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Principal's Message

Principal’s Message – March 20, 2019

​I was at a Principal meeting last week – the group consisted mostly of Middle and Junior High School Principals.  The topic of conversation was one that we have seen in the media recently – the effects and impact of technology (specifically mobile phones) on our students, classrooms, and schools.  It was a lively discussion as we debated the merits (there are many) and drawbacks (there are some) of cellphones in schools and classrooms, and the policies existing in our schools to ensure the focus of all technology in schools is used to enhance learning. 
 
The day before the meeting, the Ontario government issued a directive to all their public schools banning cellphones in Ontario classrooms during instructional time starting this fall.  And that week, there was a report of one teacher’s informal experiment of how often the students in her class receive notifications on their cellphones (see:  https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2019/03/12/cell-phone-school-distracting_a_23690435/ for a summary). 
 
As principals, we shared resources and statistics we had about smartphones and their use in schools (for example, see the data below from Pearson’s 2015 Student Mobile Device Survey). 

This conversation encouraged me to reflect on the practices in our own school.  At QEHS, we take a moderate approach to student-brought devices.  We know that many of our students have cellphones, and many families want their students to have those phones.  Teachers in our school have individual and personalized discretion with their students as to cellphone use in their classrooms.  The one expectation for all though, is that mobile phones must be used responsibly and in ways that are healthy for each student and each other as outlined in the CBE’s Digital Citizenship guidelines (https://www.cbe.ab.ca/programs/technology-for-learning/Pages/Digital-Citizenship.aspx).  In other words, we want to show our students effective ways to use their devices (for example, performing calculations, signing up for school activities like extended homeroom, using text to speech software, taking pictures of a teacher’s notes/assignments on the board, accessing reading and math programs/apps, completing research, or logging in to our student information system:  PowerSchool to check grades/assignments).  As a school, we believe that setting expectations for cellphone use in classrooms is more effective than banning their use (experience as educators has taught us that bans can create distracting adversarial situations with students and families and do not enhance teaching or learning).  We prefer to leverage cellphone use in classrooms as conversations about individual learning skills like self-regulation, organization, and responsibility. 
 
Parents will sometimes ask us how they can talk to their children about smart use of their smartphones.  Or – how much use is too much?  One blogger (Delany Rushton on the site ScreenAgers) suggests that as a family it may be a good idea to come up with times and places to not allow screens – in other words, have a conversation as a family as to where in the house, outside, in the car, etc. might it not be a great place to have a screen?  Rushton will even let guests know before visiting her or her kids that the family has a tech-away policy when socializing at their home.  Or, during sleepovers, devices would be collected and placed in a basket at an agreed upon time.  Some families make car time screen-free time (knowing that this encourages distraction-free driving).  Or, during meal times, phones and devices are put aside to allow for conversation.  One principal at our meeting shared a podcast that she found valuable as a parent:  Their Own Devices Podcast (https://thepodglomerate.com/shows/theirowndevices/).   Clearly, while the options are many for families to choose what is best – it is the conversation together about smartphones that creates respect and understanding. 
 
Please continue to let us know how we can support students and families with digital citizenship support and resources, as we are in this work together.  I can be reached at queenelizabethjrsr@cbe.ab.ca or at (403) 777-6380. 
 
Just a reminder to families, student/parent/teacher conferences are on Thursday night (5-8 pm) and Friday (8-noon). 
 
I want to take this opportunity to wish all of our families a great spring break.  I hope you all have a safe, fun break (and have the opportunity to turn off mobile devices, enjoy the weather, and connect with each other).  Classes resume on Monday, April 1st, 2019.
 
Lori Cooper
Principal
 

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A pretty great question from one of our students, for springtime. https://t.co/bwzAX8fiZF

We’re among the 170,000 AB students expected to cast ballots in @CIVIX_Canada Student Vote. Thanks Social Studies team & student leaders for welcoming each class to these polls. Can’t wait to see the results and the discussions that lie ahead!! #YYC #WeAreCBE #AbVotes2019 https://t.co/SwG05TrCvn

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It's rated TV-MA on Netflix, but if you think those school scenes might look an awful lot like our lovely school, it's for good reason. 📽️🧟‍♀️🧟‍♂️ Currently living in Toronto, Kelsey Flower returned to Calgary to film the 8-episode series right at QEHS last summer. #YYC https://t.co/VRD6xgLyi4

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Queen Elizabeth High School

512 18 St NW Calgary, AB, T2N 2G5
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School Contacts

Principal
Mrs Lori Cooper
Assistant Principal
Mrs Mandy Hambidge
Assistant Principal
Mr Travis Robertson
Area Director
Mr Calvin Davies
Trustee
Lisa Davis

School Information

Grades
07-12
Enrolment
957
Programs
Advanced Placement (AP) Dual Credit Exceptional/Complex Needs Gifted & Talented Education (GATE) Off-Campus Work Experience Regular
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School Hours

Morning Start
8:58 AM
Dismissal
3:33 PM
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