Jun 09
June 9, 2023

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

Many behind-the-scenes processes are occurring at this time of year at Banff Trail School, as we look to wrap up the 2022-23 school year and look ahead to what our findings tell us about direction for 2023-24.  Some things, including start and end times for our school bells and the number of classes in each grade-level, appear to be on track to staying the same as this year.  Other parts will likely see responsive adjustment.  For example, we look like we will have 3 teachers on maternity leave this coming year, which will certainly result in some changes to who teaches at Banff Trail School for 2023-2024.  Grade-level assignments for teachers have also not yet been fully set, and of course existing Banff Trail School teachers may also choose to apply to other opportunities that exist for teaching or leadership in the CBE. 

Another domain of change is the constant adjustment made in what teachers teach (such as in response to the rollout of new curricula), and how teachers teach (such as in response to what we are seeing as areas to further develop in teaching and learning, and new understandings from the latest research in education).  Initial data from the domains in our School Development Plan (writing, math, and well-being) seem to indicate success in our targeted areas as well, but we will continue to look more carefully at what the data tells us, to set direction for next year's learning.  We also have some teachers who will be attending summer sessions related to the new curriculum rollout, to be able to lead some of this new content in our school.

Despite the expectation of ongoing change, it is important to celebrate the many successes we have had this year at Banff Trail School.  We were able to offer a wide range of in-school experiences and off-site field trips.  We piloted a couple CBE language program initiatives with our students (such as DELF language accreditation with our grade 5 students). We served as a model environment for dozens of first-year French Immersion teachers across the CBE, who specifically visited our school to learn about optimal language teaching process.  In May, our grade 4 and 5 students completed the OurSchool survey, which asks about their schooling experience, and without exception, we exceeded the Canadian norms in every domain.  For example, 91% of students feel a high sense of belonging (Canadian norm 81%), 90% indicated having positive relationships (84% norm), 91% of students indicated feeling safe at school (versus 65% Canadian norm), and 15% indicated they feel low levels of anxiety (versus 22% Canadian norm).  I hope that you have also found that your child or children have grown socially, academically and emotionally over the past year.  I am very proud of both the teachers and the students at our school, as they both demonstrated care, determination, and resilience over the past 10 months.

For Your Consideration:

Board Game Event: A reminder that we will be hosting our 2022-23 Board Game Event this Sunday, from 12:00pm to 3:00pm.  You are welcome to come any time during this time frame, for as much time as you see fit.  The whole family is invited.  Thank you to the many grade 5 students who have spent some of their time at home learning the board games that they will host at the event.  It should be a lot of fun, and we hope to see you there!  If you are planning to attend, please consider completing this 30-second survey (if you have not already done so), to give us a sense of numbers to anticipate.

Lost and Found: As the warm weather entrenches itself more firmly, our lost and found has been growing with hoodies, hats and more.  If your child seems to be missing some clothing items, please remind them to look for that particular item in the lost and found.  Teachers will be visiting it a couple more times before the end of the year with their classes.  We will be packing up and donating any remaining items on Monday, June 26th.

Late arrival:  We have been noticing an uptick in the number of students who are arriving late to school.  Thank you to the majority of families who are doing a great job of supporting their children in arriving at school on time and ready to learn without needing to enter the school late.  If your child walks to school, please remind them of the importance of arriving on time!

Spirit Day: Our final Spirit Day for the year will be Beach Day, taking place on Thursday, June 22nd.  Come wearing your favourite beach attire, beach-themed clothing, hats, sunglasses, etc.!

Reading Programs: Thank you to the many volunteers who generously offered their time during the year to support our in-school reading program.  Once again, it has been a great success in helping to advance the literacy skills of many in our school.  The final day of this program will be June 16th; we look forward to continuing it again in the new year!  Also note, related to reading at home, if you have any books borrowed from the school, such as those labelled Banff Trail School Home Reading Program or books from our library, they are now due to be returned to the school.


Upcoming Dates:

June 11:  Board Game Event (12:00pm – 3:00pm)

June 16: Bike to School Day

June 21: National Indigenous Peoples Day, Summer Solstice

June 22: Spirit Day – Beach Day

June 28: Report Cards visible online

June 29: Final day of school for students


Have a wonderful weekend, and hope to see you at the Board Game Event.

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​

May 24
May 19, 2023

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

On Sunday, June 11th, between 12:00pm and 3:00pm, I will be hosting our second ever Board Game Event at Banff Trail School, for families to gather amongst each other to learn and play some board games.  This event was well-received last year, so I am looking to provide this opportunity once again. 

I hope for this event to provide a worthwhile opportunity for whomever would like to attend.  I have a group of grade five students who are eager to host and teach games for families to enjoy.  Over the course of my education and career, I have had the opportunity to both research and present information to fellow leaders and educators at various conferences about developing critical thinking skills, and the benefits of engaging with strategic board games.  They truly complement each other well; as I shared last year, board games are an excellent conduit that promote an array of critical thinking dispositions, which I could spend hours speaking to and offering curricular connections, suggestions for worthwhile games, how to promote critical thought, etc., for the full range of ages.

I am not asking any other teachers or staff to come to the event, though I have invited them to come if they are available, either on their own or with their families.  Therefore, please appreciate that supervision is very limited.  The expectation would be that students would not simply be dropped off, but rather that they engage in the joy of the games with you, and other families as well.  You are welcome to bring along anyone from your immediate family, whether they attend Banff Trail School or not.

The front doors of the school will open just before noon, and we will host families until 3:00pm.  You are welcome to stop by any time during this timeframe, for as much time as you see fit.  Tables will be set up in the gym, and possibly in the halls, to allow for the games.  All of the games have been purchased within the past 2.5 years, using some School Council funds, and some lunchroom activity fees (I'm also bringing along a few personally-owned games).  You are welcome to bring a favourite family game if you'd like, though I would encourage you to also explore some of the games we will be hosting; perhaps you will find a new family favourite!

Please note that no food nor drink will be provided, and we ask that you leave any food and/or sugary drinks at home.

Finally, in Banff Trail School's catchment, we are fortunate to once again have a Friendly Local Games Store who has generously donated some gift certificates that we will be offering as draw prizes for attendees.

To give me a sense of potential numbers, if you anticipate attending this event, please complete this 30-second survey to help with planning.

Hope to see you there!

For Your Consideration:

Volunteer Tea: We are hosting a Volunteer Tea to thank all of our amazing volunteers, on Thursday, June 1st, from 9:30am to 10:30am. Unfortunately, we have a couple field trips that day that we were not able to adjust (a process to improve for next year), but we hope that if you are available, you will join us for this special acknowledgment.  Please RSVP to nlschafer@cbe.ab.ca  by May 25th if you are able to be there!

Healthy Relationship with Food: AHS recently shared with us some resources relating to eating, and the promotion of a healthy relationship with food.  Good habits begin when children are young!  Consider some of AHS' resources found here, relating to speaking about eating, the connection between mental health and food, and much more.

Hot Temperatures:  A reminder that with the higher temperatures that we've seen, good skin safety habits start now!  We encourage students to come to school with sunscreen on, especially during sunny days, and to consider packing a hat and sunglasses.

Election Day:  A reminder that school is closed to students on May 29th, 2023.  This year, our school is also a venue for local voting; it's great to see our school being leveraged for community need!  As we approach Election Day, which sets the stage for the next few years of policy and funding, I encourage everyone to critically consider the platforms of various candidates and parties, and to ask questions of the candidates about the future of education.  A high-functioning school system is a critical facet in the lives of all of our children and society.

Spirit Day:  A reminder that our next Spirit Day will take place on Wednesday, May 31st, where we will host the “Love for Animation" theme.  Hopefully this can be another way for students to express their love for their favourite tv shows, movies, or games!

Upcoming Dates:

Monday, May 22: Victoria Day (school closed)

Monday, May 29: Non-Instructional Day (school closed for students)

Wednesday, May 31: Spirit Day—Love for Animation

Thursday, June 1: Volunteer Tea (Thank you volunteers!)

Friday, June 9: Non-Instructional Day (school closed for students)


Have a wonderful weekend,


Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​

May 04
May 4, 2023

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

Banff Trail School staff continue to marvel at how quickly the year is passing.  With the beautiful weather that we have recently been experiencing, we are reminded how quickly summer will be upon us…I think (I hope?) that our -20 C days are behind us for at least another half-year. 

Over the past month or so, our school has been a very busy place—not only relating to the learning in the classrooms, but with a range of 'special' events.  Notably, our oldest students (grade 4 and 5) have had a number of experiences over this short period of time:

  • TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study): Random selection had Banff Trail School chosen as a location by Alberta Education to provide data, via a test and survey, to indicate how students perform in relation to international peers.  Though individual results are not shared with us, we know that the chosen grade 4 class will have represented our community (neighbourhood/city/province/country) very well!
  • Mount Royal Elementary Math Contest: Some Grade 4 and 5 students chose to participate in the annual Mount Royal Math Contest.  Traditionally, our students have done very well, and we anticipate more accolades for this year's participants in the coming months.  Thank you Mme. Stafford for once again coordinating this event.
  • Seussical:  After a more muted performance last year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Mr. Jones resurrected his ongoing, larger-scale musical production tradition. The Grade 4 and 5 students who participated in Seussical The Musical performed magnificently, and should be very proud of the growth they demonstrated in both confidence and ability over the months of preparation.  Feedback from a wide swath of audience members was 100% positive.
  • DELF (Diplôme d'Études en Langue Française) Testing:  Grade 5 Banff Trail School students were randomly selected to pilot a CBE initiative, where the accreditation for student ability in French would be paid for by the CBE.  Though results are not yet known, I was told anecdotally by a few of the assessors that our students were amazing to work with, and performed extremely well. 

This is simply some of the 'extras' that our eldest students have been doing in the past while.  Having said this, other grades, and our entire school, have had many other experiences, such as presentations from Roger Dallaire (speaking to Franco-Albertan culture and history), walking visits to West Confederation Park, as well as an assembly that our Kindergarten students hosted; these young students have certainly come a long way over the past 8 months!  Teachers also had the chance to attend the 2023 Languages Symposium on the April 10th Non-Instructional Day, learning about the latest research in language instruction; some of our teachers were even presenters at this event.  Teachers also teamed for a day of professional development with Tuscany School, where they closely examined new curricula, including changes from past years and what instruction could look like in working with the new content.  Finally, we have hosted CBE staff from various sites, to both learn from the work we do, and support the ongoing growth of staff and students.  All of this to indicate some of the vibrancy we have at our school, as we learn from one another and showcase our great work for others.  Thank you for your part in making Banff Trail School such a great place to work, learn and grow.

For Your Consideration:

Spirit Day:  Thank you to the many families who participated in this past Wednesday's Hats On! For Mental Health Spirit Day.  We continue to support student mental health in many ways, including our exploration of the 7 Sacred Teachings (Love, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Humility, Truth), our bi-weekly virtue leaf draws, our School Development Plan's well-being goal, and the day-to-day relationship-building that happens between students, staff and families.  Our next Spirit Day will take place on Wednesday, May 31st, where we will host the “Love for Animation" theme, by popular demand.  I've been seeing a surge of Mario Brothers talk and drawings around the school, so hopefully this can be another way for students to express their love for their favourite tv shows, movies, or games!

Outdoor Lunch:  This past week has included some beautiful weather, which has allowed our Lunch Supervisors to host lunch outside for students.  Please remember to prepare your children for this time outside as you see fit, such as by applying sunscreen before coming to school, packing a hat/sunglasses, etc.

Library Book Return: In order to get ready for year-end in the library, borrowing of non-fiction by students will stop at the end of next week, on May 12, 2023.  Teachers will still be able to check out non-fiction books.  This gives Mme. Chelsey the opportunity to clean up the shelves, put the books back in order and get ready to close the library down for the summer.  Students will have until May 26, 2023 to return all non-fiction books. Fiction books can continue to be checked out until and including the week of May 29 to June 3; all library books must be returned to school by June 8.  Thank you for your collaboration in making our library run smoothly!

Welcome to Mme. Sam Mercier-Mallet to the Banff Trail School family; she will be joining us effective Monday, May 8th working with our Grade 1 team.

Upcoming Dates:

Friday, May 5: Non-Instructional Day (school closed for students).

Thursday, May 11: K/1 Orientation (only for families who are new to Banff Trail School for 2023-24)

Wednesday, May 17: School Council

Monday, May 22: Victoria Day (school closed)

Monday, May 29: Non-Instructional Day (school closed for students)

Wednesday, May 31: Spirit Day—Love for Animation

Thursday, June 1: Volunteer Tea (Thank you volunteers!)


Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​

Apr 21
April 21, 2023

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

At Banff Trail School, we are fortunate and grateful to have access to a range of technologies for both staff and students to leverage in their work.  In terms of hardware, teaching staff, office staff and admin each have access to a laptop and/or desktop for their daily work.  Students have access to Macbooks, Chromebooks and iPads.  Smartboards are in every classroom.  We have headsets to both listen to and record audio.  We of course also have access to a wide range of software to support our learning, including RAZ-Kids, G-Suite for Education, and much more, that are accessible when connected to the internet.  Robust and reliable connectivity to the internet opens many doors for enhanced learning opportunities; the myriad of resources online can support deep curricular exploration.  And a technological topic that many in the educational world are closely watching right now is the quickly-evolving development and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

You have likely heard over the past few months about some of the work that is being done in AI.  It is both ground-breaking and fascinating.  We are truly in the infancy of its use, and we cannot fully appreciate how it might be leveraged (in both good and bad ways) as of yet.  But it is here, and I would encourage you to explore some of the conversations that are being held about it.  They have massive implications for our future world, and thus our children.  Over the past weekend, three news sources that I frequent all spoke to the impacts of AI, whether related to ChatGPT by OpenAI, Bard by Google, or any other advancements being made in the field. 

Consider the recent 42-minute episode of Your Undivided Attention titled, “The AI Dilemma" (Spotify Link here / Apple Podcast Link here), wherein the hosts speak to very recent developments in the field, the potency of this technology, the many unknowns (even to the designers of the tech), potential positives and negatives for society and the workplace, and some considerations for safety.  Some of the examples given during that episode certainly prompt reflection about safety for students and children.  The Ezra Klein Show (Spotify link here / Apple Podcast Link here) delves into some of the safety aspects in the recent episode, “What Biden's Top A.I. Thinker Concluded We Should Do", from the angle of safeguards that might be considered and discussed as the technology propagates, specifically relating to a recently-released Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights in the United States.  Finally, the most recent episode of 60 Minutes also featured an exploration of some of the AI advancements and implications for society.  There are many other venues (both professional and news-focused) within which you can learn more about some of the conversations and research that is happening related to AI, but those linked above were a few that came to my attention over the past week or so.  I would suggest that it is important to keep somewhat informed about this technology, and ask questions such as: How might I support my child in preparing them for a world with more embedded AI?  What safety precautions should exist in AI to best protect our current and future citizens?  What are some potential positives and negatives of this technology?  How might AI shift some employment landscapes? 

For your consideration:

Support Staff Appreciation Week: From April 24 to 28, the CBE has designated the week as Support Staff Appreciation Week, to help recognize the fine and impactful work of our amazing Support Staff.  We are so fortunate to have some incredible support staff here at Banff Trail School, whether they be our caring and patient Lunch Supervisors, our ever-knowledgeable and 'heads-on-a-swivel' Office Staff, or our tireless Facility Operators, they are all appreciated and loved.  If you happen to interact with any of them, please take a moment to acknowledge the challenging work they do. THANK YOU!!

Biking to school: It has been great to see students beginning to bike to school once again!  If your child will be biking to school, I strongly encourage you to provide them with a means to lock their bike to the bike racks.  Our bicycle racks are in an open and visible location, but we want to do everything we can to prevent any theft from our school.

Next Spirit Day Reminder: Our next Spirit Day will be on May 3rd, in recognition of the “Hats On! For Mental Health" initiative.  Students and families are invited to wear hats to school on this day of recognition.

Earth Day Reminder: Earth Day has been celebrated every April 22nd since 1970. The theme of Earth Day 2023 is Invest in our Planet. This falls on a Saturday this year.  As I have mentioned in the past, there are actions big and small that can be done in schools, workplaces and at home to help make the world a better place.

Upcoming Dates:

April 26, 27: Grade 4-5 Seussical performances (ticketed)

April 27: Grade 5 DELF piloting

May 3: Spirit Day; Hats on! For Mental Health

May 5: Non-Instructional Day-School Closed for Students

May 11: New Kindergarten/Grade 1 Orientation—only for families who are new to Banff Trail School for the 2023-24 year

May 17: School Council


Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​

Mar 17
March 17, 2023

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

Though there are still just over 3 months of school remaining in the 2022-23 school year, work is already underway in planning for next year.  This includes comparing preliminary student numbers that we see at the school level to CBE projections for our school, looking at the spaces we have within our building that can be used for learning, considering what staffing might look like, etc.  Many aspects can only be partially examined, though, as we have not yet received our budget for next year, staffing still needs to be sorted out, and much more.  As you are likely aware, Kindergarten registration also continues, and I am very happy to see that we already have quite healthy numbers of new students looking to join the Banff Trail School community. 

Each year, we know that some families experience changes that impact their child(ren) continuing to attend Banff Trail School.  This can be due to moving communities or cities, change of programs, etc.  At an administrative level, the more accurately we can predict what our numbers for each grade-level will be for the next school year, the less likely we are to have to make changes to classes in the fall.  Changes are sometimes needed nonetheless, though, in response to larger or smaller than expected numbers; over any given summer, I have always had some combination of unexpected new students who move into our catchment, and those who didn't expect to leave us, but do!

To help us with our planning, I kindly ask that if you have a current K-4 child at Banff Trail and you believe you will leave or might leave our school for the 2023-24 school year, please complete this very short survey, to help us with our planning.  This is for our planning purposes only, and doesn't mean you are committing to anything.  Existing grade 5 students would not be included for this survey, since they will be leaving our school for grade 6 anyways. Thank you for your help with planning for the new school year.

On a completely separate note, I wish you all a great week away from school with the family for the upcoming Spring Break.  A reminder that Spring Break runs from March 25 through April 2nd, inclusive.  I encourage everyone to find some fun activities to do with the family, to rekindle that sense of togetherness and wonder.  Go for a walk in a different neighbourhood, make a new or special meal together, find a new sport to learn about, make some cards for some loved ones…the list of options is endless!  Since March is Francophonie Month, consider researching and/or making a traditional French dish (such as tourtière), or learning about the Francophone roots of Calgary (a good starting point is to learn about Rouleauville…a 3 km walking tour of this historical district can be found here). 

For your consideration:

Trickster: The hosting of any residency is often greatly enhanced by the many hands who help with its smooth delivery.  Trickster has been no exception; thank you to the many volunteers, whether you sent in cardboard, helped out in the classroom, or made props.

Conferences: Thank you to everyone for attending last week's conferences (and for the many who provided food for us!).  A strong school-home partnership is critical to successful schooling experiences.

Extra clothing: With spring comes wet and sloppy conditions.  At times, children will accidentally get wet from being outside during their recess and/or outside gym time.  Please consider packing an extra pair of socks and/or pants in your child's backpack, in case an unexpected change of clothing might be in order.

Next Spirit Day: A reminder that on Thursday, March 23rd, we will host our next Spirit Day.  The theme will be “Fête de la tête", where students are invited to liven up their heads through hats, accessories, hairstyles…anything fun, exiting, unique and/or crazy!

Upcoming Dates:

Friday, March 17: Trickster performances (see email sent out on Tuesday, March 14th)

Thursday, March 23: Spirit Day—Fête de la tête

Saturday March 25 to Sunday, April 2, inclusive: Spring Break, school closed

Monday, April 3: School resumes

Friday, April 7: Good Friday, school closed

Monday, April 10: System Non-Instructional Day, school closed

Wednesday, April 19: School Council, 6:30pm


Have a great weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​

Mar 03
March 3, 2023

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

As we enter March, registration and planning for 2023-24 begins to take more of a foothold in the office.  A reminder that if you have any younger children that are ready to begin Kindergarten, we encourage you to begin the registration process soon, so that we can best prepare for the next school year.

Regardless of the age of your child(ren) at home, literacy development continues for the entire household.  In our K-5 environment, we maintain a constant awareness and focus on developing students with strong literacy skills.  The journey from beginning, to functional, to mastery of literacy skills continues, and every child is in a different place along this path. 

Playing and working with the sounds that letters and words make can be a simple way of explaining the foundations of developing phonological awareness.  This would include examining aspects of phonemic awareness (such as isolation, segmenting, blending, and addition/deletion/substitution), words in sentences, syllables, onset-rime and rhyme/alliteration.  These components are not just for beginner readers; we also apply these concepts as older children come across more challenging vocabulary, “exceptions to the rules", etc.  (for example, consider how in the phrase “Pacific Ocean" the c's are pronounced 3 different ways).  If you are interested in learning more about phonemic awareness, I would encourage you to view the five short videos found here, which were created by CBE staff to assist parents in developing phonemic awareness in their children at home.  They are short, easy to understand, and can go a long way in helping your children become highly literate—even those children who are not yet Kindergarten age.  Ultimately, we are on a long journey to teach children to read and to understand written messages, and any strategy that we can leverage along the way, helps.  As always, if you have questions or are seeking other suggestions to help your child(ren) develop their literacy skills, please do reach out to their teacher.

For your consideration:

Conferences:  Our final set of School Conferences are scheduled for next week, on Thursday, March 9th and Friday, March 10th.  We encourage all families to attend conferences, and we encourage students to attend with you as well.  Registration for conferences is scheduled to open at 4:00pm today (Friday, March 3rd).

Your Feedback: At the last School Council meeting, I offered a presentation about our School Development Plan, our budget, and the fees we charge families.  You can find the PowerPoint on our website.  Near the end of the presentation, you will find a link/QR Code, asking for your feedback; I welcome all of our families to voice their thoughts on these issues.  Thank you!

Clubs: Today marks the final day for the window within which teachers hosted grade 3-5 clubs; beginning Monday, we are hosting our grade 1 and 2 clubs.  Teachers have very much enjoyed offering these special opportunities to our students, and we hope that students have also enjoyed them.

Allergies:  Please note that we are a 'nut aware' school; this does not ban nuts per se, but we simply ask that families make an effort to limit nuts in lunches, in support of the number of students at our school with nut allergies.  Thank you!

Alberta Education Assurance (AEA) Survey (for Grade 4 and 5 Families): Alberta Education is extending the deadline for the completion of the Alberta Education Assurance (AEA) survey to Friday, March 17, 2023. This extension applies to student, teacher, and parent surveys. This was due to a delay in Alberta Education's mail out across the province.

Hug and Go: A reminder to not leave vehicles unattended along the front of our school during pickup and drop-off; it is a very busy stretch of road during those times.  Thank you!

Next Spirit Day: On Thursday, March 23rd, we will host our next Spirit Day.  The theme will be “Fête de la tête", where students are invited to liven up their heads through hats, accessories, hairstyles…anything fun, exiting, unique and/or crazy!

Upcoming Dates:

Monday, March 6: Grade 1&2 Clubs begin

March 9 & 10: School Conferences (No school for Kindergarten students both March 9 and March 10 for conferencing)

Friday, March 10: No school for students (for conferencing)

March 13-17: Trickster Residency

Wednesday, March 15: School Council

March 25 to April 2, inclusive: Spring Break, School Closed

Friday, April 7: Good Friday, School Closed

Monday, April 10: System Professional Learning Day, School Closed


Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​

Jan 27
January 27, 2023

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

Upon returning to school from winter break, students and staff hit the road running!  On day 1 of our return, we jumped right into a 2-week residency with Alien Inline skating, thanks to funding from our wonderful School Council/Society.  From observations and conversations I've had with students and teachers, their instructor, Greg, was a fun, engaging, patient leader for all students K-5.  Thank you to parents and older student volunteers for helping our youngest students enjoy these experiences with balance, equipment and the promotion of perseverance.  During this time, and leading up until now, grades 1 to 5 teachers have also been working diligently to gather and review data, and subsequently generate report cards, which I'm sure you can appreciate is a very time-consuming yet valuable process.  Report cards are a snapshot in time, serving to indicate a teacher's evaluation of a student's achievement at this moment.  It can also complement conversations that you have with the teacher that elaborate upon progress, suggestions, next steps, passions, etc.  Undoubtedly, your child is your primary focus, and such conversations can also prompt reflection about what to explore, or pursue with them, outside of school hours!

On the topic of exploring passions outside of the regular classroom, I am very pleased to announce that we will be running Banff Trail School's 2022-23 clubs over the course of February and March.  Our grades 1 to 5 teachers are looking forward to hosting these clubs (as well as Mme Toy and myself), volunteering their time over the lunch hour to provide extra-curricular opportunities for students to explore.  Forms were to be sent home today; please note that clubs will be first-come, first served, so if your child is interested in joining a club, I would encourage you to return the forms first thing Monday morning, since space in each club is limited, and we may not be able to accommodate all requests!  I hope these clubs can offer an opportunity for students to explore areas of interest to them, whether due to an existing passion or curiosity to learn something different.

Finally, you can look forward to a few other whole-school special experiences over the coming couple months.  In February, we have our Carnaval celebration, which brings in Folklofolie and the Cabane à sucre; a couple skating sessions for each grade at Triwood Arena, and; a Trickster residency planned for mid-March.  This is amongst some other, grade-specific experiences that are being planned and/or considered.  Once again, thank you to our School Council/Society and their fundraising efforts, which enable these whole-school experiences to happen.

For your consideration:

Congratulations!  I'm pleased to announce that Mme. Vicky, Grade 1 Teacher at Banff Trail School, gave birth to her first child on Sunday, January 22nd.  Scarlett Sylvie Rueve was born a healthy 6lbs 15oz, and both mom and baby are doing well.  We all send her our best, as she takes some valuable time to nurture a strong family bond with Scarlett.

Family Literacy Day: Today (January 27, 2023) marks Canada's Family Literacy Day.  Consider visiting this website to read more about family literacy, and access some of their resources to explore at home (such as this activity book that prompts reflection about our family's heritage).  Even a simple act, such as reading a book together or watching a book-reading on YouTube, can help instill a love for literacy.

Reminder: Next Spirit Day: A reminder that our next Spirit Day will be Class Colour Day.  Each class and/or grade-level will choose a colour to focus upon for this special day, which will take place on Tuesday, January 31st.  Please connect with your child's teacher if you have any questions about their class' chosen colour/theme.

Reminder: Report Cards: Grade 1-5 Report Cards are currently scheduled to become visible online on January 30th, 2023.  A reminder that the best viewing experience will be through the PowerSchool/MyCBE website; although some data is able to be seen through the app, it is not officially supported by the CBE, and parents have experienced difficulty viewing the full report card via the app. 

Upcoming Dates:

January 30: Report Cards visible online

January 31: Spirit Day: Class Colours

February 3: Non-Instructional Day (School Closed)

February 6-10: Skating at Triwood Arena

February 13, 14: Carnaval—Folklofolie

February 15: Carnaval—Cabane à sucre

February 16, 17: Teachers' Convention (School Closed)

February 20: Family Day (School Closed)


Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​

Jan 13
January 13, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

I hope that you had a rejuvenating break, and took advantage of this opportunity to reconnect more deeply with the family and loved ones.  These breaks can go a long way in setting everyone up for success over the coming months at Banff Trail School.

As mentioned briefly in my last Principal's Message, registration for the 2023-24 school year opens on Monday, January 16th, 2023; if you have younger children who you are looking to register for Banff Trail School, a reminder that it is not a first-come, first served system, and we do not anticipate being in a lottery position for the coming school year.  Having said this, registering your child sooner allows us to more precisely plan for the next school year. 

The positive impacts of second language learning are proven, across a wide swath of domains.  Cognitively, learners show well-developed problem-solving, multitasking and memory skills, as well as higher attention levels.  Learners' academics are also positively impacted, as they show superior literacy skills and better knowledge of spelling, grammar and syntax across all of their languages.  Learning a second language also develops a greater tolerance of ambiguity and more positive attitudes and openness to other cultures and practices.  Of course, there are economic benefits as well, as workers who speak additional languages earn more, attract more opportunities both near and far, and signal enhanced communication and cognitive skills to employers.  Further, if your child learns or knows a third, fourth, or fifth language, these benefits continue to accrue!

If you would like to learn more about the above benefits of French Immersion programming, including some further reading, I encourage you to view CBE's Early French Immersion Program website, or visit the Canadian Parents for French (CPF) website.  Of note, you may find interesting the excellent CPF document entitled 10 Answers for Parents about French Immersion, which addresses some common questions that parents have about French Immersion programming (including a set of referenced articles at the end of the document).  It is simple and quick to read, and speaks to the many great reasons to choose the French Immersion program (like ours at Banff Trail School).

We are all very proud of the French Immersion program that we provide at Banff Trail School, and I am so grateful to have such a passionate staff to shepherd this work.  As always, if you have any questions about your child's French Immersion learning, I encourage you to connect with your child's teacher, the office, and/or administration team. 

For Your Consideration:

Next Spirit Day: After having a very comfortable Pyjama Day in late December, we are pleased to announce that our next Spirit Day will be Class Colour Day.  Each class and/or grade-level will choose a colour to focus upon for this special day, which will take place on the last day of the month (January 31).  You can expect further communication from your child's teacher about the chosen colour soon.

Morning and After-School Pickup/Drop-off: A reminder to not leave vehicles unattended during drop-off and/or pickup in the morning if you are using the Hug and Go area along the front of the school, to keep traffic flowing well.  Please see this document for more information.

Residencies: Thank you to our generous School Council/Society, whose fundraising has allowed us to have a great first week of Alien Inline Skating.  I had the chance to skate with a few of the classes, and look forward to seeing the Kindergarten to Grade 2 students in action next week!  We also have many activities planned in about a month, as we welcome some other guests in our school's Carnaval celebration (most Carnaval-related activities scheduled from Feb 13-15).

Report Cards: Report Cards are scheduled to become visible online on January 30th, 2023.  A reminder that the best viewing experience will be through the PowerSchool/MyCbe website; although some data is able to be seen through the app, it is not officially supported by the CBE, and parents have experienced difficulty viewing the full report card via the app.  A reminder as well that this year, children attending Kindergarten in the CBE will receive a report card only in June; having said this, you are always welcome to connect with your child's teacher regarding any questions about progress and/or learning.

Upcoming Dates:

January 9-19: Alien Inline Residency

January 16: Registration for 2023-24 opens

January 19: Open House evening for prospective families (not intended for current Banff Trail School families)

January 25: School Council (evening)

January 30: Report Cards visible online

January 31: Spirit Day: Class Colours


Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​

Dec 16
Principal's Message - December 16, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

In my previous message, I discussed the new Physical Education and Wellness Curriculum, as an example of how teachers are working through curriculum renewal.  As we head into the upcoming winter break, I am reminded of the importance of taking care of ourselves physically, to give our bodies their best possible line of defence towards illness.  I invite you to examine the guidelines presented here by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), who are an excellent resource for evidence-based research on health and activity.  It proposes age-based guidelines for moderate to vigorous activity, light activity, sleep and sedentary behaviour.  For example, if you look at the guidelines for children (ages 5 to 11 years old), they suggest 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity, several hours daily of light physical activity (structured and unstructured), 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night with consistent bed and waking hours, and no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time per day (along with limited sitting for extended periods).  While teachers try to limit extended sitting within the classroom (such as by providing body breaks, rotation between carpet work, seated work, partner work, etc.), we acknowledge that they are sitting for extended periods to do some schoolwork.  As such, it is that much more important to keep our children moving outside of school hours.  As we start to think about the Winter Break ahead, I encourage you to look at the guidelines with your children and see what you can do as a family to keep each 24-hour period a healthy one, filled with activity and sufficient sleep.  Though they do not speak to nutrition, I would also add that a healthy relationship with food is important for a healthy 24-hours, following Canada's Food Guide as much as possible (but acknowledging that it is ok to occasionally have those 'once-in-a-while' foods). 

A few thank yous are also due, as I reflect upon the the first few months of this school year.  Thank you for the love you show your children in so many ways, many of which might seem routine but all help to make this a caring environment.  For example, one of the things I love the most about my job are getting to witness the embraces and chats I see between children and their parents before and after school; those quiet moments together show them that you are there for them and love them dearly.  Thank you for supporting the teachers and staff in our building, who have very challenging, multi-faceted responsibilities but work admirably to provide their very best for your children.  Finally, a thank you for the support that many of you have offered to our broader school community, such as through volunteering.  Whether helping with leadership roles in our School Council, offering supervision during field trips, reading with students, posting leaves on our Virtue Tree bulletin board, cooking food for our teachers during conferences, offering support in caring for our school grounds, or any other supports around our school, your work is very appreciated and noted.

For your consideration:

New Student Registration for 2023-24 (K/1)--Registration for new students to Banff Trail School opens on January 16th.  If you love Banff Trail School and the French Immersion program, please share this with your neighbours and/or friends in our catchment who have young children.

Illness Rates—It has been very encouraging to see, over the past couple weeks, dropping and more normalized illness rates for our school, to a point where they are significantly below the norm across the CBE.  Thank you for continuing to keep sick children at home; I appreciate how challenging this can be for some families to arrange.

Lost and Found Last Call—Thank you to the families who paid a visit to our Lost and Found during our recent Learning Conferences.  After school on Tuesday, December 20th, we will be gathering up all remaining items in the lost and found and donating them to a charitable cause.

Food Drive—Your support and generosity in donating food items during our Mayor's Annual Food Drive was very appreciated and will help to provide for those less fortunate than us in our city.  Please see below for a few pictures of our overflowing food drive boxes.

Box 1.jpgBox 2.jpg

Have a wonderful holiday season; I look forward to seeing everyone again in the new year. 

Merry Christmas,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School

Dec 16
Principal's Message - December 2, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

Amongst many other duties and professional development opportunities, teachers at Banff Trail School have been learning about and planning for new curriculum implementation.  As previously discussed, this year we are implementing a new K-3 Math curriculum, a new K-3 English Language Arts curriculum (which only applies to our grade 3 classes, since the English curriculum is not taught until grade 3 in French Immersion settings), and a new K-6 Physical Education and Wellness (PE&W) curriculum.  For terms of reference, previously-established curricula is referred to as “Programs of Study", whereas the new curricula is simply called the “Curriculum". 

I have shared recently how we were exploring the new math curriculum via professional development and close reading of the curriculum.  The PE&W curriculum is new for all students and teachers in our building this year (being implemented for a K-6 level), and we continue to examine how best to deploy the content.  Some sections of this curriculum take a new way of thinking about how to teach the content, since it also includes content related to financial education; indeed, some schools continue to examine how best to explore this content when a physical education specialist is in place.  At Banff Trail School, where teachers teach their own physical education classes, integration of less 'active' content within PE&W, such as financial literacy, can more easily occur via integration within a classroom context.  For example, in the grade 4 Physical Education and Wellness curriculum, students are to know that Canada's first bank was the Bank of Montreal, founded in 1817, and in grade 3 students are to discuss the importance of responsible spending and saving.  These more 'financial' aspects can be explored much more readily within the classroom, as opposed to the gymnasium, of course, so our teachers are also looking at ways that the less-active content of the curriculum can be layered within existing programs of study.  Sometimes, financial literacy content may fit best within the mathematics curriculum, whereas other times it could connect best within existing social studies or language arts content, or a combination of many curricula.  All of this to say that the deployment of a curriculum in a way that is meaningful and creates engagement takes careful planning, consideration of a wide swath of learning outcomes from a range of curricula, and will be refined over many years.  It is both a complex and rewarding challenge, indeed!

As teachers look for ways to make content more meaningful for our students, I also encourage you to do the same at home, as you discuss with your child what they explored in school on any given day.  When hosting these conversations, I encourage you to probe deeper into the learning that has taken place, especially by discussing where else in life this learning could be applied.  The ability to transfer related learning from one situation to its application in another situation is an important goal, as students continue to gain broader and deeper understandings along their learning journey.  In the financial vein, this could be as simple as exploring how adding 5+2=7 can also be applied to adding a five dollar bill to a toonie when gathering money to pay for something at the grocery store, or how saving up enough money to purchase a desired toy can relate to either the importance of budgeting for more adult expenses like electricity, shelter or food, or an exploration of needs vs wants.  The more connections we explore with our children, the more we equip them with understanding and wisdom as they grow older.

For your consideration:

Illness rates:  Thank you to everyone for demonstrating diligence in limiting the spread of illness in our school, such as by picking up your child when they are ill and/or keeping them at home until they are better.  It is very encouraging to see illness rates descending towards more normalized levels.  A reminder that you can check the illness rates of schools, including ours, here.

Indigenous Education Community Newsletter: The CBE creates a wonderful, informative quarterly newsletter for the broad CBE community that offers some excellent resources, information, stories and insight into Indigenous content.  The winter edition was just released, which you can access here.  To see past editions, or learn more about Indigenous Education in the CBE, visit this page.

Pyjama Spirit Day:  Thank you to everyone who participated in Wednesday's Sports Team/Club Theme Day; such a fun day!  For our final theme day for this calendar year, I invite students and staff to come dressed in their warmest pyjamas for the Winter Solstice on Wednesday, December 21st.

Upcoming Dates:

Wednesday, December 21—Pyjama Day

THURSDAY, December 22—Last Day of School before Winter Break

Friday, December 23-School Closed for Winter Break, school re-opens on Monday January 9.


Have a wonderful, warm weekend,

Ryan Turner​

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