Sep 18
SOGO Residency


Dear Parents & Guardians,

The SOGO residency was well received by staff and students alike. Spending time with the kindergarten day each morning to meet the supervision ratio allowed me to get to know the whole class. On the first day, each class participated in a scavenger hunt. The flags were set up in a wide circle. What was interesting to observe was how the students organized their search: some would randomly run from one flag to the next they saw, not realizing that all flags were sort of arranged in a large circle. Some youngsters ran so so much, because they didn’t make any plan at all (they are kindergarten after all), hence covering a huge distance! Some showed some sort of organization/awareness of what might be the more efficient way of collecting all the information, as they always checked all the flags that were sort of in a cluster together … then they’d randomly run to the next cluster (which was not necessarily the nearest one in the circle). The students enjoyed their time outside. I enjoyed their red cheeks and seeing their delight in finding the last one missing ‘item’. They all ran hard for their whole time and they did help each other when they sometimes stopped to say “Hey, I’m still missing …., have you found it yet?” ​


Sep 02
Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year

Dear Parents & Guardians and Students!

Welcome to the 2020-21 school year!  I hope that you are as excited to return to school in September as I am. Jody Carrington in “Kids These Days” states: “We are wired for connection!” (p. 22). For best learning to happen, teachers need to build that connection with their students. We have missed our students at CWS! We want to reignite our connections! This will be our first and foremost goal during our first days back at school (while following all AHS guidelines - but more on that in a later message). 

While some of our routines will be different, I would like to to point out why I feel confident going back to school at Colonel Walker:

  • We don’t have bussed students
  • We have large classrooms with windows that open, allowing for good air flow
  • We have small class sizes
  • Each classroom has a sink, so washing hands is easy
  • We are a small school
  • We have lots of outdoor space available for us
  • The kindergarten class even has their own toilet in the classroom!


To kick off the year with something new and exciting, we are happy to announce that we have the SOGO Orienteering residency running from September 14-18. You will receive forms on the first day back to school. Thank you to the CWS School Council for paying for this amazing fun learning opportunity for our students at CWS! 

We are also excited to share some new Colonel Walker School clothing articles with you (again, more later). 

A formal letter with a lot of detailed information about how re-entry will look like at CWS is on the back to school page.

Looking forward to seeing all of you again.

Warm Regards,

Meike Thomsen, Principal
Jun 05
June 8 Message

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Schools do not function in isolation. What happens in our communities (small and large) affects us. Us, the staff; you - the families. The conversations we have at the dinner table shape the perspective/lens through which our children view the world. Personally, I love the fact that most of our public schools have student populations that come from around the globe. Schools, in which sometimes 54 non-English home languages are spoken. My own family consists of three different home languages! I could write much more about this, but I will stop with this quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

May 29
May 29 Update

Dear Parents & Guardians,

As we are heading into the first week of June, consider the following:

One of Buddha’s sayings is: “It is your resistance to ‘what is’ that causes your suffering.” We all know that we can’t change ‘what is’ at this moment in time. What we do control, however, is how we let it affect us. We either allow negativity to build, which means that we give away our agency, our power, our control!

OR

We accept ‘what is’ and keep our agency, our power, our control!

I don’t like to be miserable! In order to be happy, I had to stop resisting ‘what is’. I had to accept/embrace it. As Reinhold Niebuhr once said (and I am paraphrasing his famous quote!): Change the things you can change and accept the ones you cannot.

I am thinking about our CWS students & families each day. I am hoping that you have all found new ways of being, that you have all accepted the ‘what is’ of our current time. When I was a young single mother with two young children, going to university and being so, so broke, my sons would sometimes say: “Mommy, why can’t we ….?” I would always reply: “We don’t have much, but we have many things to be thankful for. Count them with me, boys: We have a roof over our head; we are sleeping in a warm bed; we had breakfast, lunch and dinner; we have 4 grand-parents who love us deeply; we live in a wonderful country; it is peaceful in this country; we have clean water; we are safe; we can see a doctor if we need one  etc.”

I encourage all of you to count your blessing, count the things you can be thankful for. Make it a family game! Discuss with your child/ren what a person can be thankful for, brainstorm together and then make a family list! Put it up on your fridge and look at it if you have a ‘blue’ moment. I assure you: it will help.

These past couple of weeks, I have been grateful for the passing of winter, the sunshine awakening my garden, melting the snow and allowing me to work the land. Watching first the snowdrops coming up and now the tulips, daffodils and hyacinths blooming while the cornflowers, peonies, clematis and salad are growing. I find nothing more calming and nurturing that getting my hands dirty in the soil, watching insects scurry away as I turn over rotten leaves.  My garden is my happy. What is yours?

May 14
May 14 Update

Dear Parents & Guardians,

On Wednesday, May 20, we will be holding our second school council meeting via SKYPE. If you are interested in attending, please send me an email so I can send you the link to the Skype meeting. Thank you.

Sadly, there will be NO kindergarten orientation this year due to COVID19. Please share with families and friends who have a kindergarten student starting at CWS in the fall. Thank you.

French as a Second Language at CWS

Starting in September, we will be having our Grade 4, 5, 6 students attend FSL lessons of 40 minutes - four times a week (Monday to Thursday). This will be considerably more than this year, as we ‘dappled our toes’ in FSL. 


In September, we will be following the Alberta Education guideline for the Grade 4-9 instructional minutes for FSL. Personally, I’m very excited as this means that our Grade 6 students will be in an excellent position to go into Late French Immersion for Grade 7 at Elboya School! Because of this, we will be looking for a new staff member to join us who is fluent in French.

School Budget

I will be sharing staffing updates/changes at the school council meeting on Wednesday next week.

 

Hope this finds you and your families well. Spring has sprung. This is a long weekend and I hope you will be enjoying much time outside in the sunshine!

 

Warm Regards,

Meike Thomsen,
Principal

May 01
May 4 - 8, 2020

Dear Parents & Guardians,

It is hard to believe that we have now finished the fourth week of ‘ongoing learning’ in an online format. I have participated in a number of Google Meets and enjoyed seeing so many smiling and familiar faces.

Thursday: What a DRIVE BY it was! Families riding on bikes, in cars honking and waving, kids who had made posters for Ms. Sharon, families walking by! It was amazing to see the large number of families and students who came out at noon to wave ‘Good bye’ to Ms. Sharon and to see their teachers. If I had to guess, I would say that 80 adults and children participated. The staff all stood with their home-made posters, sending messages to their students. One family brought in coffee and treats for all staff to express their gratitude for all they have done/do/will do. Thank you to all of you for participating and thank you to Ms. Tammy for organizing this special event. Many photos were taken and a movie is being worked on! Hopefully, we can share it soon!

I would like to share some great quotes that span the centuries – yet all express my foundational belief when it comes to education. I hope you enjoy them.

When schools flourish, all flourish. – Martin Luther (1483-1546)

The good education of youth has been esteemed by wise men of all ages, as the surest foundation of the happiness both of private families and of commonwealths. – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1933)

If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him, for an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Joseph E. O’Donnell ,Jr. (1961-)

Few expenditures we can make yield a greater return than those for education. A well-educated person produces more and consumes more, makes wiser decisions at the pools, mounts a stronger defense against aggression, and is better able to perform the grave responsibilities of […] citizenship. – Ralp J. Cordiner (1900- )

Parent Technical Support

Client Technology Services will be creating a Parent Technical Support service to assist parents and students at home. Client Technology Services will be able to take phone and email requests to help with connecting to Brightspace and GSuite as well as technical issues that the students are experiencing. The launch date is May 1, with more details to come.   

Warm Regards,
Meike Thomsen, Principal

Apr 24
April 27 - May 1

Dear Parents & Guardians,

My favourite thing each morning is to make birthday calls. To hear excited young voices telling me about piñatas, their new Lego, how they are going to roast marshmallows on the fire pit and how they can’t wait to play with their new nerve guns, or like their mom has made them an incredible breakfast of bacon, eggs and pancake (with cocoa!) is like balm to my soul. Knowing that two students had the firemen show up to help celebrate and/or a cake left on their doorstep because their kitchen is packed up due to moving, speaks to the incredible community of Inglewood and the Together We Will Get Through This.

My birthday is during the first week of May, so, if you need an art and writing project, create a note/card and drop it off on Monday, May 4!

This week, the weather has helped to ‘fill my bucket’. The sunny weather and warm temperatures had me shovelling 2 cubic yards of compost into my wheelbarrow (40+ loads?) and move it all around. Needless to say, it made me a very tired, but happy. It took me all weekend!  My raspberry and red currant bushes have buds that are getting bigger each day, and I wonder how much longer it will take for them to break open. On the South side of my home, the peonies are 15 cm tall, the hyacinths are showing colors and the daffodils are yellow, almost ready to bloom. Next week, my order of 3 types of apple trees, 2 hazelnut bushes, 1 elderberry bush and 1 grape vine will arrive. I simply can’t wait!

Apr 17
April 20-24 Update

Dear Parents & Guardians,

The CBE has made the difficult decision to officially cancel all school-planned celebrations, ceremonies and events for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. While this may not come as a total surprise, it is nevertheless sad to know that our grade 6 students will be leaving CWS without the usual graduation ceremony.

Our online school council meeting on Wednesday evening was attended by ten parents. It was good to see familiar faces. Because this was an online meeting, two moms, who cannot attend in-person meetings at the school, were able to attend their first ever school council meeting ever. I call that “silver lining" in difficult times.

Ms. Masniuk shared with the parents how it has been for her to switch to online learning.

After giving my Admin Update, the floor was open to questions. One of the big questions was: How can we help children connect socially? What ways are there? I challenge you to think about it and to share any ideas you come up with by sending me an email. One idea I really liked was: little Timmy draws a picture and writes a 'letter' (length determined by age!) to his friend; puts it into an envelope; walks to the friend's house; puts it into the mailbox … and sometime in the future, little Timmy receives a letter back! You could tweak this idea by challenging your child (if they love math) to create a math word problem, write it on paper, put it into an envelope, walk it to the friend's house, s/he will solve it and walk it back to your house!

We live in extraordinary times. Nothing is normal. Teachers are facilitating emergency teaching, which we are calling the ONGOING LEARNING PERIOD. When feeling stressed about your son/daughter not wanting to do certain work, my advice to you is this:

MOST important at the moment is that you and your families are emotionally/mentally well. Be kind to yourself and your loved ones. If your child only wants to read – don't worry about the math. If they only want to do math, but don't want to read? Don't have a meltdown over reading. (Don't get me wrong, it would be best if they could do both, but it's NOT worth a fight at this point in time).

We often forget what the appropriate length of time a child spends sitting & working is. It is ONE minute per YEAR of age. So, if your child is 7 years old, you can expect him/her to sit down and focus for 7 minutes! That's it!

Admin Update at School Council Meeting

  • Online learning update:
  • 11 families are picking up paper packages
  • Only 1 family needed technology
  • Assessment and Reporting: Interim marks in by May 1; June 15, marks will be confirmed or updated (grades can go up, not down) with comments relating to math and ELA only.
  • Staffing Update:
    • We are able to keep our 2 Education assistants!
    • The library assistant whom we have been sharing with PFS will be temporarily laid off as of May 1; we expect them to come back to us as soon as we are back in in-person classes in the 2020-21 school year.
    • Sharon, our lunchroom staff was temporarily laid off, too. She is retiring on June 30.
    • CBE was able to keep lay offs to a minimum by taking 1/3 of every school's decentralized balance back and the rest of the substitute teacher budge.
  • RAM Spring projections: delayed
  • Mount Royal University math exam: Cancelled. Math questions can be downloaded from the university's website if students would like to continue working on challenging math questions for gr. 4/5 is level 1 and gr 6 students should work on level 2 exam questions. Handy for parents, as the answer sheets are available, too.
  • New Learning for Students:
    • We have bought a bucket with adhesive tape. Kevin, our OT, was going to tape great figures/patterns on the floor so kids would skip, jump, squat etc on their way down the hallway – introduction is now TBD
    • $ 3500.00 of non-fiction Fountas & Pinnell levelled readers will be purchased (instead of spending it on the Orienteering week that had been planned of June)
  • Alberta Education Provincial Achievement Exams:
    • cancelled
  • Other:
    • Still waiting to hear about special program placements – delayed until early May
    • My way of staying connected:
      • Birthday calls
      • Email me how your online learning experience has been for you this far.

I hope this finds you well. I am only a phone call or email away if you would like to reach out. I am thinking about all of my CWS families and children. A number of students have their birthday this upcoming weekend and throughout next week. I am looking forward to calling them and catching up.
Spring is supposed to finally arrive. Fingers crossed it's true.

Meike Thomsen, Principal
methomsen@cbe.ab.ca ​

Apr 09
April 13-17 Update

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Spring is a time of renewal. Each morning, when I open my curtains, I hear the birds chirping and watch them building their nests. On Facebook, friends are posting footage of Bald Eagles and owls sitting on their eggs already. The cycle of life. Soon we will see young rabbits. We will also see insects again. Bees waking up and starting their so very important job of pollination, so we can eat fruit and nuts!  How many different types of bees do you see in your yard or during your walks? Take photos. Research them! You will be amazed at what you learn about the many different types of bees – most of which do NOT live in a big hive.

Being close to the river in Inglewood and having parks in walking distance as well, I encourage your and your children to ‘open your eyes’ and play “I Spy”. Can you take a photo of what you see and post it to your Google Classroom under Assignment?

I hope that this week of online learning has been smoother for everyone. I have only had one request for resetting a password, which tells me that everyone else is able to log in and participate in their Google Classroom. Excellent! I challenge our CWS students to write me a message via my email and share with me how their online learning experience has been so far. What do you like about it? What is difficult about it? How are you coping with being at home and not being able to visit your friends? I will collect the messages and will post some of them in my Week at a Glance J I’m looking forward to receiving many emails!


A second way I am trying to stay connected with our CWS students are ‘birthday calls’ home. This week, I called two young ladies, who were absolutely stunned. They lost their shyness quickly and had much to share about their special day and the gifts they had received. It was lovely to hear their excited voices. I so miss the chatter that typically fills our hallways!  So, if your child’s birthday is coming up, don’t be surprised if you receive a phone call from me!


Looking at the Google Classrooms, it’s interesting to see what students write. Some posts reveal their personalities so much!

Ms. Lemke asked her students why it was important to be ‘honest’ when doing online work. 


Here are some student voices:

  •  “…next year we are […] moving on to the next grade so, if we cheat, we will not be very smart.”
  • “We should just act like it is a normal day at school. And since we are at home, we can’t just leave Google Classroom in the middle of a lesson and just not do our work that we are assigned.”
  • “Since we are in online class that doesn't give people the right to fool around. Even if we are self-isolated, we should act like it's just like our normal classroom.”
  • “We have to stay focused and be honest in our work. It is cheating ourselves if we cheat.”
  • “We also have to make sure that we make a time to sit down and work until we have what was expected done.”
  • “I personally think that if we need an adult’s help that’s when we are allowed to ask. But not to get the answers on every single question.”

School Council Meeting: April 15, 6 pm on Skype for Business

While we cannot meet in person, we can still meet via Skype for Business. This is the link that will allow you to join our regularly scheduled School Council Meeting on April 15 at 6:00 pm. Please try to open the link. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you. If the link does not work for you, you can send me an email, and I can add you to my “CWS school council group”.

Join Skype Meeting      

Apr 02
Learning to Use Google Classroom

Dear Parents & Guardians,

This has been a week of incredible growth for us as we all learned how to use a new platform: Google Classroom! What began as a week filled with uncertainty, trepidation as well as some anxiety, was replaced by Tuesday evening by a feeling of happy excitement. Excitement about having learned together, helped one another and the Google classrooms being ‘ready’ for students to ‘arrive’ on Wednesday morning. Well, Wednesday morning happened to be April 1st! A word search turned out to be so tricky that … there were no answers at all! Aprils Fools Day! By Wednesday evening, most students in most classes had been able to log in and to say ‘hello’ to their teacher and friends. Such success!

Of course, learning online etiquette will take a little while. How to navigate this platform will take a while for students (and parents), too. That’s ok. 

By Thursday morning, most students had signed in and the kindergarten class already had a live Meet. All teachers have been able to reach most families via phone calls to check in. I was happy to hear that most of our families do have internet at home and technology that will support their child’s online learning. I was immensely relieved to hear from the teachers that most families are doing well. If you need supports from us, do let us know, and we’ll do our best to support you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me/us.

As we are all adapting to a novel situation and a novel way of living and moving amongst others, the Calgary Board of Education has to develop safety protocols that were not necessary before. As of yesterday afternoon, all schools have been asked to STOP handing out materials to parents until further notice. The CBE is working on a Safety Protocol for handing out materials to parents. This is to ensure your safety as well as ours. Please be patient as we are waiting for the new Safety Protocol to be rolled out next week. 

We will let you know as soon as you will be able to pick up student work again.

meike.jpgWhen I’m home, I’m looking at the snow that’s not melting, and I’m longing to be outside, gardening. My south-facing bay kitchen window is filled with pots full of sprouting dahlia plants. As I watch new leaves appear every couple of days, my heart is filled with joy and anticipation of what it to come in my yard. It reminds me that some things continue to be ‘as before’. Besides my plants, this young lady is my ray of sunshine, my anchor in this stormy world. I hope you enjoy the photo.

Meike Thomsen, Principal

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Congratulations to F.E. Osborne School. Students raised over $10,700 for their #TerryFoxSchoolRun (surpassing last year’s total of $2,995!) Way to go! #WeAreCBE @feo_eagles_cbe https://t.co/3LbhHboxWY

Many #WeAreCBE schools will be honouring #OrangeShirtDay on Wednesday, Sept. 30 to recognize the resiliency and bravery of residential school survivors https://t.co/jo0zw97DWj

RT @UsihChristopher: Important: Parents/guardians are required to assess students daily for symptoms of COVID-19 before the start of the school day using the daily screening questionnaire (checklist), available here: https://t.co/8Ma0f3SY62 Anyone who is experiencing symptoms cannot enter a school. https://t.co/YLWf6mf1iz

Students registered for hub online will receive an email by end of day Wednesday with a teacher introduction, info about how and where to log in and more. Check https://t.co/ee2XFbs1qB for more details. #cbehub #yycbe https://t.co/7MiZG7UAE0

Today is the first public Board meeting of the 2020-21 school year. We invite you to stream the meeting online starting at noon https://t.co/nvCl1fNgoJ #yycbe https://t.co/dNj3EMkOpC