Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Proposal by Alberta School Councils’ Association to hike fine for playground zone speeders a slam dunk


It’s maybe the only place motorists are happy to see more police, radar guns poised to nab scofflaw and daydreamer alike.

You don’t mess with people’s kids — and to speed through a playground or school zone makes you the enemy of every parent, grandparent, aunt and uncle out there.

There’s simply no mercy for those who endanger children, and to break that 30 km/h safety barrier near a park or school is to lose any chance of public sympathy for your heavy use of the pedal.

Click here to read the full story.

(Your parent council had a representative - Jennifer B. - attending the AGM, with instruction by the council to vote for this motion.)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Orders for the spring fundraiser are due tomorrow!  The 12" premium, outdoor, flower baskets (hanging or round patio planter) are $32 each.  They are perfect for Mother's Day or to brighten your own outdoor space.  Cheques are to be made out to Haultain Memorial Parent Assocation.

CBE News

news release

April 23, 2013
for immediate release
PDF version of news release

CBE Board of Trustees cuts its budget by 10 per cent for 2013-14

CALGARY—In response to a difficult budget year, trustees with the Calgary Board of Education today approved reducing their budget by $182,710 for 2013-14.

The reduction in the Board of Trustees' budget contributes to a total year-over-year reduction of 13.5 per cent. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved a budget for 2013-14 of $1.549 million.

“Faced with a difficult budget, the Board of Trustees wanted to ensure we were doing our part to minimize the impact on classrooms by cutting the trustees budget,” said Pat Cochrane, chair of the Board of Trustees. “This is in line with CBE Administration’s commitment to also reduce costs to put students first.”

The CBE faces a $62-million shortfall in provincial funding this year.

Trustees voted unanimously on April 16 to reduce their own pay by 3.5 per cent effective Sept. 1. They also directed Administration to bring a proposal to reduce the Board of Trustees’ budget by at least 10 per cent. That report was presented and approved at a public meeting of the Board of Trustees today.

For details on how the Board of Trustees is cutting its budget, see report at board meetings

Content Moderator: Communication Services
Web Administrator: Leslie Miller
Last Modified: April 23, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Playground Update

Hi, Parents of children at Haultain Elementary -

Your Parent Council has had, over the course of the past few days, the opportunity to work with the administration to define the conditions under which students use the Association funded playground at Haultain. 

After conferring with Colleen O'Connor, the Principal at Haultain, it has been determined that there is no official policy in place which prevents students in grades 5 and 6 from using the playground during school hours. 

This means that all of our children are free, without time or grade restriction, to responsibly enjoy the fantastic play structure that all our volunteers' hard raised money went into building.

We really appreciate everyone's input with regards to concerns and suggestions for improvement - the reason our kids enjoy a great school is because our parents are engaged and endeavour to stay informed, and because we're lucky to have great teachers and staff at our school.

It's important for parents to bring issues to the attention of the Council and Association - the executive works hard on your behalf to make sure focus can be maintained on providing our children with a safe and effective learning environment. Keep them coming!

Questions or concerns can be directed to the Association via this blog (see the link at the right) or via written communications to the Council mailbox in the Haultain office. (I can't forget to remind everyone that the Council, which is the interface between parents and the Administration at Haultain deals with school issues and concerns only - our Association is the body which raises funds and votes on funding dispersal.)

On behalf of the Council and Association executive at Haultain, I appreciate your support and engagement. We will all continue to work hard on the behalf of all parents with children at our school.

Nick Newton
Council/Association Chair

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Budget Update for All Parents

From Naomi Johnson,
Chief Superintendent of Schools:

"Our organization is grappling with the impact of the provincial budget announced on March 7. As we have reported to you before, the provincial budget means our system will have the same revenue next year as we had this year. This happens when we expect to welcome 3,000 more students and our costs will be increasing. It is the tip of a very difficult iceberg.

For more than a month, we have been crunching numbers, evaluating services and reviewing options to achieve our objectives. Student success and safety are our top priorities. The approach we are taking to the budget focuses on maximizing the budget directed to classrooms while balancing the budget.

On Tuesday, we will present the budget assumptions report to the Board of Trustees. It will be available online today. This report sets out the decisions, uncertainties and strategies that we propose to achieve the objectives set out in the Three-Year Education Plan.

Before the report is published, there are some messages I would like to emphasize in advance.

To put students, classrooms and schools first, we have looked everywhere in our system to be more efficient and make cuts. There will be a significant impact on administration and central services provided to schools and areas.

The resource allocation method (RAM)—the budget distributed to schools—will increase by two per cent across the system. We estimate this is about 2.1 per cent less than schools need to keep up with increasing costs and enrolment. We reviewed some of the high-level figures and implications with principals and system leaders on April 10.

The budget assumptions report also proposes $5 million of cuts to administration. This equates to a 12.5-per-cent reduction compared to the current year. We have taken this decision to maximize dollars to classrooms and advance student learning. Students remain our top priority. However, the impact of our financial situation will be felt system-wide.

Two years ago we faced a $61.7-million shortfall once we worked through the full impact of the provincial budget. To balance our budget we made significant changes, redesigned central services and said goodbye to good people. This year, all told, we face a shortfall of $62 million. Cutting deeply again will be even more painful. Once again we will lose good people.

The Board of Trustees discussion about the budget assumptions report Tuesday will provide guidance for us to go forward and build the detailed budget. The detailed budget is scheduled to be debated at a public meeting on May 28. To build the detail, we will need to make specific decisions about programs, services and positions.

At the same time, we will be distributing the resource allocation method (RAM) to principals to plan their schools’ budgets for 2013-14. We have worked very hard to maximize the RAM; principals will be challenged in the coming weeks.

For many of you, I appreciate that providing some information will only increase the demand for more information. We will continue to provide updates. In the meantime, I encourage you to read the budget assumptions report when it is published. It will give you a more complete understanding of the challenge before us and how we propose to face it."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Staff Appreciation Lunch: Help Needed!!!

Parents: Your Assistance is Required!

It’s that time of year when we show our appreciation for our staff. Friday, April 26th is the date set for our Staff Appreciation Luncheon this year. In the past, parents have contributed their family favourites to create a hearty & sumptuous feast. If you haven’t time to cook or bake perhaps you could volunteer for set up or clean up duty.

Please let Tammy Campsall know what you can prepare at tammyjayne@gmail.com

What Makes Great Teachers?

What do you think makes a great teacher?

ABC news did a short story on teachers who are getting through to students, engaging them and getting their respect. 

Watch the short clip here.

Please comment with your opinion!

More students but fewer teachers at CBE schools

Calgary Board of Education faces questions and concerns 
 By Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald

As the city’s public school board prepares to release its early 2013-2014 budget estimates this week, it is facing growing questions about its past spending and why schools are filled with fewer teachers than five years ago, even as enrolment soars.

The situation paints a concerning picture for the teachers union and education advocates. They worry about bulging class sizes and teachers dealing with more complex sets of students of varying abilities and learning styles. There are 2.4 per cent fewer teachers in Calgary Board of Education schools this current year than there were five years ago, according to an analysis of budget and statistical data by the Herald.

Read the full story here. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Can A Playground Be Too Safe?

Have we gotten too protective of our children when it comes to risk of injury? Is it possible that the current generation of children are more afraid of getting hurt than willing to try something that has a small element of risk?  Are we raising a generation of "soft" children or are we protecting them from real danger?

I have done some reading about this topic and have discovered some interesting articles that tackle this issue.  The first, from The New York Times, is an article called "Can A Playground Be Too Safe?" It suggests that children need to encounter risks to overcome fears.  While some worry that a child who suffers a bad fall will develop a fear of heights, studies have shown the opposite result occurs. The article suggests that a child who’s hurt in a fall before the age of 9 is less likely as a teenager to have a fear of heights. "Paradoxically, we posit that our fear of children being harmed by mostly harmless injuries may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology.”

My favorite line in the article was said by a ten year old:

"If you just think about danger you’re never going to get ahead in life.”       

Read the full article here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Key Communique

Come out to next Council of School Councils meeting
The spring meeting will take place on April 17.

Trustees will provide a summary of the Trustee-hosted meetings held in February, an update on the 2013-14 budget and information about getting involved in the upcoming school board trustee election.

Help the CBE strengthen its connection with school councils and parents
All parents are invited to attend one of the upcoming sessions to share their thoughts about parent and school council communications, and how we can work together to improve the parent experience.

Area II - April 24 - 6:30-8:30 p.m. - Mount View Centre, 2004 - 4 St. N.E.
Area III - April 23 - 6:30-8:30 p.m. - Marlborough School, 4711 Maryvale Dr. N.E.

Please RSVP to kldrummond@cbe.ab.ca, indicating which meeting you plan to attend.

Province invites input on review of individual program plan (IPP) components
As schools and school authorities move toward a more inclusive education system, there remain high expectations for all students in Alberta, including those with diverse learning needs. Parents, school leaders, teachers, educational assistants, parents and students are asked to provide input through an online survey at www.banister.ab.ca/2013IPPsurvey.

The survey will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. It will be available online until April 26.

2013 Community Report now available

The 2013 Community Report is being presented a little differently this year. In previous years, the report was a print document only. This year, we have expanded the report to include more in-depth information about the progress we are making in achieving excellent results for our students.

Read more

Complete Alberta school council survey
The purpose of this Alberta School Councils' Association study is to identify stakeholder perceptions of the effectiveness, successes and challenges in school council operations, structures, communications and outreach, working relationships, training and resources. The study will also investigate the influence of school councils on student learning.

Complete survey

Outstanding CBE teacher nominated for prestigious award
Popular TV show Glee makes music class look so easy.
In reality, it’s more involved than prompting students to burst into song.
“I blame the TV show Glee for giving me a false understanding of how a music room works,” first-year teacher Brittany Jarema joked while speaking to the CBE Board of Trustees on March 19, 2013.

CBE teachers named semi-finalists for provincial excellence awards
Nineteen Calgary Board of Education educators have been named semi-finalists for provincial Excellence in Teaching Awards. They join more than 100 nominees province-wide.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CBE 2013 Community Report

"The 2013 Community Report is being presented a little differently this year. In previous years, the report was a print document only. This year, we have expanded the report to include more in-depth information about the progress we are making in achieving excellent results for our students.

In these pages and links, you will find information on how we continue to provide well-rounded learning for every student. For example, you will find links to our student results pages, Board reports and videos that tell you much more about what we are doing every day to ensure student success. As more information becomes available over the year, it will be added to these pages.

We invite you to join in the dialogue by telling us what you think. Your views are important to us, and your feedback will help us continue to improve."

Read the report here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CBE Administration Freezes Salaries For Senior Leaders

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.”

For more information, go to www.cbe.ab.ca