Nov 18
November 18, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

General health is currently a prominent discussion point, as illness rates increase around the school, city, province and country.  Banff Trail students, support staff, and teachers have been impacted by illness recently, through a wide range of symptoms and maladies; in speaking to many other Principals, all of them have indicated increased illness rates as well.  Having heard directly from some elementary school Principals about illness rates well above 30%, and our recent declaration of 'outbreak' status, it is a good time to remind everyone about a renewed vigilance around maintaining health-aware practices in our school.  Note that once a school exceeds a 10% illness rate, we are to report this to AHS (as we did last Tuesday), but AHS has been swamped with mass reportings from schools and care centres, and they did not indicate that we were in outbreak status until Wednesday evening.  To this end, I sent out an email to all staff this past Monday, encouraging everyone to consider an increase in some of the precautions taken in the recent past, such as increasing hand sanitization, consider mask-wearing (acknowledging that this is a personal choice), sanitizing shared items as appropriate, etc., while also reminding them to also stay home when ill!  A few other changes have been implemented around the school for the near-term, such as returning to cohorted seating during lunch, changing the buddy reading format, and sanitizing some shared equipment between uses.  I welcome you to view this link, which will be indicating our school's illness rate, as well as for our other schools; over the past week or so, our illness rate has hovered around the CBE average (sometimes a point or 2 above the average, sometimes a point or 2 below). 

With the increase in illness throughout our city, the impact has also been felt on substitute teacher (and support staff) availability, which once again has become challenging to procure.  Both Nancy and I have taken over some of these roles over the past week, and will continue to do so as we are able to, while also using other strategies to provide for ongoing learning (such as by having our Music or Literacy Specialists cancel their programs for the day, while taking over for a classroom, or by combining some same-grade classes for the day).  Multiple factors are considered when determining the best course of action in the case of staff illness without substitute coverage, but know that safety and learning continuity are our primary considerations, and we will continue to do the best we can with the resources we have. 

I would also ask all of you to remind your child about some foundational strategies to mitigate the spread of illness.  Many of the ways listed on Alberta's COVID-19 site, aiming to prevent the spread of COVID-19, also help minimize the spread of other illnesses.  I would also remind children to wash their hands after using a tissue, to cough into their elbows, and avoid putting their hands into their mouth (or rubbing their eyes) when they have not been recently washed.  Though these strategies may seem obvious to us, children need to be reminded multiple times, and corrected when these practices are not followed at home, to become engrained in their behaviour.  This will also go a long way in maintaining their health in the longer term! 

For Your Consideration:

Learning Conferences: As previously announced, learning conferences will open for bookings at 4:00pm today through your MyCBE/PowerSchool account.  Learning conferences will be held in-person at the school on Thursday, November 24th from 3pm-7pm, and Friday, November 25th from 8am-1pm.

Lost and Found: If your child is missing any hoodies, toques, mittens, etc., please remind them to visit the school's Lost and Found.  We will be donating any remaining items on December 16th, one week before the Winter Break.  I would also encourage you to label clothing with your child's first name and last initial, so that if we find clothing, we can more easily return it to their owner.

Next Theme Day: A reminder that our next theme day will be on Wednesday, November 30th—Sports Team/Club Day!  Share your love for your sport by donning your attire from your sports team or club, or from a sports team that you love…

Upcoming Dates:

Thursday, November 24, 25: Learning Conferences

Wednesday, November 30: Next Theme Day—Sports Team/Club 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 weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​


Nov 04
November 4, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

As students dive deeper into the curriculum in this third month of the school year, Digital Citizenship becomes a topic of consideration at school, and perhaps at home as well.  Both the CBE and our school go to great lengths to curate age- and developmentally-appropriate online resources, and for years we have all striven to seek an appropriate balance of restricting access (such as through CBE internet filters) and educating students about making sound decisions.  This ongoing work begins in the early grades, and continues throughout their lives. 

We have recently posted Banff Trail School's Digital Citizenship Plan and our Admirable Use Policy to our school website.  If you examine both documents, you will find some overlap in the messaging, such as in aiming to foster a caring and respectful environment for all.  This continues to be true, whether using targeted applications on our Chromebooks or during in-person interactions.  We acknowledge that as part of the learning process, students will make mistakes, but we will continue to model and discuss appropriate behaviour frequently, and aim to learn and improve from mistakes.  In the Admirable Use Policy, we speak to three facets that aim to be accessible to students in our K-5 population: respecting yourself, respecting others, and respecting this place.  Ideas such as keeping your passwords and private information to yourself, seeing a teacher if you feel uncomfortable or come across something inappropriate, being respectful of peers' work and caring for our technology equipment are simple but important ideals to explore now.  I have mentioned in previous messages that educating children about online safety begins with some simple concepts, much like learning to read, and would encourage you to discuss some of these considerations with your child at home as well.

Although the documents speak to seeking a teacher for assistance as needed, I would also encourage you to reinforce that you are a primary support for them through these formative years.  Creating a culture of open communication with your child, especially with challenging conversations or situations, will help set the stage for a strong safety and support network, where you can work though challenges together and gradually empower your child with healthy independence (while also reinforcing that it is ok to ask for help!).  In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of digital spaces, and although many adults shifted nimbly to online spaces, adults often had a strong foundation of appropriate technology use to build upon—unlike many of our children.  Empowering students to make wise decisions while keeping them safe will continue to be our top priority, and I encourage you to also consider how this might look at home—such as when they are using shared or personal devices in the home. 

In addition to Banff Trail School's Admirable Use Policy, some resources to support discussions at home could include leveraging some of Common Sense Media's Education resources, such as this digital citizenship page, which offers videos and suggestions by grade-level, or visiting their YouTube channel with videos divided into grades K-2 and 3-5

For your consideration:

Before and After School Drop Off: A reminder that when using our Hug and Go Zone on Cochrane Road along our school, we ask that you pull ahead as far as you can, and remain in the vehicle (please do not leave it unattended).  Thank you to past School Council members for creating this drop off map and procedure sheet; following these guidelines will both help our students stay safe and optimize traffic flow near our school.

Theme Day:  Thank you to all students, staff and parents who came dressed for the occasion on Halloween; it was great to see such spirit in and around the building!  See below for a picture that gathered some of our staff members on this day.  Our next theme day will be on Wednesday, November 30th—Sports Team/Club Day!  Share your love for your sport by donning your attire from your sports team or club, or from a sports team that you love…


Halloween 2022 BTS Staff.jpg

Student valuables at school:  Please remind your child(ren) that their treasures should remain at home.  We have had some upset students about lost and/or damaged items that they care about, such as Pokémon cards, stuffed animals, and other toys.

Arriving late: A reminder that students should come to the main entrance doors when arriving late to school, especially as the weather turns.  For example, if they come to the compound doors and no one is there to let them in, please remind them that they should go to the main entrance doors by the office.  We understand that sometimes students must be late, and we appreciate limiting these occasions to rare instances, so that their academics and integration into class routines are not impacted.

Remembrance Day and Assemblies: We will be hosting a solemn ceremony on November 10th in recognition of Remembrance Day.  We have a few students whose parents are currently serving in our Armed Forces , who also generously offered to assist in our ceremony.  Thank you very much for serving in defence of our country and freedoms.  Please note that due to gym capacity limitations, we will only be able to invite the families of the grade-level who will be hosting any given assembly to that event.  In this case, that would be the grade 5 team (whereas last month's assembly was hosted by our grade 2 team).  You will receive a message from your grade-level teachers to invite you to their assembly, when that month arrives.  We wish we could accommodate all families, but it is simply not possible!

Upcoming Dates:

Friday November 11: Remembrance Day (school closed)

Wednesday November 16: School Council

Thursday November 24-25: Learning Conferences (In-Person)

Wednesday November 30: Spirit Day: Sports Team/Club Day

 

Have a warm, wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​​


Oct 21
October 21, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

This is a time of year where School Development Plans (SDP) are a major focus in schools, as we refine and enact our plan for the year.  SDPs chart the course for how we aim to help our student population as a whole school, based on what we see as important areas of need.  SDPs have a 3-year cycle, and schools are currently in the third year of this cycle.  Each year, there are 3 sections, or goals, within the SDP: the CBE mandates that all schools have one goal each related to literacy, mathematics, and well-being.  This week, I'd like to explore in some depth the literacy component of our SDP.

Our 2022-23 SDP goal that relates to literacy focuses on improving student achievement in French writing.  A very effective way to teach a new language is through the Neuro-linguistic Approach, which offers a range of strategies and considerations when learning a new language.  With this approach in mind, language learning is progressive, moving through oral, to reading, to capacity in writing.  If you think about how a baby develops early literacy skills, the same general analogy occurs for anyone learning a new language:  first, you typically 'understand' a spoken language, then learn to speak it (oral), then learn to read, then write.  Of course, the process is by no means linear, and there is much overlap and layering that occurs in the exploration of all three of these aspects of language, but clearly all three areas are important to target at different times as students develop their literacy skill.  In year 1 of our SDPs literacy goal (2019-20), we examined best practices relating to teaching and learning a strong oral proficiency.   In year 2, we focused on leveraging the latest research around reading development, all while maintaining the use of the effective oral strategies learned and applied in year 1.  In this third year, it therefore makes sense to continue the best practices from the past 2 years (relating to oral and reading proficiency), while now examining effective strategies related to writing.  In addition to engaging in some relevant professional development, teachers will be looking closely at student written work on a regular basis as a grade-level team, to see what is working well, what adaptations might be made to benefit targeted groups of students (or all students), and enacting positive changes to teaching practices.  Teachers will continue that cycle of analyzing current written achievement, synthesizing this information into logical next actions to take, and refining teaching practice to help all students achieve to their best ability.  It is all very exciting work, since the improvements that we have seen over these cycles of learning have been significant. 

If you would like to learn more about literacy practices in the CBE, and by extension at Banff Trail School, I encourage you to examine the CBE's Literacy Framework, or its accompanying flatsheet.  Both expand upon approaching the oral, reading and writing components of literacy development, and explore some assessment and environmental considerations (such as routines and the learning space). Note that the Literacy Framework speaks to “how" to optimize the teaching of literacy skills, whereas the programs of study (or new curriculum, depending on grade and/or subject) speak to “what" is to be taught in any given year.   I also encourage all families to build a routine of literacy exploration at home, which can be as simple as building in time for a story together, a visit to the library to leverage their resources, looking at advertisements through a critical lens, retelling a news story that you explore together…anything! It all helps your child to become highly literate, one step at a time.

For your consideration:

Lockdown: Next week, our school will host our first lockdown drill of the year.  Each year, schools are to host 6 fire drills and 2 lockdown drills.  In a fire drill, everyone has certain roles and responsibilities they must perform.  It is the same for a lockdown situation.  Teachers will review information with students prior to the actual practice lockdown. 

Road Safety:  Thank you to the vast majority of parents who are being excellent models for all of our children around pickup and drop-off times.  As the daylight hours shorten, it is getting quite dark outside, and icy conditions will soon be upon us.  As such, a reminder to please obey all traffic and safety rules, such as avoiding double-parking, not performing U-turns, and crossing at marked crosswalks.  We want everyone to be safe.  Relating to this, our grade 5 School Patrols will begin their morning crosswalk duties in the coming weeks; thank you to those families who support this initiative, in dropping off students early!

Illness: Thank you to all families who are being vigilant about keeping sick children at home.  We want to continue to limit the spread of any illness as much as possible, and appreciate your care for our broader school community.  A reminder that if you are keeping a sick child at home, you can let us know 24 hours per day, 7 days per week on our absence line (403-777-6120, press 1).

Spirit Day: A reminder that our next Spirit Day will be on October 31st; we invite all students to either wear a costume (no hand-held accessories/weapons, or costumes with 'gore' please), or wear black/orange on that day.  Looking forward to it!

Upcoming Dates:

Friday, October 28: Non-Instructional Day (No school for students)

Monday, October 31: Hallowe'en and Spirit Day: Costumes/Black and Orange

Thursday, November 10: Internal Remembrance Day recognition

Friday, November 11: School Closed (Remembrance Day)

Wednesday, November 16: School Council

 

Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​


Oct 06
October 6, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

In my last message, I focused on some of the professional development opportunities that staff are undertaking this year, in an effort to continue to provide optimal teaching and learning conditions for all students at Banff Trail School.  Over the past couple weeks, a few learning opportunities have come my way that families may find useful.

October is recognized as Cyber Safety Month; as students begin to dabble with technology and the online world, it is important to equip them with the tools needed to safely navigate this space.  Though many online resources exist, the government of Canada's getcybersafe.ca website has some excellent resources to consider, for everything from gaming systems tips to social media usage.  Two 4-minute videos also worth considering that come from another source recommended by the CBE are this video about email and phishing, and this video about social engineering

Nose Hill Park is a close neighbour to Banff Trail School's catchment area, and has both a long history of use and is enjoyed by many throughout the year.  If you are a budding botanist, this site has a wealth of information about the ecology and landscape found in the park, whereas this news article speaks to the Medicine Wheel landmark found at one of the park's majestic viewpoints.

Alberta Health Services offers an excellent series of videos, stemming from their Community Education Service (which offers in-person and virtual sessions on a wide swath of topics).  Their series of YouTube videos are both wide-ranging and full of very helpful information, including topics such as Understanding Autism and ADHD, Bullying, Anxiety management, Learning Disorders, Divorce, Screen Time, and Building Resiliency.  Very worthwhile resources!

If ever you are seeking other resources to help your child, I encourage you to reach out to your child's teacher, who will be in a good position to be able to offer other ideas that could be tailored to your child.  As I have mentioned, a strong school-home partnership goes a long way in establishing a successful learning environment for all children.

For your consideration:

Spirit Day: Thank you to everyone who participated in September's important theme day: Orange Shirt Day.  Our next Spirit Day will be on October 31st; we invite all students to either wear a costume (no hand-held accessories/weapons, or costumes with 'gore' please), or wear black/orange on that day.  Looking forward to it!

Radon Testing in Schools: This fall the CBE will be conducting tests for radon gas in a number of schools across our system, including ours. Radon gas is odorless, tasteless and comes naturally through the soil. When gas reaches unsafe levels, over many years of exposure, the gas is known to have harmful effects on health. If testing reveals a heightened presence of radon, various mitigation strategies can be implemented to reduce the concentration of the gas to safe levels. Testing involves hanging a small, round testing device (alpha tracker) for 91 days from the ceiling in areas of the school that are occupied 4 or more hours a day. The device is passive, which means it omits no information, sounds or smells. The device will be installed in the near future on a non-instructional day, evening or over a weekend, so it will not interrupt learning. If you would like to learn more about radon, please visit Health Canada's website: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/health-risks-safety/radiation/radon.html

Volunteer Reading Program: We are happy to announce that our Volunteer Reading Program will be happening again this year. We are looking for parents and grandparents to read at all grade levels, either in French or in English. If you are interested, please follow this link to register. There will be a training session on Friday, October 14th (8:30 to 9:15) for all new volunteers, and for those who would like a refresher. If you have any questions about this, please contact Mme Sophie at soducharme@cbe.ab.ca.

Upcoming Dates:

Friday October 7: Non-Instructional Day (School Closed to Students)

Monday October 10: Thanksgiving Day, School Closed

Wednesday, October 12: Photo Retakes Day

Wednesday, October 19: School Council at 6:30pm

Friday October 28: Non-Instructional Day (School Closed to Students)

Monday, October 31: Spirit Day—Costume or Black/Orange Theme

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend,

Ryan Turner​


Sep 26
September 23, 2022


Dear Banff Trail School Families,

I sincerely hope that as September has progressed, your child has become more accustomed to the routines of a new grade-level, and for most, a new teacher as well.  By this point, routines are well-established, and expectations are clear, but a more trusting bond with their teacher will also be emerging. 

September also sets the stage for learning throughout the year, for both students and teachers.  Though we are very fortunate to have quite robust expertise in our building, wherein teachers can learn from one another, we also engage in various other forms of professional development led by external providers.  Some examples of what some of our staff is exploring include:

  • Collaborative Response, which is a school-wide model for addressing students' individual needs that leverage collaborative structures and processes, data and evidence, and a continuum of supports to help all students succeed.
  • Math professional development. We are exploring some initial resources that could support the new K-3 math curriculum, as well as bringing in French-language math expertise (Renée Michaud) to help us to pose effective, purposeful questions with our students, in an effort to create opportunities for deep exploration of a range of mathematical concepts.
  • Indigenous perspectives and learning: Participating on a tour of our newly-established Alberta Children's Hospital Healing Gardens, led by Elder Georgina Bird.

Of course, these are only a few examples of what we are exploring, since many other new learning opportunities are also on the horizon.  Professional development that is undertaken is always with students at the forefront; what we learn aims to create more rich learning experiences for all Banff Trail School students.

As the year progresses, I encourage all families to also continually seek ways to broaden their child's understanding of themselves and our community, city, province, country and world.  This could include exploring our city's landmarks or watching documentaries or informational videos suitable for children (such as about financial literacy, nature, world events, the arts, etc).  Even simply picking a suitable 10-minute YouTube video to explore every couple weeks as a family could spur family discussions around appreciating multiple perspectives, learning about how things work, or discovering our passions, all while developing stronger critical thinking skills.

For Your Consideration:

Virtue Leaf Draw:  We continue to recognize students who show good character around our school by offering them Virtue Leaves (les feuilles de vertus).  Although we cannot notice and/or personally acknowledge all of the great things that our students do here each day, we certainly do appreciate these acts, both large and small, seen and unseen.  Thank you!   

Terry Fox Run:  Our Terry Fox Run will be held on Wednesday, September 28th.  Information about fundraising for this charity was shared with teachers this week, and should have also been shared with all families by this point.  Please connect with your child's teacher for more information.

Orange Shirt Day:  This coming week is National Week for Truth and Reconciliation, leading up to September 30th's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  Since the school is closed on September 30th, we will host our Orange Shirt Day on Thursday, September 29th (as previously announced).  If you do not have an orange shirt, wearing a favourite shirt of yours will also work for this Spirit Day!

Upcoming Dates:

Wednesday September 28: Terry Fox Day

Thursday September 29: Orange Shirt Day (Banff Trail School)

Friday September 30: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (School Closed)

Friday October 7: Non-Instructional Day (School Closed to students)

Monday October 10: Thanksgiving Day (School Closed)

Wednesday October 12: Photo Retakes Day

Wednesday October 19: School Council Meeting 6:30pm

 

Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​


Sep 09
September 9, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

I hope that the first couple weeks of school have been joyous in your homes, as students reconnect with friends at school, begin to forge new, positive relationships, become more accustomed with their teacher's routines, and gradually wade deeper into the curricular content. 

Something new this year that you may notice is that some of your child's assessment data will be visible in your PowerSchool account.  This year, teachers will be including summative assessments in PowerSchool for you to view, so that you may have some insight into how things are progressing for your child.  Of course, this data is but one piece of information in a much larger picture of achievement, but it can spark discussions with your child and/or their teacher about their learning progression.  Summative assessment is gathered by teachers at the end of each learning cycle to verify to what extent students have achieved the intended learning goals. Summative assessment is also used to make judgements about the quality of student learning as measured against established criteria, to support the communication of information about achievement to both students and families.  As this is a first year of full implementation, teachers will be doing their best, and there may be some hiccups along the way as they also continue to navigate this new process.  A few other key points about this data:

  • When grades are assigned to work, know that recency is what is ultimately reported when report cards emerge.  So, if you notice that your child's reading ability was assessed at 2, 3, 2, 4 and 4 levels as the term progressed, teachers will examine the most recent achievements to determine where they are at that moment in time—it is NOT an average!  Of course, the reverse would also be true—if achievement were strong at the beginning of the year, but they struggled with more recent work as they explored concepts in more depth, this could also explain why a mark may be on the lower end of what you see in PowerSchool, even if achievement were higher earlier in the term.
  • Not everything can be fully reflected in these summative assessments.  Ongoing conversations, observations, tasks, etc. continue to inform teachers daily about student progress, who then use this data to create subsequent lessons and tailor learning experiences for the student and class.  It is a very dynamic process.
  • Your best source of information about progress is your child's teacher!  Inquire any time about observations, suggestions, etc.
  • Note that this year, we have been informed that across the entire CBE, Kindergarten students will only receive a report card in June.  If your child is in Kindergarten, they will explain to you how other ways of reporting are used (such as in sharing the results of an assessment called the EYE-TA).  Of course, regardless of grade-level, you are always welcome and encouraged to connect with your child's teacher about their progress, at any time. 

I am very grateful to the Teachers and Support Staff of Banff Trail School; they care deeply about the children in the building, and are always seeking ways to refine their work for the betterment of our community.  If ever you have any questions about your child's experience or progress at Banff Trail School, I encourage you to reach out to your child's teacher.  We all want the best for our students, and rely on your insights to provide the best learning environment possible for all.

For Your Consideration:

Virtue Leaves:  We are excited to begin handing out Virtue Leaves once again!  Students receive Virtue Leaves for demonstrating positive character around our school, and can be given to students by any staff member.  Thank you to all students for their numerous positive impacts around the school last year.

7 Sacred Teachings: As mentioned in our school's commitment to Truth and Reconciliation that was shared in June 2022, our monthly virtue focus this year will leverage those character traits associated with the 7 Sacred Teachings: Respect, Love, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Humility, and Truth.   We have chosen Respect as the virtue for September, and the chosen book for the month to represent this theme is Bienvenue/All Are Welcome, by Alexandra Penfold.

Self-Care September: Consider exploring this September calendar of self-care with your family, as we all work towards taking good care of ourselves and others.  Some excellent, simple, accessible daily suggestions for everyone!

Assemblies: Yesterday, the Admin Team hosted our first whole-school assembly since the beginning of the pandemic.  It was great to be able to come together as a learning community; we reviewed the virtues that we will explore for the year, reviewed some norms and expectations for students, and shared the virtue book for the month.  In the future, we plan to invite parents to these short assemblies when their child's grade-level is hosting the event.  Details to come!

Drop-Off/Pick-Up/Hug and Go Zone: We encourage families to use our Drop-Off Zone in front of the main entrance to the school for pick-up and drop-off.  A reminder to pull ahead as far as possible to maintain good traffic flow, and for adults to not leave their vehicles unattended. Please see this link for more information.

Conferences: Learning Conferences will take place on the evening of Thursday, September 22, and the morning of Friday, September 23.  These will be in-person conferences; the purpose is for you to engage in a one-on-one conversation about your child, offering any insights that you may have that could help set both the teacher and your child up for success in working together in the 2022-23 school year.  Details about when you can register for conferences will be shared soon.

Spirit Day: Each month, we aim to have a special school spirit day, where we dress to a certain theme.  On September 29th, we encourage everyone to wear orange, in honour of September 30th's Orange Shirt Day (Canada's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation—note that the school is closed on September 30th).  We look forward to another year with both past favourite spirit days and new themes!

Milk Program: A reminder that we will be offering daily milk (Monday through Thursday) at lunch (Grades 1 through 5) for those who are interested in this service.  Please complete this Milk Order Form if you would like to participate in our milk program.

Upcoming Dates:

Tuesday, September 13th: Photo Day

Wednesday, September 21st: School Council

September 22nd, 23rd: School Conferences

Thursday, September 29th: Banff Trail School's Orange Shirt Day

Friday, September 30th: School Closed (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation; Orange Shirt Day)

 

Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​


Aug 26
August 26, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year at Banff Trail School!  For many, this is an exciting time of year, as you and your child embrace this next journey in their development.  I can still remember shedding a few tears when my son and daughter began their Kindergarten years over a decade ago, but know that your children are embarking on an exciting adventure that will undoubtedly be full of wonder, learning and care. 

If you are new to Banff Trail School, welcome to our wonderful community.  Know that we have worked very hard to create a caring French Immersion environment that provides for rich learning opportunities.  On the first day, if you are dropping your child off, I would encourage you to chat with other parents doing the same; we have a lovely, supportive group of parents who would also be happy to welcome you to our school environment.  If your child has not yet visited the school grounds, I would encourage you to do so with them in these final few days before entry, so that your child can see where they will be learning, play on the compound or on the play structure, etc.  Building some familiarity before entry can go a long way in building some level of comfort and excitement for your child.  If your child is entering Kindergarten, ensuring that they can put on/take off their shoes and coat will also set them up for early success.  The same would be true for putting on and removing a mask, if your child will be wearing one (personal choice). 

On this note, a reminder that if your child is sick, they should be staying home until no longer sick.  Please ensure that you have contingency plans in place for illnesses.  Further communication will likely come directly from the CBE around this, but our school has thus far been very successful at limiting transmission of illness, and we would like to continue to keep everyone as healthy as possible at our school. 

I can appreciate that families are very eager to hear who their child's teacher will be for the coming school year.  Know that, as with every year, changes occur over the summer due to a wide range of factors, and some adjustments to class lists continue to occur at this point of the year, and can potentially continue into the coming weeks.  I can share the following information though, which you may find helpful:

  • You can expect a message from your child's teacher on the evening of Tuesday, August 30th.  This message will introduce you to the teacher, while also providing some information about routines, first day process, contact information, etc.
  • Our office is open to help as of Monday, August 29th, during our regular school hours of 7:58am to 2:30pm.
  • If you have moved or will be moving out of our catchment, please let us know ASAP, to help us with class lists.
  • Registration is ongoing, if you have family or friends in our catchment looking to enrol at Banff Trail School.
  • Class sizes as of right now are similar to last year and are on the low end compared to most other schools in the CBE.  At this point, we have about 18-22 students in each Kindergarten to Grade 4 class, and about 27 students in each grade 5 class.  Again, though, these numbers will shift with students entering our school and departing over the coming couple weeks, but this gives a sense of our current situation.
  • Reminder that Kindergarten students attend alternate Fridays.

We look forward to the energy that comes with the first day of the school year, which can help to set the stage for a great year of learning.  If you have any other questions about school start-up, feel free to contact us.

A few upcoming dates:

Thursday, September 1st: First Day of School

Friday, September 2nd: Reminder--early dismissal at 12:00pm.  No School for PM Kindergarten students.

Monday, September 5th: School Closed (Labour Day)

Friday, September 9th: Reminder-early dismissal at 12:00pm.  No School for AM Kindergarten students.

Tuesday, September 13th: Photo Day

Wednesday, September 21st: School Council

September 22nd, 23rd: School Conferences.  No School for Kindergarten students September 22nd, no school for ALL students September 23rd.

Thursday, September 29th: Banff Trail School's Orange Shirt Day

Friday, September 30th: School Closed (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation; Orange Shirt Day)

 

Looking forward to a great year of joyous learning,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​


Jun 28
June 28, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

On this final day of school for students, we all wish you a wonderful summer full of joyous wonder and family time.  I hope that you are as excited about the possibilities as the children all seem to be! 

The next couple days will be very busy for teachers and admin in working through many tasks, such as preparing classrooms for thorough cleaning and waxing, re-arranging learning spaces, returning materials to storage, planning for the first couple days of entry, etc., after which teachers, lunchroom staff and admin will all be off for a rejuvenating summer break.  The office will be re-opening on Monday, August 29th to help as we can, but please be aware that no one at the school will be monitoring their email over the summer. 

If your child is returning to Banff Trail, you can expect a ‘welcome back to school’ email from your child’s new teacher on either August 30th or 31st, with introductions and details about meeting on the back field on Day 1, routines, etc. We all look forward to starting a new year of learning and seeing students again on Thursday, September 1st.

Finally, a reminder that report cards become visible today, through your MyCBE/PowerSchool account.

 

Best wishes for an amazing summer,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School​


Jun 17
Principal's Message - June 17, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

With very little time left in the school year, teachers are creating transition plans, to ensure that students who could benefit from some extra support are set up for success for the 2022-23 school year.  Transition plans happen to some extent for every student in the school, as teachers work through class lists and do their utmost to create balanced classes that support the well-being of all students.  Other students, such as some who are on Individual Program Plans, can be set up for a more successful transition in the fall, as we find ways to create familiarity and predictability upon entering a new class or grade.  Also, our grade 5 teachers have already met with staff at Branton School, offering some insight into our individual students and the cohort as a whole.  Retirements, grade assignment changes, and new positions with the CBE also offer opportunities to create transition plans that allow us to build upon successes that are already established.

As you and your family transition into a new set of routines in the summer, I encourage everyone to take some time to reflect upon five of the most important aspects of child (and adult) well-being: sleep, social, intellectual, physical, and diet.

Sleep: Current Canadian guidelines indicate that children 5-13 years old should get between 9 and 11 hours of sleep.  The Canadian sleep campaign's website can serve as a resource that speaks to what happens when we are sleeping, and the benefits to having a great sleep routine. 

Social:  During school, children are exposed to a variety of social experiences with both peers and adults, in structured and unstructured environments.  COVID-19 has brought to the forefront the importance of considering how to maintain social relationships with friends and family.  What opportunities does the summer bring to have social interactions with those that we love?  Consider co-planning a special social event with your children!

Intellectual:  Weaved throughout past Principal's messages, I have spoken to ways that you can continue stimulating the intellectual curiosity of your children.  How might this continue over the summer?  There are many wonders around us; learning opportunities abound, waiting for you to ask questions and find answers with your child.  “I wonder what a popular trail is in Kananaskis?"  “How far away is the next closest star, after our sun?"  At what time of day is the water at the beach warmest (or coldest), and why?"  “What are the names of the types of clouds, and can we point them out?"  “What happens at this festival?"  “What do they sell at a nearby Farmer's Market?" “What is a delicious-looking recipe that we'd like to try to make?" etc!

Physical:   There is a growing body of evidence that link exercise to positive mental health, including the reduction of stress and anxiety.  The recommendation is for children and youth to engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day.  The Canadian government offer some tips and speak further to the benefits of exercise.  Build in a daily routine away from the screen!

Diet:  The Canada Food Guide was updated somewhat recently, and refinements continue.  Suggestions for recipes and purchasing of food (such as 10 reasons to buy frozen vegetables and fruit) help guide families in determining sound food choices.  More recent evidence linking food, nutrients and health can be found here.  Are there some foods that you've never tried that you could make as a family?  Are there some traditional foods that you make that your children could learn, or help with the process?

I hope that you and your family take full advantage of the many opportunities that come with the summer break.  I look forward to hearing from students about their experiences in September; perhaps I'll also bump into you as my family camps in and around the mountains, watches theatre, or bikes, rollerblades and picnics around the city…

For your consideration:

Virtue Tree: One of my favourite stops in the hall is to visit our growing Virtue Tree Display.  It has served as a visual reminder of the support and kindness that students show at our school.  There are stumbles we all have along the learning path, but we get better each day, as students demonstrated this year.  I've re-attached our Virtue Tree picture from early November, as well as one taken more recently.  Watching from the office while students seek out their names and those of their family/friends has also been heartwarming.  We look forward to continuing this initiative next year.

 Early November, 2022:Virtue Tree 1.JPG

Mid-June, 2022:

Mid-June, 2022.jpg

Report Cards/Last Day of School: Report cards become visible online some time on the last day of school, which is Tuesday, June 28th (exact time to be determined by CBE). 

Lego for Grade 1:  For the new school year, our Grade 1 Teachers are looking to stock their classrooms with some bright, multicolour lego blocks.  If you have some that you would like to donate to our classrooms, please send them to the office at the school.  They are especially looking for the multipurpose blocks, rather than the intricate, themed sets (meaning bulk lego blocks, as opposed to Star Wars or Frozen, etc., sets of Lego).  Any amount, small or large, would be appreciated!

Upcoming Dates:

June 20th: Sports Day (Tentative)

June 22nd: Grade 5 farewell

June 23rd: Spirit Day: Beach Day and Alternate Sports Day

June 28th: Final Day of School; report cards become viewable online

June 29th: Appeals Day (No school for students)

June 30th: Organizational Day (No school for students)

 

Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School


Jun 03
Principal's Message - June 3, 2022

Dear Banff Trail School Families,

Planning for the 2022-23 school year is in full swing, while continuing on with important learning that is still upcoming for the next month.  We continue to welcome new families to the school, while also saying goodbye to some families who have moved to other schools' designated areas, or to another city.  This process of renewal occurs yearly of course, and we look forward to the energy that comes with new students in the building!  To that end, if you love our school, please do share the good news with neighbours, family, teammates, etc.; enrolment continues yearlong.  Schools are of course closed in the summer, but know that we are able to act nimbly upon our return in late August to add new students, and address any moves that may have occurred. 

June also offers more opportunities to learn outside.  As with last year, I am confident that teachers will be engaging students with tasks in the outdoors more and more over the final 4 weeks or so.  Nature observations, journaling, reading stories, phys ed, and much more all can be done effectively outside either on school grounds, or in neighbouring West Confederation Park (what a gift it is to have that right next door).  I would encourage you to also find ways to move some of what you do to the outdoors, and contrast the differences with doing that activity indoors.  Ideas could include:

  • Pack a breakfast picnic, and eat near a body of water; what might you notice in the early morning that you wouldn't midday?
  • Read a bedtime story outside together, either at dusk or in the dark with a flashlight.
  • Take a look at your child's next year “Grade at a Glance" to see what is covered in the next school year, and see if you can find books, documentaries, YouTube videos, etc., that you could explore outdoors.  Of course, if you can keep these overviews in mind when you are going on bike rides, hikes, backyard BBQ's, or other outdoor events, it could go a long way in making connections to their experiences, when the time comes to dive more deeply into the work in school in the new year.
  • Learn about some of what nature has to offer, and then seek it out! For example, did you know that the City of Calgary has an inventory of every tree that they have planted and maintain?  Zoom in on a neighbourhood on this map, and go learn the names and qualities of trees in that area of our city, as you check them out in-person!
  • Invite your children to shadow you as you do some yardwork.  What are you working on?  Why are you doing what you are doing?  How do you know it needs to be done?  What can be done on your own, and when do you need to ask for help?  This also helps continue their gradual journey towards independence.

Any time you are planning a quick outing with the family, take a minute or two to consider how you could enhance the experience for your child.  Sometimes, it is as simple as asking a good question to your child, or exposing them to a new concept that could serve as a springboard for a lifelong passion for learning.  Have fun!

For your consideration:

Board Game Event: Thank you to all people who attended this past weekend's Board Game Event.  It was wonderful seeing the joy in so many people's faces, old and young.  This was an important social opportunity for many, and I hope that if you attended, you also thought it was time well spent.  To that end, I have created a short survey; if you did attend, I'd appreciate hearing your perspectives on the event, which could inform future iterations, enhancements, etc.  Congratulations as well to the winners of our draw prizes, who have all been contacted:  Aurora P., Jasper W., Isla Y., and Eliana.  Attached to this message you will find a few pictures taken during the event.

Boardgames 1.jpgBoardgames 4.jpgBoardgames 2.jpgBoardgames 3.jpg

Crosswalk usage:  A reminder to use crosswalks when crossing the road near our school.  We have many bends in the roads around our school, and modeling good crosswalk usage for our students is valuable to building their independence and safety.  Thank you!

Donation of Lost and Found Clothing: With our re-opening of the Lost and Found a couple months ago, it is already growing quickly!  Each year, we donate unclaimed clothing and items to charitable causes.  On June 20th, any remaining items in the lost and found will be donated to displaced Ukrainian families in need in Calgary.  Many Ukrainian families have arrived, and continue to arrive in Calgary; this donation initiative is a collaboration amongst a number of schools across Calgary.  Teachers have been asked to visit the Lost and Found as a class in the coming week as well.

Best Wishes, Mme. Perreault!:  Mme. Valérie Perreault-Murphy, grade 2 teacher here at Banff Trail School, has accepted an offer to become CBE's Language Specialist, replacing a retiree, effective June 1, 2022.  Though we are saddened to see her go, we are also very grateful that someone with her passion and ability will be taking on this important role.  In this position, she will be aiming to expand the French Immersion program while seeking and sharing opportunities with school leadership relating to partnerships throughout the world (such as with townships in France and Quebec).  Thank you for your time at Banff Trail School!

Spirit Day:  Thank you to everyone who participated in Unicolour Day in May!  Our final Spirit Day of the school year will be on Thursday, June 23rd: Beach Day!  Come dressed and accessorized for a day at the beach; we'll all hope for some beautiful weather for the day as well.

Upcoming Dates:

June 15th: School Council 6:30pm

June 20th: Sports Day (Tentative)

June 22nd: Grade 5 farewell

June 23rd: Spirit Day: Beach Day and Alternate Sports Day

June 28th: Final Day of School; report cards become viewable online

June 29th: Appeals Day (No school for students)

June 30th: Organizational Day (No school for students)

 

Have a wonderful weekend,

Ryan Turner

Principal, Banff Trail School


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CBE parents/guardians, watch your inbox for a letter from the Minister of Education regarding access to in-person learning. https://t.co/A2tKoYIlih #yycbe https://t.co/y5pO4p5G2h

There are no classes for CBE students on Friday, Nov. 25, because it’s a system-wide non-instructional day. Have a great long weekend! #WeAreCBE https://t.co/dZCQzZ4rJA

Students at @WillowParkCBE worked with artist and author Vivek Shraya to create a short promotional video in connection to Vivek's new book – Revenge of the Racoons. Check it out: https://t.co/Ei06Ulk5tW #WeAreCBE

CBE parents/guardians, watch your inbox for information from the Chief and Senior Medical Officers of Health in Alberta about influenza circulating in the province & measures individuals can take to reduce the spread/lessen the impact in schools https://t.co/hETIuEDknh #yycbe https://t.co/S5AxW9QgXP

RT @elboyacbe: Math and art…a beautiful combination! #wearecbe@yyCBEduhttps://t.co/Ekakdzn9l9