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May 08
May 2019

Can you believe that there are only two months left in this school year?!?  It will be a very busy two months though!  In the month of May we have Celebration of Learning evenings, Alien Inline skating, Vivo Open Minds School, and various fieldtrips.  Thank you to all of the parents who have volunteered to help us out, as we certainly could not be providing these off-site educational experiences without your support.  As a small way to show our appreciation for all that you do, parents and grandparents who have volunteered at Highwood School this school year are invited to attend our Volunteer Tea on Thursday, May 23 at 1:00.  Please email or call the school to RSVP.  It will be a fun afternoon filled with food and student entertainment. 

May is also the month that we start preparing for the upcoming school year.  It is VERY IMPORTANT that you register for the yellow school bus before May 31 if your child needs to take the bus to go to and from school for the 2019-2020 school year.  Even if you are unsure if your child requires the school bus, I would encourage you to still register for the bus and then cancel your contract at a later time if necessary.  As well, it is around this time that I receive the 2019-2020 school budget and need to make some staffing decisions.  I encourage all parents to complete this short three question survey, as your feedback is always valuable.  https://tinyurl.com/highwoodbudget

Next time you’re at Highwood School I invite you to check out our School Development Plan bulletin board located next to the school office.  It displays many rich samples of student work that reflect the on-going work that we are doing around student acquisition of subject-specific vocabulary.  I also encourage you to ask your child about the work and strategies they are learning and doing in class that is intentionally focused​ on acquiring subject-specific vocabulary.

School Development Plan.jpg

Thanks for all that you do to support your child and the school.  I know that during the past eight months you’ve supported your child with studying, reading in two languages, dictation, and various projects.  Know that you’ve had a big impact on your child’s learning and we are appreciative of the time and effort that you’ve put into helping your child acquire a second language.  It’s hard work!

Sincerely,

Christine Cheung

Principal

December 03
December 2018

The month of November was a very busy one and it certainly couldn’t have been possible without the support of Highwood School parents.  Thank you for your generosity in donating to VETS Canada, a non-profit organization that supports veterans and their families.  We raised over $900!  Thank you to all of the students who put together a very touching assembly, honouring those that fought for our freedom and reminding us that peace and love starts with us. 

Parent volunteers were also extremely appreciated during our many fieldtrips, K-2 swimming, and Grade One Open Minds School at Telus Spark.  We like to offer these rich learning opportunities for our students, but it can only be possible with dedicated parent volunteers who are willing to give up their time to support the students and teachers.  November was also our school’s cheque writing campaign where we raised over $7000.  Given the realities of our current economic times, we are very appreciative of every dollar that was donated to the school.  Please be assured that all of the money goes towards students and supporting student events, learning, and needs.

As we enter into December, we continue to ask Highwood students and families to give to those in need.  We are doing things a bit differently this year, but are still continuing to support The Mustard Seed with the “Warm Feet for the Street” campaign and The Calgary Food Band with The Mayor’s Food Drive.  We will be doing a reverse advent calendar!  Every day, students will be asked to bring one specific item to donate.  With all of the items collected, it will either be donated to the food bank or put together to create stuffed socks for the Mustard Seed.  A reminder that with toiletry items, small travel size would be preferable so that they can be stuffed into socks.  We encourage you to donate what you can.  Bins will be set up in the main hallway, so students are welcome to donate items even after the day has passed.

The donation schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, December 5: soup (cans, cartons, or dry packs of soup)

Thursday, December 6: dry pasta, noodles, rice, Mac and Cheese

Monday, December 10: toothpaste and/or toothbrushes

Tuesday, December 11: soap

Wednesday, December 12: socks (all ages, all sizes)

Thursday, December 13: toiletry items (brush, comb, razors, lip balm, small tissue packages, band-aids, lotion)

Friday, December 14: shampoo and/or conditioner

Monday, December 17: canned meat, fish, beans

Tuesday, December 18: canned fruit and vegetables

Wednesday, December 19: any food item!!!

A reminder that report cards will be distributed on December 14th and parent teacher conferences will be on December 20th and 21st.  Students are on winter break from December 22nd to January 6th, with school resuming on January 7th.

Happy Holidays!  Wishing you and your family health and happiness.

Christine Cheung

Principal, Highwood School

November 05
November 2018

September and October have been really busy for teachers in collaborating to set goals and developing strategies for our 2018-2019 School Development Plan.  During PD Days, early dismissal afternoons, and lunch hour meetings, we have been looking at our report card data from the last school year, analyzing results, and making decisions as to what we need to focus on with students this school year.  As a result, we have decided that teachers will create opportunities for the exploration and application of key subject-specific vocabulary, so that students’ ability to communicate understanding will improve.  During upcoming PD Days, early dismissal afternoons, and afternoon partnering sessions with our Learning Leaders, teachers will be designing intentional tasks that are focussed on developing subject-specific vocabulary.  Together, we will also be analyzing student work, teacher tasks, and various assessment results that will provide us with specific feedback related to student progress and next steps.  To hear more about our School Development Plan, I invite you to join us at the next School Council meeting on Monday, November 5 at 7:00 pm at the Highwood School Learning Commons.

At the next council meeting, I will also be speaking about changes to our start and end times, as well as early dismissal Fridays for the 2019-2020 school year.  Council’s Special Events Committee is also looking for feedback from parents during this meeting, related to activities/ fun events that can be organized and hosted by School Council this school year, that compliment the learning that is taking place at school.  In the past, School Council has coordinated events such as Popcorn Day, Chinese New Year activity day and Cookie Day.  They are open to new ideas and are looking for lots of help!

I hope to see you at the new School Council meeting on Monday, November 5th at 7:00pm!

Sincerely,

Christine Cheung

Principal, Highwood School​​

Oct 2018 PD Day picture.jpg


October 03
Oct. 2018

Can you believe that your child has been in school for one whole month already?!? Lots of rich language learning has already taken place, and students have been using and experimenting with both Mandarin and English through songs, poems, and conversations. Thank you parents for your support at home in getting homework completed, checking D2L, doing nightly home reading, setting up an evening routine that is suitable for your child, and getting them to bed at an early hour. All of these things make a big difference to your child’s learning.

There are many field trips planned for the month of October and in order for classes to be able to go, a certain number of parent volunteers must accompany the class. If there are not enough volunteers, field trips may need to be cancelled. If you are interested in volunteering, you MUST have a cleared CBE police clearance on file (clearance through other organizations cannot be accepted). We encourage all parents to complete a volunteer clearance form (that is good for 5 years) just in case… you never know when you have a day off and can help us out! To apply, you need to stop by the school first, bring your driver’s licence as a form of ID, and the school will print you a letter that you will use to apply at the police station or online. Plan for the approval process to take at least 4 weeks, so apply as soon as possible. Please take the time to apply for a police clearance as we’d love to have you volunteer with us… even if it’s only for an hour!

As a staff, we are currently working on setting goals and strategies for our 2018-2019 School Development Plan. I will be sharing more details about it in November’s newsletter and ways you can support your child at home with the strategies we are using at school.

Sincerely,

Christine Cheung
Principal, Highwood School

September 05
Sept. 2018

Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year! I hope you all had a chance to rest and relax over the summer because the next 10 months will be very busy! If you are new to Highwood School, welcome to a wonderful school with wonderful parents, teachers, and students. Everyone in the Highwood family works hard to ensure that all students enjoy and succeed in learning the language and culture, and to have lots of fun while doing it! By choosing Highwood School, we understand that you are not just choosing a school, you are choosing the value of learning a second language and the joys and struggles that come with it. Whether you’re new or returning to Highwood School, expect this year to be packed full of language learning, rich activities, and fun experiences.
I’m happy to be back after taking the months of May and June off to work on my doctorate degree. Many people have been asking if I’m a “Dr.” yet, and the answer is no! I’m almost there… hopefully soon! A very special thank you to everyone’s flexibility and willingness to pitch in during my absence. I was grateful to be able to take the time off, knowing that the school was in very capable hands.

Our staff this year will mostly be familiar faces. Ms. Ma who taught at Highwood a few years ago is returning as a grade 3 Mandarin teacher. We did hire Ms. Swati Mahalwar who will be the AM kindergarten classroom assistant. Please welcome her to the Highwood School family if you see her.

Our school hours are the same this year as last year, and once again there are a number of early dismissal days. Please note these dates on your calendar and remember that students are dismissed at 12:05 after they eat lunch. Once again, you can pick up your children at 11:30 on these days if you do not wish for them to eat lunch at school. Please remember to sign them out in the office first. For kindergarten students, these half days alternate, with some days designated only for AM kindergarten students, and some days designated only for PM kindergarten students. Please see the school calendar for exact dates. For the most up to date calendar, please refer to the monthly one posted on Highwood’s website.

I look forward to a jam packed year full of learning and laughter!

Sincerely,

Christine Cheung
Principal, Highwood School

May 31
June 2018

June is a great time of year to reflect upon the school year as a whole, and to realize with amazement how much growth has occurred for the students at Highwood School! Think back to when your child was beginning this school year, and how far they have come along with their literacy skills, math skills, and/or social skills; these are years where growth can happen very quickly! A range of school-wide celebrations and guests contributed to this growth, fun, and excitement, such as our Chinese New Year celebration, our Hoop Dance guest, and a high school band visit from Victoria. Further supporting student growth were the amazing parents of our school community, helping on field trips and a myriad of other in-school tasks; thank you so much, we very much value your commitment to Highwood School!

June is also a very busy month in our school. We continue to have our annual Sports Day, which will be held on Friday, June 15th; let’s hope for beautiful weather for this event! Aboriginal Day, which is celebrated yearly on the Summer Solstice, will be held on June 21; work is already underway to plan for some fun activities! The next day, June 22, will mark our Farewell Assembly, which will begin at 10:00am. This is when we say good-bye and good luck to our grade four students, who will be moving on to middle school, as well as those students who will not be continuing at Highwood School.

Report cards will be distributed on the last day of school, which is on Wednesday, June 27. Please note that this is also a half day. If your child will not be at school on that day, it is important that you provide a large-self-addressed, stamped envelope to the school, so that the report card can be mailed to you.

The first day back to school is on Tuesday, September 4. Bus schedules will be available online sometime in late August, and hard copies will be available at the school, if needed, on August 29, 30 and 31st. Teachers will also be calling home on one of these days to introduce themselves to you, so that you know who your child’s homeroom teacher will be.

Thank you again for another wonderful year; I hope that you and your family have a great summer together, full of joy and happiness.

Ryan Turner
Acting Principal, Highwood School​

April 30
May 2018

This will be my last principal’s message for this school year, as I will be taking the months of May and June off to finish my doctoral degree. Thank you for all of the well wishes… it is the people that I will certainly miss the most during my time off. I also thank you for your support, as I certainly could not have pursued this degree without having the encouragement from the staff, parents, and students. I will be visiting from time to time, and attending a few special events that are happening at the school. I leave the school in very capable hands, and I know that you will extend your support to Mr. Turner who will be the acting principal, and Ms. Lam who will be the acting assistant principal.

There is a lot happening in the month of May! To show our appreciation, on May 10 we’d love to take the opportunity to celebrate all parent volunteers! Highwood School’s annual parent volunteer appreciation tea will take place at 1:00 in our school gym. Please ensure that you RSVP by May 7 to the school, if you are able to attend. You can also email us at highwood@cbe.ab.ca. It is a nice afternoon where we as a school get to spoil parents with food and beverages, as well as highlight the many talents that our students have. I hope that you are able to make time in your busy schedule to attend this special event.

I would also like to invite all parents to our Celebration of Learning evenings. Celebration of Learning provides students the opportunity to show parents what they have learned, how they learned it, and what they would still like to learn. Thursday, May 17 at 6:30 is for AM Kindergarten, Grade 2 and Grade 4 families. Thursday, May 24 at 6:30 is for PM Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 3 families. It is a celebratory evening dedicated to learning and the learning process.​

Christine Cheung
Principal, Highwood School

April 05
April 2018

With only three more months of school left, I wanted to take the time to thank parents for the time they have taken every night to ensure that students complete homework and home reading. They are important aspects of supporting student learning, especially in a program where instructional hours are split amongst two languages. Parental involvement in any way really makes a difference in a child’s learning and educational experience.

Here are a few tips on how to help your child with homework:

  • Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure kids have a well-lit place to complete homework. Keep supplies — paper, pencils, glue, scissors — within reach.
  • Help them make a plan. On heavy homework nights or when there's an especially hefty assignment to tackle, encourage your child break up the work into manageable chunks. Create a work schedule for the night if necessary — and take time for a 15-minute break every hour, if possible.
  • Keep distractions to a minimum. This means no TV, loud music, or phone calls. (Occasionally, though, a phone call to a classmate about an assignment can be helpful.)
  • Make sure kids do their own work. They won't learn if they don't think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions. But it's a kid's job to do the learning.
  • Be a motivator and monitor. Ask about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns.

As I visit classrooms, I want you to know that students have been doing and learning a lot of great things. Teachers have also been working hard to develop intentional and meaningful tasks to develop biliteracy as reflected in student writing. I have been extremely impressed by the amount of language growth that has taken place and am proud to be the principal of such an awesome school.

Sincerely,

Christine Cheung
Principal, Highwood School​

March 02
March 2018

​Since we only have two reporting periods this year (December and June), we felt it was still important to touch base with parents in March to discuss student progress and student goals since we last met in December. Therefore, parent teacher conferences will take place on March 22nd and 23rd without report cards. This is also a good time to discuss how parents and teachers can best support student learning and growth as we head in to the last few months of the school year. Conference information will be provided soon.

As this is approximately the mid-way point of the school year, it is important that you let the school know of any changes to your address, phone numbers, email addresses, and emergency contacts. The school always needs to most up-to-date information about your child in case of any unexpected incidents or emergencies. If your child has developed any allergies or health conditions, the school must also be notified of this, and any medication they may need will require you to drop it off at the office and for you to complete the corresponding paperwork. This also holds true if there are changes to the custody agreement for the student. The school must have copies of the legal paperwork to be able to enforce any custody agreements. If the school does not have any current paperwork, then both parents have legal access to their child, upon providing proper identification.

The safety of all students is always the priority of the school. Please help us by providing the school the most current contact, health, and legal information. This is also a good opportunity to remind parents to use the student drop off areas across the street from the school. The staff parking is NOT a safe student drop off area. Parents are also not allowed to park there as every spot is assigned to a staff member.

Sincerely,

Christine Cheung
Principal, Highwood School

February 01
February 2018

Happy Chinese New Year! Just like in previous years, we will be having a grand celebration concert at the Jubilee auditorium to welcome in the year of the dog! This year’s concert will take place on Tuesday, February 13 at 7:00pm. Concert tickets can be purchased online at https://highwoodelementary.inviteright.com/newyear2018. You will need to use your child’s student ID number to purchase tickets, as this event is only open to Highwood School families and friends. The theme to this year’s celebration is Footprints of our Ancestors: A blended celebration of Chinese New Year and Indigenous Ways of knowing, being, and doing. Our special guest will be Elder Randy Bottle from Kainai Nation. Please invite all of your family and friends to celebrate with us. It will be an evening to remember!

February is an important month in terms of preparing for the next school year. New students wanting to attend Highwood School for Kindergarten or Grade One starting in September 2018 must submit a registration form by February 13th. Because the number of registrations exceeds the number of spots available, we will be doing a lottery draw on Wednesday, February 14th to determine which new students will be at Highwood in September. If your student already attends Highwood School this school year, they will automatically be rolled over to the next grade and do not need to reregister. If your child is in grade 4 and plan on staying with the Mandarin program, they will automatically be rolled over to grade 5 at Colonel Irvine School. Please ensure your family and friends know of the February 13th deadline, as we would hate for anyone to be disappointed because they missed the lottery draw deadline.

Wishing you and your family health and happiness in the year of the dog.

Sincerely,

Christine Cheung
Principal, Highwood School​

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