A Brief History of River Valley School

From its inception, River Valley School (RVS) has been dedicated to developing a warm and nurturing learning environment, offering programs that meet the diverse needs of its student population, modeling how an inclusive learning community can be successful for all its stakeholders.

After years of operating as the Calgary Montessori school, the transition to River Valley School began in 2003, when the school was officially registered and incorporated. A year later, River Valley School was also formally registered as a non-profit organization, further solidifying its successful independence.

In 2013, a preschool program was introduced for 3-year-olds, as well as the introduction of the Arrowsmith program in the same year.  RVS remains the only school in Alberta to offer Arrowsmith programming, which features a learning methodology based in research in neuroplasticity, providing opportunities for students to achieve targeted neuro-cognitive improvements in areas of weakness.

Through the strength in leadership and process of both the Administration and Board of Directors, the school was put in a position to make calculated and timely decisions to ensure prudent financial management.  In 2018, in response to a change in the market conditions and around the Montessori programming, the decision was made to move from a dual stream programming model of progressive education and Montessori education, towards a flexible single stream model. As such, RVS discontinued its official Montessori program, allowing the school to direct its resources and energy toward providing a well-rounded, adaptive and innovative learning environment that draws on the best practices of many different pedagogies. 

In 2019, we were very fortunate to introduce a new visionary Head of School, Carolyn Breland, who returned home to Calgary after an esteemed career in several prestigious independent schools. Carolyn served nine years as Deputy Head of School and Principal of the Junior School at St. John’s School, a K-12 International Baccalaureate school, and six years as Director of Admissions, Marketing and Communications at Crofton House School, an all-girls school in Vancouver.   Carolyn brought forth a wealth of knowledge and experience to RVS, both on the educational side and in the area of school expansion and management.  

In December of 2021, the River Valley School Board of Directors, Head of School and Senior Leadership Team announced the purchase of our current school site at 3127 Bowwood Drive NW.  This came after after years of strategic planning, late nights and tireless work by our Board of Directors, Head of School and Senior Leadership Team. This purchase would not have been possible without the tremendous generosity of current and alumni donor families who made the dream of a school-owned campus a reality.

River Valley School is currently working with an experienced architect and fund development experts to explore a potential expansion and enhanced educational spaces.

Today, learning at River Valley School continues to occur in a cooperative, nurturing environment–one that optimizes each child’s potential, innate curiosity, love of learning, self-efficacy and confidence. The school is dedicated to high academic achievement, but also to supporting each and every individual and their overall well-being and development. At RVS, every child is provided with opportunities to flourish. The entire community is aligned in the school’s mission to embrace the unique talents of each child, support different learning styles, and empower every student to achieve their personal best.  River Valley School continually evaluates itself in the Calgary private education market, and strives to deliver students and families quality, innovative programming.