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May 02
May 2018

Viviane Robinson tells us “When clear goals are in place, leaders can be strate-gic about allocating and organizing money, time and staffing in ways that in-crease the change of success.” The month of April has been busy for us as we reconciled our 2018-2019 school budget. Please go to the following link for further and detailed information on “Budget and Financial Information”

https://www.cbe.ab.ca/about-us/budget-and-finance/Pages/default.aspx

Every year schools make staffing adjustments for a variety of reasons, including enrollment changes, retirements, staff returning from leaves and where we predict resources will have the greatest impact on students. We are not able to confirm staffing until August 2018 and work with the information we have to ensure the best plan for our students.

In staffing news, we would like to welcome back Joan Little, ELL (English Lan-guage Learning) Assistant at Hillhurst School. Joan was on a leave and is re-turning back on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. We would like to thank Sanaa Hatoum for her work with our staff and students during Joan’s absence. In another staffing update, Jenna Anheliger, a teacher on a maternity leave who was scheduled to return to Hillhurst in September 2018, has been successful in a teacher exchange at Captain Nichola Goddard School. We would like to thank Jenna for her work at Hillhurst School and wish her the best. We would like to welcome Nora Grainger, who currently teaches grades 4, 6 & 7 at Captain Nich-ola Goddard School. Nora will be joining the Hillhurst Team at the end of Au-gust 2018.

We have had the opportunity to work with five students teachers from the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. These pre-service teachers are work-ing towards completing their Bachelor of Education program. Carrie, Mackenzie, Elaine, Vickey and Heather have worked under the leadership of Mentor teachers at Hillhurt School this past school year. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge their work and dedication to our learning community. Their last day with us was on Friday, April 20 and we wish them the best in their careers as educators. We are looking at continuing our partnership opportunities with pre-service teachers for the 2018-2019 school year as this is a valuable way to ensure continued excellence in the pro-fession, but it also serves as an excellent leadership and professional development op-portunity for mentor teachers.

Hillhurst School students and staff would like to invite you to a Math Learning Celebration on Wednesday, May 23 from 6:00-7:00pm. This school year our school has focused on how students model, represent and communicate their mathematical ideas. With the support of our Math Resident Expert, Geri Lorway we have been on a yearlong journey focusing on strengthening and enhancing a positive mathematics culture in our school. Students would like to share and celebrate their Mathematical learning with you. Students will be engaging in different math tasks with their parents/guardian. This is an opportunity for students to share and take pride in their learning. Please plan for 30-40 minutes of math engagement with your child as they take you to various centres throughout the school and in their classroom. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating with your child!

Lastly, thank you to our Career Day Parent Co-ordinators Joan Fanstone and Leslie Street who worked with Hillhurst Staff (Adam Topp, Sondra Torstensen, Rachel Housley and Leigh Underdahl) to organize a very successful morning for students. We had a number of presenters who came into our school and shared their passions. Students had an opportunity to listen and ask many questions about careers that interested them.

As we head into the last two months of school, we encourage you to read all emails and stay updated with all school events!

Regards,

Prem Randhawa, Principal
Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

March 23
April 2018

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 titled “Good Leaders Make Good Schools” and we would like to share a piece with you:

What do principals do? They build a culture. Researchers from McKinsey studied test scores from half a million students in 72 countries. They found that students’ mindsets were twice as powerful in predicting scores as home environment and demographics were. How do students feel about their schooling? How do they understand motivation? Do they have a growth mind-set to understand their own development?

These attitudes are powerfully and subtly influenced by school culture, by the liturgies of practice that govern the school day: the rituals for welcoming members into the community; the way you decorate walls to display school values; the distribution of power across the community; the celebrations of accomplishment and the quality of trusting relationships. Principals set the culture by their very behavior — the message is the person.

We would like you to continue to provide us feedback and engage in open conversations about our work. Our priority is to maximize our impact as leaders and in order to do so we need to hear from you. We appreciate the emails, phone calls and face-to-face meetings we engage in with our parents as we strive to engage in best-practices for our school community.

In staffing news, we would like to welcome back Ivanna Odegard from her maternity leave. Ivanna returned to Hillhurst School on Monday, March 19, 2018. Rebecca Klassen was the temporary teacher filling in during Ivanna’s leave and Rebecca’s last day will be on Friday, March 23, 2018. During this week, Ivanna and Rebecca have been working together on a transition plan, engaging in conversations and discussing instruction and assessment. On behalf of the staff, students and parents I would like to thank Rebecca for her work as our music teacher and wish her the best on her future career with the Calgary Board of Education.

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 Al-berta 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 10
Grade 6 ELA Part B – June 15
Grade 6 Math – June 18
Grade 6 Social Studies – June 19
Grade 6 Science – June 14

Achievement tests are based on what students have been learning throughout the school year. This allows teachers to get an initial look at the performance of the students in their class and will enable teachers to use each child’s achievement test score as an indicator of how well they have learned the Grade 6 Alberta curriculum.

Grade 6 students at Hillhurst School participated in a pilot CBE Student Survey. This is an anonymous online survey developed with the objective of providing our school with relevant, valid and reliable data that we can use for planning. The survey aims to evaluate student outcomes related to Academic Success, Citizenship, Personal Development and Character. We wanted to share and some celebrate some grade 6 results with you as related to our School Development goal of Mathematics:

principal-message.jpg

As we head into Spring 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 spring air!

Regards,

Prem Randhawa, Principal   Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

 

 

March 02
March Update

Excerpted from our March Newsletter​.

In the month of February, Hillhurst students and staff engaged in a school-wide “Writing Residency” with Cathy Beveridge focused on “Empowering Students through Writing.” Cathy Beveridge met with Hillhurst Teachers in late-November to begin some pre-planning for the February Writing Residency. The whole-school residency focused on the power of creative language, use of a sensory word bank, precise words and key writing strategies. We would like to thank Cathy Beveridge for her work at Hillhurst School. Cathy has supported students in building their writing skills and staff in their capacity. We would like to thank our Parent Association for making this residency possible for our school.

In Staffing news, we would like to welcome Mrs. Kerri Lindner as our New Library Assistant. Kerri was previously at William D. Pratt School. Kerri comes to us with many experiences and has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Education in Second-ary Education. Please join me in welcoming her to our vibrant school and community.

The Character Committee of teachers at Hillhurst School designed a school-wide task focus-ing on empathy. The school-wide task focused on the book, The Invisible Boy by Trudy Lud-wig. In this focus, a connection was made to our school wide question of "Who Are We?" The students engaged in classroom conversations about What does empathy have to do with us as individuals and as a community? What does empathy have to do with our identity (individually and collectively)? 

Students brainstormed words, phrases, or very short sentenc-es that captured what empathy means to them, where it is seen and experienced in life, and what they can do to demonstrate empathy towards others. These thoughts and ideas were recorded on a life-size visible boy throughout the hallways at Hillhurst School. Our common goal was to continue school conversations about about empathy, connect it to what is hap-pening in the classrooms, and then to have a visual reminder for all students while they move throughout our school.

We are welcoming back five 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. They will be with us until April.

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

You will be receiving information soon about the upcoming March Learning Conferences. The March 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.

Regards,

Prem Randhawa, Principal at Hillhurst School
Adam Topp, Assistant Principal at Hillhurst School

February 02
Math Focus, Writing-Residency, Staffing Changes and Accountability Pillar Survey

“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. Geri Lorway, Math Resident-Expert, returned to Hillhurst from January 23-26, 2018 to continue providing professional learning to enhance the confidence and skills of our staff and worked directly in the classroom with our students. In the “Weekly Updates” from your child’s classroom teacher, you received some specific information about what math learning opportunities looked like and connections to Alberta Program of Study. We look forward to continuing our work with Geri and share this in a Math Celebration of Learning on May 23, 2018 from 6-7:00 PM at Hillhurst School.

In the month of February, we are engaging in a school-wide “Writing Residency” with Cathy Beveridge focused on “Empowering Students through Writing.” Cathy Beveridge met with Hillhurst Teachers in late-November to begin some pre-planning for the February Writing Residency. The whole-school residency will focus on the power of creative language, use of a sensory word bank, precise words and key writing strategies. For additional information on Cathy Beveridge please check her website at: http://cathybeveridge.com.

In Staffing news, we would like to congratulate Kathy Rae as she has accepted a Library Assistant positionat Richmond School. Kathy’s last day at Hillhurst will be Thursday, February 1. We would like to thank Kathy for her work in the Learning Commons and wish her the best at Richmond School. We are in the process of working with HR to find a suitable replacement for the Library Assistant position. Joan Little, English Language Learning Assistant, will be on a medical leave starting Tuesday, January 30. We wish Joan the best on her surgery and a speedy recovery. During Joan’s medical leave we will have the support of a substitute English Language Learning Assistant. Further Louise AuYeung is returning from her maternity leave on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 and will be assuming the literacy and mathematics targeted support provided by Leigh Underdahl in the afternoons. Leigh Underdahl will continue at the Physical Education Teacher in the mornings.

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

Accountability Pillar Online Survey​

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

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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Prem Randhawa, Principal

Adam Topp, Assistant Principal


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