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.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Horror(s)!

Members of the "Haultain Horrors" took part in the Hockey Night in Canada/CBC's "Play On" street hockey tournament over the weekend, crushing all comers into oblivion, and winning the "Legends" division title.

Autograph sessions will be arranged upon request.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cameron Herold: Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs

Bored in school, failing classes, at odds with peers: This child might be an entrepreneur, says Cameron Herold. At TEDxEdmonton, he makes the case for parenting and education that helps would-be entrepreneurs flourish -- as kids and as adults.

Click here to watch an interesting video.

A Lesson in Numbers

I had a conversation with Carol Bazinet on Wednesday morning concerning the public school budget for Calgary. As in my chat with Jenny Regal blogged here, we started out by both acknowledging the complexity, confusion, and mis-information surrounding this issue. Trying to boil it down in a few sentences is impossible if a complete understanding is desired. The media's rhetoric, sensationalism, and outright misinformation hasn't helped matters and getting the facts and figures right will definitely help us, as parents, decide the best course of action. Now that the budget has been unanimously accepted, I thought some basic facts might help in the understanding of the impact to public schools and what it might mean to us as parents...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

School bell tolls for teachers

By Shawn Logan, Calgary Sun

Calgary public classrooms will have to make due with at least 192 fewer teachers when the school bell rings in the fall.

Trustees with the Calgary Board of Education signed off on a tough budget for the coming school year Tuesday night that will also see 79 support staff and 6.5 custodial positions axed, even as the board is forced to swallow a $10-million deficit.

While board members unanimously agreed to the balance sheet, they also took aim at the provincial government for not covering arbitrated raises for teachers or increasing the annual education grant, leaving no choice but to dip into the red and trim staff.

Read the full story here.

Public school budget confirms teacher cuts

From the CBC website

Trustees with the Calgary Board of Education have approved an operating budget with a $10 million deficit and job cuts.

The financial plan for 2010-11 confirms the loss of 192 full-time teaching and 85 support positions this fall.

After factoring in retirements and resignations, the jobs of 169 probationary teachers — who are in their first year of the profession — are in limbo. Board chair Pat Cochrane said final numbers won't be clear until closer to September.

The financial crunch comes after a freeze on provincial funding and a negotiated wage raise for teachers.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pill-swallowing method changes Calgary kids' lives

Researchers 'surprised' at study's success
By Tamara Gignac, Calgary Herald

A rare autoimmune disorder requires 10-year-old Alysa Hauck to take more than a dozen kinds of drugs each day.

But for much of her life, her tiny throat simply couldn't choke down the adult-sized pills.

Her parents had no choice but to give Alysa her medication in liquid form. With the solid drugs, they would grind them up and mix them with food two to three times a day.

"A lot of her medications require refrigeration. It makes travelling -- or even a trip to Calaway Park -- really hard," said her father, Dirk Hauck.

Read more here.

Second Last Week!

There are museums waiting to be visited! Sprinklers needing to be run through! Summer Holidays are almost here!

But they're NOT, as was erroneously indicated by our online school calendar below, starting on the 18th of June - the final day of classes is June 25th.

Before then? We have pancake breakfasts - ceremonies, report cards, PAT tests - all the good stuff!

Stay with the blog until the holidays - there are ALWAYS words worth reading here!

(Thanks to the Jewitts for this great photograph from our 'Haultain Families' contest!)

Sir Fartsalot Too Objectionable to Ontario Principal

From the ...hmmmm? column of the newspaper comes a story of a principal in Ontario who halted a reading at her school. Kevin Bolger was doing a whole school reading from one of his popular 'Fartsalot' story books and was a few minutes in when he was halted by principal Shari Brodie.

Here's the whole story: would love to hear your take on this; censorship? too sensitive? responsible?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Yearbook Orders

The 2009/2010 Haultain Yearbook order forms went home this week. If you didn't receive one, you can:
  1. send a cheque and a note into the school via your child's agenda
  2. download and print your own order form and send it in - click here
  3. come into the school and talk to Mrs. Kipp or Mr. Barkley and leave a cheque with them
  4. wait until the very last minute and hope you can still get one
I wouldn't recommend number four!

The yearbook costs $20.00 each and the cheque can be made out to Haultain Memorial School.

The yearbooks are almost finished and are being created by Mr. Barkley and Ramona using photographs and other submissions from staff. They are using templates and software from our school's photographer at LifeTouch, you can browse their website to get an idea of the kind of product we will be getting.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Olympic Visit!

Students and staff were graced with a visit by Olympic gold medal women's hockey star, Carla MacLeod on June 11th. A local Calgarian, Carla treated the audience to stories exemplifying goal setting, perseverance, and personal accomplishment. We also saw a fantastic video, honouring the women's team drive to gold at the 2010 Olympic Games. Carla capped off the visit with a very personal Q & A session (during which she revealed she played Sidney Crosby in ping pong... and allegedly won!) and then let each student see and touch her Olympic gold medal.

We would like to extend a huge Haultain thanks to Carla for sharing her message with us. Her visit was Olympic in measure!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Holidays are Approaching

Another picture from our 'Haultain Families' contest - a little fella, relaxing in the sun - shades of things to come in the next few weeks, with the end of school in sight? Yep.

June's Key Communiqué

Click here to read this month's Key Communiqué - prepared and distributed by Katie Young from the CBE Communications department.

As well, don't forget that there is a council meeting tonight, as well as an Area V meeting. Both start at 6:30 pm. The Council/Association meeting is in the library at Haultain - the Area V meeting is at the Area V Office Haysboro Centre (1123 - 87 Avenue SW).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bad Budgeting or Simply Not Enough Money?

Calgary Public Teachers respond...

Friday morning I had a long chat with Jenny Regal who is the president of Calgary Public Teachers Local 38 of the Alberta Teacher's Association. I found Ms. Regal to be forthcoming, generous with her time and clearly passionate about her representation. Confessing the issue of teacher layoffs and budget allocations is a confusing and contentious issue with many players, she tried to explain some basic facts and steer a course for action that makes sense to parents.

One thing to remember is how hard it is to get straight answers out of the players in this scenario. Alberta Education handed

Monday, June 7, 2010

TV viewing may lead to future decrease in math and social skills

By Peggy Curran, Montreal Gazette

Don't let your babies grow up to be couch potatoes.

A study by researchers at the Universite de Montreal, Hopital Sainte-Justine and the University of Michigan comes to the not-entirely-surprising conclusion that watching too much television is bad for your child's health and brain development.

Click here to read the full story.

Friday, June 4, 2010

McDonald's in Canada recalls 'Shrek' glasses, following massive U.S. recall

By Allison Cross and Mark Iype, Canwest News Service

McDonald's Canada said Friday it was voluntarily recalling its "Shrek"-themed drinking glasses, following a massive recall of the items initiated in the U.S. on Thursday.

Twelve million glasses were recalled in the U.S. after the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned consumers to stop using them after cadmium was discovered in the paint.

"Upon learning of the evolving assessment of standards for cadmium in consumer products in the United States, McDonald's Canada decided in an abundance of caution that a voluntary recall of the Shrek Forever After glassware was the appropriate course of action," the company said in a written statement Friday morning.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

'Road map' could clip school boards' powers

'Superboard approach' boosts community's role
By Sarah McGinnis, Calgary Herald

Elected school boards could see dramatic changes in how they operate as part of an overhaul of Alberta's education system which is about to commence.

Education Minister Dave Hancock unveiled the Inspiring Education report on Wednesday which, he says, will form the "road map" for transformational change in schools.

The document is the work of a 22-person steering committee and calls for those who oversee education -- presumably locally elected school boards -- to be less rules-based and less bureaucratic.

Read the full article here.

Time to Start Thinking About Camp...

Click here for information about YMCA Summer Day Camps!

Teacher layoffs the fault of poor budgeting, minister says


Alberta’s education minister has deflected blame for the Calgary public school board’s decision to eliminate nearly 200 teaching positions.

Though educators have cited insufficient provincial funding to pay salaries, Education Minister Dave Hancock Wednesday said there’s no need for the board to axe jobs.

“I ask the school boards not to cut back on their staff, there’s no reason for a school board to cut back on their staff,” said Hancock.

It’s up to school boards to properly weigh spending priorities, he said, and if they don’t they’ll reap the political consequences.

“They’ll have to face their electors this fall,” he said.

He said school boards with cash reserves should use those to retain staff but added he would work with districts, like the CBE, that have exhausted their surpluses.

Read the full article here.

No aid from Stelmach for cash-strapped Calgary school board

Calgary public system to cut up to 277 jobs
By Jason Fekete, Calgary Herald; with files from the Edmonton Journal

Ed Stelmach speaks at the Shaw Conference Centre on Thursday, May 13, 2010.Photograph by: Brian J. Gavriloff, edmontonjournal.comPremier Ed Stelmach indicated Wednesday the province won't toss a financial lifeline to a cash-strapped Calgary Board of Education that is preparing to eliminate nearly 200 teaching positions this fall due to budget woes.

And as local Tory MLAs defended the premier's decision, opposition parties insisted the government is largely to blame for the board's plight, after the province signed a lucrative five-year salary deal with teachers -- just before the last provincial election -- in an effort to secure labour peace.

Calgary's public school board will tap its entire $19-million reserve fund for the 2010-11 school year, but still be forced to chop 277 full-time jobs, including 192 teaching positions, to fund its $1-billion operating budget.

Read the full story here

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

CBE Job Cuts - thoughts...

Job cuts in CBE notes and thoughts:

- Alberta's education minister Dave Hancock addressed the ATA on May 26, 2010. You can read the transcript of his speech here. During the address Mr. Hancock skirted a fine line; assuring the teachers that they are respected and valuable professionals while concurrently suggesting they are an overpaid burden on the budget.

- An important note he made also points out that Alberta Education has and continues to encourage boards in the province to run a deficit and not to lay off teachers.

- He makes reference to the sustainability fund and the province's policies surrounding its use and encourages the boards to model their accounting practices around that. Obviously not all school boards have reserves in the billions of dollars so a deficit will be long term for them regardless. The CBE had 19 million dollars in 'savings' and say they are using it for this budget to help reduce the swelling numbers of layoffs.

- The bottom line here is that Alberta Education has actually given more money to the CBE than it did last year. The budget the CBE created calls for the job cuts (some of which will come through natural attrition - I can't find out how many).

- Maybe we need to focus on encouraging our Trustees to spend more in deficit and ensure a continued quality in the classroom now instead of creating a less than ideal environment in hopes of getting better funding next year.

- It is easy to get caught up in blaming the government for budget problems but the decisions for deficit spending, funding allocations, and ultimately teacher lay-offs is in the hands of our board - not Alberta Education.

These are just some personal thoughts on this very complicated matter. As parents we really only care about one thing - a good education and school environment for our kids. To most of us that means a reasonable class size with a professional and caring teacher. Don't mess with that and we'll all be happy.

You have been encouraged to reach out to your MLA, Alberta Education, and the Premiere. I've included links to all three here. Please use them to let your thoughts be known. I've added our Trustee as well - tell all of these people what you think and what you want, ask them questions, they are here to answer to you.

Heather Forsyth MLA -
Honourable Dave Hancock -
Premiere Ed Stelmach
Carol Bazinet (Trustee) -

Teachers call on parents to start lobbying as Calgary school board widens job cuts

By Sarah McGinnis, Calgary Herald

Calgary teachers say parents must lobby the Stelmach government on behalf of their children after a funding freeze and mounting costs prompted the Calgary Board of Education on Tuesday to propose cutting 277 full-time jobs, including 192 teaching positions.

Calgary's public school board plans to use every penny of its $19-million savings to help cover its $1.045-billion operating budget for the 2010-11 school year.

Read the full story here.

Alberta gets keys to 18 new schools

The province is boasting about 18 new schools in Calgary and Edmonton that were completed a month ahead of schedule under a public-private partnership.

Ray Danyluk, Alberta's minister of infrastructure, handed over the keys to the Royal Oak School in northwest Calgary to Pat Cochrane, head of the board of trustees of the Calgary Board of Education during a photo-op on Tuesday.

A public-private partnership, known as a P3, means the maintenance and repairs of the new schools is the responsibility of the private sector. School boards retain ownership of the buildings and don't have to pay leasing fees.

Read more here.

Calgary schools to cut 192 teaching spots

From the CBC website

Calgary public schools are facing the loss of 192 full-time teaching and 85 support positions this fall.

The Calgary Board of Education confirmed those numbers on Tuesday in unveiling its proposed operating budget, which lays out a $10 million deficit.

The debt will arise even though the board is cleaning out its reserve fund of $19.1 million to help cover the $1 billion operating budget for 2010-11.

The budget will include the job cuts, reduction of some class sizes and a small increases in certain fees.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Homework hell

Why is it the closer to the end of the school year, the more homework our kids have?

Homework hell will soon be over - at least for a few months.

“I can’t wait! My 12-year-old daughter has been overloaded with mindless busy work that punishes the entire family,” says frustrated mom of two Joan Johnson. “School should not be running our home life. The tension and conflict is unbearable at times.”

Homework overload sucks the joy out of childhood, say parents and one homework critic. Kids should be kids - exploring, imagining, creating, vegging, reading - after school hours. Instead they’re under pressure, and so too parents.

Click here to read the full article.

Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans

On Wednesday, June 2, Education Minister Dave Hancock will be joined by members of the Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans Steering Committee to release the committee’s report and discuss future direction in education. Albertans will have an opportunity to watch the news conference by logging on to

The news conference starts at 1 p.m. and participants will need to register ahead of time in order to determine interest.