Thursday, April 29, 2010

2010 Young Writer's Conference

Another guest post, this one from Ramona:

On Saturday, April 17th, a group of Haultain students and parent/teacher volunteers led by Mrs. Kerr recently enjoyed another successful Calgary Young Writer’s Conference.

The keynote speaker, Michael Kusugak, entertained everyone with his unique glimpse into the traditional Inuit lifestyle that is all but forgotten – living with no permanent home in igloo and tent, moving nomadically with sled dogs, stopping for lunch when they became too tangled to go on, and, at the end of a day’s journey, with no modern conveniences – no TV’s, IPods, computers, or even telephones, relishing in anticipation of a grandparent’s stories passed down to new generations. Mr. Kusugak was captivating, humorous and warm. His telling of the story behind Baseball Bats for Christmas, where he explained his and his peoples’ puzzlement over the purpose of 6 Christmas trees flown in by a priest to their remote village was enchanting. With no explanation, the Inuit children discovered that, of course, the trees were brought as Christmas presents! They were baseball bats in waiting!

We set off for two sessions each with a break for lunch. I enjoyed the session with Carol McTavish and Linden Wentzloff of Canmore who shared the joys and headaches of writing, illustration and self-publishing.

After lunch, Marty Chan, playwright, humorist and novelist, led us through a hilarious session of creative, easy to remember tricks to start the writing process. He shared humorous anecdotes of his experiences growing up in Morinville, Alberta as the only non-white family and the ways (sometimes painful like taping his eyelids up) that he attempted to fit in. Everyone could relate to his horrible experience of shopping with his mother, begging for jeans but being forced to try on lime green cords at a store. It only got worse when the girl he had a crush on literally caught him with his pants down!

After sharing many other memories, we were asked to hide a lie about ourselves among 3 truths and use an idea as a jumping off point for a story. The session flew by and we were all disappointed to see it end.

Thank you Haultain Memorial Parent Association for giving me this opportunity. I know all students enjoyed at least one of their sessions immensely. Many couldn’t wait to see what might be in store for next year!

Ramona Lind

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blogging the Tea

From guest contributor Tammy C.:

I just wanted to say a hearty thank you to all the contributors that participated in the volunteer tea this morning. The cupcakes were delicious, the servers were attentive, the entertainment was unsurpassed, and the recognition is always appreciated. Thank you for a lovely morning tea.

Report card on Canadians' health sounds alarm over obese children

The term baby fat appears to be taking on a whole new meaning.

A comprehensive report card released Tuesday from advocacy group Active Healthy Kids Canada says that children as young a year old are becoming "dangerously physically inactive," with less than half of children under five getting the recommended two hours of physical activity a day.

The result, says the report, is that 15 per cent of two to five-year-olds are now classified as overweight, and six per cent are obese — with heavy children four times more likely to be overweight in adulthood.

Read more here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

'No homework' lauded


If there’s a lesson here, it’s that parents still know best.

Indeed, thanks to their parents’ refusal to allow traditional homework in their house, 12-year-old Spencer and his 11-year-old sister may be better prepared for the next grade than many of their peers.

Of course, that meant doing what parents should be doing, by taking a direct interest in their children’s success.

Click here to read the full story.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Congratulations, Ramona!

Ramona Lind is the winner of the 2010 Haultain Parent Association Photo Contest. Please click the thumbnail to view her entry large - it's worth seeing.

Thank you again to everyone who entered - you all put in fantastic work, and it was tough work determining a winner.

The Haultain Parent Association hopes you enjoy your new iPod Touch - and that you'll supply our blog with more great shots!

April's Key Communiqué

Click here to read April's Key Communiqué, provided by Katie Young, the CBE's Communications Advisor.

Deal for 10 new schools inked

The Alberta government has signed a deal worth $253 million to build 10 new schools in Calgary and Edmonton in co-operation with the private sector.

B2L Partnership won the contract, submitting the lowest-cost bid for the project, the province said in a release Thursday.

Read the full story here.

Judgement Day!

That's right! Today is the day that the winner of the 2010 Haultain Memorial "Family" Photography Contest is named. The day that the Haultain Parent Association hands over a hard-won 8 Gigabyte Apple iPod to the finalist.

We've received an impressive amount of photography - all well shot, all well considered. The judging was an enjoyable endeavour. Thank you to everyone who participated - without your help and pictures, we couldn't have held this contest.

It took a trio of judges a very long time to agree on the eventual winner - after much deliberation and debate, however, a winner was chosen.

Want to know who it was? You'll have to come back to the blog at 4 p.m. today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alberta schools fail to act on special-needs review

Parents express frustration over delays
By Sarah McGinnis, Calgary Herald

Almost two years since the province launched a sweeping review of special education programs, Alberta schools have seen no discernible changes in the classroom.

And with funding for supports still frozen, none appear to be forthcoming before the start of fall classes.

Education Minister Dave Hancock has said he is moving to create a more "inclusive" education system for all children.

Click here for the full story.

CBE cites fiscal 'challenges' as bus fees raised

(From the Calgary Herald)

The price tag for riding the school bus is about to get a little steeper, as the Calgary Board of Education has agreed to raise transportation fees for the coming school year.

Elementary and junior high school students will see a $35 increase in their transportation fees starting this fall, bringing the annual cost to $200.

The cap for families with several kindergarten to Grade 9 students riding the bus will go up by $70 to $400 per household.

The changes are an attempt to generate $6.32 million to help offset the costs of running the busing program -- including covering an anticipated $1.4-million shortfall if fees weren't changed.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



Not that I'm counting or anything but our little blog, about our little school is just about to turn over the hits counter to a big number!!

Nick's idea about reaching out to parents in yet another way has blossomed with regular readership, interesting articles, pertinent reminders, a convenient calendar and a general presence for our PA. Thanks Nick for all your hard work with this.

Thank you too, dear reader, for making this blog (only 15 months old) a success.

Keep reading - keep commenting!

Alberta school boards suffer $33M hit to savings, says auditor's report

(From the Calgary Herald)

After years of recording increasing surpluses, Alberta school boards have experienced a $33-million hit to their savings, according to the latest auditor general's report.

While Alberta Education has asked school jurisdictions to raid their savings to help make ends meet for the near future, school districts have faced funding clawbacks, frozen education grants, and rising costs in the eight months since the latest financial figures were recorded.

And many are saying their piggy banks will soon run dry.

"It's very bleak," said Heather Welwood, president of the Alberta School Boards Association. "From descriptions that school boards are giving, their reserves are rapidly depleting."

Read more here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19th PD Day

You’d think with the great weather, Monday’s PD Day would be at a patio, or park, or lakeside retreat, but minds were aglow in the sunny confines of the library and the fragrant accommodations of room 11 on April 19th.

Teachers explored concepts of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), personalisation, and Understanding by Design, through the subject area of mathematics. Reviewing concepts of open, parallel, and tiered questioning, teachers continued to explore instructional strategies, designed to personalise learning for all students. Using the premise of “what is needed for the few has the potential to benefit the all,” (author unknown but now attributed to Barkley, T., 2010), teachers examined ways to plan for multiple abilities, learning styles, and interests within common, everyday learning experiences.

This work was then supplemented with a refresher session on use of our SMART Board, as one of many tools to facilitate personalisation and UDL. Like many “tools” (i.e. cell phones, GPS units, the human brain, etc.), technology hides many untapped potentials. This “refresher” exposed teachers to some of the hidden potentials of the SMART Board, in support “benefitting the all.”

With a mere 10 weeks of school left, thoughts are on the “potential” remaining in the school year. Many of the learning activities (and specifically math problems) will look markedly different from what we are used to as learners, so do not be too concerned if your child comes home with an open, parallel, or tiered question to which you may not know the answer. A SMART (and smart) approach to the learning will promote learning that students will use for a lifetime.

Boys not learning language skills in school: Author

Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service Published: Sunday, April 18, 2010

Boys lag behind girls and emerge from school ill-prepared for a world that demands stronger language skills than ever before, according to a new book, and their careers and even their relationship prospects are suffering as a result.

In Why Boys Fail: Saving our Sons from an Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind, former USA Today writer Richard Whitmire argues that the gaps between boys and girls are only widening, but there's resistance to acknowledging and fixing the problem.

Read more here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fabulous Advert Promoting Driving Safety

Keeping safety decisions within the grasp of the whole family...

Embrace Life - Always wear your seatbelt from Neil Hopkins on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Guest Post - Some Education Humour

Roxane sent this in and thought it was something everyone might enjoy, I wonder if Mr. Barkley has a collection like this.

These are apparently real notes written by parents in the Memphis school district.
Spellings have been left intact.
  • 1. My son is under a doctor's care and should not take PE today Please execute him.
  • 2. Please exkuce lisa for being absent she was sick and i had her shot.
  • 3. Dear school: please ecsc's john being absent on jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and also 33.
  • 4. Please excuse gloria from jim today. She is administrating.
  • 5. Please excuse roland from p.e. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.
  • 6. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.
  • 7. Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part.
  • 8. Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.
  • 9. Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side.
  • 10. Please excuse ray friday from school. He has very loose vowels.
  • 11. Please excuse Lesli from being absent yesterday. She had the shits.
  • 12. Please excuse tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea, and his boots leak.
  • 13. Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.
  • 14. Please excuse jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.
  • 15. I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because i don't know what size she wear.
  • 16. Please excuse jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it monday. We thought it was sunday.
  • 17. Sally won't be in school a week from friday. We have to attend her funeral.
  • 18. My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the marines.
  • 19. Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.
  • 20. Please excuse mary for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.
  • 21. Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover.
  • 22. Please excuse brenda. She has been sick and under the doctor
  • 23. Maryann was absent december 11-16, because she had a fever, sorethroat, headacheand upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever an sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever.. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night

Full Day Kindergarten

A long and hotly debated issue has been put to bed in Ontario. They are adopting province wide full day Kindergarten. They released the curriculum yesterday on their web site. This article outlines a few of the high points.
It’s not like a little Grade 1 with tests and it’s not just duplicating what they did in half-day kindergarten; it’s a true blend of the best of kindergarten and the elements of early learning,” said Michelle Despault, spokeswoman for Ontario’s education ministry.
If you are interested in providing full day Kindergarten for your child you can read about the CBE's policy here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Calgary police issue warning as sex offender released from jail

By Stephane Massinon, Calgary Herald

Police are warning the public about the release of a high-risk sex offender who has been released from jail.

Matthew Ralf Harks, 27, was released after serving his three-year sentence for a sexual assault.

"The public is warned that Harks is an individual who has criminal convictions for offences against young female children. Harks did not know his victims and has used manipulation to gain access to children," said police in a statement.

Read more here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coco Brook Fundraiser

The Spring Fund Raiser went off without a hitch thanks to the efforts of Kristie and Monika and the rest of the volunteers - thank you.

$1547.00 was raised!

The latest micro-survey is about Coco Brooks, please take the time to let us know how you felt about it by filling out the few multiple choice questions. If you want to say more there is room for comments at the bottom. Please click here to answer the survey - don't forget to click on 'submit' at the bottom of the page when you are done.

Thanks again everyone who helped with this fund raiser!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spanking leads to aggressive behaviours in children

(Thought this article from the website might be of some interest!)

Punishing your toddler with a few swats on the rear may come back to bite you, a new report suggests.

According to the study, kids who were spanked often were twice as likely as those who weren't spanked to develop aggressive behaviours such as getting into fights, destroying things or being mean to others.

Click here to read more.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wednesday's Meeting

I thought a bit about posting a response to the various comments (those that were published on the blog and those that weren't) regarding our last meeting. There is a risk of continuing an issue that has already been put to bed. But I think there is value in defending Council members who may feel they have been unfairly criticized, and some points I'd like to clear up. So here goes...

Firstly (and most importantly), if there was anyone at the last meeting who felt that they were not taken seriously or that they were slighted, I personally apologize. I try to run the meetings with a sense of camaraderie and togetherness that may not fit into a stringent 'Robert's Rules' type of meeting because I think it attracts more people. That is our overall goal - more parental engagement. Sometimes the price of that informality can be hurt feelings, again I'm sorry - I take responsibility and I will try harder in the future to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Secondly, after careful consideration with the other blog authors, we've decided it would be best to moderate any critical comments that are submitted by 'anonymous' or 'x'. Putting your first name on any comment (critical or not) will ensure its publication. The entire Council shares our full

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Contest Update

For those of you at the meeting last night who expressed your displeasure at the decision to extend the photo contest, please realize it was based on a relatively low entry count and the desire to get more parents and families involved.

If anyone has questions on how the Association is run, or suggestions on how to improve it please feel free to get involved - by commenting on this blog site, emailing the Association, or coming to the monthly meetings.

Please remember that everyone on the Association is working in a volunteer capacity - and that it's always a challenge to meet everyone's needs in the most effective manner - your Association works extremely hard on your behalf to maintain a high level of quality at your school, for your children.

Your input and opinions are valued and appreciated - as are your photographs. Keep them coming!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


As requested by many of the blog followers, the Association has decided to extend the iPod Touch "Haultain Families" photography contest for another two weeks. Based on the amazing entries received so far, the HMPA is looking forward to seeing a few more.

The final announcement of the winner will be on April 23rd - so get your finger on the shutter, and send your entries in.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Last Chance!

Judging for the Association's 'Win an iPod' photo contest takes place on Tuesday evening - if you want to be in the running to win an Apple iPod Touch (8 Gig) this is the last call for submissions.

Get them in as soon as you can!

The winner will be announced at the Council/Association meeting on Wednesday.