Get to know our principal and what’s going on in our school.
October 18
October's Message

​Welcome to the fall equinox!  

The temperature is getting colder and the plants, trees, and animals are preparing for winter as are we at PFS. September was a very busy month; students had an opportunity to participate in field trips to Nose Hill Park for sage picking and Granary Road – Active Learning Park. 

Thank you to Stantec Engineering Service and parent volunteers for your assistance with our field trips.  I was in awe to see 200 parents and students attend our Meet the Teacher Night and most grateful for those parents who graciously volunteered for our Parent Advisory Council (PAC). Our next PAC meeting will take place on Thursday, Oct. 17 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm. 

I am excited to introduce Assistant Principal, Benjamin Williams. Mr. Benjamin joins PFS from Robert Thirsk High School. He brings a wealth of trauma-informed practice expertise and knowledge, as well as years of teaching experience. Mr. Benjamin also has extensive experience with physical education and outdoor education. Welcome, Mr. Benjamin! 

PFS has partnered with two significant service agencies to assist students with their obstetric and medical needs. 

Dr. Emeka Nzekwu from Nation’s Vision will provide eye exams for all PFS students. Consent forms will be sent home on Thursday, October 10. Parents, please sign and return the consent forms to the office ASAP.  Nation’s Vision will provide glasses for those children who are in need. Student glasses will remain at the school until the end of the school year. 

Dr. Lana Potts, GP, and Ronald MacDonald Care Mobile will provide medical appointments on the following dates: 

o November – December: second Tuesday of each month
o January – June: first Tuesday of each month. 

Dr. Potts will provide appointment booking information. 

Moving forward into the new school year, staff and students will focus on learning. Daily one-hour literacy and math groups will begin on Oct. 7.  Parents, please take the time to read at home to your children and ensure you are asking what they learned in school today. 

A reminder to parents to ensure you are dressing your children appropriately for the cold weather. We are in the process of ordering winter jackets through the generous donation from Jacket Racket for those who require assistance; however, these jackets will not be available until December.  

Have a wonderful fall season! 

Kind regards, 
Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn
Principal, Piitoayis Family School 

September 24
Welcome to a New School Year!
Oki/Tansi welcome to a new school year at Piitoayis Family School. 

I am very excited to begin a new school year. My entire educational career has lead me here, where I feel I can best support Indigenous children achieve a strong educational foundation. My educational philosophy focuses on creating a safe learning space where our children can establish a love of learning, while incorporating our cultural practices and maintaining our traditional values and belief systems. 

I am excited to introduce to our Leadership Team: 

Acting Assistant Principal, Margaret Webber. Margaret is a retired Assistant Principal with the Calgary Board of Education and she is eager to learn about our Indigenous ways and support our school. 

Ms. Dancia Burrows, former grade 1/2 teacher, will support and lead  curriculum and assessment, as well as teaching through an Indigenous lens. 

Ms. Sara Reinikka-Scoot joins our PFS family team as our Literacy Learning Leader and grade 1/2 teacher. Ms. Sara will share her expertise and knowledge in literacy and will lead our professional learning community in guided reading and assessment. 

Ms. Emily Mask also joins our PFS family as our Math Learning Leader and grade five teacher. She too will share her extensive knowledge in math and will lead our professional learning community in math and assessment. 

Ms. Tracy Evans, Indigenous Educational Learning Leader, will provide support with literacy and math groups, as well as, reading intervention. We are excited to also have Ms. Tracy support teaching through an Indigenous lens. 

We will also have wonderful additions and movement to our teaching staff. Ms. Pam Grapetin will join the grade 1/2 team, Ms. Kelsey Fraser will move from kindergarten to the grade 3 team, Mr. Devin Green will teach gym and health, and Ms. Andrea Taylor-Schryvers grade 3, Melanie Long will will join the grade 4 team with Ms. Heather Craig, and  finally, Mr. James Robertshaw  and Ms. Georgia Paschalis will teach grade 6.  All are expert teachers who are excited and passionate about teaching, learning, and our PFS students. 

Piitoayis Family School is very grateful for the many donors which provide our breakfast, lunch, and snack program. Hope Mission, Alex House, and Meals on Wheels will continue to provide or the delicious hot lunch, soup and sandwiches. We also have the Weekends and More program continuing this year. If you and your family are interested in receiving a nutritious snack bag each week, please call Ms. Denise Nowell, School Assistant.  

We are excited to announce partnership with Dr. Lana Potts, GP, and Ronald MacDonald Care Mobile. Once a month students and staff can book medical appointment with Dr. Potts in the Care Mobile, which will be parked in the parking lot of Piitoayis Family School. We are also grateful to partner with Nation Vision for free on-site eye testing for PFS families. Please watch for posters, school messengers, and consent forms for both programs. 

Kind regards, 

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn
Piitoayis Family School 

June 03
June's Message

At PFS, we are so fortunate to be able to provide breakfast, snacks, and lunch for all of our students.  Ms. Danette, Ms. Robeena, Ms. Sarah, and Ms. Carlynne ensure our students are served healthy, fresh, and delicious food in a timely manner.  During lunch, our school values are emphasized:  we remind students to use their manners, be kind, and be aware of others around them. 

The nutritious food the students eat each day would not be possible without our generous donors:  the School Nutrition Plan provides the huge variety of breakfast items we have; Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids supports our lunch and snack program, and we are fortunate to get soup from Meals on Wheels twice a week.  Each Wednesday, Hope Mission provides our students with a special hot lunch; the last of which for this year will be on June 5th.  In addition to these amazing donors, the Calgary Food Bank supports our school with donations and with the Weekends and More food hampers. 

Without the generous support of our donors, our school simply would not be the same:  students are only available for learning when they are well-fed and have energy from nutritious food.   We are so grateful to our donors and so appreciative of the care and service our lunchroom staff provide.  Thank you for feeding our bellies, our hearts, and our minds! 


Important June Dates:

·         Social Studies                                                 June 11

·         Math – Part B                                                  June 12

·         Math – Part A                                                  June 14

·         English Language Arts – Part B                     June 13

·         Science                                                           June 17

·         School Wide Field Trip: Granary Road           June 20

·         Grade 6 Farewell Ceremony & Assembly      June 25

·         PFS National Indigenous Peoples Day

o   Last day of school for students

o   Report cards home                             June 26


Thank you parents and guardians for a year of learning, friendship, and laughter.

School will return on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.


Kind regards,

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn, Principal

Meagan Lundgren, Assistant Principal​ 

May 06
May's Message

Principal Message


Welcome to May!  April was a very busy month for PFS staff and students.  We had many opportunities to enjoy the spring-like weather.  Our G.3/4 students visited Ann, and Sandy Cross Conservation Park and PFS staff had a day of learning from the land at Oohkotok (Big Rock in Okotoks) and the Old Women’s Buffalo Jump in Cayley. Both experiential learning opportunities were filled with traditional teachings, stories, ceremony, and laughter. Thank you to Knowledge Keeper Shirley Hill for sharing her love of pow wow dancing with our students and to the Earth Rangers organization for sharing with our students the importance of protecting animals from extinction. It was a hectic - but fun - month at PFS.


Grade 6 students will begin writing the Provincial Achievement (PAT) exams being this month. The dates for PAT exams are as follows:


•    English Language Arts – Part A    May 8

•    Social Studies                                June 11

•    Math – Part B                                 June 12

•    Math – Part A                                 June 14

•    English Language Arts – Part B    June 13

•    Science                                          June 17


I had hoped to share information about classroom configurations and plans for the next school year; however, the provincial budget has not yet been released, causing plans for fall staffing requirements to be delayed. Once the budget has been received, I will be able to share more information about plans for next school year. In the meantime, it is essential to know if your child(ren) will be returning to PFS next school year, so please call Ms. Sharon or Ms. Denise if your child(ren) will NOT be returning at 403-777-7860.


Important May Dates:

·         May 7 – G.3/4 Oohkotok and Old Women’s Buffalo Jump field trip with Saa’kokoto

·         May 8 – G. 6 PAT: English Language Arts – Part A

·         May 9 – G. 6 Junior High School Transition Tours

·         May 14, 24, 28 – Elder Mary Ellen with the kindergarten classes

·         May 17 – Non-Instructional Day: No School for students

·         May 20 – Victoria Day Holiday: No School for students

·         May 22 – PFS Assembly

·         May 30 – G.6 Junior High School Transition Tours: Terry Fox


Take care,

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn​ 

April 01
April's Message

Dear Piitoayis Family School families,


A big thank you to all parents, guardians, and family members for attending the PFS 3rd Annual Round Dance. It was so exciting to see students, staff, and families participating and enjoying the day.  Special thanks to Astokomii Smith, 2019 Calgary Stampede First Nation Princess, Darcy and Frank Turning Robe, Hal Eagletail, and Elder Jackie Bromley for taking time out of their busy schedules to spend the afternoon with us.


It’s hard to believe it is already April – with only three months of school remaining. The time will pass quickly; however, there is a lot of learning to be completed before the end of the school year.  Daily reading and math groups will continue, as well as many opportunities for experiential learning from an Indigenous lens. It is essential to ask your child what he/she learned at school today!


April marks the start of planning for next year. We have received our enrolment projections for next year, which help us plan staffing and the annual budget for the 2019-20 school year. Join us at our April 18th Advisory Council meeting to learn about the overall CBE budget, and how we develop our school budget. You will receive a poster reminder in your child’s backpack with more information.


Important April Dates:

·         Weekly PFS Drum practices – Tuesday and Friday

·         April 4th – Iitoomo BGCC Parent meeting. Elder Kerrie Moore presentation on Trauma Informed Practice from an Indigenous perspective

·         April 15 – G.5/6 Clay workshop

·         April 16 -17 – G.3/4 Ann and Sandy Cross field trip

·         April 18 – PFS Parent Advisory Council meeting – 2:00-3:00

·         April 19 – Good Friday – No school for students

·         April 22 – Non-Instructional Day – No school for students

·         April 24 – Spring Blessing Ceremony (Closed Ceremony)

·         April 25, 26 & 29 – Pow wow dancing with Shirley Hill

·         April 30 – Earth Ranger presentation​ 

March 03
March's Message

Principal’s March Message

Oki Welcome to Sa’aiki’somm

It’s hard to believe half the school year has already passed. February was a cold month at PFS; almost the entire month was spent inside due to extreme wind chill temperatures. We are very grateful for the donation of handmade mittens and toques from Ms. Del Ray which kept our students warm during the cold mornings and afterschool bus rides.

It is during this coldest season our ancestors shared of themselves and their earthly possessions for the survival of the clan. At PFS, staff and students witness many acts of kimmapiiypiisinni, kindness, such as the G.5/6 students inviting our kindergarten students to join in a game of soccer. I love how our students care for one another! Parents you should be proud of the kind young women and men your children are becoming.

Parent Teacher Conferences will take place on Thursday, March 21 (4:00 – 7:00 p.m.) and Friday, March 22 (9:00 – 12:00). Book your appointment by calling the school.

Spring Break – March 22 – 29, 2019

No school for students and staff.

PFS welcomed a new member to our family, Mariam Safi, Behavior Support Worker. Mariam brings a wealth of knowledge in social-emotional learning; providing self-regulation strategies for students, helping them get ready for learning. Welcome, Mariam!

I am very grateful for the private donors who support our breakfast, lunch, and snack program. Danette, PFS Lunchroom Supervisor, provides nutritious meals and snacks which support student learning. Parents are welcomed to send food items to school; however, we ask you to send only nutritious food items. Unfortunately, chips, ice tea, pop, and chocolate, etc. are not acceptable and will be taken away and returned to the student at the end of the school day.

PFS Annual Round Dance will take place on Wednesday, March 20,1:00 – 2:45. We are grateful to Awo Taan Healing Lodge for the generous donation to this event. We are asking female parents and guardians to support in preparing the feast for students and light lunch for parents. Feast preparation will begin at 7:00 a.m. If you are interested in volunteering, please call the school. Parents RSVP for the Round Dance by calling the school as soon as possible.

Reminder to parents to visit the website, teacher blogs, and messenger for more information on March activities.

Have a warm and safe March!!​

February 10
February's Message

Oki and welcome to Piitaiki’somm (February in the Blackfoot language), 


This month’s school-wide celebration theme is “Kimmapiiypitsinni“ Kindness to Others. Student learning will focus on the importance of kindness to peers, staff, and of course, being kind to themselves. We will also celebrate Pink Shirt Day, National Anti-Bullying campaign symbolizing a stand against bullying, on Wednesday, February 27th.  


I am excited to announce a new Kindergarten parent program, Iitoomo “Leads First.” The first session will take place on Thursday, Feb. 21st, where parents will gather to visit with esteemed Cree Elder Marion Lerat. Elder Marion will speak on the importance of being involved and present in your child’s educational journey. We are so grateful this program is funded and supported by the BGCC. For more information and to register for the first session, please contact Lana Robertson, BGCC Connector, by calling the school.  


Important Dates: 

February 6             Anthony, Pet Therapy Dog, will visit PFS  

February 6             G.5/6 DNA in the Classroom – Science  

February 6             Vaccinations 

February 12 & 13        G. 3/4 Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Park Field Trip 

February 14,15, & 18    NO SCHOOL for Students   

February 19             G.3/4 Crime Not to Read 

February 20             G.4/5 STEM Activity: Escape Room – Science  

February 21             Iitoomo Kindergarten Parent Group Meeting  

February 27             February Assembly: Pink Shirt Day  

February 28             G.1/2 Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Park Field Trip  


Bussing Reminders: 

•    Please arrive at the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled bus time arrival 

•    After school bus arrival times are estimations. Please call Southland for inquiries by calling 403-253-9323 

•    Bus Drivers will only stop at designated stops.   

•    Please call the school before 2:30 if you require changes to your child’s bus route  

•    REMINDER TO KINDERGARTEN PARENTS:  A parent must be present for the bus driver to allow your child off the bus. If you are not at the stop, the bus will return your child to PFS, where it will be your responsibility to arrange the pick-up of your child immediately  

•    Dress your child for the cold weather​

January 09
January Message

​Oki Iikamiskanatoonii, Hello Happy Day!

Welcome to 2019! It is amazing we are already into a new year! I am so excited to see the children this week!!

I want to begin by thanking the many parents, guardians, and family members for taking the time to attend the Winter Solstice Celebration. I was so proud of the student’s performances and I want to acknowledge the hard work of our teachers. I want to also thank Jason Eaglespeaker for allowing us to retell the story of Napi and the Wolves and the grade five/six classes on the entertaining reader’s theatre and beautiful stage backdrop. This was by far, the most entertaining celebration yet!

Our Winter Solstice celebration feast would not have taken place without our special donors, Great Events Catering and Catherine Ruta. Thank you for the delicious turkey dinner, parent lunch, and dessert. And a special thank you to RBC Royal Eagles, Shane Cunningham, and Naomi Sinclair for bringing Santa to PFS.

This January will be a very busy month for PFS students and staff. The following are important reminder dates:

 PFS drum practices will take place on each Tuesday and Friday

 AHS fluoride treatment – Jan. 10

 G.3/4 CPS Crime Not to Read program - Tuesday, Jan. 16

 G.5/6 Police School Field Trip – Jan. 21-24

 Elder Saa’kokoto visit – Jan. 24

 PFS Celebration of Learning Assembly – Jan. 25

 Report Cards and IPP’s home to parents – Jan. 28

 Parent Teacher Conferences – Thursday, Jan. 31 (4:00 – 8:00)

 Outside Agency Resource Fair – Thursday, Jan. 31 (2:00-3:00 for students and 4:00-7:00 for parents)

 Non-Instructional Day (no school for students & staff) – Feb.1

A reminder to parents to contact Ms. Sharon and/or Ms. Denise by 2:30 for changes to student bussing. This will allow time for effective communication to homeroom teachers to ensure students are on the correct bus. Also, when picking up your child after school please wait in the lobby for dismissal before moving to the Learning Commons to meet with your child.

Parents if you are interested in volunteering at PFS or during our field trips please see Ms. Sharon to complete the necessary documents. We appreciate parents and guardians who are willing to support our students and staff.

Don’t forget to follow PFS on Facebook @piitoayis (eagle lodge) family school and on Twitter @piitoayis for school updates and fun happenings

Have a great January!

Kind regards,

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn, Principal​

December 04
December News

Oki PFS Families,


December is here!! Happy Winter Solstice


Happy December students and staff! November was a very busy month at PFS. Our student lead Remembrance Day service was the highlight of our month. We were so proud our PFS Performance Drum group who provided all traditional Blackfoot and Cree songs for our ceremony and to Colonel Walker choir for providing the beautiful songs. We were so grateful for the blessings and stories shared by Saa’kokoto. 


Thank you so much to those parents who took time out of their day to attend our monthly Parent Advisory Council meeting. Parents learned about our focus for our School Development Plan: Reading to explore, construct, and extend understanding – Students will be assessed for reading and placed in ability groupings to assist in developing strategies for decoding, fluency and comprehension.  Students will receive 1 hour of daily reading instruction in small group settings. Mathematical procedural fluency - Students will be able to translate different representations of numbers (e.g. blocks, number lines, numbers); subitizing of numbers and make generalize patterns in number operations (e.g. adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing) and understand which mathematical strategies to use, when to use them, and why.


We are very excited to announce Piitoayis Family School has been selected to receive a 2018 grant in the amount of $8,000 for the “Language and Technology Enrichment” project. This project will provide the technology and support for language (Blackfoot and Cree) acquisition. Five classes will participate in the project: Ms. Danica, Ms. Nancy, Ms. Heather, Ms. Megan, and Ms. Theresa’s reading groups will spend the next seven months learning conversational phrases from both languages. Exciting!!


We have many special events for the month of December. There will be a change to the Winter Solstice Celebration this year. Our celebration will begin at 10:30 a.m. this year. Our students will entertain you with Christmas music filled with Indigenous languages and reader’s theatre presentation of Napi and the Wolves. Please RSVP to Ms. Sharon ASAP.  Reminder to parents to please arrive on time (10:30 a.m.) and stay for the entire concert out of respect for all our students and teachers.


Great Events Catering and Brown Bagging for Lunch generously provide a full turkey and fixings lunch for our student and staff, as well as a light lunch box for parents and guests.  Creator has truly blessed PFS with the many organizations and people who help make our school a safer and caring place for our students. Hand to heart in gratefulness!  


Special Events this month at PFS:


  • December 12th:  Winter Solstice Celebration
  • December 13th:  Surprise guests in the morning
  • December 19th:  Santa comes to PFS/ Meatball Sub Day
  • December 20th:  Pizza day/PJ Day


Kind regards,


Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn


November 06
November News

Oki PFS Families,


Happy Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day to all our students, parents, and families!


A huge thank you to all parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, and guardians who attended our Meet the Teacher Night on September 27th. We had a total of 182 people attend; the highest attended night in the history of PFS! Thank you for making your child’s educational journey a priority. A special thank you to Ms. Sharon, Administrative Secretary, and Ms. Danette, Lunchroom Supervisor, for ordering the supper and to all staff who helped serve.


October was a Spirit Month at Piitoayis Family School. We were very excited to have so many students and staff participated in Messy Hair Don’t Care Day, Favorite Sports Team Day, Cultural Day, and our culminating Halloween Day activity.


Remembrance Day service will take place on Friday, November 9th at 10:50 in the gym. Our service will be celebrated with Colonel Walker School. All parents and guardians are invited to attend. Please contact Ms. Sharon with an RSVP by Thursday, Nov. 8th. The PFS student feather presentation will take place after the service.


Special Events this month at PFS:


·         Metis Knowledge Keeper, Shalome Hope, will share her jigging expertise during gym on Nov. 7th and 8th

·         Elder Saakokoto will visit classes on November 9th

·         Students will participate in gymnastics from November 12th – 30th

·         Parent Advisory Council on Thursday, November 15th 2:00-3:00

·         Photo Retakes – November 15th

·         Non-instructional Day November 23 – no school for students


Piitoayis Family School’s School Development plan will focus on:

·         Reading to explore, construct, and extend understanding – Students will be assessed for reading and placed in ability groupings to assist in the development of strategies for decoding, fluency and comprehension.  Students will receive 1 hour daily reading instruction in small group settings.


·         Mathematical procedural fluency - Students will be able to translate among different representations of numbers (e.g. blocks, number lines, numbers), the subitizing of numbers, and generalize patterns in number operations (e.g. adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing), and understand which mathematical strategies to use, when to use them, and why


More information will be provided at the Parent Advisory meeting.


Kind regards,

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn​

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 About this blog


Read the budget update from Chief Superintendent Usih about the budget assumptions report presented to the board today: https://t.co/tdRklmsbSG #yycbe https://t.co/aaNh9TPVSt

The Board of Trustees will reconvene this afternoon at 4 to discuss the Budget Assumptions Report – Fall 2019 Update. Join us at the Ed Centre or stream the meeting online https://t.co/7ySI0lMtIG #yycbe https://t.co/wYDXmCna6Q

Today we were at the kick-off event for the Mayor’s 31st Annual Christmas Food Drive, proudly supporting @CalgaryFoodBank! We’re thankful for their work to #FeedYYC & for making a positive impact in the lives of many of our students & their families. #WeAreCBE #MayorsFoodDrive https://t.co/IDNNdguReI

The Board of Trustees will reconvene on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 4 p.m. Watch for a report on the 2019-20 Budget Assumptions that will be available by noon tomorrow https://t.co/epdOfxurs1 #WeAreCBE #yycbe https://t.co/v7sYBMneRL