Aug 21
We are eager to greet our new and returning students for the 2019-2020 school year

We are eager to greet our new and returning students for the 2019-2020 school year at John G. Diefenbaker High School (JGD). As a staff, we are honoured to be part of your education journey and to continue the Diefenbaker legacy of excellence in education. A special welcome to our new Grade 10 students.

Here is some information to get you started with school learning resources and key contacts, behavior expectations, opening procedures and school calendars. Please feel free to contact the school if you have any questions. The main office will be open on Wednesday August 21, 2019.

At the “Home of the Chiefs”, we expect all of our students and school community to create a positive and safe school culture that supports excellence in academics, citizenship and the pursuit of personal goals. In order to accomplish this, we invite the student body to get actively involved in all constructive aspects of school life. Students, who actively participate in their academics, school activities, clubs, the arts and/or athletics throughout the year will gain an advantage from their high school experience that will benefit them throughout their life. This is demonstrated in recent research from MIT and Harvard. There are over 22 athletic teams, 16 various clubs and numerous other events that you can join and have fun in, make friends and build new skills to provide you with an advantage in the future. Chiefs, Be Involved!

At the start of the school year, our staff and student leaders will be hosting various school wide orientation experiences to build community and support you in your new transitions. We want you to get connected and be successful. A key contact will be your Teacher Advisor (TA), Guidance Counsellor and Assistant Principal. They will work to advocate for your programming needs and connect you to the partners and services found in the Diefenbaker “Circle of Success​”. Always know you can ask questions and get help from any staff member.

Success in high school requires a desire to learn new things, collaborate and to develop a strong work ethic. This begins with a commitment to attending all classes and being active in learning and building effective study habits. It is important for you to understand how you learn and to set goals. Teachers will be providing course outlines to you that contain curriculum topics, assessment procedures and academic expectations. Students please familiarize yourself with your course outcomes and communicate with teachers if you have questions. It is vital to set aside 1 to 2 hours a day for homework, study, review and/or planning.

Academic Supports and Resources: For your convenience, the Learning Commons (Library) is open from 8am to 5pm Monday to Thursday. We also have tutoring available to you from 4 pm to 6 pm each day through our partners “The Bridge Foundation and RBC”. In addition “All in For Youth” work with students to help remove barriers that may be impacting their learning. The Student Learning Centre, Career Centre and Student Services along with the Teacher Advisory Program provide strong supports and resources for high school success and post-secondary preparation. Accessing these supports will provide you with opportunities to achieve your goals.

Student Programming and Timetable Information

High School years pass quickly and there is much to accomplish in a short time. It has been our experience that successful students carry appropriate course loads each year and set smart goals. This helps make sure that students are:

  • working towards long term goals and life-long learning;
  • on track to complete the Alberta High School Diploma in six semesters with 100+ credits of the right courses.

Student Timetable Information - You will receive a hardcopy of your timetable on the first day at school - Tuesday, September 3 for grade 10 students; Wednesday, September 4 for grade 11 and 12 students. On Wednesday August 21, electronic copies of student timetables may be available online pending the availability of the Power School Portal. Teachers and room allocations may not be accurate at this time.

Considerable work has gone into the creation of the 2019-2020 timetables for all students. This process of course selection and program planning began formally in January with junior high schools, parents, students and teacher advisors as a vital process for the Diefenbaker community. Every effort was made to ensure that student timetables are accurate and personalized based on requests. In 95% of cases students received their course requests.

With the complex nature of the timetable and in striving to meet student requests, there is little room to make changes to timetables at this time. Students with any of the following issues will be given FIRST priority for timetable adjustments:

  • no courses or courses missing
  • missing the prerequisite course to a scheduled course (i.e. did not complete Social Studies 20 scheduled for Social Studies 30)
  • courses in wrong order, e.g. Science 30 first semester, Science 20 second semester
  • students took and passed prerequisite course at Summer School
  • student has “See Counsellor” on timetable

If you are unable to access an electronic copy of your timetable on August 21 through the Power School Portal, or you did not receive a hardcopy of your timetable on your first day of school, please contact the office. If you have questions, we will be pleased to welcome your inquiries or further evaluate what we can do to meet your academic goals.

Students who require a course change appointment may call the Student Service Office at 403-274-2240 ext. 2407 to book an appointment with a counsellor. To book an appointment with the IB Coordinator (Mrs. Sceviour) call 403-274-2240 extension 0.

Music Parents Association and Parents of Music (band/choir) students

On Wednesday, September 11, at 7:00 pm in the music room, we will be holding a planning meeting for the AGM. This is for returning music parents to review information and procedures for the AGM. Any parents of a returning music student are welcome to join us and find out more about how you can participate in the Diefenbaker's Music Parents' Association.

JGD Music Parents Association AGM will be held immediately following “Parent as Partners” on Thursday, September 19th at (8:15pm) in the main gym. This is a mandatory meeting for parent/guardian(s) of music students as required by CBE for the off-site music camps. We have consolidated these meetings so parents can avoid having to come in again at another time - parent attendance signatures will be required. We appreciate your time.

School Council

We would like to welcome our new John G. Diefenbaker School Council Executive. We appreciate the time and dedication of our parents in supporting students, staff and the JGD school community. The School Council is very active and provides and important valued voice in the decision making processes of the school. We encourage all parents to be involved in some capacity throughout the year.

All parents/guardians are members of the School Council and are invited to attend our monthly meetings, which are normally held the first Tuesday of each month (except Sept, Jan and Jun) at 6:30 PM in the school library. Food is provided.

School Council Meeting Dates (2019-20):

October 1, November 5, December 10, February 4, March 3, April 7 and May 12.

School Council Executive:

Chair: Kathy Rwamuningi
Vice-Chair Anita Gee
Secretary: Amanda Trudel
Treasurer: Ellen Leong
Casino Chair: Amanda Trudel
Key Communicator: Elaine Cohen and Robert Brooks
Alumni: Mimi Mah
Volunteer Coordinator: open

Staff News

Some familiar faces will be missing this fall. Ms. Hilko and Mr. Wilberg have retired from the Calgary Board of Education after distinguished careers. Dr. Hickey and Ms. Miller have new leadership position in other schools this fall. We wish them all the best and we are grateful for their service to the JGD Family.

We are pleased to welcome the following new staff members to our school this year: Ms. Kwan (Math/Science), Ms. Beisel (Special Education), and Mr. Coutts (PE/Pre-Engineering). These professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to Diefenbaker.

At this time, we also want to congratulate Ms. Abusow, Ms. L’Hirondelle, Ms. Wilson, and Mr. Masikewich on receiving their continuous contracts and permanent teaching certificates. We are thankful for these teachers’ services to the students and for their extensive commitment to the school community.

Concluding Remarks

Please take the time to review the dates and student information included in the rest of this newsletter. If you have any questions please feel free to call, email or drop by the main office. On behalf of Assistant Principals Ms. Adams and Ms. Turner and our Student Services team Mr. Reitbauer, Ms. Macdonald and Mr. Wylie, we are looking forward to an exceptional year with the students, parents and staff of John G. Diefenbaker High School. Go Chiefs Go!

Sincerely,

Mike Bester
Principal

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