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Principal's Message

April 2018

“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"... "It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (featured at Theatre Calgary in April)
In the wonderful children’s story of The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett’s questions of “Is the spring coming?” and “What is it like? “ reveals what many Calgarians have been wondering about spring’s appearance after an extremely long winter season. We relish spring that is the “spirit of youth” in nature which is spontaneous, reckless and beautiful. We adapt as Canadians to the slightest hint of spring and extreme changes in weather.
As promised by the seasons, spring and summer are coming. The thought of warm weather reminds me of bicycle riding. John F. Kennedy reflects, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” This brings me to the second annual Bike To School Day which will be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Nelson Mandela teacher (previously at Simon Fraser School), Mr. Kyle Stewart has promoted this “Bike to School” movement schools in the CBE in order for children to spend time outdoors riding their bikes and staying in tune with nature. It is important to avoid “Nature Deficit Disorder” in our children. Last year it was a wonderful celebration of activity as many students, parents, and staff members committed riding their bicycles to Royal Oak School on the Bike to School Day.
There will be more details regarding the Bike to School Day in the next newsletter from Ms. Hennick, Ms. Plaxin, Ms. Craig and the volunteers. We are hoping that you and your family will get out the “two wheeler” and ride to school. Not only are bicycle riding and other outdoor activities celebrating zany spring but most importantly, I hope you had a wonderful spring break with your family. We welcome everyone back to Royal Oak School for the final three months of important learning. The months of April and May are hosting many exciting school events. All parents are welcome to join School Council and the Parent Fundraising Society. The next meeting is on Monday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. for both groups. There are several positions available for you or just come to find out what is happening in the school. Also, starting on April 6 the students will be involved in Circle Friday Clubs where the grade 1- 3 students will spend an hour on six Fridays in a curriculum related club. Students have been busily selecting their top three choices. The students are all in one of their top three choices for Circle Friday Clubs. Thank you to School Council and The Parent Fundraising society for additional funding for those Circle Friday Clubs which require some extra materials.
Another “shout out” to the School Council and the Parent Fundraising Society as we are grateful for the support for Royal Oak School Green Team. In the interest of teaching students to steward the environment, the Green Team is launching the Composting program on April 9. The parent groups are assisting through the funding for the purchasing of composting bins/ compostable bags for each classroom as well two sets of system bins (composting –green, landfill –black, refundables – Yellow and recyclables – blue). One system set of bins will be in the gathering space and the other in the staffroom. Furthermore, we are also placing in the six student washrooms and the two Adult washrooms green paper around the former white garbage receptacles lined with a compostable bag to encourage the ALL paper towels to be composted. In addition, a small garbage container will be in each of the washrooms.
In a rotating fashion a student from each class or couple of classrooms will empty the class compost bin bag into the large green system compost bin in the gathering space. Parents please discuss with your children which items are to go in which bin. We thank the students, parents and staff for caring about the environment and taking action to support this wise initiative.
The Jump Rope for Heart Kick Off Assembly is being hosted on April 12. Ms. Hennick will send out more information regarding this active and charitable day. In addition, Ms. Hennick is starting BOKS (Building Our Kids Success) on April 9 which is activity for students before school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Space is limited but if this pilot project is successful, Ms. Hennick may open two sections next year. In addition, we encourage a healthy approach to activity, eating, drinking water, reading, limited screen time and sleeping.
Furthermore, we are hosting several Celebrations of Learning:
 Thursday, April 12, 2018 – Grade 2 Celebration of Learning 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.  Thursday, April 19, 2018 – Grade 1 Celebration of Learning 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.  Thursday, May 24, 2018 – Grade 3 Celebration of Learning 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Parents are most welcome to come and experience the thoughtful work of the children at the Celebrations of Learning.
I am more than certain that we will be hearing a great deal regarding the impact that the recent Provincial budget will have on our schools and classrooms. As principal, I have been led to believe that the government will be carefully supportive and we will continue to focus upon the system values; ‘Students come first’, ‘Learning is our central purpose’ and ‘Public education serves the common good’. The CBE (Calgary Board of Education) will be planning their budget based on the provincial budget on March 22, 2018. The CBE’s budget will come out April 12, 2018. We will do our best to keep you informed of the anticipated changes as some of those unpleasant but necessary decisions are shared with school administration. I would encourage you to attend the school council meetings so that you are in an informed position in the event you wish to take action in support of your children’s public education experience. I would also encourage you to visit the CBE home page on a regular basis for system updates. Please let Ms. Sparks or Ms. Bradbury know if you feel strongly about keeping certain programs such as PE, Music and Resource. Ms. Wannamaker’s .5 Literacy position was granted to us for the one-time Classroom Improvement Funding and this position was paid for by the Alberta government. However, this position is expected to be cut with the reduction in funding. In addition, as mentioned in the previous newsletter, the early indications of our 2018 -2019 Royal Oak School population is that it is declining by approximately 20 students. This number is ever changing as students and their families move in and out of the school.
In closing, I would like to bring a staffing change to your attention. Our lunchroom supervisor, Ms. Chowdhury is resigning and moving before the end of April. Mrs. Chowdhury has been at the school for just over one year. She is moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband as he recently secured a position. We are wishing her the best in her relocation with her husband. We will be actively looking for a new casual lunch supervisor before the end of April.
Lynn Sparks

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Royal Oak School

9100 Royal Birch BV NW Calgary, AB, T3G 5R8
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Ms Lynn Sparks
Assistant Principal
Miss Deborah Bradbury
Area Director
Mr Brant Parker
Ms Trina Hurdman

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