Friday, February 27, 2009

Our School's Future

A meeting was held last night that was to address the McKenzie Towne School opening. The meeting went from 5 - 6:30 , and even with this awkward time, there will still over 100 attendees. Here is a summary of the learnings:

-McKenzie Towne school is expected to be open for learning in January 2010.

-There will be MT students in Haultain (and Acadia) for the first 4 months of next school year.

-They will only be in grades 2, 3, 4 - there will be no K, grad 5, or grade 6 MT kids at Haultain. There will also be no grade 1 MT kids unless there is an existing attending sibling at the school.

-The MT kids will be in classrooms with only MT kids, there will be no integration with Haultain kids. This will allow for a smooth transition when the MT school opens.

-The MT classrooms will be staffed with MT teachers who will move with the students when their school opens.

-There will be a posting shortly for a principal and assistant-principal to staff MT

-Parents of MT students will have the option to leave their kids at Haultain if ther is room in an existing Haultain class - they will be responsible for their own transportation after MT school opens.

-Haultain will be left with 114-120 students after January (preliminary numbers only)

-There will be a CBE meeting shortly to discuss options surrounding Haultain and what the CBE may do with our school. We will hopefully have some further news about accommodation during our March 18 Council meeting.

-Any decisions that the CBE makes regarding Haultain's future will include parental engagement. (as I said before - community awareness and engagement are considerably important factors in this process, support your school as often and as vocally as you can, this blog is a great record of that support).

This meeting raised a lot of questions as well and I'm sure there are some concerned parents out there. Please use the comments section to bring up any other issues. I would love to hear your perspective of the meeting and any thoughts you have about the process.

Mackenzie Towne parents may provide feedback through an on-line feedback form to the CBE at or by email at

A note for McKenzie Towne parents. It would be in your best interest to set up an association/society as soon as possible. I will be happy to help with materials and any guidance I can provide.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Food Recall

The following products described below are affected by this alert.
The affected products bear the establishment number 611.

Product: Maple Leaf Hot Dogs Original
Size: 450g
UPC: 0 63100 22356 4

Best before date: 09 AL 23
Product: Shopsy’s Deli- Fresh All Beef Frankfurters
Size: 450g
UPC: 0 64875 20730 8
Best before date: 09 AL 22 and 09 AL 23

The affected products have been distributed in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland & Labrador.There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

The manufacturer, Maple Leaf Consumer Foods, is recalling the affected products produced at its Hamilton, Ontario facility (establishment #611) from the marketplace because the products may contain Listeria species discovered as a result of Maple Leaf’s environmental testing program. The CFIA will be monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nevyn Draws a Crowd!

Students and staff were pleasantly surprised at the February 25 assembly hosted by our AM kindergarten and Room 11 classes. On top of a great assembly and wonderful sharing from both classes, representatives from Morgex Insurance and the CBE were on hand to present one of our very own students, Nevyn T., with the first place award for entering a road safety poster contest sponsored by Morgex Insurance. Nevyn created poster below to win the Division I class, along with a personal prize of $500 for himself and $500 for the school. Thanks to Mrs. Brosh for giving the students this chance and to Nevyn for putting us on the map.

Klondike Rag a Huge Success

On February 10th, the school hosted a presentation by the Canadiana Musical Theatre Company entitled The Klondike Rag. As outlined in the synopsis, “When down and out vaudeville performers hear about the discovery of Klondike gold, the rush is on! But when they unearth no gold and face starvation, the "Flim-Flam Brothers" must resurrect their failed vaudeville show at the newly built Palace Grand Theatre in Dawson City. With Soapy Smith, Sam Steele, Arizona Charlie Meadows, Klondike Kate, and a cast of incorrigible wheeler dealers, this rollicking Ragtime musical is a fast and furious turn of the century vaudeville comedy written by the "Ragtime Kid" from the Palace Grande Theatre in Dawson City.”

A great time was had by all with many teachers commenting that this was one of the most unique, educational and entertaining presentation to grace the gym in quite some time. Remember, parents are always welcome to attend these events so check the calendar, check in at the office, and enjoy!

Parent entry for the blog

This comment was received from Ramona this morning, regarding our last council meeting:

Good morning,
I just want to keep you up to date on what I have been looking into:
I realize that during the last council meeting several proposals were brought forth including expenditure on Ipods. While I'm all for allowing children to experience new technologies in creative ways, I also like to have a balance. Why not look into some expenditures that bring active lifestyles into focus, for instance? Having worked for the Alberta Sport Council in the past gave me the opportunity to experience many of the Olympic winter sports that had training facilities at COP and Canmore Nordic Centre. Giving that next year is a big Olympic year for Vancouver and Canada in general, teaching the kids about the training involved and learning about luge, bobsled, ski jumping or biathalon may spark some future Olympians! At the very least, they would get exposure to some activities they know nothing about. I have checked the COP site to see if there are any programs/tours specifically geared towards schools. There was nothing posted, so I have sent a request for information and am waiting to hear back.

Another idea I had was with the Calgary Opera. I have vivid memories of my first experience with operas/operettas in elementary when I saw an opera company do a school version of Hansel and Gretel in Edmonton. So few children these days get exposure to classical music and opera specifically. Calgary Opera is putting on a travelling production in schools called the Barber of Barrhead. It is a one act opera adapted from Rossini's famous Barber of Seville. Set in Northern Alberta, this funny adaptation takes place on the Klondike Trail during the Gold Rush of the 1890's. The Calgary Opera site describes it as a way to entertain and educate students about Alberta history through the magic of opera. The cost is $800. It takes place from March 2-27th.
  • Specially adapted for younger audiences and performed in English
  • Fully-staged and costumed production
  • Approximate performance duration: 45 minutes. Followed by Q&A period with the cast.
  • Schools provided with a comprehensive study guide and excerpt CD to help prepare students for the presentation.
  • Total cost per performance: $800 (early bird discount available if booked before September 30)
I haven't checked yet on availability.
I'll keep thinking of ideas to submit, and will keep you up to date on what I find out.

Thank you for your comment, Ramona! Any and all suggestions and comments are welcomed.

School Newspaper

Mrs. Yee is an Area V learning leader who has been working with a few of our writers at the school on a newspaper project. The paper is called Through the Kids' Eyes. You can have your children sign in to D2L so you can read the stories.

There are sections about the School Community, Upcoming Events, Virtues, Movie Reviews, and even an Advice Column all written by Haultain students. The perspective, clearly, is "through the kids' eyes".

Check it out when you can.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Casino Funds? How Can They be Spent?

I spoke with Shane this morning about how to get a handle on the AGLC's (Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission) casino fund spending "allowables", as a follow-up to Steve's posting of our casino take. He filled me in on the following:

The HMPA has to submit a wish list each year and each year we receive a document outlining what on our list is allowable from AGLC. The AGLC provides a handbook, available here that details the guidelines that they use. It's a very comprehensive piece of reading.

Its pretty difficult to pin down a concrete list of things that are allowable, but as long as they are consistent with the community (society, association) values and goals, don't contravene the gambling license, and aren't illegal then we can spend it.

If there is an appetite for posting the items purchased in the past on this blog, we can make it happen. Please feel free to comment on this.

There are a good deal of caveats and codicils pertaining to the spending of casino funds. Please go through the document and bring some questions to the table - it will help everyone understand a little more about the process.

Having a good idea of what parents think is the most worthwhile use of casino funds is important - decisions can only be made from the council's frame of reference. Parent input is crucial, and welcomed. Generally, council listens to any and all suggestions and determines if they would be beneficial before dialogue can begin around casino funding eligibility.

Canwest Canspell 2009

Here's a site featuring the 2009 National Spelling Bee competition. Pay it a visit, if only to read about Calgary participants!

EducationMatters article on

I just found this article on - it's a good follow up on Shane's article regarding the Haultain council's decision to donate.

For a brief update, there's the grade 3 craft club today, and tomorrow it's the 9:00 Assembly with Kindergarten hosting. Next week, don't forget that students are going to be leaving for the Outdoor school! (Another event proudly sponsored by the Parent Association!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Neat Article on Technology

It's about the use of technology as a communication tool - and how it's quickly changing the face of interpersonal conversation.

This is relevant to parents of Haultain children, because a lot of our kids use .mp3 players, or are beginning to use cell phones to text each other.

Check out the article here, and feel free to comment. Your participation is appreciated.

Zoned Out!

ZONED OUT’ or maybe ‘TWILIGHT ZONE’ (in reference to Ald. Mar’s comments).

On February 19, 2009 there was an article in the Calgary Herald regarding some possible changes to signage and regulations for playground zones and school zones. See the full article

We know that the current system is not effective at Haultain School. The reduced speed Playground Zone is not in effect until 8:30am, so all our children are walking across the street or exiting busses for our 8:20am start time while traffic, including city transit, whizzes by at 50km/hr. A ‘School Zone’ would not be ideal either, because it ends at 5pm and the playground in the field between the school and the Community Centre is well used by local children beyond that time. There just doesn’t seem to be a good fit with any of the current options.

Down the street, our teens attending Wilma Hansen Jr High start at 9am, but it is within a ‘School Zone’ where reduced speeds start at 8am. Also in our community, Queensland Downs Elementary had to pull their student patrollers a few years back as there were safety concerns with no speed reduction zones on Canyon Meadows Drive. The City installed a playground zone (effective 8:30am) and now the City gets regular complaints as commuters have to slow to 30km/hr during evening rush hour when there are no children present. Clearly, the current system is not meeting the needs of our communities.

“Ald. John Mar said one zone would be an "enforcement and education nightmare." "Imagine trying to implement something no one has ever seen before," he said. "I don't think (the system) is broken.””

There have been many new regulations and bylaws put into place recently that ‘no one has ever seen before’ - reducing speed to 60km when passing an emergency vehicle, for instance. You would think that would be a nightmare to enforce…something that can happen anytime and anywhere. Yet, he thinks we are not able to handle one effective, consistent, well-marked system for slow zones within Calgary.

This is exactly what our community has been requesting for several years now. Reduced speed zones have often been a topic of conversation at our Queensland Community Association board meetings.

On December 11, 2007 Alderman Linda Fox-Mellway attended one such meeting and invited Cam Nelson, City of Calgary Traffic Safety Coordinator. The Board was informed of a project in which 2 reduced speed zones in each ward across the city would be chosen as part of a study to determine how best to control traffic in areas such as schools, parks, sports field and green spaces where children walk and play.

Here is the relevant portion of the minutes from that meeting:

5.1 Linda Fox-Mellway, Alderman Cam Nelson (Traffic Safety Coordinator) was invited by Linda to speak In 2003, province started a project regarding the definition of school and playground zones. Due to quirks in provincial legislation, in rural areas the speed can be no lower than 40 and in urban areas can be no lower than 30. Edmonton doesn’t have school or playground zones and has areas instead with no speed reduction. The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) has picked up where it left off. The reason for having a speed reduced area is where or when children are in the area. There will be 28 areas (2 per ward) which are going to be tested in a pilot. The new playground area signs will still be yellow. The area sign will be the same sign as the existing signs without the speed reduction. Cam provided paperwork suggesting two zones in Diamond Cove for the pilot program. This will include the soccer field and the tot lot in Diamond Cove. Communication can be assisted with the Queensland Crier. The zone hours are dictated by legislation, but school hours can be adjusted per the municipal government. 80 points is the magic number for weighting. In terms of the area, the number ranges from 41 to 80.
Motion was made to agree with the pilot suggestions for the revised playground zones and areas in Diamond Cove as proposed by Traffic Engineering.

This project was to be completed last year (April 2008 I believe). We have heard nothing since.

This is a complex issue to be sure, but the City Council needs to make an effort to work collaboratively and in good faith with School Boards, Parent Councils, and Community Associations to find the best solution.

Casino Funds

We're Rich!

We have received exciting news; our cheque for proceeds from the 2008 casino has arrived. The amount for our 2 days of toil comes to $74 000. Not bad for a few hours work!

Thanks again to all the parents and staff who made the casino possible ...and FUN. I can't wait until next time to hang out with everyone again (and even make a few bucks for the students).

The money is in the care of the Haultain Memorial Parents Association and can be used for a number of great programs. Please submit your spending ideas to the association at our monthly meetings, or email the council. It's your money too!

School Council 101

This post is a quick and dirty summary of your council, a primer for your reference and for those who may be brand new to the idea. It's also a bit of an expansion of this earlier post.

What it is:

The Haultain Memorial School Council is an elected group of parents who volunteer their time to represent all the parents of the school. We sit with admin staff (the principal, the assistant principal, and at least one teacher) each month to discuss issues related to the school and our kids.

The elected list of parents includes; Steve - vice chair, Cheryl - secretary, Nick - Key Communicator, Monika - Volunteer Coordinator, Judith - Community Representative, and myself as Chair. All of these positions are held for a minimum of two years and then another election is called.

The format for the meetings is considered 'Town Hall' which means there are rules of order but it isn't exactly the court of law, there is lee-way expected and usually given but we can always fall back on proper 'order' if things get bogged down or out of control. We have a set of by-laws that govern our conduct - ask for them if you'd like to see the details.

We always have an update from Mr. Barkley regarding what he feels is important for us to know from his perspective and we have an opportunity to ask questions about anything that is going on at the school or the CBE in general.

We always have an update from me that usually concerns official correspondence, outbound and inbound, as well as news of the council.

After that we usually have reports from one or more of our members on their activities for the month.

We always have a new business part of the meetings that is meant to be an advisory opportunity for parents who can bring up questions, concerns, advice, new ideas and directions they feel are important for the principal to hear in a formal setting. This is the 'meat and bones' of our purpose. We are meant to be an advisory body that can help the administration to shape our school and its environment in a way that reflects our community. The more input here the better.

Ever since I have been involved with the Council, the most popular excuse reason I have heard from people for not attending is the meeting's length. With that in mind, we have started a new program with the intention of cutting down significantly on the length of the meetings. We have an electronic timer! People who have asked for a spot on the agenda are given a certain length of time and the timer is king. We have had great success with this method and have been able to 'hit the pub' much earlier than in previous 'un-timed' meetings.

We are your representatives. We are speaking each month with you in mind. Its not always easy and we have to fill in the blanks as best we can but the bottom line is that 8-12 parents make important decisions each month regarding our school.

The very best way for you to make your voice heard and be informed about Haultain is to come to the meetings. But... I know that's not always possible. In today's age, time has become a currency that most people are very careful spending. With that in mind, there are other ways to participate. This blog is one of them - leave comments, visit often. Send me an email or give me a call to discuss whatever is on your mind. I will directly represent you at a meeting if you can't make it.

That is all for now, stay tuned for a similar post: "Parent Association - 101".


Latest Key Communiqué

Here's the latest newsletter from the CBE.
Your comments and questions are welcomed! To comment, click on 'comments' at the bottom of this posting. If you have any problems, drop me an email, and I'll help you get them sorted out.

System Meetings:
The next System Meeting will be at the beginning of April. We will let you know as soon as we have the date and location determined.

Area Meetings:

Area I
Date: Thursday April 23
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Parkdale Centre:
728 - 32 Street N.W. Conference Room 1
Topic: Understanding more about the 21st Century learning environments in my child’s school.

Area II
Date: Wednesday March 4
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m .
Location: Mount View School, 2004 4th Street NE
Topic: Coffee and Conversation with your Director

Area III
Date: Thursday March 12th
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Location: Area III Conference Room
3rd floor-12 Manning Close
Topic: "Engaging the Community"

Area IV
Date: Wednesday, April 22
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Area IV Conference Room - Lord Shaughnessy High School
Topic: TBD

Area V (Haultain's area)
Date: Thursday, April 16
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Area V Conference Room (Haysboro Centre) 1123 - 87 Avenue S.W.
Topic: Student Accommodation and Transportation

Summary of Trustees' Presentation (Jan. 22):
We have received a few requests asking for a written summary of what the Trustees spoke about at the last system meeting. You can find this information by clicking here.

Setting the Direction for Special Education in Alberta:
Beginning on February 23, there are four ways to participate in Phase 2 of Setting the Direction. They mirror the consultation process in Phase 1.

1. Submit a response through the online consultation process

2. Downloading a PDF copy of the discussion guide and fax it to 780-422-2039 or mail it to Setting the Direction for Special Education in Alberta, c/o Special Programs Branch, Alberta Education, 10044-108 Street, Edmonton, AB, T5J 5E6.

3. Conduct an informal consultation process within your organization, among staff and/or stakeholders. The Group Consultation Toolkit is a good guide.

4. Register for and attend a regional consultation session. Participation in regional consultation is by pre-registration only. Registration is now open.

In-person public forums for Phase 2 will be five hours in length. They will begin on February 27 and 28 in Red Deer and end on March 20 and 21 in Edmonton. There will be three Saturday sessions (Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton).

Further detail on the Phase 2 consultation opportunities is available on the Setting the Direction website at

WorldSkills Calgary 2009:
The CBE's Worldskills website is continually being updated as we receive more information regarding our schools and this exciting event. You can check it out here or visit the WorldSkills Calgary 2009 homepage at

You can also contact Marsha Levy at with your questions.

Nick Newton, Key Communicator at Haultain Memorial School has started a blog for his school council as a way to keep his parents informed. You can check it out at If you want to start your own school blog or have any questions about the process you can contact him directly:

Nick Newton
Haultain Memorial School Key Communicator
(403) 271-9321


CAPSC is Calgary’s city-wide, public school parent association. CAPSC’s primary goal is to keep parents up to date and involved in their children’s education, and to help make individual school’s Parent Councils as effective as possible. CAPSC provides parents with resources, learning and sharing opportunities, and representation of parent concerns to the CBE and all levels of government. For more information or to subscribe to their newsletter, visit

School Council Development
School Council Development (SCD) provides workshops and resource materials to assist school councils.

School Council Development provides the following services:

a.. Workshops for school councils anywhere in Alberta
b.. Toll Free School Council Consultation Line - 1-800-661-3470
c.. Instructor training to deliver workshops to school councils
d.. Resource manual and materials for school council

Alberta Education

School Council Resource Manual

Contact Information
Katie Young, BPR
Parent/School Communications Specialist
Calgary Board of Education
T (403) 294-8566
F (403) 294-8172
515 Macleod Tr. SE
Calgary, AB T2G 2L9

We are always looking for ways to improve communication so if you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to email them to me.

School Council Website & Hotline:
The School Council website is a great resource for information. Check it out at I have also been regularly updating our Key Communicator and School Council Chair Hotline. If ever you don’t have access to a computer but want to find what is going on, call 403-294-8244.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Your Alberta - eNewsletter from Premier Ed Stelmach

A monthly newsletter from government of Alberta.

Pretty In-Depth Wikipedia Entry

I found this article on Wikipedia - It's a pretty interesting read if you have a minute. There's a lot of good information on there.

Enjoy the weekend - and don't forget to send me anything interesting or notable that you've found online - I'll post it and give you the credit. Also, if you have photos you'd like to share with parents, or questions, concerns... just let me know. Your participation is what makes this site successful.

Science Fair Participants

Here are some of the participants of this year's Haultain Science Fair. To protect the identities of the students, no names have been listed, and their faces have been covered up. If you don't feel comfortable having your student's image posted on this blog, please let me know and it'll be removed promptly. You can click on each image to enlarge it.

The Science Fair was a big success - congratulations to all participants on a job well done!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Can Technology Help Elementary Age School Students?

(In response to Annika's very valid comment regarding parent trepidation over the use of technology in elementary schools, and as a result of conversations during last night's Council meeting - please feel free to comment. Dialogue is welcomed.)

Written by SkyeDanzer, for Associated Content Op Ed. (Here's the link to the article online.)

Did you know they have special keyboards just for elementary and younger age children with color, picture and letter keys? Ipods, DVD players, CD players, laptops and more are part of technology today. We are surrounded by technology on a daily basis. Educational software is a booming business. But does great technology in elementary school benefit children?

First, let me say that anything to the extreme is unhealthy. Let's look at keyboard skills. Children are sponges. Some say that keyboard skills can be developed at the elementary school age or younger. Sure it can be learned but it is much more difficult at this age. Kids don't have the fine motor skills needed for keyboarding. They are still learning letters, words and language basics. Then to have the eye and hand coordination it takes to start learning keyboarding can be complex as well. The greatest benefit to keyboarding is to simply get them used to a keyboard. The other skills are learned much easier at a middle school age.

Pre-kindergarten and elementary school educational software has many advantages. Parents that are out of ideas of how to teach some of the basics can use these programs to help at home. They don't save time because the parent needs to sit at the program and help the child do the work of the program. But then again, they do teach quite a bit. Having invested the money in the programs the parents are more likely to stick to them and to use them with the children.

The use of DVDs and CDs is very beneficial in the classroom. There are many things that elementary children can learn through listening and viewing that they wouldn't get from other classroom activities. Hooked on phonics is a great example of how technology can benefit elementary school students. Many languages are learned at this age if the children can hear and/or see the language being used. Playing a DVD in the classroom that is entertaining but in a foreign language will develop language skills more quickly.

Education Matters

One of the items we discussed and voted on last night was a donation to this group. There were a few questions and this web site explains it all. Briar Hill was in the same boat as we are (they had extra funds) and decided to help out other schools in our community. It is often said that charity starts at home and we have decided to practice a little of that concept. I'll provide more detail as we go through the process.

Parent Councils VS Parent Associations

When I first joined the Parent Council, I had trouble understanding the difference between the Council and the Association. They are two separate entities - with two different functions. I found this page on the CAPSC website which gives a great run down on the two. (They've identified "Association" as "Society").

Please read the article, and post your thoughts as a comment. Your feedback is always encouraged and welcome.

Interesting Article

I found this article, posted on Yahoo news, about an assignment handed out at a school in New Brunswick. Let's be thankful that we'd be hard-pressed to find the teachers and administration at Haultain in the same situation!

The professional staff at Haultain, who are charged with teaching our children, do a great job.

If you have any questions, issues, or concerns with any of the information posted on this blog, or would like to contribute in any way, please use the 'feedback' link at the top right hand of this page, or click 'comment' at the bottom of articles. All comments are moderated.

February Council Meeting

February's Council meeting took place in the Haultain library last night, and was well attended by Council members as well as a few parents. A strict agenda was adhered to, and a lot of important issues were discussed and resolved.

The unusual problem of finding items to spend council money on took up a fair amount of the proceedings - a problem unfortunately not shared by all Councils in Calgary. It's a good idea, if you have the time, to send an email with your thoughts and ideas of programs or items the Council can spend money on as soon as possible. There is a modest surplus which needs to be allotted before the end of March. Give Shane a call, comment beneath the articles you read, or email any of the council members if you have suggestions.

Parent involvement is crucial to ensure that hard-earned funds get allocated wisely. As well, parent involvement shows the CBE that parents with children attending Haultain consider the school to be a valuable resource, and an essential part of the Queensland community. The Board of Directors at the CBE takes parent involvement in schools as one of the indicators of school importance - when school populations decrease, and the decisions of which schools should be closed need to be made, that's one of the aspects that gets considered.

Get involved, and tell other parents to get involved. Commenting on this website, emailing your thoughts and feedback, offering information or photos to put on this blog - all great ways to show your commitment to keeping Haultain as a part of the community.

New Tool Unveiled by Police

I just read this article on CBC this morning, and thought I'd share it. It's a neat little tool, which graphically represents where various crimes take place in the city. Queensland, compared to other communities, seems quite safe. Go check the Police application out here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


As I previously mentioned in a Council Email and in the School Newsletter, the Community Facility Enhancement Program provided the Association with a grant that covered half the costs of our playground repair.
I wanted to use this forum to thank them once again for their involvement. With their participation the playground at Haultain is no longer in danger of being shut down. A safe environment has been maintained in which our kids and future generations of kids will continue to play.
As an added bonus, the repair used recycled rubber from tires so we were able to help out a little environmentally as well.

Parent Resources on the CBE Site

This site is a fantastic resource for parents. One of the first items on the page is for those needing information on the 2009 spring break.

Calgary Online Safety Week

Online Safety Week - February 21 to March 1, 2009

Calgary Online Safety Week was developed to get adults and children thinking, talking and acting on various topics related to Internet safety.

The 2009 Online Safety Week will once again feature a contest that meets Grade 6 Science Evidence and Investigation outcomes, and features great prizes that benefit students and schools.

Click here to visit the site.

Public Education in Canada

I recently discovered this site - the Canadian Education Association, and found this article an interesting read. It looks at education on a more national scope, but I still found it pretty relevant to parents of Haultain students. There are a lot of great articles in there - I found this one pretty compelling:

"In Saving Spaceship Earth, Teaching the Ethics of Environmental Stewardship (PDF), author Bruce Beairsto suggests that educators need to go beyond merely enabling students to understand the threats to our biosphere, but to encourage them to challenge the status quo so that new sustainable practices and values can emerge in a process he calls "committing to the common good and embracing the long view."

Don't forget that it's the Parent Council meeting tonight at Haultain, in the library at 6:30. Feel free to come and join us - share your thoughts or bring up an issue you're dealing with. It's also Kindergarten's 100 Day Celebration!

Also, there's a modified lunch hour tomorrow - please visit the calendar at the bottom of this page to check the times.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Interesting Program

I have had the opportunity to do some work for a local Environmental foundation, SEEDS, which offers educational materials on environmental stewardship to children and teachers. It's a free program, and looks to be pretty beneficial to schools. I'm going to bring up the possibility of Haultain offering this at tomorrow night's meeting.

Kids who are coping with change

Some great ideas here from Calgary's Child, might help if your child is: just starting Haultain next year, moving from K to grade one or even moving on from Haultain.

"Many adults find coping with change challenging, so it’s not surprising that young children, who are still trying to make sense of their world, struggle with this concept as well."

Back to School!

Here's hoping that all Haultain students are enjoying being back at school after a nice long break. Don't forget that the Parent Council meets tomorrow night, starting at 6:30pm in the Library. Please come and join us if there is an issue you'd like to bring up, or if you'd like to pay a visit, and see how we conduct business.

Results will be posted as minutes on the council webpage on the CBE portal, and there will be a link to them from this site as well.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Family Day

Back to school tomorrow - please don't forget that the 100 Day Celebration takes place for kindergarten on Wednesday of this week, and there's a modified lunch hour on Thursday - full details are listed on the calendar at the bottom of this page.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday of a long weekend

Enjoy the Family Day long weekend! I read this entry on Wikipedia about the holiday, and there are some interesting facts to note. It's a holiday that gets celebrated all over the world - frankly, if I had the choice, I'd be celebrating it in Vanuatu.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CAPSC Newsletter

The latest news from our Calgary collective of school Councils.


With an estimated 800 videoconferencing units in schools across the province, videoconferencing enables Alberta students to access unique learning opportunities – from remote courses to the ability to interact with subject matter experts. Videoconferencing can also be used for the remote delivery of student services and professional learning for teachers.

Click here to read the full article.


The Calgary Board of Education is proud to announce that Sandra Rhodes has won Canada’s Outstanding Principal Award.

Sandra is the principal of Sir William Van Horne High School. She is the only recipient from Alberta to be recognized by the Learning Partnership for her amazing work and dedication to the students of Sir William Van Horne. She joins thirty other nationally-recognized winners.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Cold Weather is Back!

My School Bus Monitor is a great new online resource for families, where you can find up-to-the-minute information about charter school bus route delays. Parents and students are encouraged to visit this site before heading to the bus stop, especially during cold and severe weather. Check this site as a regular part of your morning routine and avoid surprises at the bus stop!
Please be advised that due to the heavy volume of bus delays on extremely cold or severe weather days, it will be very difficult for My School Bus Monitor to convey all of the late school bus information in a timely manner. The CBE suggests that you expect the possibility of delays on these types of mornings.

Click here to visit the site.

WorldSkills Calgary 2009

Here's another article which is a great read about the WorldSkills competition, coming to Calgary in September. Here's a brief excerpt:

"Nearly 1,000 competitors, including high school students, post-secondary students and apprentices, and 150,000 visitors are expected to take part in the event. Students who watch the competition will have the opportunity to learn about the many available career options, see the various skills needed for different occupations, and test their own skills in some of the demonstrations. "

Check it out - and feel free to offer your feedback on anything you read on this blog.

Administrative Regulation 5001: School Councils and School/Parent Societies

by Leslie Newton, CAPSC Treasurer

Administrative regulations are the rules the Calgary Board of Education puts in place to govern how it operates and the conduct of its employees, stakeholders and students in order to maintain and enhance public education within our system. These regulations must align with the School Act, applicable legislation and Board of Trustees Governance Policies. It is important for school councils to be familiar with AR 5001 because it outlines their roles and responsibilities within the CBE. School Councils are defined by the AR as, “a collective association of parents, teachers, principals, staff, students and community representatives.” Furthermore, the AR outlines the relationship between the school council, its members and the school/parent society.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

News Releases February 09, 2009 Annual AISI conference showcases Alberta school successes

Celebrating eight years of improving student learning

Calgary...Made-in-Alberta solutions prove second to none, as educators once again come together to showcase new ideas for improving student learning at the eighth annual Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) Conference, February 9 and 10 in Calgary.

Click here to read the full article.


I found this neat little anti-bullying site on the Government of Alberta website. It's compelling and informative.

Click here to visit the site!

Fighting Crime in Schools

I was looking around for some information on crime statistics in schools, and found this article, posted as a meeting recap, on the Calgary Association of Parents and School Councils website:

by Madeleine Baerg, CAPSC Communications Coordinator

Constable Wendy Parker of the Youth Education division, and School Resource Officer Constable Sandi Beck provided parents with an eye-opening look into crime in our schools. According to the Constables, many parents make the mistake of thinking criminal activity in schools is “just kids being kids and, therefore, not a big deal”. Equally problematic, they say, many parents believe that criminal activity only occurs in certain areas in the city, and wouldn’t occur at their child’s school because their child’s school is a “good school”. The Constables want to set the record straight: youth criminal activity of any sort IS a big deal, and it is occurring at every school in our city.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday update

The Klondike Rag performance takes place today - please comment or email to let the Parent Council know what your student thought of the performance.

Also, the Sport Stacking club takes place again tomorrow, from 12pm - 1pm.

Parent Council subsidized activities help make school more engaging for students - one way to get involved is to give us your feedback through the comment function on this blog. Simply click on the word 'comment', and let us know your thoughts!

Don't forget that on Thursday and Friday of this week, there will be no classes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Don't forget!

Good luck to all the Science Fair participants! Today's the day all their hard work gets presented and judged.

Also, the kids will enjoy the Klondike Rag Performance runs tomorrow, February 10, from 8:45am – 10:15am. The calendar at the bottom of this page details all the events taking place at Haultain this month. Please comment if you have any questions!

National Anthem Banned

I was reading about the Belleisle Elementary School in Springfield, N.B that had to discontinue the singing of the National Anthem due to parent concerns. A lot of schools don't subscribe to the practice of daily Anthem singing. Should Haultain? Click here to read the article - and feel free to comment. Your thoughts are always appreciated.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Science Fair at Haultain

On Monday, it's the Div II Science Fair from 1:00pm – 2:45pm. Good luck to all participants!

Some Helpful Common-Sense Reminders

I just found these on the Government of Alberta Education website, and thought I'd post them for a refresher.


Helping Your Child Study

  • Establish a Routine. Setting a regular time and sticking to it helps children complete their homework assignments.
  • Set the Mood. Ensure the room your child studies in is quiet, has plenty of light, and has school supplies close at hand. Remove distractions by turning off the television and discouraging social phone calls during homework time.
  • Show an Interest. Ask your child about school activities and talk about what was discussed in school that day. Take your child to the library to check out materials for homework, and make time to read with your child as often as you can.

Monitoring Homework Assignments

  • Be Informed. Find out about the school's policy on homework at the beginning of the school year. Ask your child's teachers about the kind of assignments that will be given and what kind of time frame the children have to complete them.
  • Be Involved. Ask the teacher how you can help with homework. Be available to answer your child's questions, look over completed assignments, and encourage your child to share returned assignments so you can read the teacher's comments.

Providing Guidance to Homework Assignments

  • Learn How Your Child Learns. Understand your child's learning style and develop routines that best support how he or she learns best.
  • Encourage Good Study Habits. Help your child get organized. Ensure your child has scheduled enough time to complete assignments.
  • Talk. Discuss homework with your child. Talking about an assignment can help your child think it through and break it down into small, workable parts.
  • Provide Encouragement. Find ways to support your child's efforts in completing assignments.

Reading with Your Child

  • Make Reading a Priority. Let your child know how important it is to read regularly. Establish a regular time and place for reading.
  • Read to Your Child. Make time to read to your child on a regular basis. It is a great way to help develop a love of learning.
  • Ask Your Child to Read to You. Have your child read aloud to you.
  • Keep Reading Material Close By. Make sure children's books and magazines are easily accessible. Keep a basket of books in the family room, kitchen, or your child's bedroom to encourage him or her to read more often.
  • Visit the Library. Make visits to the library a regular activity and let your children select their own books.
  • Be a Reading Role Model. Read a lot. Let your child see you read and hear you talk about your books.

Safe Internet Use

  • Do Your Research. Find safe and relevant sites and child-friendly search engines for your child to use. Bookmark them for easy access.
  • Make an Agreement. Create an agreement with your child that outlines which site he or she is allowed to visit, and which areas and activities are off-limits. Involve your child in this activity.
  • Stay Aware. Keep lines of communication open so you know what Web sites your child is visiting. Pay attention to his or her surfing habits. Let your child know that he or she can come to you in case of trouble.
  • Report Suspicious Activity. If you or your child encounter suspicious or dangerous situations online, report them to your Internet Service Provider and local police.

Speak Out – Alberta Student Engagement Initiative

The Gov't of Alberta Education Minister Dave Hancock officially launched the Speak Out – Alberta Student Engagement Initiative to encourage Alberta high school students to speak out about their education to help government to strengthen the province’s education system. The new Speak Out website has moderated discussion boards on various topics and offers a wealth of information for students:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sign Of The Times

Have a look for the sign in front of Haultain - it gets updated regularly with important Haultain dates and information.

Haultain Students Helping Out the Needy

Congratulations to the students of Haultain - who met their target of filling fifteen boxes with food for the food bank recently. As a result, Patrick Murphy, Kerry Proud and Trevor Barkley faced flying pies.

The CBE and Environmental Stewardship

I read, this morning, that in June of 2006, that at "EcoTeam" was created to calculate and review the CBE's ecological footprint and use the results to reduce the impact the CBE has on the environment read about it here.

As an update to student activities in the school, Rooms 8 and 9 are off to the Science Centre tomorrow - let's hope they all have a good time, and learn a lot - the centre is a great learning resource. If any the students take any pictures of the field trip that they'd like posted on this site, they can get their teacher to send me the pictures and any information they'd like to accompany them. Submissions must be reviewed by school administrators before posting.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Key Communiqué

Click here to view the latest Key Communiqué from Katie Young at the CBE.

Internet Safety

Seeing as how the Parent Council has initiated an online presence, I thought it might be of value to list the CBE's endeavours in online safety for students. The council is interested in hearing parent comments regarding internet security - and would like your feedback. This is a good opportunity to have your comments heard by the council - without having to attend council meetings.

Hockey Night at Haultain

Tuesday night saw a grinding, high-spirited floor-hockey affair in the Haultain gymnasium - featuring council members Trevor 'Boom-Boom' Barkley, Patrick 'Megaton' Murphy, Shane 'The Hammer' Campsall, and Nick 'Neutron-Bomb' Newton. Nobody could wipe the sweat fast enough from their eyes to read the end score before the electronic score board was turned off, but rest assured it was a clean, close game - with no penalties. Surprisingly.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

CBE's report to the community

The Report to the Community 2009 is a snapshot of students’ superb academic results, and some of the means through which these results are achieved. Click here to view it.

The CBE wants to hear from you!

I was just checking out the Calgary Board of Education website, and noticed The ASBA (Alberta School Boards Association) online survey on public engagement:

Would you like to be more engaged in public education? How can the CBE keep you better informed and more involved in their planning and decision-making? Please take a few minutes to tell the CBE by completing an online survey before February 9, 2009. Click here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Recap of last week's Area meeting

I talked to fellow KC steering committee member, Laurie Milne (also in area V), and asked her to give me her crib notes from the area meeting of last week that I couldn't make. Here is her summary:

"Scott Fehr was the main presenter ( he is the System AP I think) and he spoke about PLC's ( professional learning communities) and how they address the needs of students from the "grass roots" level based on data driven information from the provincial achievement tests, pillar studies, and other input from the parents and school. The final goal is always to meet the 5 end statements of the CBE.

There are facilitators in place to help learning communities meet these goals. Their job is to meet with teachers in groups of any size in a learning community. Together they will brainstorm and come up with a plan to work on area's in which the students are not reaching the desired level of achievement.

For example, a grade 3 language arts PAT result with falling achievement in the area of writing organization could be addressed. The facilitators could work with the teachers in a PLC and decide that the best way to work with the students in this area would be by using smart boards in a group setting to show how to organize sentence and paragraph structure. There is an emphasis in the "no child left behind" philosophy, and serious problems or deficits are addressed immediately.

The example for this was a child who did not write anything besides the title on her story for the PAT. It was an interesting and interactive meeting, and helped me to understand how different areas of the CBE can work together. Parent input and parent/teacher communication is very important."

Big thanks to Laurie!