Dear Parents and Guardians,
As the first term draws to a close, it is a time to reflect on our success and accomplishments these past three months as we look forward to December days.
- September 22 marked the day for our annual Terry Fox Run that is intended to raise awareness and funds in support of cancer research. Through the generosity of the community the school raised $1,915. As always, MTS families, showed their care and kindness for others in supporting this cause. An added bonus in meeting our goal was that Mr. Van Sluys sported a “tutu" which brought a chuckle (OK - it was a big laugh) to students and teachers.
- The fall term marked the completion of two in-school artistic/physical residencies. Three Left Feet danced their way into the hearts, mind and bodies of our K-2 students, and the Alien- In- Line skating residency provided the opportunity for our grades 3& 4 students to hone their in-line skating skills, and for some students, to try a new sport. We thank parents who through their fund-raising organization and support provide our students with the opportunity to extend their learning through these unique experiences.
- The grade 4 students once again presented a memorable Remembrance Day virtual assembly that was filled with music, and the representation of story, history and events through acting and video. All students in the school had the opportunity to view and participate in the assembly in their classrooms. Parents of grade four students were able to view the assembly through the online link in their child's google classroom. Student art, as well as the addition of a Memory Wall that included personal family stories and pictures of family members who served added to the importance and significance of the day.
- Parent- teacher conferences, held in November, once again online this year, provided the opportunity to discuss student learning and achievement, celebrate student success and set goals for the future. Students will receive their first of two report cards on January 31, 2022 and the second report card at the end of June.
- Our Scholastic Book Fair held online during the week of parent conferences in November was highly successful. Net sales of $10,214 resulted in a credit of $5,829 for the purchase of new books for the library. We thank parents for their generosity in supporting their children as readers and for the support of the book fair at the school which provides for the development and enrichment of the school library collection. We missed seeing parents in the school for the fair but students proved to be savvy consumers, armed with their wish list and the responsibility to purchase with the funds that parents entrusted them to bring to purchase their “picks." Thanks to our Library Assistant, Mrs. McLean for her organization.
- As you have been informed through a previous School Message, our school has received additional funding from Alberta Education for students in Grades 1-3 who may require extra support in reading and mathematics. All Grade 2 and 3 students were assessed in September and this has helped inform where support is most needed. Effective November 29, Ms. Melissa Cooper joined Mrs. Penner's grade three class. Mrs. Penner, in turn, will support specific grade two and three students, identified through the fall assessments, through small-group literacy and numeracy intervention work. Parents have been notified if their child has been identified for this support. The support will remain in place until April 1. In January 2022, teachers will assess all Grade 1 students and determine who else will benefit from this support.
- The safety of all students and staff at MTS is of utmost concern. To that end, appropriate safety measures for a variety of situations that may occur have been established and are practiced throughout the year. Fire drills are designed to practice evacuation strategies in the unlikely event of a fire. Each year, schools are expected to hold six drills, three prior to the winter break, and three after. MTS has completed our three fall drills and we are extremely proud of the calm and organised manner in which our students and staff evacuate the building. Another safety drill students experience is a “lockdown." On Monday, November 29th, at approximately 9:00 AM, The Calgary Police Service (CPS) assisted us in performing our first of two lockdown drills during the school year. Lockdowns are designed to practice securing classrooms in the unlikely event of an intruder entering the building. Teachers explain the process prior to all drills and assure students that the event is simply a rehearsal. Our intent is to minimise any potential anxiety over the rehearsal, while ensuring students are familiar with procedures in a safe, controlled environment. We received excellent feedback regarding our procedures, which will add to the safety measures already in place.
- Each year, our school prepares a development plan with input from teachers, school staff, students and parents. We review many sources of data, including report cards, provincial achievement test results and school surveys. Based on this information, we create our plan identifying targeted areas for growth. Our school development plan is not meant to represent all of the work that takes place in our school, but rather it focuses on specific areas for improvement. Our school also prepares a results plan, which looks at our previous school year. It shows our students' achievement and progress in meeting the goals and outcomes as set out by the CBE and Alberta Education, outlines some of the highlights of our school development plan and gives an overview of our school. These documents are available on our school website.
The month of December is filled with magical moments and several festive in-school activities that include the following:
- Each Grade one and two class has been preparing a mini-concert presentation entitled “Sneezy the Snowman" that will be videotaped and shared in each classroom's google classroom on December 16. The presentation involves narration and instrumental music from Orff and percussion instruments to tell the story of “Sneezy." Because the presentation will not involve singing (which requires children to be masked at this time) parents will be able to enjoy the presentation, including seeing their children's faces. Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions, we are unable to offer our traditional Christmas concert at the school. MTS (thanks to our Music specialist, Ms. Cotton and our talented students) has come to be known for the superb, high level of performance in our school presentations. We hope that the new year will allow us to once again provide for these in-school concerts.
- We will have our traditional story read over the intercom on Thursday, December 16 at 9am for the whole school to enjoy in their classrooms. Thanks to Parent Council who will provide a fresh fruit snack and a candy cane as a treat during the story.
- The grade four student spirit committee of students is planning other events to take place this month including door decorating, Christmas sweater day amongst other possibilities. Stay tuned for further information!
- McKenzie Towne School will once again support the charity “The Magic of Christmas." Several years ago this was a very successful charitable drive at the school which helped students understand and foster compassion, kindness and generosity for families in need. The giving to others helped students grow the fullness of their hearts as they in turn helped the “Grinch" grow his heart. The transformation of the Grinch's heart will be captured through a large visual in the school in which each donation that is brought to the school will be matched with the addition of a symbolic heart to the Grinch's persona! We can hardly wait to see the Grinch's heart grow! More details about and for the charity are available on your child's teacher's blog.
Finally, on behalf of the staff here at MTS I would like to extend to all our families the very best wishes for a peaceful, restful, and healthy winter break. The last day of classes is Friday, December 17. We will see you back on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
Dr. Lorraine Slater