"There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves." - Joe L. Wheeler.
The crisp autumn air and the "incredibly nostalgic and significant …cascade of autumn leaves" bring the beauty of yellow and red leaves into our world. As our seasons rather abruptly turning from warmer temperatures to cooler autumn- winter days enhancing the strikingly, brilliant colours of fall and the white of winter, the Royal Oak School Community continues to focus on intellectually engaging in learning. With the beginning of October, our new Governor General Julie Payette is sworn in and is an excellent role model for our students. Governor General Payette is multilingual, an astronaut, engineer, and business woman. That strength in the entrepreneurial spirit, mathematics, music, languages and science are real assets to set the foundation of accomplishments yet to come. Furthermore, the Honorable Governor General is an accomplished musician as she is still part of the musical group Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Choir. Governor General Payette comes to the position with the integrity of a Renaissance woman. This is a wonderful gift to the citizens of Canada. It is interesting to imagine that perhaps one of our Royal Oak School children will one day hold such a prestigious and influential position.
It has been a great start to the school year and I would like to thank everyone for helping us rapidly refocus our excitement upon the important work of teaching and learning. It was wonderful to see so many people attend our first round of student-centred conferences and the school staff was again impressed at how quickly students have settled in and how committed the entire school is to creating the necessary conditions for successful learning. We have had to remind ourselves on a few occasions that it is just the first month of school.
Our Artist in Residence, Roger Duncan, with One World Drumming visited from Sep. 11 – 15 to work in rhythmic drumming circles with the Grade 2 and 3 students. Thank you to all of the parents who participated in the family drumming circle with their children on the Friday. The Kindergarten and Grade 1 students will have the opportunity to work with Mr. Duncan later in the school year.
The September Safety Week was positive with our practice of the following drills: fire drill, evacuation and lockdown. The students were extremely cooperative and the staff are confident that if there was an emergency, the students have now experienced the protocols for each drill and how to proceed. Thank you to parents who conversed with their children regarding the importance of these drills. I would also like to acknowledge the professionalism of the ROS staff as they prepared the students and conducted the drills to help ensure the safety of students and visitors to our school. A special thanks to Constable Will Johnson and his partner for setting the appropriate serious tone for lockdowns in a gentle, friendly and kind manner.
Thank you to Ms. Azam, our Royal Oak Library Assistant, for organizing the Scholastic Book Fair at the school during Student-Centred Conferences. The approximate amount of funds raised for Royal Oak School is $4015.00 for resources in the Learning Commons. Thank you to the parents and students for supporting this worthy cause.
We held our Royal Oak School Volunteer Orientation and if you missed the meeting, please check in with Ms. Jackson or Ms. Braun, our school Administrative Assistants, for the protocols and the "how to" information when volunteering in the school. I would also like to offer another special thank you to parent, Keri Blakeney for her support and help that evening and throughout the year with our valued volunteers. It is volunteers who make so many, many wonderful opportunities for students possible. If you have not had the chance to either get your volunteer security clearance from the Calgary Police Service, or renew your volunteer security clearance, please see Ms. Jackson or Ms. Braun.
I would like to extend special thank you to ROS parents, Ms. Kim Knight, and the members of School Council for the celebratory community gathering of the Fall Fair. It was great to see a vibrant community gathering with so many of the ROS and Pratt families out and enjoying the games, food trucks, laughter and great conversations with neighbours. Our Community Spirit Director is Kristina Barzden.
There is another fun family activity coming up in October which is the Family Halloween Dance on Thursday, Oct. 26. Due to the large number of families and limited capacity in the gym, there will be two dances run by School Council one will be from 5:30 – 6:30 PM and the other from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. More information will be coming to you shortly from School Council but you might want to book the date.
As we continue to strive for excellent communication with you, please ensure that you subscribe to school messages. Our parent survey showed that most parents feel that communication is best served by receiving email messages. We would like to give just a gentle reminder to parents continue to check your child’s teacher blog daily for information on the events and upcoming activities in the classroom and school. Also, I would invite you to start checking into Iris to see some of the important work that your child has been completing in school. In addition, parents have asked to have a paper copy of the calendar and the Principal’s message to further enhance communication. More detail on the events in the school can be found in the school newsletter which is also posted in our News Centre on our website. Finally, check our Twitter Account @RoyaloakCBE for daily updates of school events. Please let us know if there is a better way to communicate with you about upcoming school events.
The Terry Fox Run took place on Thursday, Oct. 5 due to the inclement weather on Tuesday, Oct. 3. On Thursday Royal Oak School students will run with the students from WD Pratt School in an effort to raise funds for a worthy cause. There is a great deal of enthusiasm and energy as we run to complete our .7 k lap route with 1100 students, staff and volunteers. I would like to extend a thank you to Ms. Hennick and the Terry Fox Committee as well as Mr. Howat (PE Learning Leader from Pratt) for the accomplishment of demonstrating solid citizenship through concern for others. It is a very important to support fundraising initiatives that fight a disease that has such an unfair advantage. Thank you to all the students, staff and parents who donated “Toonies for Terry”.
Our Student Photo Day is on Thursday, Oct. 12 in the Learning Commons. The Re-take Day for student photos is on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Any parent volunteers that are available we would welcome your participation provided you have security clearance.
Our Artist in Residence Program sponsored by School Council and the Parent Fundraising Society are hosting our visual artist, Shannon Fortowsky. Shannon is working with the students and teachers on their inquiry work in Grade 2 and 3 this term and Kindergarten and Grade 1 next term. We are very excited to see the artist endeavors that the students create under the guidance of Shannon.
The Open Minds Program is now underway for the Grade 2 students as they work on their inquiry “How Can We Change?” Each of the grade 2 classes will attend a different Open Minds Program including: the YMCA, 2School and STEM School.
We will be hosting Pumpkinella on Tuesday, Oct. 31 in the gathering space. This exciting event invites families to bring in their creatively decorated pumpkin. During the day, the students are able to come and visit the pumpkin patch and admire all the amazing pumpkins. Drop off for the ROS family pumpkins is on Monday, Oct. 30 between 4:00 – 5:00 PM. After Pumpkinella, pick up for the pumpkins will be on Tuesday, Oct. 31 between 4:00 – 5:00 PM.
While the work in our school is constantly evolving, the early fall is traditionally a time where we create and formalize our School Development Plan. When we do this work, we review the data from multiple sources in order to set the goals and learning targets for the upcoming year. This plan is shared out at our School Council meetings on an annual basis but we do not always have the time to share and more importantly, celebrate these results. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to share some of that data that helps us recognize what a great school we continue to have. Read our news article Highlights from the June 2017 Royal Oak School Student Survey.
We look forward to sharing more of this data at our October School Council/ Parent Fundraising Society meeting Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 7:00 PM and in future newsletters including highlights from the Parent Survey and Teacher Survey. Please join us. We welcome your participation.