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June 30
Plan for School Re-Entry 2020-21

We have come to the end of an incredibly unique school year.  To parents/guardians we want to extend a sincere thank you for your continued support, patience, and compassionate understanding through this unprecedented school year. 

Alberta Education has been providing guidance for school re-entry in the fall.  We are currently working on a detailed plan based on recommendations from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer.  Alberta Education has given school boards three possible scenarios to prepare for.  These three scenarios are:

  • Scenario 1: In-school classes resume (near normal with enhanced health measures)
  • Scenario 2: In-school classes partially resume (with enhanced health measures and online supported learning)
  • Scenario 3: At-home learning continues (in-school classes continue to be cancelled and online learning continues)

All of the scenarios are based on prevention:

  • Wash your hands often and well
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill

The plan for school re-entry is based on four principles:

  • The safety of children, students, and staff comes first.
  • Children and student learning will continue.
  • Provincial funding is still flowing to schools.
  • School authorities have the flexibility to do what is best for the community.

In scenario 1 or 2 using the AHS (Alberta Health Services) self assessment tool, we request that it is used daily to measure students, staff health before leaving home. Guests and volunteers will be screened upon entry to school.   It is compulsory for students, staff and volunteers to stay home when ill.

A final decision about how re-entry will look will be announced by Alberta Education on August 1, 2020.  Currently, we are creating plans for all three scenarios and will be ready to implement our plans on any of these scenarios after the announcement on August 1, 2020.

Last Day of (Online) Classes for Students

Friday, June 26 was our last day of classes for students.  The first day back will be Tuesday, September 1 and we will be communicating how the start-up will look prior to the first day of classes.

Google Classrooms

Please note that as of the end of the day on June 29, 2020 teachers will be archiving their Google Classrooms.  Students will no longer be able to access or submit assignments, use Meet, or communicate with classmates and teachers on the stream.  We are planning on continuing to use Google Classrooms and Meet next school year regardless of which start up scenario is implemented.

Digital Report Cards

Report cards are now available digitally on your My CBE/PowerSchool account for viewing/printing. Please feel free to call the school or the MyCBE/PowerSchool helpline (403-817-6373) if you require assistance with accessing your child’s report card.

From everyone at Alexander Ferguson School we wish you a safe and happy summer and look forward to seeing our students in the fall. To our students that are leaving us, all the best in your future educational endeavors. 

Take care everyone!

 

Lynn Sparks, Acting Principal   

Tianna Melynk, Assistant Principal

Alexander Ferguson School

June 03
June Message

"This is June, the month of grass and leaves . . . already the aspens are trembling again, and a new summer is offered me. I feel a little fluttered in my thoughts, as if I might be too late.”          
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, June 6, 1857

lilac-tree.jpg

As the early summer kisses the earth, we see the dozen species that are bursting their buds on a single day. The pink blossoms on the trees outside of the school highlight, “This is June.” Henry Thoreau reminds us of this “trembling” beauty in June, leaves us feeling “a little fluttered in [our] thoughts.” As has happened so many times before, June is relished. It is a time of great excitement and anticipation of what summer adventures await, despite COVID 19, as well as some sadness with the realization that some schoolmates and staff members may be heading in different directions.

On that note I would like to inform you of some of the changes to our current school population which affects staffing. When Ms. Puglia and Ms. Melnyk held our virtual Kindergarten Orientation, we discovered that we now have registered 24 new Kindergarten students in the fall. Our current total student population for 2019-2020 at AFS is 239. However, for the next school year, 2020 – 2021 we anticipate 214 students at Alex Ferguson School. Therefore, we will have 25 fewer students. Traditionally, Alex Ferguson School has accepted students from out of our designated area but that policy has changed and we are rarely able to do so.  The principal must get special external permission. Also, the boundary lines changed for students in our designated area. These are challenges and we will continue to endeavor to attract students to this amazing school.

Another change for the future is that we will miss our Grade 6 students as they proudly venture on to junior high at various schools.  The school will deeply miss the Grade 6 students but know they are wonderful citizens and learners. The teachers and staff are so very proud of you and your accomplishments. 

The staffing changes for next year are as follows: Ms. Wilcox (3/4), our temporary teacher will be hoping to secure a teaching position in the fall. Ms. Halcro-Voth (3 /4), will be going to another school at the end of the school year due to decreasing enrollment. While we hope that Ms. Halcro-Voth and Ms. Wilcox will come to visit us in the fall, we would like to thank them for all their contributions to our school and wish them all the best in this challenging next step in their educational careers. Also, my contract ends as Acting Principal on June 30. I have valued my time at Alex Ferguson School but have deeply missed the face-to-face connections with the students, parents and staff in these times of COVID 19 restraint. I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet a few of you live, on the phone, virtual meetings and through email.  I will journey back into retirement and continue to see as much of the world as is permitted from the seat of a bicycle.

While we have staff members leaving, we are looking forward to returning staff members. We are happy to welcome our Learning Leader and teacher returning from leave. Ms. Underwood (Grade 3/4) who has so very much to offer her students and colleagues educationally. Also, some further changes, Ms. Bannister, our music teacher, will also be increasing her time at the school from one day a week to three days per week. Our Educational Assistant Ms. Soroka will be increasing her hours assisting students by 5 more hours. At this point Ms. Bensler is to return at the end of August as Principal.

There have been many changes to the funding for education from the provincial government. These changes have also affected the CBE and Alex Ferguson School’s Fees and Budget. Please take some time to respond to our Civil Spaces Survey which was released June 1 and is open until June 15. The Survey is located on our website.  We would love your feedback as we work on the School Development Plan and direction of the budget and school fees.  This has been such a harsh year economically for all families. It is important that we hear what your priorities are for the next school season. Please let us hear your voice and your opinion so that we can make the best decisions and weigh all the possibilities. Results for the survey will be posted on our school website by June 30, 2020.

To the Volunteers, a special thank you to you who give so generously throughout the year. The volunteers have made an indelible difference on our school community by helping to provide the most wonderful gifts that only education can provide. Also, another specific “shout out” to those families who came to weed our garden recently. It looks great. Thank you for making our tulips sing. We apologize for having to cancel the traditional celebration of the Volunteer Tea but are working to recognize you remotely. Please know we are grateful for your amazing efforts.

In closing I would like to share a few more notes of appreciation. First, thank you to the many, many committees and groups that enrich the Alexander Ferguson School experience.  Secondly, I would like to thank the School Council and AFESS (Alex Ferguson Elementary School Society) committee. Please know that your work is a valued treasure.   Furthermore, thank you to all the many volunteers for their dedication and support of children and teaching and learning. Lastly, the school is able to offer many experiences because of the wealth of volunteers at Alex Ferguson School. We are so fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers. Thank you for all that you do for our students, staff and school.

All the Alex Ferguson School students and families have been through a historical school year and I hope the students have had some time to document their thoughts and feelings regarding the experience of COVID 19 and remote learning, “distancing” and close connection with family.  Thank you for your support of each other. 

Together we are stronger.  We are in this together. 

Lynn Sparks
Acting Principal

May 08
Happy Mother's Day!

Alex Ferguson Staff is sending an enormous 'Happy Mother's Day' to our moms, your moms, grandmas and to all the women out there who may not technically be moms, but certainly share their love like one!  Please enjoy the day with your family.  Students please make your mothers feel very special on Sunday.

 

Thank you to the families who have started the weeding in our garden.  It is already starting to look better.

 

It has come to our attention that some of our students are “meeting” in fairly large groups.  This practice is discouraged.  We would like to remind students of the COVID 19 practices to save lives of those in our homes and community.  Students please remember that there are people in our homes and community who have pre-existing conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, lung disease and compromised immune systems, etc.) for which COVID 19 can be life-threatening.  Even healthy individuals can contract the coronavirus and it can place people of all ages in danger.  Please stay safe and remember we want to see all of you as soon as school opens again.  Some safe practices when meeting in small groups are:

  • Social Distancing of 2 metres from one another
  • Wearing masks is recommended
  • Wash your hands with soap and water/ hand sanitizer before you leave home and when you return to the home.
  • Do not hug or shake hands  - you can do a  2 metre distance virtual hug or shaking of hands, wave or gesture, dance showing joy, high 5
  • Speak to your friends from 2 metres away 

The City of Calgary is taking social distancing seriously and encouraging safe practices.  Please ensure you follow the guidelines as it is my understanding the police are issuing $1,200.00 fines to individuals not following these distancing practices.

 

Take care and stay safe,

 

Sincerely,

 

Lynn Sparks

Principal

January 17
Accountability Pillar

Dear parents and guardians,

Although we are already halfway through the month of January, I believe it is still okay to wish everyone a Happy New Year. It has been wonderful coming back to school, hearing all the great stories from the children about their winter break. While we are going through a deep freeze outside, staff and students are warm and cozy inside participating in many excellent teaching opportunities. However, we know that the students and staff will be thrilled when the temperature warms up and we can resume our outdoor activities during recess and the noon hour.

We had a very successful Kindergarten Information/Open House evening. Thank you to those of you who attended. Registration begins on Monday, January 20 within CBE. Please read more about our school registration on the Week at a Glance for January 20 – 24.

Thank you to school council under the leadership of Heather Stubbs and Jaclyn St. Louis, for organizing Paul Davis for our division two students along with our parent community. He was inspirational and empowering as he spoke on the topic of social networking and online safety. Please join us at our next school council meeting on Wednesday, January 29th to hear more about upcoming fundraisers and school initiatives.

At the end of this month, all children will be bringing home their report cards. Report cards are used to communicate student achievement against report card stems using achievement indicators of 1, 2, 3, and 4. In each subject area, the CBE report card stems represent a synthesis of the Alberta Program of Studies - the front matter, general learner outcomes and specific learner outcomes. Report card comments give the student and family a picture of what the student knows focusing on areas for growth, and next steps in learning.

As an annual check-up on the education system, the Accountability Pillar provides an opportunity for Alberta Education and school authorities to ensure that we are equipping students for success. The Accountability Pillar uses a set of 16 indicators. Data on these indicators consists of surveys of students, parents and teachers on various aspects of education quality, student outcomes such as dropout and high school completion rates, and provincial assessments of student learning.

From January to the end of February, Alberta Education will be conducting the annual Accountability Pillar Survey. 

  • In January, parents of students in Grades 4 along with parents of students in Grades 7 and 10 will receive a survey from Alberta Education.  At Alexander Ferguson School, students in Grades 5 and 6 will also participate due to the small school designation.
  • In January/February, students in Grades 4, 5, 6 in our school along with students in Grades 7, 10, and all teachers will be completing their surveys online at school. 

All surveys are anonymous and ask questions about experiences within our school. Your participation in the survey helps provide important information on the quality of education your child is receiving, so we encourage you to return your survey promptly.
Thank you to all the volunteers who work tirelessly for our school community in so many different ways. We love having you read to our students, organize Fun Lunches, volunteer for Tasty Tuesday, help with off campus and on campus field trips, assist teachers and students in their classrooms, and so much more! If you would like to be a CBE volunteer, please contact Kelly in our office. It is very rewarding!

With thanks,

Sherry Goldenberg
Acting Principal

December 06
It is hard to believe that December is already here.

Dear parents and guardians,

It is hard to believe that December is already here. As I reflect on the time that I have been at Alexander Ferguson School, I realize that there is so much that the parents, staff and students do to make this an amazing place to be. It has been especially wonderful to see the effort, thoughtfulness and hard work that School Council exhibits all throughout the year.  

Some of the major fundraising that support our staff and students in many different ways include; Fun Lunches, Tasty Tuesdays, Grocery Card Fundraising, Cookie Cart, and other day-to-day fundraising. The funds go to support items such as our Artist in Residency programs, technology enhancement and special items for the classroom.

We appreciate the fundraisers that our AFS School Community are involved in this month. The Hat and Mitten Tree donations is a charitable cause, supporting those who need extra warmth throughout the winter from the Inn form the Cold. The annual Craft and Bake sale that is occurring on Tuesday, Dec. 10 after our morning and afternoon winter concert celebrations, is another important fundraiser. This particular fundraiser will support some of our families in our own community that need some extras during this time of year. School Council will once again be organizing our special holiday lunch on Friday, December 13. I’ve heard so many of the parents, staff and students talk about how this is a community building event, an opportunity to come together as a school to share in song and have a meal together. I am looking forward to participating in this special event.

In the Calgary Board of Education, Citizenship is a significant focus in our classrooms. In our school, Belonging is one of our Circle of Courage principles that we are focusing on all year long. Supporting others is a way in which citizenship and belonging is demonstrated. No matter what you can do to help others at this time of year, please do so. Big or small, any support will make someone else’s life better. Take the time to remind your child/children that, perhaps more than any time of the year, it is the time to remember to be kind to everyone around you. It is the best gift to share!

December is a short month and Winter Break begins on December 19. Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 7, 2020.

Warmly,

Sherry Goldenberg,
Acting Principal

October 29
Assessment & Reporting

Dear parents and guardians,

Thank you to all the parents who came to our parent information evening on October 24. It was very well attended including our Area 7 Director, Lori Cooper. Both Tianna Melnyk, our assistant principal, and I shared information about assessment and reporting practices within CBE including new report card math stems and new understandings about the 1, 2, 3 and 4 indicators. We shared the results of the Provincial Achievement Test results from June 2019 along with our School Development Plan goals for this upcoming school year. This message will include some of the highlights we shared at the meeting.

  • In the Calgary Board of Education, assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process. Personalized learning occurs through flexible, responsive relationships between the teacher, the student and the content within the instructional core. Assessment includes a continuous cycle of instruction, gathering evidence from a variety of sources, interpreting that evidence and making adjustments to teaching practice. Teachers support students in an active pursuit of learning, developing self-understanding and participating in decision-making.
    • How is My Child Doing in School is a document we shared with parents discussing the importance of ongoing communication between parents, your child and their teacher. It builds an understanding of student achievement over the course of the year, so the information communicated in the report card is both expected and understood.
    • New Math Stems – The math report card stems will be changing in order to support implementation of Assessment and Reporting in the CBE and Assessment Guides for Mathematics. Achievement is organized by report card stems against Alberta Programs of Study using achievement indicators.
    • Indicators – assessment of each stem on the report card
      • 1 - Not Meeting – The student demonstrates a beginning level of understanding
      • 2 - Basic – The student demonstrates a developing level of understanding
      • 3 - Good – The student demonstrates a well-developed level of understanding
      • 4 - Excellent – the student demonstrates a mastery level of understanding.
    • Conferences and Report Card Dates
      • Conferences - September 19, 20, 2019
      • Conferences - December 5, 6, 2019
      • Report Card - January 30, 2020
      • Student Led Conferences - March 19, 20, 2020
      • Report Card - June 26, 2020
  • Provincial Achievement Test Results
    • This is a graph of the results showing how our students did in three categories: Acceptable Standard, Above and Below in the four core subjects tested. These are explained more in our Annual School Results Report that will be posted on our website by the beginning of December.

chart-alex-ferguson.png

  • School Development Plan
    • As a result of looking at the results and data of various assessments in the school, the staff have chosen these goals to work on throughout the year. Our completed School Development Plan will be posted by the end of November on our website.
      • Students will increase their sense of belonging within the school community
      • Students will improve their ability to use mathematical reasoning to analyze and solve complex questions.
      • Students will achieve excellence in the area of sentence structure and conventions in writing.

More information about reporting and assessment is in the banner on our website. If you have any questions please contact Tianna or myself at any time.

Warmly,

Sherry Goldenberg,
Acting Principal

September 24
Thank you for the warm welcome!

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you for the warm welcome I received coming into your school as acting principal this month.  It has been a fabulous start up to the year. Staff have been busy planning, organizing and teaching while the students have all been busy getting into their routines. Thank you to all of you who attended our parent/teacher conferences this month. These conferences provide an opportunity for teachers to identify and highlight your child’s progress, areas of strength and areas of growth. This is also a great way to participate in your child’s education.

This year, the school has undertaken an inquiry focus of one of the principles of the Circle of Courage. The Circle of Courage is a model of child development based on the principles of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. The AFS school community has been working with the Circle of Courage philosophy for several years. This year, the inquiry focus will be on the principle of ‘Belonging’. We are excited to see many threads of this topic already imbedded in curriculum throughout the school.

Last week the students and staff participated in an amazing fine arts day called “Arts in the Gully Day”. We appreciate School Council’s support in giving us this opportunity for students and staff. We would also like to thank our artist in residency artists - Chris Demeanor, Denise Miller and David from One World Drumming who shared their expertise with us along with our own staff who shared their expertise as well.

Please continue to check the school calendar and your child’s agenda for upcoming events such as our School Council Meeting this Wednesday and our annual Terry Fox Walk/Run this Friday. Updates for the coming weeks will be sent to you on Fridays for you to keep up to date with school events and important messages.

Enjoy these last few days of summer.

Warmly,

Sherry Goldenberg

Acting Principal

July 02
Celebrating Year End

As we celebrate the year’s end, we look back and take great delight in all of the learning and discoveries we have made with our students as we worked together to explore our inquiry of Story.

Congratulations to our Grade 6 students as they move on to junior high school.  We wish all students leaving Alexander Ferguson School continued success.

On behalf of the students and staff of Alexander Ferguson School we want to thank all of our volunteers who gave freely of their time and talents during the past school year. Your willingness to contribute in countless ways makes a significant and positive impact on the lives of our students and staff.

We say farewell to Mrs. Beatty who has been a dedicated reading volunteer at our school for more than 20 years.  Next year, she will be helping take care of her grandchildren and volunteering at her grandson’s school.  Thank you Mrs. Beatty, for making a world of difference!  You will be missed!

Thank you, Madame Jagrelius for sharing your gift of language with our students.  Your dedication to the teaching profession is valued and much appreciated. Best of luck at your new school. We will miss you!

We wish all of our families a safe and wonderful summer break!  We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, September 3, 2019!  Please join us for our Welcome Back Snack Event at 8:00 am and our Welcome Back assembly at 8:45 am in the gym.

Hildegard Bensler

December 12
Holiday Festivities

Stories are a communal currency of humanity. - Tahir Shah

There is no mistaking that winter has officially arrived. As the winter break grows near we reflect on some of the learning opportunities our students have engaged in throughout the past few months. Our students spent two weeks working with an incredible dance artist, Mark Ikeda where they explored movement and expression through the lens of our inquiry into Story. We were fortunate to have a warm day in October to host an “Arts in the Gully Day” where students and staff created drama scenes, sang around a “camp fire”, danced, painted art with fall fruits and played French circle games.

Students have been working with Mrs. Bensler and their classroom teachers to pre-pare for our Sharing of Story and Song. The school-wide performance will be held on December 13, 2018 at 9:30 AM with a repeat performance at 1:30 PM.

Student report cards went home last week. An important component of the reporting process is the Parent-Teacher Conferences. We look forward to meeting parents dur-ing conferences on Thursday, December 6 and Friday, December 7.

We will be singing the songs of the season during caroling on December 17, 18, 20 and 21 at 8:45 AM and December 19 at 1:00 PM. Parents are welcome to join us.

We wish you all the joys of the season as you celebrate and enjoy time with family and friends.

The Staff of Alexander Ferguson School

August 27
June 2018 Year End Message

As we celebrate the year’s end, we look back and take great delight in all of the learning and discoveries we have made as we worked together to answer the questions: “What was? What is? What could be?”

We have enjoyed the privilege of working with you and your children throughout this past year. We hold many special memories of our times together. Congratulations to our Grade 6 students as they move on to junior high school. We wish all students moving on from Alexander Ferguson School continued success.

Thank you, Madame Hutchinson and Mr. Paton for all of your work with our students. We say a fond farewell to Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Partridge and Mr. Vooys as they move onto anoth-er school. We congratulate Mrs. Goodwin on her Principal appointment! We wish Mrs. Morgan all the best as she begins a new adventure—retirement! We will miss you!

We welcome Ms. Melnyk, our new Assistant Principal, Mrs. Anderson and Mr. Jassar to our Grade 5/6 teaching team, Mrs. Kaban to the Grade 1/2 team and Mrs. Singh to our classroom support team.

We wish all of our families a safe and wonderful summer break! We look forward to see-ing you on Tuesday, September 4, 2018! Please join us for our Welcome Back Snack Event at 8:00 am and our Welcome Back assembly at 8:45 AM in the gym.

Hildegard Bensler

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Today we sent a year end message to families about our planning for school re-entry this fall. Re-entry survey results and a transportation reminder. Check your email to read it online: https://t.co/qFKMVzfIHS #yycbe #WeAreCBE https://t.co/2V4iqs1Xqo

Due to increased traffic, we’re experiencing issues with the online report card feature of PowerSchool. Check out these instructions on how to view your report card marks/indicators. Sorry for the inconvenience! https://t.co/8FwiAq3JGW #yycbe #WeAreCBE https://t.co/luTVdQ5J6M