Dear Banff Trail School Parents and Guardians,
I continue to remind myself how thankful I am that we are able to house students for in-person learning at our school. Staff also feel the same way, as the building is lit up with energy and joy these days, which was sorely lacking during the at-home learning time. Safety around COVID-19 continues to be at the forefront of safety procedures at our school, but has also become quite normalized for everyone, as these routines become part of a regular day for everyone. We realize that it is a 'new normal' and include measures that will likely be temporary, and look forward to being able to relax some restrictions as the pandemic is addressed, but we are clearly not at that point yet. As such, we continue to thank you for your support, compassion and understanding relating to school and systemic changes in response to COVID-19.
For your consideration:
Report Cards: Teachers continue to work diligently to analyze student data for the development of the first semester's report cards. These will be made available online in your MyCBE/PowerSchool portal as of Friday, February 5th. Note that the rollout of report cards throughout the CBE is happening during the week of February 1 to 5, based on the beginning letter of the school. In case you have children in other schools, and for reference sake, the rollout is happening/available as follows: Monday (Feb. 1): Sh to Z; Tuesday (Feb. 2): Ma to Z ; Wednesday (Feb. 3): F to Z; Thursday (Feb. 4): Cl to Z; Friday (Feb. 5): A to Z. A reminder that although we do not have School Conferences again until March 18th and 19th, collaboration between the home and school is an important part of your child's education, and you are always welcome to have a discussion with your child's teacher about your their education and progress.
School Patrols: You may have noticed that School Patrols have resumed for the mornings, when safety on our roads is complicated by ice and darkness. Thank you very much for your patience and care in ensuring that both our patrols and families who are using the crosswalks remain safe. Of course, we appreciate the many families who model good crosswalk usage for our school population, to help prepare our children for greater safety and independence in crossing roads later in life. Thank you as well to our teachers (Mme Myriam and M. Jonathan) and students who have volunteered to make this important program happen.
Teachers' Convention: A reminder that Teachers' Convention is on February 11th and 12th this year, and thus there is no school for students from Thursday, February 11th through Monday, February 15th, (Family Day), inclusive.
Valentine's Day: I have received a couple requests for information about how to share Valentine's Day cards and small items in our COVID-19 reality. In consultation with CBE's Safety Advisory team, we are asking that all Valentine's cards/gifts will need to come to the classroom no later than Friday, February 5th. They will be quarantined in an envelope for 5 days, which is more than existing 3-day guidelines for quarantining items, to be distributed on February 10th (before the Teacher's Convention/Family Day/Valentine's Day period). Any Valentine's Day cards that arrive after February 5th will need to wait until after the Valentine's Day weekend, to be distributed on February 16th, so please abide by the February 5th deadline if you intend to send anything to school. Of course, we will also require that items be non-perishable, to allow for the quarantining period.
Spirit Day: By now, your child's teacher will have communicated to you which colour your child's class will use for our upcoming Class Colour Day, which is scheduled for Thursday, January 28th. Feel free to include as much of the colour as you wish—it can be as small as an earring, or as much as an entire outfit.
School Council: Our next School Council meeting will be held online on Wednesday, January 27th at 6:30pm. All parents and guardians of students currently attending Banff Trail School are welcome to attend; a link will be shared out early next week.
Family Literacy Day: January 27th also marks Family Literacy Day in Alberta. Many resources are available online to support this day, including on the CBE's website, and I encourage you to consider ways to celebrate, support and promote the love for literacy at home on this day. Areas to consider exploring include word play, listening comprehension, questions and conversations, and sharing favourite or engaging texts.
Have a wonderful, safe weekend,
Principal, Banff Trail School
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Welcome back to our 'unique' return to school for 2021! By now, your child has likely become more accustomed to the routine of this at-home learning time (for our non-Hub families), and hopefully you have found that your child's teacher has made a strong effort to make this week as accessible as possible for your family. We appreciate the extra efforts required on your end, and we would certainly prefer to be providing a rich, responsive learning environment within our school walls, but know that many, many extra hours have gone into preparations for this week, with your child's learning and care at the core. At this point, we continue to await any further direction around returning to school for Monday, January 11th, but I understand that further information about this may be forthcoming during the government's address later today. As it stands, we have been told that the expectation is to return to face-to-face learning effective Monday, but as we know, this is a fluid situation and we have been asked to be nimble in shifting between at-home and in-school learning. Stay tuned!
A few items for your consideration:
New Kindergarten/Grade 1 Families Open House: A reminder that tonight at 6:30pm, Ms. Toy and I are hosting an information session targeting prospective families who would be new to École Banff Trail School for the 2021-22 school year. Information about registering for this online session is available on our school website.
Registration for 2021-22: Registration for the 2021-22 school year opens on Monday. This is only needed for children who would be new to the CBE or our school, not for existing students of Banff Trail School. For more information about how to register, please visit our website or call our office at 403-777-6120; we would be happy to help you as needed. Please note that registration is not occurring in-person this year; it must be submitted electronically, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Confidence: As many of you know, our School Development Plan for 2020-21 involves a focus on both improving students' ability to communicate in French orally, as well as to develop confidence (both personal confidence and in relation to oral production). Prior to the Winter Break, each class created a visual representation on the bulletin board outside of their classroom of how they show and/or are working towards building 'confidence'. Since we cannot hold assemblies at this time, where we would normally have students sharing some of their successes and progress with other students in our school, I wanted students to be able to see what is being done towards this goal in other grades and classes. Each class was then invited to circulate as a group to visit each bulletin board (which was accompanied by a description of what was being represented), one class at a time. I've attached a few pictures that demonstrate some of this work, so that you can see some of this 'virtually' as well. I encourage you to continue this discussion of confidence at home, as you make connections to current events, books, or people in your lives who you feel have demonstrated confidence.
Return to At-School Learning from Hub: A reminder for Hub families that the deadline to indicate your desire to return to At-School Learning is tomorrow at noon. Please let our school know prior to this time if that is your intention.
Return to School After International Travel: The CBE has posted some messaging on its website about returning from international travel. Essentially, students and families who have travelled outside of Canada are legally required to follow all provincial and federal travel restrictions upon arrival. If your family is participating in the International Border Testing Pilot Program, your child may not return to school until they have tested negative on a second test 6 or 7 days after your arrival. If you are not enrolled in the pilot program, your child must:
Therefore, if you were not enrolled in the pilot program, your child would be unable to return to school for a minimum of 14 days after your return.
Spirit Day: Staff and students were thrilled to welcome back our Spirit Day tradition of Pyjama Day prior to the break; it was great to see everyone dressed so comfortably! Mark your calendars; our next Spirit Day will be held on Thursday, January 28th, and is called, “Class Colours Day". Over the coming days, each class will be determining a chosen 'colour' to wear on the 28th, and no two classes in any given grade-level will have the same colour. You will receive messaging from your child's teacher around which colour was selected, after which we encourage you to find creative and fun ways to dress up in your chosen colour's various shades and tints. We're all very excited about this upcoming colourful day!
Thank you again for supporting your child's ongoing education over the past week, which has been a significant change for many families. A strong home-school partnership goes a long way in setting our children up for happy, successful lives.
Take good care,
Principal, École Banff Trail School
Dear Banff Trail School Parents and Guardians,
The past 2 weeks have flown by, and we can certainly feel the energy in the building, as both students and staff put in the final touches on many projects and tasks in our approach to the Winter Break. It was great to see the joy of staff and students showing their spirit and having fun with the Pyjama Day theme today; as previously mentioned, we look forward to announcing other theme days as the school year progresses. Though it is evident that this break will be unlike any other that we have experienced with our families, know that the École Banff Trail School family of staff will be there for our students with 'virtual' open arms when we begin at-home learning again on Monday, January 4th, 2021.
Apart from continuing to elicit evidence of student achievement in anticipation of the upcoming report cards, and determining what tasks should be designed in response to these ongoing understandings about where students are in their learning, teachers are currently working on how to best design learning opportunities for the at-home learning that is upcoming, from January 4th to January 8th. Earlier today, I received more information about how the CBE will be scheduling and implementing learning at home for the week of at-home learning, and this afternoon we will be closely examining this information and working towards making it as successful as possible. Your child's teacher will be sending home some information that will aim to support you and your child in accessing pertinent online learning during that week, which will begin at 8:00am on Monday, January 4th. This messaging from teachers will vary by grade-level, since supports and intentions for Kindergarten students look dramatically different than for our grade 5's. If you have any questions about being able to access this environment, feel free to contact your child's teacher for details that would be more specific to your child's classroom environment. To access technical support (such as if you are having problems connecting to any online learning component), you are also welcome to contact the at-home learning Technical Support team (phone number: 403-817-7996). A reminder as well that Hub students will continue as normal during that week, and beyond.
A few other announcements:
Laptop Loaner Pool: If you are in need of a laptop to use during our upcoming January 4th to January 8th at-home learning time, please send an email to our Assistant Principal, Nancy Toy (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Tuesday, December 15th. We have a limited number of loaners available to families who could benefit from their use, and simply requires completing a short waiver for cases of damages incurred or loss.
Food Drive: As you may be aware, our Grade 5 classes have coordinated this year's Online Food Drive, advertising the campaign to our students and families. They determined that an achievable target was $1000. We are thrilled to announce that we have currently raised $2300, having far surpassed our goal! Our Grade 5 students are now hoping it is possible to reach $2500; thank you very much to those who have already donated to those who are less fortunate, whether through this campaign or others. If you would still like to contribute to our Online Food Drive, you can do so, here. The Banff Trail School Mayor's Christmas Food Drive / Collecte d'aliment 2020 continues through December 17, 2020.
Next School Council Meeting: Please note that School Council has decided to reschedule their next meeting, to allow for Council Executive members to attend the Council of School Councils meeting. As a result, the next School Council meeting will move from January 20th, 2021, to now being held on January 27th, at 6:30pm. We encourage any available parents or guardians to attend; as always, a link will be sent out in advance of the online meeting.
New K/1 Families for 2021-22 Open House: We have confirmed that we will be hosting an online Open House for prospective Kindergarten/Grade 1 families at 6:30pm on Thursday, January 7th, 2021. This is the first week back after the Winter Break, while students are in 'at-home' learning. We have posted information on our website, and are advertising this event in a couple key locations around our catchment area. We encourage you to spread the word about our great school to your neighbours as well!
Action Calendar for Happiness: Maintaining our collective well-being is a community effort. In examining resources that can support the well-being of students in our school, I came across an interesting web resource that I will be using during the break with my own family, and thought that some of you may be interested in it as well. It is an “Action Calendar", giving you and your children an idea to use each day of the month to work toward the promotion of joy. If interested, feel free to use it over the coming weeks as you wish, such as by following it as a daily calendar, picking certain days to try out, using the suggested acts as inspiration for other ideas, or picking and choosing the ideas that family members would most like to try. Hopefully you find some value in it as well, and if you do attempt any of the actions, I'd love to hear about what you did, and how it went!
If I hear any other information about the upcoming at-home learning experience that may be beneficial for you to know, I will be sure to send out another email before the break. Otherwise, I wish you all a warm, safe, loving break, filled with as much joy as possible during these times. I feel very fortunate to have re-found my way into this wonderful school.
Principal, Banff Trail School
Dear École Banff Trail Parents/Guardians,
It certainly has been a memorable couple of weeks since my beginning at École Banff Trail School. During this time, I have had the chance to get to know many of your children more, such as during visits to classrooms and circulating during transition times (morning, lunch, recesses, after school, etc). This has also afforded me the chance to learn about some of the great things that teachers are doing in their classrooms to promote a culture of strong literacy. This year, as presented at our most recent School Council meeting last week, a focus is upon improving the teaching and learning of French oral language proficiency. This will allow us to maintain existing strong instructional practice related to reading and writing, while leveraging innovative and research-based task design principles to have students become more confident and capable in speaking the language. For example, we are exploring the Neuro Linguistic Approach, among other proven teaching practices found in robust task design, to build implicit competence for students to spontaneously think, process and reply in French. As students work on their oral language 'competence', we will also be developing their 'confidence' in applying their learning orally, as a facet of promoting positive student well-being. I very much look forward to supporting staff and students as we navigate ways to continually improve, in the context of COVID-19.
It would be impossible to speak of school functioning without mention of some of the impacts of COVID-19 on our school and our families, especially with the recent government announcement of a return to at-home learning. The intention is for Grades K-6 students to continue in-person learning until December 18th, as per usual, followed by 2 weeks of vacation/winter break, and then students beginning at-home/online learning for the week of January 4th to 8th. I mention this because some news outlets have reported that it will be a 3-week break from school, when in fact school will be resuming on January 4th, for one week, but from home. In-school learning is scheduled to resume the following week on Monday, January 11th, 2021. There will be no impact to students in Hub learning (continues as per usual after Winter Break on January 4th). You may have questions about how this will happen and what preparations will be needed, and as we have information about what this will look like, we will share it out. This is new information for all of us, and we want to make well-considered decisions about next steps. Thank you for your patience!
A few other announcements:
Report Cards: First semester report cards will be available some time between February 1st and February 5th, across the entire CBE. The exact date is still yet to be determined.
New K/1 Families for 2021-22 Open House: We will be hosting an online Open House for prospective Kindergarten/Grade 1 families in early January, tentatively scheduled for 6:30pm on Thursday, January 7th, 2021. All CBE schools have been asked to host Open Houses online only. This is the first week back after the Winter Break, while students are in 'at-home' learning. More details to come soon, so feel free to spread the word about our amazing school to other families who may be interested!
Hub: A reminder that parents intending to return to in-class learning on February 1st, 2021 from Hub learning have until noon on January 8th to do so. In-class students are not able to enter the Hub mid-year.
Pick-up and Drop-off: It has been great to see how smoothly the drop-off area has gone in my short time here. It is a significant, positive change from when I was dropping off my own children a few years ago! A reminder to pull forward in your car as far as possible along the bend in Cochrane Road, to keep all traffic behind you moving as smoothly as possible. Thank you as well for modeling safe crosswalk usage for your children when arriving from the opposite side of the roads; we want to instill positive, safe habits in them as much as we can. I also unfortunately need to mention that there was recently an unreported collision in the staff parking lot as well; our parking lot is very tight by the gym doors, and we ask that you not park in that area. It's a very crowded space! Thank you everyone for supporting whole-school safety, as always; it is our top priority.
Gifts, Cards and Shared Food: We have had some inquiries in the office about sending gifts and/or cards from home to our teachers to recognize their work in our COVID-19 era. Please know that these gestures are neither expected nor needed, but are of course appreciated by staff. At this time, we are asking that any cards, messages of thankfulness, or gifts that you wish to send are done virtually, via email. Related to this, we are unable to distribute any cards, food, gifts, etc, coming from a home to other students in the class at this time. Thank you for your intentions of generosity, kindness and care, in this unique school year.
Mayor's Food Drive/Collecte d'aliment 2020: This year has been challenging for all of us! Many families are challenged financially and require food from the Calgary Food Bank. We are pleased to continue the generous Banff Trail tradition of contributing to the Calgary Food Bank this season during the Mayor's Food Drive campaign. A modification to our campaign this year is that we will not be collecting food, but rather all the donating will be online. Our grade 5 students are enthusiastic about modelling community engagement to help those in need. They will be presenting video messages to all students in every class encouraging them to talk to their parents about making a monetary donation using the following link to our school's campaign: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/m/55948/donation Our goal is raising $1000! We sincerely thank you for your support in making a contribution of any size to improve the lives of others in our city.
Spirit day: We are very excited to announce the return of Spirit Days! On Friday, December 11th, we are inviting all staff and students to participate in Pyjama Day! We look forward to a very comfortable day for all; watch for other Spirit Days in the months ahead J.
Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy weekend,
Principal, Banff Trail School
Bonjour Banff Trail School Parents and Guardians,
I wanted to send a quick message to let you know that yesterday marked my first day as Principal of Banff Trail School. Over the next few weeks, I look forward to learning more about the students, staff and families at our school, in addition to the processes, systems, and priorities that have been established. Thank you as well to all families who shared your perspectives via a survey about both our school and leadership in our school; it is clear that there are many great traditions and established practices happening at Banff Trail School that are worth celebrating and, as always, we look forward to continuing to improve our school.
I look forward to sustaining a caring, safe, engaging learning environment for our children over the school year and beyond. In the meantime, I encourage anyone who is available to attend our School Council meeting this coming Wednesday, November 18th at 6:30pm. All parents are invited to attend the School Council Meeting virtually via Microsoft Teams. Please use the link below to join. Note: this is the last meeting prior to Winter Break.
November Consent Agenda and Formal Agenda has been posted to the School Council section.
A big thank you as well to Ms. Toy, who has graciously offered to share much of the pertinent information at this meeting on behalf of the school, though I will be there to meet, greet, listen and learn, and speak about my first few days.
Take good care,
Principal, Banff Trail School
Dear Parents and Guardians,
It has been such a beautiful week to be out and about in our community. We hope you all are enjoying this weather! I thought you might appreciate an update about what we are doing at school.
Masks and Physical Distancing
We would like to thank all our parents who are making an exceptional effort to wear masks while on school property. This modelling makes such a difference for our students. Inside the school, I have been amazed at our students' willingness to keep their masks on in class and when in the hallways. Please remember to send a labelled container for your student(s) to store their mask(s) in when outside. Our students are also very attentive to the requirement to use hand sanitizer as they enter and leave classrooms, as well as washing their hands well before and after they eat. Again, I am sure that this is being modelled at home, so it is much appreciated. Your efforts at home and in the community support our ability to follow the COVID safety measures in place at school. Attending to physical distancing requirements and tightening our cohorts continues to be a priority for us here at Banff Trail.
Crosswalk and Traffic Safety
As well, since arriving at this school, I have noticed that many of our families are using the crosswalks to get to the school grounds rather than crossing between parked cars and buses. This modelling also sets our students up for success to be safe when they are crossing roads independently! It has been great to also see the use of the Hug and Go process, as initiated by the School Council. The improvement in this drop-off process is significant from when I was a parent at Banff Trail School!
Our office staff have noticed that parents are keeping their children home when they are sick, even when they are presenting with mild symptoms, to prevent the spread of illness. Mme. Carter has also appreciated the many parents who call into the attendance line to let the school know when their child is going to be away. This also helps with our bus tracking at the end of the day.
I also want to remind parents that next week there will be no school on Remembrance Day, November 11th. Although we are not able to gather as a whole school for our traditional Remembrance Day Assembly on November 10th, we will be sharing an on-line presentation with all students in each of their classrooms. We will stand for one minute of silence at 11:00 o'clock as we remember and honour those who have served. Our Remembrance Day committee has also been able to access poppies from the Legion. On the 10th, each student will receive a poppy. If your child would like to donate to the Poppy Fund, we will be collecting donations in each classroom. Online donations can be made at https://calgarypoppyfund.com/
Here are Remembrance Day resources for families:
Thanks again for your continued support.
Acting Principal, Banff Trail School
Calgary Board of Education | www.cbe.ab.ca
t | 403-777-6120
Dear Banff Trail Families,
As we approach the end of the first month back at school we have much for which to be grateful! It has been so great to be back in school with your children. Although many things are different and we are working on establishing the new normal, the excitement that comes with learning in the company of our peers once again makes our building come alive.
I would like to take this chance to acknowledge the incredible job the staff have done getting this year off to a smooth start. They have put in countless hours all with the goal of having a successful and welcoming entrance for their students.
Parents, you have been outstanding! Your patience, understanding and support are a crucial part to our success this fall.
The Hug and Go initiative as well as the new bus zone have improve our traffic flow and student safety. A huge thank you to School Council and the parent volunteers who have helped make this such a success. If you have a few minutes and would like to be a part of this great initiative please contact school council.
Patrollers will be starting in the next month to help students and families use the crosswalks in a safe manner as well. Take a few minutes to review street crossing safety with your child and when you see them acknowledge our committed and hard working student patrollers.
Just a few reminders: We are outside daily. The weather can be tricky so please be sure your child has appropriate clothing with them. There is no school Friday September 25, 2020 as the teachers will be participating in professional learning. We are an early dismissal school on Fridays. Please arrive at 12:00 to pick up your child.
Please reach out should you have any questions or concerns.
Principal Banff Trail School
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