Jun 26
End of Year Message

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we arrive at the end of June, I would like to thank you once again for your continued understanding and support at Briar Hill School. Please accept our sincere appreciation for your patience and perseverance over the last few months of the 2019-2020 school year. We know that each of your challenges and triumphs during this unprecedented time have been unique and we commend you for embracing opportunities to learn and grow together.

We wish we were able to share more definitive plans for the fall.  However, given our current context, we must add layers of flexibility in all areas of our planning. We continue to work on the details of what the next school year will look like for students and staff. More information will be shared in August after the Minister of Education announces which re-entry scenario schools will follow.

It is important to note that our classes are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Our 2020-2021 instructional calendar is now available on our website. As was the case this year, we anticipate having eleven (11) classes at our school in the fall. The following is our tentative grade/class configuration for 2020/2021:

 

Early Learning

 

Division 1

 

Division 2

 

K-AM

 

K-PM

 

1&2

 

1&2

 

1&2

 

2&3

 

3

 

4&5

 

4&5

 

4&5

 

6

 

This configuration may change by September depending on enrollment numbers at that time. We will share more detailed information about our configuration, including teacher assignments, in late August.  You can anticipate a welcome email from your classroom teacher(s) prior to the first day of classes.

Again, we thank you for your ongoing support. We deeply value your contributions to our community of learners. On behalf of the entire Briar Hill School, we wish you all a safe, joyful, and healthy summer.

Sincerely,

Stephen Hart
Principal
sthart@cbe.ab.ca

Danny Cooper
Assistant Principal
DGCooper@cbe.ab.ca

 

Briar Hill School


May 05
Update | May 2020

​Dear Parents/Guardians,

I hope that this message finds you and your family managing these challenging times as best as possible. Please know that the Briar Hill School teaching team is incredibly grateful for the support you have been providing your children as they learn at home. Please accept my sincere appreciation for the time, energy and patience you have offered your children over the last seven weeks.
 
In addition to helping teachers provide ongoing learning in the areas of literacy and numeracy, we acknowledge that supporting wellness is a fundamental component of parenting at this time. The Briar Hill School team is passionate about sharing meaningful learning experiences, but are also trying to be mindful that parents have a lot on their plate. We don’t want to overwhelm you or add to any stress you may already be experiencing. We are all coping with a way of life that necessitates more than ever that we take care of ourselves and our families. We know that everyone’s situation is unique and we want to be respectful of that. This is precisely why I have been, and will continue to be, cautious about my communication with you. When it comes to structured learning, do what works in the context of your home and always make health and wellness a priority. Learning should be enjoyable. That means for parents too. As we work to deliver education content within the parameters set by our province, we aim to support and guide you, not overwhelm you.
 
Whatever your situation, it is important to recognize and acknowledge your circumstances. Remember to take care of yourself so you can take care of those around you. COVID-19 has upended the world for all of us. Remember to pause, and breathe, and let yourself notice the exquisite gifts that can be found in the midst of this global pandemic. Maybe now is the time to think about those things that are most essential, and to think small. Sometimes the magic lies in the tiny, subtle moments that make up the fabric of our days. Be sure to stop and find joy in the time you have with your children. These individual moments, strung together, will become a strand of special memories from this unique time in our history.
 
As you know, information about the COVID-19 situation changes daily and it impacts our lives greatly.  Please stay connected and visit our jurisdictional homepage regularly for updates pertaining to all CBE schools. If time permits, I encourage you to read our May 2020 Newsletter to familiarize yourself with some of the recent happenings at Briar Hill School.
 
This month, it is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Mr. Danny Cooper to the position of Assistant Principal (AP) effective May 25, 2020. Mr. Cooper is currently the acting AP at McKenzie Highlands School, where he has also served as Learning Leader.  He brings with him a portfolio of diverse experiences within the CBE.  This includes various teaching and leadership placements at elementary, middle and junior high schools.  Please join me in offering a warm welcome to Mr. Cooper. Click here to learn more about Mr. Cooper.
 
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please let me know and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
 
Sincerely,

Stephen Hart
Principal
Mar 30
Connecting | Week of March 30, 2020

​Dear Parents & Guardians,

I hope this email finds you and your family healthy and in good spirits. We greatly appreciate your patience, support and understanding as we work out the details and determine what a continuation of learning will look like for our students.
It is important for learning to continue during this time away from school and Alberta Education has been clear with its expectations about where we must focus our efforts. They have shared guidelines to direct student learning while in-school classes are cancelled. Consequently, our teachers have been busy determining what content will need to be covered based on remaining curricular outcomes and have started planning tasks that are reasonable to do from home.
Beginning today, your child's teacher will connect with you to discuss technology access in your home, including access to a computer and the internet. We are also making a plan to address the needs of students without these resources. In addition to collecting this information, teachers will also start the process of sharing plans for your child's ongoing learning at home. This will include establishing an ongoing communication schedule and a feasible content delivery strategy. For the most part, we expect that students will be engaging with their teacher regarding next steps in their learning by the middle of this week. By next week we will work towards establishing more predictable routines in terms of communication and content delivery (use of email, blogs, Google tools, etc.).
We recognize that learning at home presents many challenges for our families. We do not expect parents to deliver the same learning that students receive at school, but to do whatever they can to encourage and support learning for their children while classes are cancelled. We do not intend for this to be a stressful undertaking for students or parents but we want to stay connected to our students and create some daily routines that will provide some continuity and stability. First and foremost, take care of your family to ensure they stay healthy and safe. If necessary, we encourage you to connect with wellness supports and resources available within our city.
We understand there has been plenty of uncertainty about what learning is going to look like moving forward. I can assure you that we are going to continue to work on key learning outcomes at-home within the parameters established by the province and CBE. As always, we will strive to work together to support your child's learning.
Sincerely,
Stephen Hart
Principal
Dec 08
Principal's December 2019 Message
It is with mixed emotion we announce that Ms. Robin Halbert will be leaving Briar Hill School at the end of December. Although we are sad to say goodbye, we are filled with gratitude for having had the opportunity to share in a journey of learning with such a remarkable educator. In her position as our Assistant Principal, and throughout her teaching career, Robin has inspired and supported students and colleagues to reach their best selves. Her unwavering belief in children as curious, capable and wondrous citizens has been central to all of Robin’s teaching and leadership roles. We know her love for education will continue as she embarks on new adventures on the west coast. Please join me in congratulating Robin on her 33 years of remarkable service to the Calgary Board of Education. Robin, you leave an indelible mark on all of our hearts.

As we commence our holiday celebrations and look toward the new year, it’s important to remember that the need for charitable donations is constant, not seasonal. Consequently, I want to acknowledge all of the giving that has happened, and continues to happen, at Briar Hill School this year. To date, students and families have donated to the Canadian Cancer Fund through the Terry Fox Run, supported our veterans through the Poppy Fund, and collected winter clothing for families in need through our annual Jacket Racket campaign. As part of our ongoing commitment to our “We Care” motto, families are being invited to support the Calgary Food Bank during the months of December and January. For the next two months, non-perishable food items and essential baby/infant supplies will be collected inside the front entrance of our school. In early February 2020 we will donate all items to the food bank.

Parents and guardians are reminded that our first term report cards will be sent home this week. You will notice a few changes on your child's first report card, including changes to the way in which Mathematics is reported. These changes are intended to more clearly define student achievement in mathematics. A new parent resource called How is My Child Doing in School provides detailed information about the many ways schools communicate how and what your child is learning, and how student achievement is communicated to you on report cards.

Parent-Teacher conferences are scheduled for the evening afternoon/evening of December 12 and the morning of December 13. As was previously communicated, conferences can be booked online through MyCBE/PowerSchool.

On December 17, all children in grades K–6 will be attending the Alberta Theatre Project’s performance of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Consent forms for this trip were sent home the first week of December. Thanks go out to Briar Hill School Council for generously funding this excursion.

As indicated on our 2019-20 school calendar, December 13, December 20 and January 6 are non-instruction days for students.

From all of Briar Hill staff, we wish you a warm and relaxing holiday season, in the company of family and friends.

Sincerely,

 

​Stephen Hart

Principal​

Nov 04
Administrators' Fall Message

After two months, staff and students of Briar Hill have settled nicely into routines and engaging learning and community opportunities.  The end of September brought the Terry Fox Run, with students surpassing our fundraising goal.  It is wonderful to see the way in which our school community comes together to contribute to events of common concern such as t​his.  In October, we welcomed Poet Miranda Krogstad, who presented at a whole school assembly, enticing our students with the world of poetry.  Students are eager to being working with Miranda, who will be in our school for ten days between November and January.

Prior to Thanksgiving Day, teachers and students reflected on the things that they are thankful and grateful for; family and friends consistently topped the lists for all.  As a school, we are thankful for our engaged and supportive parent community and our kind and compassionate students. Our kindergarten children captured and shared what they are grateful for in a large format mural that graced our front entrance in October.

grateful_edited.jpg 

Hallowe’en Hey Day is always an October highlight for students, and this year’s pumpkin carving contest generated a great deal of interest.  The results were announced on Friday, October 25.  Sincere thanks go to our many parent coordinators and volunteers, as well as the Grade 6 students who designed the Haunted House. 

As we enter November, we continue to feel thankful as we take time to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace.  Our annual Remembrance Day assembly will be held on Friday, November 8 at 10:40 a.m.

The month of December will be a busy one at Briar Hill School, beginning with a day of storytelling by Jeff Stockton.  Jeff will be telling stories and playing the harp to one or two classes at a time throughout the day on Wednesday, December 4.  Jeff Stockton is an award- winning storyteller, Celtic harpist and recording artist.  To learn more about Jeff, visit his website at http://www.jeffstockton.ca/.

Finally, all students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 will be attending Alberta Theatre Project’s production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on Tuesday, December 17.  This trip is generously funded by the Briar Hill School Council; details will be sent home closer to the date.

Sincerely,

Stephen Hart, Principal
Robin Halbert, Assistant Principal​​

Sep 09
Welcome Back | September 2019

Dear Parents & Guardians,

We hope that you had a wonderful summer and were able to spend quality time with family and friends. Our first week of school has been busy, exciting and fun. We are absolutely thrilled about the positive climate of learning that has been created in our building by students, teachers and parents. Please know that it has been a pleasure to welcome new and returning families to our Briar Hill School community for the 2019-20 school year.

Due to an unfavourable weather forecast, the Welcome Back BBQ, originally planned for September 10, has been cancelled. At this time, an alternate date has not been set. The first council meeting of the year will start at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10. All parents/guardians are welcome to attend this meeting. Please be aware that our Meet the Teacher conference sessions will take place after school on Thursday, September 19 and during the day on Friday, September 20. These scheduled conferences will be an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher and learn about the upcoming school year. The online booking system will open one week prior to our conferences. In preparation, it is important that you create a MyCBE / PowerSchool account as this platform will be used for all conference bookings. Please see the following instructions: https://www.cbe.ab.ca/support/Pages/MyCBE-PowerSchool.aspx

On Friday, September 6, we held our first whole-school assembly. The purpose of our gathering was to build school community and to establish a tone that emphasizes kindness, respect and understanding. We look forward to supporting students as we work together to promote an inclusive and caring atmosphere in our school. Thank you for your contributions and ongoing commitment to our learning community.

Sincerely,

Stephen Hart, Principal
Robin Halbert, Assistant Principal​

Jun 06
It seems like just yesterday we were publishing our September newsletter.

It seems like just yesterday we were publishing our September newsletter. Like every other month this year, May was busy and flew past in a flurry of learning and fun! Several whole-school events kept our building lively, active, and filled with positive energy. On May 3, it was a pleasure having many of our volunteers at the school for our annual voluneer appreciation event. We welcomed the opportunity to show our gratitude to those who have graciously and kindly volunteered their time and energy to our school community during 2018-2019. On May 6, we had author Nadia Hohn visit our school to share her work and passion for literacy. Our students were active participants in this presentation that was intended to celebrate Canadian children’s books and the importance of reading. The following day, on May 7, our entire school gathered in the gymnasium for a guest performance by the Highland Secondary School band. This performance served to entertain and inspire our students and staff. On May 24, the musical talents of our students were showcased at a music sharing performance. This was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the spectacular learning that has been happening in Ms. Lecocq’s music classes.

As spring transitions into summer, our building is bursting with signs of life. Our classrooms are home to creatures and plants that have been offering an abundance of authentic learning opportunities for our students. As students are finishing the current grade and entering the next, it seems like the the perfect time to appreciate growth, changes and transitions. We have captured some of this excitement on page 2 of this newsletter. There you will find pictures of the frogs, fish, chicks, butterlies, plants and an ant that have had an opportunity to grow and mature at Briar Hill School this spring. Our school is continuing the process of planning for next year. We are inviting families and the community to take time to reflect on this year and make recommendations on how to improve our school. Never hesitate to provide feedback that you believe can make our school a better place. We all have an important stake in the success of our school and we hope you feel comfortable in sharing your thoughts with us.

The new school year begins on Tuesday, September 3, 2019. Please watch for key updates and information on our school website and via email in late August. Please take moment read the information in this newsletter and take note of the
important dates for June.

Sincerely,

Stephen Hart, Principal

Robin Halbert, Assistant Principal

May 02
Students Warmly Welcomed Quest Leaders

Dear Parents & Guardians,

April was a busy and creative month for students at Briar Hill School. Early in April, students warmly welcomed one of four Quest leaders into their classroom and worked with them to create unique performances based on student stories. Feedback from staff and students alike has been resoundingly positive. Students made remarks such as:

  • Quest is awesome.
  • I think you guys should work with our school twice every year.
  • This week was AWESOME! We should do this EVERY YEAR.
  • Amazing! I enjoyed it a lot. 100%
  • Happy!
  • It was super fun! I loved learning new motions and voices. I enjoyed learning abouthaving a voice and it was a great opportunity to work with the Quest leader.

This work started on April 5, with Indigenous storyteller, Garret C. Smith, providing an engaging presentation for students that highlighted the power of personal and cultural narrative. The following week, Quest artists worked with each classroom to create performances. This residency culminated on April 12, with students performing for their friends, parents and grandparents. We extend our sincere thanks to the Quest Theatre team for their work with our students and staff. We also thank our School Council for generously supporting this residency.

The talents of our students will continue to be showcased this month. We are exited to announce that we will be having a music sharing assembly starting at 10:45 a.m. on May 24. Parents, guardians and friends are invited to attend this performance to experience the learning that has been happening in Ms. Lecocq’s music classes.

Creating a safe, caring and welcoming community continues to be a priority at our school. Part of this work is helping to ensure that the drop-offs and pick-up experiences that are bookends to each day are smooth. We thank everyone for being cautious and courteous when driving, biking or walking to school. Please be aware of your surroundings and follow the rules of the road to ensure the safety of all members of our community.

As we look toward the 2019-20 school year, questions inevitably arise as to how the school will be organized and how class lists will be generated. In May and June, teachers and administrators spend a great deal of time planning the upcoming year. Please see page 2 of this newsletter for more information about how you can provide input and suggestions.

Sincerely,

Stephen Hart, Principal
STHart@cbe.ab.ca

Robin Halbert, Assistant Principal
RLHalbert@cbe.ab.ca

Apr 02
Annual Used Book Sale

One of the highlights of the past month has been the Annual Used Book Sale. Sincere thanks go out to our community for the numerous donations and to all of the volunteers who worked tirelessly to sort and label thousands of books. The Used Book Sale Committee did an amazing job of planning and organizing this event. We are pleased to announce that a total of $4434.57 was raised to support literacy initiatives at our school. Please see page 3 of this newsletter for more details.

The lead-up to the book sale was also acknowledged with ‘Love to Read Week.’ Students enjoyed ‘dropping everything and reading’ throughout the week and engaging in various literacy activities. Classroom doors were creatively decorated to celebrate literacy and students and staff culminated the week by dressing as their favourite book characters. We would like to acknowledge all of the ‘Love to Read’ organizational work done by Kate Shepherd and her family. At last count, approximately $6800 had been raised by this event. We expect to have a final tally by mid April.

Another highlight of the month was student-led conferences. With great anticipation, students eagerly awaited the arrival of their families. Students were so proud to share their learning and products of their work with loved ones. If you were able to join us, we thank you for your attendance and for helping to nurture a love of learning.

In April, we are looking forward to engaging in a residency with Quest Theatre. The residency is entitled, “Telling Our Stories,” which will focus on sharing insights on the connection between culture and story. Students throughout the school worked on a pre-residency writing assignment, connected to cultural or individual belonging or identity. For the residency, teams of Quest artists will create performance with each classroom using the stories that have been generated. The residency will be introduced by an Indigenous storyteller, Raymond Many Bears, in a school-wide assembly on Friday, April 5 at 11:00 a.m. Afternoon kindergarten children are welcome to attend the assembly and participate in the performance.

Sincerely,

Stephen Hart, Principal
Robin Halbert, Assistant Principal

Mar 05
Events, Literacy, Conferences

Dear Parents & Guardians,

We had a very successful residency with Alien Inline Skating during the first week of February. It was most rewarding to see how quickly students improved their skills. Curtis, our instructor, did a wonderful job of personalizing instruction so that each student experienced success every day. Sincere thanks go to our School Council and Parent Assoiciation for generously supporting this valuable in-school activity.

Once again, the Family Dance was a great success. Thank you to our School Council and all of the volunteers who worked so hard to provide this fun event for our school community.

The beginning of March brings Love of Reading week and parent volunteers have been working behind the scenes to organize this event. Throughout the week of March 4-8, we will be celebrating reading through various school-wide events. Classes were invited to submit ‘Love to Read’ activity suggestions to the office. We look forward to engaging in the creative reading related activities submitted by our students.

Continuing with the theme of literacy, shortly after Love of Reading week, we look forward to the 24th annual “Recycle a Friend” Community Book Sale. Book donations for the sale will be accepted at the school from March 5-15. Warm thanks go out to the parent volunteers who dedicate their time and expertise organizing and running this sale. Books will be available for purchase from March 19-21.

We eagerly anticipate student-led conferences that will take place March 21 and 22.The purpose of student-led conferences is for students to communicate theircurrent learning. Parents can expect to see work samples showing evidence of their child’s learning in relation to curricular outcomes from the Alberta Program of Studies. These conferences will provide students with an opportunity to practice oral language skills and build self-confidence. Please see page 2 of this newsletter for detailed information about the purpose and format of this opportunity. We look forward to seeing you during your visit.

Sincerely,

Stephen Hart, Principal

Robin Halbert, Assistant Principal

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Today’s Board of Trustees public meeting starts at noon at the Ed Centre. We invite you to stream the meeting online https://t.co/nvCl1fNgoJ #yycbe https://t.co/oq5v5MuHzE

Do you know what to do when your child isn’t feeling well? We have pulled together resources from government and AHS to help #WeAreCBE families understand what they are required to do and when their child may return to school https://t.co/hmX7kjjwrH #yycbe https://t.co/BJ5Nl3GPqA

The Alberta School Councils' Association is conducting a survey to measure the “pandemic pulse” in the province. Families with children in K-12 are invited to participate. The survey will take about 15 minutes and closes on Friday, Nov. 6 https://t.co/GQggL7IRT0 https://t.co/ezYmUarRMj

Important school community connections are being made between students learning at home and learning in-person at Marion Carson School #WeAreCBE https://t.co/5D2uUZuWbY

RT @southlandbus: This week is #SchoolBusSafetyWeek! In recognition, we will be sharing daily safety tips from Oct 19th to 23rd. Tip #3: Winter Weather • Dress for the weather! Frostbite can happen in minutes. • Never leave a child at a bus stop. Weather and traffic can cause route delays. https://t.co/IaJDMOxRWM