Jun 03
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

2021 Estimadas familias,


I can imagine that many of you are deeply impacted by the news of the 215 children’s remains at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. I join you in this grief and questioning of what we can do as a nation to repair the damage that has been caused by the years of intergenerational trauma inflicted on our Indigenous community. When major reckonings like this occur, we may feel compelled to connect with one another to ask questions or to simply share and acknowledge one another’s feelings. We may also turn inwards and reflect on our own experiences and what we felt we knew we understood about our collective history.

In my case, the work of the initial phase of the Truth and 
Reconciliation Comission,

pic.pngwhich concluded in 2015, has permeated my work as a teacher and leader. During that time, I felt the call to speak with my students about the history of residential schools, leaning on storybooks such as “Shi-shi-etko" by Nicola Campbell to guide my conversations with students. I looked upon that story as one of hope, as it shared how one little girl gained knowledge and memories from her family before going away to school. As a teacher, I attempted to explore with my grade 4 students the multiple perspectives of Alberta's history and how what was formally presented in text and media may only reflect the experiences of one group, often the dominant one. My goal was to approach history through a critical and thoughtful lens, building awareness along the way.​

mark.pngIt is with this lens that I had a sad realization on one of my drives to school this week. Some of you may know that I live in a rural area SW of Calgary. On my many drives or bike rides around the countryside I have seen cute roadside markers, such as the one shown in the adjacent photo, marking the place where a one-room schoolhouse existed. These buildings were constructed to provide education to children living within a walkable (or rideable) distance to the school. Siblings and neighbours would come together for a day of learning and then return home. It struck me that at the same time in our history, Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes to unlearn their culture in imposing buildings far away from their homes and families. It took the uncovering of the awful truth over this weekend to make that connection.

As Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada stated, “Education is how we will heal, teaching our children that we are all equal is how we will stop racism and bring about reconciliation."

Over the coming days and weeks as we move closer to the end of the school year, we will formally identify a call to action as a school. We will lean on the voices of our students, staff and families in order to continue the work of reconciliation and healing. Resources have been shared with our school to guide teachers in conversations with their students. We will share more of this in the days to come.

Planning for Next Year: During our professional learning day last Friday, we spent time as a staff creating next year's class lists. We strive for balance in terms of dynamics and learning needs. To help us create lists that are as accurate as possible, please let our office know.

Feedback Updates: School Development Plan and Budget & Fees: Families, thank you for taking the time to provide valuable feedback on multiple school process over the last few months. Presentations and your feedback are now posted on our website for you to review. Please know that what you share with us matters and contributes to planning and decision making. If you have any questions or would like to chat, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

School Development Plan: https://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/eugenecoste/get- involved/community-engagement/pages/dev-plan-engagement.aspx

School Budget & Fees: https://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/eugenecoste/get- involved/community-engagement/pages/budget-engagement.aspx

High School Engagement: The High School Proposed Plan is currently open for feedback from June 1 – June 13 through online surveys and idea boards. The proposed plan was informed by feedback gathered over the last two years along with CBE planning principles, available space and resources and financial stability. The final decision will be communicated by June 30, 2021, for implementation in September 2022. The plan does impact our Spanish Bilingual Program, by centralizing it at Crescent Heights High School. cbe.ab.ca/highschoolengagement

Child and Youth Well-being Review: Families and children are invited to complete a survey developed by the Province that is looking to uncover how the pandemic has impacted child and youth well-being. You can visit the following website for more information and to access this optional survey:

https://www.alberta.ca/child-and-youth-well-being-review.aspx



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