Tuugaalik High School

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Tuugaalik High School
ᑑᒑᓕᒃ ᑎᓪᓕᕐᒃ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕐᕕᒃ
Tuugaalik High School
Naujaat, Nunavut

Coordinates 66°32′01″N86°14′50″W / 66.533491°N 86.247119°W / 66.533491; -86.247119 Coordinates: 66°32′01″N86°14′50″W / 66.533491°N 86.247119°W / 66.533491; -86.247119
TypeHigh School
Established9 September 2016 (2016-09-09)
AuthorityKivalliq School Operations
Grades7 to 12
Enrollment155 [1]  (2017/18)
Area32,582 ft2

Tuugaalik High School is a grade 7–12 school [2] in the hamlet of Naujaat, which is located on the Arctic Circle [3] in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut, northern Canada. The school building was completed in August 2016 [4] and the official opening was on 9 September 2016. [5] The school has received a number of awards for its innovative provision of educational facilities in this remote Arctic community. [6]


Design and construction

Tuugaalik High School was designed by Parkin Architects Ltd and constructed by Accutech Engineering Inc [4] and AGE Engineering. [6] Construction of the 32,582 ft2 building was completed in August 2016 at a cost of $26 million. [4]


Schools in the Canadian Arctic are designed not only to accommodate the education of children but also to play a role as public spaces and cultural resources within the community. [7] The design of Tuugaalik High School was influenced by Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) guidelines that encompass respect, being open and welcoming, community service, consensus building, resourcefulness and caring for the environment. [3] From the start, the design process was informed by dialogue with members of the community and local officials, and design proposals were presented to them for community approval and consensus. [7]

The agreed design provided a large community gathering space known as a 'Kiva', common in Nunavut schools, providing a welcoming space where elders could be invited to come and share their traditional knowledge with the students. [3] As well as standard classrooms, the design included a science room, library, gymnasium and weightlifting room, plus specialist rooms to provide for practical subjects such as woodworking, carving, welding, engine repair, sewing, cooking and fur preparation. [8] The facilities also included on-site daycare and a special needs washroom. [5] The building design used bold colours representing the Arctic springtime and incorporated natural light, bringing a positive atmosphere within the school, [8] aiming to reduce truancy by creating an environment that students would be excited to attend. [6]


In spring 2015, the site was prepared by blasting the exposed rock of the hillside. [7] Building materials were shipped by barge during summer 2015 and the building was erected and enclosed before the winter. [7] The structural design elevated the building envelope above ground level to protect the permafrost and to prevent snow from drifting around the building facades, [7] a technique common in Arctic construction. [9] Work continued on the building interior through the winter, and the exterior was completed in spring and summer 2016, [7] ready for the autumn term.


Naujaat had a population of 1082 in 2016 [10] and the school enrolled 152 students for the 2016–7 academic year. [1] The school year runs from mid-August through to the beginning of June, with vacations at Christmas and Easter, plus a week off in February for teacher professional development. [11] An increase in attendance levels has been reported since the school opened, [6] and attendance for 2016–7 was 71.8%, which is above the average for Kivalliq high schools for that year. [1]

In addition to the curriculum, the school also aims to arrange a number of day-long land trips by Ski-Doo and qamutiik towards the end of May each year. These are built into the curriculum for grades 7–9 and enable students and teachers to work together in a different environment. [12] In addition, the school engages with traditional activities, celebrating heritage and culture days, serving traditional dishes, inviting elders as guests into the school and organising an elder tea. [12]

The school has worked to build a cultural exchange with Laidlaw School in Winnipeg; after initial contact in 2019, there were plans to proceed in spring 2020, [2] but COVID-19 has disrupted this. All schools in Nunavut were closed from 17 April 2020 to the end of the school year because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. [13]

In May 2021, Tuugaalik High School was one of eight Nunavut schools that will receive a grant of up to $15,000 from the music education charity MusiCounts to buy the school's choice of new musical instruments. [14]


The school has been featured in a number of publications and received awards: [4]

See also

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  14. "Eight Nunavut schools to receive up to $15,000 for musical instruments". Nunatsiaq News. 2021-05-05. Retrieved 2021-06-06.