Sep 23
Planning During Unprecedented Times

Welcome back to the 2020/21 school year! After months of virtual learning due to the pandemic, we are doing our best to provide a safe and meaningful in-school experience for our students. Our protocols for school re-entry have been guided by Alberta Health, Alberta Education and the CBE. Maintaining a safe school relies on everyone to do their part. Our facility operators have a strict cleaning regime to follow and staff have taken Covid-19 training. All of the sorts of safety measures taking place in retail environments and Calgary businesses are now visible in schools. More information regarding Covid -19 preparation is available on the CBE website www.cbe.ab.ca

During the first few days of school the safety protocols will be discussed, modelled and rolled out. Cohorts, frequent handwashing, masks, hallway travel, seating arrangements, lunchtime routines and seating arrangements are all part of the mix. We also want to provide our students with engaging learning opportunities despite the more restrictive environment.

The last few months have shone a light on the benefits of everyday school life verses the online learning environment. School life is all about relationships, flexible approaches to learning, socialization, extra-curricular offerings and camaraderie. We missed being with our students and are looking forward to seeing everyone. Friendships, learning from each other, the human touch, memorable experiences, honouring diversity and supporting one another are all important hallmarks of our school. Also, bringing the curriculum to life is paramount.

Some of our students are participating in Hub learning because it works better for them. We wish them continued success and happiness.

Classes were thoughtfully organized in the spring and revisited in August. Teachers take into consideration gender balance, academic diversity, special needs and the social dynamic when crafting class lists. Thank you for honouring their work.

We value your trust and support as we navigate this uncharted territory. School changes based on feedback, new information, observations and system directives will continue to occur. We will keep you in the loop.

We are looking forward to our work together.

Chris Aylesworth, Acting Principal

A.E. Cross Staff​

Nov 20
Digital Devices

Dear Families of A. E. Cross Students,

I would like to ask for your assistance and support as a whole school community to address something my staff and I feel is impacting the school experience of our adolescent learners.

Please know this is not something isolated to the A. E. Cross school community. It is something that we, as Calgary Board of Education principals, discuss daily.  It is also an issue that my principal colleagues in schools around the world are facing. In CBE we have developed "digital citizen"  guidelines that we make sure students and parents aware of.  But, it should come as no surprise that often adolescent use of mobile devices may not always fall into what we would all deem good digital citizenship.

While at school, my staff and I do our utmost to monitor students’ use of technology (be it student-owned or school-owned devices) to ensure students are using the technology effectively and appropriately.  This is the reason I have asked for students to keep their cell phones in their lockers during class time, unless otherwise directed by their teachers. However, we also realize that sometimes students bring their devices with them to class when they should not or they engage in online behaviour at school that is inappropriate. We really need your support in reminding your children of our school policy related to cell phone use--and the subsequent consequences, if they make poor choices with regards to the acceptable use of cell phones or other digital devices. 

Students’ use of digital devices outside of school time is very complicated matter.  While what happens outside of the designated school day is in most cases not an area of school jurisdiction, under Alberta School Act Legislation, it becomes the responsibility of the school principal to intervene when outside of school actions by students impact the proceedings of the school.  Constable Boyko, my School Resource Officer, has asked me to remind all families that although students may believe their cell phones are owned by the student, cell phone contracts cannot be issued to anyone under the age of 18. If CPS or other law enforcement agencies become involved and deem it necessary to “ticket” or lay charges, those offences will be levied against parents/guardians. Students need to be very aware that their inappropriate use of digital devices place their families in very difficult circumstances.

The intent of this message to you as parents is perhaps a "call to action"--a return to the belief that it does take a "watchful and caring village" to raise our children well in our ever-changing digital society. While we certainly celebrate the many wonderful things our students demonstrate each and every day, we also remind them of the values of ethical citizenship as outlined in Alberta Education’s "Ministerial Order on Student Learning."  There is truly NO anonymity while using CBE or other networks.  Actions such making hurtful or threatening comments via digital messaging or through social media or sending anonymous letters filled with inaccurate information and venomous language are not acceptable conduct in our Canadian civil society. Even though it may seem second nature to us as adults (and we would never consider conducting ourselves in such ways) the images and messages our students are exposed to every day through various forms of media present them with other ideas.

Our students often laugh at me when I say to them that there were no cell phones when I was in junior high school--and if I had something to say to someone, it had to be done face-to-face.  I tell them that talking directly with someone often improves the conversation, not being able to hide behind the "perceived anonymity" of the methods of communication they have access to today. The filter I remind our students of is, “Would you say this directly to someone’s face?” Most of the time their answer would be "No," and, therefore they realize it is not behaviour befitting of the respectful, kind and caring students I know them to be.

At A. E. Cross, my staff and I are very appreciative of your ongoing support as we all work to support students in navigating our complex world, complicated even further by social media and all too easy to access digital devices. 

Sincerely,

 Dr. Brandy Yee​

Apr 11
April 2018

We are now just three short months away from the end of the 2017/18 school year. Numerous events and activities will be taking place between now and the end of June: Grade 7 band camp, Grade 7 Journey 2050 at Stampede Park, track and field meet, badminton team try-outs, practices and tournaments, Grade 9 Farewell, Grades 9 PAT’s, Disneyland California band trip, performing arts production, and the year-end band concert. In the midst of all these opportunities, there is still a lot of teaching and learning that needs to be accomplished in the classroom. To help support a successful three months, we will be reinforcing the school rules and expectations with students. It should be emphasized that these are not new expectations, just a reminder of the high expectations we have of our students.

We would like to also remind all students about their digital citizenship responsibilities at A.E. Cross School. Digital citizenship is having the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to demonstrate responsible and respectful behavior when using technology or participating in digital environments. This goes beyond email etiquette and avoiding plagiarism to encompass all elements of digital engagement, in particular, protecting private information, staying safe online, and knowing how to deal with bullying in the digital world, whether you’re a target or a bystander. The reality of cyberbullying is that 2 out 3 youth have faced bullying over their cell phones or online. Parents are encouraged to check their children’s accounts, review their devices and examine their social media connections. This will ensure that our children are not victims of bullying, being targeted by predators, or that they are behaving inappropriately on social media.

Digital citizenship is key to helping our students learn to use available technology responsibly in the classroom and throughout the school to build a community where we live and work together as ethical responsible digital citizens. Visit the CBE website to learn more on how we support students develop online safety skills and learn to be good digital citizens.

Rhonda Williams
Assistant Principal​

Mar 05
March 2018 Update

Excerpted from our March Newsletter​.

​Welcome March! How did that happen so quickly? It is hard to believe we are into the second semester of learning together! During the months of February and March, the students and staff were very busy. We have begun planning and scheduling for the 2018-2019 school year and we are excited about what is yet to come!

During our last staff professional development day and during the health and wellness day the focus of our sessions included: Mental Health Literacy. Topics include: 

  • The Teenage Brain -- How is it different from adults? 
  • What is adolescence? Common myths about mental illness 
  • What are the causes? 
  • What are the risks? Teenage stress 
  • How much is too much? 
  • How can we manage stress? Promoting positive mental health in children 
  • What are some self-care basics? 
  • How can I support students at A.E. Cross?

We have had students out of the building attending field trips such as the Grade 8 and 9 Band students attending Band Camp at River’s Edge and the Grade 8 students attending Telus Spark. We also had a small group of Grade 7 students who attended the My World Conference on February 22. Our students and staff also participated in Pink Shirt Day held on February 28.

Within the school the Grade 7’s are working diligently on their AEC Convention Projects and we welcome all parents to the school to see these amazing inventions on March 20 from 2-3 pm in the main gymnasium.

As a school community we are focused on promoting positive mental health as a result we have booked a “Live Different” presentation on March 12, this presentation, encourages students to consider compassion as a compelling alternative to what society sometimes presents as being “great” or “successful”.

We also want to recognize the ongoing athletics program at A.E Cross. Both our girls’ and boys’ basketball teams have begun their season with very strong starts. Congratulations to all the players on our junior and senior teams. Basketball club for Grade 7 students have also started.

We also want to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our performing arts students who are preparing for “The Chocolate Factory” Performance from March 12-16 at A.E. Cross School.

Rhonda Williams
Assistant Principal

Dec 13
December 2017

Thank You

Thank you to our School Council and to our parent volunteers who continue to support our staff and students at A.E. Cross. Thank you for giving your time to attend sporting events, provide Friday snacks, volunteer for field trips, helping with school fundraisers and other school activities. I want to thank our parent community and community neighbours who continue to support our work and our commitment to your children. I want to thank each one of our support staff and teaching staff for the truly exceptional work they do each and every day with A.E. Cross students. Have a wonderful Christmas Holiday and Winter Break! See you back in school on January 8, 2018!

Health & Life Skills

This year our school has prioritized positive mental health and wellness as a whole school initiative. Our mission is to bring awareness to mental health issues and to help students build positive mental health strategies. One of the strategies that we have exposed all of our students and staff to is the MindShift App from AnxietyBC. Please have a look at the App with your child. We are also very fortunate to have had a guest presenter, Natalie St. Hillaire who spoke about meditation, mindfulness and the importance of being present in your own lives, in the moment. Throughout the year we will continue to have ongoing dialogue with the staff and students to promote wellness and life-long strategies. We also have some guest presenters booked for the new year, including, MADD, Live Different and Anne Daniel’s to support these ongoing conversations.

Mrs. Rhonda Williams
Assistant Principal – A.E. Cross School​

Nov 08
November 2017

As I mentioned in last Friday’s message, my good friend David Bouchard was here to speak with the students last week. I hope your children came home and spoke to you about some of the stories David shared with them. His message is always a good one, focusing on the importance of literacy, the impact of culture on education and schooling, and also the significance of the mental health issues facing our adolescents in Canada. 

Recent Canadian studies show almost a third of our adolescents are battling some form of mental health issue. The data for our particular learning community is no different. This will become one of the areas of focus for this year in our school development plan. We will also be looking at how we support students in the development of their mathematical analysis and problem-solving skills, how we can give students authentic opportunities for voice and choice in meaningful aspects of their learning, along with how students are supported as they explore within the disciplines they are studying. Our school development plan will be available on the school website mid-November and we will be discussing the plan in more detail during our November school council meeting. 

 After reviewing available school data and engaging in conversations with staff about specific resources needed to support student success, I have made the decision to hire a math intervention specialist for our school. I would like to welcome Mr. Nick Moskaluk to the A. E. Cross Community. I have worked with Nick for several years and am excited to have him join our team here. He will be offering intensive math intervention in 8 week segments for students who teachers have identified would benefit from this kind of support. He will also be teaming with Ms. Simmons in our guidance department/student learning centre.

We look forward to meeting more of our families during the upcoming learning conferences in November.

Warm regards,

Dr. Brandy Yee​

Sep 28
Welcome

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all families of students attending of A.E. Cross School.  As I mentioned to the large crowd who joined us in early September for our “Meet the Teacher” evening, I am both humbled and honoured to have been selected as the principal for the A.E. Cross community.  I have been fortunate to work in numerous schools within Calgary Board of Education and Rocky View School Division. I have also collaborated with many middle/junior high schools in New Zealand, Germany and Finland. So, please believe me when I say there is something very unique about the collaborative culture and sense of community that is very apparent when you walk through the front doors of our school.  This is something that as a school community we will continue to nurture and build upon each day.

The transition to a new leadership team can be a time filled with uncertainty for a school community.  It is important to Mrs. Williams and I that you know we are committed to our A.E. Cross School community and that we value the contributions each of our staff members, students, families and community members have made to creating this amazing school community we are proud to serve.  Our vision for the school aligns with the larger CBE vision, “Each student, in keeping with his or her individual abilities and gifts, will complete high school with a foundation of learning necessary to thrive in life, work and continued learning.”  As a leadership team, our values reflect the core values the CBE has outlined--“Students come first. Learning is our central purpose. Public education serves the common good.”  There are also some aspects of our beliefs and values that reflect the unique context of A.E. Cross school. 

We believe that setting high standards for all students creates a greater opportunity for future success – in our communities, within the province and across our global society. Each day, A. E. Cross students engage in learning that prepares them to be leaders in a technologically savvy and globally competitive world. 

We are proud of our diverse mix of students who represent 45 different countries and many cultural and ethnic backgrounds. At A.E. Cross, we offer an extensive range of exploratory courses that serve to nurture the talents and extend the curiosities of students who have interests and abilities in specific areas.

We share common beliefs as to what constitutes great teaching and learning in our current middle school/junior high context:

  • The middle years of learning should be about discovery and exploration.
  • The central task of early adolescence is the development of self-regulation, and we must ensure our school philosophies and practices support this.
  • We believe teachers need to have expertise not only in the disciplines they teach but also in understanding the adolescent developmental period and the adolescent learners they work with each and every day. Great teachers bring joy into the classroom everyday--inspiring, engaging, enriching and empowering their students with creative and innovative lessons!
  • We acknowledge the important role technology does and will continue to play in the lives of our adolescent learners, with the focus on technology to support knowledge building and creation as outlined in the Alberta Ministerial Order on Student Learning (Alberta Education, May 2013).
  • We believe that in order to develop students as active participants in their learning they need to be provided with authentic opportunities for voice and choice in meaningful aspects of their schooling experience.
  • We must intentionally create opportunities for students to foster the development of positive relationships with trusted adults, their peers and members of their community. 

Our mission is to educate every A. E. Cross student well--and to do that we need your help. Through this new web interface, we will provide you with a wide range of information, so that you can stay up to date with current happenings at a school, district and provincial level that will influence your child’s experience at school.  At A.E. Cross School, we believe that parental involvement is essential for student success in school, and we encourage all parents to become participants in and partners with the school in their child’s educational journey.

 

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