Sep 08
Welcome Back!!!

September 8, 2020

 

Dear Belfast Families,

 

Pure joy. That was the feeling in the building this past week. Our staff and students were so happy to be reunited and resume in-person learning together.  The new routines and expectations have been embraced by all as a shared responsibility to keep one another safe and healthy.

 

Thank you to all families for reviewing the Re-entry Plan and preparing students for the new school year.  Continued parent support with the following will help us to minimize risk to members of our school community:

  • Please complete the COVID Self-Assessment Screener each morning before sending your child to school. If your child is sick, please keep them at home and call the Health Link at 811 for next steps.

 

  • The playground is closed before and after school.  This CBE directive is to minimize the number of close contacts for students.  Students continue to have access to the playground with their class cohorts during the day.

 

  • Students can arrive at school between 8:20 and 8:30 am and enter through their designated door.  Please come to school on time.

 

  • Sending an extra mask with students is helpful.  Some students may want to change their mask after lunch.

 

 

The generosity of our community is amazing!  In the past week, we have received donations of cloth masks and new water bottles.  If you need any of these items, please reach out to your child's classroom teacher. 

 

We are optimistic for a great year of learning ahead.  Thank you for your positive energy and encouragement.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jacqueline Belcher

Principal, Belfast School​


Jun 29
Belfast Year-end Message

Dear Belfast Families,

We have come to the end of an incredibly unique school year. I want to extend a sincere thank you to parents/guardians for your continued support, patience, and compassionate understanding through this unprecedented school year.

On Thursday June 25th, we were pleased to have our Grade 6 students return to Belfast to bid farewell.  If you drive by the school, you will see the amazing stars they personalized attached to the fence; a legacy item that represents the gifts each student shared with our learning community in their time at Belfast. A big thank you to Righteous Gelato for their donation of gelato to each of our graduates.

Our vegetable garden is in full bloom at the school. We will be harvesting some fresh produce soon to share with our Belfast families.  If you happen to be by the school this summer, please feel welcome to use the watering cans and the rain barrel (disguised as a green compost bin) to give the plants some water.  Drop our fabulous garden manager, Roxanne, a quick e-mail to let her know you have stopped by so she doesn't make the trip herself. rmstarr@cbe.ab.ca

Alberta Education is committed to providing the final plan for re-entry to school no later than August 1, 2020, to allow school authorities time to make any additional adjustments to their own planning for the new school year. The CBE will provide all schools with the guidance and safety procedures to follow to provide a safe re-entry for our students.

The school re-entry plan for ECS-12 schools considers three scenarios that could exist when the 2020-2021 school year begins in September:

  • In-school classes resume (near normal with health measures)
  • In-school classes partially resume (with additional health measures)
  • At-home learning continues (in-school classes are suspended/cancelled)

All plans are grounded in the following four principles that were established by government in collaboration with education partners:

  • The safely of children students and staff comes first.
  • Children and student learning will continue.
  • Provincial funding is still flowing to schools.
  • School authorities have flexibility to do what is best for their community.

Updated re-entry information will be shared by the system in late August. 

 

We are pleased to welcome back to Belfast all of our amazing teachers in the fall.  At this point in time, our school will be organized as follows:

Kindergarten AM and Fine Arts: Mr. Symington

Grade 1/2: Ms. Fraser, Ms. Pynn, Mr. Ursenbach

Grade 3/4: Ms. Austman, Ms. Medland, Ms. Posadas

Grade 5/6: Ms. Ayer, Ms. Weber (returning from leave in February), Ms. El-Guebaly/Ms. Plosz

Families wiil be notified of class placements in late August prior to the start of the school year.

 

On behalf of all staff, we wish you a safe, fun-filled summer!​
Jun 17
June 12

Dear Belfast Families,

Two more weeks of remote learning lie ahead before the summer break.  In your child's Google Classroom are instructions for Art Attack #3: a Broadway inspired performance task.  We would LOVE to have everyone submit a short entry so we can compile a great video to represent and celebrate our Belfast community.  The deadline for submissions is June 20th.  

In honour of summer solstice, Elder Saa'kokoto will be sharing traditional Blackfoot teachings virtually from aisinai’pi (Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park). Be there for yourself as we start the day in gratitude and self-reflection. All CBE staff and families are welcome to join. When | June 18 Time | 6:00 am – 7:00 am Where | Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

Teachers have gathered and bagged each student's work and remaining belongings. There are still many shoes to be claimed!  For Wednesday June 17, Thursday June 18 and the morning of June 19th parents can sign-up for a time in Conference Manager (through Powerschool) to come to the school gym and collect items. The booking system is now open.  Times will be staggered to support social distancing and hand sanitizing will be expected as you enter the school.  If the school lent you a CBE IPad, it is kindly requested that parents return the technology to the school next week when you come to pick up your child's work.  Any belongings that remain after the 19th will be stored until the fall. 

Report cards will be available online through Powerschool on June 26, 2020.  

Finally, we want to extend a huge thank you to all of our Belfast volunteers.  Your support with field trips, reading, School Council, fundraising, productions, art residencies, the garden and so much more is invaluable!  The link was sent earlier today, but we have a few more beautiful students sending their warm wishes in this updated version. Thank you Belfast Volunteers!

Have a lovely weekend!

Jacqueline and Jana​
Jun 09
Belfast Parent Update June 5

Dear Belfast Families,

We are on the home stretch! Three more weeks of EXCITING learning ahead before the summer. We will be announcing some virtual spirit days for the month of June in your child's Google Classrooms. Stay tuned!

With the nice weather and summer on the horizon, we have noticed that many students are not attending the Google meetings with their teachers.  These meetings are an opportunity for your child to receive small group instruction on some key outcomes and have a chance to connect with a few peers.  The meetings are brief (20-30 minutes in length) and one of the best ways for teachers to be able to assess your child's learning needs.  We appreciate your efforts to help your child attend for three more weeks.

The online Budget and Fees Engagement survey is open until 4 pm on June 8th. Your feedback is important and considered as we make decisions for next year.  Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey. 

At the beginning of the year, we collected a $10 incidental lunchroom fee.  During the year, the fee was used to pay for outdoor recess equipment, activities for indoor lunch days and consumables in the lunchroom (i.e. plastic utensils).  We will be spending the remaining funds left over this year to rejuvenate the compound games on the school tarmac, purchase some physical education equipment and a few supplies for the lunchroom.  We hope the students will be able to enjoy the activities on the compound this summer.

Stay safe and enjoy a lovely weekend!

Jacqueline and Jana

May 29
Budget & Fee Engagement May 29, 2020

Dear Belfast Families,

We know we make better decisions to support student learning when we build understanding and work together. The attached survey contains information about the CBE budget and how we develop our own school budget and establish school fees for some services and activities. Through the survery, you will have the opportunity to share your perspectives on school budget and school fees.  

The online survey is now open and will remain open until June 8, 2020 at 4 pm.  Results from the survey will be shared on the school website by June 30, 2020.

Belfast Budget and Fees Survey

Have a lovely weekend in the sunshine!

Jacqueline and Jana​
May 27
Belfast Parent Update May 23

Dear Belfast Families,

 

The world is currently experiencing a global shared educational moment that required rapid shifts into new ways of teaching and learning. We know staff, students and parents all have many questions about how long this period will last and what a return to school may look like. While many things are uncertain now, I know collectively we will be able to implement a plan that supports student learning, well-being and maintains safety.

 

At this time, schools have received information about their budget allocations for the 2020-2021.  We know we make better decisions to support student learning when we build understanding and work together. That’s why we’ll be sharing information about the CBE budget and how we develop our own school budget and establish school fees for some services and activities through an upcoming online engagement opportunity.

During this online engagement opportunity, you will have the opportunity to:

  1. Learn
  • Where funding for the CBE comes from and how it is spent
  • About the Resource Allocation Method (RAM) used to fund schools
  • How we estimate, then finalize, RAM for our school
  • How we establish school fees for some activities and services
  1. Participate
    • Share your perspectives on school budget and school fees
    • Active online engagement will be open from May 29, 2020 to June 8, 2020.

We’ll send you a link to the online engagement and post on our website next week.

 

We will be hosting a virtual Belfast School Council Annual General Meeting on Monday June 22, 2020 at 6:30 pm.  As part of the meeting, elections will be held for vacant council positions.  More information will be posted soon on the Council website, with details on how to participate in the virtual meeting sent to all families by School Messenger closer to the date.

 

Finally, plans are underway to recognize and celebrate our Grade 6 students moving on to new schools in the fall. The event will take place June 25, 2020. We will be combining some elements of tradition and with a little bit of fun.  Stay tuned for more information!  Students are currently choosing the theme for the day.

 

Wishing everyone a restful, sunny weekend ahead.

 

Jacqueline and Jana

May 11
Previous Principal Messages

​(March - April Messages) 

Small Group Support

We are looking ahead to several more weeks of Ongoing Learning. We know that the online format can be challenging for some of our learners, and appreciate the adaptations you are doing at home support your child.  In this period of remote learning, our primary goal is to maintain connections with students and keep them engaged in some learning.

Beginning Thursday, we will be shifting the focus of our Google Meet times.  Teachers will be organizing small group opportunities to connect with students, provide mini-lessons and instruction to help students in literacy and math.  Students will be invited to two lessons a week by their teacher for approximately half an hour.  Teachers will be contacting families with their group times in the next few days. As a school we will do our best to ensure that siblings are not scheduled to meet with their teacher at the same time, as we know sharing technology can be a challenge.

If students have questions about assignments, please continue to e-mail the teacher and they will be sure to connect and support on an individual basis as well.

We would also like to welcome back Ms. Austman to Room 10 and our Educational Assistant, Ms. Churchman to Belfast School. 

 

Important French information

At the March 9, 2020 School Council meeting we had a discussion with parents about the challenges and opportunities we face when offering French as a Second Language programming to our students.  As we are planning for next year, and in light of the current pandemic, we believe it will be best to discontinue offering the French as a Second Language course to Grade 3-6 students in the 2020-2021 school year.

 

The following points provide a rationale for our decision:

  • Students have missed many days of regular school instruction. Our work upon return to school will be to assess student learning and make a plan to address any learning gaps.  Students that are registered in an FSL program are expected to receive 90 minutes of French instruction a week. These 90 minutes will be best used to support students with essential learning outcomes in literacy and mathematics after this period of remote learning.
  • As a school, we can create extra-curricular opportunities for students i.e. a French Club, where interested students can participate and gain exposure to a new language. 
  • We do not receive additional funds at the school if we offer French as a Second Language.  This decision will not impact staffing or next year’s budget.

 

This decision required careful consideration of our priorities at this time. Please contact Jacqueline Belcher, Principal, at jlbelcher@cbe.ab.ca with any feedback or questions. 

 

Update about School availability

I hope this message finds you and your children in good health and good spirits.  The staff continue to miss the regular connections with students and appreciate all you are doing to maintain learning and routine as best you can.  While classes are cancelled, office staff continue to be in the school during school hours.  Feel welcome to give the school a call with any needs or questions.

We are in the midst of planning for next year.  In this time of a pandemic we are not able to process registrations in person at the school.  There is an online process in place for new registrations posted on the CBE website.  If you have not yet registered your Kindergarten child for the fall, now would be a great time!  If you need any assistance, please give Belfast School a call; we are happy to help.

Registration

For all of us right now, there are good days and days that can be described as "blah." We hope this video will bring a smile today: I don't want to wash my hands!

 

Helpful hints for On-Line Learning

As this period of ongoing learning at home continues, we recognize that pressures on families continue to build. Moving forward, as we assign the government mandated five hours of work per week we are open and willing to make modifications to the tasks to meet the needs of each student. It is common practice for teachers in a classroom setting to adjust task expectations on the fly based on observations of the student engaging with the work. At this time, we are all emergency teaching and learning; there is no expectation for parents to recreate the school experience at home.

 

These suggestions may help to reduce stress and support learning in the home environment:

 

Chunk the activities: Attention span can change throughout day; be mindful of the cues that your child may need a break. Break up activities into smaller amounts.

Use a timer Help your child set time limits for tasks.  It is acceptable to submit a partially completed assignment; students will not be penalized.  We understand students all work at different paces and task completion may also look different for each student in the class.  

Reach out: If you or your child need help or are feeling overwhelmed, please contact the teacher. Google Meeting times are great opportunities to get teacher support, but an e-mail to the teacher to set up a phone call also works.

Wellness:  Remember to include activities that you and your child enjoy together in your daily schedule. Include your child, as able, in everyday activities, to promote connection (e.g. making a meal, walking the dog, putting away the laundry, etc.). Remember that parent well-being is equally important to child well-being; be kind to yourself!

Supplemental resources

There are many supplemental resources available online to support learning at home. For support with math, the website https://thegetitguide.com is a good resource for math tutorials. Students can choose a topic related to their assigned math work i.e. calculating the circumference of a circle, and access a slideshow and instructional video to understand the concept in greater depth.

This week you will also see a fine arts assignment in your child’s Google classroom. This assignment is optional and will not be assessed, but could be a nice way to break out of routine this weekend with your family. 

Finally, the CBE has made the decision to cancel all graduation and year-end celebrations for this year.  As a school, we will have an online farewell for our Grade 6 students. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

We are slowly transitioning to a new way of delivering content in literacy and math to our students.  We are learning as we go, and trying to make thoughtful adjustments to support you at home. In our planning, we recognize the pressures you are facing and want to allow for flexibility and high levels of support during the school day.

 

There are three components to the school-wide learning plan.

Google Classroom

Every Thursday, teachers will post an average of 5 hours of work for literacy/math under the tab that says “Classwork.”  This tab will have instructions for the assignment and may contain some videos recorded by the teacher to support understanding.  The work can be accessed and completed anytime that works best in your family’s schedule. Teachers will not be running live lectures for students. Teachers will explain in the lesson plan how students can submit the work.

 

Google Meet

Each teacher will have a scheduled hour each day for “office hours” (half hour blocks on Friday).  This is a drop-in time when students can ask their teacher questions about the work. It is not a time when teachers are delivering a formal lesson. As such, students would drop in, ask clarifying questions and then leave the meeting. Participation is not mandatory. We have staggered meeting times to help families that are sharing devices at home. This week’s meetings were social to allow students to reconnect with the teacher and one another. To access google meet, students go to meet.google.com and enter their classroom name (posted in their Google Classroom for reference).

 

Office Hours for: Google Meet

Times

Days

Class Rooms

 

MONDAY-THURSDAY

 

9:00-10:00

 

10 &  3AM

10:00-11:00

 

8 & 7

11:00-12:00

 

1 &  11

LUNCH TIME

 

NO CLASSES

1:00-2:00

 

4 & 3PM

2:00-3:00

 

5 & 6

 

FRIDAY

 

9:00

 

10 & 3AM

9:30

 

8 & 7

10:00

 

1

10:30

 

11

11:00

 

4

11:30

 

5 & 6

12:00

 

3PM

 

 

Individualized Support

Teachers are available during regular school hours to support students.  Send the teacher an e-mail if you need help, and they will either respond by e-mail or set up a time to connect by phone or video chat through Google Meet. Messages that are sent in the evening will receive a response the next day.

 

Please do reach out to us if you are needing support. This is big learning for all of us as we adjust to new ways of working, but we are in this together.

 

Introduction of Google Classroom

As we move to at home learning, we will be using the Google Classroom platform as a school to deliver content and assignments.  Please see the attached letter with additional information.

Communication-Google-Classroom-Meet-Parent-Consent.pdf ​

May 11
May Principal Messages

Last week was Mental Health Week, with the theme being the importance of maintaining social connections.  In these times when we all feel a little more isolated, please remember that there is a community of support available. It has been said many times, but we are all this together.  Visit www.mentalhealthweek.ca for more Mental Health Week information and tools.  Enjoy the photo of our staff sporting hats for a staff meeting this week #hatsonformentalhealth.

HatsOnForMentalHealth.png 

The Alberta Government has presented three possible scenarios to consider for school in the fall.  They have requested parent feedback to inform future planning.  Please consider sharing your thoughts by completing the survey individually or in consultation with a group of other parents. The dealine is midnight on May 14.  Survey link

Creativity abounds in the Belfast Community.  Please check out the news story on the school website for photos from the Art Attack #1 Challenge.  A new challenge has been posted in all Google Classrooms​

Feb 06
February Principal Message

"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members." – Coretta Scott King.

We are at the mid-point in our school year and the beauty of the Belfast learning community continues to reveal itself. Preparations for the spring production are well underway, with many parents coming forward to join the production team to help with set construction and prop design. The show is evolving as students contribute ideas and collaborate to represent the essence of our place.

 

The first report card went home to families January 30, 2020. The document is a snapshot of your child’s learning at this point in the year and a piece of an ongoing conversation with your child’s teacher about your child’s strengths and next steps. Administration will be hosting a “Coffee and Chat” session February 11, 2020 at 8:30 am to answer any questions you may have about the report card.

 

Our Open House was well-attended by families interested in our Learning Through the Arts approach to curriculum.  Registration is ongoing.  If you have friends and neighbours that have not yet registered their child for next year, please encourage them to come in as soon as possible.  Early registrations help schools plan for next year.

 

As a School Administration, we seek feedback regularly from students, staff and parents to inform our work.  This month Grade 4 parents have the opportunity to complete the Accountability Pillar Survey. All surveys are anonymous. Results from the survey are offered back to schools in the spring to inform our School Development Planning.  Thank you to all parents that have completed the survey already; we want to hear from as many parents as possible.  We will open the Learning Commons February 18 from 8-9 am for any parents that would like to use our computers to complete the survey.

 

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Education Matters for funding our school field trip to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra for the performance of “The Hockey Sweater” and “Appalachian Spring.” It was a treat to be together as a whole school and share in a common experience. There were many priceless expressions on students’ faces throughout the performance. 

 

On a regular basis, we look for opportunities to continue the conversation with students about care for self, each other and our place.  This topic would be a great conversation starter at home.  Ask your child to add to this list of examples.

 

Care for yourself

Have the courage to speak up when you have a worry.

Be kind to yourself when you make a mistake.

Put forth your best effort in all you do. 

Ask for help when you need it.

 

Caring for others

Listen closely.

Respect others’ opinions and ideas.

Use kind words.

Consider your impact on others.

 

Care for place

Contribute to keeping the environment clean by removing wet boots at the door, picking up own garbage and returning borrowed items to their home.

Show care for personal belongings.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jacqueline Belcher

Principal, Belfast School

 

 

 ​

Sep 01
Welcome Back

On behalf of the staff, we would like to welcome all students and families to Belfast School for the 2019/20 year. As the new principal, I have received such a warm welcome from the community; it is clear that my new home is a vibrant, caring place where teachers strive to create the best opportunities to engage students in learning. This year students will be encouraged to explore their creativity, challenge themselves in new ways, collaborate to gain insights from others and build relationships with peers and teachers.

 

I would like to invite parents and students to communicate with your child’s teacher, the assistant principal and/or myself as needed throughout the school year as we value student and parent voice.  Relationships and communication are foundational to the success of any school and I look forward to getting to know everyone in the Belfast School Learning Community.

 

As an educator and a parent, I live the wild pace that a new school year brings for families. Parents return to the routines of making lunches, checking backpacks, home reading, after-school activities and regular bedtimes.  This year I am inviting all of us to take up the challenge of slowing down a few moments each day with our little people to enter into conversation and share the stories of the day. For me this means putting my work or device down and focusing on being present. These stories are fleeting and precious and need to be heard.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” —Robert Brault

Looking forward to a wonderful #Belfasty year ahead!

 

Jacqueline Belcher

Principal​

1 - 10Next

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Blog Tools

 ‭(Hidden)‬ About this blog

About this blog
Welcome to SharePoint Blogs. Use this space to provide a brief message about this blog or blog authors. To edit this content, select "Edit Page" from the "Site Actions" menu.
​​

A new principal had been announced for Belfast School! Visit our website for more information: https://t.co/LA3eGz28oQ Congratulations Jaqueline Belcher we are so excited to have you join us! #belfasty @CBEArea3

Wonderful to relive an amazing performance! #belfasty https://t.co/XlRFKX2dt8

RT @Loriholford: Assembly to kick off #Belfast’s #Earthday #WeCare community initiative and end of year wind up. @Dana_C_Fraser Thank you @BelfastCBE !! https://t.co/8rTHj8MmLU

RT @Loriholford: Our #Belfasty Earth Day was a big success @BelfastCBE read the story on our website https://t.co/QRnWiL2xgB Thanks #WeCare for your leadership! https://t.co/kd5vAO085D