Get to know our principal and what’s going on in our school.
March 30
 Hillhurst Updates - March 30

Hillhurst School 


Good Morning Hillhurst families.

We hope you are doing well and keeping your spirits up. Staff at Hillhurst have had time during their spring break to let all the changes in our world sink in and have begun to eagerly plan and explore ideas for on-line learning. There will be adjustments as we transition to an on-line learning environment, but please know we are here to support you and your child as best we can. These are still our students. Hillhurst is still their school. Also know that we understand that each of our families have been impacted by this pandemic, and that it won’t always be easy to support your children in their learning at home.  We do not expect parents to deliver the same learning that students receive at school, but to do whatever they can to encourage and support learning for their children.  Please know that many staff members also have school aged children at home and spouses that are having to work, either from home or at their work place, so we absolutely understand these challenges.  Also, know that the on-line learning plan will evolve over time.  We ask for your patience as we continue to receive guidelines and expectations from the Calgary Board of Education. Beginning today, teachers will connect with students and their families to see how you are and to ask a few questions which will help to guide our next steps in the online learning approach. Some staff may contact you using their personal devices.  We ask that you please not use this number to contact staff, but instead contact them via e-mail. We will use the information gleaned from families to inform our next step.  The on-line learning environment will begin to take shape as the week progresses.  We ask for your understanding as we try to meet the varied needs of our families.  In a stressful time such as this we will be working hard to not overwhelm families with too much and to be flexible to the needs of everyone, all while adhering to Alberta Education’s guidelines guidelines to direct student learning .  For those families wanting to supplement the work you receive from your child’s teacher you can also access the Learning at Home webpage, which offers a variety of educational ideas to support literacy, numeracy and wellness. We are here for your children.  Our commitment to their learning will not waver – it will just look different.  Please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail at CJGiffen@cbe.ab.ca or at the school. I am here to help.


Thank you,

Chris Giffen, Acting Principal

Hillhurst School


March 20
 Hillhurst Updates - March 20

Depending on age and individual circumstances, students will have very different reactions and understandings of all that is going on in our rapidly changing world.  Below are some resources that may be useful in helping your children understand what is happening. 

General Principles for Talking to Children About COVID - CBE.pdf 

Covid Social Story for Children.pdf 

Managing Anxiety and Stress - CBE.pdf 

WHO Helping Chidren Cope with Stress.pdf 

Children are now officially on spring break, so we encourage you and your family to do what works for you knowing that it won’t be the spring break any of us had planned.  If your children are asking for something to do, you may refer to the ideas shared by the Calgary Board of Education or use the ideas communicated via your child’s teacher. Hillhurst staff are going to take their spring break to refresh and when we return we expect to have more direction as to how schools should proceed.  We will communicate next steps as soon as possible after our March 30th professional development day.

Take care and stay healthy.

December 09
Dec. 9 - Hillhurst School Updated

Dear Hillhurst Families,

As we approach Winter Break, I find myself reflecting on both how quickly this year has progressed, as well as how far students have come in their learning.  As I engage in chats with teachers, discussing student progress and next steps, I can confidently say that without exception, all students have demonstrated growth in some capacity.  What growth looks like varies of course, grade to grade, student to student. 

All Hillhurst staff are also constantly looking to improve and demonstrate personal and professional growth.  In continuation of our growth as teachers, we will be welcoming Adrienne Gear, renowned researcher on literacy, to work with our teaching staff on our January 6th Non-Instructional Day.  Our School Development Plan focus is: “If teachers design robust, responsive, engaging tasks grounded in a caring environment, then students will demonstrate an improved ability to write and problem-solve.”  There is a lot to consider in this statement, but know that care, writing, and problem-solving are at the core.  As such, Ms. Gear will be supporting us with her findings and strategies that relate to optimizing our writing techniques, in support of our school goals.  You can learn more about Ms. Gear and her reading and writing professional development at https://www.readingpowergear.com/.  Also, attached to this email you will find a .PDF sent to us by our Occupational Therapist, which offers information about supporting writing at home.

Finally, I realize that many people are awaiting word about the impact of the provincial budget on our school.  As you have no doubt been made aware via news outlets, budget allocations and understandings have been shifting regularly over the past couple weeks.  Know that as soon as I am able to report anything with “certainty” about impacts on Hillhurst School, I will do so.  I have been informed that information will be shared within the next couple days via email about the budget and its implications, so stay tuned.

A few reminders

Interviews, Report card dates:  Report Cards are scheduled to come home on Monday, December 16, 2019.  You can book an interview with your child’s teacher through the PowerSchool portal, at https://sis.cbe.ab.ca/public/Bookings are on a first-come, first-served basis, and opens up online for booking effective Monday, December 16th, 2019 at 6:00pm.  Interviews are scheduled for almost all classes on the evening of Thursday, December 19th and the morning of Friday December 20th.

Fun Lunch:  A reminder that our next Fun Lunch is this Thursday, December 12th.

Grandfriends:  We were very happy to see the Grandfriends program continue last week.  Thank you to our School Council for your work in making this opportunity happen, in support of student learning and positive relationships.

Fill a sock campaign:  Thank you to all families who have sent in a sock for our “Fill a Sock” campaign; they will be delivered on December 20th to families and people in need.

Winter Break:  Reminder that students’ last day of school before Winter Break is Thursday, December 19, 2019.  School will resume for students on Tuesday, January 7th, 2020. 


Warmest wishes,

Ryan Turner

Acting Principal, Hillhurst School


October 04
Formative Assessment

One month into the school year already; time is passing by very quickly, but we are making good use of our time!  Students have been working diligently on refining understandings based on grade-level curriculum, and one aspect that teachers are looking at deeply during some of our Friday afternoon time is assessment.  One area of assessment that we are looking at is how we can leverage ‘formative assessment’ to both engage students deeply in their work, as well as continually move learning forward.  Dylan William is a renowned authority in the area of formative assessment, and we have been looking at his five key strategies for effective formative assessment.  They are:

  1. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding goals for learning and criteria for success with learners./li>
  2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions, activities and tasks that elicit evidence of student learning.
  3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward.
  4. Activating students as owners of their own learning.
  5. Activating students as learning resources for one another.

Some of the strategies are more appropriate in certain learning situations of course, but Wiliam offers excellent guidance on establishing where learners are in their learning, where they are going, and how to get there, regardless of ability level or subject area.  It is challenging work, but very worthwhile, and we are excited about implementing these strategies in our classrooms to help all students learn what they need to learn to succeed in school and our world.  To learn more about formative assessment and Dylan Wiliam’s research, you can easily find some of his talks/seminars about assessment and student success on YouTube.

March 22
April Administrative Message

Administrative Message

As school leaders, we continuously reflect on our leadership practices and our impact.  We collect data/evidence, engage in conversations and use research-driven information to inform our actions. Recently, we read an article, “How Do Principals Influence Student Achievement?” by the UChicago Consortium of School Research.  Below is a visual that speaks to our work as a collective.  If School Principals create Strong Learning Climates, supported by Teacher Leadership then school-wide goals will improve.  Simple, but yet a very powerful focus.  


In staffing news, we would like to formally welcome Mrs. Josephine Cesario as our new Administrative E Secretary.  Josie joins the Hillhurst team with a variety of career experiences both in the public and private sector.  She is very enthusiastic and excited about her new role.  Please be sure to take a moment to introduce yourself and give her a warm Hillhurst welcome! 

This school year, we have had a number of Celebration of Learning events in the evening.  Many families have had an opportunity to celebrate in their child’s learning.  We wanted to take a moment and share some feed-back we have received from families in from the Celebration of Learning evening events:

Great! So fun! Best part is seeing the enthusiasm in XXX about her work.

I’m so impressed by the variety of learning experiences.  I especially liked the Anne Frank biography and the Mt. St. Helen’s Volcano. 

Really enjoyed it, kids have worked super hard!

Love the crime scenes project!

Robotics – look at all the coding!

French – so personalized! Really helps to engage the students.

Music – Wow! My son has no musical background and he played a piece and sang it!

Thank you for all your hard work!

A group gathering with families and students will give students more confidence.

The math strategy game was very good.  We enjoyed the robotics and it was cool to see her creativity.

On behalf of the staff, thank you for attending the Celebration of Learnings, thus far and we look forward to the remaining ones for the year.

In May and June of this year, all Grade 6 students throughout the province will write provincial achievement tests in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Results from these tests will provide Alberta Education, school administrators, teachers, parents, students, and the public with information about what students know and can do in relation to provincial standards at the end of Grade 6.

Grade 6 ELA Part A – May 8

Grade 6 ELA Part B – May 13

Grade 6 Math Part A – June 14

Grade 6 Math Part B – June 12

Grade 6 Social Studies – June 11

Grade 6 Science – June 17

As we head into Spring Break, we hope that you will enjoy your time with family and friends and that you and your child (ren) will have time to enjoy some fresh spring air!



Prem Randhawa, Principal

Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

January 31
February Administrative Message

Students are the reason for professionals to engage in learning and success in developing better engagement, learning and well-being is the mark of success of any intervention or innovation” (Timperely, 2011).

In the month of January, staff and students at Hillhurst School continued our School Development Focus in Mathematics by enhancing a positive culture that supports communication, connections, problem-solving, reasoning and visualization.  In professional learning communities, teachers are continuing to come together to analyze student evidence and design the next best steps for their students.  Alongside Mathematics, our School Development Plan also focused on Writing and how student achievement in organizing and expressing written information can improve.

Recently, we had our Grade 3/4 Celebration of Learning hosted by students in Mr. David Kooperberg’s and Ms. Wong’s class on Wednesday, January 23, 2019.  The Celebration of Learning is an opportunity for students to share their learning with families and for conversations about questions connected to the Program of Studies.  We would like to share some feed-back with you from parents who attended this celebration:

“Such a great display of knowledge!”

“A group gathering with families and students gives students more confidence.”

“The math strategy game was very good.  We enjoyed the robotics and it was cool to see her creativity.”

Thank you to all our students and families who participated as this was a true celebration of our students and showed their sense of pride in their learning!

In Staffing news, we would like to share that Denise Dickson, Special Education Assistant will be taking a leave to take care of herself prior to the arrival of her baby in March 2019.  Denise’s last day with us will be on Thursday, January 31, 2019.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank Denise for her work with our students and staff.  Denise has made significant impacts on academic and social/emotional development of our students and we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that.  We are currently in the process of hiring a replacement and are working with Human Resources on this. 

On a final note, we would like to thank our “Cheque Writing Campaign” co-ordinator Darcy Tuer and finance tracker Nadine Dyrgas for their tremendous efforts in raising funds to enhance the learning experience for our students.   We are very fortunate at Hillhurst School to have the dedication and support of our parents as our students are completely worth it! A deep thank you to everyone who donated and contributed to the “Cheque Writing Campaign” for the benefit of all our students.   

We are happy to announce that we wrote a grant for Alberta Transportation, Government of Alberta and we were successful! We are the proud recipients of a $2200.00 grant for our “Hug and Go Zone” which is coming very soon to Hillhurst School.  Please see the important details and map below:

Thank you to all parents who expressed concerns for the safety of students being dropped off at the start and end of each school day. We heard you!

We were recently approved by the City of Calgary to implement a Hug and Go zone in the front of our school on 7th Ave.  The Hug and Go is a zone is designed for parents to pick up and drop up of their children in a safe manner. The Hug and Go Zone will be in effect from 8:00 am to 9:00 am and then again from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm during school days. During the Hug and Go times, vehicles are not able to park as this is a loading zone. As safety of students is a top priority we will have designated staff that will help parents unload and load their children. We are expecting the Hug and Go Zone to start in February or March. We will be sending home more information about the Hug and Go Zone in the next few weeks.


Prem Randhawa, Principal Hillhurst School

Adam Topp, Assistant Principal Hillhurst School 

November 30
December Administrative Message

Thank you to all our Hillhurst families and guests who attended Wednesday’s Stockton Performance.  We are so proud of the work our students and staff have engaged in with our residency.  Jeff worked passionately with our school to build a love for oral story-telling and his impact was meaningful.

We would like to thank the Hillhurst Cheque Writing Campaign as half of the funding for this residency has come from these generous donations.  “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow” (Beattie, 2017).  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 place of learning.  As well, we would like to show our thanks to Jeff Stockton, as his oral story-telling residency brought us together as a school in a meaningful way. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to show our thanks to the School Council Executive who under the leadership of Pat Hanlon and Ellen Parker have made valuable contributions to our common goal of student success.  Our School Council and Parent Association members have worked passionately the past three 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!

In the month of December we are having Learning Conferences on December 20 & 21.  A letter will be going home and shared via school messenger the upcoming week. The conferences will be booked through an on-line system starting Thursday, December 13 at 8:00amThis can be booked through MY CBE/PowerSchool Account at:  https://sis.cbe.ab.ca/public/Learning Conferences will be taking place the following dates and times:  December 20 4:00-8:00pm & December 21 8:00-12:00pm (No school for students on this day).  Please note that students will return from Winter Break on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. 

On the Hillhurst School website you will soon find some important documents: School Development Plan, School Results and School Fees Report.  Please go to our website to see the details of each report:  http://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/Hillhurst/Pages/default.aspx

Thank you for supporting your children and our school over the past three months.  As our year closes and we approach 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.


Prem Randhawa, Principal & Adam Topp, Assistant Principal


November 01
November 2018

As School Leaders we are continuously reflecting on our practices and impact on the school community.  Helen Timperely (2011) states that leadership is more like patterns of influence that are 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.  As an Administrative Team, we continuously work with our 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 research-informed practices.  We are fortunate to be working with staff that is dedicated and committed to our common goal of student success. 

On Friday, October 26 during the Non-Instructional Day, teachers engaged in professional learning focused on Mathematics.  We looked at the Alberta Education expectations in regards to Number Facts.  Teachers focused conversations around the body of evidence they gather around number fact fluency.  The Mathematics program of studies expects students to master number facts.  Mastery of number facts occurs when students understand and recall facts.  This allows students to apply their knowledge to different and more complex computations and to be flexible in their thinking.  Please check out the link below for further information:


With the support of our resident Jeff Stockton, staff and students have worked thoughtfully on oral story telling.  Kindergarten students have been looking at the magic of imagination and a recipe for a great story.  Our Kindergarten students are doing a little brainstorming about things they would love to create a story about.  In grades 1-6, Jeff spent some time with the tools of the storyteller, and sketched in the frame for a simple bullseye rubric.  Jeff also talked and played a little with the experience of ‘the Whoosh’ - that feeling that hits us all when we stand in front of an audience.  Please stay tuned for further information and details about our Jeff Stockton Performance Evening on Wednesday, November 28 at 6:00pm.  

Again this year, we welcome Students 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 start their pre-service experience at Hillhurst on Monday, November 5. 

Ms. Jesse Hamilton will be hosting Claire Howard.

Mr. David Kooperberg will be hosting Lauren Ewaskye.

Ms. Leslie Halper will be hosting Elizabeth Howard.

Mrs. Larraine Ryan will be hosting James Walsh. 

Our Character Development Committee led by a group of dedicated teachers, have meaningfully involved our staff and students in creating a personalized Character Development approach that meets the needs of our schools.  Over the last several weeks, students have been brainstorming and contributing ideas around what the letters of “Hibou” represent.  Teachers then led students into voting for the ones they felt best fit our school.  On Monday, October 29th we had a kick-off assembly to share these virtues.  Here they are below:

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 10.07.02 AM.png
We would like to thank all our wonderful parents for our recent Staff Appreciation Luncheon.  Hillhurst Staff very much enjoyed the wonderful lunch.  We are very fortunate to have such thoughtful parents and a sincere thank you to everyone!

Please check the attached calendar for November School Events.    Also check us out on Twitter Follow our new school on Twitter at @HillhurstSchool. 


Prem Randhawa, Principal

Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

October 01
October 2018

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 2018-2019 school year and what strategies they will strengthen or develop as they move forward in their growth as individuals.  Thank you to all our parents who attended the Learning Conferences on September 20 and 21.  It was wonderful to meet and re-connect with many of our families.  We also appreciate the focused and open conversations around the success of students for this school year. 

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 “Change” 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 – We are learning and changing.

Grade 1/2 – When we change the way we think, the world changes with us. ​

Grade 3/4 – How can we make a positive change in the world around us?​

Grade 4/5 Gate – What is change and how do we navigate through it?

Grade 4/5, 5/6, 6 (Gate): Change – How do we make a difference?

This school year we are continuing with “Celebration of Learning” events. 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.  Below is a tentative schedule for these celebrations.  You will get a confirmed date and time from your child’s classroom teacher in their “Weekly Update” closer to the date.  “Celebration of Learning” events will be held at Hillhurst School from 6:00-7:00pm. 

Kindergarten, Grade 1/2 – April 17​

Grade 3/4 – January 23​

Grade 4/5, 5/6 - February 27​

Gate 4/5/6 - May 15

At each School Council Meeting, grade teams join to present and share some of the current learning in their classrooms.  The “Teacher Presentation” takes place at the start of the School Council Meeting.  Please see the schedule below for grade team presentations: 

October 10 – Ms. Torstensen, Ms. Watkins, Mr. Scott ​

January 16 – Ms. Housley, Ms. Underdahl, Ms. Yee, Ms. AuYeung​

February 13 – Ms. Mitchell, Ms. Hamilton​

March 13 – Mr. Kooperberg, Ms. Wong ​

April 10 – Ms. Klassen, Mr. Law, Ms. Hamir​

May 8 – Ms. Halper, Ms. Grainger, Ms. Ryan, Ms. Hamir ​

As a school this year, our School Development Plan will continue with a focus on Mathematics and extend into Writing. Further, we will be having a Story-telling Residency with Jeff Stockton.  Jeff Stockton worked with our staff and students for 2 days the previous school year and made a great lasting impression.  We are welcoming Jeff back for a 20 day residency and will be working towards a November performance that welcomes all parents/guardians into our school.  Please mark your calendars as the evening performance will be on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 6:00pm.


We will continue to share updates with you in our monthly newsletter, at school council meetings and through weekly updates with the classroom teacher. 

Further, we will be updating our school website on a regular basis on with school events, pictures and student voice.  Please check the website below:


Please check the attached calendar for October School Events.    


Prem Randhawa, Principal

Adam Topp, Assistant Principal


September 07
September 2018 - Welcome to the New School Year

​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 are excited to share with you the Hillhurst Staff for the 2018-2019 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 continue using a consistent approach to communicating the learning in your child’s classroom with you.  Every Friday you will receive a “Weekly Update” from your child’s teacher and School Specialists (French, Music, and Physical Education) that will share the following: Week-At-Glance, Ask me about, Helping at home and 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.

School information packages will be sent home on the first day of school with each child. This includes important information on student demographics, medical information, volunteer opportunities and etc. Please complete the forms and return with your child.

As a school this year our School Development Plan will focus continue our focus on Mathematics and extend into Writing. Further, we will be having a Story-telling Residency with Jeff Stockton. Jeff Stockton worked with our staff and students for 2 days the previous school year and made a great lasting impression. We are welcoming Jeff back for a 20 day residency and will be working towards a November performance that welcomes all parents/guardians into our school. Please mark your calendars as the evening performance will be on Wed. Nov. 28, 2018 at 6:00 PM.

As an Administration Team, we value the role that parents and families play in education. To this end, communication is important and valuable. We welcome communication via email, telephone or in person. Our approach and philosophy includes making connections with students on a daily basis. The staff and Hillhurst School are committed to providing all of our students with academic knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in school and beyond. We are looking forward to continuing our collective work at Hillhurst School to support student success.

Learning Conferences will be taking place on September 20 (4:00 - 8:00 PM) and September 21 (8:00 AM - 12:00 PM). The September Learning Conference is a great opportunity to meet your child’s teacher and share information about your child. This face-to-face meeting with your child’s teacher will focus on establishing goals for academic and social success. This conference will allow both teachers and parents to share information and develop strategies to support student success.  We encourage parents to bring their child to be part of this conversation. Additional communication will be coming soon about the logistics of booking these conferences.

Also please check the calendar for important upcoming school events. We look forward to the school year ahead and please let us know if you have any questions.

Best Regards,
Prem Randhawa, Principal
Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

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Prem Randhawa, Principal

Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

In light of Alberta Government Covid-19 guidelines that gatherings should not exceed 15 people, today's Public Board meeting will be held online only. The meeting begins at noon and will be live streamed. https://t.co/LXNIydA7w1

Our "classrooms" look different, but we continue to support student learning. Check out this video for more info. #wearecbe https://t.co/z6XBq4mA3Q

Learn more about what students and families can expect to hear from their schools next week. Classes are cancelled and students will not be returning to their schools, but learning is ongoing. https://t.co/2k2t0CUwTV #wearecbe

Yesterday we sent a message to all Gr. 10, 11 and 12 families about diploma exams. Diploma exams are cancelled, but under special circumstances, students can request to write a diploma exam. For more info, see info on our website https://t.co/Vt8kke9SuE

All city and school playgrounds are closed effective immediately to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. City parks remain open. Let’s all work together to protect the public’s health. #WeAreCBE