Happy New Year! Yes, I am taking liberties for stretching out a Happy New Year’s greeting. As much as we can, I believe in the power of positivity and with a happy greeting, I hope I can continue to share that positivity. I think we are all looking forward to a new year, a new start and new beginnings.
This New Year has started out with students engaged in online learning. As I watched the teachers and the children in their google meets, I noticed the excitement and enthusiasm that learning brings. It has been a very exciting week. I had many opportunities to watch many different online learning classrooms to see teaching and learning in a different environment. Some of these included; math lessons, joining in reading sessions, observing science experiments and of course the whole school story-time. Many staff took turns throughout the week to read one of their favourite picture books to students who logged on. The highlight for me was when I read two of my favourite books this morning to over 50 children! It was awesome to see so many excited faces and comments from the kids as I read. Don’t we all love a good Robert Munsch story every now and then!
It takes a lot of preparation and organization to develop appealing lessons for online learning. It goes without saying that our teachers are amazing and have gone over and above engaging our young learners. We could not be successful in doing what we do best without the ongoing support of all of you. Thank you so much to all of the families who supported their children – our students - during this past week’s online learning. We look forward to seeing all the children back in school on Monday, Jan. 11.
Acting Principal, Alex Ferguson School email@example.com
Dear parents and guardians,
The holiday season is a busy one for Alexander Ferguson School. The continuous theme of the season and for this year is “Generosity". I also would like to add one for the season that we can all relate to “Let There Be Light!" With all of the chaos that we have endured over this past year, we need to continue to be the light for others and ourselves during the holiday season. There is a clear sense of the value of light in our lives this year. Many of you have been the light for others over this year. Many continue to volunteer your time assisting in our community. Many of you have been the recipients of someone being the light for you and helping you and your family move forward during this trying time.
As a learning community, we continue to focus our full attention on all of our academic responsibilities but we also make time in a variety of ways to “share our light". We encourage you to watch our virtual winter concert and have some time to sing a few carols along the way. The Alexander Ferguson School Community continues to show a generous spirit. The community reaching out to make sure that the needs of our needier families are met always touches us. Thank you so much to our parent volunteers who spearheaded our Go Fund Me fundraiser this. We were able, with the assistance of many community members, to provide gift cards for more than a dozen of our families so that they will have a Merry Christmas.
Today we will say farewell to your children as they leave for winter break. On January 4th, we move to online learning. There are many opportunities for each one of us to be the light for others. As others see us being the light, it becomes contagious. We hope the holidays and Christmas vacation are a time of recreation and relaxation with family and friends – virtual if need be. Wishing you and your families all the best in 2021.
Thursday, December 3 - 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm Friday, December 4 – 8:30 – 12:30
Teachers are looking forward to sharing your child's progress over the fall term and to set learning goals for the next term. Parent conferences are our formal way to communicate student progress. This meeting informs parents about student learning in relation to the upcoming report card in January. This is an opportunity to share the learning that has taken place over the past few months focusing on students' strengths and next steps in learning. In addition, I have attached How is My Child Doing In School? - This document explains information on how your child's teacher assesses and reports on student progress.
Each conference time will be for 15 minutes only. The timing is very precise so teachers will need to leave your conversation in order to prepare and call the next family in a timely fashion. We thank you in advance for your understanding.
What do Parents Need to Do?
Starting on Thursday, November 25 Conference Booking Manager was open in your MyCBE/PowerSchool account to book a conference time. Once you have your account set up, you can then sign up/sign in for conferences. Conference booking will close on December 4 at noon. Please ensure that you enter your email address into the booking. Once you have booked a conference, you will receive a confirmation email. This email will contain a link that will allow you to access Microsoft Teams for this conference.
How to Join Microsoft Teams on the day of your Conference:
- (Please note: it is best to join your conference from a computer or other home device such as an iPad when connected to the internet using your home Wi-Fi.)
- Open your conference confirmation email.
- Scroll to the connection link and click on the link.
- If Microsoft Teams Application is installed on your device, you may select the option, 'Open Your Teams App', you can also join through the browser.
- Allow Teams to use your microphone and video.
- When you enter the conference, you will be admitted into the lobby. The teacher will invite you into the meeting once they are ready to meet with you.
- After you have finished your conference, you would click on 'leave the meeting'.
We are excited to bring this opportunity to you as a new method of conducting interviews virtually. While we do prefer to see you in person, we recognize this is necessary during our COVID health pandemic as we continue to focus on student learning.
Every year, CBE schools develop a School Development Plan (SDP). One of our two goals for our SDP at Alexander Ferguson School for 2020-2021 is a wellness goal. The SDP wellness goal reads, “Students will demonstrate an increase in resiliency by developing skills in mindfulness, self-regulation and feeling connected in school.”
Since the beginning of the year, our staff has been involved in professional development sessions with Anita Thomson, an educator in mindfulness, self-regulation and stress management in schools. Through virtual meetings, Anita has shared many strategies that will support our students and staff in these areas. Our learning key outcomes focus on what staff will do to support our students in this area. Some of those outcomes include integrating mindfulness and self-regulation activities into teacher’s weekly classroom lessons and developing a common language to support student resiliency. Through these outcomes, our students will have more tools in their toolbox for becoming more resilient through intentional mindfulness and self-regulation instruction. As we continue to work on this goal throughout the year, we will continue to share with you the various strategies that students are engaging in.
We would like to share one mindfulness video that Anita shared with us last week. Many of our teachers have already shared this with their classroom. Here is the link for Bulldog Finds His Quiet Place.
On Tuesday, November 10, Alex Ferguson School students and staff held our first virtual Remembrance Day Assembly. Each classroom either performed a song, read stories and poems, shared art and/or created videos for all to see. Two of our students, Adam and Alya from room 10, were amazing as our emcees. During the days leading up to Remembrance Day, our staff and students were involved in discussing the sacrifices our Canadian soldiers have made for all of us.
It is always heart warming to hear the children talking about peace and freedom and using many ways of describing what Remembrance Day means to them. Due to FOIP concerns, we were unable to share the presentation publically. We really missed the parents and guests that usually attend this particular assembly. I hope for next year's assembly, the school community as a whole will be able to honour the service of Canadians together, to commemorate this special time of year.
Sherry Goldenberg, Principal
Alex Ferguson School will be participating in an online school perception survey for students in grade 4 – 6 called the OurSCHOOL Student Survey. All CBE students from grades 4 – 9 will involved in this survey throughout the month of November. It is a tool to measure student engagement and increase student involvement and sense of belonging at school. It will give us a better understanding at the school level about how our students are feeling during the pandemic, and information will also be gathered at a system level.
This survey allows students to share their feedback anonymously on their experiences at Alex Ferguson School and their school environment. Participation in the survey is voluntary. We find most of our students are eager to participate.
CBE has designed a K-3 survey that we will be asking teachers to administer with their students as well during the month of November. The survey has language and icons appropriate for our young children.
On Thursday, October 29th, we had an announced lockdown practice at Alexander Ferguson School. Students and staff of the school were aware of the practice that occurred at 11:00 am and took approximately 20 minutes. Constable Gary Borrows, School Resource Officer, Elementary School Team was here with his partner to help us practice. The safety of all students and staff in our school is of great importance as we review and practice lockdown and fire drills throughout the year.
In keeping with CBE policy, we are required to practice lockdowns twice in a school year. The procedures all schools follow include closing and locking all doors and keeping staff and students in rooms. The role of everyone in the building is to remain quiet and calm until the lockdown is over. No one enters or leaves the building during a lockdown procedure. Constable Borrows shared with admin that the students and staff were excellent in following the guidelines for our first of two Lockdown practices this year.
October 16th, 2020
Dear AFS Families,
During our Professional Learning times on Thursday, October 8th and on Friday, October 9th, our staff took some time to really think about how to adapt our teaching to the circumstances we find ourselves in and how to make learning as engaging as possible this year. We will be continuing this journey throughout the year focusing on the mental health and wellness of all our students and staff. We have entered into a new learning environment with many new protocols to follow. We strongly believe that wellness for our school community is a priority this year. We will engage in professional readings and involve experts in implementing strategies that will support our students and all our staff.
As new information regarding COVID-19 is released, I know the information can be overwhelming for families. Here at Alex Ferguson School, we are working to ensure care and safety in our classrooms to eliminate as much risk as possible. Alberta Health has released a new AHS parent COVID guide. If you have any questions about the process, you can call Health Link at 811. We appreciate all the work families do to make our school a healthy environment.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
“The more one gives, the more on has." Chinese Proverb
As a school community, we will be practicing and learning about the spirit of generosity this year. Generosity is giving and sharing. It is giving freely because you want to, not with the idea of receiving a reward or a gift in return. Generosity is being aware that there is plenty for everyone. It is seeing a chance to give what you have and then giving just for the joy of giving. It is one of the best ways to show love and friendship. Our AFS community is a very giving, generous community. We have demonstrated generosity in numerous ways this fall including; support for one of our own families as the children heal from a car accident, Terry Fox donations, Orange Shirt Day recognition and supporting each other through Covid-19.
A huge thank you goes out to all of you who participated in our first virtual School Council meeting. Thank you for giving your time so generously in support of Alex Ferguson School. A special thank you goes out to our School Council co-chairman, Amy Maglio and Jaclyn St. Louis along with our School Society Chairman, Becky LeBaron who spent many hours with Ms. Melnyk and myself preparing for the Microsoft Teams virtual meeting.
- October 8 – Early dismissal for all students at 12:02 – No students for the afternoon
- October 9 – Professional Development Day – No students
- October 15 – Picture Day will include individual photos. Lifetouch will create class photos through digital technology.
- Parents, when you are dropping off your child at school, it is imperative to social distance from other students and families. This is a safety consideration requested by AHS.
Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Thank you to each of you who has taken time to share positive thoughts and words to our staff. Your encouragement means the world to us! Our inquiry theme for the year is “Generosity" and it is clear that the AFS community is an amazing generous community.
A huge shout out to our teaching and support staff who continue to ensure that students are safe at school. We are truly blessed to have a group of dedicated people caring for and inspiring the hearts and minds of our students. The constraints of our “new normal" at school have not stopped our staff from caring for and nurturing student's social, emotional and mental well-being.
School Council is an important part of our AFS community. All staff and parents are members of the AFS School Council. Please join us on Wednesday night at 6:30 for our first virtual online School Council Meeting of the year. You would have received information on Thursday evening through a school messenger message on how to log on to Team Meeting along with agendas for the meetings sent today. The students and staff benefit greatly from the financial support of School Council fundraising. One of the fundraisers that has been successful has been the grocery cards. Here is a message from our fundraising committee:
"Grocery card distribution for April cards will take place on Monday Sept 28th and Tuesday Sept 29th between 8:15am-8:45am and 3:15pm-3:45pm outside the main doors of the school. An AFS Board member will be available to provide you with your cards. We please ask that you socially distance yourself should you have to wait in line.
A few reminders:
- Parents, students, and school staff must review the self-screening questionnaire each day before entering the school.
- We will be continuing to go outside as much as possible for learning and for body breaks. Please make sure that your child dresses in layers and is prepared to go outside even when it is wet or cold. Remember, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing!
- Please remember that our playgrounds are not open immediately before or after school. During school hours students will be able to use the playground in their cohorts but limiting use after school will help us to also limit the number of contacts each student has with others outside their cohorts. We would appreciate if parents take their children directly home afterschool and do not stay to play.
- Terry Fox – please continue to support our Toonies for Terry initiative on the Terry Fox Foundation. You can look up Alexander Ferguson and make your donation directly to the Terry Fox Foundation website. Here is the link: https://secure.terryfox.ca/registrant/search.aspx?eventid=309088&langpref=en-CA&searchState=teamSearch&Referrer=https%3a%2f%2fterryfox.org%2f
- Sept. 30 – School Council Meeting at 6:30 – on Microsoft Teams
- Sept. 30 – Orange Shirt Day
- October 2 – Kindergarten Afternoon Class Attends
We know this year will bring us challenges. Within those challenges there will also be opportunities! We will embrace the possibilities for things to be done a little differently. I am certain that this will allow us to grow and evolve as a school and for us to model resilience for our students. Our school's focus will continue be on best practices in teaching and learning, with a strong emphasis on academic success.
Have a great weekend!
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