Our ACES program exploits a simple, but profound, realization:
There is no limit to the amount of effort a Georgian will invest in his own education when he is convinced of its value and given the creative latitude to pursue it.
Royal St. George's College offers a unique program for students in Grades 10-12 with an interest in engineering. The world-class Advanced Computer Engineering School (ACES) curricula is offered in the Design Engineering Studio (DES), a world-class facility where boys in both the Junior and Senior Schools can often be found working together on complex projects.
The philosophy of ACES, Tempus est cogitare, is rooted in the belief that the future will require deep thinkers that possess the ability to design, engineer and communicate technical solutions to their community's problems. Our project-based electrical engineering curriculum supports creative problem solving through doing. Within our doer/maker culture, students engage in the pursuit of knowledge as a natural requirement for achieving their project's goals. Imagination, collaboration and resilience are additional skills that develop rapidly when students take control of their own learning within a structure of support and accountability.
ACES' philosophy primary tenets:
The future will continue to belong to the skilled creator/designer/craftsperson/problem-solver with a proven track record of deep thinking, time-management, organization and, above all, resilience.
Failure is a necessary stage in the pursuit of success.
Great design and great engineering are inseparable. We are fortunate to have the continuing support of artist and sculptor, Paul Elia, who contributes countless hours of instruction and support for the development of student design skills.
In a world replete with all manner of simulation options and virtual platforms, ACES go against the grain by engaging in the physical act of creation. It is only through the manipulation of real materials and components can one challenge assumptions, create robust prototypes, and experience the deep personal satisfaction and pride that the act of holding a creation in one's hands can give.
Students can best explore their strengths and weaknesses by selecting and committing to their own preferred projects and pursuits. In doing so, they are better prepared to make the best academic (and other life) choices upon graduation from RSGC.
Outsourcing of services and capabilities that are either impractical or too expensive to undertake in-house can be a desirable and necessary stage (and skill) in the pursuit of significant achievement.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, students can elect to undertake a set of three courses (one half-year course and two full-year courses) designed to prepare Georgians for post-secondary study of software, electrical, or computer engineering. Visitors are encouraged to examine our current and previous year's curriculum in detail at the RSGC ACES Homepage. Also, be sure to visit the ACES YouTube Channel.
The ACES curriculum introduces students to:
the fundamentals of analog and digital circuits in Grade 10
the Arduino microcontroller platform in Grade 11
AVR 8-bit microcontroller optimization using Assembly/C in Grade 12
AP Capstone™ is a two-year diploma program for Grade 11 and 12 students based on two foundational courses (AP Seminar and AP Research). It is designed to stimulate minds, prepare students for the rigors of university (including grad school), and have them join important conversations about our world. It seeks to build key skills like deep and sustained reading, scholarly research, the formation of evidence-based arguments, and the effective communication of ideas. We are proud to be part of a small group of schools offering this program.
AP Seminar: In this foundational course, students develop and strengthen analytic and inquiry skills, exploring two to four relevant issues. Students learn to consider an issue from multiple perspectives, evaluate the strength of an argument, and make logical, fact-based decisions. Students will question, research, explore, pose solutions, develop arguments, collaborate, and communicate using various media.
AP Research: The second course in the AP Capstone™ experience allows students to design, plan, and conduct a year-long research-based investigation on a topic of individual interest. Through this inquiry and investigation, students demonstrate the ability to apply scholarly understanding to real-world problems and issues.
At Royal St. George's College science enrichment is offered not only through differentiated instruction to all students in Grades 9 and 10, but also as various enrichment activities throughout the year.
In-class enrichment includes the opportunity to problem solve, think creatively and take initiative, as well as develop and use organizational skills, higher order thinking, and social and leadership skills.
Outside of class, enrichment opportunities promote a higher level of thinking and give students experiences outside of the regular curriculum. These activities can involve researching a theme, subject, or skill or they can involve exploring basic curriculum concepts within a wider context. The opportunities vary in a given year, and are offered to the boys in class and on Haiku, our online learning management system.
In previous years, enrichment activities have included:
a genetics investigation involving drosophila
a national crystal growing competition
a research project preparing for a Grade 10 national science competition offered by UBC
a University of Guelph Engineering competition involving building a wind turbine
various seminars and opportunites offered by U of T and York University
The Foundation Year Projects are part of an exciting initiative that focuses on collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity, while capturing the entrepreneurial spirit of our Grade 9 Georgians.
In small groups, the boys are challenged to address and devise a solution for a social issue or challenge within our Georgian community, the Annex or the broader Greater Toronto Area. To facilitate this initiative, students are introduced to the concept of social entrepreneurship. Throughout the year, the boys are given blocks of time during the school day to collaborate on campus, work in the Design Engineering Studio, connect with community leaders and use online tools to keep them on the path to success.
The boys’ innovative ideas have ranged from a children’s book on racism, an online educational resource hub for at-risk youth and a program to recycle used milk bags into a waterproof sleeping mat for the homeless, to a video focused on increasing youth engagement in politics, and much more.
The Foundation Year Projects also leverage our Alumni network, as well as our current and former parent community, to offer opportunities for partnership, assistance and expertise. IAlumnus Mark Kryshtalskyj ‘10, who started Rockstar Café (a hub for student entrepreneurs at the University of Waterloo) has worked with students to refine their ideas and turn them into real products and solutions. Ross Curtner ’06, co-founder of Adjacent Possibilities (an agency that connects artists and entrepreneurs to enable new approaches to complex challenges) has also supported the program.
At the end of the project, students have an opportunity to showcase their ideas to their families and community partners in an informal setting.
What happens when you allow students to work independently on a project entirely of their own choosing? You get a lot of excitement, some challenges and a unique learning opportunity.
The Passion Projects provide such an opportunity for Grade 7 boys to learn something new and develop valuable skills by working on a project they are passionate about in a supportive environment. The projects enable the boys to gain new skills, knowledge and understanding about something that is important to them on a personal level, as well as new insight into their own learning style.
Central to this process is the ability to take risks and learn from the process. The projects take a full year to complete, to allow time for mistakes and rethinking, and the boys are encouraged to accept these challenges as opportunities to learn.
The projects enable the boys to learn valuable skills, such as organization, time management, how to conduct research and how to source resources and materials. They vary widely depending on the boys’ interests: everything from making a long board and training a puppy, to starting a food bank, making a drone and much more.
The Passion Projects culminate with a five-minute presentation to peers, teachers and parents at the end of the school year, adding an element of accountability. In addition to the culminating presentation, the boys also document their progress on blogs that they maintain throughout the year. Although the projects are not graded, there are ample opportunities for feedback and guidance from teachers, as well as self-reflection.
Imagine a group of 22 Grade 8 boys enagaging in thoughtful conversations on topics such as literature, history and current events in a civilized manner, without raising their hands.
Such a scene is not unusual in our middle school humanities class, thanks to the use of a discussion-based program modeled after the Harkness Method.
Harkness was developed at Philips Exeter Academy in the 1930s. The school currently defines Harkness simply as an environment in which “a teacher and a group of students work together, exchanging ideas and information, around a table.”
By using this method, we strive to make the classroom a space where student voice is heard far more than teacher voice. Although there are many ways to implement this method, the main objective is to create a space where students are not worried about getting the “right answer”. Harkness is about risk-taking and collaborative knowledge building. It is not a competition for the best answer, but rather a way for students to learn from each other and realize that our thoughts and ideas are stronger when we consider different perspectives. In addition to valuing voice, Harkness also relies on strong active listening skills. Students learn to follow a discussion, absorb new ideas and relate this information to their existing beliefs.
A few of the key principles of the Harkness style of learning in Grade 8 include using each other’s names, not raising hands, looking at your peers when you speak (not at the teacher), referencing the text as often as possible, and building and exploring one idea in depth before moving onto another point.
During our busy days, Harkness learning provides an opportunity for students and teachers to slow down, listen to each other, and truly sit with big ideas.
Royal St. George's College is an independent school for boys located in The Annex neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school admits boys from Grades 3 through 12. Our mission is to challenge and inspire each of our students to become the best version of himself.