Mar 25
Spring Break March 25, 2021
Principal Message

Dear Parents & Guardians,

We made it to Spring Break without any cohorts going into isolation and no staff member having to quarantine at home. Amazing! We are looking forward to seeing all students again on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Each student brought home a spelling workbook before Christmas break. I hope that your son/daughter has been working in it each and every day or at least most days. Practicing spelling is a foundational block for improving reading and writing. This week, I was doing my rounds through the classes and one grade 3 student asked me how to spell 'over'. This reminded me that I really wanted to check in with all of you in regards to the spelling book and how important it is to work in it. Working on reading and writing daily is an important habit to form. Playing Cribbage with your child in grade 2 and 3 is also the most engaging way of practicing basic facts for math with them (without your child realizing they are doing math work!)

I'm very excited to share that CWS will be a PILOT TESTING SCHOOL for K-3 reading assessment tools called LenS (letter name sound test for K-2) and Castles & Coltheart Test (CC3) for grade 1-3. These tests have been used in the Edmonton Public school board for a number of years now. The tests clearly show which SKILL the student should learn NEXT. Dr. Oakley school, the CBE's reading intervention school, has been using this approach very successfully for the past two years.

The CBE is allowed to put forward four schools to participate in the pilot project and CWS will be one of them! Even more exciting is the prospect that we will be part of the process to establish Alberta Norms.

I will receive the screeners (tests), instructions and a video during spring break. We will look at the material when we return from Spring break. On April 12 and 13th, we will have Bruce Raddatz come into the school to free up teachers to administer the new test one-on-one. I will keep you informed of how this is all rolling out as it happens. Our next school council meeting is on April 20th. Please join us to see what my update on this exciting project will be.  The April evening will also involve my presentation on next year's budget and fees.

​Warm Regards,

Meike Thomsen, Principal​



Mar 19
Spring!


Principal Message

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Thank you to all the parents who joined the school council meeting on Tuesday. A big thank you to Ms. Connell and Constable Mark Enzie from the Calgary Police who were guests.

It is hard to believe that we are heading into the last week of school before spring break.

I am looking forward to digging up more lawn and sowing bee-friendly flowers. Going for long walks, reading at least 2 good books (I love a good crime novel!) and spending time with my little grand-daughter.

I have reached out to Camp Kiwanis and have given them our preferred choice of weeks, which are all mid September to early October. Of course, all of this is tentative, as none of us know what the world will look like in the fall.

 

If you are a grade 4-6 parent, Alberta Education is asking for your feedback (as they do every year). Please fill out the Alberta Education Assurance Survey (formerly the Accountability Pillar Survey). It has been scheduled for the week of March 22 to April 23, 2021. You should be receiving a letter soon. Your feedback is important to us as we use the data to make decisions and to report back to the whole school community. Seeing as we are such a small school, I encourage all of our grade 4-6 parents to complete the survey. Last year, 13 parents filled out the survey, which was a huge improvement over the only 8 from the 2019. My challenge to you is: Lets try to have 25 parents fill out the survey! The more parents fill it out, the more valid the data is. Thank you in advance for taking time out of your busy days to complete the survey.

 

Warm Regards,

Meike Thomsen, Principal​


Mar 12
Alumni Award

Dear Parents & Guardians,

There is nothing like a good, unexpected surprise! This week, I received an email from EducationMatters, sharing with me that Colonel Walker alumni from the graduation years of 1950-1965 had a reunion and decided to create a Colonel Walker 1950-1965 Alumni Award for three grade 6 students at a value of $250 each, based on superior citizenship qualities and academic achievement. This is an annual award and the nominations will be put forward on May 1st of each year. At least one school staff member (myself and perhaps a teacher or two) will meet with an EducationMatters staff member to discuss the nominations and then make collaborative decisions.

This is such an incredible example of how strong the community ties are in Inglewood and the long-lasting feeling alumni have towards their school. It shows, yet again, how much belonging and sense of community a school creates. I really wished that we would have names and photos of these alumni students. Wouldn’t it be amazing if some of them could be speaking to our students? Sharing their stories? I don’t know if you happen to know any of them. If you do, please let them know how much we appreciate their generosity and that we would love to be in touch personally.

We have even more good news, as I was notified that our gym floor will be refinished during the spring break. So, upon our return, we will have a new-looking gym floor to enjoy!


Mar 05
A year ago, news of the COVID-19 virus spread all over the world.
​Dear Parents & Guardians,

A year ago, news of the novel COVID-19 virus spread all over the world. A year ago, I was still hoping to visit my parents during spring break to check up on my father who was not well (and still is not well. He just received 4 stints!). A year ago, we all started to wonder if and how COVID-19 would impact our lives and our way of living.

Today, we know the answer. Today, we have grown used to using words like: social distancing, sanitizing, isolation, mandatory quarantine, Hub-learning, emergency online learning, Skype, Zoom, TEAMS and Google Classrooms, curb side pick-up, online grocery shopping, 14 days, 10 days, close contact, outbreak etc.

This year, the CBE has hired extra cleaners whose sole purpose is to disinfect high-touchpoint areas like doorknobs, light switches and banisters etc. The CBE has a COVID-19 team, whose sole purpose is to inform and communicate with principals when a case affects their school. The CBE has a new section in their corporate website that reports on all new cases. Each system meeting to principals includes a summary and report on COVID-19 numbers for each month of the 2020-21 school year.

At Colonel Walker, we transitioned to Emergency Online Learning early in the spring of 2020 and all the teachers had to learn Google Classroom overnight. We returned to in-school learning and teaching in September this fall. It was such a celebration to welcome the students back into the building – with new protocols in place! Entering the school, sanitizing the moment you do, sanitizing again as you enter your class, separate supplies, using a specific door to enter/exit your class. The biggest adjustment was the organization of our recess and lunch recess time with Piitoyias Family of Schools. We had to divide our outside space into 7 areas. During lunch time, each day, we rotate. So, instead of going wherever the kids want, they now have to go to a specific area, which changes daily. Dropping off and picking up has changed, and our school council meetings as well as the parent-teacher interviews are done virtually!

All these new routines had to be practiced and reinforced. Today, it is safe to say that the students are doing most of these things automatically and without thinking. Some new routines are so user friendly that we may even keep them!

A year into COVID-19, I would like to say THANK YOU to all our CWS parents. You have trusted us with your child/ren. You have supported us by keeping your child/ren home when they were sick and/or came to pick them up when Ms. Tammy called you.  You have practiced with your child/ren how to wear masks, how to sanitize hands, how to open lunch containers etc. Our students come to school ready to learn and the progress each child has made during the past months has been incredible. Thank you for your continued support of CWS!

Meike Thomsen, Principal





Feb 19
Teacher's Convention was Excellent This Year

​Teacher convention, while from home, was excellent again this year. The Calgary Teacher Convention is organized by volunteers only! This was the larges online teacher convention ever organized in North America. Yes, the first log-in on Thursday morning was a little tricky, but within 15 minutes, I was good to go and had no further tech challenges. Not having to go downtown in -35C was actually quite nice, too. Personally, I attended sessions on: Working with Grief; Making Learning Visible: Student Photo Books & Co-creating Learning Stories (so want to try this here at CWS!); Unsilencing Emotions in Education. The Emotional Labour of Teaching; Anxiety: I’m Not Playing Your Game; How to Get Your Students Writing; and Understanding & Using Mental Toughness (this is similar to resiliency). This Friday, teachers will share with me what their highlight of teacher convention this year was. ​

Feb 05
Teacher's Convention is Around the Corner

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Next week is a very short week for students. It is hard to believe, but Teacher Convention is around the corner! Thursday and Friday, teachers will be participating in online learning! It was fun to pick and choose sessions that interest me personally. I know I will miss running into old colleagues and having little ‘reunions’ anywhere you go. Sitting in my office at home will simply not be the same. The Calgary Teacher Convention is put on entirely by volunteers! This year, all of these volunteers learned a multitude of new skills as they navigated technological challenges/learning on how to put on the BIGGEST online teacher convention in North America!  

I’m happy to share that Ms. Pelletier will be returning to work on Monday, February 8, 2021.

Ms. Leigh, our Grade 3 teacher, will be joining us at our next school council meeting on Feb. 23

Today is the day that you will be able to access your child/ren’s report cards online. Ms. Tammy sent out instruction on how to access them yesterday.

The trait of the month is LOVE.

Room 12:
Wren showed love when she led her group.
Charlie showed love by always being gentle.
Room 13:
Helped the grade 2s with the snowshoes!
Room 15:
Eloise looked out for others.
Parker strived to make others feel good when he’s around.
Room 16:
Annabel is always there for me to talk to.
Dimercia brought me a lunch. I had forgotten mine.

Winter will have us in its grip this weekend. Stay warm, stay healthy.

Warm Regards,

Meike Thomsen, Principal


Jan 29
School Council

School Council was well attended on Tuesday night with 16 parents present. Thank you Mr. Kearney for being the teacher representative during the meeting. Mr. Kearney reported how the new Smartboard and document camera is making a difference in his class! He also spoke about how being outside and learning on/from the land once a week has supported the mental health of his students and how it has allowed for hands-on learning. 

The newly established academic committee has a math focus this year. In consultation with the school, the committee has two focus points this year: putting math facts on stairs (there will be an order soon!) and creating movie clips of The academic committee is looking for more parent volunteers who would be willing to speak about their work and how it’s related to mathematics. Please contact Jean if you are interested. We would like to thank Lauren I. who is volunteering her time and talent to edit the videos. They are hoping for many more parent volunteers. Don’t be afraid, there is a script you can follow! 

Next week is the first week of the month, so on February 5, please send the large red & white spelling book to school, so the teachers (and myself) can see the progress your child has made. We need to know if this book is being used as we will only purchase it again if it is. ​


Jan 15
Kindergarten Skills

Dear Parents & Guardians,

As I’m starting to write this WAG, the wind is howling outside and debris is flying around like crazy. What unusual January weather we have had so far!

On Wednesday, I spoke with the owner of the pre-school. She called to ask what skills we would like our kindergarten students to have by the time they arrive at CWS. It made me smile. Preschool as well as kindergarten really is a time of socialization: to learn how to share toys, how to take turns, how to follow instructions. It’s also a time to grow more independent: How to put things away yourself, how to dress yourself, how to self-regulate when you fall and mom is not there.

Here are some other things I shared with her that students need to practice:

  • Balancing on logs (or benches)
  • Throwing a ball, catching a ball
  • Standing on one leg
  • Jumping on the spot
  • All other things gross motor
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Holding a pencil correctly
  • Painting with brushes (fine motor skills)
  • Crossing your middle (left hand touches right knee, right hand touches left knee)
  • Parents/preschool support language acquisition by reading to their child/ren every single night, by singing with them and by practicing rhyming words


If you wonder how important reading to your child is, I would like to share a personal story. My little granddaughter is 16 months old now and her dad, my son, has been reading to her at night as part of her bedtime routine since she was 6 months old. At this point, she is picking her favourite books! She also has her favourite songs.


Jan 08
Thank You for Supporting Your Students At Home

Thank you for supporting your student(s) at home this past week. We know that this has been very difficult as most of you are also trying to work from home at the same time. Joining each class most days for a period of time was my highlight of the day, as it was so good to ‘see’ everyone. I was especially impressed with how well the kindergarten students were doing (with lots of help from parents, I’m sure. Thank you!), as this was truly their first time of online learning. Attendance was also excellent, as Ms. Tammy was following up with families who struggled signing in initially. Thank you, Ms. Tammy! Ms. Tammy, in collaboration with the teachers, has also purchased games for each classroom, using the $10.00 incidental fee. These games will be available for students during indoor lunches/recesses.

We are looking forward to welcoming all our students back on Monday, January 11, 2021. Please make sure that your child is arriving wearing a mask. Thank you.


Jan 04
First Week Back

Dear Parents & Guardians,

During the last week before the winter break, after months of waiting, Mr. Kearney’s classroom, our Grade 4, finally received their brand-new Smartboard and a new document camera. The students were as excited as Mr. Kearney about their new tech equipment. This week, we are expecting the delivery of the three “Front Row” Sound systems. All items were funded through school council. Thank you!

I hope that you have enjoyed the past two weeks. I also hope that you are all well and are healthy.

As you know, this week, the students are staying home and learning through Google Classrooms. Your teacher will take attendance in the morning and for the afternoon after the lunch break. I would like to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation to all of you for supporting learning at home. I know that many of you are working from home full-time, so having your child/ren at home and also supporting them with tech problems is … challenging to say the least. Fingers crossed, the students will be back at school on January 11th! It sure is lonely here without them!


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RT @UsihChristopher: We thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to make this learning shift for next week. While it is yet another significant change, we hope that it will serve to reduce the current learning disruptions that are continuing to occur in our schools. https://t.co/FOfXcybh91

Starting Monday, April 19 students in Grades 7-12 will transition to at-home learning for at least two weeks. https://t.co/JVJhOw8d8R #yycbe #WeAreCBE https://t.co/ZTbWWkZJLt

RT @DalhousieCBE: Social distancing requirements hampering reading buddies? No problem! Our @DalhousieCBE Gr 4/5 HUB students recorded read alouds for younger students to listen to. Authentic audience and sense of ownership and pride! #SomosDalhousie #WeAreCBE @yycbedu @CBElanguages https://t.co/XZZQyF2reX

Each year Alberta Education sends an important survey to parents/guardians of students in Grades 4, 7 and 10. The results are used to assess satisfaction with the quality of education & we use the information to improve teaching and learning. https://t.co/S1qsRKBerD #yycbe

RT @CrescentCowboys: Shout to our Drama Society for continuing to find ways to pivot! Their usual LunchBox theatre couldn’t happen in the same form this year, so they went digital!Today is our first student written and directed play-“Equilibrium” by Dua S, with actors Chiara C and Chris M #WeAreCBE https://t.co/w1sPPNG5pB