Aug 28
Welcome Back!

​Welcome to all new or returning Cambrian Heights School families!

​We are so excited to welcome you back beginning on September 1! Kindergarten, please remember you may have a different start date!

This year, we are welcoming new students, new staff, and welcoming back many students who learned online in the Hub last year. 

Our staff has begin the year with a focus on relationships and well-being. We appreciate that all of our students, staff, and families have had varied experiences over the past years, and we arrive with different feelings about back-to-school at this time. Our staff are collaborating to create a supportive, student-centred approach by reflecting on our CBE Holistic Lifelong Learning Framework and ho​w we can use it to create a learning environment that takes into account each student's spirit, heart, body, and mind. The learning framework reflects the holistic understanding that an individual learns by engaging and meeting the needs of all parts of one's self. It illustrates the cyclical and interconnected nature of learning. I'll look forward to sharing more about the framework, and how it has been developed over several years in collaboration with our Indigenous Elders, at an upcoming School Council meeting.

Please do ensure you have signed up for SchoolMessenger notifications, and have a look at the First Day of School​ news story ​​and the information on the Back to School​ ​​page as well. 

Please know that we are here to work with you to support your student's achievement and well-being in any way we can. Never hesitate to contact your child's teacher, our Assistant Principal Mrs. Laberee Lee, or me. We do better when we work together!

Thank you for the amazing support you provide to your child and our school! See you soon!

Kevin Whitton

@MrWhitsClass


Jun 28
We Made It!

​Dear Cambrian Heights School families, 

We did it! Thank you to staff, students, and families for your tireless support this year as we worked to make teaching and learning as 'normal' as we could - whether online or in-person. Great work everyone!

I hope you all have a restful summer, and have an opportunity to take the time to reflect and recharge. This has been a year like no other, and we appreciate that Covid has touched us all in different ways. Our staff appreciates the effort that our families made in the midst of trying to stay well, juggling schedules for student pick up, cohorting, providing masks, and so on. Thank you!

When we return in September, we hope that school looks much more like we are used to, but we must be mindful about our re-entry. At Cambrian Heights, September will be a month about well-being, relationships, and building community. We'll use this month to get to know our students' individual needs in a way that honours the experiences and challenges that each learner has gone through over the past year. This will allow our teachers to program 'just in time' supports for their learning. We know we our learners may have many different starting points in the fall, but we have confidence that with the correct supports, all students can and will be successful in their learning. 

Please have a look at our website and e-newsletter for back to school information. 

Thank you all once again for everything you do to make Cambrian Heights a great place to learn! Our staff has felt your support and appreciation all year long. 

​Have a safe and restful summer!

-Kevin 

@MrWhitsClass



Mar 07
Safe and Caring Schools

​Dear Cambrian Heights School families, 

As in all CBE schools, at Cambrian Heights we continue to work daily to ensure that we have created a safe, caring learning environment that includes all of our diverse learners. You may already be aware of some of the school-wide learning we have undertaken through events such as Pink Shirt Day, Orange Shirt Day, Black History Month, and so on. We believe that the learning that takes place leading up to these days, and our actions following these days are critical to ensure that we maintain a focus on inclusion. 

Something I would like to ensure you are aware of is the work that we are undertaking to ensure that our day-to-day learning tasks and text selection promotes a similar vision of an inclusive learning environment. One of the guiding documents we access is the Alberta Education Guidelines for Recognizing Diversity and Promoting Respect Document.

This document outlines many considerations necessary when programming for students by inviting us to explore how the resources and experiences we bring to students may or may not contain implicit or explicit statements, bias, or stereotypes, and how the content of our instruction honours diversity. We realize we must, as educators, consider whether the use of a certain learning resource will ​help each student to build a positive self-image by nurturing a positive approach to similarities and differences in our human experiences. ​

The choice of instructional texts has been a particular focus for our staff recently. In this process, we consider an expanded definition of 'text', as below:

A text refers to any object or experience that readers, writers, listeners, speakers, viewers, and representers engage with to make sense of their world. Texts are more than oral, print, visual, digital, and multimedia resources; they also encompass cultural artifacts, encounters with the land, and everyday communications. (Draft Alberta Curriculum, ELA Subject Introduction, 2018)

When considering which texts we might engage in with students, teachers consider questions such as:

-What are the essential understandings to be developed with the text(s)?

-How are these essential understandings and the tasks taken up with the text(s) connected to the Alberta Programs of Studies?

-Will the text(s) engage readers, extend their understanding, and promote meaningful literacy experiences?

-Is the text(s) adaptable, inclusive and representative of different communities, perspectives, and positive reflections of identities?

-Have authentic authorship, connections to primary resources and contemporary issues been considered?

-Do the text(s) reflect Canadian content? Current content?

-What additional resources support a wider lens inquiring into this topic, concept, or time period?

It has been our experience that these guiding questions have prompted many meaningful discussions about our varied human experiences, viewpoints, and values. These conversations are critical for the success and well-being of our learners. 

As always, we welcome your feedback and perspectives, as​​ we believe an open dialogue helps us strengthen our learning community. 

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Take care, 

Kevin @MrWhitsclass​


Jan 11
A New Year

​Dear Cambrian Heights Families, 

​We hope you have had a restful break and are so looking forward to seeing our in-person learners back in the school on January 12! Hub families, welcome back as well!

At school, January is a time of new beginnings in a familiar place. We return to our work and learning refreshed and ready to continue. It is a wonderful moment to reflect as a community on the successes and challenges of the previous year, and to set direction and personal learning goals for the coming year. In doing so, I am once again humbled by the efforts and support of all members of our learning community under the most challenging of circumstances in 2020. Our staff have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of students physically and emotionally, and we feel your support on a daily basis as we do so! We have all learned so much about ourselves during the past year, and have overcome so many obstacles. Let's ensure that we remind our children of this as well - that the positives in our lives far outweigh the negative. 

I would like to share with you a winter solstice teaching from one of our elders, saa'kokoto. The solstice is a time of many changes, and a time to be thankful for what has passed, and what is ahead. It is a time to plan our future, and to think of what is really important to us. At Cambrian Heights, we feel strongly our responsibility to support our community, and make a positive difference. We have shared saa'kokoto's message with our students, in particular his reminder to us that everyone can do something to make our community a good place to live - even you!  

Here's hoping that you and your family are walking into the new year with a good heart, a good mind, and to enjoy life. We will all be walking on green grass together soon. Please reach out to us if we can support you in any way. 

Take care, 

-Kevin

@MrWhitsClass

 



Nov 06
Thank You!

​Dear Cambrian Heights School Community, 

I would like to thank each and every member of our learning community for such a successful re-entry this fall. As we are into November, we can not express our gratitude enough for your support with the many changes to routines, ongoing updates to Covid screening documents, mid-day pickups and so on. We know that Scenario 1 is described as 'near normal conditions', yet we are aware that this normal is not nearly as near to normal as we would like. (That was quite a sentence, wasn't it?) Our staff has felt the amazing support and care that our families and students have extended toward us. Students are arriving on-time, prepared for learning, and are doing an amazing job keeping a bit of distance between one another - no small feat for young students! It means the world to us to know that we have the support of our community behind us, and that you are continuing to work with us. Only together will we find the calm at the end of this storm. 

This doesn't mean to say that the re-entry has been easy for any of us, by any means. Our teachers continue to work to support students with their well-being, to make social connections in a physically distanced environment, and to stay in touch with our families. We are finding that communication is a vital consideration right now, and we encourage all families to reach out to us with any questions, and if you are in need of support. Please be in close contact with your child's teacher and update them on any changes you see in terms of their well-being so that we can be aware and support them at school. 

Please continue to check the classroom blogs, and Google Classrooms if you are not at school. If you need any help accessing classroom tasks, or are wondering about how your child is progressing, do not hesitate to reach out to us. As well, our teachers are building out resources for home study and practice on their blogs or Google Classrooms. These are wonderful ways for families to support learning at home, so please let your child's teacher know if you aren't sure where you can find them. Exploring the Google Classroom, Blog, and your student's Iris profile are further ways that you can keep up to date with the teaching and learning happening at school. We'll also look forward to 'seeing you' virtually at our December conferences. 

​Once again, thank you for your amazing support of our staff. I am exceedingly proud of the efforts of families, students and staff members, who are continuing to learn and grow in the most challenging cirucumstances. 

Thank you!

Kevin

@MrWhitsClass


Sep 02
Welcome Back!

​We are so excited to be welcoming many of you back to school this week! Our staff have been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to plan, organize, and ensure that we are doing everything we can to make our school as physically and mentally safe for everyone. Our first couple of days back have been a wonderful opportunity to practice new routines, and spend extra time getting to know each learner with fewer children in the classroom at once. The students have done an amazing job adjusting to new ways of entering and moving through the building!

We know you have many questions at this time, so our teachers will be reaching out to you via phone over the next few weeks. It will take a little while to get in touch with everyone this way, so in the meantime, please do use email to contact your child's teacher if there is something pressing you need to ask or discuss. As well, Mr. Eakins, Mrs. Boyce and I are available via telephone. I'll try to be outside around the bell times to chat if you like, as we are limiting the amount of people in the office for now. Thank you for your support encouraging children not to use the playground structure before and after school. Students are more than welcome to return to the playground later in the afternoon - we are simply hoping to limit groups gathering at the bell. 

Again, we can't thank you enough for the wonderful children you are sending to us this year, and for the opportunity to care for them as they return to learning in the classroom.

Please reach out to us if you need anything at all. 


-Kevin Whitton (@MrWhitsClass)

Jun 30
Summer Wishes

​Dear Cambrian Heights School families, 

As this year comes to a close, I would once again like to extend my sincere appreciation to all staff, students, and families for your ongoing support during a most challenging circumstance. It is only due to the efforts of everyone involved, that we have been able to continue learning from home, and we have worked as a team to support our students in their learning despite the challenges of COVID-19. I can not tell you enough how the kind words, thank you's, and well-wishes you provided to our staff this week have lifted their spirits at the end of this year. Thank you for thinking of us!! I wish you all a restful summer. Be well, try to enjoy the break, and spend time safely with those you care about.

We have one additional staffing update - best wishes and thank you to Bart Kwiatkowski, who has accepted a position at Capitol Hill School for September 2020. Thank you for your contributions, Bart! 

Please continue to consult our website and check your email over the summer for confirmation of return to school scenarios. Those of you new to Cambrian Heights, please take the time to watch the Kindergarten Orientation or Digital School Tours coming soon to our News Section. Our office will be closed over the summer and re-opens on August 27. We will communicate with you our plans for potential school visits at the end of August based on our return to school scenario. There is a great deal of planning underway to ensure we are prepared in any scenario! 

In closing, I would like to share with you all the text of a poem that I read at our virtual Grade 6 farewell, by a young poet, Mattie J Stepanek, from his work, Celebrate Through Heartsongs. It serves to remind us that in challenging times, we rise together by considering what is most important - what really matters. 

Take care, and thank you as always for your continued support!

-Kevin @MrWhitsClass


About Things That Matter

It matters that the world knows

We must celebrate the gift of life

Every day in some way, and

We must always remember

To play after every storm.

It matters that the world knows

All children are truly blessed

With the innocent gifts of gentleness,

Trust, and compassion, which

Should guide the wisdom of grown-ups.

 

It matters that the world knows

We each have a song in our heart

That can inspire us in good times and

Hard times if we take the time to listen.

It matters that the world knows

Our senses can help us discover

The hidden and non-hidden

Enchantment in life, if we use them fully.

It matters that the world knows

We must choose our words and wants

Carefully, or we could forever hurt others

With these most dangerous weapons.

 

It matters that the world knows

Strength and value of all things created

Must be measured by character and commitment

Rather than by might and wealth.

It matters that the world knows

We must heed the valuable lessons of

Everyday life, through the celebration of
Children and Heartsongs, sense and words,

Or we could lose in our journey to the future.

 

It matters that the world knows

A person by my name and being existed

With a strong spirit and an eternal mindset

To become a peacemaker for all,

By sharing the things that really matter.​



May 26
Spring Update

​Dear Cambrian Heights School Families, 

We hope you are all staying well, and connected with one another. As we enter our second month of remote learning, I know our staff misses seeing your faces at school! I want to encourage all of you to continue to practice self-care as you engage in your remote learning, and engage in learning tasks as much as is reasonable for you and your family. As well, please continue to stay connected to your classroom teacher. Our staff is available to support you and your child through D2L/Brightspace, Google Meet, email, paper packages, or by telephone. Staff have been using a combination of these formats to meet the needs of our diverse learning community. Should you require further support, please reach out to your classroom teacher, or to me. Each of our teachers has set aside 'office hours' during which time they can provide further learning support to your child. Our staff is quite flexible, and are happy to work with families to personalize your child's learning needs. We also have support staff members who can support as well, as directed by teachers. The best way to reach your child's teacher is through email, and if a phone conversation is easier for you, please include the best contact number and time to call in your email. We have very much appreciated the feedback about remote teaching and learning, and continue to learn what works best for everyone. Thank you so much for your support and patience!

We have had many inquiries about what school will look like in September, and the best answer we have is that we just don't know quite yet. Our CBE leadership team takes direction from the ministry of education, as well as Alberta Health Services. Our CBE leadership team is considering many different scenarios for the time when we are told it is safe to return to school. The same is happening at the school level. We will communicate to you plans for September as soon as we can. In the meantime, staff are working on transition planning and student support for a variety of different scenarios. For our new kindergarten families, and for students new to our school, we look forward to connecting with you in June, likely by phone or digitally. Please do check our website and SchoolMessenger messages to ensure that you are receiving the most up-to-date information available, as things change quickly right now! If you have any questions in the meantime, our office is open from 8:00-2:30 for phone inquiries. 

As always, stay safe, stay strong, and stay positive!

-Kevin @MrWhitsClass



Mar 20
We Miss You!

Cambrian Heights School Families - We miss you! While our sudden class cancellation was somewhat unexpected, please know that our staff are thinking of you all. We are a strong community, and will undoubtedly be back together in the near future. 

In the meantime, some words of advice for parents and caregivers: Remember that it is important to take care of yourself as well as your child during this challenging time. While there are benefits to having your child continue with learning experiences at home, and to creating some consistent routines for students in your day, please ensure that the experience remains positive for everyone! There are many types of learning, and we know that children learn about different things, and in different ways at home than in the classroom. We know that they do not interact with their parents the same way that they do with their teachers. I would encourage families to explore some of the informal CBE Learning at Home resources that have been provided system-wide, and determine what makes sense for your child, and your family's situation. Formal lessons may or may not be the best way for your child to learn at home, and what works for your child at school may not necessarily work for them in a home learning environment. Please recognize this, and understand we know you are supporting your child in the best way possible! Thank you!

We would like to thank you for your patience as we at CBE determine exactly what next steps for learning will look like, and how teachers can support this. It is very important that we are taking this time to be thoughtful, and measured in our planning. Teachers have been working at school and at home to finalize their assessment of students' latest work. As we receive direction from our CBE leadership, we will continue to share information with you. Please be sure to check classroom blogs​  regularly for updates from teachers. Already there are learning resources that you can use from now through spring break.

CBE has also begun to put together some resources you can use to support the well-being of everyone during this time. It can be difficult to talk with children about this pandemic. Please do explore the Positive Mental Health​ page on our CBE corporate website. 

Please have a healthy, restful spring break! Take care of each other.

All the best, 

-Kevin 

@MrWhitsClass

Feb 16
Assessment, Reporting and More!

It has been a busy time at Cambrian Heights over the last few weeks! I would like to take a minute to practice our Virtue of the Month, Positivity, as we reflect on our work so far. Lots of great things are happening at Cambrian Heights!

Firstly, we were very happy to welcome two new Education Assistants to our school as a result of our increased student numbers. Please help us to welcome Mona Amery, and Suzanne Petersen. They are supporting a variety of students on a flexible basis in our Regular Program Grades 1 to 6. Our regular program students will benefit from their care and experience. Welcome! We continue to experience steady growth in numbers and will soon look ahead to planning for the 2020-21 school year. 

I trust you have had the opportunity to receive and review your child's report card that was sent home at the end of January, and are aware of the upcoming parent-teacher conferences in March. Our aim is to clearly communicate your child's learning on a regular basis, with formal checkpoints at report card and conference times. To this end, all families should be receiving a monthly student work sample, along with a teacher assessment and success criteria in the areas of Literacy and Mathematics. If these samples are not finding their way to you, please do contact your child's teacher, or me, and we will ensure that they are received. Also, if you have questions regarding how to interpret the assessments, please get in touch with your child's teacher. We hope that sending these work samples will help each family celebrate the achievements of their student, and to better understand next steps for learning. We know that students are most successful when there is a strong connection between home and school!

All Grade 4 families should recently have received the Alberta Education Accountability Pillar survey via mail. We appreciate your feedback as we set our school goals to improve teaching and learning. Grade 4 students will have the opportunity to provide their feedback at school before the end of February. 

Did you know we have a School Development Plan with targets in the areas of excellence in writing, the use of visual representations for number concepts, and the use of Zones of Regulation as part of our well-being target? Were you aware that our teachers engage in data-driven 4-week professional learning cycles to improve student outcomes? Staff and students have been hard at work since September to improve in these areas, so we are happy to report that our Report Card 1 data in writing shows an increase in the number of students achieving at a 3-Good and 4-Excellence level! Thank you to students and teachers for your work! Since this is the first year of a new report card format, and the first year of our Well-being target, we are collecting baseline data in these areas this year so that we can set targets for further improvement next year. In the meantime, teachers have engaged students in several school-wide writing and mathematics assessments, and we are pleased to see growth in student achievement. 

We have wrapped up our first 'semester' of our Community CTF Days. Students will soon be selecting a new CTF 'course' for the next 5 CTF Days. If you are a family new to our school, or haven't heard about Community CTF, please take a look at our previous News Stories on our website for the CTF experiences that have already been highlighted. Many thanks in particular to Mrs. Dechant who oversees the organization of our CTF Days!

Lastly, thank you to School Council for your support of our Literacy goal through the funding our our puppet residency. Thank you also to all families who participate in School Council fundraising activities that make our residencies possible! Wendy Passmore-Godfrey from WP Puppets has begun working with all students, and will provide instruction over a series of ten school days from February to March. The goal is to increase our students' writing ability through the experience of building and characterizing puppets, and to provide opportunities to practice creativity and artistic expression. Each grade team has selected a different type of puppet, and a different performance style. Students will have the opportunity to perform for one another during the school day to share their learning. Families are invited to attend an evening puppet workshop on March 11 from 6:00-7:00. Students will have captured some elements of their performance digitally and will share these with their families. During the event, families will work together to create and characterize a 'self portrait' puppet. Our hope is to build community as we share the artistic and creative process that WP Puppets has brought to our learners. We hope to see you there! Look for more information coming soon!

Thank you for your ongoing support, and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions abour your child's learning!

-Kevin @MrWhitsClass


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RT @RIDparkschool: Kindergarten creating beautiful fall foliage for everyone to enjoy #hellofall #autumnvibes #SweaterWeather #WeAreRideau https://t.co/2ARD9t7dR6

RT @SunnysideCBE: Take Me Outside Day at Sunnyside School. Whole-school circle. We are connected to each other, our community and our land! #CBEIndigenousEd #TakeMeOutsideDay https://t.co/JivHwLSntw

RT @gale_school: Gone fishing! Check out the mixed media work completed by our grade 6 students. #WeAreCBE https://t.co/qxqBhb45UU

An email has been sent to CBE families with updates on positive case and outbreak notifications, transitioning classes online and at-home rapid testing for K-6 students https://t.co/y9akUtYR0F #yycbe #WeAreCBE https://t.co/4h1xtQ3ciO

RT @Indigenous_cbe: Ayy, Siyissgass, Îsnyess, Hiy Hiy, Marsee, Thank you #WeAreCBE for making the 1st system wide Indigenous Education PL Day a success 💛❤️🖤🤍. Can't wait for next year and all the learning that will happen in between. #CBEIndigenousEd https://t.co/zkyrNror25