Sunday, December 16, 2012

May Peace Be With You

With one week to go until Christmas, Haultain families have a busy few days ahead! 

Tuesday, 9am: dress rehearsal for the school concert
Wednesday, 7pm: Christmas Concert (students need to be in their classrooms by 6:45pm.)
Thursday, 9am: parents are invited to attend a Christmas carol session in the gym. 
Friday: no school, winter break begins
Tuesday, January 8th: classes start up 

It is certainly a stressful time of year for parents.  I found an article from Parent Magazine that offers steps to help avoid the holiday stresses.  Naomi Rand offers ten tips to simplify things so you can get back to the spiritual heart of the season. 

Read helpful tips for a less stressful holiday here.

With sincere and heartfelt thoughts for the community at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, here are a few comforting quotes I found:

"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."
Aristotle Onassis

"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain."
Joseph Campbell

"If it were not for hopes, the heart would break."
Thomas Fuller

"Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit."
Bern Williams

Have a peaceful, safe and happy holiday with your children. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Braid: Dealing with 62 school boards a scary prospect

If the breakdown in provincial talks with teachers makes you think of the great strike of 2002, try to stop.

That was awful. It must not happen again.

Teachers in more than 20 boards walked out in rolling strikes that escalated across the province. Right from the start, up to a quarter million kids were without classes.

There was chaos for three weeks until the province declared a public emergency and ordered teachers back to work.

Now, the Alberta Teachers’ Association says it’s abandoning talks with the province, sending union locals into direct bargaining with 62 school boards.

Council and Association Meeting Tonight

... please join us at 6:30 tonight in the library at Haultain for our December Council and Association meetings. We'll be holding our "Council Performance Review", and running over the Association's financial statement.

This is a perfect chance to attend, meet new parents, and share your concerns or ask questions to our school administration.

Alberta teachers go back to local bargaining

(From the CBC website) 

Teacher contracts will now be negotiated with local school boards after talks between the Alberta Teachers' Association, the Alberta School Boards Association and the province failed to reach a provincewide collective agreement.

ATA president Carol Henderson said the decision to end negotiations came after the union's provincial executive council rejected the latest offer from Education Minister Jeff Johnson, which contained only minor changes to the last one.
The decision means teachers will now negotiate contracts with each of the 62 school boards in the province.

"Actually, in some ways, it's very good because boards have their own concerns, teachers have their own concerns in different jurisdictions and they can talk about those issues at the table," Henderson said.

The last five-year provincial agreement where Alberta took over the unfunded liability in the teachers pension plan was an anomaly. Teachers usually bargain with local boards, Henderson said.

The ATA was proposing a four-year deal with wage freezes in the first two years, a one per cent hike in the third year and three per cent raise in year four.
Workload was a sticking point in the talks. The ATA wanted a cap on the hours teachers work, a proposal Johnson rejected last month.
The last contract expired in August.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

From Karen Drummond, Communications Advisor for the CBE:

Making school councils the best they can be
The Board of Trustees initiated some changes to how CBE school councils operate this year. This was part of an effort to strengthen the Board’s connection to school councils, and is meant to serve as a starting point for improvement. Some of the key changes are as follows:
§ the creation of the “council of school councils”;
§ a different approach to system-wide and area meetings with school councils;
§ the development of the 2012-13 school council handbook;
§ more opportunities to connect with the Board of Trustees; and
§ a new date and process for submitting school council annual reports.
Another significant change is less emphasis on the key communicator role. That does not mean the role has been eliminated. What it means is that CBE administration now needs to examine how the role functions in light of these changes.

School council survey results posted
An online survey was circulated to gather information about school councils early in the school year. The survey was open Sept. 28 to Oct. 18. There were 49 people who started the survey and of those, 42 who completed all questions on the survey. Another school council survey will be done closer to the end of the school year to compare perceptions and opinions.

Parents advised about possible bus delays
Our school bus carriers are currently experiencing a shortage of school bus drivers. While the carriers are working hard to recruit new drivers, this shortage of drivers combined with winter weather conditions can cause delays for some school bus routes.

Grade 4-12 students to complete Tell Them From Me survey
Beginning this December, an online school survey calledTell Them From Me (TTFM) will allow students in Grades 4-12 to give their anonymous input into school improvement initiatives.

Kindergarten registration begins Jan. 14
Kindergarten registration for the 2013-14 school year begins on Jan. 14.

Buy tickets for a night with the Hitmen Jan. 18
CBE students, staff and their families can buy discounted tickets to the Hitmen game Jan. 18. A portion of all ticket purchases will support the Fuel for School Breakfast Program.

School councils eligible for grants from The Calgary Foundation
There are upcoming deadlines of Jan. 3 and Feb. 18 to apply for Neighbour Grants.

To apply for Stepping Stones grants, you can apply by midnight of the first day of every month.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Getting the Right Help

From Calgary's Child Magazine:

"This is often the time of year when parents seek help for a struggling child because by this time, teachers and parents are becoming aware of a child's academic, social and emotional struggles. It is important to seek help promptly in order to avoid a child falling even further behind in the challenging area.

It can be confusing to try to figure out the exact problem(s) affecting your child's success because in some situations, different underlying concerns can produce similar academic or emotional responses. It is important to find the true underlying cause of your child's struggles as soon as possible so you can provide the best intervention as soon as possible. Therefore, I offer you a roadmap so that you will know which steps to take based upon the observed difficulties."

Read the full article here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book an Interview

The booking system is open now for your parent/teacher interviews for Thursday/Friday this week.  Click here to pick your time and day. If you have problems with the login or the system booking, call Cindy at the school (403.777.6860).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CBE Year-end Financial Report

The Calgary Board of Education delivered the year-end financial report Monday.  Although the budget anticipated a $19.2 million deficit, the result was a surplus of $49.8 million. 

Read the full report here.

Should Alberta Fund Private Schools?

Do you think your tax dollars should fund private schools?

Liberal MLA Kent Hehr said Monday that the province could save up to $50 million a year by stopping the subsidies.  Hehr believes in the public system and states that although it is a right to not take part in the public school system, it is not a right for taxpayers to fund that choice.

Read the story here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Alberta’s new anti-bullying law could punish kids who don’t report incidents

By Steve Mertl | Daily Brew I think everyone now agrees that bullying should not be treated as a normal rite of passage for children, a character-building exercise they have to tough their way through.

But some critics think a part of Alberta's new Education Act that officially outlaws bullying goes too far. The new law's anti-bullying sections are being scrutinized as other provinces struggle for ways to address the bullying problem.

Section 31 (e) of the Act, which came into effect earlier this month, says students, as partners in education, have the responsibility to "refrain from, report and not tolerate bullying or bullying behaviour directed toward others in the school, whether or not it occurs within the school building, during the school day or by electronic means."

Click here to read the full story.

Dare to Care Parent Night

On Tuesday, November 20, parents at Haultain Memorial School had the incredible opportunity to listen to an informative, interesting and helpful talk on bullying.  Expert Lisa Dixon-Wells facilitated the session, Dare to Care: Bully Proofing Your Child.  On a personal note, when I arrived at the school Tuesday evening, I was not looking forward to sitting in a chair, in the gym to listen to someone speak about one topic for over two hours.  However, almost immediately after Lisa began to speak, I became completely engaged with every word she said. 

The time flew by, as she spoke with so much knowledge, energy and passion.  According to Lisa, the two biggest issues today surrounding bullying are, what she called, "the girl issue: the hidden culture of aggression" and cyberbullying.  Before getting into details about the issues, Lisa clearly defined the meaning of bullying, pointing out that the word can be overused which, inevitably, minimizes the real issue.  She also acknowledged that bullying is a learned behaviour from home and can be corrected if parents are open to work with their child.

Lisa addressed three major changes in bullying that has happened over the past twenty years.  The first change is that children are presenting more challenging behaviors than before.  The second change is the younger age at which bullying behavior is occurring in children.  The final change change in bullying Lisa pointed out is the maliciousness that now exists.  Factors such as media, breakdown of families and breakdown of communities have contributed to these changes.  The good news is that parents and communities have the power to control these factors and inevitably fight bullying.

An interesting segment of Lisa's talk was centred around, what she calls, "provocative victims."  These are children who often are bullied or are misunderstood to be bullies themselves.  A provocative victim is often gifted, bright, bored, complex, restless, academic and has a strong sense of fairness and justice. These children socially struggle and tend to be avoided by others because of their lack of understanding with concepts such as personal space and the ability to read body language and tone of voice.  Provocative victims will often take a long time to explain things and may tend to make silly noises and gestures.  Again, however, the good news is that parents have the power to help these children by teaching social skills.  Lisa highly recommends the books, Nobody Likes Me Everybody Hates Me by Michele Borba and Perfect Targets by Rebekah Heinrichs for parents of provocative victims.

Other books recommended by Lisa are Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons, for parents of girls and Odd Girl Speaks Out by Rachel Simmons, for girls of grade four and up.  These books address the issue of bullying amongst girls.  For parents of boys, Lisa recommends Real Boys, by William Pollack.  She also highly recommends children, parents and educators see the movie, Odd Girl Out, available from  Lisa suggested a website for parents, www.getwebwise, that breaks down the lingo children and teens are using with their digital communications.  The site reveals the meanings of hundreds of acronyms now used for texting, on line chatting and emailing.

Lisa ended the talk by addressing a concrete formula victims of bullying can use.  The acronym, "HA HA SO", stands for: Help, Assert, Humor, Avoid, Self Talk and Own It.  Each word is a tool that victims can use in situations of bullying.  Our children were taught these valuable tools when Lisa worked with them in the school.  She had the students role play and practice the different techniques, depending on the bullying situation. 

Thank you to Haultain's Parent Association for funding this invaluable program and thank you to Mrs. O'Connor for bringing the idea to the floor.  Finally, thank you to Lisa Dixon-Wells for sharing the Dare to Care program at Haultain and teaching staff, students and parents the life changing skills, facts and concepts around the issue of bullying.

For more information on the Dare to Care program, go to

Monday, November 26, 2012

Alberta parents worry most about children’s education

Financial security a close second 

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald

According to new research from TD Insurance, parents in Alberta worry most about how their kids are doing in school (73 per cent) followed by their financial security (72 per cent), and health (71 per cent).

The poll, which was released Monday, also found 94 per cent of Alberta parents surveyed have life insurance. However more than half (59 per cent) don’t think their policy will leave enough money to financially support their children up until their 18th birthday.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Public Assistance

The Calgary Police Service is seeking public assistance for information surrounding a suspicious person who approached a school bus driver and student.
On Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, around 3:30 p.m., a school bus was stopped on Queensland Drive S.E. and had just finished letting some students off when a car pulled up in front of the bus, stopped and backed up close to the front of the bus. An unknown man got out of the car, peered into the bus and approached the passenger door. Motioning to a seven-year-old female student in the front seat, the man asked the driver if the girl had a ride home. The driver, who was familiar with the student and the family members who most often picked her up, told the man the student’s father was waiting for her.
The man returned to his vehicle, quickly pulling away in a U-turn and left the area.
The man is described as Caucasian, 6’ tall, weighing 190 – 200 lbs, with light brown, shoulder-length hair, a brown, neatly-trimmed beard, and large blue eyes. He may be in his late 40s early 50s, and has a British or Australian accent. He was wearing a bright yellow-orange jacket with clean, tidy blue jeans.
The vehicle is described as newer-model, grey SUV, which was recently washed.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers anonymously, using any of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477
TEXT: tttTIPS to 274637

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Tonight is the parent information session, Dare to Care: Bully-Proofing Your Child.  The evening will be facilitated by Lisa Dixon-Wells, an expert in the field of bullying. The Dare to Care program is the recipient of the Imagine Canada award, bringing a new approach to building a caring community.  Being informed is a powerful tool for actively standing up against bullying.  Please plan to attend.  The session is at Haultain Memorial School tonight, 6:30 to 9:30 pm. 

No Zero Policy Discussed at ABSA General Meeting

ABSA (Alberta School Boards Association) held its fall general meeting yesterday.  The association's conference runs November 18-20 in Edmonton. The public discussion was about student testing in the province.  Albertans are being asked about testing and marks in schools, including what the appropriate assessment tools for students are and who should apply them.

Read more about the story on Global News: Global Edmonton | No-zero issue sparks larger discussion about student assessment in Alberta

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Much Sleep Do Our Kids Need?

With the onset of winter days and dark mornings, it can become difficult to wake up for school.  How much sleep do our children need to be rested for the day?  According to The National Sleep Foundation, children between five and twelve years should get ten to eleven hours of sleep each night.  The foundation's website offers helpful advice and suggestions for parents regarding sleep for babies, preschoolers and school aged children.

Check out the website here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

From The Casino Director

A quick follow up to Roxane's previous post from Martine:

  • Haultain Memorial School: Casino nights November 2 and 3 at Deerfoot Inn
  • 2  16 hour days
  • 36 volunteers, 3 back up volunteers
  • Free:  food, enlightening conversations, new friendships formed
  • Approximate hourly rate of pay: $2097 for the school
  • We could not have done it without you!
  • Thanks to the following parents, grandparents and friends of Haultain:  Marc, Ralph, Lucy, Nicki, Stephan, Steve, Amber, Shona, Carmen, Trevor, John, Bonnie, Nick, Terry, Amanda, Linda McD, Coleen, Damon, Cindi, Lisa H, Jennifer B, Jeff, Lisa C, Tara, Jennifer L, Lorraine, Melinda, Anna, Christy, Roxanne, Eric, Shane, Tammy, Susanne, Linda, Pat, Tanya, Gail and Martine
  • New Casino Chairperson: Jennifer B. Please support her in 18 months when we host another fun filled Casino experience

Big Money For Haultain!

This past weekend, Haultain Memorial Parents Association had its huge fundraiser at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino.  A handful of parents, grandparents and CBE staff members volunteered their time to work at the casino, enabling our school to likely cash in between $67,000 to $68,000 dollars by the end of this year.  The money will be used to expand new educational resources for all of Haultain's students.  (Come out to the monthly meetings on Thursday evenings, in the library at Haultain, to voice your opinion on how the money should be spent.) This fundraiser is essential, as it brings in the largest quantity of money for the parent association.  Please consider signing up in eighteen months for the next casino.  It truly is a fun experience where you get to enjoy a nice meal, hang out with friends and meet new people within Haultain's community.  Thank you Martine for your amazing efforts in organizing this event and carrying it through to an incredibly successful end!

CBE eyes review of trustee pay and perks

By Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald 

Calgary public school board trustees will be asked Tuesday to approve spending $25,000 on a consultant to review their compensation and benefits in comparison to other elected officials.

 Trustees are paid $46,618 a year, with chairwoman Pat Cochrane receiving an extra honorarium of $10,476, and vice-chair Lynn Ferguson an extra $5,238.

 That has remained the same for the past five years. This spring, a trustee remuneration committee recommended an in-depth review for this school year.

 In a report going to trustees Tuesday, they are recommending a consultant be hired to prepare an independent review that would look at “compensation philosophy” and what other jurisdictions pay. CBE staff would help prepare some of the information. That review would be submitted to the remuneration committee, made up of two CBE trustees and four members of the public. The committee would make a recommendation on pay and benefits in early spring.

Read more here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

RESP's: the earlier the better

$5238.00 - this is the 2010/2011 cost per year of classes at the University of Calgary humanities program.  This doesn't include any living expenses or campus fees.  The cost is going up. In fact since 2001, the costs have increased 32% and according to this article, tuition fees are increasing three times faster than inflation. Graduates are taking an average of 14 years to pay back their $27,000 (average) of students loans.

There are many people who feel education should be free for Canada's citizens, paid for by the government and subsidized by foreign students as it is in some countries (Germany, France, Italy, Norway, etc.).  Maybe someday that will be the case, but for now, a very expensive Canadian education is the reality.

There are ways to help absorb the impact when the time comes; bursaries, scholarships, and grants are very helpful if your student has the marks. Another option is RESP's. A registered education savings plan is a great way to plan for the future.

I came across an article this morning in The Windsor Star's 'money' section that has a great overview of RESP's; every family who aspires to send their kids to a post-secondary institution should consider this investment. As the article says, its better to start as early as possible to increase the benefit but its not too late even up to your child's 15th birthday year.  The government kicks in an additional 20% of your contribution up to $500 each year. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No zeros, mandatory school fees don’t belong in Education Act, MLAs say

By Sarah O'Donnell, Calgary Herald
Alberta MLAs have rejected attempts to rejig the Progressive Conservatives proposed Education Act to include a ban on mandatory school fees, enshrine a teacher’s right to assign a grade of “zero” or to reference to the province’s human rights laws.Opposition parties introduced several amendments to Bill 3, the Education Act, during a debate that started Tuesday morning and lasted until about 1 a.m. Wednesday.
The act, which will replace the School Act that has governed Alberta’s K-12 education system for more than two decades, is the third version of the proposed changes to be introduced in the legislature in the last two year.

Monday, October 29, 2012


As you know, Halloween is on Wednesday and Haultain will be celebrating it!  Please remember that the school is accepting donations this week for the Coins for the Cauldron campaign.  Also, your child can bring in their decorated pumpkin on Wednesday morning to display for the school. Don't forget to bring them home at the end of the day! Students can change into costumes at lunch and will be able to show them off in the assembly in the afternoon.  Costumes portraying gore or violence are not permitted.  Mrs. O'Connor would like families to keep nutrition in mind if snacks are being sent to school that day, as well as to continue to pack good food for recess snacks and lunches this week.  Keep those kids' bodies fueled for learning!

Today's Parent magazine offers helpful tips for an easy, fun, healthy and safe Halloween this year.  Everything from recipes, costume ideas and simple pumpkin carving tips, to more serious issues such as safety on Halloween night and the maximum age children should be to still trick or treat.

Check out the stories here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alberta's New Education Act

On Tuesday, Alberta's new Education Act was introduced in the legislature.  The new bill contains anti-bullying measures, acknowledging that all education partners, including parents, students, teachers, administrators and trustees, need to work together to ensure a safe learning environment. Bill 3 formally recognizes the role of parents as a child's most important teacher.  In the new act, the mandatory age a child must stay in school was raised from sixteen years to seventeen.

Read all the details here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Excercise Programs in Schools

In his book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. John Ratey reveals how exercise improves brain performance.  According to Ratey, research proves that rigorous movement before learning helps create optimal brain function.  In response to Ratey's research, five Canadian cities have implemented exercise programs to improve academic performance, behavior and concentration of students.  Read the full story here

Ratey's website,, focuses on transforming America's sedentary lifestyle.  The goal of the website is to improve children's capacity to learn by helping bring movement back into their schools and lives. The website claims that exercise reduces the negative effects of stress, manages mental health issues such as ADD, anxiety, depression and maintains cognitive ability.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CBE Privacy Breach

A Calgary Board of Education employee's laptop, containing over 2,000 student report cards from kindergarten to grade 9, was stolen from a vehicle this month.  The report cards contained students' photographs, identification numbers and high school students' phone numbers and home addresses.  The full story from the Calgary Herald is here.

Calgary teacher saves choking student's life

from the CBC website

Girl choked on sandwich during a science class at William Aberhart High School

A Calgary teacher is being credited with saving a student’s life after she started to choke on a sandwich during class.

Gerry Doak, a Grade 10 science teacher at William Aberhart High School, is crediting some lifesaving training for how the situation played out.

Two weeks ago, a student started choking during Doak’s morning class.

“It's sort of like sort of hollow gulp and you're aware that there's no breath getting through,” said Doak.

Read the full story here.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Council and Association Meeting

Hi, Parents - just a quick note to remind everyone that the Haultain Parent Council/Association meeting is this Thursday at 6:30 in the library. The agendas for the meeting are being made today and tomorrow. If you'd like to attend the meeting and present an issue in person, let me know and I can schedule some speaking time to interested parties. Please use the 'Let Parent Council Have Your Feedback!' link to the right of the page to email me with requests.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

No-zero policy given failing mark by parents

About 50 parents attended a parent council meeting last night to review the ban on giving zeros for assignments not handed in or missed exams.

Parents leaving the meeting, which was closed to the media, told CBC News the policy was vigourously opposed.

Read the full story here. 

CBE classrooms could be named after donors. What do you think?

By Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald

CALGARY — Calgary public school students in future years could be learning carpentry in school workshops named after, say, a home improvement store, or mixing fluids in a science lab bearing the title of an engineering giant.

The Calgary Board of Education has opened the door to classrooms and other school spaces being named after corporate donors and individuals who donate to school programs.

CBE administration changed two of its regulations last month, departing from a 2004 board decision that refused to entertain any part of a school being named for a contributor.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bullying Myths and Facts is a website designed to increase the awareness of bullying and to prevent, resolve and eliminate bullying in our society.  There is valuable information available on this site, including a list of myths and facts about bullying.  For example, the site addresses the fact that bullying is a learned behaviour and can be changed.  Furthermore, the informative list explains that bullying can be stopped when adults in authority and peers get involved.  Check out the website for more information and click here to read the "myths and facts" list.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Key Communiqué

(This Key Communiqué comes from Karen Drummond of the CBE)

Council of school councils created
This school year the Board of Trustees is establishing a "council of school councils." This committee will be comprised of school council chairs (or an appropriate designate), members of the Board of Trustees and representatives from administration. The purpose of this committee is for trustees and parents to have an opportunity to work together, to share information, to discuss concerns and to plan for the future.
Meetings will be scheduled a minimum of two times in the school year. For 2012-13 there are two meetings currently scheduled. Both are 6:45 – 9 p.m. at the Education Centre (1221 – 8 Street SW) with free underground parking provided.

The meeting dates are:
  • Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012
  • Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Smaller trustee-hosted meetings to be held
During the 2012-13 school year, the Board of Trustees will be hosting small meetings and inviting school council chairs (or designates) from the same geographic area to discuss ideas, concerns and plans for the future. Dates and times will be announced later.

New 2012-2013 school council handbook available online
We wish to provide you with tools and resources that will be helpful to you as you do your work. One of those resources is the 2012-13 School Council Handbook. There are two versions of the handbook.
1.    A 16-page handbook with the most important information you need about CBE school councils. 
2.    A more comprehensive online handbook with templates, checklists and additional information relevant to school councils. When printed, it is also helpful for parents who don’t have computers.
Both versions are available online in the resources section at:

Share your ideas about school councils at the CBE
As the CBE explores new ways to work with school councils, we'd like to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please take five to 10 minutes to complete this survey. Your input will help us plan for the year ahead and beyond. It will also help us to communicate as effectively as possible with our school councils.
This survey closes Oct. 8.

Update your 2012-13 school council contacts
Please be sure your school council stays informed and up-to-date in the coming year. Please e-mail with the name, phone number and e-mail address of your school council chair and key communicator or another school council member. We like to have two contacts on our circulation list in the event school council members change throughout the year.

ASCA district membership for all CBE school councils
The CBE Board of Trustees is pleased to provide all its school councils with membership in the Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA) for 2012-13 and 2013-14.

CAPSC calendar of events to be finalized soon
The Calgary Association of Parents and School Councils is an incorporated not-for-profit association that provides relevant and ongoing information and support to parents and school councils in the CBE. Monthly meetings offer a forum for discussion of important topics in education. Sign up for the monthly e-newsletter to stay informed.

New administrative regulation on use of social media

School councils will want to be familiar with a new administrative regulation, AR1067, on
the use of social media.
AR1067: Use of Social Media

If you have any questions about this policy, please email

Public invited to tour award-winning historic building
The CBE is participating in Doors Open YYC Naked on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You are invited to visit the award-winning historic Dr. Carl Safran Centre to experience a historical classroom and a future of learning lab that demonstrate how far education has come and where it may be going in the future. Trustees along with CBE employees will be onsite to talk with visitors.Doors Open YYC is a city-wide event that invites people to see and experience public buildings. The public is granted access—free of charge—to 35 premier sites that allow them to get to know Calgary in a way that has never been possible before. Check out the full list of participating sites at

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CBE trustees raise red flags about their own conduct

By Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald

After taking a hard look at themselves, Calgary Board of Education trustees have flagged a series of concerns about their own conduct, touching on everything from honesty to meeting preparation.

An annual self-evaluation report finds trustees worry a series of issues are “hindering” their performance as a board.

They range from trustees undermining board decisions in public, to individual trustees making unreasonable requests of the chief superintendent.

The seven trustees and Chief Superintendent Naomi Johnson gathered a month ago for a self-evaluation.

Of the group of eight, seven identified concerns about trustees embarrassing each other.

Read the full story here.

CBE says students scoring well in tests and exams

(From the CBC Website) 

The Calgary Board of Education says its students measure up well in achievement tests and diploma exams. It says students in grades three, six and nine outperformed the provincial numbers both in acceptable and excellence standards.

 In addition, marks improved for Grade 12 diploma tests over last year. The CBE says the marks for biology, chemistry and physics 30 were exceptional. But students in science 30 aren't doing as well as expected. The board is now trying to find out why.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dangerous traffic jams at Calgary schools worry aldermen

By Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald 

The traffic jams at many local schools when students are dropped off and picked up are coming under scrutiny, as a pair of Calgary aldermen worry the twice-daily muddle has become too dangerous.

Ald. Gord Lowe said he routinely sees children darting between vehicles, parents jaywalking, traffic backups and school parking lots not large enough for all staff vehicles.

Lowe and Ald. Jim Stevenson have a notice of motion heading to city council on Monday urging a $250,000 study of the issue and recommendations to improve the situation.

“It becomes a circular debate and we’re getting nowhere on it, and the problem’s getting worse,” Lowe said. “I just want to get it fixed before we kill a kid.”

 Read the full story here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Take back classrooms: We need to borrow a line from the ’80s and ‘Just Say No’ to educrats


It’s time for parents to start pushing back against the out-of-control educrats running our school systems.

From no-zero policies, to language codes that forbid words like husband or wife to crazy sex-ed encouraging kids to do things no adult should be talking about in public, the educrats are ruining our schools.

But if parents get involved, they can stop the madness.

A few weeks ago we heard about Ontario’s Durham school board’s language policy telling us that terms such as husband and wife were too offensive and we should only use partner.

The guide went so far as to say calling a Korean person Korean was offensive and that we should call them “A person from Korea.” Funny enough, my dictionary says that a person from Korea is a Korean.

Interested in this point of view? Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kids and Drugs

On Tuesday night, I attended a free parenting class, Kids and Drugs: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention, at the Fish Creek Library.  The class was put on by Alberta Health Services.  It was geared to parents of children between the ages of eight and fifteen.  Some interesting risk and protective factors were shared in the class, such as the fact that the earlier a child experiments with substances, including alcohol, the more likely the child will fall victim to substance abuse.  The hour and a half session offered parents valuable tools for prevention against youth substance abuse.  Three of the major areas that were covered included: “the power of parents,” “talking with your kids” and “helping kids make good decisions.”  Positive parental modeling and involvement were described as major influences that help prevent youth drug use.  According to Alberta Health Services, parents communicating effectively will also play a huge role in the prevention of substance abuse.  Finally, the class taught that by establishing rules and boundaries, developing a child’s self- esteem and offering ways to deal with peer pressure, a child will be better equipped to make good decisions.  Inevitably, those good decisions will lower a youngster’s risk of becoming a substance abuser.  For more detailed information on this subject, go to .  Or click on the link below to view the parent's booklet:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do You Let Your Child Play With Toy Guns?

This is an interesting article from Today's Parent magazine about the debate over toy guns for children.  Both perspectives are offered in the article: that from a parent who allows toy guns and that from one who doesn't.  Read the story here and share your opinion about the issue in the comment section below.

Anti-trolling lessons set for schools in Australia

by Lauren O'Neil, from the CBC website

Students in Australia already learn about the negative effects of schoolyard violence as part of the national curriculum, but top authorities aren't satisfied with the extent of their anti-bullying education.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has personally asked the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to include anti-trolling and anti-cyber abuse lessons in a new, expanded curriculum.

"Whether it's physical violence or online intimidation, we need to ensure that our kids learn the lesson early in life that this conduct can cause great harm and have real consequences," she said to the Herald Sun.

Read the full story here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

CBE rejects setting ratio of lunch supervisors to students

By Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald

For some parents, supervising two children during lunch can be a handful.

But at many Calgary public schools, a single lunch monitor can be keeping an eye on more than 50 children at time.

According to an internal report obtained through freedom of information, one-fifth of Calgary Board of Education schools have a ratio of more than 50 students for every noon supervisor.

But even with sometimes stark differences in supervision numbers across the system, the CBE has decided not to impose strict lunch monitor-to-student ratios in schools.

Read the full story here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Santa Quits Smoking

An independent publisher is being accused for 'over the top' political correctness because of her updated version of Clement C. Moore's poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Do you think she has gone too far or is her new image of Santa a good thing?  Read the full story here.