Aug 30
Welcome back to another exciting year of learning!

Dear Parents of Royal Oak School,

Welcome back to another exciting year of learning!  We hope that you had the chance to get away and recharge over the summer.  

I would imagine that many of your kids are eagerly awaiting the start of another year at our wonderful school.  As a staff, we are very excited to have the opportunity to work with you and your child(ren) in their learning journey.  Teachers have been working busy in start up meetings, getting their classrooms ready and setting plans in place for the start of the school year.   

Some important start up info:

As the admin team, we will endeavour to send home a brief weekly update “School Messenger” message to remind you of some upcoming events.  This will replace the monthly newsletter on the website.

Teachers will be sending out a school messenger later this afternoon to welcome you and your child to their classroom and to give you further information about the first day of school.  Weather permitting, we will all gather on the back compound prior to the start of school at 9:10.  We look forward to another awesome year of learning at Royal Oak School!

Class Blogs:  We would ask that you keep up to date with the great learning that is happening at our school.  Please visit class blogs on a regular basis. To access blogs, please visit the school webpage under teaching and learning/classes and departments or click on the following link:

Yellow School Bus Riders: If your child rides a yellow bus, please ensure they know which bus to get on at the end of the day on Tuesday.  Please also go over where their stop is to get off when they go home at the end of the day.  At the school, will be having a bus rider assembly on Tuesday afternoon to give students bracelets that let them know which bus they ride (A or B) and where their stop is.  Kindergarten parents please note - bussing does not start until Thursday due to staggered entry.

Fees: The CBE has moved to an online payment system for all fees.  This will help to streamline payments for school fees and for field trips.  Please see the previous email from our admin secretary, the fabulous Judy Jackson, for more details on making sure you have an account.  We will also be sending home a step-by-step information page with the beginning school year package.  If you need help getting an account, please contact the office.


Tuesday, September 3rd – First day of classes.  Meet on the back compound starting at 8:50

·         Kindergarten Parents, please note the following staggered entry time:

o   Tuesday, September 3rd 9:10am - 11:56am – Surnames beginning with A – L

o   Tuesday, September 3rd 1:03pm – 3:50pm – Surnames beginning with A – L

o   Wednesday, September 4th 9:10am – 11:56am – Surnames beginning with M – Z

o   Wednesday, September 4th 1:03pm – 3:50pm – Surnames beginning with M - Z

Monday, September 9th - Volunteer Orientation 5:30 in the gathering space.  School Council Meeting – 6:30 in the staffroom.

September 19 and 20 Parent Teacher Conferences: information to follow for booking conference times

Regards and best wishes for a fabulous year!​

Jun 26
Grateful for the Positive Relationships that I have had with Students, Parents and Staff

So let me say before we part,
So much of me,
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me,
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end,
I know you have re-written mine,
By being my friend…

Stephen Schwartz

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students:

I am so grateful for the positive relationships that I have had with students, parents and staff at Royal Oak School.  From March 1, 2014 when I entered the doors of Royal Oak School as the principal, you taught me so much.  It is with mixed feelings that I am leaving my principal position at Royal Oak School July 1, 2019 as I am starting my retirement. I want you to know that I am very proud of the school – the students, parents and staff.  The school is in a strong position for caring and learning.  In fact, the school is in a solid position to continue with learning and growing.

I am proud of the work that we have done together as a Learning Community. Together we have improved teaching practice and learning through inquiry, conceptual understanding of disciplinary literacy and mathematics, the Circle of Courage, Iris, Galileo Educational Learning, Alberta Theatre Project plays, Storybook Theatre plays, Circle Fridays, new books for the Learning Commons.  And finally, a Living Wall and planters for the front of the school to come for the fall at Royal Oak School.  I appreciate your patience as we journeyed through the possibility of children working and enjoying plants. Thank you for being the gardeners of learning beside me and planting the futures for our students.  

I have enjoyed the energy, learning and support at Royal Oak School from the students, parents and staff and I appreciate having the opportunity to work with you.  Thank you for the support, guidance and encouragement you have provided me during my time at Royal Oak School.  I will miss my wonderful students, amazing parents and incredible colleagues at ROS but I am looking forward to seeing the world from the seat of a bicycle.

The new principal, Mr. Gord Hamby is excellent and comes to ROS with a strong background in Elementary and Early Learning.  In addition, he most recently came from Principal of Arbour Lake School so will have a connection to the transitions for students to the middle school experience.  Furthermore, Principal Hamby is well versed in Educational Research and has a deep understanding of the work we have undertaken with Disciplinary Literacy. Mr. Hamby has also worked with Galileo Educational Research. Royal Oak School is fortunate to have him and he is very excited about coming here.

The staff who are leaving us are Ms. Amanda MacDonald (going to New Brighton School), Ms. Amanda Perry (EA returning to teaching), Cailean Duggan (AP at William Taylor School), Rosalind Robins (Admin assistant going to the casual roster), Sandra Green (School Assistant at another school to be announced) and yours truly (heading into retirement).  We wish everyone well in there new endeavors.

Thanks again for all you do for kids and building the future.

“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are lead to those who help us most to grow
If we let them and we help them in return.”

Stephen Schwartz


Lynn Sparks



Feb 06
February is a Month of Valentines

“Why did you do all this for me? He asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”
'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

February is a month of Valentines where special messages are sent to and from the heart in recognition of those we love. At Royal Oak School we are celebrating friendship. As Charlotte, the spider says to Wilbur the pig, “You have been my friend…that in itself is a tremendous thing”. At this time events such as the arrival of refugees from many countries reminds us that as friends to the world, we need to shift our focus from our own “sweethearts and friends” to those on the international scene who have lost their homes, belongings and most importantly, the loss of friends and family. The teachers are currently discussing ways in which we as a school community might welcome those with a meaningful response and contribute to those who have experienced unimaginable crisis. We will keep you informed of our plans to demonstrate even more “Generosity” as they are developed by our students.

December was an exciting and busy month with Rocks and Rings in PE, caroling, Dr. Seuss Week and Kindergarten attendance at the ATP Play of Zorro. There were many field trips to the Glenbow Museum, a community collection for Stephen’s Backpacks and a collection of new socks for Inn From the Cold. A special thank you to the Kindergarten teachers – Ms. Sticksl, Ms. Bernard-Dixon and Ms. Mercer for the Zorro Field trip Organization, Caitlin Wood (parent) for the Dr.Seuss Week, and the teachers Ms. Bradbury, Ms. Cook, Ms. Bernard-Dixon, Ms. Daniels, Ms. Devereux, and Ms. Fournier on the Stephen’s Backpack Committee. All of these activities involve numerous parent volunteers and a special thank you to all those who support ROS. Just before the Winter Holiday, the first ROS Report Card went home. Please let your child’s teacher know if you have any questions or comments regarding your child’s progress regarding the report card or at anytime.

January started the new year with gymnastics, more field trips to the Glenbow Museum and a wonderful journey through the Grade 2 Celebration of Learning focusing on the Discipline of Historian.

February enters with a family Skate-Shack experience in the evening at the community rink on Tuesday, February 5 and Thursday, February 7 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. The Skate-Shack is a mobile bus that offers free skates for children and adults. A special thanks to Ms. Hennick for her organization of these two evenings. Also, we will have Alien In-line skating in the gym for all students in PE and our Artist in Residence for Kindergarten and Grade 1 students. We will conclude the month with Pink Shirt Day.

Not only are our students learning about global citizenship and friendship in a myriad of activities, but the time block from January to March generates significant learning opportunities and as educators, we often see tremendous growth in student learning.
The growth is not fortunately isolated to students at this time. We are well aware of the co-relation between student learning and professional development. I am consistently impressed with the commitment and effort that the Royal Oak School teachers and support staff dedicate to this very important condition for learning. The staff have made excellent use of the professional learning time and have also spent a significant number of hours after work related to our School Development Plan (SDP). As such, we are pleased with the advancement of our School Development Plan goals of improving student learning through subject specific Disciplinary Literacy Learning. In other words, how do geologists think? How do mathematicians read? What information is important in the reading and what should be left out? How do historians write? What perspectives should be considered? Who has a voice and whose voice has been left out of history? The teachers accomplish this through inquiry, task design, assessment and ensuring that we transfer knowledge, skills and conceptual understanding. We are looking forward to continued growth as our staff advance the important work of the SDP at the next Professional Development Day on March 1 as well as on February 14 and 15 at the annual Teachers’ and Support Staff Conventions.

Also, we are most grateful for the contributions of our Galileo Educational Network mentor teacher, Kari Sirup who has been working consistently with the teachers throughout the term and most recently on the December 14 PD day, January 11 PLC, and many PLC (Professional Learning Communities) dates where we focused on student critical-thinking, deep conceptual understanding of Disciplinary Literacy. We would like to acknowledge and thank Galileo Educational Network housed at the University of Calgary. This provides excellent teaching and learning opportunities which enrich the learning of our students. We are very appreciative of this opportunity to deliver excellent education to your children.

As February is the month for bouquets, I would like to express my gratitude to a group of unsung heroes at Royal Oak School, our Administrative Assistants, our Educational Assistants, School Assistant and our Lunchroom Supervisors. Specifically, thank you to Ms. Jackson, Ms. Robins and Ms. Braun, for all their care, attention and professionalism in communication, organization, and safety. I would also like to thank the Educational Assistants for their excellent work when working with our most complex learners. I would like to extend another heartfelt thank you to the Lunchroom Supervisors for all their contributions to student learning in an unstructured setting. I would also like to thank our School Assistant, Ms. Green for her daily dedication to bus and traffic safety by monitoring the students. We are very fortunate to have such a positive group of people supporting our students. I very much appreciate and admire the manner in which they exude the qualities of creating ‘belonging’. Thank you for your patience, perseverance, and care with our students. Research shows that if students know that they are cared for they will engage and retain more of what they are learning.

I would also like to welcome some new staff members to our Royal Oak School community. First, we have the arrival of Ms. Gierl (Grade 3 teacher in for Ms. Bennett who is on a Deferred Salary leave) and Ms. Wong (Grade 1 teacher in for Mr. Duggan who is on an acting assignment as a Complex Learning Strategist) and Ms. Boston (Grade 2 teacher in for Ms. Quesnel who is on Maternity Leave). They all come with years of wonderful experience in supporting learners. We would like to extend a special Royal Oak School welcome to all three new members of our staff.

Also, you are welcome to join us for either or both parent meetings on Monday, February 11. The Fundraising Society meets and School Council meets at 6:30 p.m. We would welcome your ideas and we are always looking for more parents to volunteer to assist with the great work of our students.

As Cicero said, “Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.”

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day with your family and friends.

Lynn Sparks, Principal

Nov 13
November 2018

​November arrives “when you feel the bone structure of the landscape- the feeling of winter…” and the sense of change is in the air. Royal Oak students and staff are engaging in inspirational learning that only curiosity, complexity and thoughtful process can advance this meaningful learning and develop the competencies in critical thinking, communication, problem solving and problem finding.

With the focus on improving education, there is also a focus in assessment and reporting. We are also confident that we are taking some very positive steps forward in finding ways to communicate more clearly and more frequently with parents around student achievement. Please ensure that you are taking some time to regularly check Iris and see your child’s work, goals and self-assessments.

Data will be presented at the November School Council regarding the achievement on Report Cards and the perception data of our Student, Parent and Staff surveys which were taken in June 2018. If you are not able to make the meeting, the Data for our SDP (School Development Plan) includes the following:

  • ROS report card data for ELA (English Language Arts) and Mathematics
  • June 2018
  • ROS student, parent and teacher surveys (June 2018)
  • Grade 3 SLA results (October 2018
Continue reading in our November newsletter​.

Oct 11
Oct. 2018

October is crisp days and cool nights, a time to curl up around the dancing flames and sink into a good book.
John Sinor

The “crisp” autumn air and the “cool nights [invites us to take] time to curl up around the dancing flames and sink into a good book.” As our seasons rather abruptly turn from the temperatures of cooler autumn to a walloping winter storm contrasting the strikingly, brilliant colours of fall with the white of winter, the Royal Oak School Community continues to focus on intellectually engaging in learning. With the beginning of October, our Canadian 2018 Nobel Prize winner for Physics, Donna Strickland is an excellent role model for our students. She is the third woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. Donna Strickland was recognized for helping to “pave the way” for the most intense laser beams ever created by humans via a technique that stretches and then amplifies the light beam. She brings honour, integrity and humility to the Nobel Prize for the discipline of Physics. This is a wonderful gift to the citizens of Canada and the world. 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.

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 police partners for setting the appropriate serious tone for lockdowns in a gentle, friendly and kind manner.

The Terry Fox Run took place on Friday, September 14 and students braved the inclement weather. Royal Oak School students ran 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 Comprehensive School Health 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”.

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, Niki Rickhi, Volunteer Coordinator 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.

Following the Volunteer Orientation, our First School Council / Parent Fundraising Meeting of the year was held on Monday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m. All parents are welcome to participate in the discussions on school issues and give feedback. You can attend as a member of the community and are always welcome to join any of the committees such as Hug n’ Go (15 – 20 min), Fun Lunch and other initiatives set up by our ROS School Council and Parent Fundraising.

Royal Oak School celebrated Orange Shirt Day on September 28. We held an assembly with Shane Cunningham, CBE Diversity and Learning Support Advisor for Indigenous Education. Shane Cunningham spoke to the students about the Indigenous connection to the land and why it is important that we honour the land. Also, on September 28 was the Principal’s Gratitude Tea. Thank you to all parents who attended the Principal’s Gratitude Tea. I am grateful for your gifts of conversations and support.

I would like to extend a special thank you to ROS parents, Ms. Caitlyn Wood, and the members of School Council for organizing the celebratory community gathering of the Fall Fair for October 4. The plan was for a great, vibrant community gathering with so many of the ROS families out and enjoying the games, food trucks, laughter and great conversations with neighbours. Unfortunately, the winter’s early and unexpected arrival caused the cancellation of this wonderful ROS event. We look forward to the magnificent Fall Fair next year.

As we continue to strive for excellent communication with you, please ensure that you have subscribed to receive email messages from the school. The blue icon envelope that says, “Subscribe” on the Calgary Board of Education website near the bottom of the main website is how you subscribe and give approval. 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 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.

We are having a new Artist in Residence in Physical Education called Dance PL3Y from October 15 to October 23. The dance group will be working with all students from K – 3. The students will be focusing on their “dance moves” and we look forward to inviting parents in to dance with your children during their PE class. So, “get your dancing shoes on” and look for be more information coming to you soon regarding the invitation to participate with your children. Our returning Artist in Residence, Sharon Fortowsky, will be visiting from October 29 – November 15 to work with students on visual art connected to the discipline inquiry of historian, artist, geologist and illustrator and the Alberta Education Program of Studies. Sharon Fortowsky, an artist and former teacher, will be working this term with the Grade 2 and 3 students. The Kindergarten and Grade 1 students will have the opportunity to work with Ms. Fortowsky later in the school year. We are very excited to see the artist endeavors that the students create under the guidance of Shannon. Our Artist in Residence Programs sponsored by School Council and the Parent Fundraising Society are hosting our visual artist, Sharon Fortowsky. Sharon is working with the students and teachers on their inquiry work.

Our Student Photo Day is on Thursday, October 11 in the Learning Commons. The Re-take Day for student photos is on Wednesday, November 1. Any parent volunteers that are available we would welcome your participation provided you have security clearance.

We will be hosting a Costume wearing Halloween on Wednesday, October 31. Participation is optional. While wearing a costume to school is exciting and creative, we have a few requests to ensure costumes are safe and our focus is on teaching and learning. To make the day as success we would ask that students do not bring masks, weapons, or wear violent costumes. Also, other paraphernalia that is sharp, cumbersome or valuable should not come to school. Please look for further details regarding Halloween.

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. Some highlights from the June 2018 Royal Oak School data will be shared at the School Council/ Parent Fundraising meetings. We look forward to sharing more of this data at our October School Council/ Parent Fundraising Society meeting Monday, October 15 at 6:30 p.m. and in future newsletters including highlights from the Parent Survey, Student Survey and Teacher Survey.

Please join us. We welcome your participation.

Lynn Sparks
Principal, Royal Oak School

Aug 27
September 2018

In the summer, the days were long, stretching into each other…everything was on pause and yet everything is happening at the same time, this collection of weeks when anything was possible.”
Sarah Dessen

From the perspective of author Sarah Dessen, “In the summer ...everything was on pause and yet everything was happening…this collection of weeks when anything was possible.” The possibility of summer illuminates the delicious meandering of time and joy in summer. From the adult perspective I wonder what happened to summer. Do you? It always astonishes me at how quickly summer days vanish. I have spent my summer reflecting on the importance of our families and love. As our smoky end to summer days are drawing ever closer to autumn, we start to reflect and think about returning to our important work of learning at Royal Oak School. On behalf of the staff I would like to extend a sincere welcome to our returning families and a special greeting to our new families to our school. We hope that you have had a very enjoyable summer and that you are all comfortably adjusting to the new routines of autumn.

This year we will be working on Disciplinary Literacy and Non-Fiction as staff continues to design meaningful and deep inquiries and reading tasks for the students. If staff are true to our disciplinary reading of non-fiction, we will begin the process of ‘how do scientists’ read, ‘how do researchers’ read, ‘how do mathematicians’ read and so on. If we acknowledge the curiosity in each child and adult, then we contribute to the metamorphosis in our children’s lives. Our future and our focus on disciplinary literacy and non-fiction reading is very positive as the teachers’ design learning using rich questions, deep meaningful tasks, and powerful assessment. To help guide us through this solid inquiry we have your children’s imaginations, our teachers’ expertise and our Galileo Educational Network mentor, Kari Sirup. Therefore, we are committing to Disciplinary Literacy through reading non-fiction, the Alberta curriculum as well as change, growth and academic improvement.

While we are striving to improve academically, strong relationships define the positive school culture in our school. I am impressed with the regard that each member has for each other. When we care for each other, we create a strong community of students, parents and staff. The positive contributions from all members of our community make a demonstrable difference. These relationships and contributions reveal our values of creating a strong school community. Personally, I was especially impressed with the generosity and sense of belonging from our powerful school community that I felt from the students, staff and parents last June due to my family tragedies. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the wonderful efforts of the school community including meals for my family, donations to Big Brothers and Big Sisters, books, chocolates, flowers and thoughtful cards. I am so blessed to be in such a wonderful and caring community such as Royal Oak School. Thank you to all of you. I felt wrapped in your love. Because I was unable to say “goodbye to folks” at the end of the school year, I would like to host a Principal Tea to “Chat with the Principal” on Friday, September 28 from 9:30 – 10:30 AM. As a school, we will continue to concentrate on the Circle of Courage tenants of belonging, generosity, mastery and independence. It is in this transition from summer to fall that we

focus on change, growth and improvement as the students set their learning goals with the teachers in the exciting school year.

Just a reminder as we begin our year that our Student-Centred Conferences will take place:

  • Thursday, September 20 from 4:30 – 8:30 PM
  • Friday, September 21 from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • (Kindergarten only) Thursday, September 20 from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM plus the times listed in the first two bullet points.

This conference is critical as teachers get to know your child as a learner. We will be sending home some pre-conference questions regarding your child as a learner. Please take some time to reflect on the questions, talk to your children and make a few notes so we can better get to know each child. If there is any additional information regarding your child’s learning that was not addressed by the questions, please let your child’s teacher know how we can best support him or her. Please note that the Calgary Board of Education has launched its new Student Information System entitled MyCBE/PowerSchool this summer. The My CBE/Powerschool replaces the OLD MY CBE Account and Homelogic applications. Your old password will no longer work. The CBE acknowledges that switching to a new technology can be difficult, but is confident that families will find the new system is more convenient to use. We appreciate your patience and support as we transition to MyCBE/ PowerSchool and embark on a new year of learning.

My CBE / PowerSchool is the new one-stop online resource to:

  • View academic information (attendance)
  • Register for transportation and noon supervision
  • Pay fees and request waivers
  • Book school conferences

To access the new MyCBE / PowerSchool applications, legal guardians will need to create a new Parent account. Families need to know the email on file at their child’s school, as well as their child’s CBE Student ID number and birthdate to begin. ***Please note that for FOIP reasons the school is not able to give the child’s CBE ID number over the phone. You must come into the school in person or get the number from an old CBE Report Card.
On the MyCBE /PowerSchool sign in page there will be instructions on how to request an access key for individual students. The access key(s) will be sent by email. The email address must match the email address on file at the school. Families can use it to create an account, and add their children.

To figure out the teacher’s availability for conferences create your MyCBE through the PowerSchool application. The Power School application can found through logging into MyCBE/PowerSchool and go to book school conferences tab. Details of how to do this will be sent out closer to the date of the conference.

We are celebrating with a Book Fair September 17 – 21. During conference time, you and your children will have the opportunity to purchase items. In order to make this a success we are in need of parent volunteers. All parent volunteers are welcome with or without experience. Please ensure that your security clearance paperwork is up-to-date. We also will need parent volunteers for starting in September. Please check with your child’s teacher’s letter or agenda blog for the exact dates.

Royal Oak School with William D. Pratt School will tentatively host the Terry Fox Run on the morning of Friday, September 14. More details will be posted on our website and notification will be sent home. Again, we will need some parent volunteers for this event.

Our Royal Oak School Safety Week is Monday, September 17 to Friday, September 21. Royal Oak School will launch safety week by discussing traffic safety as well as the drills for fire, lockdown, and a practice evacuation. These drills are necessary to ensure that all students, staff, and visitors are safe and secure while at Royal Oak School. Please review the loudness of the bell and the necessity to be cooperative and quiet with all staff members. Also, please ensure that the children are dressed appropriately for a walk on Wednesday, September 19. The outdoor drills will be weather dependent.

We are very excited to have William D. Pratt School as our neighbours. They will be opening their doors on August 27 for parents and September 4 for students. William D. Pratt’s school hours are Monday – Thursday 7:55 – 2:30 and Friday 7:55 – 12:00. Please note that William D. Pratt and Royal Oak School have a few PD Days/Non-Instructional Days that do not align.

William D. Pratt and Royal Oak School Shared PD/Non-Instructional Days

September 21
October 26
November 23
December 7
February 1
March 1
March 22
April 22
May 17
June 28

Royal Oak School PD/Non-Instructional Days (In addition to shared dates)

November 16
May 31
June 27

William D. Pratt PD/Non-Instructional Days (In addition to shared dates

November 22
January 14
March 21

Please note that our dismissal time on Fridays has changed to twenty minutes later from 12:50 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. This change is due to streamlining transportation and reducing costs for the CBE.

October 4, 2018 we will host our Parent Disciplinary Literacy Night – focusing on Non-Fiction. Again, more details will follow but please save the date. I would encourage everyone to come and understand the Alberta Education ELA (English Language Arts) curriculum, the CBE commitment to literacy and literacy teaching at Royal Oak School through intentional design. The Parent Literacy Night will also be interactive.

Please join us as we go on our journey with an intriguing year of curiosity in learning and we wish you and your children a wonderful beginning and school year!

Lynn Sparks, Principal

Jun 28
Year End Message

June has been a bustling month at Royal Oak School! We began the month with a beautiful tribute to our volunteers. The gym was filled with beautiful music, readings and messages of thanks from all grade levels. I am truly thankful for the Royal Oak School community and their dedication to volunteering. Your time and efforts sincerely make this school an incredible place to learn every day. June continued with over 270 students riding their bike on Bike to School Day, the Grade 1s going on a Zoo adventure and the Grade 3s going to StoryBook Theatre and the National Music Centre. June is another example of how much we have to be proud of as a learning community.

At Royal Oak School, we practice the Circle of Courage philosophy. One of the characteristics of the Circle of Courage is generosity. On behalf of Ms. Sparks I would like to say a huge thank-you to the school community for your thoughtfulness following her Brother and Mom’s passing. The generosity that was demonstrated through Loonies for Lynn, cards, words of support and gifts was tremendous. We were able to present a cheque to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary for $776 in honour of Ms. Sparks’ brother. Thank you for your kindness.

There will be some staffing changes this fall.

We will be saying goodbye to a few staff members and we wish them the best of luck as they continue their careers with the Calgary Board of Education. Ms. Wannamaker (Literacy Teacher) and Mr. Pereira (Grade 1) will conclude their temporary contracts at the end of June. We offer congratulations to Ms. Rutland (Grade 3) who is excited to start a new position teaching at Marlborough School in September. Ms. Mann-Ryan’s (Educational Assistant) causal position will conclude at the end of June, and Ms. Gummer (Educational Assistant) will be moving on to W.D. Pratt next year. We will miss all of these staff members and their enthusiasm for learning and dedication to young students!

We are also excited to welcome a new staff member to our teaching team. Ms. Jen Fournier will be joining us in September as a member of the Grade 3 teaching team. Last year, Ms. Fournier taught at Eric Harvie School in Tuscany and she is very passionate about fostering positive learning environments were students can flourish. She comes with a vibrant backgound in Visual Communications and Literacy and we look forward to her joining the Royal Oak School Community. The organization for the entire school next year is as follows:

Learning Organization for 2018-2019

Ms. Bernard-Dixon
Ms. Mercer
Ms. Sticksl

Grade 1
Ms. Barley
Ms. Daniels
Mr. Duggan (Learning Leader, Complex Needs)
Ms. Libbey
Ms. Plaxin
Ms. Power (Learning Leader)

Grade 2
Ms. Cook (Learning Leader)
Ms. Devereux
Ms. Lagrana
Ms. A. MacDonald
Ms. Quesnel
Ms. Vogan

Grade 3
Ms. Bennett
Ms. Craig (Learning Leader)
Ms. Fournier*
Ms. S. McDonald
Mr. Sandberg

Ms. Mitschke (Learning Leader)

Ms. Mann – Music Teacher
Ms. Hennick – P.E. Teacher

Ms. Sparks – Principal
Ms. Bradbury – Assistant Principal

Lunchroom Supervisors
Ms. Asif, Lunchroom Supervisor & Library Assistant
Ms. Azam, Lunchroom Supervisor
Ms. Brighton, Lunchroom Supervisor
Ms. Fahim, Lunchroom Supervisor
Ms. Inglis, Lunchroom Supervisor
Ms. Knipe, Lunchroom Supervisor
Ms. Zeegers, Lead Lunch Supervisor

Educational Assistants
Ms. Gibson
Ms. Kalra
Ms. Lee
Ms. Phillips

Office Staff
Ms. Braun
Ms. Jackson

School Assistant
Ms. Green

*New changes for the 2018 – 2019 School Year

On behalf of all the staff, I hope that each one of you have a wonderful summer break. Whether you are staying close to home, travelling, or going on a fabulous adventure I hope you have time to rest and rejuvenate. We look forward to seeing you in September. For those families who are moving on, we wish you the very best in the future.


Debbie Bradbury, Acting Principal

Jun 08
June 2018

'I love how summer just wraps it's arms around you like a warm blanket.' – Kellie Elmore

The sun is shining, the grass is green and nature is continuing to bloom in the beautiful season of spring and into the beginning of summer. June is a month of excitement, finality and curiosity. Excitement comes from the shining sun, the later nights and the possibilities that summer break brings. Finality is found as students finish current inquiries and their learning for this school year. Curiosity will continue however, as students ask those deep questions about things they read, observe and experience over the summer.

This month, students at Royal Oak School are continuing to be challenged with rigorous schoolwork and exciting upcoming events. On Thursday, June 7 Grade 3 students will be going to Mary Poppins at Theatre Calgary. Thank you to our generous Fundraising Society for supporting bus transportation to and from this event. Additionally, next week on June 11, 12 and 13 the Grade 3 classes will be going to the National Music Centre. On June 11 and 12 the Grade 1 classes will be continuing their animal investigation at the Calgary Zoo! As the end of the year approaches we are excited to celebrate with the Grade 3’s at their Farewell Assembly on Tuesday, June 26 at 10:30am. Immediately following the Farewell there will be a School BBQ. We would like to invite you to these events, please stay tuned for further information.

May was also full of wonder and rigorous learning at Royal Oak School. We celebrated with the Grade 3’s at their celebration of learning where they were able to raise $948.23, which they will be donating to the Red Cross. Circle of Sports Day was filled with running; jumping, throwing, balloon badminton and many other events. Thank you to the Circle of Sports Day Committee and all the parent volunteers that made the day so successful. Ms. Hennick announced last month that our school raised an incredible $16,514 during the Jump Rope for Heart campaign – way to go Royal Oak School Community! Rollerblades took center stage from April 30th – May 17th during our Alien Inline Skating Residency. During the week of May 7th – May 11th we celebrated Canadian Children’s Book Week which included reading to buddy classes, a guest author (and parent of a Royal Oak Student) Lauren Himmelreich. We finished the week by dressing up like your favorite book character!

The Learning Commons is beginning to collect resources. Please note the following important dates:

  • June 1 is the last date to sign out book for students
  • June 15 all learning commons materials are due back
  • June 18 overdue notices will be sent home with students who have any materials out
  • June 25 second notice will be sent out if needed.

The final visit of the Calgary Public Library Book Truck is on Wednesday, June 13th. Students are asked to return all book truck books on this date. If you find books/forget to return on this date, Calgary Public Library Books can be returned to any Calgary Public Library site – including the new Shane Homes YMCA! We look forward to continuing the Book Truck partnership in the fall.

We continue to appreciate the incredible work that our parent volunteers do at Royal Oak School. We are excited to share that during our May School Council AGM/elections all positions for School Council and Fundraising Society were filled. The work that School Council and Fundraising Society does is invaluable. We are truly lucky to have such a passionate and involved school community. I would like to say a sincere thank-you to all of our parent volunteers for their work this year. Whether it is slicing oranges for Bike To School Day, organizing fundraisers or supervising on fieldtrips, your time and commitment does not go unnoticed! We invite you to our final School Council and Fundraising Society meeting on Monday, June 11th at 7:00pm. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

As we prepare for the transition to the 2018-2019 School Year, there are few important dates for you to be aware of:

  • Wednesday, June 27 – Final Day of School
  • Thursday, June 28 – Appeals Day, 9am – 12pm.
  • Wednesday, August 29 – School Office is open to public
  • Tuesday, September 4 - First Day of School for Grades 1 – 3, 9:10am
  • Staggered Kindergarten Entry: September 4th
    • AM Class – Surnames beginning with A through L, 9:10am
    • PM Class – Surnames beginning with A through L, 1:03pm
  • Staggered Kindergarten Entry: September 5th
    • AM Class – Surnames beginning with M through Z, 9:10am
    • PM Class – Surnames beginning with M through Z, 1:03pm
  • Classroom/teacher placements will be sent in August.

For those school community members moving up the hill to W.D. Pratt or on to new adventures we wish you well in your continued learning journey! For those students returning to Royal Oak School in the fall we look forward to seeing you in September.


Debbie Bradbury
Assistant Principal

May 04
May 2018

Excerpted from our May Newsletter​.

​“The clouds in May give shape to your inspiration.” Anthony T. Hincks

Just as “the clouds in May shape [our] inspiration” we are looking for the sun for inspiration as well. With the month of May arriving, the budget has been worked on and submitted by administration to CBE Finance and Human Resources. We will do our best to inspire students with the resources we have at Royal Oak School. I will deploy space and staff in the best interest of learning and what is best for children. In an effort to engage the stakeholders of the school we have asked opinions of parents attending School Council and staff members. In addition, we asked for opinions of all parents in the last newsletter. 

We have worked diligently to use the budget resources to support the students with the best environment and class sizes possible. Please join us at the Parent Fundraising Society and School Council meetings at 7:00 p.m. on Monday May 14, where we will have the chance to share more about the organizational structure for the 2018-2019 school year. All parents are welcome and we hope that you can join us.

It is difficult to believe that there is two months of the school year left. With that being said, we know that the last two months of school are very busy times filled with rich learning opportunities and important celebrations. Currently, there is huge excitement around the Celebrations of Learning in March, April and May. In the last month and a half we have had the following Celebrations of Learning in Kindergarten and Grades 1 and 2. It is such a special evening with each grade showing the amazing learning through an inquiry approach with a cross-curricular focus that the students have engaged in. Hopefully, you were able to attend the evening and spend time with your child or children in discussion and understanding of their learning. We are looking forward to the Grade 3 Celebration of Learning on Thursday, May 24.

We kick off May with Arbour Day on Thursday, May 3 where all Grade 1 students in the province receive tree seedlings to teacher the value of trees and their contribution to the Alberta way of life. We are distributing the trees on Wednesday, May 2 and hoping that Grade One students and parents will have a chance to plant the trees on Arbour Day.

There are many, many opportunities for volunteers as classes are going on several field trips. These field trips and volunteer opportunities will come to you directly from the classroom teacher’s blogs, the teachers or (Parent and School Council Volunteer Co-ordinator) - Ms. Kari Blakeney. Currently, we have Alien Inline Skating in the school for the next three weeks. The students are truly joyful about the inline skating experience. We need several parent volunteers per class to get students organized and laces tightened on their inline skates. I would like to thank all the parent and grandparent volunteers as this makes our school successful and learning becomes so much more dynamic. 

We value our volunteers who work so hard to make this a wonderful school and we would like to express our gratitude for all the support and services that you provide for ROS. We will be honouring the efforts of our volunteers at our annual Volunteer Tea on Friday, June 1 at 10:00 a.m. The students and staff will be preparing and organizing some delicious treats and entertainment that only 5 – 8 years children can provide. Please come and experience our appreciation of all your volunteer efforts.

On May 2 we wore hats to support strong mental health for “Hats Off for Mental Health.” The Grade 3 students will be attending the Opera of Jack and the Beanstalk on Monday, May 7. Also, there is a welcoming invitation to the WD Pratt OPEN HOUSE FOR GRADE THREE STUDENTS 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. All Grade 3 Students and their parents are encouraged to attend the event to assist with the transition to the middle school.

In addition, we are celebrating Canadian Children’s Book Week from May 7 to May 11. Royal Oak School is hosting Local author, Lauren Himmelreich (and parent of one of our Kindergarten students) will be reading to the students and answering.

On Thursday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. we will be hosting the Kindergarten Orientation for parents only. Please come and meet the Kindergarten teachers and let us share novel and practical ways to get students ready for Kindergarten as well as the opportunity to meet members of School Council and Fundraising, teachers and administration. We will be welcoming our new and current parents and presenting dates, structural organization, inquiry and the academic and “play” focused curriculum to get children ready at the completion of Kindergarten to grade 1. Also, we will have information on volunteering and police security checks which take some time to process so we like to start the process in May. The Kindergarten teachers will present information regarding our Welcome to Kindergarten afternoons on May 25 and June 1. The students will be invited to get their first “taste” of Kindergarten and parents will have a tour of the school.

The students at Pratt are putting on a Production of Willy Wonka at 10:00 – 11:15 a.m. on Monday, May 14 for Kindergarten and Grade 1, Tuesday, May 15 Wednesday, May 16 for Grade 3.

All families with students in Royal Oak School are invited to get their Stampede gear on and celebrate the Stampede Breakfast on Friday, May 25 @ 7:30 – 9:20 a.m. Please hitch up yer hawse and come join in the family fun.

We are also hosting the Royal Oak School Circle of Sports Day on Wednesday, May 30 at 1:00 p.m. This is our sports day and parents are welcome to come and volunteer for various events.

Royal Oak School will be participating in the BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. We are one of many schools participating in this active event. Parents are encouraged to ride with their children. We will be storing all bikes in the gymnasium and the bikes will be tagged with the student’s name and grouped by class. Also, we are going to meet at 8:30 a.m. for orange slices, water and time to mingle. We are going to start school at 9:20 p.m. that day. Ms. Hennick will have more information regarding this event closer to the date. Furthermore, yet another activity at the school is that the students are engaging in Circle of Courage Fridays Clubs which started on April 6 and run through until May 25. We thank School Council for supporting this initiative.

The staff is passionate about the opportunity to work with Galileo Education Network. This year we have focused on reading and intellectual engagement through inquiry, designing rich tasks for students, assessment and improving our literacy practice. Throughout the year each grade team teacher has worked to improve their work and student achievement. Galileo Educational Network is supporting students by supporting teachers through cycles of collaborative design, teaching, assessment and designing anew. The students and how they respond to reading and learning is what drives the next steps in teaching. Also, Galileo Educational Network does collaboratively design and support teachers and their students through inquiry-based studies. This kind of personalized, responsive professional learning is based on research (Flint, Lenters and Burwell) that supports the impact on reading and student learning.

In fact, with this professional learning, we are hoping to impact students more directly. This kind of investment in our teachers is a powerful way to increase student achievement. Galileo Educational Networks’ work through mentor teacher, Kari Sirup has supported the teachers improving practice over time, so the impacts last long after Galileo Educational Network (GEN) is gone. Most importantly, the impact on students’ learning is measurable and researched. According to John Hattie, “the teacher contributes more than any other factor to student achievement. But it is the expert teacher, not simply the experienced teacher who makes the greatest difference! Expert teachers engage students in learning and develop the students’ self-esteem as learners.”

As we come closer to the conclusion of the school year, a student spot at Royal Oak School is very precious. We do have a waiting list of students wanting to register and attend the school. If you know that you are moving or leaving the school, could you please contact the office at 403-777-6279 to advise us of your plans so that we can admit students who are currently on the waiting list.

Lastly, if parents have requests for next year for their child’s learning, could you please submit requests to Ms. Sparks in an email.

Thank you and Happy May to you and your family.

Lynn Sparks

Apr 09
April 2018

“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"... "It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (featured at Theatre Calgary in April)

In the wonderful children’s story of The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett’s questions of “Is the spring coming?” and “What is it like? “ reveals what many Calgarians have been wondering about spring’s appearance after an extremely long winter season. We relish spring that is the “spirit of youth” in nature which is spontaneous, reckless and beautiful. We adapt as Canadians to the slightest hint of spring and extreme changes in weather.

As promised by the seasons, spring and summer are coming. The thought of warm weather reminds me of bicycle riding. John F. Kennedy reflects, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” This brings me to the second annual Bike To School Day which will be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Nelson Mandela teacher (previously at Simon Fraser School), Mr. Kyle Stewart has promoted this “Bike to School” movement schools in the CBE in order for children to spend time outdoors riding their bikes and staying in tune with nature. It is important to avoid “Nature Deficit Disorder” in our children. Last year it was a wonderful celebration of activity as many students, parents, and staff members committed riding their bicycles to Royal Oak School on the Bike to School Day.

There will be more details regarding the Bike to School Day in the next newsletter from Ms. Hennick, Ms. Plaxin, Ms. Craig and the volunteers. We are hoping that you and your family will get out the “two wheeler” and ride to school. Not only are bicycle riding and other outdoor activities celebrating zany spring but most importantly, I hope you had a wonderful spring break with your family. We welcome everyone back to Royal Oak School for the final three months of important learning.
The months of April and May are hosting many exciting school events. All parents are welcome to join School Council and the Parent Fundraising Society. The next meeting is on Monday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. for both groups. There are several positions available for you or just come to find out what is happening in the school. Also, starting on April 6 the students will be involved in Circle Friday Clubs where the grade 1- 3 students will spend an hour on six Fridays in a curriculum related club. Students have been busily selecting their top three choices. The students are all in one of their top three choices for Circle Friday Clubs. Thank you to School Council and The Parent Fundraising society for additional funding for those Circle Friday Clubs which require some extra materials.

Another “shout out” to the School Council and the Parent Fundraising Society as we are grateful for the support for Royal Oak School Green Team. In the interest of teaching students to steward the environment, the Green Team is launching the Composting program on April 9. The parent groups are assisting through the funding for the purchasing of composting bins/ compostable bags for each classroom as well two sets of system bins (composting –green, landfill –black, refundables – Yellow and recyclables – blue). One system set of bins will be in the gathering space and the other in the staffroom. Furthermore, we are also placing in the six student washrooms and the two Adult washrooms green paper around the former white garbage receptacles lined with a compostable bag to encourage the ALL paper towels to be composted. In addition, a small garbage container will be in each of the washrooms.

In a rotating fashion a student from each class or couple of classrooms will empty the class compost bin bag into the large green system compost bin in the gathering space. Parents please discuss with your children which items are to go in which bin. We thank the students, parents and staff for caring about the environment and taking action to support this wise initiative.

The Jump Rope for Heart Kick Off Assembly is being hosted on April 12. Ms. Hennick will send out more information regarding this active and charitable day. In addition, Ms. Hennick is starting BOKS (Building Our Kids Success) on April 9 which is activity for students before school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Space is limited but if this pilot project is successful, Ms. Hennick may open two sections next year. In addition, we encourage a healthy approach to activity, eating, drinking water, reading, limited screen time and sleeping.

Furthermore, we are hosting several Celebrations of Learning:

 Thursday, April 12, 2018 – Grade 2 Celebration of Learning 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
 Thursday, April 19, 2018 – Grade 1 Celebration of Learning 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
 Thursday, May 24, 2018 – Grade 3 Celebration of Learning 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Parents are most welcome to come and experience the thoughtful work of the children at the Celebrations of Learning.

I am more than certain that we will be hearing a great deal regarding the impact that the recent Provincial budget will have on our schools and classrooms. As principal, I have been led to believe that the government will be carefully supportive and we will continue to focus upon the system values; ‘Students come first’, ‘Learning is our central purpose’ and ‘Public education serves the common good’. The CBE (Calgary Board of Education) will be planning their budget based on the provincial budget on March 22, 2018. The CBE’s budget will come out April 12, 2018. We will do our best to keep you informed of the anticipated changes as some of those unpleasant but necessary decisions are shared with school administration. I would encourage you to attend the school council meetings so that you are in an informed position in the event you wish to take action in support of your children’s public education experience. I would also encourage you to visit the CBE home page on a regular basis for system updates. Please let Ms. Sparks or Ms. Bradbury know if you feel strongly about keeping certain programs such as PE, Music and Resource. Ms. Wannamaker’s .5 Literacy position was granted to us for the one-time Classroom Improvement Funding and this position was paid for by the Alberta government. However, this position is expected to be cut with the reduction in funding. In addition, as mentioned in the previous newsletter, the early indications of our 2018 -2019 Royal Oak School population is that it is declining by approximately 20 students. This number is ever changing as students and their families move in and out of the school.

In closing, I would like to bring a staffing change to your attention. Our lunchroom supervisor, Ms. Chowdhury is resigning and moving before the end of April. Mrs. Chowdhury has been at the school for just over one year. She is moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband as he recently secured a position. We are wishing her the best in her relocation with her husband. We will be actively looking for a new casual lunch supervisor before the end of April.


Lynn Sparks

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