Aug 29
August 29, 2023

​Dear Parents/Guardians, 

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year and a special welcome to our new West Dalhousie School (WDS) families. We hope that you had a fantastic summer and you had the opportunity to spend time together with family and friends.  I know many students are eagerly waiting to see their friends and to meet their new teachers and classmates. We are eagerly waiting for their arrival! 

Each school year is new and exciting as we establish new teaching teams that work thoughtfully to create safe, welcoming, and caring learning communities within our school.  We are also excited to welcome new staff to WDS: Ms. Amanda Dickson will be our music teacher; Ms. Jasmine Minnis will be part of our Grade 5/6 teaching team covering for Ms. Hettinga while she is on leave; Ms. Lilli Miller will be an additional teacher due to an increase in enrollment, her duties have not yet been determined; Ms. Erin May is our library assistant; and Ms. Ashley Conley will be our lunchroom supervisor. We are still in the process of hiring one more lunchroom supervisor. 

I am also pleased to announce that Brian Unterschultz is the Acting Assistant Principal at WDS. Mr. Unterschultz brings extensive elementary leadership experience to this position and he is looking forward to officially joining the WDS community on August 28, 2023. 

Every day we are receiving new student registrations leading to an increase in student enrollment. As a result, we will now have two kindergarten classes instead of one. We are working hard on finalizing all the class lists.  On Tuesday, August 29 your child’s teacher will be sending you a school messenger message to welcome your child to their new classroom.  This message will contain information regarding procedures for the first day of school, what to bring, and any other relevant information that you might need.    

If you are driving to drop your child off at school, please be alert and keep an eye out for students as they are often distracted by all the excitement going on.  We would ask that you do not park in the parking lot and remember to be considerate of our neighbors. 

The first Day of School for Grades 1-6 will be held on, Thursday, August 31- Staff will be outside at on Thursday morning (August 31) at 7:50 am with name identification so you can locate your child's teacher.  The lunch hour for Grades 1 & 2 is from 112:10-11:50 and the lunch hour for Grades 3-6 is from 12:00-12:40.

Kindergarten Students will be using a “staggered entry” model. This model allows students to visit the Kindergarten classroom, get to know the Kindergarten teacher and classmates, and learn basic procedures before the regular Kindergarten program begins. Students will be divided into four groups: Group A Monday/Wednesday will attend their first day of  school on Friday, Sept 1 from 8:30 am - 10:00 am, Group B Monday/Wednesday will attend that first day of school on Friday, September 1 from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm. Group A Tuesday/Thursday will attend their first day of school on August 31 from 9:00 am - 10:30 am, and Group B Tuesday/Thursday will attend their first day of  school on Thursday, August 31 from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm. Ms. Pearson will be in contact with kindergarten families to inform them of their staggered entry time. 

Yellow School Bus 

Yellow school bus riders (registration done every school year)  – If your child will be taking the yellow school bus (fee for service) and you have not registered yet, please ensure you do this right away as you cannot ride the bus until you are registered and the paperwork is processed.  Please register through your My CBE Account (see button on the following link) -  For more information about transportation, please see 

If you have registered for the yellow school bus, please ensure your child knows which bus they are on and where their home drop-off spot will be. If you have registered for the school bus but your child is not riding home on the school bus please let your child’s teacher know as we do take attendance each day. School Bus Registration 

Lunch Supervision Registration 

If your child will be staying at the school during the lunch hour you will need to register for Lunch supervision. You can register and pay using your MyCBEparent account. Lunch supervision registration and fees will be available aft​er September 2023. 

Before and After School Care Program 

For children attending West Dalhousie School the Before and After School Care Program can be found in the school’s Gymnasium also operating from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday. For more information about the Dalhousie Out Of School Care, please email 


We look forward to an amazing 2023-2024 school year. 


Rhonda Williams 


West Dalhousie School 


Jun 29
June 29, 2023

Dear WDS Families, ​

I am so grateful that I work with such an amazing, staff, students, and families at West Dalhousie School. I would like to take this time to thank all the students, staff, and families that have done so much to help make this school year successful.  Thank you to all the parents/guardians that were involved in their child's learning journey by working at home with their children, volunteering and/or participating in school events. Thank you to all the members of the School Council who support our school in many ways throughout the school year. 

I want to celebrate Ms. Marcie Kraft who is retiring from WDS, I want to wish her all the best in the next chapter of her life. I want to send a special thank you to staff members who are leaving WDS and they will be continuing their journey elsewhere in the fall: Ms. Greenfield and Ms. Collin. Each one of these staff members had a significant impact on our staff and school community, and I wish them all the best in their educational journeys. We also have added another staff member to our community. Ms. Erin May will be our new library assistant 


The last day of school for students is June 29 and the morning of June 30 is for appeals.  I am looking forward to next year and I would like to send my best wishes to the Grade 6s as they prepare to go to junior high school and any students who will be leaving WDS I would also like to welcome new students joining the WDS family next year.  


On behalf of all the staff, we hope that all our students and their families have a happy and healthy summer break. Our office is closed from June 30 at 1:00 pm until August 27, 2023.  The office will open at 8:00 am on August 28th. All students will have their first day of school on Thursday, August 31 at 7:50 am. Your child’s teacher will be contacting each family on August 29 or August 30 to welcome them to the school.  Have a safe and restful summer,  


I wish you an excellent and safe summer!  



Rhonda Williams  


West Dalhousie School  

Jun 02
WDS Cares

Dear WDS Families, 

As West Dalhousie School students, the Three Pillars of Care have been the foundation of our school experience.

Care For Yourself

Care For Others

Care For This Place

These pillars have provided us with a framework for which we work, grow, and learn together. They have helped us remember that we are worthy, capable human beings who can develop and maintain positive relationships with ourselves, our classmates, our teachers, and our community.

WDS Staff

Nov 08
Remembering Ensures Reconciliation

​'How we are all connected' is further honoured this month with our Remembrance Day assembly and our sharing of biographies, poems, art, songs, writings and more.  Remembering past events and acknowledging their existence ensures reconciliation, forgiveness and an improved future for all peoples.  Our goal is to develop a generation of learners that are holistic.  A holistic approach to learning is based on the principle of interconnectedness and wholeness. Thus the student is seen as a whole person with body, mind, emotions and spirit.  We talk and share stories of the past and remember those who have fallen for us.  Teachers engage students in many activities that are cross curricular and embody all programs of study.  Students develop a sense of belonging, of being included and of being cared for, of interconnectedness with something larger than ourselves. The focus becomes on respecting diverse others, being inclusive, compassionate and cooperative, and assuming leadership when needed.  Ask your child what they are working on in school, in preparation of Remembrance Day.  Ask them what their classroom wreath looks like or what they are making for it.  Perhaps they can share the poems they are writing or the songs they are singing in Music class.   

Remembrance Day has been observed since the end of the First World War to remember armed forces members who have died in the line of duty.  On November 8th we observe National Aboriginal Veterans Day in recognition of the aboriginal contributions to military service.  In 1939, Canada found itself at war for the second time in a generation. As in the First World War (1914-18), thousands of Indigenous soldiers and nurses volunteered for the war effort at home and abroad, serving with distinction in the Canadian army, navy, and air force.  In most countries, Remembrance Day is observed on November 11th to recall the end of First World War hostilities.  On this day, we acknowledge the important role of the men and women who risked life and limb to uphold world peace. We acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country and acknowledge our responsibility to work for the peace they fought hard to achieve.   

We wear a poppy on our lapel to symbolize our gratitude to those who have given their lives in battle, but most importantly we carry their memory in our hearts.  We acknowledge that on this day we are presented with a collective opportunity to become deeper, compassionately richer and peaceful citizens. Poppies grew on the battlefields after World War One and while poppies have been associated with death throughout history, they also symbolize regeneration and eternal life.   

The Three Pillars of Care provide us with a collaborative opportunity to learn from one another; to share stories of the past and to do better in the future as a Connected nation of responsible, peaceful, citizens.  I challenge you today to Care for Others; Care for This Place and Care for Yourself!  Stay connected to one another and share a lived experience with compassion and care.​


Sep 28
Jack-o-lanterns, Seasonal fruit and Vegetable displays; Why?

​Halloween in Canada is a very popular holiday marked by a great deal of expressive culture.  Traditional Halloween activities include making of decorations for the home, such as Jack-o-lanterns, seasonal fruit and vegetable displays, harvest figures adorn porches and yards and of course the most prominent of all traditions is the making and wearing of costumes. 

In history, this time of year was observed as a new beginning.  A time when the fruits and vegetables of the summer were ripe and hence the end of pollination and reproduction.  A time of year when trees shed their leaves, the harvest ends and many animals prepare for winter hibernation. A time when homemakers prepare for winter by gathering wood for the fireplaces and making pickles and preserves from the fruits and vegetables of the harvest.

In many religions, Halloween commemorates a time when those that have passed roam the earth and as tradition has it, people offer them treats because if they do not, then a trick or a prank will be played on them!  One such creature is the Jack-o-lantern; tradition states that his name is Jack and he swallows coal so that his eyes, nose and mouth light up his path in the dark.

Such a large-scale contemporary event, rooted in tradition, does not go unnoticed at West Dalhousie School (WDS).  Halloween is a big deal for us.  Teachers and students dress in their favorite costumes and engage in many activities.  These events allow each of us to express our individuality and interests but also teach us about the beauty that this time of year has to offer.  Students study the changes to the weather and the changes in nature with many of them spending time in our outdoor classroom and amphitheatre. 

This year our Parent council will be hosting a Halloween dance on October 27th and as a school we will celebrate Halloween on October 31st!  I wonder what the teachers will wear on Halloween day!

As the fall approaches us, I wish you a season of regeneration and a time to prepare for the school year's goals on achievement and success.  Delve into your community and join in on the WDS events and fundraisers!  Here is a great book to listen to or read with your children.  

All the best.

Mrs. Spagnolo

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Sep 13
Embracing the Rhythms of the Earth through story and Experiential Learning!

​Landbased learning is about embracing the rhythms of the earth from an indigenous perspective.  Creation stories exist in every society around the world.  These stories connect the past to the present and future.  The patterns in the stories suggest a strong link between humans, nature and the sacred energies.  Stories contain key messages, instructions and ways of living in harmony with all things that grow from the ground, the animals, and with all humans that occupy this earth.

Land based learning reminds us of connectedness.  At West Dalhousie School, we organize our curriculum around deep, significant questions that have confronted human beings for centuries. Our current question has evolved from those that went before and is the result of many hours of reflection and discussion by all members of our school community. "How Are We Connected?" We enable children to explore a topic in depth, to return to earlier topics, and to make connections in their learning in our classrooms and in their lives beyond our walls. We encourage our students to question their world. Remembering that as teachers and parents we offer models of adulthood to children, we show them that we too are lifelong learners who still have many questions to ask. We recognize and model the importance of wonder and imagination.

West Dalhousie School acknowledges and supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  Calls to action and makes the following commitment to action for the 2022-2023 school year:

To increase our inclusion of intentional land based learning, weaving aspects into all subjects.  As a community, we will deepen our connections through our continued focus on the 7 Sacred Teachings.  Build Multi-Cultural empathy amongst our students and the school community.  Increase our connection with Indigenous communities as a staff by seeking knowledge form an Elder.  Connecting Indigenous ways of knowing students' learning and experiences in meaningful ways.

We will start our Welcome Back assembly with one of my favorite stories; 'This is A School' by: John Schu

Please remain connected with us and support our efforts by volunteering, joining school and parent council and joining our Special events and Celebrations. Volunteer and share a story wiht our students and teachers.


Maria Spagnolo​

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Sep 01
Welcome to the WDS 2022 - 2023 School Year!

​Whether we are welcoming your child/ren back or your child is just beginning with west Dalhousie School – we are excited to open our doors to you this September! 

Last spring there was a renewed sense of hope as students began to experience many of the things they enjoy in a more typical school year. We begin 2022/23 with a sense of hope, optimism and excitement about the opportunities it will offer. We are focused on students connecting with their peers and teachers, engaging in diverse learning and experiencing successes throughout the year. 

There is likely excitement in your homes as well – and maybe some other emotions too. I want to reassure you that CBE understands that while many things in schools have returned, some of our students will need some extra help. We have prioritized additional supports in the school and encourage you to reach out to your child's teacher with any concerns you may have.  

Many parents ask how to help them prepare their children for the start of school. To help with the transition to the school, it is often worthwhile re-establishing bedtime and getting ready for school morning routines. If your child is experiencing anxiety about school, we encourage you to talk to them about it. You can also check in with the teacher and create a plan together.  We will be hosting parent teacher conferences on September 22nd in the evening and September 23rd during the day where you can share your hopes and dreams about your child or any other information.  We will do our very best to make your child feel comfortable and know that they belong.  We look forward to seeing your child/ren and welcoming our families and staff back for a great year!  


​Maria Spagnolo and Divya Devender-Kraft 

Principal and Assistant Principal

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Jun 20
Congratulations to our Grade 6 Graduating Class

On June 24th we will gather to celebrate the 2021 -2022 school year and to recognize our grade six students as they move on from their elementary school years to junior high school. We are here to recognize all their achievements, citizenship, and academic excellence.  It is an event that celebrates doing one's best and putting forth a champion effort, attitude and teamwork.  It is an opportunity for parents, families and staff to share in the success of our students, our school and public education.  

For the last number of years our grade 6s have shared classrooms, shared a school and shared an experience.  Many of them started kindergarten together and have spent the last 7 years with each other. I have had the privilege of getting to know them, all these years and they are fine young ladies and gentlemen.  They did a great job taking on the leadership role that we ask of the grade sixes.  They took their leadership seriously and were positive role models for our younger students.  They got along well and treated each other with dignity and respect.  

Some of them may be heading off in different directions next September and I know they will face those challenges head on.  My hope is that they will look back fondly on their years at West Dalhousie School and remember the special times.  All of us at the school want them to do well, and because of that, I do want to take this opportunity to say a few words to them. 

Grade sixes, keep in mind these few things as you head off to face your new challenges.    

  1. Like the teachings of the Buffalo, remember to value the importance of Respect.  The Buffalo provided Indigenous Peoples with everything they needed to survive; hides for warmth and shelter, meat for eating, muscle for sinew, and bones for tools. The buffalo reminds us to respect all living things, and in so doing we achieve a balance that keeps us alive.  Like the Buffalo provide those around you with 'the hide for warmth and shelter'.  Create safe, caring and connected relationships.  Be selfless in your love and care for others.  Remember, you are the sinew within your team and within your community.  Like the Buffalo you have inherent strength in your resiliency and perseverance. 
  2. Like the Turtle, remember to value the importance of Truth in your actions.  Remain true to your beliefs and values.  Like the Turtle you are adaptable to change and a catalyst for change, as you are creative and open minded.  We love your critical thinking and solution based mindset.  We admire your spirit of lifelong learning and so remain open to new learning while keeping your own truth sacred.
  3. Like the Bear be courageous and remain steadfast in your compassion and care for others.  The bear spirit animal is a powerful force that lives within you; it represents the courage you have to evolve and the ability you have to be open-minded. Remember, like the bear, trust your instincts and be protective of your faith, your identity and your people.
  4. Like the teachings of the Wolf, value the importance of Humility.  Wolves live for their pack and commit themselves to the betterment of the whole team.  Like the wolf we admire your level of commitment to team work and each other.  Live your life selflessly and make yourself available to support others.  Remain loyal to your pack and take care of the underdog.  Like the Wolf, form deep bonds with the other people in this life and create connections.  The spirit of the wolf is a reminder to all of us that the greatest gifts in life are your relationships with those you love. Be the leader of the pack and be the difference you want to see in this world.
  5. Like the Eagle; love others unconditionally.  It can't be denied that Love is a force that is undeniable to humans. It is a natural force of nature more powerful than anything else. It cannot be measured, yet it completely transforms you. At the end of the day every living thing wants to feel love. However as much as we want to love others remember to love yourself first.  Be proud of who you are and focus on how you can become better.  Don't be too hard on yourselves.  Life is an open road to learning.
  6. Like Sabe or the Raven we have taught you to be Honest and to be yourself!  You need to be truthful to who you are. You are reminded to walk tall, to have integrity and to not seek the power, speed or beauty of others.  Model and teach others to be themselves; to be kind to themselves and to accept who they are. You are reminded to accept diversity and to see yourself within it as a unique contributing member. Let your journey be guided by truth and honesty.
  7. And lastly, be like the Beaver. The Beaver carries wisdom. Wisdom is not to be confused with knowledge. Wisdom is the gained experience and knowledge you have from your lived experience and your actions in life.  The Beaver reminds us to take responsibility for our actions and to be accountable for what we do.

    In closing, Be positive and productive decision makers; Be Polite Human Beings; Be Prepared for anything; Be persistent and Be Proud of who you are.  Grade 6s, Keep in touch with us.  I know that I always appreciate the visits from former students.   Time goes by so fast; so slow down and enjoy the next few years of your lives, as they will go by so quickly. On behalf of the staff of West Dalhousie School, I wish you all the best for the future as you continue to shape who you are, who you want to become and how you will maintain a connected world!
Mrs. Spagnolo

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May 30
The Longest Path Through the Sky!

In June, the sun travels the longest path through the sky, and that day therefore has the most daylight. According to the astronomical definition of the seasons, the summer solstice (June 21) marks the beginning of summer, which lasts until the autumnal equinox (September 22 or 23 in the Northern Hemisphere, or March 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere). This date is also culturally and historically significant for many people in the world.   

In many European nations like Scandinavia, the holiday of Midsummer’s Eve is observed on a weekend near the time of the solstice.  People buy flowers and adorn their homes while others light bonfires and gather with family and friends to celebrate the gift of summer.   

Summer Solstice also marks ‘Indigenous Peoples' Day (June 21st)This day honors the past, present, and futures of Native peoples throughout North America and marks the Summer SolsticeThe holiday recognizes the legacy and impact of colonialism on Native communities, and it also celebrates the cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples. Many Indigenous societies throughout history gathered on this date to conduct traditional rituals of prayer, thanksgiving, and celebration. Therefore, June 21 is the ideal day to “recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.” 

The declaration that June 21 of every year is National Indigenous Peoples’ Day was signed on June 13, 1996. The Indigenous Peoples are the first inhabitants of “Turtle Island,” or modern-day North America. As the original owners of the land, they deserve profound respect and recognition. So, on this day, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ achievements and recognize their significant contributions to Canadian society. The day was also instituted as a national holiday to showcase and celebrate the diversity of various Indigenous groups. Although they have many similarities, each group has its own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs. 

The day itself is usually celebrated with musical and dance performances, firework displays, free concerts and parades.  I urge you to celebrate with our Indigenous brothers and sisters and learn more about the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoplesFollow this link to see what is happening in Calgary

We have had an amazing year of learning and achieving our School Development Plan Goal of feeling connected to others and building positive relationshipsIn learning of the Seven Sacred teachings, we have learned the importance of Respect, Courage, the use of our Wisdom; Love for ourselves and others; Truthfulness; Humility; Honesty and being truly ourselves! We are excited for the 2022-2023 school year! Wishing you a great summer of health and joy.


Mrs. Spagnolo 


Apr 28
Sabe' teaches Me to be Myself!

​The teaching of honesty is given to us by Sabe or sometimes the raven. Sabe is believed to be closer to the spirit world than humans and reminds us, just as the raven does, that we must be truthful to who we are. The Ojibwa expression Kitchi-Sabe means to walk tall, or to have integrity.

The Sabe (Sasquatch) represents the teaching of honesty because he knows who he is in his life, and how to walk in a good way. An honest person is said to “walk tall like the Kitchi-Sabe"; he does not seek the power, speed or beauty of others.

At WDS we model and teach students to be themselves; to be kind to themselves and accept who they are. We teach student to accept diversity and to see themselves within it as unique contributing members.  We challenge students to:

  • Know themselves; their beliefs about who they are.  This goes all the way back to the day they were born!
  • Let go of negative self-talk and to talk positively about situations they are dealing with or challenges.
  • Focus on their strengths and what make them unique.
  • Stop living in the past and only look to the future with hopefulness.
  • Stop caring about what others think.
  • Be open to change and accept every challenge in life. 
  • Be vulnerable and take calculated risks so that they can grow and expand their horizons.
  • Have a voice and express themselves in positive ways.

Wishing you a month of honesty and truthfulness to self.  I challenge you to listen to what the elders say: 'Never try to be someone else; live true to your spirit; be honest to yourself and accept who you are just like the Creator made you.



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