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December 22
Jan. 2018 Update

We would like to start by sharing our gratitude and thanks with the Parent Community at Hillhurst School. “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow” (Beattie, 2017). On be-half of the student and staff we would like to thank our Parent Community for their commitment in supporting our school. We are very fortunate to have the support of our parents and we would like to acknowledge your efforts in working with us to make Hillhurst School a vibrant school.

We would also like to take this opportunity to show our thanks to the School Council Executive who under the leadership of Jennifer Wiens and Kara Exner has made valuable contributions to our common goal of student suc-cess. Our School Council and Parent Association members have worked pas-sionately the past four months to support our students in funding enriching opportunities for learning. Please accept our deepest gratitude as we say thank-you to each and every one of you!

Hillhurst School has also recently become involved in the S4 program.
http://startsmartstaysafe.ca/

This is a proactive, strength-based model of teaching and learning where police, schools and families partner together to actively build positive rela-tionships, create safe communities and prepare children for the challenges in our complex, changing world. The Start Smart Stay Safe Children and Fam-ilies Project is a collaborative initiative with the Calgary Police Service, the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District. Start Smart Stay Safe (S4) themes and objectives are directly aligned with specific Alberta Education Health and Life Skills and Social Studies Program of Stud-ies outcomes. This program will see visits from our School Liaison Officer Constable Steve Ross to classrooms. The messages will focus on: using prob-lem solving skills, making healthy choices, using respectful communication skills, building healthy relationships, safety and serving others to build an inclusive, resilient community.

Learning is of high importance; however the safety of our students is first priority. Traffic is a concern out-side the school. As a school we are committed to educating students about the importance of traffic safety by implementing actions throughout the school year which will inform and reinforce traffic safety around the school. We request that parents support school actions by following traffic rules when picking and dropping off children, discussing and reinforcing the importance of following traffic safety at all times and modeling appropriate traffic safety. We appreciate your support and understanding in working together with us to en-sure the safety of our students, staff, parents and community members.

Thank you for supporting your children and our school over the past term. As our year closes and we ap-proach our winter break, we hope that you will enjoy your time with family and friends and that you and your children will have time to enjoy some fresh winter air and appreciate the joy and peace of this season.

Regards,

Prem Randhawa, Principal & Adam Topp, Assistant Principal​

November 30
December Update

​We would like to start by sharing and celebrating a system-wide and school focus for staff this year. Coherence is a shared depth of understanding about the purpose and nature of the work in the minds and actions individually and collectively (Fullan & Quinn, 2016, p. 16). As we reflect on the past three months of school, we are proud to share that our teachers have engaged intentionally on the instructional core. 

Richard Elmore’s describes the instructional core as a dynamic relationship between the teacher, the student, and the content. As teachers gather knowledge of their students, as students gain understanding of the content, and as teachers collect evidence of student learning, instructional decisions are constantly reviewed and evaluated. Teaching is a complex interplay of interactions and relationships involving the student, the content and the knowledge that a teacher gains through the teaching and learning experience (Elmore, 2010). 

Through our work on inquirybased planning, working in the company of a Math Resident expert and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) teachers have worked to design tasks that build student intellectual engagement. 

In the month of November, we continued our Math Residency with Geri Lorway. Geri worked with staff to plan mathematics tasks that are active and rigorous. Geri went into all classrooms and worked with students to model mathematics strategies as connected to assessment practices. Geri also worked with our Support Staff (Educational Assistants, ELL Assistant) to build their confidence and skill in mathematics instruction. Geri presented to parents at the School Council Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 and engaged parents in mathematical discourse. 

We would like to share with you some upcoming staffing changes at Hillhurst School. Ms. Sharon Dupuis, the classroom teacher of students in Room 3, will be retiring from the Calgary Board of Education and her last day at Hillhurst School will be on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.

On behalf of the students, staff and the parent community, I would like to thank Sharon for her continuous dedication in supporting students at Hillhurst School. Mrs. Teresa Giffen is returning for maternity leave and has been appointed as the classroom teacher for Room 3. Teresa has been an educator with the CBE for 16 years and has been involved in many roles, from resource teacher to Grade 1 teacher and her most recent position in Gate 4/5 Teacher at Hillhurst School.

December Learning Conferences will be taking place on the following dates and times: 

  • Dec. 21 4:00-8:00pm 
  • Dec. 22 8:00-12:00pm (No school for students on this day). 

The December Conference is an opportunity for you to meet with your child’s teacher and discuss his/her progress and achievement in relation to the learner outcomes from the Programs of Study. These Learning Conferences are focused on evidence of individual student learning (examples of student work, student reflections, etc.). Learning Conferences focus on the student’s strengths, areas of growth, learning strategies and next steps for improvement in relation to learning outcomes and success criteria. 

We encourage parents to bring their child to be part of this conversation. Information will be coming in the next week about the booking process. We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming Learning Conferences! 

Please see the following reports as per Alberta Education guidelines: 

School Development Plan for 2017-2018 

Reports to Parents on Fees for 2016-2017​ 

School Results Report for 2016-2017 

Provincial Testing Multi-Year Report 2016-2017 

Students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 had an opportunity to experience first-hand what life is like for a city planner. The City of Calgary team worked with our Grades 4, 5 and 6 students on Wednesday, Nov. 15 and Thursday, Nov. 16 on the Grace Hospital Development. Students had an opportunity to engage in conversation and share their perspectives on what this space should look like. Please check the newsletter for student quotes and pictures that capture the day. 

Please check our calendar page​ for December School Events. 

Sincerely, 

Prem Randhawa, Principal 
Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

See more in our December Newsletter.

November 06
November Update

​We would like to start by reflecting on our leadership practices at Hillhurst School. Helen Timperely (2011) states that leadership is more like patterns of influence that is distributed across many players. Leadership effectiveness depends on how this influence promotes leader and teacher learning in ways that improve the engagement, learning and well-being of all students.

This is not the work of one person. As an Administrative Team, we have worked with staff to build their capacity with a focus on professional and intellectual engagement. In this process, we have shared standards of practice, engaged in job-embedded professional learning and used researchinformed practices. As a staff we are engaging in dialogue focused on decisions we are making, the impact these decisions have on student learning and what are the next required steps. We are fortunate to be working with staff that is dedicated and committed to our common goal of student success.

In the month of October, we officially started our Math Residency with Geri Lorway. Geri worked with staff to plan mathematics tasks that are active and rigorous. Geri went into all classrooms and worked with students to model mathematics strategies as connected to assessment practices. Geri is also working with staff and providing suggestions on quality mathematics resources that we are purchasing as a school. Geri will be joining our School Council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 6:30 pm to meet with parents.

Please check the remainder of this newsletter for pictures of Geri working alongside our staff and students. 

Another new initiative at Hillhurst School this year is “Passion Projects.” In the previous school year, a committee of teachers started planning for this initiative based on the question, “How can we connect our students as a school-wide community and increase their intellectual engagement?” Passion Projects give students an opportunity to broaden and deepen their learning while increasing engagement. Students have the opportunity to collaborate and work with students from different ages and classes from Grades 3-6. This enhances the sense of community at Hillhurst and also allows them to work with different teachers on staff. Some of the Passion Projects include: 

  • Scratch Coding Club
  • Chess Club, 
  • Foods
  • 3-D Printing Club
  • Photography Club
  • Robotics Club
  • Art Club

Passion Projects will continue to expand and grow as student interest does. Passion Projects started on Friday, Oct. 13 and takes place from 11:00-12:00 on a six week schedule.

We are welcoming five Student Teachers from the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.

These Pre-Service teachers are working towards completing their Bachelor of Education program.

Please join us in welcoming the following Practicum Teachers from the University of Calgary. They will be

starting their pre-service experience at Hillhurst on Monday, November 6, 2017.

  • Ms. Jesse Hamilton will be hosting Carrie Leung.
  • Mr. David Kooperberg will be hosting Mackenzie Brush.
  • Ms. Leslie Halper will be hosting Elaine Velletta.
  • Ms. Andrea Watkins will be hosting Vickey Wong.
  • Mrs. Larraine Ryan will be hosting Heather Million.

The Classroom Improvement Fund (CIF) was part of the central agreement reached between the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Teachers Employer Bargaining Association in May. Under the agreement, school boards and teachers created a joint proposal for how the CIF money will be used by school authorities.

The intent of the CIF grant is “to improve the student experience in the classroom.” To support the student experience with the funds allocated to our jurisdiction each school with a qualifying grant application will receive an allocation of a maximum of .5 FTE for the first round of applications.

We are excited to share that Leigh Underdahl started her additional half-day position on Monday, Oct. 2 in the afternoons. Leigh will continue with her Physical Education Specialist position in the morning and now this additional position in the afternoons. Leigh will be on a 6-week targeted schedule where she will be supporting grade teams. She is starting her work in Grade 1/2, 3/4. The focus of her work will be to support our students in the area of Literacy and Mathematics.

Leigh’s support will encompass the following:

  • Working with small groups on guided reading
  • Working with small groups on targeted literacy strategies (ie. letter recognition, letter sounds, word families)
  • Working with small groups on specific mathematics strategies and or fluency
  • Flexible-Grouping and working with a Math Group on targeted strategies (ie. regrouping, time, patterns)
  • Supporting the whole classroom as the additional teacher in whole-class tasks

Our current Facility Operator, Anthony Pietrzyk has accepted a position at Rosedale School. We would like to thank Anthony for his work at Hillhurst School and wish him the best. Please join me in welcoming Andrew Li as the new Facility Operator at Hillhurst School and his first day will be on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

Please check our Calendar page for November School Events. Also see more in our November Newsletter​.

Sincerely,
Prem Randhawa, Principal
Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

October 05
Who Are We?

We would like to start by reflecting on a quote from Margaret Wheatley.

“Determination, energy, and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something. We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context” (Wheatley, 2005). 

As we reflect on the month of September, our staff and students have shown their courage as they started a new school year. Students are working with staff and parents to establish goals for the 2017-2018 school year and what strategies they will strengthen or develop as they move forward in their growth as individuals. 

The month of September has also been filled with many rich learning experiences to build success for all students at Hillhurst School. The school wide inquiry question of “Who are we?” has been embedded into our planning, instruction and assessment. Each grade group team delved into their Alberta Program of Studies and created the following over-arching statement:

  • Kindergarten – Who are we as unique individuals? 
  • Grade 1/2 – Who are we now? Where are we going? 
  • Grade 3/4 – Who are we as responsible citizens of the environment? 
  • Grade 4/5 Gate – What does it mean to be a caring and a proactive citizen? 
  • Grade 4/5, 5/6, 6 Gate - How are we part of change? 

This school year we are welcoming parents into our school for a “Celebration of Learning.” This is an opportunity for our students to share and celebrate their learning with you. The format will vary, but the focus will remain on students communicating current learning with parents, as connected to the Alberta Program of Studies​

See more in our October Newsletter.

April 26
Welcome Back!

On behalf of all the staff, we would like to extend a warm welcome to the new and returning students and families of Hillhurst School. The start of a new school year is always an exciting time for staff, students and parents filled with anticipation and hope. We are happy to share that Hillhurst students have settled into their classrooms and have transitioned into the start of a new school year! 

The staff at Hillhurst School is dedicated to building a safe, compassionate community of life-long learners, who are inspired to become respectful, responsible, co-operative, innovative and productive citizens. Our school building, system and province share a common focus for the quality education we provide for every student. We will continue to strengthen our partnerships with parents as we know that helping your child succeed is a responsibility we share with you, the parents. Our home-school partnership is one of the best ways to help your child succeed. We encourage you to get to know your child’s teacher and become involved in your child’s education. 

We are excited to share with you the Hillhurst Staff for the 2017-2018 school year (attached at the end of the message). You will be receiving an email sometime today from your child’s teacher. In this email your child’s teacher will provide you with important information about classroom routines and processes. As a school we will be using a consistent approach to communicate the learning in your child’s classroom with you. 

Every Friday you will receive a “Weekly Update” from your child’s teacher that will share the following: Week-At-Glance, Ask me about, Helping at home, Upcoming Events and Special Days. This “Weekly Update” will be emailed to you via School Messenger. Please be sure that the school has your updated email and contact the school to make any changes.

For more information, see the September Newsletter​

 

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