We are already a week into March and the warm spring-like temperatures sure have teased us that spring is on its way! We had the compound cleared which created large mounds of snow. The students had a lot of fun creating snow forts and climbing the mounds during their outdoor recess breaks. I was very impressed with the creative designs students came up with and how they worked together to build the various structures. The warm weather has pretty much melted the forts away, however the snow mounds are likely going to take a little longer to disappear.
Pandemic protocols and guidelines have changed the way we do many things. One of the activities impacted has been the ability for the students to enjoy “buddy” activities. The teachers have now figured out safe ways to allow students to once again have opportunities to meet with their buddies. The first meeting with buddies was a special event in the school and I heard many positive statements from the students once they had been introduced to their buddy. The students and teachers will continue to plan for buddy activities in the months ahead.
Teaching and learning during a pandemic certainly has changed the opportunities for field trips, volunteers and visitors into our school. Fewer events happen outside of the school and field trips take place to local spots without the support of our valuable volunteers. Last Friday, Saakokoto spent time with each one of our classes to share stories of the land and Blackfoot culture. On March 9th we will hold our monthly School Council meeting at 7 pm, virtually of course. All parents are welcome to log into our School Council meetings. Please refer to the School Council Message sent out on March 3rd for the meeting link. March 12th is a professional learning day and there will be no classes for students. Saakokoto will return on March 19th to meet with the students again and continue to build our understanding of Indigenous culture. Spring Break begins on March 27th with the last day of classes on March 26th. Students will return to school following the spring break on Tuesday, April 6th.
Following the spring break, planning and organization for the next school year begins. Thank you to all the families who returned the Next Year planning sheets. This data will help our new principal, Mr. Hooper and the staff to begin the process of looking at class configuration and staffing requirements for the upcoming school year.
This is my last principal message and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students, staff and families for an amazing end to my career. My six years as principal of this amazing “little school on the hill” will be forever a part of the cherished memories I have of my thirty-five year career with the Calgary Board of Education. I will miss all of you! Thank you for the many kind words and well wishes I received upon announcing my retirement. I plan to fill my days in retirement spending time with family, golfing, enjoying doing my crafting in the middle of the day, and travelling, when it is safe to travel again. I wish you all the very best in the days ahead.
Take care and stay safe.
The first week of February is wrapping up and the weather is certainly reminding us that we are still in the middle of the winter season. This weekend and the upcoming week will test our stamina for cold temperatures. We may have a few days of indoor breaks however, I will offer up Polar Bear club for those students who want to bundle up and get some fresh air.
February is Friendship month at Dr. E. W. Coffin. As an entire school, we will be engaging in friendship activities and discussions throughout the month. This will include reading friendship stories, completing friendships activities and art projects, and developing our friendship skills through a variety of learning activities. Following Valentine’s Day, learning activities will focus on positive peer relationships and anti-bullying behaviors leading up to Pink Shirt Day on February 24. I encourage families to talk with your children about the conversations and learning activities that are taking place in their classrooms.
Thank you for the support from School Council and the Friends of Dr. Coffin who have provided the funds available for additional snow shoes to be purchased for the students. With all the snow that has been falling the snow shoes will be put to good use in the days to come. We will also be increasing our phys-ed equipment, math and science materials, and our Chromebook inventory through the financial support of the Friends of Dr. E. W. Coffin. These additional learning resources will be supportive of the learning in our classrooms. Student report cards were available for parent viewing on February 4.Our teachers continue to see improvement in the academic achievement of our students. Covid-19 protocols make group-learning tasks a challenge to plan for and therefore students are engaging in individual learning tasks to demonstrate their understanding of learning outcomes. The students are eager to learn and show what they know thruogh the learning tasks they undertake in the classrooms.
February is the shortest month of the year; however, at Dr. Coffin we will be busy. This past Wednesday, we took time for a Winter Walk. The weather was a little chillier than we have been having but the classes all found time in the day to bundle up and get outside. This walk is an annual event, which encourages 15 minutes of walking outdoors. Our classes will all be taking part in some Valentines fun over the next few days. Creating Valentine mailboxes will be one activity this year that all grades will enjoy. Covid-19 protocols require a carefully planned approach to some of the traditional Valentines Day fun. During this school year when so many things are not able to take place for our students, we hope that having some of these fun activates in a safe way keeps smiles on our students faces. Teachers' Convention takes place on February 11 and 12 followed by Family Day on February 15. These are non-school days for students. On February 17, our Kindergarten students will celebrate their 100th day in school. This is always a special day for our kindergarten students as they have learned about number sense and can show their understanding of 100 in many ways. February 24 is Pink Shirt Day and we will encourage students to participate in this anti-bullying event and wear a pink shirt to school.
As the second term of this school year begins, I want to express my deepest appreciation for your continued support of teaching and learning at Dr. E. W. Coffin School.
Take care and stay safe.
Together in Education,
Happy New Year to our Dr. E. W. Coffin families. I do hope that the winter break gave you time to recharge and create some new traditions with your families under the health guidelines we currently live within.
Our return to school has been different for all of us, and I have to say the students have done a wonderful job pivoting back to on-line learning. The days do look different this time around compared to last spring when we jumped to emergency teaching and learning. Students and teachers were able to follow a similar timetable and routines, while on-line, combining virtual classroom meetings and lessons with independent learning tasks. During last weeks, on-line learning I enjoyed popping into the class meetings and lessons and seeing the students engaged in the learning activities they had been doing. The preparation time before the winter break was helpful and allowed teachers to send home necessary learning materials and books with the students. I hope having a schedule and the materials at home in advance made this period of at-home learning run a little smoother. When students arrived at school today, it was great to see their smiling eyes and their eagerness to return to in-school learning.
Kindergarten registration for the 2021-2022 school year begins on January 11. We encourage families who will be registering their children for kindergarten to contact the school office about the registration process. Families who live outside of our designated area and currently have a child attending Dr. Coffin, and have a sibling who will be age appropriate to start kindergarten, are also asked to contact the office about registration.
This year report cards will be completed by the teachers at the end of January. Families will be able to access the on-line report card beginning the week of February 1 to the 5. The Calgary Board of Education will be making report cards accessible to parents on a staggered basis according to school name. Please watch for more information about the time to view Dr. Coffin report cards coming from the Calgary Board of Education later in January.
Thank you, as always, for your continued support of teaching and learning at Dr. E. W. Coffin.
Take care and stay safe.
Together in education.
December has arrived and although the calendar identifies the month of the year, our weather has certainly not been December-like. The pandemic continues to impact teaching and learning and with the warm temperatures our classes have been fortunate to maximize learning outdoors. Students and teachers are happy to be outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine.
Our little school has some big celebrating to do! Our students worked hard this year in music class with Mr. O’Reilly to enter the CBC Music Class Challenge. This was not an easy task with COVID restriction and limits around musical instruments and vocal participation. Mr. O’Reilly and the students worked through these challenges and successfully submitted our entry. The top 10 list has been revealed and Dr. E. W. Coffin has made the list in the category of Elementary Instrumental (Grades 4-6). Well done everyone!! The finalists will be announced on December 15 – keep your fingers crossed! This is a wonderful accomplishment and shows our strong collaborative, community spirit and our ability to work together to complete such a great project.
Our School Development Plan and our Annual Results report are both posted to our school website. This year our School Development Plan (SDP) will focus on two areas for student achievement: English Language Arts (specifically reading) and Well-Being for Learning (self-regulation). Our language arts goal will target student achievement in reading fluency and comprehension and our well-being for learning goal will focus on student’s ability to self-regulate and make responsible decisions in their learning. You may access the SDP on our website from the About Us tab, under Our School, if you would like to learn more about our plans for this school year.
Before we know it, 2021 will be here. We will begin registration for our Kindergarten program on January 11, 2021. At this time, it would be helpful for us to hear from families who have a child of Kindergarten age, who is eligible to start Kindergarten in September of 2021. Please use the Calgary Board of Education’s Kindergarten calculator located on the CBE website to see when your child is eligible to start kindergarten. These early conversations will help us in planning for our Kindergarten program in the fall.
We will hold a few festive events during this final month of 2020. December 10 will be festive hat day and students and staff can put on their favorite festive hat for the day. Mr. O’Reilly will lead us in our annual carolling December 15, 16, and 17. We will miss our families joining us for our carolling during the last week before break. December 18 is the final day of classes before the winter break.
At this time, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season. This year our holiday gatherings will be different as the whole world continues to manage life during a pandemic. My wish for each one of our families is for the New Year to bring all of us hope, good health and well-being.
Take care and stay safe.
Together in Education,
The school year is well under way and the students and staff continue to follow guidelines and protocols associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. I am very pleased with how the students have adjusted to the new routines and have been supportive of one another in following our safety steps. Hearing students check for washroom occupants, or remind their friends of the direction to travel in the halls, are daily occurrences and are conveyed with kindness and caring for each other.
Teaching and learning during a pandemic challenges all of us to look for new ways to do some of the things we plan for during the school year. This year’s Halloween activities took on a very different look and the day was one that students and staff all enjoyed. Thank you to our School Council for providing several pumpkins for each classroom. Everyone enjoyed starting the day with a pumpkin hunt in Whispering Woods. Once the pumpkins were found, classes used the pumpkins in a variety of ways. Predicting weight, estimating how many seeds were inside, and the circumference, were fun math activities students engaged in. Finishing the day with an outside costume parade was a great end to the day.
I am inspired by the continuous efforts of our students to come to school eager to learn, showing perseverance and determination when facing new and challenging tasks. The CBC Music Challenge has been one of the learning activities that students, and teachers, have had to adjust. Mr. O’Reilly has been working with the students to prepare for filming day on November 19. Having to maintain physical distance, practice in classrooms, and limits around singing and musical instruments, have been challenging to navigate, however the students have continued to practice their part for the Music Challenge submission. I am looking forward to listening to the final piece.
Our months are not nearly as busy as our pre-COVID days when our students were taking part in field trips, group projects and special events. Volunteers were frequent visitors in our school, supporting home reading, fun lunches and special activities. We miss you all and look forward to the time we can once again welcome you into the school to support the teaching and learning in our little school.
The school is quieter although there are a few events I wanted to highlight that have taken place, or are upcoming this month. On November 10, we held a virtual Remembrance Day assembly. Our grade five and six students with the support of Mr. O’ Reilly honored the men and women who have served Canada in times of war, military conflict and peace in a solemn and respectful ceremony. Our Kindergarten students concluded the assembly with a song about the poppy. We will be planning for more virtual assemblies and hope to invite families to attend assemblies, virtually of course, in the future.
Parent Teacher conferences are taking place virtually on November 19 and 20. These conferences are an opportunity to talk with the teacher about your child’s learning progress. Online conference bookings will open up on November 14 for parents to book their conference times with the teachers.
We will be holding a spirit day for everyone on November 25. This spirit day will give students, and staff, a small opportunity to don a favorite sport team jersey, their own jersey, or their Dr. Coffin hoodie or T-shirt, and come together as a learning community and show our spirit. We look forward to having a fun day to cheer!
I want to continue to extend my sincerest gratitude and the appreciation of our staff to all our families. Your ongoing support for the staff, and the teaching and learning that happens at Dr. E. W. Coffin School is truly cherished.
Take care and stay safe!
Together in Education,
October has arrived and although this past weekend brought colder weather and some snow, we have been very fortunate to have a nice fall with great weather for outdoor learning activities. Teaching and learning during a pandemic is very different and the opportunity to be outdoors is a welcomed part of the day. Now that the temperatures are colder, I want to encourage everyone to find those warm weather clothes and have them ready for your child to wear to school. Going outdoors is no longer just a Fresh Air Friday event and classes are extending their outdoor learning time throughout the week.
The gorgeous fall colours and warm temperatures have given classes a great opportunity to create some wonderful art pieces. Some of the classes have studied nature artist, Andy Goldsworthy, then created their own art pieces inspired by the work of this British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist. Our grade five and six classes have taken a hike up to Nose Hill and sketched a chosen scene. They are now following up in the classroom with watercolour paintings that are showing the beautiful fall colours. Dr. Coffin is full of great student artists!
This year has meant changes to our recycling and composting efforts in the school. Guidelines have made it difficult to continue our organics composting, however we are still recycling plastics, paper and cardboard and composting the paper towels used in the school. The Green Team is operating in a different way and with the support of each classroom, the team is able to collect these items weekly. The work of the Green Team aligns nicely with the curriculum study of Waste in our World and gives the students a better understanding of the importance of reducing our waste through composting and recycling. Thanks to our Green Team for helping to keep Dr. E. W. Coffin School environmentally aware and friendly!
Our annual Terry Fox Run this year was a little different than past years. We missed having our volunteer parents be part of the run and help our students with lap counting and cheers of encouragement. All our classes took time on September 18 to run in memory of Terry Fox and to support the Terry Fox Foundation. Donations were made online and our tiny school made a donation of $420.00 this year. Thank you to all who donated.
The month of October is half over as I finish up this message, however there are still events happening this month that I would like to share. Our S4 officer will be working with our grade five and six student in the coming weeks,talking about digital citizenship. This is a great topic especially because of the increased online presence that is part of our everyday lives these days. October 21 is “Take me Outside Day”. Dr. Coffin students go outside almost every day anyways and it seems funny for us to participate in a day that is something we do most days. It is the 10th anniversary of “Take me Outside Day” and will provide some added fun for our students. Halloween has always been a celebration at Dr. Coffin and we will do things differently this year to ensure we are following guidelines and keeping everyone safe. We will enjoy some Halloween fun on October 29. Students may wear a costume for the entire day if they would like and each classroom will be planning Halloween activities for students to engage in. A costume mask does not qualify for a proper face mask and students will still be expected to have a non-medical mask to wear while in the classroom and school. Check your child’s classroom stream for more details of the day’s events. October 30 is a professional development day and there will be no school for students this day.
During this unprecedented year, I want to extend my sincerest gratitude and the appreciation of our staff to all our families. Your support for the staff, and the teaching and learning that happens at Dr. E. W. Coffin School is truly cherished.
Take care and stay safe!
Together in education.
Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!! I have to say that in all my years of learning and teaching the beginning of this school year is like no other year I have ever experienced as a student and as a teacher. Our first days of this year have been filled with new routines and protocols to ensure a safe learning environment for students and staff. I am pleased with the efforts our students and staff have been making to sanitize, wash hands, wear masks and physical distance. I would like to thank our families for the work that you have done at home to prepare your children for the return to school. Your support is greatly appreciated and it shows in the manners and behaviors we see in our students. Dr. Coffin continues to be a kind and caring place where everyone is able to learn together.
Our outdoor learning on Fresh Air Fridays, has now become every day outdoor learning. Our students already know to come dressed for the weather and heading outside for learning is a familiar activity for our students. Our younger grades have started an insect study, learning about some of the flying creatures in our Whispering Woods and Naturegrounds. The detailed paintings the students have done are amazing! The grade three and four students have been nature journaling, hunting for patterns in nature and identifying two meter distancing in various spots outside. They have also been doing some wasp evading! The grade five and six classes will be spending a lot of time in Whispering Woods over the next few weeks. The students have already identified their own nature space and have started studying the trees surrounding this special spot. The Whispering Woods is a great spot for the students to immerse themselves in the Trees and Forests unit! Mr. O'Reilly has been taking some of the music classes outside as well. The outdoors is a great place to be and we are so fortunate to have so many learning spaces within walking distance to our little school.
This year our annual Terry Fox Run will look a little different than in the past. The students have all been ‘training’ for the run and each class will take time on Friday, September 18 to run in memory of Terry Fox and in support of the Terry Fox Foundation. Please be sure to check the Google Classroom Stream for more information about the Terry Fox Run.
The first School Council meeting will be held on Tuesday September 15 at 7 pm. The meeting is being held virtually and all parents are invited to attend the meeting. Information about how to join the meeting was sent out in the School Council Message last week. A reminder that messages from School Council are sent to our school community through School Messenger on Wednesdays.
At Dr. E. W. Coffin, we try to keep families informed about the school calendar and the learning that takes place in our classrooms in several different ways. Monthly, my Principal Message will be posted to our webpage. I hope to share highlights of the work at Dr. E.W. Coffin through my messages. This year teachers will be using the Stream, within Google classroom to share classroom learning highlights and encourage dialogue at home about the learning that takes place in the classrooms. From the office, we send out weekly, “Worth Mentioning”. This message will contain key information as well as update you on events for the upcoming week. I encourage you to bookmark the school’s webpage and take time to log into the Stream with your child to keep informed about what is happening in their classroom.
Thank you for your support of teaching and learning at Dr. E. W. Coffin School. Take care, stay healthy and safe.
Together in education,
June 2020!! I am finding it crazy that we have arrived at the final month of the 2019-2020 school year.
The school has been empty since March 13, 2020 and our students have been learning remotely. The students and teachers have learned a new way of working together. Teaching and learning has continued for our students and I am so pleased with the support and engagement of our students and families. These are challenging times and I believe that we will get through this by working together, supporting one another, and taking one day at a time.
May and June are the months of the school year that planning for the next school year take place. This year that planning is taking on a very different feel. With the cancellation of classes in March and the worldwide pandemic still a part of our lives there are many questions to answer about what school reopening in the fall with look like. The Calgary Board of Education is gathering feedback from families about what school should look like when we open the doors to students again. I encourage all of you to take the time to fill out the survey.
Budget planning and fees considerations are another topic that make up part of our planning for the upcoming school year. I have put together a Budget and Fees presentation for your information along with a brief survey on these topics. I would appreciate your feedback. The survey is within the presentation. While viewing the presentation you will see the link for a short survey about the school budget and fees for the 2020-2021 school year.
Our School Council will be meeting this month in a remote, online environment on June 10, 2020. The invitation to join this virtual meeting has been sent to all families on June 3, 2020 in the School Council message. I will also be presenting the Budget and Fees Presentation at this virtual School Council meeting.
June is often a busy month at Dr. Coffin with many culminating events taking place. This year these events are not able to take place. We will miss many activities, for example: our time with Saakokoto; our year-end assemblies; our sports day; our environment treat day, just to name a few. Late May or early June our Grade 1 & 2 students, along with their teachers, would typically plant the gardens. Thanks to some wonderful volunteers, Ms. Boyer, Mrs. Hamby, and Mr. Pedenko the gardens were planted. We hope that with warm weather and a dedicated team of watering volunteers, the students will enjoy a harvest in the fall. With the cancellation of classes also came the cancellation of the Grade 6 Provincial Achievement Tests. I know our Grade 6 students may have had a little celebration about this missed opportunity; however, I do know that they would have done well. We usually say farewell in June to our Grade 6 students during a farewell assembly, recognizing these student and their time at Dr. E. W. Coffin. This year, however, we will connect virtually with these 18 Grade 6 students to celebrate their learning time at Dr. Coffin and to wish them well on their transition to junior high.
Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. I feel blessed to work with the Dr. Coffin families and hope that you are managing through this unprecedented time.
Take care of yourselves, stay healthy and keep in touch.
Together in education, in a whole new way.
Welcome May! I hope that all our Dr. Coffin families are doing well and staying healthy. The last 6 weeks of school since our return have been very quiet in our little school. My usual routine of popping into classes, saying good morning and checking in with students and teachers as they start their day has halted. I find myself walking into classrooms wondering when the school will be filled again with students and all our staff. I have enjoyed the change of weather and the opportunity to get outside and see the signs of spring in our flowerbeds. The tulips and daffodils are blooming and I am hoping that soon the tree outside of my window will begin to bud.
All of us are working together in this on-going learning environment, and I believe we are doing our best to continue the learning opportunities for our students. School jurisdictions in Alberta have been given guidelines from Alberta Education that we provide ~5 hours of schoolwork per week focused mainly on literacy and math.
When we think about this new environment and the ask, of parents to take on this added task, I wanted to share some thoughts around the work that is now happening at home. The goal is always to move student learning forward-whether learning at school or at home. When teachers receive work in the classroom they do not always mark or correct the work. When a teacher can see where the misunderstanding occurs, they can give real-time feedback and support the students understanding. In the current remote learning environment, teachers do not have this opportunity to work with students in the same manner. When students submit work in a state of “perfection” or “finality,” teachers are not able to provide the kind of feedback a student needs to become more independent. So, how much and what support should you provide to your child at this time? Start by going over the learning plan each week with your child, check with them for understanding of the tasks they will be doing. Encourage your child to ask the teacher for clarification if they do not understand the tasks. Allow your child to work independently on the work, it is acceptable to allow your child to submit work that you know contains some errors. When engaged in writing tasks, it is important that students submit work as it is, with the mistakes intact so that we can see what they need to work on next.
At home, just like when they are at school, students need support and supervision when they are working in the digital world. Signing into Google Meet with their teacher and classmates is new and different for all of us. Remembering our digital citizenship guidelines continue to be important for all students to follow when working in the remote learning environment.
Most important is ongoing communication with your child’s teacher. We need to know how things are going, is the work manageable for your family during these times? Is there support you need from us? We are here to support families to work through the challenges this new learning environment is presenting.
May is the month that we recognize the efforts of the many volunteers we have at our school. Home reading, field trips, hot chocolate Fridays, Healthy Hunger lunches, School Council meetings and activities, are just some of the events that could not take place without our dedicated volunteers. A HUGE thank you to all of you, your hard work and dedication to the Dr. E. W. Coffin Community is truly appreciated.
Our School Council will be meeting this month in a remote, online environment on May 12. Please watch for the meeting agenda and information on how to join the meeting coming out in our School Council Message on May 6.
The current situation is unsettling to say the least. When things get overwhelming I encourage you to hit pause, take a deep breath and remember that during this time, your physical, mental and emotional health are most important.
Take care of yourselves, stay healthy and keep in touch.
Together in education, in a whole new way.
Hi Dr. Coffin Families,
Welcome back after a rather
unusual spring break for all of us. I hope everyone has remained healthy and
you have found creative ways to stay connected with family and friends. My
family has taken to video chat on a regular basis to stay connected and be able
to ‘see’ each other – a very different approach from our usual family
gatherings. I am working at school along with Mrs. Rennie
and Mr. Rozema. Teachers are working from home and are connecting with their
teaching teams to plan and design learning for our students.
Alberta Education has outlined
expectations for continued learning at home for all students. Teachers will
assign an average of five hours of work per student per week for students in
grades Kindergarten to grade 6. The content of this learning will focus on
language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy. Teachers may also incorporate science
and social studies through cross-curricular learning at the higher grades.
Thank you for your patience as we
work through some necessary planning in preparation for resuming learning
opportunities for our students. I understand there has been plenty of
uncertainty about what teaching and learning is going to look like moving
forward. The teachers will be connecting through email with all families before
the end of today to gather information for planning for learning in a different
way with our Dr. Coffin students.
Please know we will work together
to create a great learning environment for all our students. The health of your
family, both physical and mental, are most important and our school community
is here to support you. If you need our support, please reach out to your
teacher or myself.
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