Up until the late 60s, SHS was a K-12 school. The numbers were quite small in the high school, so it became unfeasible to continue operations, and students in high school were bussed an hour away to Barrhead. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, SHS was a thriving K-9 school with an average of around 550 students. We had one principal, who served the school during this time for 24 years: Doug Seebach. SHS had a well-established band program that had roughly 60 participants and a strong drama program that did yearly dinner theatre performances of a variety of musicals. We also had a very strong inter-scholastic sports program with high student participation during this time.
Image from 1975 Black Gold - Swan Hills Yearbook
Image from 1996 Black Gold Yearbook - Swan Hills School
The mid-1990s saw a great deal of change for SHS. A number of events took place in a very short period of time that had a tremendous effect on the school. During the 90s, SH School District amalgamated with the Barrhead and Westlock School Divisions to form the Pembina Hills School Division that we know and love today. This is also the time that our long-standing principal retired and the division reinstated our high school program. In addition, the oil boom of the 90s was over and our population saw a tremendous decline form nearly 3000 people to a bit less than 2000. This had a huge impact on our enrolments to what we see today, which is on average 250 students K-12. This impacted a lot of our fine arts programming and extra-curricular programming as the numbers continued to plummet. From the mid-90s to present day, there was also a great deal of turnover in staff including administration.
So where are we at in 2015? The staff has worked very hard to maintain and build a safe, consistent and successful environment for children. We are seeing good stability in staff and attitudes in the community are positive. We have a very strong Parent Council and fundraising arm. Grizzly Cubs, who are also working very hard to make some incredible strides. As with all schools, we have room to grow, but programs are expanding, staff is motivated and children are seeing great success!