Friday, May 29, 2009

The End of Writing Week

Congratulations to all the kids at Haultain who put in so much hard work with their writing during this past week. My own two students spent so much time at the task, it was rare to see them doing anything else!

If anyone has any comments to share from the week, or stories they'd like to share - photos, videos, etc., please let me know - I'll get them posted on here promptly.

With the council's mandate of getting and keeping Haultain parents engaged, it would be fantastic to see more comments and posts on the blog. Keep them coming!

Keep kids in play

Children paying price for hectic schedules

By Lisa Kadane, Canwest News Service

Geri Greiner's picture of her kids' childhood was simple. They would spend hours playing, as she had. They would be creative and entertain themselves with simple toys or dress-up clothes.

But in the beginning, it wasn't that easy. The Calgary mom succumbed to the pressure to enrol her daughter and son in activities, including Gymboree and swimming.

Click here to read the full story.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Alberta bill enshrining parental rights moves to final reading

CBC website

Last-minute amendments made by the province's Conservative majority government to the parental rights option in Bill 44 do little to address concerns from the province's teachers, the president of the Alberta Teachers' Association, Frank Bruseker, said Wednesday.

The legislation giving Alberta parents the right to pull their children from classroom discussions about sex, sexual orientation or religion, moved to third reading early Wednesday after a debate which went on for hours at the Alberta legislature.

Click here to read the full story.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What a beautiful May day to spend in Fish Creek Provincial Park!

The journey of our grade 4 and 5 classes started with a handsome coyote greeting our bus just inside the Fish Creek entrance! Everyone got a close look at it “safari style” from behind windows. Once inside the interpretation centre, the students enjoyed a “game show” formatted information period discussing native flora and fauna of the region and the expectations of visitors to provincial parks. Then the classes divided and conquered: Mrs. Summer’s class continued on inside the museum while Mrs. Winters’ class ventured outside for exploration and creative writing.

Inside the museum, students learned of the timeline of the area, beginning with glacial movement through the valley, the appearance of mammoths, camels and prehistoric horses approximately 11, 000 years ago, to bison, pronghorn antelope and appearance of human activity around 8,000 years ago.

On the opposite walls we found the history of the important settlers to the site: John Glenn, William Roper-Hall, and Patrick Burns. Students focused on one of the three, sketching their portrait and learning their history in order to adopt their persona for creative writing in the afternoon.

After lunch we walked along paths to learn of the origin of Fish Creek (Known first by native peoples as Sikome Creek – meaning “black fish” creek for the abundant trout in its waters. “Black Fish Creek” shortened to “ Fish Creek”, and the word Sikome was honored in the name of the manmade lake nearby. Unfortunately, on our walk, we encountered a fallen young owl, reminding us of the natural cycle of life and death in the park.

We explored the buffalo jump and pound used by the First Nations groups for over 8000 years and listened to a story of the jump from the perspective of one of its members.

Lastly, we were left to adopt the persona of our chosen settler and wrote in our journals about the Fish Creek valley through their eyes.

The day flew by! As usual, it was a pleasure to participate in an outing with such creative, attentive and well behaved students. What a great way to be transported back to the grandeur and beauty of an age gone by right here in our own neighborhood!


Parent Satisfaction Survey

Hi, All - could you please take the time, if you haven't already, and fill out the on-line Parent Satisfaction Survey? This is a sure way, and your best chance, to get your voice heard. A lot of decisions get made on the various aspects of schooling our children on our behalf - it's always a great idea to get your two cents in where you can. Your participation is appreciated - and necessary!

Common home products leading cause of injury in children

By Amy Minsky, Canwest News Service

There is huge gap between how safe Canadian parents believe their homes to be and how safe they actually are, according to a new survey on home product safety.

The Harris/Decima survey released today found that 86 per cent of Canadians assume the products they bring into their homes are safe for them and their family.

But that is a misconception the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto says sends children under the age of 15 to emergency rooms across the country 18,000 times every year.

Click here to read the full story.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

E-Parenting Tutorial

The Alberta School Council Association has been asked (by the Media Awareness Network) to get parents input regarding an online tutorial design. The tutorial will be designed to help parents monitor/educate/control their children's online activities. Please take the time to answer the 13 questions in this survey to help them decide how best to create the tutorial. I will post any follow up here.

Don't be 'that dad'

By MARK McGUIRE, Albany Times Union

You never think you're That Guy until it's too late.

A couple of years ago, after five seasons coaching my oldest daughter in softball, I decided to retreat to the sidelines. The way I figured it, she'd benefit playing for someone else. Besides, it would be a lot easier on me. I was half-right.

Click here to read the full story.

Kids in the garden

10 ways to fire up their imagination and get them digging
By Steve Whysall, Vancouver Sun

Gardening can be child's play. Here are 10 ways to get spark your children's or grandchildren's interest in gardening.

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Parents, teachers urge educational restructuring

Reform sought to meet needs of students
By Sarah McGinnis, Calgary Herald

Parents and educators called on the province Saturday to overhaul the education system to better meet the needs of students, especially in a tightening labour market where education is increasingly vital.

"I hope there is a real restructuring," said mom-of-four Jennifer Sommerfeldt, one of 120 parents, educators and community leaders who gathered in Calgary to discuss the future of the education system.

"Education has not been reformed since the '30s," added the mother from Standard, a village about 80 kilometres east of Calgary. "The only changes that have occurred is how we consolidate what age groups (go) into a class."

The Calgary consultation is one of 10 community talks being held across Alberta as part the province's Inspiring Education initiative.

Click here to read the full story.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Micro Survey #5 - CBE Start Date

This survey is a matter of interest only as we won't have any control over the subject regardless of the outcome.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Appreciation for the appreciation

The staff at Haultain Memorial were treated to a spectacular lunch on Thursday, May 21. Parents graciously donated time, decorations, and incredible edibles as a way of showing their appreciation towards school staff. Dishes included a chutney salmon, salsa chicken, cabbage rolls, meatballs, stellar salads, wraps fit for a king, sushi, quiche, and soups to name just a few. Desserts tempted any who came near and as the lunch progressed, satiated smiles (and chocolate-smeared lips) filled the staffroom.

Parents even coordinated supervision for our lunchroom and for outside so ALL staff could enjoy this fantastic treat. You would think that this effort and generosity would be enough, yet parents went a step further, arranging gift cards for all staff members to a variety of locations. The pinnacle of the pampering, however, were the personalized, heart-felt comments, made by students about staff members, that were posted about the room.

So... on behalf of all of the staff of Haultain Memorial, a sincere and deep thanks to everyone who contributed to the staff appreciation luncheon. Your efforts speak volumes to the character of the Haultain community.

Trevor Barkley, Principal

Streetproofing your kids

"Don't talk to strangers."

It's probably the first thing that pops into your mind when you're thinking of what to say to help your children be street-smart. Unfortunately, it's not enough.

In most missing child cases, the danger comes from someone the child or the parents know.

In 2007, there were 285 parental abductions in Canada compared to 56 stranger abductions, according to an annual report released by National Missing Children Services. According to the agency, children under the age of 12 are most vulnerable to parental abductions.

21 Century Learner

If our meeting last night had an enduring theme it was the 21st century learner. A great concept for student, teacher and parent. The film that Nick posted earlier today really underscores how advancing technology is accelerating every aspect of our lives. I read this article today in the The Star that looks at the costs (some hidden) of rapidly advancing electronics in a semi-humorous way. 'Semi' because outlining the increased culture of 'throw-it-away-and-replace-it' consumerism is a real problem.

Key Communicator Steering Committee

Hi All -

I went on ad nauseum at last night's Parent Association meeting about my role as a member of the CBE's 'Key Communicator Steering Committee' - and I thought I'd post the following as a summary, for those of you who are interested:

Key Communicator Steering Committee:

Each Area is represented by one or two KC's at the Key Communicator Steering Committee, which assists in planning and organizing system and Area meetings, as well as monitoring and evaluating their purposes. The CBE Parent Communications Specialist chairs this committee and supports the work of the Key Communicators. Communication between Area Directors and KC Steering Committee members is encouraged to coordinate topics and Area meetings. The KC Steering Committee meets as a group (usually Fridays during lunch) after every system meeting, and members meet occasionally at the Area level (with Area Directors and/or System Assistant Principals and other KC Steering Committee member from the Area) to determine logistics for Area meetings.

Also, as promised, I'm posting this video which Lynn recommended for viewing:

Sobering and interesting. Check it out if you get the time. Thanks for that, Lynn. Thanks also to everyone who offered their comments on our blog, and who brought up items for discussion last night. It was great to meet Mrs. Sarginson and crew also.

Please, if anyone has trouble posting comments on this blog, or needs some help, let Shane or I know - and we'll guide you through the process. I gave a quick tutorial last night, and encountered a technical hiccup which apparently happens to a lot of people - so if you've had trouble, don't feel as though it only happens to you! We can help you log your comments, or even post an entry, if you like.

Enjoy your Thursday!

May's Meeting

Thank you to everyone who came to the meeting last night. We had another great turnout and got through a lot of material. Special thanks to Mrs. Sarginson who took the floor to explain her philosophy regarding teaching, learning, and children in general. I once again can forward my confidence to the McKenzie Towne parents that they and their kids are in good hands.

Some quick notes from last night:
  • Write-a-thon starts next week
  • Proposed school hours and calendar were presented, posting on that to follow
  • We will be planning Alien in-line and HOJA for next year
  • Staff presented some great feedback regarding our Artist-in-Residence program
  • The engagement process for decision making regarding school accommodation in our communities after next year was presented - details to follow
  • Sherry/Sherri/Annika gave us an ASCA AGM report and review
  • Skate Park Demo will be on June 3
  • The foyer cabinet project is on pace for completion
  • The McKenzie Towne Parent Association establishment group gave us an update
  • Nick explained some of the work he is doing with the CBE steering committee
  • much more...
Details on all of this and more will be available in the minutes after they are ratified.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Psst – free child care

SARAH BOESVELD, Globe and Mail

Why hire a babysitter when you can get child care for free?

That's Christine Shakespeare's logic. After landing tickets to the Flight of the Conchords Vancouver show a few weeks ago, the Coquitlam, B.C., mother of two dropped her kids off for the evening at her sister-in-law's, with one string attached: She has to return the favour.

Feeling a little strain on their purse strings, the two women have struck up a formal child-care swapping deal: Instead of paying for care, they'll be each other's cash-free babysitters.

Click here to read the full story.

Teachers ask Alberta to drop parental opt-out provision

Alberta's teachers have officially asked the province to drop amendments to its human rights legislation that would give parents the right to pull their children out of classes discussing religion, evolution, sexuality or sexual orientation.

On the weekend, delegates to the annual general meeting of the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) passed a resolution asking the province to delete the section of the bill that contains the amendments. On Tuesday, ATA President Frank Bruseker sent a letter to Premier Ed Stelmach notifying him about the resolution and the teachers' concerns.

Click here to read the full story

Playground Vandalism

There was another ocurrance of senseless vandalism during the May long weekend - here are some photos of the damage incurred.

If anyone in the community has any information whatsoever regarding this, please contact Constable Karen Moffat of the Calgary Police service at at 403-567-6800.

Teaching kids financial skills now sets them up for a lifetime of success

By Trent Edwards, Canwest News Service

Most of us heard it from our parents: "money doesn’t grow on trees," but was that where our financial education at home ended?

All too often, that's the case, according to Stacy DeBroff, a parenting author from Boston who recently wrote A Parent's Guide to Raising Fiscally Responsible Children (Simon & Schuster, $12).

Despite their good intentions, parents are setting their kids up for a life of financial failure by sheltering their children from hard financial realities.

Click here to read the full story.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

HOJA is a hit!

According to our latest Micro Survey: HOJA was a hit with parents and students. Thanks for letting us know.

94% of respondents answered yes to "Did you and/or your kids enjoy the HOJA presentation?"

Here are some of the comments:

  • They were great
  • My daughter loved them, play it again sam
  • I think HOJA had a positive and uplifting message.
  • Liked how it was guys singing
  • I thought they were fabulous
  • My daughter was amazed by how fluent their voice instruments were
  • HOJA captured the audience and entertained all age groups
  • Thanks for such a wonderful presentation
  • Very fun, lively and entertaining. The students loved it and really enjoyed themselves, as did I.
  • It was aweseome!! Well worth the money, the kids love it, as did all the parents!!! Rock on!
  • What is it?
To answer the last comment, click here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Depressed, anxious first graders at risk of being bullied later: study

CBC website

Treating mental-health problems in children entering school may help prevent victimization from bullying, say researchers who tracked 400 Canadian children.

In the May/June issue of the journal Child Development, researchers said they found children entering first grade with signs of depression and anxiety or excessive aggression were at risk of being chronically victimized by their classmates by third grade.

"Children's early mental-health problems can set the stage for abuse by their peers," said psychology Prof. Bonnie Leadbeater of the University of Victoria, who led the study.

Click here to read the full story.

Classic children's stories top list as JK Rowling fails to work her magic

By Tim Cornwel, Arts Correspondentfor the Scotsman

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Micro Survey #4: HOJA Feedback

HOJA Website

Influenza (H1N1) Information

The number of verified cases of Influenza A (H1N1) continues to increase throughout the world and medical officials expect the situation may change during the weekend. The federal and provincial health bodies agree there is little reason for people to be overly concerned or take unusual precautions, but they re-iterate it is important to keep yourself informed. Please visit these websites for the latest information:

Government of Alberta Health and Wellness - Influenza A (H1N1) Virus
Public Health Agency of Canada - Travel Health Notice
World Health Organization - Influenza A (H1N1)
Alberta Health Services - Influenza A (H1N1) – Questions and Answers

With all health matters, the Calgary Board of Education takes its direction from the Alberta Medical Officer of Health who has put the province’s health system on alert and is asking Albertans to take precautions and minimize the spread of infection. Alberta’s health officials are working closely with Public Health Canada to monitor influenza activity related to the new strain reported in Mexico. The CBE is co-operating closely with health officials. We are also monitoring people returning from school or business trips to areas affected by the outbreak.

Click here for more information.

How to tell if kids are too dedicated

By GREGORY RAMEY, Cox Newspapers

Nothing makes 15-year-old Maddie happier than working endlessly to perfect her gymnastics techniques. She has the kind of dedication that would make any parent proud. But while parents are concerned about their kids being undisciplined, is it possible for a child to be too dedicated? Maddie doesn't have time for other sports, and her contact with school friends is extremely limited. She doesn't mind, saying that she has learned "extremely good time management skills and lots of discipline" at the gym.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The benefits of reading aloud to your child

By Jim Gibson, Canwest News Service

Prolific children's author Frieda Wishinsky is a great advocate for parents reading aloud to their children.

"I don't think it matters how you do it. What matters is what works," says the Toronto writer and former special education teacher.

Parents can discover what works for their child, she continues, by keeping "an ear to the ground. You have to know what's happening with your kid."

The child should be allowed to share in the reading or to just listen, she says. Parents risk turning the child off reading by being too technical about the process, according to Wishinsky. What's important is that the experience be pleasurable for both child and parent.

Click here to read the full article.

The next council meeting is getting closer!

Concerned about Haultain's future? Worried about where your student will be learning? Wondering about the who, what, when, where or why of the changes taking place?

Now is a great time to start thinking of issues you'd like discussed. The next Council meeting is on May 20th at 6:30 in the library at Haultain - so there is a full week to email concerns and issues to the Council, and have them brought to the table.

Alternatively, you can post them as comments on this blog, or even attend the Council meeting in person to mention them. (There's no harm in bringing a few doughnuts to share if you DO.)

Parent involvement speaks loudly!

Bullied boy's parents hire lawyer


LONDON -- The parents of a seven-year-old say he's been bullied by a junior kindergarten boy, a youngster roughly half his age.

The Oxford County couple say the attacks -- from kicking to tackling -- are so bad, they now only send their child to his rural school on days when the four-year-old isn't there.

Frustrated, Paul and Tanya Kesner have hired a lawyer.

Click here for the full posting.

Two Calgary students catch H1N1 flu


Two Calgary students are among the latest Albertans infected with the H1N1 virus.

Letters were sent home with students at Springbank Community high school and Elbow Valley elementary school on Monday after a pupil from each fell ill with the virus, said Rocky View Schools spokeswoman Angela Spanier.

Though the infected students have been isolated at home and do not pose an ongoing risk to other students or staff, Rocky View Schools is closely monitoring signs of the virus with morning and afternoon flu checks, she said.

"We have heightened our pandemic protocol," she said.

"When we have a case we ask teachers to do morning and afternoon school checks -- the teachers check their class and ask if everyone is feeling OK.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Q & A with Mrs. Sarginson: Imagine, Inquire, Inspire

The CBE has hired a principal for McKenzie Towne. I've had a chance to meet with Mrs. Annette Sarginson through email and she was kind enough to do a short Question and Answer for our blog. Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Sarginson to Haultain and McKenzie Towne.

1) How long have you been a principal and where was that experience?

I have had the privilege of being a principal for 11 years at three different locations. Each experience has been rewarding with children learning, parents involved and staff focused on keeping children at the centre. I began at Maple Ridge School, moved to James Short Memorial and then onto Janet Johnstone School. Each was unique and an inspiring opportunity.

2) Before that how long and where were you teaching?

I taught at a number of schools before becoming an administrator. I taught kindergarten, grade 1 and 2, in James Short and Ramsay. I was a specialist for Kindergarten and Language Arts for three years. I was fortunate to teach art, drama physical education and library skills to Division II at Mountain View as an AP. During my first principalship I taught art and drama to two special education classes in Division I and II. I believe it is my 23rd year of teaching.

3) Do you have children of your own?

We have two adorable children who now have their own children. Yes, I am a grandmother to three grandchildren aged 2, 4 and 6 years. Until I became a grandmother, I didn't realize it is "the best of the best".

4) Where did you go to university?

I attended the University of Calgary for my undergraduate and graduate work. My emphasis was on Early Childhood. I went to University after I was married and had two children during that time period.

5) If you had to sum up your teaching philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?

That is an excellent question as it causes me to reflect on my beliefs and values. First and foremost "Every child matters". If I envision for a moment it is about living together in a democratic community where children are actively engaged in meaningful learning. Here's a motto that captures the celebration of children learning and may read something like "Imagine. Inquire. Inspire".

6) How do you feel about fund raising using casinos?

Although, I don't gamble, I respect that for our school having a casino is the most effective and efficient way to raise money for our children and their learning. Extra resources are a support and an asset to a school climate. In thinking what is significant is the ability for our children to be critical thinkers and with that having a strong connection with technology, curriculum and the arts. Technology is ever changing and with that comes expenditure...

7) What role do you see parents fulfilling in today's public education system?

I see parents having a number of different roles in a school community. The traditional roles of volunteering in the classroom or learning commons (library), helping out with fieldtrips, being involved in School Council, are invaluable. I purport that embracing the sense of mutual respect between us and having conversations and exploring questions that matter will extend our notion of what is important to our children and their learning.

8) What do you see as the biggest challenge faced by McKenzie Towne Elementary School (name TBD) for the 2009/2010 year?

I would concur there will most certainly be hiccups along the way. It will be as much how we face the problems and think deeply about how to solve them as the challenges themselves. It may require us to 'think out of the box'. It will be paramount to take the time to build a spirit of community and form relationships of students, staff and parents. That will keep us focused on what's significant. Together we will be able to solve the challenges and find results. Change is ever present - it is providing the time, quality time to work as a team.

9) In your past school(s), was the Council/Parent Association active and collaborative?

Very much collaboration and team work are at the forefront. I am delighted to work alongside the School Council for the betterment of our children and their learning.

10) Can you tell us your favourite moment as a teacher and/or principal?

I am energized when I hear the everyday stories regarding students and their learning. It is about children stopping me in the halls and showing their work. It is a sense of wonder to hear their excitement. When I visit classrooms it is seeing all children engrossed in learning. It is the reward of learning! It heartens me that we have such outstanding and blossoming citizens.

Another favourite moment is when I hear staff talking about working with all their children in eloquent ways and having success with a most high spirited child. I have a great interest in living in a just and equitable world. To that end, much of my life has been invested in the development of our young children. May we do so together.

Thanks to Mrs. Sarginson for her time and for her thoughtful answers. If you would like the opportunity to meet with her in person she will be attending our next council meeting on May 20th in the Haultain library at 6:30pm.

Family dinners encourage better eating: Study

By Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service

Regular family meals look more and more like a silver bullet for raising happy and healthy kids, but researchers still aren't sure why.

The latest study to trace the benefits of gathering around the table shows Canadian children in Grades 6 to 8 drink less pop, eat less fast food, skip fewer breakfasts and even think they make healthier food choices when out with their friends, if they dine more often with their families.

Click here to read the full article.

How to stay calm in the face of road rage

Brian Turner, Canwest News Service

We've all been subjected to that aggressive driver who frightens us, annoys us, horrifies us.

You know the types. Their repertoire of dangerous driving antics is long. They habitually exceed the speed limit, they don't signal, tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, fail to stop at a stop sign, routinely run red lights.

The average driver hates that.

A Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada survey has revealed almost 90 per cent of us are convinced drivers are more aggressive than they were eight years ago.

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Micro Survey #3: Results

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the latest survey. A tough question with many factors and affecting guiding principles involved. Some very thoughtful comments were contributed as well, some of which I've posted here. The question; "Do you think parents should be specifically informed when evolution is being taught in school?" The results: Yes 68% and No 32%, comments:

- If we need to be informed about evolution, we should also be informed when creationism is being taught.They are both theories and no evidence enough to support either.

- I caught a conversation about this bill on 1010 yesterday and I would not hogtie my kids' teachers that way. Even if I were to hold a different opinion than what was being taught I would be grateful to the educational system for broaching the subject and opening the door for an intellectual family conversation.

- I think if parents need to know when evolution is taught it gives them a reason to sit their kids out and if that's the case then those children should go to a catholic school or a school that teaches creationism.

Thanks again everyone for putting some thought into this and sharing your conclusions.

For more on this, the actual Bill (#44) is here, the education part starts on page 8, and this link (Google news), will show you the latest news about the bill from various perspectives. There is a lot to this issue and I would love to hear any more thoughts you have about Bill 44 - leave a comment!

How to raise a two-year-old genius

DAVE MCGINN, Globe and Mail

It may sound like a blessing if your toddler is accepted into Mensa, but parents of gifted kids say nurturing them can be 'the biggest challenge in the world'

Pete and Ilona Pretorius suspected from an early age that their son, James, was special, particularly when he came home from his first day of kindergarten.
"Mom, Dad, I think I'm in the wrong class," he said. "Why?" his parents wanted to know.
"Because the teacher and I are the only ones who can read," he told them.
The Pretoriuses, who live in Surrey, B.C., recount such stories with pride and a fair degree of amazement. The same sorts of stories will surely be told by the parents of Elise Tan Roberts, who last week made headlines around the world for becoming the youngest member ever of Mensa in Britain. With an IQ of 156, the two-year-old girl tested just below Albert Einstein, who had an IQ of 160. She joins such wunderkinds as Georgia Brown, who joined British Mensa in 2007 at 2¾ years old with an IQ of 152, and Mikhail Ali, who joined in 2005 at three years old with an IQ of 137.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Disorderly dads and moms deserve boot

By ROY CLANCY, Calgary Sun

The sounds of laughter, cheers and parents yelling encouragement used to signal the beginning of spring soccer in Calgary.

Alas, the game is apparently no longer the idyllic, if competitive, romp it once was.

Now the din of youthful enthusiasm is in danger of being drowned out by the voices of a few whacked-out parents who shamelessly crank up the decibels in an effort to insult and intimidate the young refs who oversee the game.

Keep in mind that these are 'adults' who yell profanities at kids as young as 12 and on occasion even try to make physical contact.

The situation has gotten so bad that two-thirds of the teenage game officials quit in their first year.

Click here to read the full article.

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon

A posting submitted by Tammy:

On Thursday, May 21st we are hosting a lunch for the staff as a small thank you for a banner year. We have some of the best teachers, administration and support staff in the CBE. Unfortunately, it will be the last year at Haultain for some. This is an excellent opportunity for us to acknowledge our great staff with a sumptuous repast and wow them with some mouth watering family favourites.

If you would like to contribute food to this event please let me know with an email as to what you are bringing. Typically the food items range from beverages, salads, desserts, sandwiches, bun, fruit & veggie platters to meat dishes for the carnivores in attendance. Remember to label your dishes/utensils. You may pick them up in the staff room at the end of the day. Please ensure that all contributions are nut free and that they are dropped off before 11:30 am on the 21st. If cooking or baking is not your forte then perhaps you would consider set up or clean up duties. Set up begins at 11am and clean up commences at 1pm.

Please contact me at if you can help out.

This Sunday is Mother's Day!

This Sunday is the one day of the year that's been set aside to formally thank Moms for their tireless hard work and their endless love and affection. Whether they're working Moms, stay-at-home Moms, part-time or full-time, Moms are great - and worthy of a lot of praise.

There's an interesting read I found about the history of Mother's Day - I was surprised to learn that even the ancient Greeks took time out to devote to Mom.

So don't forget to treat Mom to a day off this Sunday. Make sure you tidy up. Help out around the house for the day. But most of all, start the day off right. Maybe take Mom out for a nice breakfast, or brunch.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Haultain Newsletter - May 2009

As per one of our Micro Surveys we are providing the Haultain Newsletter embedded in our blog and I will be sending it out to the email list shortly as well. As you will see when you read the newsletter there are many, many opportunities to click a link and ask to be emailed a copy of the newsletter directly from the school as well. So if you're not on the Council Email List and don't want to be (for whatever insane reason) then you can ask for it directly from the school.

If its too small to read simply click the grey box on the top right side of the document below and it will open in a large font in your browser.

Oprah takes anti-bully campaign to Alberta

By Jamie Hall, Edmonton Journal

A13-year-old Alberta boy was called a "hero" on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Wednesday for speaking out about his torment at the hands of bullies.

"Sometimes I just want to hit myself and ask myself:' Why me? Is it my fault?'"said Chase, who appeared on the hugely popular talk show along with his mother, Jackie.

It was Jackie who wrote to the show's producers, worried her son might harm himself after enduring years of verbal and physical abuse by his peers at St. Anthony School in Drayton Valley, about 140 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.

Click here to read the full story.

Kids have childhoods stolen by adult agendas

By Naomi Lakritz, Calgary Herald

A headline in Saturday's Herald about a new study really gave me pause. It read: "Grade 6 students admit hitting dates." Appalling, isn't it? Not the hitting part; that's only secondary to what's really wrong with this scenario. It's the dates. Grade 6 students are dating? They're 10 and 11 years old! What are their parents thinking? Or not thinking?

Click here to read the full article

May Key Communiqué

An email bulletin for Key Communicators & School Council Chairs

Please share the information you receive in these emails with your school councils and parent communities.

System Meeting Follow-up:

The PowerPoint presentation on the future Parent Portal that Cindy Seibel, Director of Information Technology Services, presented at the System Meeting on April 22nd is now online. You can find it here.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the Parent Portal by providing input or potentially taking part in focus group research; or have questions regarding the presentation, you can email Cindy at

Area Meetings:

There are no more Area meetings scheduled for the 08/09 School Year. Thank you for attending this year's meetings and sharing the information with your parent communities.

If you have input or suggestions for topics at future Area meetings, contact your Key Communicator Steering Committee member:

Area I

Pam Douglas

Area II

Karen Blank

Area II

Jennifer Andersen Koppe

Area III

Dawn Cruickshank

Area III

Clancy Foley

Area IV

Brad Sears

Area IV

Signy Morton

Area IV

Esther Halton

Area V

Nick Newton

2009/10 School Fee Information:

The 2009/10 school fee levels have been approved by the Board of Trustees and are now available online here. Information regarding Waiver of Fees can be found at this address:

If you have any questions, please email me and I will seek to clarify the issue.

WorldSkills Calgary 2009:

WorldSkills Calgary will take place September 1 - 9, 2009. All Grade 9 and 10 students will attend. Here are the latest developments with WorldSkills Calgary 2009:

  • Equipment Legacy: When WorldSkills is complete, equipment used during competitions will be donated to school districts around the province. The CBE will be sending in their application next week to receive as much of this "legacy equipment" as possible.
  • Transportation: Several CBE employees took part in a WorldSkills transportation simulation from SAIT to the Stampede Grounds. The dry run went very smoothly and we are confident the transportation for the actual event will run very well.
  • Attendance at WorldSkills: All schools who accommodate Grades 9 and 10 have received the dates students will visit the grounds. If you have a son or daughter in Grade 9 or 10 and you have not received the date your school will attend, you should ask your principal for this information

In addition, 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 may contact Marsha Levy at with any questions you may have that have not been addressed on these websites.

H1N1 Flu Outbreak:

The Calgary Board of Education is monitoring the flu situation very closely and has a plan in place should there be direction from Alberta Health Services to go beyond monitoring. Staff and student travel that has been approved will go ahead, except trips to Mexico.

Parents are encouraged to check their school websites for a link to the latest information on this issue.


The next issue of the Trustee-zine, the electronic newsletter from the Trustees' Office, will focus on student work and is scheduled to come out in mid-June.



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:

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

Board of Trustees:

Check out this site for reports presented to the Board, Board decisions made and highlights of public Board meetings.

Alberta Education

School Council Resource Manual

Key Communiqué Archives

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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Guide for worried parents

By JOANNE RICHARD, the Expositor

Spreading swine flu. The abduction of eight-year-old Tori Stafford. Soldiers dying in Afghanistan. Record-breaking unemployment and bankruptcy.

The big bad news, like a scary monster, slays its way into our children's psyche.

Menacing images and information confront children with unrelenting immediacy, detail and vividness, leaving some distressed, emotionally wounded and fearful.

"It's scary times out there for kids -- the issues are all so threatening," says Dr. Joanne Cantor.

"TV news is not appropriate for kids of any age -- or even adults! It's presented in the most sensational, traumatic and speculative way... and kids are really sensitive to the images of tragedy and distress."

For some children, fears can remain for years, says Cantor, a leading researcher on the impact of media on children. "These TV images are really powerful and can cause sleep disturbances and anxieties -- it's not good for them at all."

The multi-media news machine is insatiable, indiscriminate and unstoppable, so what's a parent to do?

Click here for the full story.

Micro Survey #3

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Proposed Alberta law doesn't make evolution classes optional: minister

(Make you glad to be Albertan? What's your take on this story?)

A controversial new bill does not give Alberta parents the right to pull their children out of science classes when evolution is discussed, according to Lindsay Blackett, the provincial minister responsible for human rights.

New rules buried in a proposed amendment to Alberta's human rights legislation that extends rights to homosexuals would require schools to notify parents in advance of "subject matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation." Parents can then ask for their child to be excluded from the discussion.

Click here to read the full story.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Results - Micro Survey #2

Thanks to all who responded; here are the results to the question "How would you like to receive Mr. Barkley's monthly Haultain Newsletter". Email was the largest preference at 55% with Hard Copy and Website coming in at 19% and 17%, with the Blog coming in at 9%. I'm sure Mr. Barkley will be relieved to know that "I never want to see it again." came in at 0%. Keep up the good work Mr. Barkley!

Pending approval and based on this survey, we will likely be sending the newsletter out in all digital formats. I'm sorry to all the people who wanted a hard copy but the CBE has asked all schools to try as hard as possible to cut back on paper usage. That being said, I will have a couple of hard copies of the newsletter available at each Council meeting from now on - so all you paper lovers come out to the meeting and pick up your newsletter.

Stay tuned for Micro-Survey #3.

Want To Know More About Cricket?

As a supplemental guide to the students' efforts in learning the game of Cricket, this very basic page summarizes the game and its rules of play.

Cricket is a team sport for two teams of eleven players each. A formal game of cricket can last anything from an afternoon to several days.

Although the game play and rules are very different, the basic concept of cricket is similar to that of baseball. Teams bat in successive innings and attempt to score runs, while the opposing team fields and attempts to bring an end to the batting team's innings. After each team has batted an equal number of innings (either one or two, depending on conditions chosen before the game), the team with the most runs wins.

(Note: In cricket-speak, the word "innings'' is used for both the plural and the singular. "Inning'' is a term used only in baseball.)

Click here to read more!

Updated May Calendar

I've updated the google calendar at the bottom of our page for May. Please let me know if I'm missing anything, and I'll add it asap.

Here's a reminder that grades 3-6 are playing cricket this week, and that Div II Floor Hockey is being played tomorrow at 3pm.

Here's another reminder to get involved in Haultain via this blog, and tell other parents to get involved. Asking questions, 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.

Enjoy your Monday!

Do kids a favour: Teach them to save

Teaching children to save money is easy when you have a plan. Tell them they are going to start to get an allowance and you are going to show them how to be responsible with money.

Start by making up a three-column (credit, debit and balance) financial ledger. You can buy this Treble Cash journal at an office supply store or just set it up on the computer on a spreadsheet, whatever works for you.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Watch what you say, I can hear you now


The leaves seemed suddenly crisper. "Mom, I need sunglasses," said I, while eyeing my mom with her gargantuan sunglasses on my 8-year-old face. "I see a lot better with sunglasses on."

She shrugged and obliged. But when I donned my first sunglasses, I was profoundly disappointed. The leaves just continued to blur in the wind, albeit somewhat darker.

Click here to read the full article.