Friday, February 26, 2010

Black armbands a charter right: B.C. teachers

(From the CBC website)

Some B.C. teachers say their charter right to free speech was denied when officials ordered them to take off black armbands they wore to protest mandatory testing.

The president of the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers Federation, David Komljenovic, said four teachers wore black armbands to school in the southern Interior community in a quiet protest last year, until school administrators told them to take them off.

Read the full article here.

Talking with Kids about Tough Issues

(An article of interest from

Why is it important to talk with your kids about what they see on the news? As adults, we depend on “The News” as our primary source for information about the world we live in. Whether it’s the local newspaper, nightly TV newscasts, cable news networks, news radio, or Web sites, graphic footage and accounts of the latest happenings in the world are being delivered right into our homes 24 hours a day. This constant barrage can be overwhelming for adults, but it can be especially confusing and frightening for young children.

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who are the 'Gen XD' kids?

(An article of interest, found on the network.)
By Alexander Clare, Reuters

They've never known a world without the Internet, but they still prefer to meet their friends offline.

A new survey of eight- to 14-year-old Europeans by U.S. entertainment, film and theme park company Walt Disney Co. showed that today's children are web-savvy, video-game-playing environmentalists who love their parents.

Olympic Assembly

Another guest post! This one about the assembly yesterday, thanks Tammy:

"Today [yesterday] I had the pleasure to attend an Olympic assembly. Not only was it clear that the students have been learning a great deal about Canada’s athletes and the 2010 Olympic games; it was also apparent that our school has tremendous pride in Canada and our athletes.

In a sea of red, among huge smiles, parents were regaled with class projects, slide shows, poetry, songs, drama, jeopardy and riddles (thanks Andrew). The children were jubilant and charming. I especially enjoyed the grade 6 display of “What it Means to be a Canadian.” There were some very powerful pieces. Thank you for a lovely showcase of your work. Congratulations Haultain on another entertaining presentation."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CAPSC Meeting Tonight

Below is some information about the CAPSC meeting tonight, I can't make it but it looks very interesting. If anyone can make this meeting and report about it to the Council next week it would be very appreciated. Its at AE Cross School from 7pm - 9pm.
We are very excited to be hosting Dr. Stephen Murgatroyd as our keynote speaker at tomorrow night’s meeting. Dr. Murgatroyd is an educational policy consultant who – with more than 30 years researching and writing about education, assessment, and school administration – will shed light on the upcoming changes to the School Act, recent changes to math / science diploma exams, and shifts we might expect to see in our education system over the coming years. Dr. Murgatroyd currently consults for both the Alberta Teachers’ Association as well as the Alberta Government (Premier’s Economic Council), so has first-hand and very in-depth knowledge of the strengths and challenges of education in our province. We expect Dr. Murgatroyd’s presentation to be an excellent follow-up to the Minister’s presentation and Q&A last month, as Dr. Murgatroyd will be able to provide an inside look at the issues, limitations, and options facing Minister Hancock.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Demise of the Dangerous Dog?

(Speaking of healthy lunches - it looks like the venerable hot dog no longer belongs in that category!)

Pediatricians in the United States are calling for hotdogs and other foods to be redesigned to reduce the risk of children choking on them.

In a new policy statement published in its journal Pediatrics on Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics says hotdogs are the food most commonly linked with choking deaths among children.

Click here to read the full story.

Check out our new lunch recipe page

Click here to check out our new page, or use the link to the right. This is a page for parents to share great lunch recipes for kids. Your suggestions will help others when it's time to get some lunches made! Send your lunch recipe ideas to the 'contact council' link on the right (or click here), and we'll post them up on the new page for all to enjoy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Students celebrate philanthropic ventures at event

Message of hope resonates with young Calgarians
By Sarah McGinnis, Calgary Herald

Philanthropy is increasingly taking centre stage at many Calgary schools thanks to a focus on teaching youth citizenship skills in class.

And today's youth are demonstrating through innovative fundraising efforts and advocacy initiatives they're not willing to be leaders of tomorrow -- they want to be world leaders today.

More than 550 students from 38 schools across the city recently gathered at John G. Diefenbaker High School in the city's northwest for Calgary's second My World conference.

Read more.

School bigger than planned

(An article of interest from the Calgary Herald.)

With construction tenders coming in $12 million under budget, the Calgary Board of Education can now expand plans for West High School and make way for 1,800 students instead of 1,500. The school is slated to replace Ernest Manning High School, which is being moved to make way for the west leg of the LRT.

The budget for the new school, which is being split evenly between the City of Calgary and the province, is $60 million. The school is set to open in January 2011 and will be located at 20 Springborough Blvd. S.W., near 69th Street.

Read more.

Tips to improve focus in class

Here are five simple classroom techniques from Oxford Learning to help children stay focused on the task at hand. Parents should be sure to share these strategies with their child's teacher. Teachers are generally receptive to any tips that help distracted children pay attention in the classroom.

Click here for the full story.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breakfast Clubs of Canada

Walmart has started a campaign today to help raise funds for the Breakfast Clubs of Canada. This group has helped millions of kids start the day off right with a healthy breakfast. The basic premise - you can't learn on an empty stomach.

In Calgary alone, up to 1000 kids go to school hungry each day. Breakfast Clubs of Canada helps schools and other groups with funding, organization, and nutritional guidance to support efforts to get kids to school on full stomachs. From their Facebook Page:
"Good nutrition is vital to the health of children and yet, many of them go to school on an empty stomach. Studies show that undernourished children do not concentrate as well as their peers and have higher levels of absenteeism from school and lower self-esteem.

School breakfast programs help to level the playing field for these children, giving them an equal chance to grow and flourish throughout life."
Walmart is just one of the heavy-hitting supporter of this worthy cause, click here to learn more about the organization and their efforts.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Province ups support for parents

Alberta parents in need of a little advice will soon have more options available.

Just in time for the Family Day weekend the province Friday announced a $1 million expansion of its Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), which provides resources and guidance for families who need a helping hand.

Yvonne Fritz, minister of children and youth services, said even the most experienced parent needs advice and having a village raise a child will pay dividends in the end.

“Every parent has questions, from time to time, when raising their children,” she said.

Click here to read the full story on the Calgary Sun website.

Students can soon 'Tweet' in class

Starting this fall, students at Calgary public schools will be able to surf their iPhones, cell phones and laptops in the classroom.

The Calgary Board of Education is installing a WiFi network for students in all of its elementary, junior and senior high schools.

Schools currently only have access to wireless internet.

Click here for the full story.

Parents, stop micro-managing your kids

By Lisa Kadane, Calgary Herald

Inside every mom and dad there lurks a hyper parent. A father who praises his child for every action no matter how mundane -- from washing his hands before dinner to eating his broccoli -- to help build self-esteem. A mom who enrols her baby daughter in gymnastics, schedules play dates for her toddler, and shuttles her preschooler from private junior kindergarten to ballet to piano, to give her the "best start" in life.

Read more.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Police charge teen with vandalism for graffiti across south Calgary

By Chuck Chiang, Calgary Herald

CALGARY - Police have charged a 16-year-old boy with 25 counts of graffiti-related vandalism offences, officials said this morning.

Police say the boy was likely responsible for a number of spray-paintings in the southeast communities of Queensland and Deer Run, as well as the southwest neighbourhood of Canyon Meadows, since last fall.

Last week, officers searched a Deer Run home and found spray paint and sketchbooks depicting images that matched those found at the vandalized locations.

Read more.

Positive discipline helps children learn to control their impulses

All too often the word discipline goes hand in hand with the concept of punishment.

"So the idea of positive discipline might seem odd to some people," says clinical psychologist Joan Durrant. But in her lexicon discipline means teaching, and it's based on building blocks that help children succeed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

City school boards split on spending hike


Calgary’s two school boards are split on their reactions to the provincial education budget that will see a $250-million increase in spending across Alberta this year.

While the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) is calling it a status quo budget, the Calgary Catholic School District says the spending is a disappointment.

The overall provincial education spending is increasing about 5% but most of that cash is already allotted for this school year.

Click here to read the full story.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hands for Haiti

Guest Post: Tammy C. wrote in the following:
I was wowed and proud at the generosity of Haultain families, students, and staff. $1400.00 was raised for Haiti during Ms. Ruperts' Hands for Haiti project - far exceeding the goal of $500.00. As Mr. Barkley pointed out during an assembly today, with a representative from the Red Cross, that with only 140 students attending Haultain this was a tremendous outpouring of charity.

Ms. Ruperts is new to our school this year and if this is a taste of what lies ahead with her participation, Haultain if very lucky to have her. Welcome Ms. Rupert and thank you for your well-conceived plan.
Thanks for your post, Tammy. If anyone else wants to publish a post to the blog they are welcome to send in contributions of anything they may think would interest the readership.

February Key Communiqué

Alberta Government Announces 2010 Budget:
What Does it Mean for the CBE?

The Alberta Government announced its 2010 budget today, February 9. While the reductions many were anticipating for Education this year are not a reality, there are still some potential budget implications for the Calgary Board of Education.

The government has said there will be no reductions to the overall budget provided to school boards this year. However, recent wage increases granted to teachers and staff will have an impact on how the CBE is able to allocate its budget dollars.

Haultain Science Fair

As promised...

Here is a link to more pictures from the science fair.

Photos from the Science Fair!

A great display by all the kids - Shane's got more photos to come.
Kudos to all the students who put in so much hard work!

Kids tooth decay drains medical system: expert

(Article of interest from the CBC website.)

A University of Calgary health care economist says treating tooth decay in children under the age of five is becoming a significant drain on the medical system.

The latest statistics show the most common procedure in the operating room at the Children's Hospital is the extraction of children's teeth under general anesthetic.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Haultain Science Fair

The 2009/2010 Haultain Science Fair was a great success. All the projects were set up in the gym and their producers/authors were stationed at each one to explain further and answer questions. From live fish to plants with lights, mazes, and hydroponics to detergents, magnets, and sodium chloride Haultain students showcased their scientific imaginations! Staff, parents, and students were amazed by the efforts of all participants. The winners will be announced later - stay tuned for that announcement and some pictures from the Fair.

Did you know:
  • at Haultain, science fair participation is completely voluntary.
  • all participants have to work on their projects outside of regular class time.
  • all the teachers involved support the science fair on their own time.
  • students come up with their own ideas
  • they must follow the scientific method with very little parental 'interference'
  • the history of the science fair dates back to 1921
  • judging is going to be incredibly tough...

Calgary looking at all-boys schools

(An article of interest from the CBC website)

Calgary's school boards are considering setting up all-boys schools, with one board researching the idea and another holding meetings to gauge public interest.

Over the years the pendulum of education techniques has swung towards teaching girls, said Lynn Bosetti, an education professor at the University of Calgary, who helped set up an all-girls charter school. Charter schools are privately run but publicly funded.

Some parents are worried about their sons, Bosetti said.

Read the full story here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Key Communiqué

(From Katie Young, CBE's Communications Advisor)

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

Please plan to attend our next System Information Session with the Board of Trustees. In this meeting you will have the opportunity to connect directly with the Board as a whole and with your school Trustee. For more information on the CBE Board of Trustees, visit
their website. Here are the details for the meeting:

When: March 10, 2010

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Location: Western Canada High School (641 - 17 Avenue S.W.) Free parking is in the lot off of 5A street

Topics: CBE Budget, 2010 Election and School Act Changes
If you have any questions you would like the Trustees to address in the meeting, please
email them to me.

Subscription Services

We've been trying to find ways to promote the blog and increase awareness for parents. We try to post a few articles every day but some days there are more (or fewer) than others. A number of followers of the blog have shown an interest in getting email updates whenever there are new posts.

This has proven to be a little tougher than you would think. In the interest of protecting email accounts from spam we have been very reticent to start third-party lists or use some other common tools of notification.

We may now have the perfect tool. 'Feedburner' is a Google run application that among other things allows us to create a subscription service. You may have already noticed a new box on the right hand side of the front page where you can enter your email to obtain a subscription.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Arbitrator gives teachers 5.99% pay raise

Alberta's 43,000 teachers are getting an 5.99 per cent salary raise following a decision by an independent arbitrator released Wednesday.

The decision settles a dispute between the province and the Alberta Teachers Association over the Alberta Average Weekly Average Earnings index used to calculate pay raises under the teachers' five-year contract.

"Both the ATA and the government agreed to the arbitration and the result was a fair process determined by a neutral party so we're very pleased," said ATA president Carol Henderson. "What it mostly did was resolve the uncertainty surrounding teacher salary increases for 2009/2010."

Click here for the full version.

In the News

CALGARY - The Calgary Board of Education has moved to close a southeast elementary in hopes of preserving two other under-used schools in the community.

Queensland Downs School has 173 students but can accommodate almost twice as many children.

Two other schools in the area, Deer Run and Haultain Memorial, also have excess space -- especially now that McKenzie Towne students have begun attending their own new community school.

Read the full article here.

A $4000.00 Birthday Party for a Child?

Monika's Guest Post

The CBC is airing a special tonight about 'Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids'.
"Are today's well-meaning parents giving their children a leg up in life, or creating problems that will last their child's lifetime?"
Below is a sneak preview on YouTube, and here is an article to accompany the show.

Thanks Monika

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trustees Vote Yes to Recommendation

At a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees tonight the trustees voted unanimously to accept the recommendation by the CBE's Community Engagement and Operational Planning department to close the Queensland Downs School in our neighbourhood. Each of the trustees talked during the debate and gave their reasons for supporting the recommendation. Fiscal responsibility was a common reason cited as was an awareness of the needs of all of Calgary's students. A full synopsis follows after the 'read more'.

The next school year will bring some new challenges and opportunities to Haultain Memorial. Just as we welcomed the Mackenzie Towne students and families into our school, we will do the same with our neighbours. The new kids will be coming from our own community and will fill our halls and secure the future of our school. As one of the Trustees says below, a combined school population represents a broader range of opportunity. More resources will be allocated, more teachers with varying degrees of engagement, more expertise for extra-curricular activity, larger scales of experience and outlook, more volunteers from the community are just a few of the things that will make our school stronger and our children's education more meaningful.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jan. 29 PD Day

So with an empty parking lot on the morning of Friday, January 29, 2010, some parents might have been wondering if the principal finally got his way and took the staff snowmobiling… or to paintball… or if everyone got to sleep in. Instead, staff from HMS, Wilma Hansen, Queensland Downs, Deer Run, and Prince of Wales met at Lord Beaverbrook for a learning day centered on “Connecting the Dots.” The morning was designed to help this “family of schools” establish connections between a number of CBE and Area V initiatives, present this school year. The CBE Three Year Plan, Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) cycle IV, the McKinsey report, Friesen’s “What Did You DO In School Today,” and Richard Elmore’s “Instructional Core,” all “connect” to form the basis of our work with students. Area Director, Jane Rogerson, led teachers through a presentation that helped link each document to our work with students. This allowed teachers in all five schools

Micro Survey 10-01: School Yearbook

We have an opportunity to create a yearbook for the students this year. It will take some volunteer work and would probably need some monetary input from parents. The PA could subsidize part of it depending on the level of interest and how a vote may go - please fill out this survey to let us know if its something worth pursuing. This isn't a vote or a final