October 16th, 2020
Dear AFS Families,
During our Professional Learning times on Thursday, October 8th and on Friday, October 9th, our staff took some time to really think about how to adapt our teaching to the circumstances we find ourselves in and how to make learning as engaging as possible this year. We will be continuing this journey throughout the year focusing on the mental health and wellness of all our students and staff. We have entered into a new learning environment with many new protocols to follow. We strongly believe that wellness for our school community is a priority this year. We will engage in professional readings and involve experts in implementing strategies that will support our students and all our staff.
As new information regarding COVID-19 is released, I know the information can be overwhelming for families. Here at Alex Ferguson School, we are working to ensure care and safety in our classrooms to eliminate as much risk as possible. Alberta Health has released a new AHS parent COVID guide. If you have any questions about the process, you can call Health Link at 811. We appreciate all the work families do to make our school a healthy environment.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
“The more one gives, the more on has." Chinese Proverb
As a school community, we will be practicing and learning about the spirit of generosity this year. Generosity is giving and sharing. It is giving freely because you want to, not with the idea of receiving a reward or a gift in return. Generosity is being aware that there is plenty for everyone. It is seeing a chance to give what you have and then giving just for the joy of giving. It is one of the best ways to show love and friendship. Our AFS community is a very giving, generous community. We have demonstrated generosity in numerous ways this fall including; support for one of our own families as the children heal from a car accident, Terry Fox donations, Orange Shirt Day recognition and supporting each other through Covid-19.
A huge thank you goes out to all of you who participated in our first virtual School Council meeting. Thank you for giving your time so generously in support of Alex Ferguson School. A special thank you goes out to our School Council co-chairman, Amy Maglio and Jaclyn St. Louis along with our School Society Chairman, Becky LeBaron who spent many hours with Ms. Melnyk and myself preparing for the Microsoft Teams virtual meeting.
- October 8 – Early dismissal for all students at 12:02 – No students for the afternoon
- October 9 – Professional Development Day – No students
- October 15 – Picture Day will include individual photos. Lifetouch will create class photos through digital technology.
- Parents, when you are dropping off your child at school, it is imperative to social distance from other students and families. This is a safety consideration requested by AHS.
Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Thank you to each of you who has taken time to share positive thoughts and words to our staff. Your encouragement means the world to us! Our inquiry theme for the year is “Generosity" and it is clear that the AFS community is an amazing generous community.
A huge shout out to our teaching and support staff who continue to ensure that students are safe at school. We are truly blessed to have a group of dedicated people caring for and inspiring the hearts and minds of our students. The constraints of our “new normal" at school have not stopped our staff from caring for and nurturing student's social, emotional and mental well-being.
School Council is an important part of our AFS community. All staff and parents are members of the AFS School Council. Please join us on Wednesday night at 6:30 for our first virtual online School Council Meeting of the year. You would have received information on Thursday evening through a school messenger message on how to log on to Team Meeting along with agendas for the meetings sent today. The students and staff benefit greatly from the financial support of School Council fundraising. One of the fundraisers that has been successful has been the grocery cards. Here is a message from our fundraising committee:
"Grocery card distribution for April cards will take place on Monday Sept 28th and Tuesday Sept 29th between 8:15am-8:45am and 3:15pm-3:45pm outside the main doors of the school. An AFS Board member will be available to provide you with your cards. We please ask that you socially distance yourself should you have to wait in line.
A few reminders:
- Parents, students, and school staff must review the self-screening questionnaire each day before entering the school.
- We will be continuing to go outside as much as possible for learning and for body breaks. Please make sure that your child dresses in layers and is prepared to go outside even when it is wet or cold. Remember, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing!
- Please remember that our playgrounds are not open immediately before or after school. During school hours students will be able to use the playground in their cohorts but limiting use after school will help us to also limit the number of contacts each student has with others outside their cohorts. We would appreciate if parents take their children directly home afterschool and do not stay to play.
- Terry Fox – please continue to support our Toonies for Terry initiative on the Terry Fox Foundation. You can look up Alexander Ferguson and make your donation directly to the Terry Fox Foundation website. Here is the link: https://secure.terryfox.ca/registrant/search.aspx?eventid=309088&langpref=en-CA&searchState=teamSearch&Referrer=https%3a%2f%2fterryfox.org%2f
- Sept. 30 – School Council Meeting at 6:30 – on Microsoft Teams
- Sept. 30 – Orange Shirt Day
- October 2 – Kindergarten Afternoon Class Attends
We know this year will bring us challenges. Within those challenges there will also be opportunities! We will embrace the possibilities for things to be done a little differently. I am certain that this will allow us to grow and evolve as a school and for us to model resilience for our students. Our school's focus will continue be on best practices in teaching and learning, with a strong emphasis on academic success.
Have a great weekend!
Dear Parents and Guardians,
“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way." Edward De Bono
There were several highlights during this past week at AFS. First and foremost, the daily activities of teaching and learning have kept the building humming. It is good to see our students constantly engaged in purposeful activities that contribute to their learning.
Gully Day this year was a huge success with the students engaged in fine art activities with our own Mrs. Stoker and Mrs. Bannister along with artists; One World Drumming, Three Left Feet and Denise Miller. Although it was a little cool outside, the artists managed, the children were dressed warmly and everyone was physically distancing. Thank you so much to School Council for supporting our residencies.
On September 17th and September 18th our Parent Teacher Conferences were unique this year due to COVID-19. We appreciate and thank you so much for supporting your children's education in this way.
As you know, last week on Wednesday, September 9th, there was a car/pedestrian accident at the corner of 17th avenue and 25th street where a car travelling eastbound on 17th avenue struck two children. One child was a former student of AFS and her brother is currently in grade five in our school. Thank you to those of you who sent in cards and gifts for the children.
I have heard from many parents and community members about the traffic around our school, particularly on 17th avenue and the need for change. A neighbour of our school sent me a response that he received from Councillor Woolley's office after sharing an email to their office about witnessing the accident from last Wednesday. His email was passionate and concerning, requesting a better form of traffic and speed control on this section of 17th avenue. I wanted to share the response our neighbour received so we as a school community could be actively involved in making change.
The Constituent Assistant, Michael Mooney, wrote that their office will be reaching out to the Roads Department and to CPS to see what immediate action can be taken. He also encouraged anyone to fill out a traffic calming request: https://calgary-csrprodcwi.motorolasolutions.com/Public/ServiceRequest.mvc/SRintakeStep2/ROMIPRCO Mr. Mooney goes on to say that more people asking for it helps us get it done.
Enjoy your weekend and remember that next Friday is a non-instructional day for all students.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I would like to thank you all for being so responsive to the Covid-19 processes and policies of CBE and our school. As we completed our second week of school, we as a school community have been diligent in following the CBE guidelines, appreciating how difficult it is for many. However, the AHS guidelines are clear and we need to be following them. I would like to share two documents that may help you when your child may be symptomatic with either primary or secondary symptoms.
It is necessary that students be assessed by their parent or guardian using the self-screening questionnaire https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/edc-covid-19-screening-questionaire-english.pdf daily before school every morning (provided in the school package and attached to this message). Students showing symptoms as described on the self-screening questionnaire must remain home and must contact AHS by calling 811.
As it states in the Student illness document, your child should get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
If they have any of these symptoms they are legally required to isolate for at least 10 days from the start of the symptoms or until they resolve, whichever is longer.
- Cough (new or worsening chronic cough)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (new or worsening)
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
If your child has any of these other symptoms, stay home and minimize your contact with others until the symptoms resolve:
- Painful swallowing
- Stuffy nose
- Muscle or joint aches
- Feeling unwell, fatigue or severe exhaustion
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite)
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye
For your reference:
Here is your weekly update for upcoming week:
- Monday, Sept. 14
- Tuesday, Sept. 15
- “Gully Day" – This is our annual September event kicking off the year, involving many different fine art activities and focusing on our Inquiry focus of “Generosity" for the year. Artists will be situated outside our school and in the gully across from our school with individual class cohorts participating in song, dance, art, indigenous story telling and drumming. We will be following AHS and CBE guidelines for the day. As a result of these guidelines, we cannot include parent volunteers this year. We will take a lot of pictures and videos to share with you!
- Wednesday, Sept. 16
- Thursday, Sept. 17
- Parent/Teacher conferences in the evening 4:00 – 7:30
- Friday, Sept. 18 – No School for Students
- Parent/Teacher conferences 8:00 – 12:00
Have a wonderful weekend.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
This week we started a new school year! We have been very excited to welcome students back into the school building and would like to thank all of you for supporting our teachers and our staff for making this unprecedented school opening a success. Students and staff alike were excited to see each other again. Welcome to our new families and especially to our new kindergarten families. You will soon find out that Alexander Ferguson School is a village of caring and generous people – young and old. Our inquiry topic this year is “Generosity". Throughout our year, we will be focusing on the many ways we can each demonstrate generosity and kindness in and out of our school.
Updates for the week of September 7 – 11
Monday, Sept. 7 – Labour Day – No School
Tuesday, Sept. 8
Wednesday, Sept. 9
Thursday, Sept. 10
Friday, Sept. 11
- Afternoon Kindergarten only in the am
- Early Dismissal for everyone at 12:02
Sept. 15 - Each year we have a special day called “Gully Day" where the students are exposed to different fine arts experts. We are pleased to announce that September 15 will be Gully Day. We are excited to share that under the Re-Entry guidelines for CBE we are allowed to have guest artists outside of the school as long as there are COVID precautions in place including physical distancing. Stay tuned for us to share the details and excitement of Gully Day.
Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 – Every September we hold parent/teacher conferences. We know meeting with your child's teacher is a vital part of the communication that supports success for students in school. On- line bookings will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 8:00 am. Please use My CBE to book your 15 minute online conference. Teachers will contact you prior to your conference to send you your google contact code.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Welcome to the 2020-21 school year. We are excited to welcome students back to Alex Ferguson School. We are beginning our school year by limiting the number of students entering the school over the first two days (Sept 1 and 2). The purpose of staggering our entry is:
- To ease the transition of students into school,
- To spend time with smaller groups familiarizing them with our health measures,
- To facilitate physical distancing while teaching the protocols of our health
The plan: (This does not include the HUB students)
Students with surnames starting with A-L
- Grades 1-6 will attend school all day on September 1 and will not attend on September 2.
- Kindergarten will attend their regular AM or PM class on September 1st and will not attend on September 2.
Students with surnames staring with M-Z
- Grades 1-6 will attend school all day on September 2 and will not attend on September 1.
- Kindergarten will attend their regular AM or PM class on September 2 and will not attend on September 1.
Students will meet their teachers on their scheduled day on the school field at
8:15 AM. Teachers will be holding signs to identify themselves.
- At 8:30 AM teachers will lead the students to their classroom.
- During these two days parents are expected to physically distance and remain outside of the school building.
We are hoping you have received an email from your child’s teacher welcoming you to school and notifying you of your child’s class placement. Please call the office if you did not receive an email.
We sent you our school specific re-entry plan on Friday, August 28th. Please note that it is also on the website if you did not receive it by school messenger.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work towards a successful start
up to this school year. It is a unique opening to the school year; however, all of us at AFS are truly excited to see the children back in school. As I am rejoining the school community again this year, I too am excited to be back in school. I look forward to connecting with you soon.
Alex Ferguson School
We have come to the end of an incredibly unique school year. To parents/guardians we want to extend a sincere thank you for your continued support, patience, and compassionate understanding through this unprecedented school year.
Alberta Education has been providing guidance for school re-entry in the fall. We are currently working on a detailed plan based on recommendations from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer. Alberta Education has given school boards three possible scenarios to prepare for. These three scenarios are:
- Scenario 1: In-school classes resume (near normal with enhanced health measures)
- Scenario 2: In-school classes partially resume (with enhanced health measures and online supported learning)
- Scenario 3: At-home learning continues (in-school classes continue to be cancelled and online learning continues)
All of the scenarios are based on prevention:
- Wash your hands often and well
- Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill
The plan for school re-entry is based on four principles:
- The safety of children, students, and staff comes first.
- Children and student learning will continue.
- Provincial funding is still flowing to schools.
- School authorities have the flexibility to do what is best for the community.
In scenario 1 or 2 using the AHS (Alberta Health Services) self assessment tool, we request that it is used daily to measure students, staff health before leaving home. Guests and volunteers will be screened upon entry to school. It is compulsory for students, staff and volunteers to stay home when ill.
A final decision about how re-entry will look will be announced by Alberta Education on August 1, 2020. Currently, we are creating plans for all three scenarios and will be ready to implement our plans on any of these scenarios after the announcement on August 1, 2020.
Last Day of (Online) Classes for Students
Friday, June 26 was our last day of classes for students. The first day back will be Tuesday, September 1 and we will be communicating how the start-up will look prior to the first day of classes.
Please note that as of the end of the day on June 29, 2020 teachers will be archiving their Google Classrooms. Students will no longer be able to access or submit assignments, use Meet, or communicate with classmates and teachers on the stream. We are planning on continuing to use Google Classrooms and Meet next school year regardless of which start up scenario is implemented.
Digital Report Cards
Report cards are now available digitally on your My CBE/PowerSchool account for viewing/printing. Please feel free to call the school or the MyCBE/PowerSchool helpline (403-817-6373) if you require assistance with accessing your child’s report card.
From everyone at Alexander Ferguson School we wish you a safe and happy summer and look forward to seeing our students in the fall. To our students that are leaving us, all the best in your future educational endeavors.
Take care everyone!
Lynn Sparks, Acting Principal
Tianna Melynk, Assistant Principal
Alexander Ferguson School
"This is June, the month of grass and leaves . . . already the aspens are trembling again, and a new summer is offered me. I feel a little fluttered in my thoughts, as if I might be too late.”
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, June 6, 1857
As the early summer kisses the earth, we see the dozen species that are bursting their buds on a single day. The pink blossoms on the trees outside of the school highlight, “This is June.” Henry Thoreau reminds us of this “trembling” beauty in June, leaves us feeling “a little fluttered in [our] thoughts.” As has happened so many times before, June is relished. It is a time of great excitement and anticipation of what summer adventures await, despite COVID 19, as well as some sadness with the realization that some schoolmates and staff members may be heading in different directions.
On that note I would like to inform you of some of the changes to our current school population which affects staffing. When Ms. Puglia and Ms. Melnyk held our virtual Kindergarten Orientation, we discovered that we now have registered 24 new Kindergarten students in the fall. Our current total student population for 2019-2020 at AFS is 239. However, for the next school year, 2020 – 2021 we anticipate 214 students at Alex Ferguson School. Therefore, we will have 25 fewer students. Traditionally, Alex Ferguson School has accepted students from out of our designated area but that policy has changed and we are rarely able to do so. The principal must get special external permission. Also, the boundary lines changed for students in our designated area. These are challenges and we will continue to endeavor to attract students to this amazing school.
Another change for the future is that we will miss our Grade 6 students as they proudly venture on to junior high at various schools. The school will deeply miss the Grade 6 students but know they are wonderful citizens and learners. The teachers and staff are so very proud of you and your accomplishments.
The staffing changes for next year are as follows: Ms. Wilcox (3/4), our temporary teacher will be hoping to secure a teaching position in the fall. Ms. Halcro-Voth (3 /4), will be going to another school at the end of the school year due to decreasing enrollment. While we hope that Ms. Halcro-Voth and Ms. Wilcox will come to visit us in the fall, we would like to thank them for all their contributions to our school and wish them all the best in this challenging next step in their educational careers. Also, my contract ends as Acting Principal on June 30. I have valued my time at Alex Ferguson School but have deeply missed the face-to-face connections with the students, parents and staff in these times of COVID 19 restraint. I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet a few of you live, on the phone, virtual meetings and through email. I will journey back into retirement and continue to see as much of the world as is permitted from the seat of a bicycle.
While we have staff members leaving, we are looking forward to returning staff members. We are happy to welcome our Learning Leader and teacher returning from leave. Ms. Underwood (Grade 3/4) who has so very much to offer her students and colleagues educationally. Also, some further changes, Ms. Bannister, our music teacher, will also be increasing her time at the school from one day a week to three days per week. Our Educational Assistant Ms. Soroka will be increasing her hours assisting students by 5 more hours. At this point Ms. Bensler is to return at the end of August as Principal.
There have been many changes to the funding for education from the provincial government. These changes have also affected the CBE and Alex Ferguson School’s Fees and Budget. Please take some time to respond to our Civil Spaces Survey which was released June 1 and is open until June 15. The Survey is located on our website. We would love your feedback as we work on the School Development Plan and direction of the budget and school fees. This has been such a harsh year economically for all families. It is important that we hear what your priorities are for the next school season. Please let us hear your voice and your opinion so that we can make the best decisions and weigh all the possibilities. Results for the survey will be posted on our school website by June 30, 2020.
To the Volunteers, a special thank you to you who give so generously throughout the year. The volunteers have made an indelible difference on our school community by helping to provide the most wonderful gifts that only education can provide. Also, another specific “shout out” to those families who came to weed our garden recently. It looks great. Thank you for making our tulips sing. We apologize for having to cancel the traditional celebration of the Volunteer Tea but are working to recognize you remotely. Please know we are grateful for your amazing efforts.
In closing I would like to share a few more notes of appreciation. First, thank you to the many, many committees and groups that enrich the Alexander Ferguson School experience. Secondly, I would like to thank the School Council and AFESS (Alex Ferguson Elementary School Society) committee. Please know that your work is a valued treasure. Furthermore, thank you to all the many volunteers for their dedication and support of children and teaching and learning. Lastly, the school is able to offer many experiences because of the wealth of volunteers at Alex Ferguson School. We are so fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers. Thank you for all that you do for our students, staff and school.
All the Alex Ferguson School students and families have been through a historical school year and I hope the students have had some time to document their thoughts and feelings regarding the experience of COVID 19 and remote learning, “distancing” and close connection with family. Thank you for your support of each other.
Together we are stronger. We are in this together.
Staff is sending an enormous 'Happy Mother's Day' to our moms, your moms, grandmas and to all
the women out there who may not technically be moms, but certainly share their
love like one! Please enjoy the day with
your family. Students please make your
mothers feel very special on Sunday.
Thank you to the
families who have started the weeding in our garden. It is already starting to look better.
It has come to
our attention that some of our students are “meeting” in fairly large
groups. This practice is
discouraged. We would like to remind
students of the COVID 19 practices to save lives of those in our homes and
community. Students please remember that
there are people in our homes and community who have pre-existing conditions
(asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, lung disease and compromised immune
systems, etc.) for which COVID 19 can be life-threatening. Even healthy individuals can contract the
coronavirus and it can place people of all ages in danger. Please stay safe and remember we want to see
all of you as soon as school opens again.
Some safe practices when meeting in small groups are:
Distancing of 2 metres from one another
- Wearing masks
- Wash your
hands with soap and water/ hand sanitizer before you leave home and when you
return to the home.
- Do not hug or
shake hands - you can do a 2
metre distance virtual hug or shaking of hands, wave or gesture, dance
showing joy, high 5
- Speak to your
friends from 2 metres away
The City of
Calgary is taking social distancing seriously and encouraging safe
practices. Please ensure you follow the
guidelines as it is my understanding the police are issuing $1,200.00 fines to
individuals not following these distancing practices.
Take care and
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