Wednesday, December 21, 2011

School board sidelines plan to silence public at meetings

(From the CBC website)

Calgary’s public school trustees voted on Tuesday night to put off a proposal that would have stopped members of the public from making presentations at board meetings.

The motion — drawn up by trustees Joy Bowen-Eyre, Pamela King and board chair Pat Cochrane — also sought to restrict questions from trustees at meetings.

Proponents of the procedural reform said it was aimed at making the Calgary Board of Education meetings more efficient.

But some trustees argued citizen input is vital to a publically-elected school board.

After debating the proposal – along with several amendments to it -- the board voted unanimously just before midnight to ask its proponents to consult with the public and re-submit it in February.

Larry Leach, an advocate with the Association for Responsive Trusteeship in Calgary Schools, praised the decision to rethink the changes.

“I think they're further ahead in the sense that they have listened to the public. I think indeed taking away a form of public engagement without replacing it was not the best move,” he said.

Visit CBC to view the article as published here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From Larry Leach, Chair of ARTICS

(This was sent to Shane this morning, as ARTICS' response to the CBE Trustee's announcement to alter how the public can interact with the board.)

Please excuse this unsolicited contact. But the members of ARTICS (the Association for Responsive Trusteeship in Calgary Schools) feel strongly about the right to have a voice in the public education system, a value that we think you might share. 

We learned yesterday that CBE Trustees Cochrane, King and Bowen-Eyre are proposing updated board procedures that aim to silence parents by eliminating the opportunity to ask questions or address the Board as a whole. In essence, if you have a dissenting voice, the CBE Board of Trustees does not appear to want to hear from you. Instead, the CBE would rather dictate the agenda and parameters of the discussion, as opposed to allowing the public to bring issues forward as they see fit. You can find out more on our blog at:
Please join the public board meeting of the CBE Board of Trustees today (Dec 20) at 5:00pm (until 5:45) to hear possibly the last ever public questions and stakeholder reports. The address of the Education Centre is 1221 - 8 Street SW. Let's not let them sneak this through at Christmastime. Whether or not you are able to attend, please write or phone your trustee, to share your thoughts about this attempt to silence the public. 

Larry Leach

Trustee contact information:
Wards 1 & 2: Joy Bowen-Eyre, 403-294-8121,
Wards 3 & 4: Lynn Ferguson, 403-294-8263,
Wards 5 & 10: Pamela King, 403-294-8261,
Wards 6 & 7: George Lane, 403-294-8265,
Wards 8 & 9: Pat Cochrane, 403-294-8123,
Wards 11 & 13: Sheila Taylor, 403-294-8120,
Wards 12 & 14: Carol Bazinet, 403-294-8241,

(Our trustee is Carol Bazinet)

Calgary Board of Education considers changes to limit public input at meetings

(From the Calgary Herald website)

The city’s public school board is considering sweeping changes to its meeting procedures that would abolish public input, eliminate individual trustee questions and maintain sole authority to broadcast proceedings.

The working group report prepared by a trio of trustees — chairwoman Pat Cochrane and representatives Pamela King and Joy Bowen-Eyre — says the aim is to make Calgary Board of Education meetings “more effective and efficient.”

None of the report’s authors responded to a Herald request on Monday for an interview.

Read more here.

(Weren't they asking for MORE public input not too long ago?? - N)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Don't forget!

Haultain's Christmas Concert takes place on Wednesday evening, at 7pm in the gymnasium - hope to see everyone there!

Alberta school boards' cash goes to teachers

$65 million to hire more than 600 teachers
The Canadian Press

Redford restores $107M in education funding

More than half of the $107 million returned to education funding by the Alberta government has gone to hiring teachers.

The government says school boards spent $65 million to hire more than 600 teachers.

Another $23 million was spent on almost 400 additional teachers' aides.

The rest went toward classroom materials, professional development, technology and equipment.

Within days of becoming premier in October, Alison Redford returned the money that had been cut from the education budget.

Read the full story here.

Parents advocate Wi-Fi ban despite evidence

By Linda Nguyen, Postmedia News

Although wireless Internet can be found everywhere from your corner coffee shop to your local dog park, a growing group of concerned parents across the country are urging health officials to keep it out of one place: schools.

And if this year was any indication, the chorus of opposition to the popular technology and its potential health effects is gaining momentum.

In September, at least 12 elementary and middle schools in Ontario and B.C. imposed sweeping bans on wireless Internet by not installing it or removing it completely from their classrooms. In May, the World Health Organization reclassified the radio frequency (RF) energy emitted through wireless devices such as cellphones and Wi-Fi connections as possibly carcinogenic.

Health Canada maintains that strong scientific evidence shows current exposure rates to these low-level frequencies is “not dangerous” and that there is no need for the public to take any precautions.

Intrigued? Disturbed? Read on here!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Temper Tantrums: The Science

"To conduct their study, researchers equipped toddlers with wireless microphones sewn into their clothing and – over time – recorded more than a hundred tantrums." - sounds like a lot fun...?

Roxane B. sent this in.  If your child indulges in temper tantrums, this may make for an interesting read. In case your kids are a little older and you've forgotten the pleasures of a great meltdown, I've included a video of this poor child who just wants to sit at the corner of the table, unfortunately the table is round.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"I'm Bored" - Need Some Ammo? Read On.

Roxane B. sent this story in for the blog.  An article about what to do with the kids over the break.  On the cheap.  From crafts to kitchen work, some great ideas here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thank you, Cheryl!

It was mentioned by Mrs. Brewis at tonight's meeting that the class field trip to The Ukranian Orthodox Cultural Centre was a hit. The Association gladly provided funding for transportation, and was pleased to hear that the trip was a success. Here's Cheryl's account of the event:

"The students in Rooms 1 and 2, Mrs. Brewis and Ms. Karlson’s classes, went to St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cultural Centre on Tuesday December 6th for the morning. They first went into the church where Father Timothy gave them background information on what all the icons meant and the meanings behind all the colors. The students asked some great questions and were very keen to learn all the meanings. After this we split up into three groups and moved on to different stations within the building.

One station was in the church itself where the students were able to take photos of the picturesque church. After each student had an opportunity to take photos they were encourage to sketch in their visual journals. I know my small group really enjoyed the sketching portion of their visit.

Another station was in a small meeting room where the students were able to sit and watch a video about a family and what their life was like when they first immigrated to Canada, living in the Alberta Prairie’s. The students were to watch the film and think of what their life was like compared to how the family in the film lived. They were surprised to learn that the children in the movie did a lot of the work.

The final station was in a small museum area in the building where the students could see old artifacts. A few students were chosen to act out a scene one may have seen in the Ukraine as a mother gives her 17 year old son a ticket to travel to Canada. This brought the museum to life as they were no longer just artifacts but real people. The students were also quickly shown how to make fabric from a sheep’s wool, there were many steps involved in making a simple piece of fabric. I know seeing this sure made me appreciate the “Walmarts” we have today!"

Thank you, Cheryl!

CPR Holiday Train Coming to Town

Roxane B. thought everyone would like to know about the annual visit from CPR's 'Holiday Train'.  It will be in Calgary this year on Friday December 9 (tomorrow) at 6:00pm, 9511 Horton Road SW.  All the details can be found here. Or watch the video and learn all about it.
-thanks Roxane.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

From Kristie, our fundraising co-ordinator

Hello Parents!!!

So this year, sadly, we did not do the Innisbrook Fundraiser, I know how much everyone liked the wrapping paper, but I felt a year off would be best. Never fear, it will be back next year!!! We will do the annual Fundraiser again in October of next year, but in the meantime, Shane Campsall turned my attention to a really cool fundraiser called Fundscrip (, I have all the information and we will be doing this Fundraiser in the Springtime. Check out their website in anticipation of our next effort to raise money for our awesome school!!!

Calgary kindergarten class gets social on Twitter

A Calgary kindergarten class is using Twitter to connect with children from around the world.

The Calgary French and International School class uses Twitter to find out what's happening with kindergarten classes from as far away as Indonesia and France.

"I want my kids to have a sense of: I'm part of my class, I'm part of my school, but I am also part of this community of children who go to school every day and go to kindergarten and sing songs and play games and learn to read," said teacher Amy Murray.

Murray types the Tweets on her laptop, which is projected on the wall, but the class writes them as a group.

The five- and six-year-olds aren't only learning the importance of speaking another language, but they’re also finding out about countries a world away, said Murray.

The class's Twitter account is security protected – only teachers, kindergarten classes or parents of kids in the class follow the tweets.

Read comments on this story here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ontario School Cancels Christmas Concert

Here's One for Stephan:

The National Post today published a story about some angry parents in an Ottawa area community whose school admin has decided to cancel Christmas festivities.  Read more here.

For an alternative view which espouses secularity in public schools read this article.