The Banff School Difference

At The Banff School, we strive to educate the “whole child,” providing exciting and engaging curriculum as well as “special” programs and activities that help the students grow and mature, both academically and creatively. Below is just a glimpse at what makes Banff different and special…

ADVISORY PROGRAM (Middle & Upper School)

Students are assigned to an Advisory group which meets each Friday to participate in team-building and academic goal-setting exercises, conversation prompts, and discussions about current events, both on-campus and around the world.  The goal of Advisory is for students to have at least one faculty member who serves as a contact person and mentor for that student, providing advocacy and support as needed.  Additionally, advisory supplies built-in peer groups for all students, which is especially helpful for new students as they become part of the Banff community. Learn More...

CHALLENGE MASTERS (Lower School)

Challenge Masters is a program that teaches 21st century skills and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) principles to Kindergarten- 5th grade students through creative and collaborative problem-solving challenges. Students will experience the creative process from imagination to innovation to learn skills needed to succeed in school, career and life, including teamwork, communication, leadership, perseverance, creative and critical thinking, and self-confidence.  Lessons on character education will be incorporated as well.

 

EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION TRIPS (Middle & Upper School)

Banff offers students in grades 8th-12th an annual spring trip to a major cultural destination around the United States. We take our curriculum on the road, providing hands-on learning opportunities while creating life-long memories for our students. The spring trip cycles through five different destinations, enabling our students to experience a different trip each year. Learn More...

 

HOUSES & PREFECTS (All School)

Banff School is structured along a “house system” in which the students are divided into four groups or teams named after the bear, our school mascot: Atlas, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Spirit. Students compete academically and athletically for the benefit of their houses.  Academic scores are tallied at the end of each 9 weeks based on the achievement in quarterly reports, while athletic points and other competition points are added throughout the year. The houses are led by four senior students called prefects who guide students in the school, serve as role models, and help new students settle in. Learn More...

 

HANDWRITING/CURSIVE (Lower School)

Lawmakers continue to fight to keep handwriting in the classroom, despite the growing power of the keyboard. Research suggests that printing letters and writing in cursive activates different parts of the brain. Learning cursive is good for students’ fine motor skills and helps them retain more information and generate creative ideas. Cursive also forces writers to think of words as a whole instead of parts, which helps with reading and spelling. When students can’t read or write cursive, the link to our history is taken out of the classroom!

 

IPAD LEARNING (Lower School, Middle & Upper School)

Teachers are always integrating technology in the classroom, and we support this endeavor through the use of our iPad program. In Lower School, students utilize a shared iPad cart, with enough iPads for each student in the class. Our Middle & Upper School students participate in a "1 to 1 iPad" program where each student has their own iPad issued to them for use throughout the school year (both in class and at home). The iPads enhance the students’ learning in a controlled way as teachers can control what is shown on each students' iPad and send custom content direct to their screens. In addition to normal curriculum integration, teachers plan lessons around a multitude of apps designed for specific skills as well as incorporating traditional apps and utilities for project-based learning activities. Learn More...

 

LIBRARY PROGRAMS (PreSchool & Lower School)

Students in Preschool and Lower School visit the library for story time and other activities every week and our library hosts many special events throughout the year. We have an annual “Pajama Day & Read-In” where we “drop everything” and read for an hour! Wonderful stories are shared through reading times or teacher-led storytelling to instill the love of reading in each child. 3rd-5th grade students participate in the Bluebonnet Award Program. Every year, The Texas Library Association names 20 books to the Bluebonnet Award Nominee List.  Our students read at least 5 books and select their favorite by sending in their votes to Austin, Texas. The Presidential Celebration is an event that takes a close look at the life and times of a past president.  Students share foods, stories, crafts, and games that the president enjoyed, as well as learn interesting things about their childhood or important contributions. 

 

OUTDOOR EDUCATION TRIPS (Lower & Middle School)

Students in 3rd through 7th grades participate in an outdoor adventure at "Mo Ranch" in the Texas Hill Country. Banff students enjoy a week of water recreation, camping, environmental education, ziplining, sports activities, hiking, and a state-of-the-art ropes course. Our Outdoor Education trips are a time for renewal, outdoor excitement, building relationships, and relaxation as students learn team-building and leadership skills. Learn More...

 

PERFORMING ARTS (All School)

Our Performing Arts program is based around a Musical Theatre training curriculum. Students are trained as "triple-threat" performers in singing, dancing and acting. This program continues to thrive, providing students with top-notch theatrical training, and providing the community with exciting musical and dramatic theatre experiences. PreSchool students participate in daily “Music & Movement” classes where they are introduced to the concepts of rhythm, movement, music and performance. Theatre classes in the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools cover acting techniques as the students prepare for two major theatrical productions each year on our well-equipped proscenium stage. Learn More...

 

ROBOTICS, MATH & COMPUTING (Middle School)

The Banff School is one of the very few schools in the Houston area to offer computer science to Middle School students. Students use a Raspberry Pi computer, which is a cost- effective, fully functional computer about the size of a credit card, to write programs that control the sensors and electronics of a robot. Due to the numerous opportunities and scholarships available to those pursuing STEM degrees, and in particular the special incentives for women to enter STEM fields, this course is extremely advantageous to Banff students. Learn More...

 

STEM ENRICHMENT (Lower School

This course for 3rd-5th graders, is designed to strengthen and motivate students across these STEM areas, and to provide students with modern day skills and the opportunity to explore and develop interests from a young age that they might not otherwise have. Students learn above-level concepts, in math and computer science, and develop good analytical skills while at the same time using their creativity. SNAP Circuits kits are used to build exciting electronics projects, while Physical Computing and Scratch programming (developed by MIT) are taught on Raspberry Pi's (fully-functional, credit-card sized computers). 4th & 5th grade students also learn the basics of Python programming as well as physical computing with electronic devices.
 

VISUAL ARTS (All School)

Our Visual Arts program introduces students to all aspects of the world around them. Through analysis of their environment in terms of color, light, line, texture and space, they develop an increased visual awareness and sensitivity which reflects in their artwork. Students work in a diverse range of media including drawing, painting, prints and sculpture. Visual Arts is included in all grades for the PreSchool and Lower School as additional enrichment activities and as an academic elective in the Middle and Upper School. Each year, students showcase their work as the school is transformed into an art gallery for our annual spring "Art Show." Guests, parents and friends are invited to this public viewing. Learn More...

 

WINTERIM (Middle & Upper School)

The Banff School Winterim is an innovative curricular feature for students in our Middle and Upper School grades. Each year students choose from specialty classes outside the normal curriculum.  They also have the unique opportunity to participate in group community service projects each afternoon. Winterim truly means new opportunities and learning experiences for Banff School students. Learn More...

A private, independent, college-preparatory school serving grades PreSchool - 12th grade.

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The Banff School is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Corporation