Dec 09
Thank You

Dear Parents & Guardians,

It is hard to believe that our last week of school is approaching! Five more days until winter break. I would like to say Thank You.

Thank you to all the parents who have kept their child/ren home when they were unwell and who got them all tested, whether or not they had symptoms or not. Sometimes, it’s been the child without symptoms who has been positive!

Thank you to the parents who have sent encouraging messages, thanking me for the wonderful work we do at CWS. They have made me smile and have given me the strength to carry on during these challenging times.

Thank you to the parents who volunteered at the casino in the summer. This has raised the astonishing amount of $ 68,000 for the school that will make an incredible difference to our CWS students in the next two years.

Thank you to the teachers who have come each and every day – Ms. Masniuk and Ms. Ling.

Thank you to all the teachers for teaching students how to be resilient. How to deal with anxiety/frustration: how to take deep breaths, go for a walk, take a sip of water, eat something, step away from a situation etc.

Thank you to Ms. Tammy for always calling home, making sure that we know what’s wrong with each child and checking in with families to make sure students are not missing.

Thank you to Ms. Ling for making music so engaging that students ask her, with hope in their eyes, each day: “Do we have music today?” The music coming out of the music room is filling my heart with joy.

Thank you to Mr. Scott and Ms. Grant for being the wonderful education assistants they are.

Thank you to the caretaking staff for keeping CWS spick and span.

While I felt it necessary to cancel my visit to my parents in Germany, I am thankful that they are recuperating from COVID-19. Despite being double-immunized, they caught the virus and fell ill. While my mom recovered quickly, my dad is still not well after 5 weeks, but he is improving. I am thankful for that.

I am also so very thankful for working at CWS. Being part of this incredibly close-knit and supportive community is a gift.

Warm Regards,
Meike Thomsen, Principal​


Nov 09
Remembrance Day

At the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, World War I ceased. Brothers, sons and husbands had been lost and those who survived and returned home where changed forever.  PTSD was not something known back then, but everyone who lived with the men who returned and saw them struggle with sleeping, with the terrors and shaking that overtook them at times … they all knew that their husbands, brothers and sons had seen things and survived things that changed them forever- and it made living with them difficult.

By the time World War II ended in 1945, 120,000 Canadians had lost their lifes. Looking at the crosses and reading the dates on them, the young age of the soldiers has always stricken me and has made my heart constrict. So many of the fallen soldiers had been barely 18 years old – boys, really.  My son Peter, when he was in his early 20s expressed the desire to visit “the beach were Canada landed on D-Day in WW2”. My dad and Peter drove there. They wandered the beach. They entered a 360 degree theatre. The movie? D-day landing with the sound level of the real landing. My dad, in his mid 70s at the time, had to leave the theatre. It was too overwhelming: the noise, the terror he saw, the loss of life. It also changed Peter. Playing war games on the video console was just not the same ‘fun’ any longer.

As we remember those who gave their life, I ask you to reflect on the following quote by G.K. Chesterton: “There never was a good war, or a bad peace. The tragedy of war is that it uses man's best to do man's worst. The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. The act of war is the last option of a democracy.”

Meike Thomsen


Aug 30
Welcome Back to the 2021-2022 School Year

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Hopefully, you have had a wonderful summer filled with downtime, family time, time with friends, fun in the water or in the mountains, close to home or further away. Now, you are probably either home again or on your way home.

Personally, my younger son tied the knot on July 3 to a wonderful young lady and both said “I do” at the correct time. I have enjoyed my garden, hosting friends from Ontario and British Columbia. It was SOOOOO good to see them again after such a long time! I am sure you have felt the same when you visited some of your friends and family. Spending time with little Alina on a regular basis was delightful. Seeing her develop and discover things is simply a miracle. She now addresses me as “OMA”, which is grandma in German and she is able to say “I love you!”

On June 30, 2021, it was my great pleasure to meet Dr. Dee Keating. She has donated some lovely artwork to the school that will support the Grade 4 social studies, which focus on Alberta’s landscape.

colonel-walker-staff-paint2.jpg

I’m sad to say that the Grade 5/6 Kamp Kiwanis outdoor school event is cancelled. No overnight trips are allowed at this point in time.

Photo day is September 3, so we do hope that everyone is back for September 1! Settling in with your new teacher and your new friends (we have a couple of new students joining us) is important to start the year well.

On August 19 and 20, school council ran a casino for two days. This means that school council will, yet again, be able to support the school with $ 40,000 to 70,000 over the next two years. We would like to thank the following parents who all took a shift:

Amy T., Jean S., Jonathan W., Elaine W., Ryan T., Rob S., Cheyanne C., Jeremy D., Caterina D., Rita L., Andrew J., Mary S. Sabina B. Sarah L., Kathe L., Giuliana D., Jeff D., Rhonda H., Cameron B., Lonnie S., Scott K., Katrina T., Jonathan T., Josephine B., Erin G., Pamela V., Geoff S.

A number of alternates had to sign up in case someone had to cancel short notice.  Fortunately, only one needed to be filled last minute in the 2 days in which Jeremy D. and Ryan T. came to the rescue!  We would like to thank the other people below were "on-call" in case of more emergencies, too:

Maryanne M., Kimberly Z. and James F.

Please join us for our first school council meeting, which will continue to be virtual, on September 21, 2021 at 6pm.

 

Warm Regards,

Meike Thomsen, Principal


Jun 24
Final Message of the 2020-21 School Year

Principal Message

Dear Parents & Guardians,

A huge shout-out to Ms. Lemke who organized a wonderful Grade 6 celebration, which was recorded and shared with the parents. Congratulations to Amelia, Alina and Luke for being the first recipients of the Colonel Walker School Alumni Award.

A big Thank You also goes to Ms. Connell who took time to organize a virtual talent show. Thank you to all the parents who took the time to record their child’s skill. I enjoyed watching the Talent Show and the variety of talents presented!

As the year is drawing to an end, I’m reflecting on my past two years at CWS. Each day, week and month, it has been my goal to build relationships with students, staff and parents, while also improving the learning experiences for students. While the past two years have been anything but normal, they did pass in the blink of an eye.

I would like to share with you a list of some of the work that I have accomplished during my first two years at CWS:

  • Introduction of French as a Second Language (4x 40 minutes each week)
  • Math club for grade 4-6
  • Cribbage club gr. 3 (last year)
  • Purchase of math manipulatives to allow for hands-on learning activities (Casino funding)
  • Focussed early literacy  testing first week of September to determine who needs additional support for the year (or part of the year)
  • Purchase of non-fiction levelled readers (Casino funding)
  • Removal of all Piitoyias Family school technology off the Colonel Walker’s tech footprint (100+ items)!
  • Replacing all the old Mac laptops with new ones (school funds)
  • Replacing all old iPads with new ones (CBE Evergreening dollars)
  • Protective covers for the iPads (Casino funding)
  • New Smartboard for room 13 (Casino funding & school funds)
  • Starting collaboration with Piitoyias Family of School – between classes as well as joint professional development
  • Learning on the land time for each class this year (Walking Wednesdays etc.)
  • Removing 4 truck loads of ‘old things’ from the basement and another one is ordered for this June
  • Emptying the ‘tech graveyard’ room and transforming it into a welcoming break-out room that is now used daily by students and support staff
  • Multi-lingual Welcome sign at front office; Treaty 7 language decal over the entrance doors to the gym
  • Started sending weekly updates to parents on Fridays (Week at a Glance!)
  • Purchased large buckets with a variety of recess equipment for each classroom (and we are replenishing them again for next year) (casino funding)
  • Purchasing standing desks, wiggle stools, pencil grips, visual timers, head phones etc. to optimize student learning (Casino funding)
  • Purchased additional gym equipment (Casino funding)
  • Establishing CWS as a  Rotary “Stay in School Program” school
  • Organizing the ballroom dance residency & the SOGO Orienteering residency & Outdoor school
  • Hiring a second, outstanding, education assistant

During my two years at CWS, I have met many of you. Each and every one of you has been welcoming and supportive. I feel very lucky to be part of the CWS family and such an integral part of the Inglewood community. In closing, I would like to say THANK YOU to each and every one of YOU.

YOU have helped in your own way to make sure we, as the Colonel Walker School Community, made it through COVID-19. I would like to share the following YouTube video with you that says THANK YOU much better than I ever could. Make sure you have some tissues handy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6G85Hu5KyM

Wishing you and your family a most wonderful summer. See you on September 1!

Warm Regards,
Meike Thomsen, Principal

   


Apr 16
School Budget

Principal Message

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Thank you to the first 21 parents who have completed the Budge & Fees Survey. If you have not done so, please take 5 minutes to fill it out. Again, you find the PowerPoint with detailed information on our CWS website. I will be presenting the information in great detail at School Council night, April 20.

https://colonelwalker.cbedialogue.com/en/projects/2021-22-school-budget-and-school-fees-survey/engagements/2021-22-school-budget-and-school-fees

I would like to take this opportunity to answer some of the questions that are coming up from the survey:

  • Our two education assistants are supervising the classrooms during lunch time. This is part of their assignment and the lunch supervision fee is part of their salary. Lunch will stay in classrooms next year, as it has been very successful.
  • Students are NOT staying in the classroom the whole lunch time. After they eat, they go outside to play (same as now).
  • We will keep music and French.
  • We hope to have clubs again as per usual next year.
  • Tentatively booked are:
    • Ballroom dance residency
    • Alien Inline Skating
    • Gr. 5/6 Outdoor School

School Council Meeting on Tuesday at 6:00 PM

Join Skype Meeting  

Trouble Joining? Try Skype Web App

Spelling Work

I’m excited to share that the first student has finished the Introduction to Spelling Booklet! Way to go! Children learn to spell words correctly by writing them multiple times. Learning to spell in German, English and French, we always had to write a word 3 times.

Warm Regards,

Meike Thomsen, Principal


Mar 25
Spring Break March 25, 2021
Principal Message

Dear Parents & Guardians,

We made it to Spring Break without any cohorts going into isolation and no staff member having to quarantine at home. Amazing! We are looking forward to seeing all students again on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Each student brought home a spelling workbook before Christmas break. I hope that your son/daughter has been working in it each and every day or at least most days. Practicing spelling is a foundational block for improving reading and writing. This week, I was doing my rounds through the classes and one grade 3 student asked me how to spell 'over'. This reminded me that I really wanted to check in with all of you in regards to the spelling book and how important it is to work in it. Working on reading and writing daily is an important habit to form. Playing Cribbage with your child in grade 2 and 3 is also the most engaging way of practicing basic facts for math with them (without your child realizing they are doing math work!)

I'm very excited to share that CWS will be a PILOT TESTING SCHOOL for K-3 reading assessment tools called LenS (letter name sound test for K-2) and Castles & Coltheart Test (CC3) for grade 1-3. These tests have been used in the Edmonton Public school board for a number of years now. The tests clearly show which SKILL the student should learn NEXT. Dr. Oakley school, the CBE's reading intervention school, has been using this approach very successfully for the past two years.

The CBE is allowed to put forward four schools to participate in the pilot project and CWS will be one of them! Even more exciting is the prospect that we will be part of the process to establish Alberta Norms.

I will receive the screeners (tests), instructions and a video during spring break. We will look at the material when we return from Spring break. On April 12 and 13th, we will have Bruce Raddatz come into the school to free up teachers to administer the new test one-on-one. I will keep you informed of how this is all rolling out as it happens. Our next school council meeting is on April 20th. Please join us to see what my update on this exciting project will be.  The April evening will also involve my presentation on next year's budget and fees.

​Warm Regards,

Meike Thomsen, Principal​



Mar 19
Spring!


Principal Message

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Thank you to all the parents who joined the school council meeting on Tuesday. A big thank you to Ms. Connell and Constable Mark Enzie from the Calgary Police who were guests.

It is hard to believe that we are heading into the last week of school before spring break.

I am looking forward to digging up more lawn and sowing bee-friendly flowers. Going for long walks, reading at least 2 good books (I love a good crime novel!) and spending time with my little grand-daughter.

I have reached out to Camp Kiwanis and have given them our preferred choice of weeks, which are all mid September to early October. Of course, all of this is tentative, as none of us know what the world will look like in the fall.

 

If you are a grade 4-6 parent, Alberta Education is asking for your feedback (as they do every year). Please fill out the Alberta Education Assurance Survey (formerly the Accountability Pillar Survey). It has been scheduled for the week of March 22 to April 23, 2021. You should be receiving a letter soon. Your feedback is important to us as we use the data to make decisions and to report back to the whole school community. Seeing as we are such a small school, I encourage all of our grade 4-6 parents to complete the survey. Last year, 13 parents filled out the survey, which was a huge improvement over the only 8 from the 2019. My challenge to you is: Lets try to have 25 parents fill out the survey! The more parents fill it out, the more valid the data is. Thank you in advance for taking time out of your busy days to complete the survey.

 

Warm Regards,

Meike Thomsen, Principal​


Mar 12
Alumni Award

Dear Parents & Guardians,

There is nothing like a good, unexpected surprise! This week, I received an email from EducationMatters, sharing with me that Colonel Walker alumni from the graduation years of 1950-1965 had a reunion and decided to create a Colonel Walker 1950-1965 Alumni Award for three grade 6 students at a value of $250 each, based on superior citizenship qualities and academic achievement. This is an annual award and the nominations will be put forward on May 1st of each year. At least one school staff member (myself and perhaps a teacher or two) will meet with an EducationMatters staff member to discuss the nominations and then make collaborative decisions.

This is such an incredible example of how strong the community ties are in Inglewood and the long-lasting feeling alumni have towards their school. It shows, yet again, how much belonging and sense of community a school creates. I really wished that we would have names and photos of these alumni students. Wouldn’t it be amazing if some of them could be speaking to our students? Sharing their stories? I don’t know if you happen to know any of them. If you do, please let them know how much we appreciate their generosity and that we would love to be in touch personally.

We have even more good news, as I was notified that our gym floor will be refinished during the spring break. So, upon our return, we will have a new-looking gym floor to enjoy!


Mar 05
A year ago, news of the COVID-19 virus spread all over the world.
​Dear Parents & Guardians,

A year ago, news of the novel COVID-19 virus spread all over the world. A year ago, I was still hoping to visit my parents during spring break to check up on my father who was not well (and still is not well. He just received 4 stints!). A year ago, we all started to wonder if and how COVID-19 would impact our lives and our way of living.

Today, we know the answer. Today, we have grown used to using words like: social distancing, sanitizing, isolation, mandatory quarantine, Hub-learning, emergency online learning, Skype, Zoom, TEAMS and Google Classrooms, curb side pick-up, online grocery shopping, 14 days, 10 days, close contact, outbreak etc.

This year, the CBE has hired extra cleaners whose sole purpose is to disinfect high-touchpoint areas like doorknobs, light switches and banisters etc. The CBE has a COVID-19 team, whose sole purpose is to inform and communicate with principals when a case affects their school. The CBE has a new section in their corporate website that reports on all new cases. Each system meeting to principals includes a summary and report on COVID-19 numbers for each month of the 2020-21 school year.

At Colonel Walker, we transitioned to Emergency Online Learning early in the spring of 2020 and all the teachers had to learn Google Classroom overnight. We returned to in-school learning and teaching in September this fall. It was such a celebration to welcome the students back into the building – with new protocols in place! Entering the school, sanitizing the moment you do, sanitizing again as you enter your class, separate supplies, using a specific door to enter/exit your class. The biggest adjustment was the organization of our recess and lunch recess time with Piitoyias Family of Schools. We had to divide our outside space into 7 areas. During lunch time, each day, we rotate. So, instead of going wherever the kids want, they now have to go to a specific area, which changes daily. Dropping off and picking up has changed, and our school council meetings as well as the parent-teacher interviews are done virtually!

All these new routines had to be practiced and reinforced. Today, it is safe to say that the students are doing most of these things automatically and without thinking. Some new routines are so user friendly that we may even keep them!

A year into COVID-19, I would like to say THANK YOU to all our CWS parents. You have trusted us with your child/ren. You have supported us by keeping your child/ren home when they were sick and/or came to pick them up when Ms. Tammy called you.  You have practiced with your child/ren how to wear masks, how to sanitize hands, how to open lunch containers etc. Our students come to school ready to learn and the progress each child has made during the past months has been incredible. Thank you for your continued support of CWS!

Meike Thomsen, Principal





Feb 19
Teacher's Convention was Excellent This Year

​Teacher convention, while from home, was excellent again this year. The Calgary Teacher Convention is organized by volunteers only! This was the larges online teacher convention ever organized in North America. Yes, the first log-in on Thursday morning was a little tricky, but within 15 minutes, I was good to go and had no further tech challenges. Not having to go downtown in -35C was actually quite nice, too. Personally, I attended sessions on: Working with Grief; Making Learning Visible: Student Photo Books & Co-creating Learning Stories (so want to try this here at CWS!); Unsilencing Emotions in Education. The Emotional Labour of Teaching; Anxiety: I’m Not Playing Your Game; How to Get Your Students Writing; and Understanding & Using Mental Toughness (this is similar to resiliency). This Friday, teachers will share with me what their highlight of teacher convention this year was. ​

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The Board of Trustees will hold a public meeting on Monday, May 30 at 7 pm to hear from parents, students and other persons on the proposed closure of Discovering Choices Westbrook Outreach site for the purpose of relocation. Learn more: https://t.co/Nm0kkpiaG7 #yycbe https://t.co/OcMmefWsZr

Trustees Approve 2022-2023 Budget and 2021-2024 Education Plan: https://t.co/veCKjywBYy #yycbe https://t.co/0Wg0Y2LfXi

RT @gale_school: This month’s front display is informative and stunning. #AsianHeritageMonth https://t.co/3x0QcPgKUt

Today’s Board of Trustees public meeting starts at noon at the Ed Centre. Join us in-person or stream the meeting online https://t.co/nvCl1fvF09 #yycbe https://t.co/qfp6IA9FGJ

Don’t forget, transportation registration is underway. All families considering using school bus transportation for the next school year must register by Wednesday, June 8 to be part of planning for next year's routes. https://t.co/ZaLR6wezXU #WeAreCBE https://t.co/Hc3XRzdhLZ

It only takes a minute to donate to the EducationMatters’ Loonies for Literacy system-wide fundraising event to purchase resources for schools. You can donate to your favourite schools by simply texting 30333 and the school code. Learn More: https://t.co/JG6SC6moqC… #WeAreCBE https://t.co/7kppQHnEZY

RT @WesternCanadaHS: Students participated in #canstruction today, building super structures out of canned food! In the end, we collected 2534 cans for the @CalgaryFoodBank ! Congrats to Team Minky for their CANTASTIC win :) #redhawks #calgaryfoodbank https://t.co/l642qy9te7

RT @kinggeorgecbe: #Flames vs #Oilers keeping score on the number line! Grade 3 students recapped the goals and made a visual representation. #WeAreCBE @CbeArea2 https://t.co/tC3qNJDCcU

RT @WilliamReid_CBE: Inspired by Camilla and her@rain boot planter and our tulips in the Naturalization #wearecbe https://t.co/0omg2eElUx

The Board of Trustees will hold a public meeting on Thursday, May 26 at 7 pm to hear from parents, students and other persons on the proposed closure of Discovering Choices START Outreach – Bowness site for the purpose of relocation. Learn more: https://t.co/Nm0kkpiaG7 #yycbe https://t.co/FmLdoDBpGH