Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Parents can avoid holiday hassles with kids spending their own money for gifts

(From the CBC website)

There was a look of utter shock on 11-year-old Mia's face when she was told she would have to open her piggy bank for Christmas shopping.

"Really? Do I have to?" she asked wide-eyed and unbelieving.

Her eight-year-old brother Ben was given the news that he would have to do chores to earn his gift money after having his allowance taken away due to his potty mouth.

He said, "OK," figuring he would run roughshod with the Swiffer a few times over the hardwood floors.

Giving kids the money to go out gift shopping is an easier solution than negotiating or battling over money, but experts say it doesn't have any lasting value.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Proper nutrition aids learning

(Found on the Calgary Herald website)

Every day, nearly half of the 44 students at Our Lady of Lourdes School get a free, healthy lunch.

Otherwise, they'd go hungry.

Our Lady of Lourdes is a school for students from Grades 1 to 12 with special education needs: one group has autism spectrum disorder; the other has severe emotional and behavioural disorders.

Compounding their problems, many come from families unable to provide proper nutrition.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Concert Toy Donations

There has been a little confusion over the Toy Mountain project at the school for this year. Haultain has decided to give families the opportunity to contribute to the toy collection only if they wish.

We understand that at this time of year coming up with the extra money and time for this sort of thing can be tough and that the classrooms are already asking for donations for the basket raffle. Because of this, we aren't asking for the toys as an 'entrance fee' to the Christmas concert and we aren't trying to compel donations in any way. We just want to provide a convenient way to donate if you so choose.

Next year we will do something different. All suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Council Meeting

This month's Council meeting will be dedicated to our annual Performance Review (December 8 at 6:30 in the library). Each year (since 2007), we have analyzed our work and compared it to what is mandated by the government and what is expected by the parents. There will be no formal agenda/motions except the discussion of performance.

Please go here to read the 13 indicators we use to gauge our performance as a Council.

Thank you - hope to see you there.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Canada slips in education rankings

I think this is good cause for concern - does anyone else share my sentiments?

"...there is something going on in Asia concerning education, and it's because the value they attach to education is much greater in those countries"...

Read more here.

Two Interesting Articles

... that have been submitted by Roxane. This one centres around a gin-soaked Daddy blogger - and this one asks some pretty interesting questions about schools' use of social media.

Thanks Roxane! If anyone ever finds an article they think might be of interest to Haultain Parents, please email the council - and we'll get it set up on the blog for everyone to read.

Also, here's a reminder that the Parent Council/Association meets up this Thursday at 6:30 in the library. Hope to see you there!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sign Changing?

Hello everyone, we are looking for a volunteer, or two, to help take over our front sign changing needs. The sign needs to be changed approximately every 2 weeks depending on what is going on and training will be provided by one Mrs. Tammy Campsall. So if you are interested in volunteering for this job for the remainder of the year, please email me and let me know so we can set it up!! Thanks so much in advance!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Comment Moderation

I wanted to remind everyone about the blog rules for comment moderation. If you have a comment that you would like published that could be construed in any way as negative, it has to have your name attached to it.

As I have mentioned previously, all the blog authors, the entire Council and PA exec, the teachers and admin all share their names and you know how to reach them if they say something you don't like. The same rule should apply for comments.

On a similar note, if you have any issue with the school or your child's classroom/teacher, I know for a fact that Mr. Barkley, Mr. Fero, and all the staff would really appreciate and welcome any input you have about your experiences at Haultain (good or bad). If you want help or advice on presenting that input; I would be more than happy to help you out. Let me know.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Former education minister calls for single school system

Former Alberta Education Minister Dave King is calling for end to public funding for separate schools.

"We want little Catholic kids to be educated beside little Protestant kids, beside rich kids, poor kids, Indian kids, refugee kids," said Dave King, education minister during the Peter Lougheed era.

"I believe in our kids being educated together."

King has created a website and an online petition to put an end to religious schooling in Alberta.

Read the full story here.

Calendar Problem

Google is having a technical issue with their calendar app (which our blog uses) so we've had to change the default view to weekly. Please double check the time and date of anything that shows up there for the next few days.

CBE Communication Survey

The CBE would like parental input into the level of communication they are providing for parents. Click here to fill out the survey.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Intersting Article

Are computers really the teaching tool we've been led to believe?

Click hear to read an interesting article on the subject.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Yearbook Survey

Time for another quick survey. Please answer the following. We will use this input to help decide whether we should create another Haultain yearbook for 2010-2011. Don't forget to click on the 'submit' button after making your choices.

Last year the yearbooks were $20.00. You can see examples of the possibilities here, click on the button labeled 'View Yearbook Galleries'.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Quaker Canada recalls granola bars

Quaker Canada is voluntarily recalling granola bars after two packages were found to wrongly contain bars that could cause problems for consumers with peanut or tree nut allergies.

The food company, a Canadian unit of U.S.-based Pepsico Inc , said no illnesses had been reported due to the mislabeled packages.

Click here to read the full story.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

228 Thank Yous!

Thank you to everyone who made the casino fund raiser a big success this year. Although we won't have our final numbers until early next year, I can safely say that the 33 people who donated a combined 140 hours of volunteers work made about $450.00 per hour for Haultain's children.

This money, as most of you know, goes to field trips, library books, programming, clubs, presenters, residencies, art and music supplies, gym equipment, computers, etc. Many of these things would represent an increased financial burden on families or we would have to do without them entirely if it weren't for the unselfish and dedicated volunteers who graciously committed their time. So the 228 students at Haultain will all benefit from their contribution.

Laughs were shared, and elastic band artillery techniques were improved. The munchies were great and the company second to none. Steve did another fabulous job of organizing the whole thing and a good time was had by all. If you didn't get a chance to join us - I recommend getting involved next time, no skills necessary (as proven by some more than others), training supplied and it can actually be a lot of fun.

Thank you especially to Haultain staff (Mr. and Mrs. Kipp, Mr. Barkley, and Mr. Fero) and those of our group who helped us but have no children in our school. That is a very special contribution - you get a gold star!

We will announce the final numbers when we get them. Thanks again everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Interview Time: Online Booking Now Open

A reminder that you are now able to book your parent/teacher conferences for this week online - as opposed to phoning to book.

Simply visit our Haultain homepage ( and click the conference booking link. This will take you to a secure site at

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 your student's teacher. 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.

By the way, let us know what you think of this process. We realize 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 19, 2010

Meetings Last Night

Thank you to everyone who showed up for the meetings last night. Braving the cold and miserable weather to attend shows some real dedication.

We accomplished a lot and spent some money at the PA. A decision was made regarding the sign, we will be going with new letters/rails and a complete refinish on the wooden part - thank you for everyone's input on the survey and especially at the meeting last night. We are funding a great looking field trip for grades 3 and 4 to the Bow Habitat/Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery. We are also funding a visit from Hazel Hutchins, author and presenter (the timing details are still to be worked out), and Mrs. Austin has sought and received funding for Moving Up With Literacy.

The council discussion was dominated by the presentation of the new policy of network access school wide for any device the students bring in. This was presented on the blog here a few days ago and was talked about again last night. Mr. Barkley and Mr. Fero are looking for input from parents for how this will be monitored and controlled. The hardware and technology is in place but isn't turned on yet pending our input. Please revisit the post to learn what this is all about. This additional technology has the potential for enormous change at the school and parents need to be engaged and ready on this issue. Some instant questions that may come to mind:

  • How will internet access be monitored?
  • Will students be allowed to access the network any time they wish?
  • What if they are in the playground - can they access the internet from there unsupervised?
  • Is the network robust enough to protect my child's laptop from a virus that another child's laptop my have?
  • What sorts of devices can the students use, laptops, iPods, netbooks...?
  • How will the school ensure that student's devices remain secure at recess and lunch time?
Please add your own questions and concerns - send me an email or write a comment and I will add it to the list as we help create the policy for the use and control of this new technology.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Queensland Diamond Cove Community Association

The Queensland Diamond Cove Community Association wants to remind you to renew your membership. The benefits are numerous, see the poster on the left for the top ten, and its not expensive: $20.00 per family.

Join up today.

Meal Time Struggles

I came across an interesting article this morning that points to an even more interesting web site. The focus of both is the family interactions around meal time.

According to this article:

"Research shows that eating together, whether as a family or a group, offers many health and social benefits to both children and adults--including better nutrition, school performance and social adjustment. But the reality is, many families struggle to find the time to share meals."

Quite a claim; but it does seem that meal time, and the challenges it presents to today's modern family, isn't what it used to be. "Good old days" syndrome aside, it seems like a generation ago, family meal times were sacrosanct and full of tradition, expectations, social interaction, reinforced manner lessons, a chance to speak the diaries of our days.

Now, for better or worse, 'supper times' can often be rushed, disjointed affairs that cause stress and disorder, filled with distractions. Busy life styles, working parents, and just plain old bad habits can often lead to unfulfilling family time at the table.

To help families rectify some of this and as a promotion for good eating habits, the BC Dairy Foundation and the BC Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport have created a great website called It presents solutions to many of the common challenges faced by today's busy families.

It would be interesting to hear what you think? Post your thoughts by clicking on the blue 'comments' below.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


As always, you are encouraged to attend this week's Council and PA meetings on Thursday at 6:30 in the library.

One of the highlights at this meeting will be a presentation and discussion of Haultain's Digital Citizenship Plan. The CBE has installed a wireless environment (LAWN) which will allow students to use their own wireless devices (laptops, handhelds) to access the network. As part of the rollout process, the school would like parental feedback on how to best utilize the LAWN and help determine governing principles of use. This feedback will help with the final edits of Haultain's own Digital Citizenship Plan and our Admirable Use Policy.

Please see the following links for more detailed information and watch the movies that explain the importance of computer devices in the education process. We are looking for your feedback at the meetings to help inform administration in the creation of the above two documents. If you want more information, please contact Mr. Fero at the school.

Alberta Education: Internet Safety

Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship

Friday, November 12, 2010

Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who answered the survey regarding the sign. You can still answer the survey here.

Here is the breakdown so far:

38% want to replace rails/letters/refurbish wood
32% want a new steel sign
14% want the letters and rails only
8% want the wood refinished only
8% chose "other" with suggestions as follows:

"does it really need doing? it looks fine to me?", "replace only the letters that need to be replaced and replace the rails", and "sign is fine. the playground needs upgrading we need to save for that"

As I said, you can still answer the survey and the final results will be presented to the PA as part of the agenda just before we vote.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Library books moved to make way for pupils at one Calgary school

By Sean Myers, Calgary Herald

One school's answer to rising enrolment is to clear books out of the library to make room for a new classroom.

The entire fiction section has been moved out of the David Thompson Middle School library and spread throughout at least three classrooms used for teaching English Language Arts.

The Calgary Board of Education says the relocation of the books is part of a so-called learning commons initiative, but some students don't like the new arrangement.

"It's annoying," said Grade 7 student Ashton Maguire.

Click here to read the full story.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November Newsletter

Click here or on the title above to view November's newsletter.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Micro Survey: School Sign Options

Don't forget to click SUBMIT!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Innisbrook Fundraiser

As your Fundraising Coordinator, I wanted to thank all of you who participated in our Fall fundraiser with Innisbrook. We were looking to raise $5000 with approximately half of those proceeds going to the school... and guess what... we raised over $6000!!! Way to go Haultain!!! Your support means more activities, supplies and fun extras for our school this year!!!
Look for delivery of your product around the 3rd week of November.
Thanks again!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Our Outdoor Rink Needs You!

The Queensland Community Association is looking for volunteers to help with the outdoor rink next to the school. Last winter the rink was in top shape because of some talented and dedicated volunteers.

They are asking for some assistance this year. The time commitment is flexible, from October to March: 2-6 hours per week. The pros from last year will provide training on site so you don't need any previous experience.

So if you don't mind working outside, can stand a little cold and want the opportunity to help out the community in a very real way, contact Aaron at

For more information follow this link.

Great Meeting

Susanne Allan and Shona Foster are officially bloggers as Co-Key Communicators on the Haultain Parent Executive School Council. Thanks to Nick and his expertise. We will be reporting as much information of interest to the parents of the children at Haultain Memorial as possible, and welcome any comments and questions you may have. Thank you, from us both, for the wonderful opportunity.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Don't Forget!

... it's time for our monthly Parent Council/Association meeting tomorrow night in the Haultain library at 6:30pm.

Shane is out of the country, and won't be back in time to chair - so as my newly minted position of Vice Chair dictates, I'll be filling in.

Feel free to attend, with your questions, comments, or concerns - our meetings are always held to a punctual time schedule, and don't run over time. It's great to see what the Council/Association does - how it's run, and how your student benefits from the decisions that are made.

Hope to see you tomorrow night!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Welcome Back Ms. Bazinet!

It appears the bulk of our Board will look the same... Click here and here for more on the election results for the board of trustees.

Haultain Casino Update

Hi Parents,

I just want to give a very short update on the upcoming Casino we are running in November.

We needed a total of 40 volunteers to run the cash cages, count rooms, and various other casino jobs. The response from parents have been amazing, and we already have a full schedule!

I still need a few people "on-call" to cover sickness or emergencies, but this is on track to be a very successful fundraiser for us.

Thanks Volunteers!

Steve Antonchuk
HMSPA Casino Chair

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another article of interest

Articles posted on this blog are posted to encourage comments and feedback. Yours are greatly appreciated!

This article was from today's CBC website postings. Are you concerned about this perceived shift? What do you think about standardized testing, and the use of the results as educational benchmarks?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Too much TV psychologically harms kids: Study

Hiding the TV remote and games console controller is a good thing to do to kids if it's the only way to limit the time they spend in front of a screen, according to a study published Monday.

The study, published in the U.S. journal Pediatrics, found that kids who spend hours each day in front of the TV or games console have more psychological difficulties like problems relating to peers, emotional issues, hyperactivity or conduct challenges, than kids who don't.

Click here for the full story.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

School trustees fear being replaced as Alberta looks at School Act

By Sean Myers, Calgary Herald

Repeated assurances by the province have failed to quell the fear that local school board trustees could be replaced by a superboard or appointed governors.

Alberta Education Minister Dave Hancock and Premier Ed Stelmach have both said the upcoming opening of the School Act will not involve doing away with elected boards.

Read the full article here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

An Article from Roxane

Want to know which school in the U.K. recently got boarded by a famous movie pirate? Click here to find out.

Thanks for the article, Roxane!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Question to Candidates from the Haultain Parents Blog

I have asked a question of each of the candidates in our ward. Instead of trying to edit their answers and asking permission for the changes, I've decided to post the responses verbatim for you to read. Please click more for the whole email string. We would appreciate your comments on this topic as well.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

School Board Secrets!

Gerry Gibeault served on the Edmonton Public School Board for 15 years. From 1995 to 2010 he represented Ward 1 in Edmonton and has seen his share of experience in public education. Newly retired from the board, he writes a very interesting blog at Set up to give tips and advice for would-be public school board members. Even if you don't aspire to be elected - it makes for interesting reading.

Lunchtime COULD be worse...

Read here to find out how one elementary school in Quebec deals with noisy lunchtimes!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

WTD 2010

Happy World Teacher Day to all the hard working and dedicated staff at Haultain. October 5 is World Teacher Day and is meant to be a time of opportunity to pay homage to the dedication, enthusiasm, and care that is the hallmark of a good teacher. We are lucky to have such a staff at Haultain and I would like to use this forum to express my personal gratitude as well as that of the Parent Association. As part of WTD; volunteers from the PA hosted a coffee break bagel and fruit snack for the teachers in the staff room. A small but heart felt token of our appreciation.

Read Alberta Education minister Dave Hancock's message as well. Just as heart felt, I'm sure, but much more verbose.

October Newsletter

Click here to read this month's school newsletter, and find out who, when asked, "What is the best part of a new school year?" answered, "the smell of fresh wax emanating from the school hallway floors!"

Also, read to find out which Haultain teacher was nominated for an APPEGA teaching award, what to do with your children's gently used pants, and how to volunteer at the November casinos.

Civic Election Wards 12 and 14 Trustee Candidates

The candidates for our wards are Carol Anne Bazinet (inc.), Wendi Ann Moore, and Malik Avery. Click on their picture or name to get to their website and read their bios.

Carol Bazinet,

Wendi Moore

Malik Avery.

Civic Election

With the civic election approaching, it's important to be in the know. Who's running for what position? What are the issues? Where do you vote? When do you vote?

The Calgary Herald has a comprehensive election website to help you, and the City of Calgary's website is also a great source of information.

Voting dates are all noted on the calendar below - make sure you find out where you need to go to cast your ballot a few days beforehand.

Want some changes made? Make your vote count!

Does Class Size Really Matter?

I found this article in yesterday's Calgary Herald - it has some interesting information where class size is concerned. Ever wonder what determines class sizes? Wonder what the CBE's current class size averages are now?

Click here to read and be informed!

Benefits of learning a new language early

By Manisha Krishnan, Postmedia News

Bilingualism is a unique part of Canada's national identity and that's reflected in the language programs offered at schools throughout the country.

The most popular of these is French Immersion, available at various schools on the North Shore.

Benefits to learning a second language are numerous, according to Robert Rothon, executive director of Canadian Parents for French, B.C. and Yukon branch, a non-profit organization that advocates for French programs for youth.

Read the full article here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Articles of interest

The Haultain Parents blog has recently garnered interest for having re-posted articles written and hosted by the CBC website. One article, "School board's new home called too costly" (click the links to view) and another, "CBE chair defends new HQ cost" make for very interesting reads. These are also timely articles, in that the City of Calgary is moving toward an election - an election that will see new Trustees, Aldermen, and a new mayor.

The HMPA encourages all parents to read everything they can get their hands on - learn about the issues and make an educated decision when voting. Your input and engagement is crucial not only at the schools that your children attend - it also helps guide how our city is governed.

This (our blog) is a fabulous venue to have your voice heard, your comment read, and your questions answered. Please click the 'feedback' link on the right-hand side of this page, and let your Parent Council/Parent Association know what you have to say.

Your input is appreciated and encouraged.

Friday, October 1, 2010

AGM 2010/2011

We held our AGM meetings last night and they were well attended. We have a new Vice Chair, new Co-Key Communicators, new Co-Volunteer Coordinators, and the return of our secretary. Thank you to our new executive, I'm looking forward to working with you in the future. We also voted in the budget for the upcoming year during the Parent Association AGM. The school newsletter will have more detail and look for the minutes shortly. Thanks again everyone for a great start to the Association and Council's year.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Computer Glitch Woes

A computer glitch is hurting those who hurt the most. Albertans attempting to upgrade their education through the help of a government grant program called Alberta Works are suffering and some may have to drop out of the program due to delays. Ironically Alberta Works newly installed computer program doesn't, and up to 3600 economically challenged would-be students are suffering for it. Click here and here to read more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let's Keep our Kids Safe on the School Grounds.

Here's a friendly reminder to parents to please not use the teacher parking lot for dropping off or picking up students. As well, dog owners are kindly asked to not bring their pets on school property.

Thank you for your consideration!

CBE Stick with Teacher Layoffs

We followed this story extensively in the spring - click here to see all the stories on our blog concerning the cuts including some exclusive content from phone and email 'interviews'.

Interesting to note in this update article from the Herald that our trustee - Carol Bazinet, voted against the motion of layoffs and use of reserves stating that this choice was a matter for the trustees not the administration.
"In a report Tuesday to a meeting of Calgary Board of Education trustees, Johnson said the board will use nearly half of its $21 million in reserves this year, even as it sheds 277 full-time workers, including 192 teachers. The report was accepted, although trustees Pat Cochrane and Carol Bazinet voted against the motion." - Calgary Herald
What this means to Haultain has yet to be measured and would be a good question for our principal. You may have that opportunity at the next council meeting - September 30 in the library @ 6:30. See you there.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Booking Parent/Teacher Conferences

Just a reminder that you are now able to book your parent/teacher conferences for this week online - as opposed to phoning to book.

Simply visit our Haultain homepage ( and click the conference booking link. This will take you to a secure site at

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!

Key Communiqué

(Our monthly newsletter, from Karen at the CBE.)

School and Parent Communications
For the next year, you will be receiving the Key Communiqué from Karen Drummond. Karen will be handling parent and school communications for the next year while Katie Young is on leave to further her education.

Karen was working as a Communications Advisor in the Office of the Board of Trustees at the CBE prior to taking on this role. She has two children, a boy in Grade One at Fish Creek School and a girl who is three years old. She worked at SAIT Polytechnic and the University of Calgary prior to joining the CBE.

September's School Newsletter

If you haven't already seen it, can be viewed by clicking here.

Schools strive for healthier attitude toward fitness

The 'c-word' sidelined too many students
By Chris Zdeb, Postmedia News

Today’s schoolkids could grow up to be the first generation of adults whose gym classes turned them on to physical activity for life.

Unlike previous generations, they’re less likely to have humiliating memories of being picked last to play baseball, or being ridiculed by jocks for not being able to run fast or not being able to spike the ball over the volleyball net. That’s because the ’c-word’ — competition — is no longer the focus of physical education; inspiring a healthy lifestyle is.

Click here to read the full story.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Every student receives a Kindle and the school ends up saving money.

Is this an idea for future investment by the HMPA? Tell us what you think.

Click here to read the full story.

Why firm parenting is good parenting

(CNN) -- I've been teaching university students for 50 years, and I can tell when one of my students comes from a home in which "good" parenting takes place.

These students -- most often from a middle-class background -- are stunned when they learn that their draft paper is not the cat's meow, indeed must be rewritten from scratch.

They send e-mails, constantly, with their work in progress attached, "just to see if I am on the right track." And if they get a C, they are crushed.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't Forget!

Haultain is about to enjoy its annual start-of-the-year Ice Cream Social!

Bring your kids - bring your family - and enjoy some free ice cream, courtesy of the Haultain Parent Association. It will be a great opportunity to meet and welcome some of the new parents and students who are attending Haultain for the first time!

Dropsheets, high-pressure washers and warm, wet washcloths are optional.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Andrew Brash - A Story of Inspiration

The following guest entry comes from Susanne Allen:

A Story of Inspiration, Courage and Compassion with Andrew Brash
Deer Park United Church
77 Deerpoint Road SE
September 28, 2010 7:00 pm

Cost: $10.00 (for those who are able)

Andrew is a Calgary climber and teacher who has been chasing his climbing dreams for over 20 years in many of the most impressive mountain environments in the world, including Tibet, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Alaska, Chile and Nepal.

In May of 2006, Calgary teacher Andrew Brash and teammates made international headlines when they stopped 200 meters from the summit of Mt. Everest to assist Australian climber Lincoln Hall. Hall had been declared dead by his own team and left for dead, spending the night alone on the mountain above 8,600 meters. Thankfully Lincoln was able to survive, but Andrew's summit ambitions had to wait.

In the spring of 2008, Andrew returned to Everest, this time forced to the Nepali side of the mountain after Chinese officials closed access to Tibet, fearing Olympic protests on the mountain, sending his return expedition into turmoil, proving that adventure on Everest is not quite dead yet.
He is married to Jennifer and is the father of three young daughters; Anna, Jaime, and Alexandra.

Thank you Susanne

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A numerical exploration of education in Canada

(An interesting article, found on the CBC website. Your comments are welcome!)

In just a few short weeks, students across the country will be overstuffing their backpacks, staking out their schoolbus seats, and filing into classrooms.

So we've done our homework early and taken a by-the-numbers look at the state of education in Canada, including data on teacher salaries, graduation rates and student loans.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to SCHOOL!

On behalf of the Haultain Parent Association, welcome to a new school year! I'm sure that most parents spent the last few days rummaging through sale bins in search of a matching shoe, or pushing shopping carts around - laden with foolscap pads, binders, and multi-coloured pens and pencils. Well, here's day one. The payoff.

As in previous years, the Association blog will endeavour to provide information for parents of students who attend Haultain. There's a calendar of events at the bottom of this page that will be updated shortly (Click here to view the school calendar as a .pdf) - and there's a direct email link to the Association itself, at the top right-hand of the page. Please feel free to ask questions, or leave comments using the 'comment' feature, found at the end of each blog entry. We'd love to get your feedback, or have your questions.

Also - if you're unable to attend Association/Council meetings, this site acts as a forum for issues you'd like brought up at meetings. Your submitted question/issue will be discussed at the meeting, with the results being published in the meeting minutes - which then get posted online for all to see. It's a good feeling to see your input being considered - and being engaged in your student's school environment is crucial to their learning.

Finally - welcome to our new friends from Queensland Downs. It'll be great to meet you all - and have your input and involvement in the Parent Association.

Here's to another great year!

Nick Newton
Key Communicator

Friday, August 27, 2010

Casino Volunteers Needed!

Hey Parents,

It’s time to put on the fancy duds, watch a Rat Pack movie, unleash your inner Moe Green (sorry, The Godfather was on last night) and finally realize your childhood dream to work in a proper casino for about 4 hours!

HMSPA is responsible for staffing two casino nights and we need volunteers. Here is the info:
Dates: Friday, November 19th Saturday, November 20th
Location: Deerfoot Inn and Casino
Positions Needed: Banker, Cashier, Chip Runner, Count Room

Why?: This is the most important part! The money we raise with working this casino, allows us to fund tons of great school programs; including busses, classroom equipment, technology, and in school presentations. We usually manage to raise nearly $40,000 PER YEAR and every single dollar benefits our school!

In order to volunteer, I need some personal information from you. Please print this form and fill it out (except the top part, I can do that).

If you have the ability, you can email the completed for to me, or I will be happy to come pick it up from you.

We need about 40 people to step up and help out, or we risk losing years and years of funding!

If you have questions, please contact me anytime.

Steve Antonchuk
HMSPA Casino Chair

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Researchers like laptops in Calgary classrooms

(From the CBC website)

Researchers at the University of Calgary have some encouraging words for parents concerned that their children are glued to computer screens.

Michele Jacobsen and Sharon Friesen of the university's faculty of education just completed a research study at Calgary Science School in which students were provided with laptops and then observed over a three-year period.

Their results indicate computer technology can dramatically improve the way students learn — but only if coupled with engaged teaching.

Click here to read the full story.

This re-defines the phrase, "Cycle of Life."

A family of five pedalled back to their home in southwest Calgary on Aug. 23, 13 months after rolling off to bicycle around North America.

Rick and Tanya McFerrin cycled 14,000 kilometres through Canada, the U.S. and Mexico with their sons Sampson, 9, Markos, 7, and Tarn, 5.

"It's been amazing to be with Tanya and the kids 24/7 for a year," Rick McFerrin said while his family ate a picnic lunch on a concrete pad outside the Millarville General Store. "It's reinforced our feeling that we're an adventurous, creative family."

The McFerrins are veteran tourers who once spent two years cycling around the world. They hit the road with their boys on July 15, 2009, heading west from their home in southwest Calgary on two bicycles: one a tandem with Tanya in the front and Markos in the back, and the other a tandem with a "tagalong" third bike. Rick steered the second bike, with Sampson and Tarn behind.

Read more here.

Should parents "friend" their kids on Facebook?

(Shane and I have been talking about Facebook a little recently, so when this article appeared on the Calgary Herald site, I thought it might make for an interesting read for Haultain parents.)

To friend or not to friend is the big question facing many parents dealing with teenagers on Facebook.

Three quarters of parents questioned in a Nielsen survey said they are friends with their children on the popular social networking website which boasts 500 million active users. But a third admitted they are worried they are not seeing everything their children are doing on the web.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2010/2011 AGM

A reminder that the 2010/2011 Council and PA school year will begin with our AGM on September 30th at 6:30 pm in the Haultain library.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to School - the online way

This article talks about a couple of Ontario Moms who created a website that helps parents get their kids back to school with exactly what they need for the classroom.
"Their website with a number of public and private schools across Ontario to post supply lists for parents"
The website is here and they make it very easy to shop for classroom supplies. I can't find an equivalent in Alberta but if you do, let us know in the comment section.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

First of the partnership schools opening this year...

Bridlewood, Cranston, Royal Oak - Just three of the schools opening under the new P3 model of community partnership in Alberta - click here for more information.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Personality set for life by 1st grade, study suggests


Our personalities stay pretty much the same throughout our lives, from our early childhood years to after we're over the hill, according to a new study.

The results show personality traits observed in children as young as first graders are a strong predictor of adult behavior.

"We remain recognizably the same person," said study author Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. "This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts."

The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Wireless schools blamed for illness


TORONTO - Parents in Simcoe County believe their children are getting sick from WiFi transmitters set up in schools across the region.

Rodney Palmer says his two children at Mountain View Elementary School in Collingwood became ill last year.

"Six months ago, parents started noticing their kids had chronic headaches, dizziness, insomnia, rashes and other neurological and cardiac symptoms, when they came home from school," Palmer, 44, said. "But somehow on the weekends, when they were at home, it would disappear."

After further investigation, parents began to suspect it was caused by the exposure to electromagnetic fields from the wireless Internet transmitters in school classrooms.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Handwriting skills waning, mother laments

In the age of laptops and text messaging, students in Alberta schools are no longer learning to master the fundamental skill of handwriting, according to an Airdrie mother.

Cursive writing — while still taught — seems to have become mostly an afterthought in the classroom, said Carmen Maidstone.

She recently realized her teenaged son is barely able to connect his letters, preferring instead to print.

Read more here.

When siblings fight over everything

By Roger Collier, Postmedia News

On a humid Saturday afternoon, inside the neutral-coloured walls of a home in suburban Ottawa, two children, ages four and six, engaged in a debate that has bedevilled mankind since 40,000 B.C., when Homo sapiens adopted spoken language as the primary means of human communication, replacing calligraphy.

Read the full story here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Daycare centres are not harmful to children's development

Eight years after telling mothers that going out to work and leaving their children in substitute care was harmful to children's development, academics combing through the same research material said this week that mothers should not worry after all.

This newest study was published last week by the U.S. Society for Research and Child Development. It was based -- like the 2002 study -- on data collected over several years on more than 1,300 children.

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Calgary drivers, take note: School zones begin a half-hour sooner

Speed restrictions through Calgary school zones will now begin at 7:30 a.m. -- 30 minutes earlier than before.

The rollback was ordered by city council and is designed to protect students who show up early for extracurricular activities. The 30 km/h restriction on school days remains in place until 5 p.m.

Patrick Quinn is vice-principal at Father Scollen School, one of 36 in the city that runs year-round.

The change will be in effect immediately near the northeast school, where students return to classes today after an abbreviated summer break between terms.

Quinn says the extension will provide "a nice cushion" for kids who arrive early for sports or music practice, particularly on a cold, dark winter morning.

"It just makes it a lot safer," he said.

Read more here

Friday, July 30, 2010

Can secondhand smoke hurt kids' grades?

Children and teenagers exposed to secondhand smoke at home may get poorer grades than their peers from smoke-free homes, a study of Hong Kong students suggests.

Secondhand smoke is a well-known health threat to children, being linked to increased risks of asthma, as well as bronchitis, pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Studies have also found a connection between smoking during pregnancy and higher risks of childhood behaviour problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Some research has also found that children exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb or at home may trail their peers when it comes to cognitive abilities like reasoning and remembering. But whether secondhand smoke itself is to blame remains unclear.

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Personality takes shape at an early age

By Misty Harris, Postmedia News

Time machine notwithstanding, report card comments may be the best way to preview who your child will be as an adult.

So suggests compelling new research that shows teachers' evaluations of youngsters' personalities 40 years ago still hold true today, with the now middle-aged subjects behaving in ways highly consistent with their childhood assessments. The study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Read more here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Give helicopter parents a break

Adriana Barton, Globe and Mail

It’s tough to go online these days without seeing a diatribe against helicopter parents.

After all, they’re the germaphobic, nanny-cam-using, teacher-stalking mothers (and fathers) everyone loves to hate.

News reports have been scathing. Time magazine called the overparenting trend “insanity;” CNN warned of chopper parents who “fly into school in attack mode,” and USA Today profiled summer camps that give overprotected kids a “parentectomy.”

Read the full article here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Keeping kids safe on cellphones

How to stay on top of the dangers for kids with constant connectivity.

By Claire Courtney,

Colorado mother Sharon Hamilton thought she had a close eye on her son's technology use. The 15-year-old turned in his cellphone every night at 10 p.m. One evening, Hamilton became suspicious when he frantically deleted text messages before giving over his phone. Her worst fears were soon confirmed.

Click here for the full story.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Making the Grade - Fraser Institute Results are published

Testing is complete and the results of the Fraser Institute's standardized tests are tallied. Find out how Calgary and southern Alberta schools compare in the key measures that reveal the quality of education our children are receiving.

Click on graph to enlarge.

(The annual school report card is created by the Fraser Institute, a conservative think-tank based in British Columbia and is based on provincial standardized tests written in 2009 and school graduation rates. It has generated controversy over concerns of ranking schools based only on test results. Schools with only a handful of students writing these tests are not included in the report card.)

Click here to visit the site.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Living with children linked to less exercise

Article from the Canadian Press

Study conducted at the Montreal Heart Institute finds children make it hard to follow an exercise regimen

A study conducted at the Montreal Heart Institute has yielded a surprising result — living with children is linked to a reduction in physical activity.

Concordia University professor Doctor Simon L. Bacon led the study which included 756 participants.

The study assessed the impact of social networks on exercise, revealing that people with heart disease who live with children exercise less than those people who don't live with children.

The researchers were trying to figure out why the majority of heart patients don't succeed in following an exercise regimen, even though its advantages are widely known.

Click here to read the full story.

'Health Police' crack down on seemingly healthy children

Araminta Wordsworth, National Post, with files from news services · Monday, Jul. 19, 2010

Grace Hill is an active five-year-old who loves to swim, dance and ride her bike, while her mom, Laura, makes sure she eats a balanced diet. Now the elementary school student in Derby, England, has been branded overweight and at risk of a host of illnesses including cancer.

The problem is that the finding is according to one measure — the Body Mass Index — while other ways of calculating obesity show Grace as being well within the healthy guidelines for her age, weight and height.

Read more here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Engage your kids in dining experiences

By Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service

As foodie appreciation goes mainstream, more parents are bringing even the smallest diners along for high-end meals, where they're as likely to request such exotic fare as foie gras and duck confit as they are to turn up their noses.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lead by example to get kids off the couch

By Jill Barker, Canwest News Service

In my day, summer meant cycling around the neighbourhood, playing in the park and hanging around at the pool. Parental supervision was from a distance and kids spent most of the day outside.

Today, unstructured and unsupervised play is rare. If left on their own, kids are more likely to spend their summers playing video games than playing outside. Current statistics suggest children age eight to 13 spend nearly six hours a day in front of a screen.

Click here to read the full story.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An email reply from Minister Hancock

(A reply from the Minister's office to an email I sent voicing my concerns regarding funding cuts)

Dear Mr. Newton:

Thank you for your recent e-mail about education funding for the Calgary Board of Education.

As you noted in your e-mail, education funding for the 2010/2011 school year has not been cut by government. In fact, since 2000/2001, funding to education has increased by $2.7 billion, or 73 per cent, while student enrolment has increased by three per cent for the same period.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alberta teacher salary bump gets funding

From the CBC website

The Alberta government has reversed its position and will cover a jump in teachers' salaries this fall, Education Minister Dave Hancock announced.

"In light of the better-than-expected year-end results for the past fiscal year, government has determined that it is prudent to provide funding for the 2.92 per cent increase in this year," Hancock said in a statement posted on his website Wednesday.

How do you rate education in Calgary?

Click here to have your opinion heard!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Queensland Downs - Big Farewell

More than 30 years after opening its doors, Queensland Downs School has shut its doors. On Friday the Community Carnival celebrating all that the school has meant to so many was a huge success. Please click here to read the full story.

The Haultain community wishes QLD all the best for the summer and is looking forward to September's school year with our 'new' neighbours.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Active play eludes kids in summer: survey

Summer vacation may offer a break from the books but only one-third of Canadian children will likely spend their free time being physically active, a new report suggests.

When the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario surveyed 500 parents of children aged six to 12 in the Greater Toronto Area, they found most choose summer programs by cost and availability, not physical activity.

Read the full story here.