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.

Playground Committee Volunteers Needed

Hi, Parents -

At our last Association meeting, we carried forward our intent in creating a committee soley for the purpose of fundraising and co-ordinating for a new playground.

Haultain's existing playground has a few years left in it, but it's important to employ forward thinking where projects like this are concerned.

Parents of Kindergarten, grade one and two students would be ideal candidates for this project, as their children are the ones who will benefit from a new playground when the time comes for the old one to be retired.

Please consider donating some of your time and effort toward the realization of a new playground for the kids - your help is always appreciated. You can contact the Association via the link at the right hand side of this page for more information.

Foods high in protein, whole wheat sustain energy for a morning at school, work


No matter how busy life gets, it’s important to make time for breakfast.

“It helps children in every aspect of development -- socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually. Eating breakfast is an investment in their lifelong well-being,” said registered dietitian Carol Harrison of Toronto.

“I think sometimes it can be underestimated. We spend so much time thinking about signing kids up for expensive lessons for this and for that and something as simple as making sure they have breakfast every day can make such a difference.”

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ground Beef Recall: E. Coli Alert

Although not education related, this is an important community issue.

The recall of ground beef from XL products in Edmonton has been vastly expanded.  Read details here and here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our Calendar Has Been Updated!

... our calendar, seen at the bottom of this page, has been updated with the future dates of the Council and Association meetings for the remainder of the year. Please take a look, and consider joining us for one or two meetings this year - it's always great to see new faces.

Alternatively, if you have any items that are of interest to parents of children who attend Haultain Elementary, please let me know and I'll put them on the calendar promptly.

Don't forget that parent/teacher interviews are this Thursday from 4pm until 8pm and Friday from 8am - 1pm - if you haven't used the online booking tool to book your appointment, you should get that done at your earliest convenience to make sure you don't miss your chance to visit with your student's teacher.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alderman Peter Demong's Community Barbeque

Casino Volunteers Needed

This year's fundraising casino is fast approaching - Friday, November 2nd and Saturday, November 3rd at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino.

Please save the date, and come out to volunteer! Casino funds are what gives your Haultain Parent Association the funds to pay for busing, inline skating, artists in residence, gym equipment, field trips, iPods, laptops, smartboards... the list is long. This is the Association's biggest fund raising event for the year - please consider donating your time to come out and help!

Ask Martine Myrthu for a volunteer form by email (click here for her email link) or call 403-254-4788 to let her know you're interested in helping out.

Kids and Drugs Parent Workshop

A Parents Guide to Prevention
A free workshop for parents of kids 8 - 15 years old who are interested in preventing future alcohol, tobacco, and drugs use and abuse. Click here for more detail.  Register online at or call 403.260.2620.

Parent Teacher Conferences: Book Online

Don't forget to book your conference for this Thursday or Friday.  Booking your appointment is easy.  Click here and create a login for yourself and pick your favourite time.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Thursday, Sept 20  4:00-8:00 pm
Friday, Sept 21  8:00 am – 1:00 pm

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Meet our new principal!

Our new principal, Colleen O'Connor, kindly sent me a photo to post on our blog. You may have already seen her around, but if not, you can now put a name to a face.

This is an email that was sent from Sydney Smith, Area V Director a few days ago:

"I would like to introduce and welcome Colleen O'Connor to the principalship of Haultain School.  Colleen comes from her principalship at Westgate School, and has previous principal experience at Buchanan School.  

In conversation with Colleen, she is looking forward to her work at Haultain, and is excited to begin her work with the Haultain School community.  In the next couple of days there will be a link on the school website with a brief questionnaire for you to complete, to provide your feedback to Colleen regarding what you believe to be important for her to know about your school community."

Welcome to Haultain, Colleen!

Ice Cream Social!

Don't forget that tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 6:30pm is the Haultain Memorial Ice Cream Social - come out, meet some of the school community and eat some delicious ice cream.

This event is sponsored by the Haultain Memorial Parent Association. Please feel free to ask what's involved with volunteering for our upcoming casino, as our Casino Director Martine Myrthu will be there,  happy to help answer questions.

Thanks to Ramona and Tammy for organizing this event.

As well, the Council/Association AGM will be held on Thursday night in the Haultain library. It would be great to have you attend!

Elementary School Eliminates Homework

Sara Bennett, author of The Case Against Homework, is an advocate for 'no homework.'  Yesterday, Bennett posted a Wyoming elementary school principal's letter, which addresses this issue.  The letter announces the school's plan to eliminate homework.  The principal's message also outlines five ways to improve students' attitudes, as well as, their mental and physical health.  These suggestions include encouraging children to play outside for an hour every day after school and eating supper together as a family at least four times a week.  Read the full story here and comment below.  Do you think homework should be eliminated from elementary schools?  What do think about the principal's five point list?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Social media becoming successful teaching tools in Calgary classrooms

By Eva Ferguson, Calgary Herald

Letting go of the long-held notion that handheld devices and Internet use don’t belong in the classroom, university professors are discovering unique ways to engage students using a variety of technology and social media as successful teaching tools.

Dozens of professors at the University of Calgary, and hundreds more across the country, have logged on to Twitter, Facebook, or other Internet sites to better communicate with students, particularly those in larger classes.

Click here to read the full story.

Don't forget!

The Haultain Parent Council and Parent Association has its Annual General Meeting on Thursday night starting at 6:30 in the Haultain library. All parents of students attending Haultain are welcome to attend. It's a great way to get involved and informed.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Study: Social Skills Not Good Grades Linked with Lifelong Happiness

Don’t fret if your kids didn’t make the honour roll - their future well-being doesn’t depend on it.
According to the Journal of Happiness Studies, academic achievement has less impact on adult well-being than we might think. The study followed just more than 800 children over a 32-year period, exploring the role of academic achievement and social development on future adult well-being. For the purpose of this study, well-being is defined as a combination of a sense of coherence, positive coping strategies, social engagement and self-perceived strengths.

The results showed a strong link between social connectedness and overall adult happiness. The findings suggest that parents should focus their attention on helping their children develop social skills. Parent can do this by encouraging their children to participate in social activities such as youth groups and sporting clubs.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CBE trustee urges expense disclosure

By Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald

A Calgary Board of Education trustee is pushing for greater public disclosure of expenses of elected officials and top managers, but the issue won’t be debated until October.

At a board meeting Tuesday evening, a simple item on where trustee remuneration should placed in the larger governance policies turned into a testy sparring match over meeting procedure between Trustee Sheila Taylor and board chairwoman Pat Cochrane.

Taylor had hoped to talk about greater disclosure of expenses.

Currently, trustees and senior officials disclose on the board financial statements the total amount they have expensed. However, details of who spent on what is not made public.

A child's schedule must be well balanced

Karen Try always wished she was a ballerina, with the straight posture, graceful walk and swan-like neck. The 53-year-old mom never took dance lessons as a child, but she wanted to offer that opportunity to her own daughter.

"I am clumsy and blamed my parents for not putting me in dance -- you can always spot a tall, sleek dancer. The way they walk, the great posture, the tilt of the head. So, at age 2, I enrolled my daughter, Emily, in ballet, but she was kind of clumsy like me and she didn't love it," says Try.

Click here to read the full story.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Patrollers keep school kids safe

Crossing guards greet students on first day back to school

By , Calgary Sun

When Calgarian Jack O’Neill shepherded classmates as one of Alberta’s first school patrollers, he kept watch for horse-drawn vehicles.

But one of the select pioneering few has now grown to 16,000 province-wide — 7,000 in Calgary — and has kept their crosswalks fatality-free over 75 years.

“It’s really worked out well — I hope they keep it up,” said O’Neill, 82, who was on hand to greet current patrollers at Cambrian Heights elementary, 640 Northmount Dr. N.W. on Tuesday as more than 150,000 Calgary students returned to school.

Read the full story here.

Welcome back!

Welcome to the first day of school for the new year!

I hope all students get a good start, and that the school year starts off smoothly. A couple of things to remember - our start-of-year ice cream social is being held on September 12th.

Also, the Parent Council/Association Annual General Meeting will take place on September 13 in the library at Haultain. Please come and join us - there are a few positions on the executive that need filling. (It's also a great way to get informed.)

As well, we're still in need of volunteers for the casino this year - please contact the Association via the link on the right hand side of this page for more information.