Our History

Our district became Alberta’s first Roman Catholic separate school district on December 18, 1885. The idea of providing Catholic education in Alberta, then referred to as the North-West Territories, began 15 years prior to our establishment. Bishop Grandin, the North-West Territories’ first bishop, devoted himself to bring Christianity to the west. His passion to preach the gospel was instrumental in creating our district. Upon the request of Bishop Grandin, a group of Catholic Sisters from the Faithful Companions of Jesus arrived in Calgary from Saskatchewan to establish our first Catholic school located within the precincts of their new convent, Sacred Heart.

Located in the former residence and chapel of missionary Father Lacombe, the Sisters opened St. Mary’s School. Mother Mary Greene led the school as our first teacher, principal and superintendent. She was influential in developing the teacher certificate program, held Alberta’s first official teaching certificate and helped enshrine Catholic educational rights in the constitution.

Spotlight Feature

Our Schools

We built our first new school in 1909, an eight-room brick and stone building. Four years later, our district had three schools, 17 teachers and 548 students. By 1940, we more than tripled our size and had 54 teachers serving 1,713 students in eight schools. We have grown tremendously over the past century—from a modest beginning of 22 students and two teachers to now nearly 6,000 staff members supporting 56,000 students in 118 schools.

Learn More