There is indeed an invaluable skill in the passing on of knowledge to another. From the early philosophers and elders to the modern-day virtual classroom, society has always placed value in learning. Standardized exams are a measuring stick that, by their very nature, break down a person’s knowledge into a single number or score.
But what does this truly measure in a student’s learning? What if we took the standard curriculum and not only gave it to students, but provided them with the tools with which to understand it, process it and synthesize it along with the teacher’s and student’s own experiences and thoughts? These kinds of ideals would only begin to scratch the surface of the techniques and innovations of Career Achievement Arch Award recipients, Aaron Renert, BSc'92, MSc'93, LLB'98, BEd'03, and Dr. Moshe (Moses) Renert, BSc'85, PhD.
Since the inception of the Renert Tutorials at the University of Calgary in 1990, Moshe, Aaron and their staff have brought thousands of students to campus for high school diploma reviews and college admission and graduate school test prep sessions. Years of Renert Tutorials would lead to the opening of the Renert Tutoring Centre, the Bright Minds program and, ultimately, Renert School, an accredited kindergarten to Grade 12 private school, founded by Moshe and Aaron in September 2013.
“Renert School's unique and innovative educational model provides students and teachers with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge, advance academically without bounds and discover their unique passions, all in the context of a safe and caring school community,” says nominator Dr. Bob Schulz, PhD. “At every stage over the past 30 years, Aaron and Moshe Renert used entrepreneurial thinking and innovative leadership to pivot, improve, enhance, and extend product offerings to extended target markets, to the betterment of the Calgary and Alberta communities.”
Aaron and Moshe both came from humble beginnings, and they continue to use the analogy of education being the ‘“great equalizer,” a means for all students to discover their passions and abilities, and continue onward in their journey, often with an extended pitstop or two at UCalgary. Perhaps it was their own journey as children from Israel, immigrating as a family to Calgary and overcoming many of the challenges in adapting to a new country, that motivated them to pave the way for generations of students to come. The Bright Minds program, alone, has helped thousands of elementary and junior high students excel in mathematics and literacy, providing both enrichment and remedial opportunities while they build confidence in their ability to manage the demands of school.
“Dr. Moshe Renert and Aaron Renert have a growth mindset that is humbling to witness from individuals who are so successful in creating a niche in the educational system and overall industry across Canada,” says nominator Reena Khullar. “I admire their dedication to ongoing learning, not only in the form of educating students, but also in their own commitment to self-reflection and personal development.”
The Renerts have continued to share their unique vision with others by entering into a partnership with the Werklund School of Education to offer to Renert School staff and other interested educators a Master of Education program that focuses on transformative education. Research and publications resulting from this program can be further disseminated, enabling other schools or educators to implement aspects of the vision and program that they find useful, paving new avenues of access and opportunity for students and educators, alike. Looking back on the road that has been paved, the students that already have or are yet to encounter Renert programs, and the educators and researchers engaging with their methods, Aaron and Moshe’s approach to education is a path with endless entry points, and limitless opportunities to exit onward, and upwards to the next.