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January 13
January 13, 2020

Dear Sunalta Families,
Happy New Year! We wanted to send ‘Thanks and Gratitude’ from our staff to our families for their well wishes and kind gestures before the Winter Break. It has been a calm and peaceful start to our year with everyone noticing how ready and excited our students were this week.
Weather Advisory-We are expecting some chilly days for the next week. If our temperature dips below -20 degrees Celsius including wind chill factor, students will be supervised inside. We use Current Calgary Weather from our website http://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/Sunalta
to determine the temperature. Patrols will also be cancelled.
Learning Fair: Our Sunalta School annual Learning Fair is scheduled for Thursday, Feb 20, 2020 from 6:00-7:30pm. Please see the attached letter for more information!
School Development Plan
As part of our Wellbeing Goal in our School Development Plan, we welcome Constable Hartmann our school constable attached to the Start Smart Stay Safe S4 program. He will be joining classes monthly from January to June.  Each grade group has selected different lessons within our S4 program.  Police encourage students to use their strengths and to continue to develop their skills to keep themselves and their communities safe. Lessons shared by police officers:
• Using problem solving skills
• Making healthy choices
• Using respectful communication skills
• Building healthy relationships
• Being digitally safe
• Being safe at home, at school and in the community
• Serving others to build an inclusive, resilient community
School Information for Next Year: As we begin to make initial plans for next year, we need to know if your family will be continuing at Sunalta School next year. There will be a form sent out for you to return. Thank you!
Extra curricular Our Sunalta Parents have organized several clubs that start again this month. The Art Club and the Yoga Club are opportunities for students to take part in an after school activity. Forms are available at the office. Thank you to Ms Justine for coordinating this.
Reporting: Report cards will be sent out on January 30, 2020. Please refer to the CBE website for some information regarding reporting that would be of interest to parents https://www.cbe.ab.ca/programs/curriculum/assessment-and-reporting
December 15
December 16, 2019

​Sunalta School continues to shine bright with many opportunities for student leadership as well as generosity during the month of December.

Warm Feet for the Street! Sunalta School and Community will continue its tradition of participating in the Warm Feet for the Street Project (Mustard Seed) to provide homeless individuals with a pair of woolen socks stuffed with personal care items to make the street a little easier.
 
Inn from the Cold Drive: we are looking for critical childcare supply donations ex: diapers, powdered formula, winter coats, snow pants, baby toiletries, and/or Walmart of Superstore gift cards. Please put items under the tree and/or bring gift cards to the office. Thank you!
Did you know… according to Alberta Reads research:
·       49% of adult Canadians have low literacy skills
·       100% love to read for pleasure in K 54%
·       by grade 4, 33% read for pleasure
·       by grade 8, 19%...
·        by grade 12 10%...
·       20 minutes/day for a child’s first 5 years= 1.8 million words
·       To develop a solid foundation in language we need to READ, Talk , Sing, and Play
How to read aloud to your child: Plan to read with them away from distractions. Choose a book everyone will enjoy and hold it so you can both see it. This is applicable to older children as well. Closeness and being together ‘time’ is a beautiful way to be together.
Where are the books? You can have books lingering in the car, in the bathroom, on the floor, everywhere! Go and explore your local library.
Do you have a special reading place in your home? Send a photo to our school and we will create a reading ‘post it’ for our bulletin board by sending your student photo to us at sunalta@cbe.ab.ca or to our parent facebook link Sunalta elementary school parents
Professional Learning
Our staff have been further developing their abilities in facilitating mathematical discussions with their students.
Mathematical discussion occurs when students are engaged in talking about their mathematical thinking and reasoning. Through rich discussions, students exchange ideas, agree, disagree, conjecture and justify their thinking as they make sense of the mathematics together.
Why is mathematical discussion important?
Research tells us that students learn when they are encouraged to become the authors of their own ideas and when they are held accountable for reasoning about and understanding key ideas (Engle and Conant, 2002). Students make and defend mathematical conclusions using logical reasoning and evidence. By stating their ideas clearly to others, they often come to understand their ideas more fully. By understanding other students’ ideas, they can see and evaluate alternative ways of thinking and build connections or modify misunderstandings.
Big Brothers Big Sisters – we now have 7 BBBS matches with our Brokerlink mentors. Thank you to Ms Neufeld for leading our mentorship program. Students from Sunalta take a yellow school bus to Brokerlink every Friday to participate in a one hour mentorship program.
Our staff and students wish everyone a restful and memorable winter break. Remember school begins again at Sunalta on Tuesday, January 7, 2020!
 
November 26
November Message

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our parent-teacher-student conferences. Listening to the celebrations of learning and stories of joyful classroom experiences permeated our building. There was a strong focus on student goal-setting, self-reflection and student awareness of their success and achievements. The collections of artifacts and evidence of learning was action-oriented and demonstrated the depth of student involvement in their successes as well as next steps. Exceptional learning opportunities with outstanding results – that’s Sunalta School!
Thank you to our parents for their generosity in providing supper for our staff on Thursday evening. We cannot thank you enough for the kind gestures and positive comments received this week. A well-needed boost. Also a note of gratitude to our child-minding Division 2 students for demonstrating leadership and responsibility.
Mr. Masuch's and Mrs. Harnett's Super Duper Eco-Club has exciting news!! They have recently been accepted to be part of the City of Calgary's Eco-Leaders Program!! As an Eco-Leader school, they will receive access to: subject matter experts, a seed grant, are invited to participate in the Eco-Leaders Conference on January 22 and the opportunity to present at the Mayor’s Environment Expo in June.
They have also teamed up with CPAWS (Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society) and will be working to enhance climate-literacy and foster climate leadership. As part of this initiative, they will even be going on a snowshoe adventure to Penstock Loop in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park on February 6. The Sunalta Eco-Club's passion and drive to make our world a better place is very inspirational!! HOORAY FOR OUR ECO-WARRIORS!
A council meeting event! On November 19th our School Council is hosting Alberta Reads. Please join us in a parent workshop to discuss building joyful literacy in the home as well as some tips and tricks to encourage readers at any age. Everyone welcome. Child minding available 6:30pm. Council will also be discussing our Indigo Book Sale. Our admin team will be reviewing our School PAT Data from Spring 2019, our final School Development Plan intentions and sharing staffing updates.
October 15
Thanksgiving!

On behalf of our entire staff at Sunalta School, we want to wish our families a wonderful Thanksgiving and a very special long weekend. We are thankful for your support and your beautiful children that make our school a magical place to learn!
This year our school has initiated a student council. Each classroom, including Division 1 students, will have two representatives to be the voice for their classmates during a monthly council meeting. Our intention is to continue to develop a deeper understanding of each other, share thoughts of life at school, nurture the sense of belonging at Sunalta School, and build leadership skills. Students have been eager to share the council discussions with their classrooms and gather feedback for the next meeting.  So far students have shared their thoughts on School spirit days as well as our newly formed Eco Club.
Grade 6 students recently invited up-coming election candidates to Sunalta School to share their platforms and give a brief synopsis on government. Our students identified specific questions for each candidate and had the opportunity to pose these questions to them for independent responses. The feedback from these candidates was that our students are well-informed and well-prepared for the visits. Each one spoke to how amazing, fresh, and brilliant, our Sunalta students were during the session.
Our second School Council (parents) meeting will be at Sunalta on Wednesday, October 23 at 6:30pm in our Learning Commons. It is a wonderful time to come and meet other families and be involved in a wonderful group who work together to effectively enhance and support student learning as well as provide advice and consult with the school staff and principal. This month our grade 4 teachers will be sharing a glimpse of their world in Rooms 10 and 11. We look forward to seeing you!
September 10
Welcome Back Everyone!

A warm and energetic “Welcome Back!” to all of our Sunalta families. If you are a new family to Sunalta, we hope you feel included and supported as you discover the many activities and experiences our school has to offer. If you are a familiar face and returning to Sunalta we hope you also feel welcome and are enjoying our fresh start. We appreciate the way the Sunalta community will share a smile, a nod, and a welcoming “Hello!” to each other. This was particularly evident during our opening day on the field. It was a wonderful moment, seeing the excitement on everyone’s face as they met their teacher and became reacquainted with friends. There were also many comments about our revitalized school with new windows and blinds to keep us feeling proud of this regal, 100 year old community school.
 
 Sunalta is pleased to welcome back many familiar faces this fall.  At the end of June, we were able to confirm Ms. Dragatis into a teaching position at Sunalta and she will be our Grade 6 teacher, teaming alongside Mr. Barker. Welcome back to Mrs. Hugh as she has returned from her maternity leave and is very excited to be teaching Grade 3 in Room 8 next door to Mrs. Aldridge. Mrs. Beeksma will have morning and afternoon Kindergarten classes this year and Mrs. Vieweger, also our Assistant Principal, will be teaching these new recruits for part of the week. Ms. Beth McFarlane, formerly a teacher at Jennie Elliott, has joined our Sunalta Bridges program and will be teaming with Mr. Russell Crowhurst to support our beautiful children in Bridges.
 
Our staff know that parents are excited to see inside the classrooms and meet their child’s teacher, therefore Parent Teacher Student Conferences will be on Sept 19th in the evening and September 20th in the morning. This is a wonderful time for you to share the pieces you know about your child as a learner and as well as their gifts, talents and characteristics that make you proud. You will also have the chance to ask questions about the new program or grade. Please bring your child to this conference.
Sunalta School is also pleased to be able to offer before and after school programming.  Out of school care offers this program here in our building and includes full day Kindergarten care for those families who need it.  As well, this program provides lunchroom supervision and care to all of our Sunalta students that stay for lunch. If you would like your child to stay for lunch, you will need to complete the forms that were sent out and return them to out of school care. We welcome Megan Ropeleski as the lunchroom coordinator, replacing Ms. Lillian, and she can be reached at studentcaresunalta@gmail.com if you have any questions.
 
I also want to welcome all of our new families who are sending their children to our incredible, community school.  Please accept an invitation to come out to one of our School Council meeting September 24th at Sunalta School from 6:30-8:00pm and learn how you can be part of the incredible work being done to support students here at Sunalta School. If you are a returning Sunalta family, please also consider coming to our first council meeting. Babysitting is provided and we look forward to your help and support in the school. The extra curricular activities such as Yoga and Art are just some of the opportunities our school offers because of our incredibly active and friendly school council.
 
To each one of our staff members- thanks for a very smooth start to the school year! 
With Gratitude,
Christine McCrory
June 07
It’s June!!

Sunalta School brings a strong community presence which has been very evident in everything we do. It was our pleasure to host Sunalta’s new Kindergarten students and families for a special ‘Welcome to Kindergarten’ orienation. Ms. Jane Beeksma shared all of the glorious things to expect in the Fall for our youngest learners. She highlighted the importance of building independence, creating bedtime routines, taking time to play outside, and to begin to nurture the love of learning and not having to be the best at everything. As well, our current Kindergarten students went upstairs for a one-hour sneak peak at Grade 1 complete with a special Very Hungry Caterpillar art project. At this same time, Ms. Beeksma and Ms. Meldrum invited our new Kindergarten students into the classroom to meet their classmates and explore their exciting space. It was a very exciting day!

As families start to shift into summer mode, we wanted to highlight the Calgary Public Library free Ultimate Summer Challenge 2019. Even though school ends in June, supporting literacy and the love of reading is a necessity – and it should be fun and fully of curiosity and joy! Our students also took part in Tennis lessons and may perhaps continue this life-long sport over the summer.

Our Sunalta students had a special opportunity to demonstrate their leadership and gift of generosity and gratitude for our amazing Volunteers. Our exceptional Volunteers were treated to home-made goodies from our staff, seed ‘bomb’s from our students in the Bridges program, and excellent entertainment from our Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students under the direction of Ms. Neufeld. As well every class decorated our gym with beautiful, floral artwork. The Grade 6 students did a beautiful job of greeting, serving, and cleaning up our event and should be commended for their kind, caring behaviour. Sunalta staff would personally like to thank and give gratitude to our School Council and Fundraising Society for all of their efforts of time and commitment this year. We would not be this exceptional, unique, and joyful learning community without you!

The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do itMother Theresa.

Finally, we would like to wish our Grade 6 students a fond farewell as they set off on new adventures. Your kindness, leadership and smiles will be missed.  Please come back and visit!

Our last day of learning will be Thursday, June 27 with a non-instructional Appeals Day on Friday, June 28 from 10am-12pm.

We wish you all a wonderful summer break full of fun, family, and friends.

Please visit our school site (closer to the end of August) for information regarding our ‘Back to School’ process at Sunalta School closer to the end of August.

Christine McCrory (Principal) and Leanne Vieweger (Assistant Principal)

 

May 14
I am excited to be joining Sunalta as Principal

Greetings from Sunalta School where “Working and Growing Together” continues to be part of our beautiful community. I am excited to be joining Sunalta as Principal after eight years as Assistant Principal at Huntington Hills School and then at Killarney School. Sunalta is well-known for it’s focus on academic success as well as being a school with strong ties to the community and the history of Calgary.

Sunalta students have had another outstanding experience with Sand Northrup’s One Woman Circus Residency. Through the lens of ‘Circus Arts’, our Sunalta children practiced juggling, feather-balancing and other skills to develop self-discipline, and confidence. A thrilling performance was shared with the community on April 11, 2019 that included an exemplary performance by our own Division 2 Sunalta students. Their singing, recorder-playing, ukulele ensemble work, and shining enthusiasm was contagious. Thank you to our School Council for funding this incredible opportunity and to our music teacher, Ms. Neufeld for bringing out the musical talents of our students.

Sunalta students will be participating in the Young Writers’ Conference at the end of this month. Keynote speaker, Sheree Fitch, will kick off a day of writing and art workshops. Approximately 1500 children from all over Calgary will connect and share the love of Literacy and joy of writing. Thank you to Mr Castle and Ms Sutherland for sponsoring this Saturday experience.

If you are interested in current Sunalta learning experiences follow us on Twitter @SunaltaCBE.

With Warm Regards,
Christine McCrory

April 03
Spring is on it's Way

Once again, Mother Nature teases us with spring but I am not sure she has fulfilled her promise of warmer weather yet. It was a cold and snowy winter as evidenced by a few indoor recesses for our students because of dipping temperatures. The pace at Sunalta, however, is a sure signal that spring is on its way. Our annual Think-a-thon has just wrapped up with the goal of raising money to support our excellent enrichment programs at Sunalta. Our return from Spring Break will launch right into more exciting learning. Our school is once again involved in the city wide Science Fair and Young Writers Conference. Last month we brought in over 1000 items for donation to the foodbank in our gifts from the heart charity drive. Students are looking forward to our annual spring concert, this year our students will be working on a circus themed show. It promises to be an exciting event with our afternoon performance at 2 PM and our evening show at 7 PM on April 11. We will also be hosting a bake sale during the performance to support our Grade 6 graduation ceremonies.

We have just finished our student-led conferences, prior to Spring Break. These conferences support our assessment and reporting practices by allowing parents to see their child at work and to be guided thorough the work by their child. Learning is a process and the process is most often more important than the product at school. Student-led conferences highlight that learning process. If you missed student-led conferences we strongly encourage you speak to your child’s teacher about how you and your child can participate in the conference at another time at school or by taking the “Student-led Package” home.

As I write this note, the board is interviewing candidates for the principal-ship at Sunalta. We will send out a message to you when the successful candidate is hired.

Marie Bowen (mabowen@cbe.ab.ca)

February 25
Learning is Active, Engaging and Social

At Sunalta School we believe learning is active, engaging, and social. Our students are encouraged to be engaged and be motivated in their learning, this supports their higher order, creative thinking skills. Students are most involved when they themselves are part of constructing meaning, not when teachers do it for them. By encouraging students to meet challenges creatively, collaborate, and apply critical thinking skills to real-world, unpredictable situations inside and outside of school, we prepare them for their future pursuits.

At Sunalta we believe that for students to be successful we need to address the whole child. We do that by providing interactive learning challenges. For example, we have a huge fort and castle being built in our grade six classrooms. Students are required to measure, work with angles, plan together and create structural strength. This work is far more interesting than rote work and requires students to be a real part of the process of learning. Our grade three students rode on carts around the school testing accessibility for people in wheelchairs and learned some of their math curriculum through the creation of chess boards. We caught our grade five classes learning about electricity by taking apart some old modems, dvd players and even an old electric car starter. Our school wide Learning Fair will involve so many of our students in deep thinking and resourceful problem solving.

Current, our whole school is involved in exploring the social studies and health curriculum through the creation of of three-dimensional masks, led by Xstine Cook and the artists of Calgary Animated Objects Society and financially supported by our Parent Council. Our students are exploring their identities as Canadians through an immersive process of introspection, reflection, family memory collection, and artistic creation. Sunalta students bravely undertook the challenge of having their faces cast with plaster bandages, with each unique form used as a base upon which students created their artistic masterpieces. We invited students to discover, through the ancient art of mask making, just how wild and varied Canadian identity can be when the masks are displayed at our school and at the Leighton Art Centre in the spring.

Speaking of questions, once again, from January to the end of February, Alberta Education will be conducting the annual Accountability Pillar Survey. Parents of students in Grades 4, 7 and 10 should receive a survey from Alberta Education. In February, students in grades 4 and all teachers will be completing their surveys online at school. All surveys are anonymous and ask questions about experiences with the school. In addition to English and French, the parent survey is available in Chinese, Punjabi, Arabic, Blackfoot, Cree, Korean, Spanish and Tagalog and Urdu.

It is very important that parents/guardians complete the survey and return it to Alberta Education. Alberta Education and the public use the results of the Accountability Pillar Survey to assess satisfaction with the quality of education in our schools. In addition, the Calgary Board of Education uses the information to improve teaching and learning for your children.

If you Don’t Know the answer to a particular question, please skip that question and go to the next one, unless you want your response to count as a negative one.

Your voice matters. Your participation in the survey helps provide important information on the quality of education your child is receiving at Sunalta School. Alberta Education and the Calgary Board of Education thank you for returning the parent Accountability Pillar Survey promptly. If you have questions, please contact me, Marie Bowen.

The Accountability Pillar uses a set of 16 indicators consisting of surveys of students, parents and teachers on various aspects of quality; student outcomes such as dropout and high school completion rates; and provincial assessments of student learning. Interested in the results? Look for them in school and the CBE 3-Year Education Plans and Annual Education Results Reports, posted in November 2017.

Marie Bowen (mabowen@cbe.ab.ca)

January 11
Exciting Learning

The New Year will bring exciting learning at Sunalta School. Report cards will be going home at the end of the month.

In February we will also be hosting our annual Learning Fair where we will be asking for community judges. Please get in touch with Ms. Vieweger at the school if you are interested in helping out with judging on February 7 and 8.

We are so grateful to see many of our families driving carefully around the school and dropping your children off at the bottom of the hill. We also encourage our grade 1-6 parents to drop their children off outside the school instead of bringing children right to classrooms as this encourages independence and keeps our students safe. If you have children participating in the Sunalta Before and After Care program then please attend to the new drop off and pick up point for the month of January. Our gym doors are being replaced and we will be asking parents to pick up their children at the door on the compound at the back of the school.

Kindergarten registration is starting January 14th. If you have a child in the community that is five on or before March 1st then please visit us in the school office for kindergarten registration. We anticipate some open spots for students who live outside of our walk zone and we would be happy to put them on the lottery waitlist. We always get many applications as Sunalta School is one of Calgary‘s most highly regarded public schools. We are so proud of her high achieving and engaging learning environment. Historically, we have welcomed children and families from all over the city and provide our students with top-notch educational and extracurricular opportunities.

Marie Bowen, Principal (mabowen@cbe.ab.ca)

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Marie Bowen

I am passionate about educating students. One of the most important aspects of my work at Sunalta School will be to build strong relationships with your children.

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mabowen@cbe.ab.ca


Check out this exciting opportunity to lead our HR/LR Advisory Services team https://t.co/2rkmOEc3xV #yycjobs #WeAreCBE #yycbe https://t.co/2jtHvcZ0lp

RT @mustardseedyyc: Today @CrescentCowboys student Alex and his friends came by The Mustard Seed with bags full of @McDonaldsCanada sandwiches to hand out to those experiencing homelessness! Why did he do this? Because it's his birthday and he wanted to give back. Thank you Alex! @Crackmacs https://t.co/rWYZq2qKyW

RT @skillsalberta: We had a contest for students to design our 2020 Cardboard Boat Race medal - and here is the winning design from an Ernest Manning High School student! @yyCBEdu #yycbe #ABisSkilled https://t.co/O6IpOv4VQm

RT @UsihChristopher: Proud of this significant work on assessment and reporting at the CBE. Parents/Guardians can expect greater clarity on K-9 reporting going forward. Thanks to #WeAreCBE teachers and system leaders for their commitment to student success! https://t.co/iHUk905cjj

CBE Night with the Hitmen is coming up on Friday, Jan. 31. Use the code FUEL and $5 from every CBE ticket sold helps students receive nutritious breakfasts through Fuel for School https://t.co/cdfCwXAKbn #WeAreCBE https://t.co/c8Ij6LJnVa