It is difficult to believe that the Winter Break is almost upon us!
As we continue to live through the continual challenges of Covid-19, I want to take this moment and say thank you to students, staff, and parents for your diligence in attending to all the many protocols associated with ensuring everyone's safety during this most uncertain time.
It was terrific to see the number of parents and students who participated in our recent Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences held virtually during November. Conferences are an excellent means to helping teachers and parents to better support students as “action plans" are developed between school and home to set conditions for further success. Also, through these conversations, students come to better understand what is expected of them and the support that is available to help them to realize success. Our next round of Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences is scheduled for March 10th and 11th, following first semester report cards being made available for review during the first week of February.
In addition to the official report card, student progress can be regularly monitored by checking MyCBE/PowerSchool. Additionally, you can provide support to your child by visiting Brightspace (D2L), for which a link is found on our website. This web-based application provides students and parents the opportunity to find what homework, assignments, projects, and tests are scheduled. Parents are reminded that logging into Brightspace (D2L) via the student side will provide much more thorough information.
In support of our students' continual academic achievement, we have, in our School Development Plan (SDP), prioritized some particular areas of focus over the course of this school year. In the realm of literacy, we are particularly focusing on strengthening students' writing across the core subjects of Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. For Math, teachers are focusing on working with students to improve their ability to use computation skills and estimation strategies. Additionally, our SDP contains a goal related to supporting student well-being for learning, specifically focusing on building resiliency. Our SDP is posted to our school website at https://www.cbe.ab.ca/mckenziehighlands and can be found by first clicking on the “About Us" tab at the top of our homepage and then clicking on the “Our School" tab. As well, under this tab, you may review our School Improvement Results Report for the 2020-21 school year.
In support of more intentionally attending to our students' well-being, we have introduced “Legend Time" into our schedule every other Wednesday. The intention of this structured time block is to give students, under the guidance of a teacher, the opportunity to engage in formalized activities intended to promote greater student resiliency. Students in Grades 6-9 participate in this 36-minute period every other Wednesday. At grade 6, it is a homeroom-based activity. For grades 7-9, it is grade based but homeroom mixed and provides students the opportunity to meet in smaller groupings to work around wellness themes. It has truly been a neat experience to visit these sessions and observe students working together in support of one another and caring for each other during these challenging times.
As well, this past month, we have convened our Principal's Advisory Group. Every homeroom from grade 4 to 9 has selected two representatives to meet monthly with a team of teachers and school administration in order to give student voice an opportunity to be meaningfully expressed around a host of considerations that impact the whole school experience. I extend sincere appreciation to those students who have volunteered or who have been selected to participate in this opportunity. Thank you to those staff who facilitate this process – Ms. Porterfield, Ms. Davis, Ms. Still, and Mr. Tyler.
As our Fall athletic season concludes, I congratulate our student athletes on solid performances in cross-country, soccer, and volleyball! Thank you to those staff members who gave of their time to provide these experiences for our students – Ms. Hur, Ms. Truscott, Mr. McFarlane, Mr. Irvine, Mr. Harris, Ms. Perkin, Ms. Robinson, Ms. Craig, Ms. Hart, Mr. Tyler, and Mr. Burden.
Wishing students, parents, and staff a most restful and rejuvenating Winter Break. Although this Holiday Season will perhaps look very different again this year, I hope that many magical moments can still be found for families. Here's hoping for a New Year that brings back a much more familiar world!