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October 29
Reporting to Parents at CJFS

Dear Families,

There are many ways a child’s progress is reported throughout the year.  In order to be sure that parents have a thorough understanding of student progress we have developed the following process:

Classroom Social Media accounts

There are many different ways to communicate to parents through social media in today’s world.  We have given the choice to teachers to communicate through either a classroom blog, Twitter or Instagram.  At least monthly, each teacher updates their blog, Twitter or Instagram accounts.  These accounts communicate what children are learning and how they are taking up the work in the classrooms.  Things you may see on these accounts are class projects, inquiries, homework, instructions, links to websites etc.  Please ask your child’s teacher for more information on subscribing to their classroom accounts

Parent, Student & Teacher Conferences

During these meetings, parents will talk about questions such as: 

·         What gains have students made over the past 3 months?

·         What gains have been made on the parent’s goals?  The student’s goals?  The IPP goals?

·         Are there new goals for the coming months?

·         What are the next steps for students and how will the student be supported?

·         How has your teacher-parent communication plan been working?

·         What were the results of the Kindergarten Eye Assessment?


First Report Cards

The written report card with comments will be sent home for parents to read.  It will support information shared in the conferences, as well as on-going Teacher & Parent communication.

Mathematics Celebration of Learning – all grades

This Celebration of Learning is designed to provide students with opportunities to share their mathematical learning with our families so that parents better understand the work students are engaged in and can see a wide variety of evidence of student learning.

Year End Celebration of Learning – all students

Our End of Year Celebration of Learning is a celebration of the Artist-in-Residence work taking the form of an art gallery where families can celebrate student success while learning more about art appreciation in school.

Sincerely,

Scott

Principal, Colonel J. Fred Scott School

September 10
Welcome Back!

Welcome to the 2018 – 2019 school year!  We are happy to welcome both our returning and our new families to Colonel J. Fred Scott School and we look forward to working closely with you and your children.  We begin every year by reviewing our three pillars of respect:

  • We respect ourselves     
  • We respect each other    
  • We respect this place

 

Staff and students will begin the year by talking about how we can work together and to continue to make CJFS a great community of learning.  We would encourage all parents to talk about these ideas with your children and to review the opening pages of the Student Agenda to ensure you understand the foundations of our work at school. 

 

We have a wonderful staff at CJFS and are pleased to welcome new and returning staff.  Our work together has already been thought provoking and we are excited about this new school year.  Our staff this year will be:

 

Ms. Y. Atsin Lunchroom Supervisor                    Mrs. S. Jabali, Kindergarten

Ms. J. Bedi, ESL Assistant                                  Ms. D. Klem, Grade 3-4

Mr. M. Collins, PE Specialist                                Ms. D. Knust, Education Assistant       

Ms. A. Coupland, Education Assistant                 Ms. B. Kolb, Grade 3-4

Mrs. J. Duros, Part Time Cleaner                         Mrs. C. Luzzi, Library Assistant & Lunchroom Supv

Mrs. L. Deol, Lunchroom Supervisor                    Ms. L. MacPherson, Grade 5-6, Learning Leader

Ms. E. Deschamps, Lunchroom Supervisor         Mrs. S. McLellan, Grade 3-4

Mrs. A. Dhadda, Admin Secretary                        Ms. V. Medford, Education Assistant

Ms. A. Dixon, Grade 1-2                                       Mrs. D. Omar, Lunchroom Supervisor

Mrs. J. Dixon, Grade 1-2                                       Mr. S. Robinson, Principal  

Ms. S. Downing, Grade 1-2, Learning Leader       Ms. K. Roeding, Grade 1-2

Mrs. L. Dryden, Grade 3-4                                     Mrs. C. Sasse, Resource

Mrs. R. El-Haj-Ahmed, Lunchroom Supervisor      Ms. K Schulhof, Grade 1-2

Ms. T. Engel, Diversity                                            Ms. S. Scott, Grade 5-6

Mrs. K Eriksen 1-2, Learning Leader                      Ms. M. Serquina, Education Assistant

Ms. H. Exner, Grade 3-4                                             Ms. M. Shustack, Kindergarten


Ms. L. Farley, Grade 1-2                                         Mr. C. Southworth, Assistant Principal

Mrs. M. Gawley, Bookkeeper                                  Mrs. T. Storrier, Grade 5-6

Mrs. S. Grant, School Secretary                             Ms. D. Taylor, Grade 5-6

Ms. B. Greaves, Grade 3-4                                     Mr. V. Thelmo, Facility Operator

Ms. S. Gulamhusein, Kindergarten                         Mrs. S. Warmerdam, Lunchroom Supervisor

Ms. J. Gunderson, Music Specialist                        Ms. S. Yap, Grade 5-6

Mrs. P. Hergenhein, Lead Lunchroom Supervisor                                        

                                                           

We know that school and families make the greatest impact on children’s lives when we work closely together to support learning and we encourage you to become actively involved in our school. In particular, we would like to invite you to attend School Council meetings on the third Thursday of each month, with our first meeting being Thursday, September 27 at 6:30pm in the Learning Commons – everyone is welcome!  

We would also encourage you to attend our Parent Teacher Conferences on September 20h and 21st so that you can help your child’s teacher better understand your child’s learning profile. To use the booking system, you must have a “My CBE Account” by registering at www.cbe.ab.ca/mycbe.  This is the same account to register for noon supervision if your child is staying at school for lunch.  We are looking forward to a wonderful year at CJFS!

 

Sincerely,

Scott, Chris & the CJFS Staff​

May 08
​The Importance of Oral Language
Every school has processes and traditions which are relatively unique to them. At CJFS we hold a meeting with each and every new family that comes into the school. This is one tradition that we are very proud of because it gives us a chance to meet and get to know each family.  During the meeting, parents are invited to share their future goals for their children. Responses we get often range from hoping their children become doctors, lawyers, engineers and artists to simply children who treat others with kindness and respect. Each response tells us about the love, care and hope that parents feel for their children, but also the importance families place on education and children’s success in school.
 
The teachers’ job is an awesome responsibility. Families trust us with the most precious thing in the world each and every day. For people to be successful in life we must all have strong literacy skills. Research has shown that the reading ability of a student at the end of grade one is predictive of how they will do in later school years.
 
In a world where information is everywhere and knowledge changes at light speed, we must raise children to adapt and learn on their own. Parents often ask how we can work together to set students up for success when, in many cases, parents may not have done well in school themselves, or are unsure of how to help their children.
 
The good news is that it actually is much easier than we might expect. It is true that we need to teach students how to figure out words, decode text and how to think and visualize while reading, but the most important element in literacy development for children is coming to love language and story.
 
Children who hear more language, whatever the language may be, learn more words and come to understand that language is how we communicate. From the time they are in the womb, to the late elementary years children learn to read and write quicker and easier because they have heard and used many of the words and ideas they encounter.
 
Oral language (listening and speaking) is the stepping stone to literacy. As students begin to read picture books, early reader books and novels, they make connections to the words and ideas they have heard and used orally. The more we talk, tell and share stories aloud, the more we set children up for success in all areas of future life.
 
So, what do parents of young children need to do to support their children with literacy? Simply talk to them, tell them stories and read to them from the earliest age possible. The more words and stories we share with children, the more value they place on those words and stories and the more they will want to learn to read themselves.
 
We can teach children all of the phonics rules and mechanics of reading, but the most powerful force for children learning to read is a love of language and a love of story. That is something we can all share in and enjoy. 
 
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March 02
How Math Has Changed

Math in schools has changed quite a bit since I was a child. When I think of my youth in school learning math I think of worksheets. Page after page of worksheets. I think of homework where we practiced math computation skills with little or no context. And half of the time we spent in math class was dedicated to taking up the homework. But the most dreadful part was the math “word problem!”  Word problems like… 

“At 10:00 AM train A left the station and an hour later train B left the same station on a parallel track. If train A traveled at a constant speed of 60 miles per hour and train B at 80 miles per hour, then at what time did train B pass train A?”

OR

“Al's father is 45. He is 15 years older than twice Al's age. How old is Al?” 

When we were young, we really didn’t care how old Al was or what time train A passed train B!!  And we would have many, many similar word problems that had no connection to any of us. To make matters worse, the teachers tried to confuse us with the language they used. They purposefully tried to trick us with words!

Today in schools, we teach math differently. Of course, the actual math is the same and the basics are the same. Teaching the foundations of math is still important, however we now use current brain research, current research on learning and we need to be aware that there are now computers in all schools and homes.  The way we teach math has evolved and students are being asked to think differently about mathematics. 

But this is all very confusing for parents who grew up in the age of ‘old math’. I often hear from parents who ask…

“I don’t understand the math they are doing in schools these days.” 

The job requirements in today’s world have changed dramatically over the years. Many of today’s jobs did not even exist when I was young. As such, the goals for our students in math have also changed. Instead of focusing mostly on computation, we are focusing on the understanding of math concepts and the ability to apply this understanding to real world situations. The Alberta Program of Studies states that the main goals for mathematical education are to prepare students to: 

  • use mathematics confidently to solve problems

  • communicate and reason mathematically

  • appreciate and value mathematics

  • make connections between mathematics and its applications

  • commit themselves to lifelong learning

  • become mathematically literate adults, using mathematics to contribute to society.

This is a very comprehensive list of goals. Not only do we teach the basics of math, but we also teach problem solving skills and communication skills, as well as help students to connect mathematical ideas to other concepts, use mental math, develop mathematical reasoning, and develop visualization skills. 

The biggest problem I hear from parents is that they don’t understand the different math strategies their children bring home from school.  Most parents were only taught one way to solve a math problem.  Many years ago, the teacher would teach the entire class only one way, but students are now learning many ways to solve the same problem. These aren’t different ‘tricks’ to solve a problem but different developmental strategies that fit the needs of each learner. 

Another question I hear from parents is…

“I don’t know how to help my child in Math.” 

We recognize that parents play an important role in shaping the way their children view learning. As a parent, you understand more than anyone else how your child learns and processes information. Instead of thinking about homework for your child in math, please consider:

  • Talk about math in a positive way. A positive attitude about math is infectious.

  • Encourage persistence. Some problems take time to solve.

  • Encourage your child to experiment with different approaches to mathematics. There is often more than one way to solve a math problem.

  • Encourage your child to talk about and show a math problem in a way that makes sense (i.e., draw a picture or use material like macaroni).

  • When your child is solving math problems ask questions such as: Why did you...?  What can you do next? Do you see any patterns?  Does the answer make sense? How do you know? This helps to encourage thinking about mathematics.

  • Connect math to everyday life and help your child understand how math influences them (i.e. shapes of traffic signs, walking distance to school, telling time).

  • Play family math games together that add excitement such as checkers, junior monopoly, math bingo and uno.

  • Computers + math = fun! There are great computer math games available on the internet that you can discover with your child.

  • Talk with your child’s teacher about difficulties he/she may be experiencing. When teachers and parents work together, children benefit

          Adapted from information provided by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

I would also encourage you to stay as informed as possible by reading our schools communication through our school/teacher blogs, twitter, newsletters and agendas. Also, please stay in constant communication with your child’s teacher to stay on top of what they are learning in Math. 

With regards to homework, the current research states that homework in elementary school does not improve academic achievement. That doesn’t mean that we need to get rid of homework completely, but we can improve it! According to research, five to ten minutes of homework has the same effect as one or two hours. We now realize that the worst thing you can do for homework is give students projects to do at home or have parents teach a new concept. Instead, the best homework is reinforcing something your child has already learned! ​

Sincerely, 

Scott Robinson, Principal

Colonel J. Fred Scott School

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February 07
Math Tasks

As a school and as a system we are working on learning and developing ‘high impact math tasks.’ In other words, we are studying math lessons demonstrated by research to have the biggest impact on student learning. This year we are working on studying the latest research from John Hattie and Jo Boaler. 

Both of these authors have done extensive research in the area of high impact strategies.  Hattie’s research group conducted a study involving over three million students that fount some of the best strategies for learning.  These were then ranked for their effectiveness within his book Visible Learning For Mathematics.  These include teacher clarity (making sure students understand what and why they are learning), building good math tasks, student collaboration, direct instruction and effective assessment.

Math is an area of considerable stress and anxiety for many students.  Much of the research states that all students can and should do well in math if they have the right mindset to do so.  A mindset is a way of thinking that believes that we can be successful.  In many ways, it refers to the power of positive thinking and self-confidence, but it is more than that.  It is actually a way to believe we can accomplish our goals because we are able to grow and learn.  This idea is based in “brain plasticity,” that our brain can and will build new connections as we learn. 

In Jo Boaler’s book Mathematical Mindsets, she outlines the strategies, tasks and ideas that support students in building their growth mindsets in math.  These include mathematical growth mindset, flexibility in thinking, assessment and seeing the beauty in numbers. 

It is my hope, as we move through this work, that these ideas will be visible and evident throughout our school as this will show that it is truly having an effect on our school culture. 

-Mr. Scott Robinson

 ​

February 07
This Year's Focus

This year at Colonel J. Fred Scott School, we are focusing our student and staff learning on mathematics.  In order to improve our student’s mathematical understanding and skills, all our staff professional development will be focused on improving teaching math and finding ways to better engage our students towards deeper mathematical learning.

In the news recently, there has been some public debate about how math is taught in our schools.  Many people in the public would like a more “back to the basics” approach to teaching math.  You may have heard the expression “discovery math.” This is a math approach where students ‘discover’ math concepts on their own and aren’t directly taught.  Some parents might think that “discovery math” is our approach to teaching math and we don’t teach the math facts anymore in Alberta schools.  This is not true and I would like to take a moment to help parents understand how math instruction works at CJFS and most other schools in Alberta.

Much has changed over the years with regards to how math is taught in Alberta schools. Historically, mathematical teaching was focused on learning the basics of computation, memorizing facts and learning the ‘proper’ way to solve math equations. We now have current research on how the brain works and how children learn, and a fundamental shift about learning has occurred. Instead of only teaching skill based, procedural math, now we also focus on conceptual understanding, using multiple strategies, solving problems efficiently, and most importantly focusing on the skills and concepts that build success in each child. I will explain each of these concepts in further detail below.

Conceptual Understanding:

In the past, teachers focused only on the procedures or the “how to” in math. Whereas now, we focus on the deeper understanding of math.   For example, when teaching the concept of division, students are expected to understand how division works, not just knowing the facts or knowing how to do long division (the ‘procedural’ math).  Teachers now explore real life situations where people would use division to solve problems.  We then take these problems and together with students, figure out how to solve them. Students would use different ways to solve the problems, use manipulatives, explain their thinking out loud, and work with other students to solve the problems together.  In other words, students experience the concept of division in many different real and meaningful ways so that there is a deeper understanding of how division really works.  

Using Multiple Strategies to Solve Math Problems:

Research has shown that students do not all learn the same way or at the same time. Some students strengths are more ‘hands on’, others learn best working with others, some learn best by themselves, others learn creatively, and some logically. So, if students learn differently, then they will naturally understand math differently and thus solve math problems differently.  Continuing with the division example, students who think more logically would benefit from using ‘long division’ when confronted with a division problem. But to another student who thinks more creatively, the procedure of long division might be confusing and he/she might draw, use blocks or invent their own method of dividing.  Nowadays, we teach different strategies.  Overall, students who solve problems using their own strengths and strategies are much more successful.

Solving Problems more Efficiently:

Students learn math at different speeds. Not all students in a classroom will have the same mathematical understandings and skills at the same time. As such, some students will be very quick to solve problems and others will not.  For the students who take more time to solve math problems, it is quite often because the student continues to rely on a strategy that they learned in earlier grades and don’t know a strategy that would be much more efficient. Lets’ use a grade 3 example: when students add 5+7=12, some students would just know the answer, some would add 5 + 5= 10, then 10+2 =12, some would ‘add up’ by starting with 7 and then counting up five more to 12 and others would put together 5 manipulatives and 7 manipulatives and then count them all to 12. It is clear that the students have an understanding of addition and for the student who was relying on using manipulatives, teachers would help the student move on to a new more efficient math strategy.

Teaching Math Skills that Build Success with each child:

In the elementary grades, mathematical learning is very connected to mathematical confidence. Confident math students are usually successful math students. For students who come to school without confidence in math, they are often behind in their mathematical understanding and trying to catch up to their peers.  We expect teachers to build success and confidence in students at their level. So, in the example of the grade 3 students adding 5+7, we would teach the student who already knew the answer differently than we would teach the student who was still counting the manipulatives. This way, both students are working at a level where they can be successful.

In conclusion, mathematical learning is more than learning the facts and skills. In today’s schools, we must teach mathematical understanding through engaging math problems.  The math class now does not always have kids quietly working at their desk, but can have kids solving problems together, explaining their learning out loud and defending their understandings with each other.  Math class can now be exciting, interesting, and a challenging place to learn!!  

December 06
Report Cards & Parent-Teacher Conferences

At Colonel J. Fred Scott School, report cards and Parent-Teacher Conferences are two significant ways for teachers and staff to communicate to families about student learning.  They allow us all to come together around a student’s strengths and understand both the student and his/her learning. 

Report cards are a very important way for schools to inform parents about their child’s progress and achievement. A student’s report card is one of the most important ways teachers support the continued learning of their students through ongoing assessment. 

As always, the goal is to work alongside parents and families to create high quality learning experiences for children and to communicate carefully both progress and achievement throughout the year.  We always encourage families to speak with their children’s teachers if they have any questions, or need help reading and interpreting the report card. 

Parent-Teacher Conferences happen three times per year.  These are conversations around a child’s strengths and level of achievement, as well as the next steps in working towards his/her learning goals.  These meetings allow us to explain children’s progress in greater detail and to show examples of our grade level expectations.  We always value the chance for school and home to work together to ensure that children are successful and that we are all working towards common goals. 

​ 

November 20
Peace Begins With Each and Every One of Us

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”  -Ronald Reagan

Each year schools across Alberta celebrate the sacrifice our soldiers made to ensure peace in our country as well as other places all over the world. However, here at CJFS we believe that peace begins with each and every one of us. Every day, we work diligently with our students to model positive behavior, collaboration and respectful problem solving practices through the lens of peace. We know that these discussions also happen in our students’ homes and together we we honor those who have sacrificed their lives so we can live in a peaceful and democratic country, and we will celebrate how we can all contribute to living peacefully in a civil society.  This is celebrated in our annual Remembrance Day ceremony, but it is also our desire to continue this work throughout the year.

Peace is definitely more than military security. It is the social and emotional safety we build through our Three Pillars of respect. Teaching students to respect themselves, each other and the environment is one of the most important things we can do in any school.  It not only builds a strong learning community, but it also builds leaders who will go out into the world and do good work through a lens of empathy and compassion, standing up for the rights of themselves and especially those who cannot stand up for themselves. 

School and education are ways to rebuild society in new and more compassionate ways and our classrooms at CJFS work to do this each and every day.

Sincerely,

Scott Robinson

November 20
Community Coming Together

“It takes a village to raise a child” –Hillary Clinton

No school or staff can educate a student alone. It requires the whole community coming together to build a safe and caring place for students to flourish and blossom. At Colonel J. Fred Scott School (CJFS) we have a variety of programs that help provide extra opportunities to help build empathy, caring leadership and literacy skills with our students.

Each year we have the privilege to offer the Roots of Empathy program with it being in Kindergarten this year. The mission of this program is to build peaceful and caring civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults. This program is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effects for reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. Empathy is the ability to identify with another person's feelings. The ability to see and feel things as others see and feel them is central to successful social relationships in all stages of life. Babies regularly visit all of the kindergarten classrooms and each time a lesson is built around showing empathy and creating a culture of caring for one another.

As well, some of our grade 3/4 classes are part of an important early literacy program called It’s a Crime Not to Read. This program connects our grades 3/4 students with books, reading, life-long learning and positive community relationships. The program occurs once a month from September to June, for a total of 10 visits from a couple of very special guests. The Library delivers the program to our school along with an assigned police officer that raises the positive profile of the police among students. The police officer reads to the children illustrating the importance of developing strong literacy skills, and answers questions about the police force. 

Colonel J. Fred Scott School continues to be an S4 (Start Smart Stay Safe) school​. This is a proactive, strengths-based model of teaching and learning where police, schools and families partner together to actively build positive relationships, create safe communities and prepare children for the challenges of our complex, changing world. The Start Smart Stay Safe Children and Families Project is a collaborative initiative with the Calgary Police Service, the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District.  The (S4) themes and objectives are directly aligned with specific Alberta Education Health and Life Skills and Social Studies Program of Studies outcomes. This program sees visits from our School Liaison Officer to classrooms.  Here they will read books with messages around:  Using problem solving skills, Making healthy choices, Using respectful communication skills, Building healthy relationships, Safety and Serving others to build an inclusive, resilient community.

Finally, we also work with our Student Advisory Group where one child from each class works with the school administration to discuss important themes around peace, kindness and empathy. Students who are a part of this group represent their classrooms and engage in lessons with the administration that they then take back to their classes to share. The Student Advisory Group also shares two Peace Assemblies each year to further spread the work of this peace education.

At CJFS it is our desire and goal to continue building collaborative relationships with families as we work to build and instill a sense of peace and care into our learning environment. 

Sincerely,

Scott Robinson

September 08
Three Pillars of Respect in Learning Opportunities

On behalf of the staff at Colonel J Fred Scott School, I would like to welcome all students and parents to a new and exciting school year! If you are a new family or returning to our school, we are pleased to have you as part of our Colonel J. Fred Scott community. It is our goal to provide a safe and intellectually challenging environment that will empower students to become innovative thinkers, creative problem solvers and inspired learners prepared to thrive in the twenty-first century.

My name is Scott Robinson and I am the new Principal at Colonel Scott. I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to work with parents, the Whitehorn community, staff and most importantly, the wonderful students of CJFS.

Our school focuses on meeting the individual needs of all children. Our belief statements, vision and purpose all demonstrate the importance of the collaborative work of students, families and staff. It is our hope that all parents will be actively involved in their children’s learning.

Our school believes in learning through inquiry wherein the questions or ideas raised by students and staff are explored collaboratively. This allows for much richer experiences in the class that are experienced based rather than the more traditional ‘stand and deliver’ methodology.  

We are very excited to work with your children and to help them grow and develop as contributing members of our school community. We begin all of our Inquiry through the lens of Peace Education and use the Three Pillars of Respect as a way to promote peace in ourselves and our learning community. 

Three Pillars of Respect

  1. ​We respect ourselves
  2. We respect each other
  3. We respect this place

We will be using these Pillars in learning opportunities inside and outside of the classroom.

Please visit our school website at http://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/ColonelJFredScott to review our newsletter and go to 1cjfs.blogspot.ca​ to see our school and classroom blogs. These will provide you with important information regarding upcoming events, classroom updates, as well as parent and community activities.

Thank you!

Scott Robinson

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RT @UsihChristopher: So proud of #WeAreCBE Grade 8 student Nora Keegan who has just been published In Canada’s premier peer-reviewed pediatric journal! Impressive young lady! https://t.co/Ze8m9LfcJl

Join us for the Board of Trustees public meeting today at noon at the Ed Centre or stream the meeting online. The Students Come First: Budget Report for 2019-22 will be debated and voted on by the Board https://t.co/ISGJKlRlO8 #yycbe #WeAreCBE https://t.co/N9b8SPhSzC

Good Luck Habiba! We wish you all the best at the North American Braille Challenge this weekend #WeAreCBE https://t.co/gFWXWEck4N

We are proud to honour National Indigenous Peoples Day by sharing the stories of some of our major events, celebrations and learning opportunities that brought Indigenous culture, traditions and ways of knowing and being into our schools. https://t.co/LqNnrxrQPa #WeAreCBE https://t.co/IqeprfcHAB

We’re getting a new fee system over the summer. Please ensure any outstanding fees are paid and you print copies of previous receipts or statements by July 31, 2019 https://t.co/RXJx7wymu8 #yycbe https://t.co/JswEbNbQzX