Dec 06
December Days - Principal's Message

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 21 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 almost $ 2,000. 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". This year, in solidarity with Mr. V. students were invited to don a tutu for the day and join in the fun.

The fall term marked the completion of our in-school artistic/physical residency with Sound Kreations for morning Kindergarten, grades 3 and 4 and EES students. Grades 1 and 2 and afternoon Kindergarten will experience the residency when Sound Kreations returns to work with them the week of January 9-13. 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. It was energizing to have parents in the school to enjoy watching their child’s accomplishment and performance.

The grade 4 students once again presented a memorable Remembrance Day 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 participate in the assembly in the gym. Student art related to Remembrance Day once again beautifully decorated the walls of the school.

Parent- teacher conferences in November, once again held online due to outbreak status in the school at the time, 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, 2023 and the second report card at the end of June.

Our Scholastic Book Fair during the week of parent conferences in November was highly successful. Net sales of $ 8,430 resulted in a credit of $5,058 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.

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.

We look forward to many exciting events over the next several weeks. Previous School Messages and teacher blogs have advised you of these events which are also updated and posted on our school website.

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 Thursday, December 22. We will see you back on Monday, January 9, 2023.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lorraine Slater​



Nov 09
November Principal's Message

It is not a surprise that the arrival of November brought with it colder temperatures, snow on the ground, and an increase in colds and flu-related illnesses. Please monitor your child’s health closely to determine if he/she needs to be at home. Unfortunately these respiratory viruses spread very quickly and we want to do everything possible to keep everyone healthy and at school. Please remember to call the school if your child is going to be absent and provide the reason for their absence. All schools monitor the absentee rate on a daily basis and report to AHS when required to do so with high absenteeism.

Lates

We have had an increased number of late arrivals in the mornings. When students are late, it disrupts their class and the learning that is underway. Coming late to school is also a difficult transition for the late student- it can be stressful for them. When students arrive late at the front door, in the office, we do our best to greet students with a smile, a welcome slip, and an adult to walk them to class when we have administration available. In the event that your child needs to arrive late to school, we would ask that only the student enters the building. Adults do not need to come into the office to check their child in. This is especially important first thing in the morning when there is a high volume of traffic in the office.

For your convenience, we have relaxed/soft entry every morning at 7:50 am. We recommend trying to arrive anytime between 7:50 - 8:00am so that your child has time to settle in class before starting their day of learning. Grade team teachers will always be at designated grade entry/exit doors at this time to welcome students into the school.

Thursday, Nov. 10, 10:30 am- MTS Remembrance Day Assembly

On Thursday, Nov. 10, all CBE schools will hold Remembrance Day assemblies in their buildings to honour our many military men and women and recognize the sacrifices made by Canadians in armed conflicts. Our grade four students have been working hard to prepare the assembly for the school. Parents are invited to join us at the school, in the gym, to join the ceremony.

Friday, Nov. 11 – Remembrance Day

All CBE schools and offices will be closed on Friday in commemoration of Remembrance Day. Flags will also be lowered to half-mast.

Conferences

We look forward to our upcoming Parent-Teacher Conferences and we encourage all families to book an appointment to visit your child(ren)’s teachers. We plan to host in-person meetings on Thursday evening (November 24) from 4pm – 8pm and on Friday (November 25) from 8am-12pm. Bookings will open on Saturday, November 19 at 8:00 AM through your MyCBE account. Please note that this is your opportunity to do some early Christmas shopping as the school will be hosting a Scholastic Book Fair during conference times.

Sound Kreations Dance Residency

November 28 to December 2 students in morning kindergarten and grades 3 and 4 will have the opportunity to increase their physical literacy through dance. Sound Kreations, a local dance company, will be coming to MTS to provide dance instruction. We have chosen the Mumbai Moves dance program enabling cross curricular connections to the grade 3 social studies program of study. As well, Alberta’s new Physical Education and Wellness curriculum states that physical literacy supports wellbeing across a lifespan, and dance is a great way to develop 

physical literacy. Parents will be invited to a dance performance on the morning of Friday, December 2. Please stay tuned for more information about the performance.

Please note that afternoon kindergarten students and students in grades 1 and 2, will be completing their dance residency with Sound Kreations from January 9-13, 2023. We extend our thank you to all parents, who, through your fund-raising initiatives and support, enable the school to provide our students with these curriculum-related, exceptional experiences.

Christmas Concerts- December 14, Grades 1 and 2

We are thrilled to be able to have students share their talent through a return to our annual Christmas celebration concerts. We will follow the pattern established several years ago with grades 1 and 2 offering the Christmas concerts, and grades 3 &4 providing a musical performance in the spring. The grade 1 concert will take place at 5:30 on Wednesday, December 14, followed by the grade 2 concert at 6:30. Parents can attend the concert that is applicable to their child’s grade. Organizing the concerts in this way has been highly supported by our parent community as the reduced number of students performing at one time has created more space and ease of seating and increased visibility for the performance in the gym.

More information regarding the concerts will follow in December. If you are a grade 1 or 2 parent- save the date and time!

Finally, a thank you is in order for all of our incredible parent volunteers who have supported us in the school this fall. We have had many parent volunteers so far this year. Some of these include:

· Walks in the neighbourhood with many classrooms

· Helping during our picture taking day

· Attending school council meetings and taking on executive positions

· Supporting Fun lunches and snacks

· Attending field trips

· Volunteering in our classrooms and learning commons

Looking forward to seeing you in the school over the next two months. Stay healthy, happy and warm!

Sincerely,

Dr. Lorraine Slater



Oct 04
October Principal's Message

Students and staff are settling nicely into the routines and rhythm of the new school year. Our first few weeks of school have been quite exciting as we welcomed 550 students to the school community. Teachers have been busy building connections to the land and community as we begin our journey together into a new school year. We are excited to see our learners moving towards a year of normalcy and joy in a way that they have not experienced since before the pandemic. During the first month of school the goal has been for teachers and students to get to know each other. At all grade levels, teachers focused on learning activities that were intended to build student self - awareness and understanding of others as a way to build classroom communities that foster a sense of belonging for every child.

At our System Meeting for Administrators on September 14, our Chief Superintendent, Christopher Usih, focused on the importance to students in having a sense of belonging at school. He shared the research that has shown that academic outcomes correlate strongly with students’ self-reported level of school belonging. Belonging is a central tenet of inclusionary education and, as a school community, developing a sense of belonging is explicit within our wellness goal in our School Development Plan. I am pleased to report that the results of our spring 2022 Alberta Education Assurance Survey indicate that 100 % of the 82 grade 4 students who responded to the survey indicated that “they feel welcome at school” and 95% reported that “they feel like they belong.” The results of the 2022 survey speak to the focus of the developmental work over the years at MTS that continues in importance as our population grows, changes, and evolves.

Staffing Update

The staffing process continues into the fall as we have both said goodbye and welcomed new staff to MTS. We have been pleased to welcome Mrs. Herta Siarkiewicz to our school as we were able to add an additional grade 3 class due to an increase in enrolment. Thank you to the parents who agreed to have their children move to the new class, which has reduced the class size numbers in grade 3. We bid farewell to Mrs. Liz Hrycan, teacher in the EES program, and have welcomed Mrs. Swapna Bhagat Luthra to the EES team. Mrs. Luthra brings a strong background in Special Education to the students in the program. We were very sad to say farewell to Mrs. Jennifer Croteau who has been at the school for 6 years as Lead in the lunchroom program. We wish Mrs. Croteau well in her new adventures and know that she will be successful in her new job. She will be missed by students and staff.

Terry Fox Run

September 21 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 almost $2,000. As always, MTS families, showed their care and kindness for others in supporting this cause. The children were delighted to see that having surpassed our fund-raising goal, Mr. Van Sluys, our 6 ft. 4 inch P.E. teacher carried out his promise to wear a tutu for a full day at school. He demonstrated that he is a great sport as he had students chuckling and giggling at him all day! This year, in solidarity with Mr. V. students were invited to don a tutu for the day and join in the fun.

Orange Shirt Day

Students spent time reflecting on the meaning of Orange Shirt Day during the week of September 26-30. They learned a Land Acknowledgement with actions as well as a song “The Children’s Blessing” which the entire school community sang at our Orange Shirt Day assembly on Thursday, September 29.

Teachers accessed the school’s collection of Indigenous picture books to serve as a springboard for conversation and learning activities. For example, the grade one classes read the picture book called “My Suitcase: Nii Sookayis” by author Christina Fox (iitsisaanoowa). Students were very interested to learn a few Blackfoot words from the story. The main character in the story tells about her time at a school far away from her traditions and family. Students talked about how this would feel. They made a list of things they could do to make others feel like they matter. They created mini orange shirts on orange paper and wrote a way that would show others they matter at our school. Other age-appropriate activities related to Indigenous ways of knowing and cultural significance took place in all classrooms

The week culminated with the whole school assembly where students heard a story about the history of Orange Shirt Day. Back in their classrooms, they talked about words that describe how they feel at MTS. All students joined in a feather project in which each child created a unique feather with a word to show how they feel at MTS. The feathers are proudly displayed in our front hallway for everyone to admire and to feel a part of in terms of their individual contribution.

Responding to the prompt, I FEEL…at MTS, some of the words that students inscribed on their feather included: strong, welcome, grateful, happy, calm, brave, visible, proud, safe, loved, positive, curious, respected, joyful, brave, protected, special.

Toys at School- No!

We would like to remind parents that it is not advisable for children to bring toys to school. Toys are a diversion from the focus on learning at school, and can become an issue/conflict if they are lost or taken by another child. We encourage our students to be active during their recess and lunch breaks and to engage with the physical activity resources that are available at the school such as basketballs and soccer balls, Please note that trading cards such as POKEMON are not allowed at the school, outside at recess or lunch, or on the bus.

Dogs on School Grounds

We would like to thank our dog owners who are walking their dogs to school on a leash and saying their goodbyes from the sidewalk or school ground boundaries. It is sometimes hard to understand that our beloved companions could be intimidating to anyone, but children who are not familiar with pets, often are fearful. As well, city bylaws exist that do not allow dogs on school grounds. Thank you so much for your cooperation.

Looking Forward

The month of October will hold with many exciting events and learning opportunities. I encourage you to keep up to date with events at the school by checking our website and teacher blogs and through updates provided via School Messenger.

I look forward to continuing to get to know our students and parents over the year. My greatest joy is to be able to be back in classrooms working with students and teachers.


Dr. Lorraine Slater

Principal


Sep 01
Principal's Message - Welcome Back to MTS

We were thrilled to see our students again in school. Thank you for your patience and support throughout our entry planning and messaging to you. We had a smooth and calm return to school. Our school is spotless and sparkling after undergoing a thorough cleaning this summer under the direction of our new facility operator, May Reynaldo. We are fortunate to work in a building that provides such a bright and healthy environment and that maintains its sense of being new and fresh after 12 years.

We have some new faces on staff and have welcomed the EES Program (Enhanced Educational Support) to our school with teachers, Veronika Havkin and Elizabeth Hrycan. We all look forward to getting to know the students in the EES classes and supporting them to feel a part of MTS.

We also are very pleased to have Mrs. Kerry Fell join us, teaching Kindergarten. She brings a wealth of early grade teaching experience to MTS. As well, we welcome Mrs. Kayla Watson back to MTS after supporting MTS students last year on two temporary assignments in grades 1 and 2. Mrs. Watson will join the Kindergarten team fulltime this year. Our teaching teams have a “new look” as teachers at the school have changed grades and moved to new classrooms as we have reconfigured our grades 1 and 2 in the east wing and grades 3 and 4 in the west wing. Kindergarten now occupies the east portables and the EES the west portables.

Mrs. Sonja Girard, grade 4 teacher, is on medical leave and we are pleased to have Ms. Stephanny Penfold back at MTS on a temporary contract teaching Mrs. Girard’s class. Although we do not have a definite return to work date for Mrs. Girard, we anticipate that she will be off for most of the first term.

We welcome Mrs. Kruger back to the school this year teaching grade 2. After being on an extended medical leave last year, she has returned to school transitioning back with a modified work schedule. Joining Mrs. Kruger, and holding major responsibilities for the class while Mrs. Kruger is on a modified time schedule is Mrs. Coleen Wenc who is a familiar face at MTS. As a very experienced teacher, Mrs. Wenc has always been part of the MTS team in various grades and roles.

Please check the MTS website for a complete list of staff members for the 2022-23 school year along with their assignments.

Soft Entry

The soft entry that was put in place during the pandemic has proved to be a very successful and efficient start of the day for students and teachers. We will continue the soft entry this year. Doors are opened at 7:50 and locked at 8:00. During this 10 minute interval, students will be greeted at their entrance door by a teacher in the grade team who will supervise student entry. Please note that there is no teacher supervision on the playground during this entry time. Students are expected to directly enter the school during this 10 minute time interval and go to their classrooms where their teachers will meet them. The bell will ring outside at 8:00. If your child arrives at school past that time, please have them enter through the front door. We are trying very hard to keep everyone safe. Please make an effort to arrive on time to avoid large numbers entering through the front door in the morning. Use of the front door is only for students who arrive at school after the bell. A reminder that the Hug 'n Go zone is a drop off area for parents and not a parking zone. Please obey the signage at the zone to facilitate all parents who want to use the zone to drop off their children. A reminder that there is no stopping in the bus zone in front of the school. The zone is monitored by the Calgary Police who will be issuing tickets for violation within the zone.

Dismissal

It is also very important to have a designated meeting spot for 2:36 pick up times Monday – Thursday and 12:00 on Fridays. All students in grades 1-4 will be dismissed from their exit doors and are to go immediately to the meeting spots that they have identified with their families. Please ensure you have not chosen a meeting place in the school parking lot. Kindergarten is the only age group where teachers will wait for a parent to arrive before dismissing students. All students have been taught in class, that if they get to their meeting spot and there is no one there to pick them up, after waiting a few minutes, they are to come to the office through the front entrance of the school for help. Please note that parents are requested to remain in the outer foyer of the office NOT to enter the front office to drop off items or pick up with their child. The staff will ensure that your child enters/exits safely and is taken to his/her classroom.​

Communication Methods

Open, continuous communication is of utmost importance throughout the school year. Classroom teachers will use the following methods to communicate learning updates.

· Classroom Blogs – (classroom teachers will provide blog posts every Friday beginning September 9)

· Email

· Phone Calls

· In person school meetings at arranged times

Communication from the school will include:​

· School Website – will highlight events occurring at the school

· Administration Monthly Message on website

· Email, phone calls

· School Messenger

· In person meetings, previously arranged and scheduled with administration

Over the last several weeks there has been considerable information that has been provided to parents both through the CBE and MTS website as well as through School Messenger. The information can be overwhelming to process. If you require clarification, please do not hesitate to call the school and speak to the office staff regarding questions that you may have related to operations within the school. Please address concerns you may have about your child and his/her learning to their classroom teacher through email of phone call. When additional support is required in a situation the administration will be involved.

Thank you for holding fast in your support of our school community through the challenging times of the past 2 years. This school year brings new beginnings in many ways as we move forward with hope and optimism. We appreciate your positive comments and feedback as well as your suggestions and questions for improvement.

Wishing all of us a healthy and happy month of September!

Dr. Lorraine Slater​



Jun 28
Year End Message and Thank You

As the 2021-22 school year draws to a close, I would like to provide you with a few messages and words of appreciation for all you do to support McKenzie Towne School.

The last few months of this school year have felt much more normal. As Covid restrictions were lifted, events in the school have brought the community together again. Seeing parents as volunteers in the school and on field trips, attending celebrations, and helping with special days such as our recent Sports Day have been heart-warming and have filled the school with joy. Thank you to all parents. Our staff would like to thank Parent Council for the delicious lunch provided to us on Friday, June 17.

Please note the following:

  • Report cards

Families may view report cards beginning June 28, through MyCBE. The school will not be printing report cards, but families can print through the website.

  • Appeals Day

Appeals day is Wednesday, June 29 from 9:00 am - 1:00pm.  This is your opportunity to contact your child's teacher by email to ask them any questions you have about the report card. The school office will be open from 9:00 – 1:00pm on June 30.

  • Class lists

Because changes occur over the course of the summer, class lists will not be available until the first day of school, September 1, 2022.

  • Staffing Update

The end of the year always brings changes with staff who are moving to different school settings. We say a fond farewell to Ms. Hamilton, Ms. Shillington, and Ms. Cotton who have been at MTS for a number of years and have contributed greatly to building a culture of excellence at MTS. As well, we say goodbye and thank you to Ms. Watson, Ms. Cooper, Mr. Kurtz, Ms. Wuetherick, Ms. Poon, and Ms. Alle who all served on temporary contracts at the school. Several support staff are also leaving the school including Ms. Angela Paravicini, lunchroom supervisor, and our facility operations staff- Ximena Gavilanes, Famela Lacao, and Jenaliza Ablas. We are pleased to inform parents that Ms. Jenhene Morgan will remain on staff next year. We also welcome teacher, Mrs. Kerri Fell to our school.

  • EES (Enhanced Educational Support Program)

MTS is pleased to welcome the establishment of the EES program classes at our school. The classes are moving from Douglasdale School and will be supported by teachers Ms. Veronika Havkin and Mrs. Elizabeth Hrycan.

Finally, on behalf of the staff at MTS, I would like to wish all of you, parents and students, a safe, happy and relaxing summer. We look forward to our return to school on September 1, 2022.

Dr. Lorraine Slater​


Apr 28
Principal's Message - Reconnecting as a Community

Returning from spring break with the easing of Covid restrictions, the month of April has been joyous for us at McKenzie Towne as we have been able to resume many of the activities such as field trips, volunteers in the school, fun lunches, merging of cohorts, and SINGING that bring us together as a community.

As we prepare for the 2022-23 school year, we are in the throes of planning and staffing processes for next year. Every year brings changes in staffing as we add new staff members and say goodbye to others whose career choices take them in different directions. Staffing continues through the month of June. I hope to be able to announce the 2022-23 staff to you in a short final newsletter that will go home with report cards on the last day of school, Tuesday, June 28th at regular dismissal time. During the next two months teachers and administration will come together multiple times to organize and plan class lists for next year. Please note that this is a collaborative, intentional process and many factors are considered in planning classes for next year including such factors as: children with special learning needs and/or social/emotional concerns, English Language Learners, gender, student needs in terms of their working relationships with peers as well as their individual strengths, and consideration of possible classroom dynamics. Parents who have particular information that they feel may support the classroom planning process may contact me in writing with that information which will be considered in the process. Requests for particular teachers by parents is not part of this process given the multiple factors listed above. Class placements will reflect our sincere effort to create balanced classrooms where each child is valued, challenged and successful. 

As in previous yearSchool Council has made a huge differencithe learning opportunities that have been offered to our students throughout thischooyearIn addition to thevents that have been planned and hostebSchool Councisuch as special lunches, and the upcoming grade 4 farewell celebration, fund- raising efforts planned by School Council and supported by the parent community have been invaluable to our students.  We thank yofor your support of the fundraising initiatives which havenabled us to provide enhanced learning experiences for oustudents thiyear includinThree left Feet dance residency for K-2 and Alien Inline Skating for grades 3&4, busing for grade field trips, and support of the cost of busing for grade 4 swimming. Thescurricular-related, but extra” learning programwoulnot bpossible withithe provincial fundinframeworthat exists for schoolsso once agaiwe thank you for supporting thesworthwhiland memorable experiences. Over the years MTS parents have supported the establishment of resources for our Music, PE, literacy, library, and academic areas enabling us to offer programs that are well-established and provide extensive learning opportunities for our students in both core academic and specialization areas.

LookinforwartMay and June...

The months of May anJune arsignificant itermospecial eventsfield trips and celebrations in the schoolFor our grade 4 students it wilbe the time to safarewell to the school theknow and love as themove on to neschools and adventures ilearning. As well, some families of grade 3 students have chosen to send their children to McKenzie Highlands School for grade 4. McKenzie Towne School will continue to provide grade 4 classes. All grade 3&4 students will have the opportunity to visit McKenzie Highlands School on May10 through a field trip organized and hosted by McKenzie Highlands School.

Kindergarten Orientation for Next Year Students

We will be hosting a Welcome to Kindergarten Orientation on May 26 (6:00-7:00 pm) for next year's Kindergarten students. We are very excited to welcome the newest group of MTS learners. This orientation will be in person at the school.  Parents and future Kindergarten students are welcome to attend to learn about the Kindergarten, see the classrooms spaces, and to answer all the questions that new parents might have.  We look forward to welcoming our newest and youngest learners in September!

Other special events scheduled for May and June include:

  • Online Book Fair- May 13-20
  • Grade 3 Assembly – May 27, 8:30 am (open area west side of school)
  • Field trips – grades 1,3 and 4 ( check website and teacher blogs for dates and details)
  • Kindergarten farewell assemblies – June 22 and 23 @ 2:00pm (open area east side of school)
  • Grade 4 farewell assembly – June 24. 10:30 – 12:00 (gym)
  • Sports/Fun Day – June 27
Finally, I would like to extend a thank you to MTS families who supported the recent collection of household and personal items in support of Ukraine. Our heart goes out to the people of Ukraine and once again MTS families have shown their care and generosity. We thank Jennifer Dobson, parent, for organizing this collection that has been delivered to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church/Cultural Centre in Calgary for distribution.

I hope to see you at the school over thnextwmonths!

Sincerely,

Dr. Lorraine Slater​


Feb 28
Principal's Message - "Marching" into Spring

The month of March brings to an end the winter term at school. The promise of spring is not far behind. It has been a busy few months at MTS. The pandemic has presented additional challenges in terms of student and staff absences due to illness. January was a particularly difficult month with staff members needing to be home to recover and /or isolate due to the virus. As a result the CBE, and McKenzie Towne School struggled on some days to cover staff absence. Your child may have had several different substitute teachers as we maintained in school learning, often through redeployment of staff and internal administrative coverage of classes. As the case count has decreased, and restrictions have eased, we breathe a sigh of relief, as we are filled with the hope that we can once again “do things the way we have always done them” at home, school, and the world.


Staffing Update

I want to provide an update on staffing. I would like to thank Mr. Bruce Johnston who was Acting Principal for a couple of weeks in February when I was away from the school. Thanks also to our Assistant Principal, Mrs. Crosby and Learning Leader, Ms. Blake who supported in administrative responsibilities. We have welcomed back Mrs. Burch to the school as she has partnered with Mrs. Watson in the grade one class for the past month in transitioning back to full time teaching responsibilities. Thank you to Mrs. Watson who has done amazing work with the grade one class since the start of the school year in Mrs. Burch’s absence. The students have enjoyed having two teachers for the past month and will be sad to say goodbye to Mrs. Watson while coming to know and welcome Mrs. Burch. Ms. Cotton continues on medical leave and Mrs. Rachel Wuetherick has capably assumed responsibility for her Kindergarten and Music teaching assignment. Also, we welcome Ms. Morgan to the school, covering for Mrs. Kruger who is on medical leave. We are pleased to have Mrs. Penner in the literacy and math support role while Ms. Cooper continues her responsibilities with the grade 3 class as we await further notice about this funding initiative from the Alberta government.


Parent Conferences

March is a short month with parent conferences on March 10 and 11. We would like to invite all parents to join us for upcoming virtual conferences. Parents are asked to book an individual 15 minute conference time with the teacher through their CBE account.

Thursday, March 10 (Grades 1-4 conferences: 4:00pm – 8:00pm) (Kindergarten conferences: 8:00 am - 12:00pm and 4:00pm- 8:00pm)

· Regular day of instruction for 1-4 students, no school for Kindergarten

Friday, March 11 (8:00am – 1:00pm)

· No School for Students Online registration for meeting times is available through MyCBE/PowerSchool as of Saturday, March 5 at 8am.

To join the online conference, open the conference confirmation email or the calendar invitation. Scroll to the connection link and click the link Join Microsoft Teams Meeting. If the conference confirmation email has been misplaced, parents can obtain all conference details by logging into School Conferences via their MyCBE/PowerSchool account.

Please call the school if you require help or support with booking your conference. The conference is the opportunity for parents to meet with their child’s teacher in conversation about their child’s learning. Teachers will have samples of student work to share with parents in speaking about student learning and assessment.


Traffic and Safety

We would like to thank our dog owners who are walking their dogs to school on a leash and saying their goodbyes from the sidewalk or school ground boundaries. We truly appreciate everyone’s effort in this regard.

There have been ongoing concerns expressed over our parking lot and student drop-off and pick-up times. We are asking for your help in making MTS a safe place for our students to attend. We continue to experience difficulty with the parking situations around the school. The signage is very clear where parking is permitted and is placed in a manner to allow all our children to walk to school in a safe environment. Our Bus Zone is designed to allow the buses an easy/safe approach and departure from the front of the school.

Our staff parking lot is at its maximum capacity and having parents drop students off in the parking lot is against school board regulations. This is due to the fact it creates a very unsafe situation for our children walking to school who use the sidewalk that crosses over the entrance to the lot. The staff parking lot is for staff only. Parents should not be entering or parking in the staff parking lot.

Calgary Parking Authority continues to be contacted by a number of our neighbours who have had their driveways and garage doors blocked by parents/guardians of students attending our school. We strive to do our best to be good neighbours and as parents/guardians of students at MTS, you are all representatives of our school community. Unfortunately, the actions of a few can reflect on the whole, and we were saddened to hear about the lack of courtesy being offered to our neighbours and to each other regarding these safety issues.

Please read the reminders from The Parking Authority to familiarize yourself with the City of Calgary Parking Bylaws.

· Avoid double parking

· Watch for signs indicating ‘No Stopping’ and ‘No Parking’ zones

· Leave 5 metres (16 feet) between your car and any crosswalk markings. This will ensure children are visible when they enter the crosswalk.

· School bus zones must be kept clear so children can step off the bus and onto a curb instead of exiting into a busy street.

· Parking too close to stop signs, yield signs or intersections makes it difficult to see children in the area and obstructs the view of other motorists. A distance of 5 metres is required.

· Blocking entrances to garages or driveways angers neighbours. Stay back at least 1.5 metres (5 feet).

All parking infractions in school zones are subject to a minimum $50 fine. Please park responsibly and help make streets safe for our children.


Parent Surveys

There are two surveys that we ask parents to complete- one is for all parents and the other the provincial School Assurance Survey is for grade 4 parents.

1) School Planning Survey 2022

Learn and Share | School Planning

We know we make better decisions to support student learning when we build understanding and work together. That’s why we are asking you to share your perspectives about our school development plan, school budget and school fees.

· The survey is open from February 28th, 2022 to March 16th, 2022. Please visit: https://mckenzietowne.cbedialogue.com/en/projects/school-planning-survey-2022/engagements/mckenzie-towne-school-planning-survey-2022-elementary to complete the survey.

2) Alberta Education Assurance (AEA) Survey

Parents of students in grade 4 should have received an AEA survey in the mail that can be completed online with the random access code mailed to you. Children in grade 4 will also be completing a student version of the survey here at the school during our regular instructional hours. All surveys are anonymous and the results will be shared next fall at our School Council meeting and on the school's website.

The last day of school before spring break is March 18th. Students return to school on Monday, March 28th. Please take time to relax and rejuvenate over the break.


Sincerely,

Dr. Lorraine Slater, Principal​









Nov 30
Principal's Message - Unwrapping December


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.


December Highlights

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.

     Sincerely,

     Dr. Lorraine Slater



Oct 06
We Belong at MTS - Principal's Message

Students and staff are settling nicely into the routines and rhythm of the new school year. Our student population as of the end of September when the official enrolment figures were submitted to the CBE was 521 students. This number includes 437 students in grades 1-4 and 87 students in kindergarten. We have 23 classes. Our class size ranges from 20- 26 students In K-4. During the first month of school the goal has been for teachers and students to get to know each other. At all grade levels, teachers focused on learning activities that were intended to build student self - awareness and understanding of others as a way to build classroom communities that foster a sense of belonging for every child. 

At MTS we have considered the work of Dr. Jean Clinton, Pediatric Psychiatrist at McMaster University in Hamilton who focuses on the following guiding principles for the education of children:

  • Development of the whole child
  • The importance of belonging
  • The first “R" relationships are central​

We believe strongly in and are in support of Dr. Clinton's guiding principles. Development of the whole child is our focus including the academic, social-emotional, physical, musical, and artistic/creative aspects of growth and learning. Belonging is a central tenet of inclusionary education and as a school community, developing a sense of belonging is explicit within our wellness goal in our School Development Plan.

In order to personalize learning for students, it is important for teachers to know each child for the unique individual he/she is as well as to become familiar with how each child learns best. Your attendance at the first conference of the year has helped with this process as you have shared information about your child with his/her teacher. 


Staffing Update

We welcome two new teachers to our school. We were able to open an additional kindergarten class in September and welcomed Mrs. Meaghan Alle to teach the class. As well, with grade 3 teacher Mrs. Blake moving into the Resource role in the school with the departure of Mrs. Bitz, we were pleased to hire Mr. Kyle Kurtz to take over the grade 3 class. The students have adjusted well to this early change in teachers.


Three Left Feet Dance Residency

Students in K-2 have been enjoying their dance residency with Three Left Feet professional dance company. TLF offers an engaging and socially encouraged method of developing a student's Physical Literacy, Mindfulness and appreciation for the creative process through the exploration of Dance and Movement. TLF are in-school dance residency program specialists who create a safe environment for students to take risks and succeed. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, we are unable to have a final sharing performance in the school with parents. However, TLF are creating a video for each class which will be shared with parents after the completion of the residency. Please note that students for whom we did not receive a signed media release form from parents will not be included in the video.

Thank you to the Parent Council at MTS for their financial support of this amazing opportunity for our students. Through your dedicated fund-raising efforts, we are able to provide these curricular related exceptional experiences to our students. In November, grades 3 and 4 students will have the opportunity to participate in an inline skating residency program with Alien In-Line Skating.

We are so pleased that the Calgary Board of Education Covid guidelines have allowed our school to once again have these professional artists/athletes work with our students and teachers to provide excellence in programming.


Dogs on School Grounds 

We would like to thank our dog owners who are walking their dogs to school on a leash and saying their goodbyes from the sidewalk or school ground boundaries.  It is sometimes hard to understand that our beloved companions could be intimidating to anyone, but children who are not familiar with pets, often are fearful. As well, city bylaws exist that do not allow dogs on school grounds. Thank you so much for your cooperation.


Terry Fox Run

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. The children were delighted to see that having surpassed our fund-raising goal, Mr. Van Sluys, our 6 ft. 4 inch P.E. teacher carried out his promise to wear a tutu for a full day at school. He demonstrated that he is a great sport as he had students chuckling and giggling at him all day!

I look forward to continuing to get to know our students and parents over the year. My greatest joy is to be able to be back in classrooms working with students and teachers. Please continue to check the Alberta Health Services and CBE websites for changing information related to Covid regulations and requirements. We will continue to message our parent community as we receive information on changes as well.

 

Hoping for a continuing safe and successful school year!

Dr. Lorraine Slater, Principal



Sep 03
Principal's Message - Welcome Back to McKenzie Towne School

We were thrilled to see our students again in school. Thank you for your patience and support throughout our entry planning and messaging to you. We had a smooth and calm return to school

The first few days with students are crucial in setting the tone for the rest of the year. As a staff we spent time before students started discussing how as a group of teachers we can continue to build a classroom and school community that is grounded in the McKenzie Towne School core values of Relationships, Respect, Belonging, Caring and Learning. In particular, given the COVID protocols that remain in place with our return to school, as a staff, our conversation has included the challenges of building relationships with students and each other while maintaining physical distance and masks.

We have some new faces on staff. Welcome to Mrs. Chantel Crosby joining us as Assistant Principal. Mrs. Crosby has a breadth of teaching and administrative experience in various schools within the CBE including elementary and middle schools. She is passionate about early literacy and science and will bring her expertise from having worked in the CBE Science Program to the advancement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teaching and learning in our school. 

We also are very pleased to have Mrs. Seana Blake join us as Learning Leader and grade 3 classroom teacher. Mrs. Blake has extensive background as an early education teacher and leader and she brings her expertise and energy to MTS. 

Mrs. Tracey Burch, grade one teacher, is on medical leave and we are pleased to have Mrs. Watson back at MTS on a temporary contract teaching Mrs. Burch’s class. Although we do not have a definite return to work date for Mrs. Burch, we anticipate that she will be off for most of the first term.

Joining our teaching staff is Ms. Jennifer Penford, also a very experienced teacher, who brings to MTS her previous nine years of experience as a grade ½ teacher and Literacy Specialist. Ms. Penford joins Mrs. Sharma in sharing the teaching responsibilities for a grade two class. 

We are pleased that we are able to create an additional kindergarten class on Mondays and Wednesdays. Thank you to the families that have agreed to move their child to that class to help create smaller class sizes. the new teacher for the class will be Mrs. Meaghan Alle, who will start with her students on September 8.

Please check the MTS website for a complete list of staff members for the 2021 school year along with their assignments.


Soft Entry

To minimize the number of students entering the building at one time, we have a soft entry process. Doors are opened at 7:45 and locked at 8:00. During this 15 minute interval, students will be greeted at the entrance door by a teacher in the grade team who will supervise students to maintain physical distance, don masks, sanitize hands, and direct students to their classrooms. The bell will ring outside at 8:00. If your child arrives at school past that time, please have them enter through the front door. We are trying very hard to keep everyone safe. Please make an effort to arrive on time to avoid large numbers entering through the front door in the morning. Use of the front door is only for students who arrive at school after the bell. A reminder that the Hug 'n Go zone is a drop off area for parents and not a parking zone. Please obey the signage at the zone to facilitate all parents who want to use the zone to drop off their children. A reminder that there is no stopping in the bus zone in front of the school. The zone is monitored by the Calgary Police who will be issuing tickets for violation within the zone.


Dismissal

It is also very important to have a designated meeting spot for 2:36 pick up times Monday – Thursday and 12:00 on Fridays. All students in grades 1-4 will be dismissed from their exit doors and are to go immediately to the meeting spots that they have identified with their families. Please ensure you have not chosen a meeting place in the school parking lot. Kindergarten is the only age group where teachers will wait for a parent to arrive before dismissing students. All students have been taught in class, that if they get to their meeting spot and there is no one there to pick them up, after waiting a few minutes, they are to come to the office through the front entrance of the school for help. Please note that parents are requested to remain in the outer foyer of the office NOT to enter the front office to drop off items or pick up with their child. The staff will ensure that your child enters/exits safely and is taken to his/her classroom.


Communication Methods

Open, continuous communication is of utmost importance throughout the school year. Classroom teachers will use the following methods to communicate learning, updates:

· Classroom Blogs – (classroom teachers will provide blog posts every Friday beginning September 10/21)

· Email

· Phone Calls

Communication from the school will include:

· School Website – will highlight events occurring at the school

· Administration Monthly Message on website

· Email, phone calls, School messenger

· In person meetings, previously arranged and scheduled with administration and or teachers

Over the last several weeks there has been considerable information that has been provided to parents both through the CBE and MTS website as well as through School Messenger. The information can be overwhelming to process. If you require clarification, please do not hesitate to call the school and speak to the office staff regarding questions that you may have related to operations within the school. Please address concerns you may have about your child and his/her learning to their classroom teacher through email of phone call. When additional support is required in a situation the administration will be involved.

Thank you for holding fast in your support of our school community through challenging times. We appreciate your positive comments and feedback as well as your suggestions and questions for improvement.


Wishing all of us a healthy and happy month of September!

Dr. Lorraine Slater​


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Dr. Lorraine Slater

I am committed to working collaboratively with staff, parents and students in order to ensure the best possible education for our children.

Email |
LCSlater@cbe.ab.ca

​​

RT @ZooSchoolyyc: How do we teach the value and importance of our connection to all living things? Maybe by getting to know our local neighbours? This is a concept our Chris Akkermann students are just beginning to understand. Have you spotted this local winter bird? https://t.co/W2MjY26FrR

RT @kinggeorgecbe: Le défi du flocon de neige a commencé! Comment est-ce que tous les élèves dans chaque classe vont créer un flocon de neige qui est aussi grand que Mme Shafina ou Mme Renée, en utilisant seulement le papier, les ciseaux et la laine? @CBELanguages #WeAreCBE https://t.co/F6vE6jP5td

RT @KeelerSchool: Grade 6 students created pictograph rocks using symbols and colours to communicate their connections to the land. #WeAreCBE #Keeler https://t.co/z18gyFvOZS

Check out this story about the @twowheelview 10-week Earn-A-Bike program at Crescent Heights High School. Students receive a refurbished bicycle, helmet and basic tools to maintain their new ride. #WeAreCBE https://t.co/95bxTQ7gli

Enjoy a Flames game and help raise funds that support CBE students and schools. Purchase your tickets online: https://t.co/k5ycP5lWHa | $10 from every Flames ticket purchased goes to @EdMattersYYC Games: Jan. 6, Jan. 21 and Feb. 16. #WeAreCBE

RT @cbedrb: Amazing presentation today from our Grade 1s for the sacred teaching of LOVE #beautifullove #wearecbe https://t.co/MPNSuzRrtx https://t.co/HZnszmkXnr

RT @RosemontCBE: Rosemont School families and staff have generously donated to the Veterans Foodbank. Way to go Rosemont School. We are a strong community. 🦊❤️🦊 #wearecbe #veteransfoodbank https://t.co/bg2qotGAJL

RT @CPCobras: Who wouldn’t feel welcomed and represented walking past this everyday. Thank you to Mrs. Sealy for all of her hard work creating this bulletin board that represents the languages spoken and home countries of our staff and students! #WeAreCBE https://t.co/60uzPk45uy

RT @cbe_earlylearn: Shades of blue paint and silvery aluminum foil create an invitation for winter storytelling at this art centre @RoyaloakCBE #Kindergarten #wearecbe #processart #playbasedlearning #EarlyLiteracy #yycbe #earlylearning https://t.co/d2QCYr6kVM

Interested in your child’s mental health? Sign up for a free online session with AHS: Understanding & Promoting Youth Mental Health for Families & Caregivers Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 7-8:30pm https://t.co/48KztbzCN7 #WeAreCBE https://t.co/J2TcJw2UJk