As we approach our National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we are invited to reflect on what we have learned, what we may need to un-learn and what we still may need to learn to improve our “knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, the histories, cultures, languages, contributions, perspectives, experiences and contemporary contexts of First Nations, Métis and Inuit” (Teaching Quality Standard, Alberta Education, 2023). For us as educators we are called to pursue opportunities that facilitate reconciliation within our school community. One thing we can do to build our understanding is learn more about the historical implications of treaties with First Nations.
“On September 22, 1877, three nations of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Kainai, Piikani, Siksika), the Tsuut’ina, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations signed Treaty 7 at Blackfoot Crossing. This agreement was with the Crown of England; a promise made to be held ‘as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the river flows’. Today, as we live in and share this place we call home, we have the collective responsibility to understand the historical and contemporary implications that accompany being treaty people. Learning about Treaty 7 cultivates a deepened appreciation for the kinship connection of the treaty signatories to place, and the subsequent rights and freedoms that all Albertans enjoy. CBE recognizes the commemoration of the signing of Treaty 7 on September 22. We are all treaty people. On this day, we commit to understanding what it means to build reciprocal relationships that renew kinship and foster living together in a good way” (September Learning Resources, CBE Indigenous Education Team, September 2023).
If you are looking for some ways that you and your family can engage in this, you might be interested in checking out the Calgary Public Library for some ideas. You also may consider taking a family road trip to visit Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park, where Treaty 7 was signed. Our HMS staff recently spent a day of valuable learning at this site and had a wonderful experience connecting to the land and learning from a Knowledge Keeper.
We are all on our own journey toward reconciliation and at varied places along the path. It is important to remember that our actions matter, even the small ones. When we take individual and collective action, we build up our capacity to ensure everyone around us feels valued, safe and cared for in our school and in our community. I hope you will join us in taking a step or two further down this path.
We hope you all had a wonderful summer and were able to find time to connect with family and friends.
The staff at Haultain Memorial have been working collaboratively, setting the stage for what will be another amazing opening to the school year. We are all looking forward to seeing our students back in the school and hearing all about the fun times everyone had the last 2 months.
We know the amount of information at the start of the year can feel overwhelming. However, we are asking that you please read all of the information we are sending. We don’t want you to miss important details.
It is our intent to publish weekly communication for families in a similar format to what you see here. It will have dates you need to know about for the week ahead, a few of the important upcoming dates in our calendar, often a brief reflection from myself and key news items you need to know about.
We are looking forward to seeing our students back on August 31.
In June we have several special opportunities to be reflective of our commitment to ensuring safe and caring environments for everyone. As a staff, we attend to this in numerous ways. Our School Development Plan has a Well-Being goal that is centered on improving students’ sense of belonging at school. Our work with Zones of Regulation, Pillars of Care, school-wide storytelling, cross graded clubs, Celebrations of Learning, and Mental Health Literacy instruction are some of the ways this has been made visible to students. Staff have also implemented supportive structures and spent considerable time during professional learning days to improve professional practice with research-based strategies.
We have adopted a holistic approach to meeting the needs of our students. We take wisdom from Indigenous ways of knowing to work collaboratively to implement structures that support and nurture the spirit, heart, body and mind of all students. June is National Indigenous History Month which reminds us to be reflective of the ways that Indigenous ways of being, belonging, doing and knowing have impacted the learning of our students.
June also provides an opportunity for Celebrating Acceptance and Diversity this Pride Month. It reminds us that “Every student should have the opportunity to succeed personally and academically regardless of background, identity or personal circumstances.” We are committed to creating safe and caring communities for everyone, including our 2SLGBTQ+ youth.
The richness of our learning community is due to the unique contributions of all who are a part of the Haultain Memorial community. We work diligently to promote acceptance, compassion and tolerance. This is a continual and evolving journey and like most journeys there are bumps in the road, detours and unexpected encounters. Despite this we feel proud of how our community of learners is growing and demonstrating leadership and character. A recent example was on June 7, Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day. Our school was as a sea of teal which created an incredibly moving visual representation of how we can come together to support each other. Thank you for being collaborative partners in nurturing our young citizens to embrace an inclusive and compassionate mindset.
On Tuesday we were excited to welcome families and friends to our Celebration of Learning! Our Kindergarten, Grade 1/2 and 2/3 classes beamed with pride as they shared the learning that is happening in their classroom communities. During the celebration, students talked about how everything is connected and showed how their learning connects to the four domains of the CBE’s Indigenous Education Holistic Lifelong Learning Framework. We wanted to share a few student examples from each of the four domains that were shared during the celebration:
Spirit (To Be):
- “I have learned that I am important.”
- “I have learned that we all have gifts.”
Heart (To Belong):
- Symbols of belonging were woven throughout a collaborative art project showing our school.
Body (To Do):
- Students made connections to the land, their senses and the four seasons.
Mind (To Know):
Though math challenges students learned about having a growth mindset.
- “I have learned to always try again.”
- “I have learned that I can believe in myself.”
Our next Celebrations of Learning are May 25 (Grades 3/4 and 4/5) and May 31 (Grades 5/6).
The staff at HMS would like to wish you all a relaxing and rejuvenating Spring Break. As we reflect on the year so far, we are proud that we have accomplished so much. Students have made great gains in their academic learning, teachers have embraced the opportunities of the learning outcomes in the new curriculum, and we are rebuilding our sense of community by enjoying clubs, buddy classes, field trips, fun lunches, assemblies, artists in residence, concerts, family evenings, and more! Looking forward there is still much to anticipate. We’ve got a continued focus on engaging and rigorous academic learning, the Minecraft Design Challenge for some of our students in higher grades, swimming and Alien Inline Skating, a new round of clubs, a few more field trips, Celebration of Learning assemblies, learning from the land in Fish Creek Park, Active Living Day, and our Grade 6 Farewell, to name a few. These last few months of school after the break always seem to go by at warp speed so I encourage us all to take time to slow down a little to appreciate where we have been and where we are headed.
We know we make better decisions to support student learning when we build understanding and work together. That’s why we’ll be sharing information about school planning and asking you to share your perspectives during the School Council Meeting on March 13, 2023.
During this engagement, you will have the opportunity to:
- Learn About
- School planning, which includes the school development plan, school budget and school fees
- How the school development plan sets the overall focus and direction for a school to improve student learning outcomes
- How the school budget provides funding to implement our school development plan
- School fees and why they are necessary
- Participate in our School Council Meeting on March 13, 2023, to learn more about school planning. There will be an opportunity to provide feedback at this meeting.
- Share your perspectives through an online survey open from March 13 to March 24, 2023.
Watch this short video to learn about the planning work schools do to improve and support student learning.
We’ll send you a link to the survey, our school development plan and school budget and fees information when it’s available. We will also post it on our school website.
In the wake of Pink Shirt Day, I would like to take an opportunity to celebrate some of the amazing work being led by our HMS staff and community members to promote student connectedness in support of student well-being.
During class visits this last week I saw students engaged in lessons that not only empowered students to identify and prevent bullying, but also intentional activities designed to promote kindness, positive self-esteem and mental health awareness. Club Day on Tuesday highlighted cross-grade, whole school relationship-building and provided opportunities for many students to step into mentorship roles with students in younger grades. I saw numerous volunteers in the building this week supporting students in classrooms, pulling together a successful Fun Lunch, and even providing TLC to our indoor garden. Our Library Assistant, Mrs. Beauchamp has been processing and curating some wonderful new books handpicked by our Assistant principal, Mrs. Prangnell that highlight diversity and inclusiveness. Our Educational Assistants were not only supporting our students in developing academic skills, but also supporting students through self and co-regulation.
This is just a sample of the great work that happens every day here at HMS (I could go on for hours on this subject) and while I see examples like this regularly (not just on Pink Shirt Day) these acts are often uncelebrated and happen without public thanks or recognition. So, THANK YOU to everyone who contributes to the positive school culture that is a constant priority to all in this amazing HMS community!
Our city has so many varied opportunities for community involvement. One of my favorites is Chinook Blast. If you haven't had the opportunity to experience this local festival I encourage you to check out the various activities in the coming weeks. This is one that my family attends each year. I have enjoyed watching the evolution of this event over the years and I'm so impressed at how inclusive it has become. There really is something for everyone, and even though my kids are grown we're still able to enjoy so many activities as a family. I'm planning to check out a few events this weekend, I hope you do too!
What - Chinook Blast hits Calgary with a celebration of community, culture, and civic pride. The best local art, music, theatre, sport and recreation on display.
When - January 27th to February 12th Where: Various Locations throughout Calgary
Once again, one our amazing community organizations, the Calgary Public Library, has a new opportunity for community engagement with families.
They have commenced a new initiative to promote families connecting together through reading, in support of the development of lifelong learning and strong literacy skills. Family Reading Kits are available now, through local branches, including the Fish Creek location just around the corner.
I have included their community news story below, and I encourage you to visit their website for more details and links.
Calgary Public Library is thrilled to announce the launch of Family Reading Kits, a new initiative aimed at helping families connect with one another and support lifelong learning, just in time for Family Literacy Day on January 27.
Library members can pick up one of five different kits, each featuring a different children's book on loan and an activity booklet, which is theirs to keep.
The kits cover a range of reading levels and the booklets include discussion questions, activities inspired by the book, digital resources, and more staff-recommended titles to encourage family reading.
The kits are available as of January 27 at six locations: Central, Crowfoot, Fish Creek, Nose Hill, Seton, and Shawnessy libraries. Family Reading Kits can also be downloaded and printed at home or at any Library location. Families are encouraged to try more than one kit.
Sarah Meilleur, CEO for Calgary Public Library, emphasizes the kits' ability to give families the tools to create the space needed to connect. “Reading as a family is a key way to support literacy at any age. These kits will help families foster a lifelong love of learning in their kids and also create space for important conversations about our world."
The Family Reading Kits feature a diverse selection of titles, including three grade-school books, one teen selection, and one picture book. This year's titles are:
- New Kid by Jerry Craft
- Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
- Forest World by Margarita Engle
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Selected based on their popularity and for the diverse viewpoints they provide, these titles appeal to all ages and provide opportunities for the whole family to connect. “Research shows that reading together benefits every member of the family, but as children learn to read independently, there are less opportunities to read with their caregivers and siblings, even though they may want to," says Kate Schutz, Service Design Lead, Calgary Public Library. “Family Reading Kits provide every member of the family with an opportunity to foster meaningful connections over a mutual love of reading."
“The questions and activities in the kit invite families to dive deeper into the book, making connections to themselves and the world around them, through fun, hands-on experiences designed for all ages and interests," says Schutz.
Learn more about the Family Reading Kits.
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