Monday, November 30, 2009

This month's Key Communiqué

Please have a look at the most recent Key Communiqué, distributed via email on Friday of last week. There are some important updates to the calendar for the 2010/2011 school year, and an interesting update on Bill 206.

Also of note - the Grade six class is at bird school this week, and the Parent Association/Council is meeting on Wednesday night at 6:30 in the library for its annual performance review. Please feel free to attend, with your questions, comments or concerns.

Friday, November 27, 2009

As promised...

I've uploaded the minutes of our last Key Communicator Steering Commitee Meeting - they can be viewed here. Also, on speaking with other Key Communicators, there was a great deal of interest in the School Act revisions - here is a link to what the Board sent to Alberta Education regarding this.

Have a great Grey Cup weekend!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Negotiating an end to the homework debate

From the CBC website

Anna-Liza Kozma has worked as a writer and producer on many CBC Radio programs. She has three young children and has just returned to work on Cross Country Checkup.

Childhood passes quickly. And so do sunny days.

That means, in our house, sunshine trumps homework pretty much every time.

I figure that the kids have been shut in a classroom most of the day, and I've been glued to my desk. So if our wretched climate gives us an excuse to play outside, we should grab it.

When I confessed this delinquency to Paul Cappon, director of the Canadian Council on Learning he was surprisingly sympathetic.

Read more here.

The PAT test - is it necessary?

I attended the Key Communicator Steering Committee meeting last week, and, among various topics covered, was the concern of parents as to the relevance of the PAT exams - why they were necessary, and how the results were interpreted. I found this video posted by the Alberta government, which offers some insight as to the test's importance.

I'll detail the full meeting agenda and minutes once they are sent to the committee for distribution.

Should kids roam free?

From the website:

Lenore Skenazy is leading a one-mother campaign to ground some of the "helicopter parenting" habits she contends cost millions of modern kids their right to roam free.

Growing up in the 1960s and '70s, she did lots of things now off limits for many children. "I did indeed walk and bike . . . to school. I went by myself to the town pool, I explored the neighbourhood and some abandoned orchards, and I never thought of myself as being adventurous or daring. Just normal."

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Childhood Poverty in Canada: A Shameful Effort

Twenty years ago today - the Canadian House of Commons voted unanimously on an all party resolution to end child poverty in Canada. The resolution read "... acheive the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000"!

Today 1 in 10 Canadian children lives in poverty.

Obviously they have missed the mark. Just as obviously, they tackled a beast. Although the sentiment has to be lauded, the execution has been embarrassing. A watchdog group called Campaign 2000 has been monitoring the progress of the governments efforts. Today they have released their report card.

As rich as Canada is, I see no reason that our children should be hungry. I'm ashamed to think that 10% of our children have a hard time getting proper meals.

Make your voice heard - tell your MP that this effort needs more attention. To make it very easy to contact the right people go here and fill in the form. This will send a letter to your MP that states you wish them to (among other things) " develop an immediate plan to eliminate poverty in Canada for all, starting with achieving 50 per cent reduction in poverty by 2020..." A much less aggressive goal but hopefully more attainable.

Read the letter carefully, it will be sent in your name and there are a number of requests. If you don't agree with all of them but still want your MP to work toward ending poverty - then send an email or letter to Jason Kenney (for most of us). His email is and his snail mail address and phone number is here.

Crib Blamed for Infant Deaths: Recalled

BC based Stork Craft has had to recall almost 1 million cribs in Canada and over a million more in the US as the cribs are reportedly faulty and may have caused 4 Canadian infant deaths. Read the rest of the story here - stop using this crib if you have one!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Booking Parent/Teacher Conferences

Just a reminder that starting Monday at 8:00 AM you will be able to book your parent/teacher conferences online. Simply visit our Haultain homepage ( and click the conference booking link. This will take you to a secure site at Conference bookings can be made 24/7 until Friday at 9:00 AM.

Once there, create an account by entering your email address and creating a password. Email addresses will be used to send your conference confirmation only.

Once you have logged in, select the teacher you wish to book with. If you wish a Thursday interview, scroll down and select an available time slot. Should you wish Friday, you should not need to scroll. Simply click the appointment box you desire. Be sure the colour matches the teacher legend.

Now that you have selected the time slot, enter your child's FIRST NAME and LAST INITIAL so it can be recorded on the teacher's schedule. If you would like a reminder email, enter that information as well.

That's it! We hope it's as easy and painless as I described. If you do not have access to a computer (... wait a minute, how could you be reading this?) or if you know someone without access, either help them out by doing it for them OR have them contact the school and Pat or I will set things up.

By the way, let us know what you think of this process. We realise it isn't communicating with a person, but we also hope the convenience, ease, and reduced office stress will balance things out. Comments are welcome!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Calgary family negotiates homework ban

A Calgary family concerned about their children's homework load has signed a contract with their school to eliminate the problem altogether.

Tom Milley and his wife have signed a formal "no homework" contract with their children's school.

Click here to read the full story

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We have yet to tally the final results but it looks like the fund raiser was a success. Everyone should have received their orders by now. If you haven't please let Kristie know.

I would love to hear some feedback about the product so we know if we should try this again. Please take a second to click on 'comments' below and leave your thoughts.

Thanks Kristie - great job.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Multiple Choice Exams for Math/Science Diploma

From the Key Communique Newsletter for November:
Removal of Written Response in Math/Science Diploma Exams:

In Alberta, the mathematics and science diploma exams will no longer include a written component. The exams in these subjects will be composed of multiple choice and numerical response questions. Students in math and science 30 classes this year will be affected by this change.
Here is a facebook response organized by some students, and here is some feedback on the Alberta Education 'speak out' site.

Playground Zone Changes

Alberta Transportation is proposing sweeping changes to the school and playground zones around the province. They would like to standardize the times for the modified speed limits in the zones. For example; instead of 'one hour after sunset' times, it would be an actual time all year round. In the case of playgrounds, it would be 7:30am to 9:00 pm. For school zones, the times are proposed as 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. The zone in front of Haultain is a Playground Zone.

My two cents: if they are trying to make things clearer for motorists - they shouldn't have two different times for the different zones - just make them both a reduced speed limit from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm.

Some interesting facts:
  1. There are 876 playground zones in Calgary
  2. There are 716 school

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alberta adds, subtracts math classes

From the website

Alberta Education is changing the way it delivers math, eliminating pure math and giving students entering high school more choices.

Instead of having to choose between pure or applied math, new high school students will have three choices.

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stop the Cuts Correspondence

Further to the previous post about Alberta Education cuts, I received a letter and a flyer from the ASCA/ATA/ASBA group trying to stop the cuts. To see the flyer, click on the post picture and click here to see the letter. These three organizations are very concerned about these cuts and want to add your concerns to their lobby. Please contact your MLA (Heather Forsyth/Calgary - Fish Creek) to make sure she knows how you feel about this.

Friday, November 6, 2009

School Updates

In case you haven't checked in a while, we have updated our Publications Page on the Haultain Memorial School website. Go there for school information such as our renowned, Fees Report to Parents, our rather insightful, Provincial Achievement Test Results, and our School Development Plan for the upcoming school year. We will also be updating it to include our current Annual School Report.

While this may not fit the bill as page turning reading for all, our Publications Page contains valuable information about where we are headed as a school, along with data to support that journey.

Honesty key to telling kids about vaccine

By Bradley Bouzane, Canwest News Service

Parents should be honest with their kids about the virus and try to keep them calm.
With the H1N1 virus being linked to two deaths in recent days of Ontario children 13 and under, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Paediatric Society says parents should be honest with their kids about the virus and try to keep them calm.

Click here for the full story - and please comment on what you read, using the 'comment link below.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November's Council and PA Meeting

Last night we had our Council and PA meetings. They were both brisk, to the point, informative, productive, and on time. In fact, we got out of the second meeting a few minutes early.

Thank you to everyone who came out and participated.

Some of the highlights:
  • Mr. Barkley demonstrated the new Parent/Teacher Interview online appointment maker -
  • He presented the school's development plan, which will be posted soon
  • Talked about the Christmas concert a bit,

Thursday highlights

In the pursuit of knowledge sharing, I was asked to present at the CBE's System Meeting last night, at Ernest Manning High School. The meeting was in a 'webinar' format, and can be downloaded and viewed here. (No special software needs to be downloaded or installed to view.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

SOFA - Save Our Fine Arts (Guest Post)

The following is a guest posting from Keith Scharnau who is a Director at Large for the Queen Elizabeth Band Parents Association. He is also a committee member of SOFA - Save Our Fine Arts, a group of representatives from high school band associations, teachers, parents and students.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November Newsletter

Follow this link to read the latest newsletter from Mr. Barkley and the staff at the school.

Read it for the great comments from the kids about report cards, updates from most of the classrooms, some great art samples, Council update, a message from the Board, and November's calendar of events.

Letter being sent home today

Click here to view the school closure recommendation letter which is being sent home today with students.

Last night's CEOPs meeting

Hi, Parents -

Trevor, Shane and I met with the CEOPs team again last night. It was the sixth meeting in the student accommodation process, whereby the closure of Queensland Downs Elementary is being proposed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Alberta Education's Fine Arts Program in Jeopardy?

There is a proposed Program Update to the curriculum for Fine Arts from the Alberta Education. Follow the link for all the information available on the AE website.

The Beaverbrook Band Association has sent out an email urging parents to get involved and become aware of the proposed changes specifically because the band program and music in general will be affected.

Monday update

Thanks to Ramona for facilitating the artwork on our newly painted Haultain Parent Association banner. Good work, kids!

Also, Trevor, Shane and I will be attending the next in the series of CEOPs meetings tonight. An update will be posted later on tonight, or first thing tomorrow morning.

And don't forget that the next council meeting is this Wednesday evening in the Haultain library at 6:30. Bring your concerns, or just come to watch the proceedings. It's a great way to be involved.