Every year the Government of Alberta sends out a survey for our grade 7 parents and students. The student version of the survey is done at school, online. The parent version is mailed to the home and can be completed and mailed in or it can be completed online as well. I thought it might be appropriate to talk about the areas over the course of the year that the you are asked to comment on. This week I will talk about Safe and Caring schools.
At DMC we take the safety of your children very seriously, not just their physical safety but their social and emotional wellbeing. Middle school is a challenging place, a time in life when children are becoming adolescents, they are figuring out who they are, who their friends are and when parents often stop becoming the most influential people in their lives. That role is replaced by their peer group. At DMC we try to address these areas through our health curriculum, having open and honest discussion in class about growing up, choices and decision making. This is done through our Physical Education time and our Chimera Time. Students are given opportunities to voice their concerns, their ideas and to learn from one another and the teacher about life skills. We focus on how to deal with anxiety and how to make and keep friends. In a normal year we try to bring in special guests to talk about big life decisions and events such as drugs and alcohol. We want your children to be ready for the world.
Other services we offer are one on one opportunities for students that need a bit more TLC with our student services team. This team can listen to students and help them find solutions to problems. Parents are also welcome to connect with our student services team if they feel their child needs a bit more support.
We work hard with all students to create an inclusive environment, one free from bullying. We always deal with these situations, sometimes we cannot speak about what has happened to the "other" child in a situation because we work within privacy legalities, but we always deal with emerging situations and the students involved.
A school is a community, we will sometimes all get along, and sometimes we will have conflict. It is our job to help students learn in both scenarios,
We believe DMC is a safe and caring school, our teachers are among the best in the city and all of them care about your children.
In the next blog we will talk a bit how we work with the Alberta Program of Studies to plan.
Coming up in the next couple of weeks are a lot of important dates. One of the most important is Orange Shirt Day. This is an opportunity for us as a community to recognize and understand why we honour this day. Please take a moment to talk about it at home, to do some research and understand the significance of the day.
We continue to move along with our school year, very impressed with our students willingness to work within the safety guidelines in place. One question that has been asked is around how will we support the mental well-being of students?
We have created a homeroom block period that every student will have 4 days a week. During this time students will have the opportunity to voice their concerns, talk about their fears, learn how to deal with anxiety as well as a variety of other important topics to support their mental health. We will try to provide strategies for them to cope with our new world. They will be given opportunites to refine their peer to peer relationships and help one another. The block of time will allow them to build positive relationships with one another and their teacher.
We recognize that many of our students are experiencing anxiety and fear around the unknown, and we are here to support them in anyway we can. If you as a parent feel your child may need more support please contact Mrs. Twa and/or Mr. Weeks. They would be happy to discuss other possibilities with you. Please remember, we are not health care professionals, but we are good listeners and can provide resources.
Week one is in the books, and we are pleased to say it went fairly smoothly. Thanks to all the families for your support this week. Next week it is business as usual, everyone will be here on Tuesday. Please remind your child which door they will come in and to stay with their cohort when they arrive. Doors will open at 8:15 for students to enter the building and go directly to their class.
Grade 5 - South Bus Doors
Grade 6 - North Parking Lot Doors
Grade 7 - North West Parking Lot Doors
Grade 8 - South East Doors Near Basketball Court
Grade 9 - Front/Main Doors
The year has finally begun, we are very excited to have children back in the building. I am sure many of you are equally excited to send your child to school. We know it is a very different year, with different expectations that are the outcome of the global pandemic. As a staff we have planned meticulously to ensure the safety of everyone in our building and will continue to follow the expectataion of the Provincial Government and our Board of Education. There are lots of changes in our building to accommodate the safety protocols in place, not all that different from what you see in malls, restaurants and public spaces around the city. The early days of this new school year will be ensure our students are well trained in these protocols to keep everyone safe. Thanks for trusting us and for your ongoing support.
We are moving into our final week of classes, next week will be half days but teachers are still available to answer questions throughout the day. On Friday, digital report cards will be available through your MyCBE account. If you require a hard copy please contact the office and arrange a pick up time.
The year has not exactly gone as we would have hoped, and as we try to anticipate next year we know it will not be what we would consider "normal" either. The Alberta Government has supplied school boards with guidelines around the start up of the school year and the CBE is working hard to interpret and create a plan for all schools. We will endeavor to provide you with details of our plan as soon as we are able to. What we can tell you is that change and flexibility are going to be key for all of us. We are asking for your patience as we plan for several scenarios and endeavor to be prepared to enact any of them at any given time depending on the circumstances of the COVID 19 Pandemic. Our first and primary goal is to keep your children safe, and so that will require support and understanding from all of us in the DMC community.
Last week we sent you information about a change to our lunch time schedule, this schedule will likely change again given some of the guidelines Alberta Education has provided us, so please stay tuned for important changes designed to keep everyone safe. The staff at DMC is working hard to prepare for next year, to plan for safety and still provide a quality learning environment for your children. We are excited at the prospect of having students in the DMC hallways again, and to seeing everyone's faces in person. It is our hope that you remain safe throughout the summer months and come back ready to learn.
I will close by saying that I will be checking emails sent to the school throughout the summer to be able to respond to questions. Please remember that August 1 is the date that our government has set to make the decision as to which scenario will be in place to start our school year. We will be ready September 1 to offer learning in what ever form it takes for your children.
Have a great summer,
Good day to all of our DMC families,
First, I hope everyone is safe and home taking care of one another. The wellbeing of all of our families and staff is the top concern we have at DMC and the CBE. I know I have been enjoying some incredible family opportunities throughout the week, and I hope you are as well. Yesterday the CBE emailed out a link to suggested activities to keep families busy and learning. For now we should be focused on taking care, and working through any anxieties that we may have. Learning will come, and we will be up and running with more resources as we move forward, thanks for your patience around this.
If this is in fact the end of the school year, I want to highlight what an incredible year it has been to this point. We truly have the best students in Calgary at DMC, kind, caring and compassionate. If we do find ourselves back together before the end of June we will endeavor to make the end of the year a positive memory. I am available via email if you have any questions or concerns you would like to share, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will continue to send out information for families, some related to this year and some that will help us in our planning for next year. Please help us by responding as necessary.
Thanks to everyone for your support and please be well,
Field trips are excellent opportunities to extend classroom learning to the real world. We love to take students out of the building to explore and see what is possible. Teachers put an incredible amount of work into planning and implementing a trip, unfortunately we are often left scrambling for families to commit to volunteering for trips and for paying for trips. We want students to have these amazing experiences, all we ask is that families let us know if they need to make other financial arrangements. We are having some very difficult conversations at the school level about reducing and/or eliminating field trips due to a lack of commitment. This is the last thing we want to do, but we may not have a choice.
If your child has the opportunity to go on a trip, please have the forms returned promptly, please find some time to volunteer and please let us know if the cost is burdensome on your family by calling our office.
There are so many ways to communicate in this every advancing technological world. At DMC we have chosen to try to keep this as simply as we are able to. We try to keep our webpage as up to date as possible, we want families to look here for the what they need regarding general school information. Our teams each update their portion of the webpage weekly with information regarding what is happening in school.
When you want to know about your child and their progress we have Power School. Parents need a login for this, but once they are in they can access a multitude of things such as their childs attendance, completed assignments and they can pay fees.
Lastly, teachers use Google Drive for students to access and hand in assignments. Parents can see this by accessing it through their child's password. We would encourage all parents to do so in order to support them at home.
We are trying very hard to keep families in the know around what is happening here at DMC. If you are having trouble finding the informaiton you need, give us a call.
The focus for this month is the first word in our Mission: Community. What exactly is a community? For us at DMC a community is built on trust and caring. Our goal is to ensure all of our students feel safe at DMC, that they have a trusted adult and that they want to be at school. This is big work! As we all know, there has been a rise in mental health challenges in all of society, particularly in our adolescent population. More and more we are in a power struggle with digital devices such as gaming and social media, all seem far more engaging to many of youths today, yet isolate our children from one another in real face to face time. As parents the best thing we can do is monitor the time our children spend on these devices and what they are doing while connected.
We are one big family here at DMC and we want each of our students to feel like they belong and are valued members.
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