Dear CJP Families, This week, we opened our doors to our new CJP students and families. This was an opportunity for students who will be part of our community in September to take a look around, learn a bit about the school, take a peek at a classroom and meet teachers who will be teaching them next year. We offer an orientation for both new Kindergarten students, Hamptons students and all other students who will transfer to CJP in the summer. The Gym was “socially distance” packed. The energy in the school was high. Teachers and guests alike were so excited to be in the school. The evening was a total success. Teachers left here energized at meeting new families and knowing that the time is perfect to welcome our current families back inside the building. We know there are many, many (too many) families who have never been in the building, never seen their child’s classroom. We can’t wait to have you back inside the building. We are planning to host a Grade 6 farewell ceremony later in June. This will continue to be socially distanced and reduced capacity. However, it is a great start. Nest year, we will continue to hold parent-teacher conferences on-line for those who prefer that. And, we will offer times for parents to come into the classroom and meet face to face with the teacher. It has been too long. We are so pleased that last night went so well. We can’t wait to welcome all of our CJP families back into the building. While not in the building, we hope to see you on Monday for Music Monday. We have had several dress rehearsals. It is going to be amazing. We look forward to seeing you on Monday. If the weather is poor, we will postpone to Tuesday. If you are in doubt, an e-mail will be sent out on Monday around 8:15 to confirm plans. See you Monday! Dr. Bettesworth
Hello CJP families!
Could this be a final Covid Update...
This week, on Monday, the second mask restriction was lifted in the province. As you have all seen over the past week, many people, perhaps even most, continue to wear masks. At the present time I believe wearing a mask is a good choice, for two reasons. Certainly Covid is still “in the air” and a mask will protect the wearer from germs. Also, as a society and a community, we have become quite accustomed to wearing a mask. It is almost like a security blanket, it makes us feel safe. Sometimes it is the feeling of safety that allows us to feel comfortable, and that is completely fine because we know, a child who feels safe learns best. As restrictions continue to be lifted, here at CJP we are once again embracing the change and learning to pivot. As a community of learners and educators, we have to make some decisions. Therefore, this is likely the first communication related to moving, step by step out of the pandemic and back to our new normal at CJP. I believe we all have a strong desire to move back to “normal”. But, in saying that, I wonder what normal is and what will make us pivot once again as 20/20 hind sight is a very powerful thing.
As always, I am committed to communication as I believe this is the most important piece when leading such a large and diverse community. We will be thoughtful and cautious in our decisions to move towards what once was considered “normal”.
There have been many changes to our daily practice with the pandemic. Some things though, have not changed. We will continue to sanitize tables, chairs, and touch points on a very regular basis (many times a day). Hand sanitizer will continue to be available, and students will be encouraged to sanitize or wash their hands often through the day. The Alberta Health Checklist continues to be used for all staff, students, and visitors in the building. We kindly request that all students who are not well stay home, just like our teaching and support team does. covid-19-information-alberta-health-daily-checklist-updated January 2022.pdf
Transportation – Students and drivers alike do not need to wear masks any longer. CBE transportation is not aligned with Calgary Transit.
Cohorts – after Spring Break, we will start relaxing our cohorts. We know that students are very excited about the opportunity to play with students from other classes when outside, we also know many students are concerned about relaxing cohorts. Likewise, families in our community have very mixed emotions about relaxing cohorts. Teachers will lead class meetings in the following weeks to hear concerns and celebrations from students. Teachers will also use this time to prepare students for new outdoor expectations as we relax cohorting.
Masking – Mask wearing is no longer mandatory in the CBE. As such, families are welcome to be on the school grounds without masks, volunteers can be in the building without masks, students and staff do not need to wear masks. Currently, a majority of students and staff continue to wear masks in the building. We will support students and staff in whatever their decision is. We are also very aware that decisions are personal and opinions about mask wearing, whether pro or con, are personal and need not enter the conversation. We will respect everyone for the personal decision they make.
Assemblies – these large gatherings, indoors, continue to raise anxiety and concern among our staff and some students. We will not be moving quickly towards these events. Keeping kids and staff safe is our most prudent approach at this time. As such, we are hopeful to host a grade 6 farewell indoors in June along with an ending of the year assembly. The ending of the year assembly may not include families – that is yet to be determined. If we continue to see the decline in case counts and covid truly becomes a thing of the past, we will revisit this decision and ponder school wide assemblies earlier in the year.
Classroom Changes – in the weeks to come, teachers will begin to move away from sitting in rows to sitting in table groups. Table groups are much more productive, inclusive and collaborative. We know kids learn better with these seating arrangements. We will also start re-grouping students in different ways that may include students from other classes.
Lunchroom – we have had several classes eat lunch at lunch tables in the gym in the past. At the present time, we have no plans to move back to eating in the gym. If staffing shortages do occur, we could revert back to this, but, remain hopeful we can remain with all students eating lunch in their classrooms.
Buddy Classes – this is one of the highlights for all students. For almost 2 years there has been no mixing between grades. We are hopeful to being introducing Buddy Classes after Spring Break.
Fieldtrips and Year End Celebrations (Sports Day and Movie Day) - Fieldtrips are a go. Teachers may plan trips as they have in the past. This could include trips to a variety of locations in the city or walking fieldtrips to amazing places in our community. Sports Day and Movie Day occur at the end of June. We anticipate these should go ahead.
We appreciate your understanding and kindness as we move forward with fewer restrictions.
Help and Support for Social Situations We have known for months that social interactions amongst our youth have suffered during the pandemic. The subtle erosion of regular social interaction and what that might mean for children in the long run has been asked often. School is not just a place where children learn academics. It’s how they learn to get along, navigate and negotiate with their same age peers. The social spaces of online school — a Zoom call here, a Google Meet there, Messenger Kids, looks a lot different than the hallways, lunchrooms, and playground of in-person school. At school, in these typical places children learn how to share, follow rules, and solve complex problems. Over the past two years, our children have not has the opportunity to develop these skills as we would have hoped. There is so much learning that happens when kids socialize. By being around peers, children develop executive functioning skills. Those include things like impulse control, the ability to hold multiple thoughts simultaneously, and the mental flexibility to solve nuanced problems. These executive functioning skills aid the development of traditional academic skills like numeracy and literacy. These skills don’t just develop in a vacuum, they develop in the context of being in situations where you have to interact with your peers. There has never been this kind of widespread interruption to social life as the last two years. Most of our kids will be fine, they will likely struggle, but, they will make it. They’ll find ways to recover what’s lost with the help of parents, teachers, and their natural resiliency. This is where we need your help, our children do need your help, understanding and awareness. They need conversation and expectations from parents that align with expectations from school and the larger social community. Keep your hands to yourself, be kind, share, listen carefully, take your turn, wait patiently, take a deep breath and try to regulate your emotions. I am hearing too often from parents when we make those difficult calls home - “my child has never done that before, or, this has never happened before”. Yes true, because we have never spent so much time on-line, locked down and away from others. This does have an impact and we are seeing this impact every day at CJP. What can you do? Spend time with your child. Talk to your child about expectations. Listen to what your child is telling you. Don’t respond or react, just listen and help them problem solve. Always ask your child what they did, what their responsibility in this situation is, what they could have done differently. We shouldn’t listen to stories about the “other guy”, that isn’t helpful, no one can change the “other guy” and we at school can’t speak to you about the others, only your own. We can impact our own child. Our kids are amazing, they simply need time, attention, and great coaching. Thank you for your help. Have a great weekend - Enjoy the warmer temperatures!
Dear CJP Families,
As a community we have faced many celebrations and we have also faced many challenges. Together we have all managed to find the best path and the best solutions to all we have faced as an educational community. In the last few days I have received many, many communications and messages from families about the upcoming health changes, to masking in particular. I appreciate all of the kind and thoughtful messages you have sent to me – thank you. I read each and every one. Sadly, I do not have time to address them individually, however, I will attempt to share the information I have with our community. As always, when I learn more I will update you all accordingly.
I know there are families in our community who believe I have influence and impact on provincial/ ministry decisions that are made that affect our school. In regards to the pandemic, the health restrictions, the restrictions and expectations from AHS – these I have no influence over nor do I have any impact on those making the decisions. Like all adults in our community, my impact is when I vote in civic and provincial elections. Knowing this, it is important to know that I have no control over the newest mandates from our Provincial Government. I am required to follow the expectatations that have been shared. I am expected to lead our community in this effort. Information about masking is written lower in this message.
Every student will be warmly welcomed to CJP on Monday. If your child is wearing a mask or isn’t wearing a mask they will be embraced and welcomed. If your child comes to school with a mask on, we will continue to support them to wear the mask correctly and suggest when they should take a mask break or safely remove the mask to eat/drink. If your child comes with no mask, we will love them just the same. From time to time, there are issues that can be quite divisive in a community. Mask wearing is one such issue. Our team here will continue to follow all expectations shared by the government. We will also support every child with the decisions they make about mask wearing. If you do plan to send your child to school with a mask, kindly share your expectations for mask wearing with them. We will encourage and support those students who have masks, but, we are unable to enact different expectations for children according to their parent’s wishes. Please make your expectations clear to your child.
In regards to all other expectations and policies put in place during the pandemic. Schools (and the CBE) are still waiting for direction from the Ministry in regards to all other safety measures put in place. At the time of writing this message to you, there has been no written communication from the Government nor the CBE in regards to cohorts, playground rules before and after school, expectations for masking of adults on the courtyard/ field before and after school etc. Since we continue to wait for guidance, we will continue to follow the expectations set out before us until we hear differently. It is easier to maintain the status quo than to continue to change things. There has been enough change already. When we are given updates, we will share these accordingly. Your understanding of this is very appreciated. I am sure there will be more updates in the days and weeks ahead.
I hope your weekend is restorative!
Enjoy cheering on your favourite country in your favourite sport.
Faster. Higher. Stronger. Together!
Hello CJP Families!
We would like to welcome new families who joined us over the winter break. It is always nice to have new faces and new friends join our community. This past week we also had a great opportunity to meet many, many new community families and prospective Montessori families. We are always energized by speaking about our amazing school and sharing stories of our amazing learning community. You all make it easy to share great things about CJP. With Kindergarten orientation opening on January 17 I am reminded of how quickly time passes for those already in our building and how exciting the unknown is for those starting their public school journey in September.
This week we returned after an extended winter break. We all returned with a bit of hesitation and also the confidence in knowing CJP staff pivot quickly to continue to provide our learners and staff with the safest environment possible in the context of a pandemic. We can’t forget our community. Thank you for sending your children to us on a daily basis, trusting that we will do our very best to keep them safe. Thank you also for keeping your children at home when they are not well. Our community thanks everyone for being diligent in using the AHS Checklist daily, taking your child’s temperature daily, and for keeping your children home when they are feeling unwell.
The facts for the first week of school in January 2022; The school no longer receives updates from Alberta Health when a child tests positive for covid. There continues to be some families who notify us that their child or a sibling in the family is positive. We are grateful to those who are diligent in following the guidelines from Alberta Health when their partially vaccinated child is a close contact or tests positive. When you do this you are demonstrating your care for the larger community. For this – we all say thank you! Families have been quick to respond to our request to pick up their child when they are un-well.
The reality, as a community, we are calm. We are diligent about sending our children with masks and reminding them to keep distance from others and wash hands (or sanitize) often. At the time of writing this, we still have no idea when our masks and rapid tests will arrive. There are many schools in the NW that have not received their shipment. When they arrive, we will let you know. We are also painfully aware that Covid is in our community, in our school. With almost 600 children and adults in the building every day, it would be foolish to think we are free from Covid. When we look at attendance in some of our classes, or watch as some children leave the building feeling unwell – we know Omocron is present. Today our staff are strong, the virus has not yet affected them. We are hopeful this continues so as not to interrupt face to face learning. We will be sharing more information at School Council this week should you like to hear more details about what is happening here at CJP.
Different from this time last year, there is no stigma faced by those who test positive for Covid-19. I stand strong in my belief that our community understands no one seeks out Covid-19 and no one would try and inflict any harm to our community. I am so impressed with how supportive, kind and thoughtful our community has been in the days since our return to school. Thank you for your generosity, kindness and calm. Thank you for your kind words of support and your silent cheers of support as we continue to do all we can to keep our amazing community safe. Yet again evidence that we are all in this together.
Dr. Bettesworth and Ms. El-Geubaly
Dear CJP Families,
We are fast approaching one of the most important days of the year. A day to remember and reflect. A day to appreciate the men and women who currently serve to protect our great country. And a day to remember those in the past who went off to war on our behalf, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. A sacrifice meant to keep Canada strong and free. A sacrifice paid for with blood and tears. But how can I explain this to my school-age children? How can I impress upon them the importance of this very special day? I'll admit it's a difficult task, one I should attempt.
Here are some of the things I do to help my children understand the importance of Remembrance Day. I talk with my children through the year, not just around Remembrance Day. Perhaps this is easier for us as we have Great Grandpa's war medals proudly on display in our library. This kind of discussion tends to be very short, simple and matter of fact with my 9-year-old, but as she gets older I can really start to share some hard truths with her. Truths like the fact that in many different wars over the years, men and women went off to war for Canada. They left their moms, dads, wives, husbands and, in some cases, kids to trudge off to war. They left the comfort of their home for the cold, wet trenches and left the calm of Canada for the constant fear of war elsewhere. These people were likely afraid. Very afraid. They were likely cold and hungry sometimes. They endured seeing friends die right next to them. They went to sleep each night not knowing if it would be their last. And they did all of this for us. For you and me and all of our fellow Canadians. And we should be grateful. Not just on Nov. 11 each year, but every day.
For my children, I try to make things personal, when possible. I tell my children about a friend or relative who fought for our country. I have a cousin who was in the services for most of his adult life. We often share his stories, especially when we see him. I tell them about their dad's grandfather who served in the Second World War, leaving his wife and two young daughters at home. He missed the birth of his third daughter, and met her for the first time when she was four! Great Grandpa was trained as a tank mechanic and served in Germany, Italy, and France. He returned home to Canada, wounded from a gunshot to the leg. While Great Grandpa has been gone for many years, he is still regarded as a hero in our family. I try my best to explain why we fight wars. I try to explain to my kids that Canada might be a very different place if our soldiers had not joined forces with other countries to fight against evil. I talk about why wars, though awful, are sometimes necessary. Our country might not have remained a place where people could feel safe holding true to their culture, religion and beliefs. This country could possibly be under totally different rule today.
It took our soldiers, fighting alongside the soldiers of other brave countries, to enable us to continue to be the "true north strong and free." And I am grateful. Sadly, war still exists and I think my children need to know this reality. I will be sure to let my children know that there are soldiers from Canada who are in the line of fire today. They are on peacekeeping missions or are in war torn areas and they are in danger. They are risking their lives even now on behalf of our country.
Finally, we always attend a Remembrance Day Ceremony. The last few years we have attended ceremonies at either the Field of Crosses on Memorial Drive or the Military Museum. This year, we will watch a ceremony on line, there are many being shared in this format to keep us all distanced and safe. These ceremonies are an amazing opportunity for our children to see the enormity of this day, the impact, and that others also remember. When I am at a ceremony, perhaps even when I watch one on-line, and the enormity of what's been done for us falls upon me, then sometimes there are tears. Embarrassing for you, my kids? Possibly. But I will never be sorry or ashamed for any single one of those tears. The soldiers who fought gave up so much more than tears. They gave their lives. Their last breath, their life's blood. Their families gave more tears than enough.
Never forget, the peace and freedom we have in Canada, we owe to those who came before us. Those who bravely fought to make sure no one could take it from us. Thank a veteran today, thank a person in uniform today, thank a senior and let's be so grateful for all they've done, for their sacrifice for our great country.
Lest we forget.
Dear CJP Families, To all of our Hallowe’en enthusiasts, enjoy your weekend of spooktacular events and festivities. Please be safe and make good choices. Also, please remember that school starts at 9:10AM on Monday. Parents, your CJP team appreciate all students arriving at school on Monday with a healthy lunch and snack. Their bodies and brains work best when fueled with healthy food choices. Please leave the candy at home!
Please note: We will be sending out two weekly messages this afternoon. One will be immediately after the other. The two messages will be almost the same. If you don’t receive the second message you need to click on the link below and agree to accept commercial messages from CJP. Most communication from School Council/ Parent Association is commercial as it includes fundraising initiatives. In the weeks to come we will be sharing information about such things as hot lunches/ Healthy Hunger...you don’t want to miss out on that opportunity because you haven’t signed up for commercial messages. A day without making a lunch for my family is a good day – don't forget to check that box to receive all of our messages.
Hello CJP Families
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you our newest member of the CJP family. Mrs. Jana El Guebaly (Mrs. El) is our new Assistant Principal! Mrs. El will officially join our team and meet your children on November 1st. She comes to us with a vast amount of experience as an AP as she is currently the AP at Belfast School in Calgary. Her skill set includes Art Centred learning, working with families and students with unique and special needs, and incredible classroom teaching expertise. Mrs. El is student centred and briming with energy and enthusiasm for teaching, learning and success for all students. Mrs. El will make her CJP debut at the Parent Council meeting this Wednesday evening where she will take a bit of time to introduce herself to those in attendance. Please plan to join our School Principal and School Council Executive as we welcome Mrs. El to CJP this Wednesday at 7PM.
Hello CJP Families,
It is at Thanksgiving that we take time to reflect on what we are thankful for, I too, would like to take a moment to give thanks. I am grateful to be the principal at Captain John Palliser School and to have an opportunity to work alongside some of the very best students, families, educators and staff in Calgary! It is a pleasure and honour every day!
I am thankful for our students. They come to class every day and put significant effort into becoming more skilled and knowledgeable citizens. They are open to new ideas, new concepts, and new experiences, and we learn from them every day. They come from different circumstances and backgrounds to learn and grow together. That process is not always easy, but they struggle through the difficult moments together, and they celebrate their successes together. I am proud of them and all they have endured and accomplished, I consider myself lucky to lead their school.
The parents at Captain John Palliser School are the most engaged and enthusiastic I have ever worked with. CJP would not be what it is without their support and the effective partnerships they have created with our staff. We only need to look at the great turn-out from our last School Council meeting to know how very engaged our families are. The countless hours and incredible effort they are putting forward with our playground is amazing. Our School Council and our Parent Association are exceptional examples of the enthusiasm and effort evident in our parent community. Thank you for all you do every single day!
What we do at Captain John Palliser School could never be achieved without the dedication of the staff behind the scenes. From our facility operator and cleaner to the amazing team in the office headed up by Ms. Kveps, our lunchroom supervisors and Library Assistant, the persistence and initiative they demonstrate is uncommon, and I appreciate their dedication to our community, their hard work and professionalism.
I could not do what I do without the help of CJP’s Assistant Principal Helen Sharpe. Today was her last day with our team, she will be so missed. Her dedication to CJP is clear and her work has been essential in establishing the organizational culture, positive environment, and student-centered instructional program necessary for our students to grow and thrive, especially during the pandemic. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with and learned from her. Ms. Sharpe will be an amazing principal in her new school.
And of course, the backbone of our organization – the teachers! I want to extend a very special thank you to our Teachers, Education Assistants, and School Assistants. The teaching staff at CJP is tireless. They constantly challenge their students and themselves to reach higher and accomplish more. Everyday, I come to work I am renewed by their energy, their enthusiasm, and their willingness to try new things while remaining grounded in foundational teaching practices. Our teachers are continually adjusting their instruction to help each child reach his or her potential. So, to the Captain John Palliser Teaching team please accept my sincere gratitude and appreciation as I say thank you for your service; your service to our students, your service to our school and your service to our community.
To all of our students, families and staff, I wish you a very meaningful Thanksgiving.
Dear CJP families,
This week marks the first time in Canada we have had a federally recognized day where Truth and Reconciliation was observed across our country. When I met this morning with teachers, I asked all of them, “What did you do?” and “What will you do moving forward?” I would like to pose that same question to our community. Together we are all responsible for the children around us and their understanding and growth within the context of Truth and Reconciliation. What will we continue to do to ensure Truth and Reconciliation is an ongoing part of our daily conversation with our youth? What will you do to ensure that the children and families who sacrificed so much, even life, when forced to attend residential schools, are never forgotten. That their stories live on, because every single child does matter, they matter so very much. So, I ask again, of all CJP families, “What did you do yesterday to acknowledge Truth and Reconciliation and to deepen your learning and the learning of your children?” and “What will you do moving forward?”
Today, our school community spent the day with Darcy Turning Robe from Siksika Nation. Darcy, our Knowledge Keeper, lead a discussion about Truth and Reconciliation, residential schools, and then lead grade level round dances and then a whole school round dance. It was spectacular! Round dances are celebrations that signify fellowship, kindness, togetherness and respect. Today we learned about Round Dances a part of the indigenous culture of kindness, healing and celebration. Check out the banner story, and our music section, for some pictures.
Today we were also fortunate to participate in a conversation with Misty, her daughter Elizabeth and her brother Tyler. All CJP students, including Elizabeth’s three lovely children, observed and listened as Elizabeth posed questions to her mom Misty about their family’s experiences with residential schools and how the family has coped and journeyed on since the children returned from residential school many years ago. Our biggest learning, while the children attended residential school a few generations ago, the impact and pain is still felt today. The emotional burden on the family still runs very deep. This lovely family, part of our CJP family, is brave and has courage. And, if you were ever of the mindset that residential schools affected families in far off places, now you know, residential school survivors are part of our CJP family. Thank you Misty, Elizabeth, and Tyler for sharing your very special and personal story with us today.
I ask again to our CJP community - “What will you do moving forward?”
Dr. Bettesworth and Ms. Sharpe
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