January 23, 2023
Dear Dr. Freda Miller School Families,
I was thrilled to learn I have been appointed as the new principal of Dr. Freda Miller School and I look forward to being part of your community. I have heard wonderful things about students, staff and parents and my colleagues have told me there is a sense of curiosity and wonder at Dr. Freda Miller School, like Dr. Freda Miller herself!
As your new principal, I will carry forward the amazing work you are doing and will find ways that we can continue to work and grow together. Rich meaningful programming and the foundational skills of literacy, numeracy and student wellness will continue to be our focus.
The best part of my day is when I am in classrooms, so you will get to know me quickly.
Currently I am the Principal at Riverside School which is a K-9 alternative science program. Like Dr. Freda Miller School, we spend time learning on the land, journaling, and connecting to Spirit.
Born and raised in Calgary, I started my career with the Calgary Board of Education teaching a program for diverse learners. I have taught all grades from kindergarten to grade 6, worked as a specialist and have been a principal at 4 different schools. When I am not at school, I enjoy hiking, cross country skiing, or being with family and friends. I have just started violin lessons which are proving to be a great challenge, and I love a night out at any theatre performance.
I am excited to meet the staff, students, and families of Dr. Freda Miller School after the Family Day weekend and am looking forward to getting to know you all.
Nancy L. Gillott
To our Dr. Freda Miller School Families,
It is with very mixed emotions that I write this letter today.
I wanted to let you know personally of my decision to accept a position as Education Director for Research & Strategy and Program Evaluation effective December 12, 2022. I know that our Area Director and the Calgary Board of Education is committed to finding an exceptional leader to be the next Principal of Dr. Freda Miller School in the very near future. I also know I am leaving you in the exceptional hands of one of the best staffs in the Calgary Board of Education and their commitment to this community and the families will continue unabated.
I cannot describe to you how difficult this decision has been. Leaving this community, its families and especially these wonderful children that I have had the pleasure to come to know and teach is tremendously difficult. That said, I am also filled with a great sense of excitement for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, serving our system in this new capacity.
Opening a new school has been one of the highlights of my career. Dr. Freda Miller School, with its diverse population and its commitment to nature-based learning, remains a unique and special space in the Calgary Board of Education. And over the past three years, we have persevered through some of the most challenging and difficult times that many of us will see in our lifetimes. And through it all, this community has not only stood strong but rallied to support each other and the learners in ways that is beyond words and humbling as a school leader. I could not have wished for a better group of teachers, staff, students and families to learn alongside. Being part of this community has been transformative for me professionally and personally.
Thank you for all of the memories, the conversations, the celebrations and the sharing of personal moments. Thank you for welcoming me in and inviting me to be part of your community.
Yours most truly,
Mike Craig, Principal
Good evening families!
For those of you new to Dr. Freda Miller School, my name is Mike Craig and I am the school principal. Welcome to our school! For those of you who are returning, welcome back! It is my most sincere hope that everyone had a fun, safe, relaxing and rewarding break.
This year, while there is a sense of returning to more normal ways of being in schools, as we opened during the first year of the pandemic, this will be again a year of firsts for us. We are excited to embrace the changes and continue to grow as a school and as a community and I for one am excited to again be part of the journey.
In addition to welcoming staff back including Mrs. Savita Beswick in the office and Mrs. Lauren Smith to our teaching staff, we are also introducing a few new faces to our staff this year including Mrs. Jennifer Stanford, Ms. Lisa McGregor, and Ms. Rebekah Granger to our teaching staff and Ms. Aman Zia to our lunchroom staff and Ms Flordeliza Gabriel to our facility staff. We will have more staff to announce in the coming days as well, so stay tuned.
Our office re opens officially on Monday, August 29 at 8:30AM and our first day of classes is Thursday, September 1 with Kindergarten students having a specific staggered entry for the first two day. Our school times have not changed from last year. You should be able to find all start-up information on our school website under Back to School Information.
As in previous years, you can expect a phone call from your child's teacher on Tuesday or Wednesday, introducing themselves to you and your child and letting you know when and where to meet on the first day of school. I know you may have a lot more questions, but this first call is just a short introduction and we will follow up with a letter or email from the teachers with more information about expectations and their program in the first week as well as an open house evening for all families later in September. If you miss the call, no worries, we will also send out an email later this week with the important details.
No doubt many of you will have questions about lunchroom, fees, forms and packages. All of this information will coming out in the next few weeks and we will keep you updated as it does. As always you can reach out by email or call us at the school if you have questions in the interim.
Again welcome back and I am looking forward to connecting and reconnecting later this week!
It always catches me a little by surprise that the end of each school year just creeps up on you and before you know it, we are saying good bye to families, friends, and colleagues – sometimes just for the summer and sometime longer as people move into new spaces and journeys for the new year. Fortunately, I was taught by an Elder and friend of mine that in many Indigenous languages there is no word for good-bye as all relationships continue in a circle. We may part for awhile, but our journeys in one way or another always lead back to each other. So rather than good bye, I will choose to hold each of you in my heart until our paths cross again, either at the beginning of the new school year, or when we reconnect at the next crossing of our paths.
Have a safe and happy summer full of relaxtion, family and adventure!
We hope that everyone has a wonderful and safe Spring Break. At this point the weather reports are showing the perfect weather to spend time outside in play and exploration, looking for signs of Spring and renewal while refreshing and renewing ourselves for the final few months.
When we get back we are excited to announce that we are going to be changing a few things here at the school in how we work and play together. We are pleased to let everyone know that we will be relaxing the cohort model that we have had in place since we opened the school in the middle of the pandemic.
Following Spring Break, classes will begin interacting with each other in new ways including regrouping students for learning and projects, opening the walls between classes to allow grade teams to team teach in different ways, and spending time together in play on the playground and in learning during land-based learning trips to the pond and Fish Creek Provincial Park.
We will also be making a small change to the lunchtime routines as well. While we will continue with the staggered lunches and eating in our own classrooms, grade groups will be allowed to play together on the compound and on the playground structure. At this point we will not be having multiple grades outside or having communal lunchrooms inside as all of our schedules as well as our staffing for this year has been carefully built around these schedules.
Finally we are also excited to let everyone know that we will opening up for a Open House night on May 5 where we will finally get to share with our families our wonderful space and the ways we engage in learning together! Mark the night on your calendar now! Further information to come after the break!
Our school is now closed for winter break, reopening and welcoming students back on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. We hope everyone takes this time to rest, relax and spend quality time with friends and family. Be safe and take of yourselves and each other.
It has been an eventful term as we have seen our school grow and blossom. As always at this time of year I am reminded of the gifts that each of you -- students, staff, families, and community members -- bring to our space, making this school a cohesive, beautiful and caring place for deep learning and engagement. I am always in awe of the generosity of spirit, the joyfulness, and the commitment to making our school better each day. I am grateful each and every day to be part of it.
As a side note, feel free to check out our winter celebration of learning on our school showcase, featuring all of our classes.
Happy Holidays and see you in the new year!
Mike Craig, Principal
As we come to the end of our first few weeks of school and find ourselves at the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I wanted to take a quick moment to share with this community the profound sense of gratitude in my heart. Each day I come to this school, I am reminded of just how fortunate I am to get to work with an amazing group of educators, united in a vision to support, care for, and provide outstanding learning opportunities for all children. I count myself doubly lucky to have a community of parents and families that have show such support and encouragement for our school and our vision and who each day bring to us some of the best cubs and scholars to work with. And I am thankful to have a wonderful facility that is so connected to land-based learning opportunities and spaces that are unparalleled in the Calgary Board of Education. As someone who is lucky to make his home on Treaty Seven lands, I am also grateful to the First Peoples, their history and their stories that continue to serve as my teachers in my own growth as an educator.
But most of all, I am thankful for all of the children, the wonderfully unique cubs and scholars who bring joy, enthusiasm, curiosity, humor, and wonder to inhabit our space, making this job a true honor and joy.
On this day where we mark all that we are fortunate for, from the bottom of my heart, Siyisgaas and Thank You!
As we come to the end of our school year, I am overcome with feelings of gratitude for this staff, these students and this community of families. When we opened the school back in September for the first time, I am not sure anyone was certain about what the year ahead would look like – a school with a late start, a new school with all the affordances and challenges that come with it, all amidst a global pandemic that forced us to look at whole new ways of being and teaching while trying to keep students and families healthy and safe.
And here we are at the end of the school year. I am exceedingly proud of the teachers and support staff in the way they adapted and found new ways to bring curriculum to life and to support learners through the year. I am immensely grateful to our families for the support, encouragement, and partnership in bringing this place to life and the incredible faith and trust you placed in us to do right by these children. And I am astounded by the children who not only adapted but thrived, making connections to their learning and to each other, all the while approaching each day and each situation with perseverance, determination, and joy. I can think of no other reward better than being able to be a part of their lives each day as they grow and learn.
So thank you to each and everyone of you for these gifts. Siyisgaas.
Two last items of business. Today is the last day to put in your orders for yearbooks. Click here for more information. And finally, our playground is in the last stages of construction. We are in the process of putting in the surface after which it will be inspected. Once that is completed and the safety fences are down, it will be open for play. I will try and send an email out with the good news when it happens.
Our office will now be closed until August 27, 2021. You are welcome to leave a message or send us an email but we cannot guarantee an immediate response.
I hope everyone has been getting the recent emails with the updates to the school re-entry plan and, for those of you who have registered children for the Hub, the registration confirmations.
As of tomorrow, we will be fully in our new space at Dr. Freda Miller School on Everbrook Drive. Just a reminder that first day of classes for Dr. Freda Miller students will be Tuesday, September 8th. You can find the re-entry plan on our school website under Registration > How to Register > Back to School information or by following the link: https://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/drfredamiller/registration/register/back-to-school/pages/default.aspx. We will also be updating the website later this week with images from the classrooms to give you a sense of the spaces the children will be working in and some of the precautions we are taking.
We are busy working on updating the class lists, taking into consideration the Hub enrollements. You can expect to hear from your children's teachers by the end of the week, welcoming them to the school and giving you further information for the first day protocols.
For those of you who have elected to enroll your child into Hub learning, just a reminder that if you wish to withdraw your child from the Hub you will need to email us at the school to request a withdrawal of the student’s registration by 9AM tomorrow, Monday, August 31st.
In the meantime, if you have questions, feel free to give us a call or an email.
On behalf of all of us at Dr. Freda Miller School, we wanted to wish you a safe and enjoyable summer break. Our office will be closed now until August 26th however given all that we will be doing through the summer months to continue getting Dr. Freda Miller school going, we will be checking our emails and voicemail on a weekly basis and we will try to get back to everyone in a timely manner.
Before we go, we do have a few updates. First, our Budget and Fee Engagement Survey results are now posted on the school website under Get Involved - School Engagement - School Budget Engagement. Thank you to everyone for your feedback and your comments.
Secondly, we have some updates to our teacher staffing for the fall. We are welcoming Michelle Jensen who will be joining us from Roland Michener School, Lauren Smith from Chaparral School, Alex Hoover most recently from West Dover School, Andrea Weldrick from Cranston School, Jeff Welechuk from Evergreen, and Andrea Westine returning from the Math Strategist department. Already you can check out Jeff Welechuk, Alex Hoover, and Andrea Westine's introduction videos as well as Allison Handelsman's on our school website. As more videos come in, we will continute to upload them so you can meet our staff.
Finally, as work on the new school progresses, we will continue to send updates through the summer months.
Have a wonderful summer and we will see you all in the fall.
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