Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One hour can make streets safer for our kids.

Many schools in Alberta now begin before playground zones come into effect at 8:30 a.m. 

Switching to a school zone that starts earlier creates other problems, as local children use playgrounds during evenings, weekends and holidays when school zones don't apply. An extra hour of protection in the morning would make a big difference.

Although the previous Minister of Transportation committed to change the hours of playground zones by the beginning of the 2012/13 school year, the current Minister has decided not to fulfill that commitment. We are asking the Minister to keep the promise made by his predecessor or to implement an alternative solution.

For instance, since current legislation requires that school and playground zones must be separate, he could also solve the problem by allowing municipalities to overlap these areas.

What can you do? 
Click here, sign our petition, and distribute it to others who are concerned about this issue.

You can also Google 'Alberta playground zone petition' to find the petition link. 

For more impact: 
• Contact the Honourable Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation, to express your views: Tel: (780) 427-2080
• Forward this e-mail to other concerned citizens.
• E-mail for more information or to get involved.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

From the CBE website,

news release

March 22, 2013
for immediate release
PDF version of news release

CBE administration freezes salaries for senior leaders

CALGARY—The chief superintendent of schools for the Calgary Board of Education is freezing salaries for senior leaders for 2013-14.

“Faced with a difficult budget, we committed to keep students first by looking everywhere to balance the budget,” says Naomi Johnson. “In a week, we will present all of our strategies to balance the budget, including this decision about executive compensation.”

This decision applies to the superintendent team for the fiscal year starting Sept. 1, 2013.

The decision is distinct from possible increases that may apply to non-unionized or “exempt” employees based on performance last year and effective in the current budget year. An allocation for this potential expenditure was approved in May 2012 for the current fiscal year, which runs Sept. 1, 2012 to Aug. 31, 2013. The CBE’s exempt employees are a varied group that includes positions such as engineers, executive administrative assistants and advisors in Human Resources.

“We are still crunching numbers and weighing options to balance the budget,” Johnson adds. “Like our decision to keep transportation fees flat for next year, we are announcing this strategy early so we can all refocus on putting students first.”


Media Relations
Calgary Board of Education

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Take it Outside! Planning the Perfect Playgroup

With the onset of spring, it is time to send our kids outside more!  Unlike the streets we grew up in, where kids poured outside everyday after school and only came in briefly to inhale supper, children stay indoors where they are safe and are at the convenience of their computers, televisions and video games.  The benefits of playing outside, however, are immense and it is up to the adults to encourage kids to get out there to play!  With that said, if there is nobody outside to play with, it isn't so much fun.  There is a great article in Calgary's Child Magazine about starting an outdoor playgroup for children which offers a solution to the problem of the vacant outdoors.

Read all about it in Calgary's Child Magazine here.

CBE Board of Trustees Does Not Support Proposed Agreement

The following letter, written by Pat Cochrane, Chair for the CBE Board of Trustees, can be found on the CBE website or by clicking on the link below.

"Dear Calgarians,

You elected the Board of Trustees to represent you and the best interests of Calgary students. Your Trustees have been reviewing the proposed terms of an agreement for the province’s teachers since we saw it for the first time on Friday.

The proposed agreement is being promoted as a pathway to labor peace that holds the line on costs for three years. We do not believe that this will be the outcome of this agreement. The framework has obvious benefits for teachers and government. Benefits for students are conspicuously absent from the agreement. Based on our analysis, we conclude this is not a good deal for students. Consequently, your Board of Trustees cannot support the proposed agreement."

 Read the full letter here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

From the CBE

With the release of new budget cuts from the province, it is inevitable that Calgary Board of Education schools will be effected. The CBE will keep its website updated on news regarding its own budget. Read a preliminary review of the 2013-2014 budget here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Inverse Power of Praise

As you read over your child's report card, how do you respond? Do you praise her for her intelligence? Do you commend him on his efforts?

In the article, How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise, praising children too much  can have a negative effect on them.  Children who are constantly told by the adults in their life that they are smart may cause them to not want to try things they won't be successful at.  According to the article, a large percentage of all gifted students severely underestimate their own abilities and subsequently underrate the importance of effort.

The article suggests that "emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control...They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child's control, and it provides a no good recipe for responding to failure.". Those who can respond to failure with more effort next time and with persistence, rebound well and can sustain motivation longer. "A person who grows up getting too frequent rewards will not have persistence, because they'll quit when the rewards disappear."

Read the full article here.

Student Led Conference

Book your student led conference appointment today!

Book it Here

Friday, March 15, 2013

School boards raise red flags over teacher deal

Parents are being warned that bigger class sizes, fewer teacher aides and higher busing fees are some of the potential effects of the province’s tentative four-year deal with teachers.

“There’s only so much money and we have to able to allocate it under these new rules if the deal goes forward,” said Jacquie Hansen, president of the Alberta School Boards Association.

“There will be a cost implication. There will be an impact on students, and we’re going to talk to our school boards and find out exactly to the extent that this impact affects their schools and communities.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

School bus fee safe from hikes, says Calgary Board of Education

Student transportation fees won’t be hiked next year, but Calgary’s public school board will have to find efficiencies elsewhere, probably in classrooms.

The Calgary Board of Education said Wednesday transportation fees for students — including 27,000 kids on yellow buses and 10,000 others with subsidies for Calgary Transit — won’t go up in 2013-2014, despite the elimination of a fuel contingency fund in the provincial budget.

The cancellation of the fund, effective April 1, will have a $950,000 impact for the rest of this school year and also would have contributed $2.3 million to the transportation budget for next year, said CBE spokesman Richard Peter.

Read the full story here.

Budget information from Karen Drummond

2013-14 CBE budget
Since the provincial budget was announced on March 7, administration has had some opportunity to review what it means for the Calgary Board of Education in more detail. There is still more work to be done, but our preliminary analysis has revealed our budget is worse than it initially seemed to be.
No matter what decisions are made in response to the budget, know two things:
  1. Maximizing the dollars directed to students in classrooms remains a top priority; and
  2. We will still move forward in spite of the budget. The CBE is one of the best public education systems in the world. We are committed to the best possible learning for our students today while continuing to advance our practice for the future.
Staying informed about budget
As a school council member, you play an important role in sharing information with your school communities. It is important for you to know that the CBE is making budget information available in the following ways:
·         A budget web page has been developed, where we will post all the information relevant to budget as it becomes available.
·         That web page has a place for parents and members of the public to share their thoughts and ideas.
·         Important news will also be shared via the RSS feed. This sends a message directly to subscribers and also posts the information on school websites. You can subscribe by clicking on the RSS feed link here.

We are making every effort to share information with parents in a timely way. Whatever you can do to make parents at your school aware of how they can access budget information is much appreciated.

Transportation fees to remain flat
The CBE made an announcement today that the CBE will keep student transportation fees flat for 2013-14.

To read more about this and share your ideas, visit the CBE budget web page at:

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thirteen Year Old Convinces Hasbro to Design a Gender Neutral Easy Bake Oven

I love this story:

A thirteen year old girl convinced Hasbro to design a gender neutral Easy Bake Oven.  The teen's four year old brother wanted the toy for Christmas but was discouraged because the pink and purple design was clearly geared for girls.  The thirteen year old started a petition on, asking Hasbro to offer a more gender-neutral color for the toy and to include boys in the commercials. The petition got more than 40,000 signatures.  Hasbro has announced that the color change "has been in development over the past 18 months" and will become available next fall, 2013.

Watch the ABC News story here.