Grade 8 Changemaker Leadership Academy

Welcome to our new Grade 8 Changemaker Leadership Academy! Applications for the 2023-2024 school year opens on February 10, 2023 and will be ongoing until all spots are filled!


“Like a Gap Year”

The Grade 8 Changemaker Leadership Academy (CLA) is a special stand-alone, one-year student leadership program (at a special reduced one-year tuition rate) designed to empower students to deepen their sense of self, sense of belonging, and sense of purpose during what is often considered one of the most challenging years for adolescents. This program runs full days on Monday to Thursday with optional Fridays. Students learn both the Alberta curriculum and our Changemaker curriculum through integrated studies and classroom projects, leadership activities, guest presenters, weekly trips off-campus and outdoor education adventures. CLA students are encouraged to lead and participate in Friday choice clubs including culinary arts and our art and music offerings.

CLA students will also be offered at least one opportunity to participate in a bigger travel studies program either domestically or internationally (extra fees apply for trips involving flights and hotels).

We are looking for students already demonstrating kindness and empathy and who enjoy being challenged by project-work and leadership opportunities.



  • Parents: Submit an online application form HERE (opens Feb.10 2023
  • Send supporting documents to
  • Students: Submit a 1-3 minute video OR personal website-portfolio page explaining why you want to join this special one-year program and why you would be a great leadership candidate. Send to:
  • Students meeting the Changemaker Leadership Academy criteria will be invited to an interview and will be notified of acceptance or waitlist status via e-mail shortly after the interview.
 Tuition: $3900 per student per year (payment plans available). Must be entering Grade 8 in September 2023 to apply. Limited space available. Apply now!

Additional fees include:

  • Uniform and outdoor wear (see uniform handbook).
    • Pre-owned uniforms available at a reduced rate.
  • Optional travel opportunities will have additional expenses for flights and hotels.


  • Is the tuition rate on this page (above) the total amount for the year? Yes! This annual tuition rate is an incredible deal available through the hard work of our volunteer fundraising team and the support of our K-6 school. We are very passionate about offering more financially accessible special programming and hope to be able to offer more options like this in the future.
  • What will the class sizes look like? Our grade 8 class sizes will be smaller than most public or charter schools but larger than our regular K-6 class sizes. Space is limited and a waitlist will be started once we have reached our maximum. 
  • Do you accept students with an IPP or special needs? Yes. However, students in our Grade 8 program are selected based on their pre-existing skills in leadership and empathy and must work well with others. CLA students must be willing to work hard academically in an exciting and challenging but supportive environment. 
    If your child has complex needs, please reach out prior to applying to find out what extra supports we are able to offer.
  • Do you offer transportation? Parents must be able to get their child to and from the Calgary Changemaker School (in Springbank) on school days as transportation is only available (at an additional cost) if there is enough interest in one particular area. Many of our families independently arrange carpooling. A bus to and from the school is arranged for all local off-campus trips. 

Why Grade 8?

Grade 8 is often considered one of the most challenging years. We like to call it “the renovation year”. If you have ever lived through a kitchen renovation where you are still living in your home, you know that it’s not an easy time for anyone in the family. While you know it will be worth it in the end, it’s a major inconvenience. You feel out of place, routines go out the window, and it’s incredibly hard to stay organized. It can even be stressful, exhausting and emotional. This is similar to what students in Grade 8 can feel like as their brains change, their bodies change, and their social lives begin to change. No longer a child but not quite a mature teen or young adult, anyone who has been through the early teen years knows that, even for the most easy going children, it’s typically not an easy time for students, parents, or teachers alike!

However, it really doesn’t have to be so hard! Typical junior high programs often fight against the natural transformation that occurs around this age. Whether  it’s hormones and physical awkwardness, the sometimes overwhelming emphasis on social drama, or the increasing desire for more independence, risk-taking, and creative expression, we work with the student just as they are.

In the right environment (and if they are motivated and willing students), Grade 8s can surprise us with their relentless passion for making a difference, with their impressive and enthusiastic leadership skills, and their vast capacity for entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity. Above all else, when you learn to embrace the “mess” rather than fighting against it, everyone can have a lot of fun!

Our program prepares Grade 8 students for high school and beyond with plenty of authentic leadership opportunities out in the community and with the Changemaker School’s K-6 students. We provide challenging yet supportive classes in test-writing, studying and organizational skills. We dig deep into health, wellness and social-emotional learning using their own questions as a jumping off point. Students and teachers co-create projects, assignments and learning activities that are engaging and meaningful from a 13-year old’s perspective. And we spend A LOT of time out in the world learning through off-campus trips, travel and outdoor adventures. 

APPLY NOW: Submit an online application form HERE (opens Feb.10 2023)