When asked how many awards Aspen Heights Elementary School’s MicroSociety program has won, the coordinator is quick to rattle off a lengthy list.
And that number continues to grow, as the program won the Alberta Emerald Foundation Award for education last week.
Allan Baile, the program’s co-ordinator, called it his passion and was quick to commend his colleague’s hard work.
“It takes lots of hard work and dedication,” he said. “The staff are always trying to make it better.”
At a recent staff meeting, Baile said they reviewed how the program went during the school year and what changes may be made next year. They’re looking into how to expand the environmental components.
This year’s iteration of the program included environmental initiatives such as zero-waste boxes, a licensed bottle depot that recycled nearly 15,000 containers, raising urban chickens for the student breakfast program and building a functional completely solar-powered greenhouse that will grow produce year round.
Baile said the Emerald award was one of the more prestigious the program had won, but also pointed to several others including the Ken Spencer Award, the Mayor’s Special Recognition Award in 2015 and for three straight years it has been ranked a four-star micro society program by MicroSociety International, the highest achievement the group offers.
The program has run at the school for nine years. It connects students to the real world by allowing them to create their own miniature country including an elected government, entrepreneurial hub, non-profit organizations, marketplace, courts, police, post-secondary institutions and gathering places.
Baile said he would love to see more MicrSociety programs in Albera and in Canada, but admits they take a lot of work.