To say this has been a challenging school year would be a huge understatement!
It is my hope that as we bring this unprecedented school year to a close, we will all be able to step back and, with time, see some positive outcomes and opportunities that we can build upon going forward to forge an even stronger school community.
Over the course of the last few months, I have noted some positives in the midst of these very difficult times. I have watched exceptionally strong teachers grow even stronger as a team in support of their students. I have seen students grow even more disciplined and diligent in approaching their academic work and in advocating for themselves. I have seen parents grow to be exceptionally active partners in our school partnership! It is my sincere hope that we can leverage these positive outcomes and live them in a more traditional school environment next year!
At this point we do not yet know what next year will look like. Presently, the Calgary Board of Education is diligently planning around three scenarios to align with guidelines as put forth by Alberta Education.
One scenario would see school return to near normal routines, with additional health and safety measures in place. A second scenario would have in-school classes partially resume. This model would see an even greater number of additional health and safety measures in place and also see students attending in-school classes on modified schedules. The third scenario would see a continuation of in-school classes cancelled for all students and teaching and learning facilitated through remote means, as has been the case for the last three months.
Some of the most obvious changes for our school next year may include the following:
• Where possible, creating cohorts or groups of students and teachers who will stay together throughout the day;
• Increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas and equipment;
• Identifying ways to engage in valuable courses where additional health protocols must be followed (e.g. physical education, music classes), and ensuring cleaning of equipment that may be shared by multiple students (e.g. computers, gym equipment)
• Creating regular routines to support hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette;
• Enforcing a strict illness policy. Anyone showing signs of sickness will not be allowed on buses or in schools. This means families will need to ensure they have back-up childcare available if their child is unable to attend school;
• Changing pick-up and drop-off routines for parents to support physical distancing student safety while entering or exiting the building;
• Using spaces such as gyms and libraries to deliver education programs to aid in physical distancing;
• Developing new procedures for students using yellow school buses, including assigned seating and how students get on and off the bus; and
• Organizing and planning to apply protocols and online instruction allowing us to move between different scenarios if required.
In early August, Alberta Education will inform school authorities as to what scenario will be put into effect for the start of the school year. As more information comes to light, the CBE, at a system level, will regularly share plans going forward for the 2020-21 school year. Please check our school website regularly throughout the summer for CBE system updates.
Although the recent reality is what is most fresh for all of us, I do think it important to still take a step back in time to acknowledge the culture prevailing throughout our school community prior to the pandemic. I have always maintained that the strong, positive culture that shapes this community of “Legends” has been built by students, parents, and staff working together in tandem. Thus, I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their role in shaping our school community and helping sustain our community, particularly through these most recent months.
I begin with our students. You need to know that we have missed seeing you in person terribly these last few months. There have been so many occasions during which our students have made me so very proud – whether it be as scholars, athletes, artists, responsible citizens, or kids just growing in maturity and learning to show greater levels of respect and consideration to all they interact with. When I look at our kids, I am filled with great hope and confidence for our world. What a legacy these “Legends” will leave! To our Grade 9 students moving onto high school, I wish you the absolute very best! I only wish your final few months as Legends could have been actually spent in school. We are very proud of you all and will miss you terribly!
Our kids are great because of their parents! Thank you, parents, for your awesome support of our work with your kids over the course of this year. You supported your kids in completing homework and encouraging them to do their absolute best, especially during these recent months. You worked with teachers to ensure that students remained on a path towards success. You cheered kids on at countless athletic events. You attended assemblies. You attended Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences. You volunteered on countless enrichment excursions! We deeply thank you for your solid commitment to our work with your kids.
I thank our staff for their unending hard work! Parents, you can be assured that your kids have been challenged, enriched, honored, supported, nurtured, protected, and deeply cared for. Students have received countless opportunities and experiences outside of the classroom as a result of teachers freely giving of their time. I am particularly proud of and appreciative for the extra time teachers have given to support kids when they have encountered challenges in their learning. I am greatly impressed by and appreciative of the extent to which teachers re-imagined their practice and engaged in much personal learning around on-line learning in order to best support students in this vastly unknown territory.
This year our population stood at approximately 785 students. Next year we will grow to approximately 825 students. I’m thrilled to welcome the following teachers to our staff next year: Stephen Becker will be joining us to teach Grades 7 and 8 Language Arts and Social Studies. Vance Lam joins us to teach Grade 6 Math and Science and Physical Education. Taylor Berry will become our new music and band teacher. Welcome to our newest Legends!
Sadly, however, we also say goodbye to some staff. Unfortunately, system-wide budgetary implications mean that Priya Stephen will not be returning next year. We thank her for her very hard work and deep commitment and care consistently demonstrated towards her students. We wish her all the absolute best in what will be a most promising future for her within the CBE.
As we conclude this year, It is my sincere hope that the worst is behind us and that next year will bring back to us a world we are all much more comfortable with.
I extend to all our students, parents, and staff, wishes for a most restful and rejuvenating summer.
Take care and stay safe!