At the beginning of important gatherings, we pause to remember that this land has a history and that many have walked here before us. I often wonder whether this small act of reconciliation will help to create meaningful change in our world and whether students understand why it is so important for schools to do this.
I think about my own connection to the land, the places that have been important to me throughout my life, the places where I have grown and become an adult. I realize that the connection I feel to special places in my life is a physical, emotional and spiritual one. I have a deep love for the place where I have grown up and where my own children have grown. I remember fondly the places where I’ve happily celebrated milestones in my life. So many of these places have been schools. As a teacher, I’ve been continually in school for more than 40 years. Schools are where I felt safe, loved, nurtured and where I belonged. My own teachers are among the most influential relationships in my life.
I know that my experiences in schools are not what everyone has experienced. In fact, many people my age have had very different and sometimes traumatic experiences. This saddens my teacher's heart and makes me want to make sure that our school is one where students are deeply cared for and their gifts are nurtured.
The pictures shown are of Edgemont students interacting with this place in many different ways. The land that Edgemont School was built on is special. A walk around our school, across the ridge and looking out towards the Rocky Mountains is breathtaking. We are so fortunate to be able to come to this place every day to breathe the air that rises on the wind and feel an abundance of space in the city. We have the privilege to belong to this place that is both beautiful and provides a connection with our community.
In the spring when schools closed, I felt the loss of a place like I’ve never experienced before. I have moved homes, changed schools and even relocated to a different province. Each time I have left a space it has been by my choice or knowing that the change was leading forward to the future in some positive way. But in the spring, I felt a profound loss of community and of purpose. In a moment the school stopped being a safe, nurturing center of our community. We were no longer able to come together and learn, laugh and live.
The pandemic has helped me to realize that circumstances change very quickly and unpredictably and that connection to this place and all of the relationships between people in this space can’t be taken for granted. In a moment there can be an event that changes everything.
I also know that the loss that I felt when our school was taken from us is very small in comparison to the suffering of our indigenous people, who have suffered being removed from their lands, children removed from their families. It pains me that schools were the source of trauma and pain inflicted on so many. As a child and even as a student becoming a teacher I did not know about the legacy of residential schools. Now that I do, I can’t go back to not knowing, I am changed by knowing. I struggle to find answers to questions that belong to us all.
The land acknowledgement is a small but potentially powerful act of remembering and revealing the truth. It is important that the history of this place and of the traditional people who once lived here be heard not hidden. Only then can we start to reconcile, heal and build a future that unites all who now make their home on this land.
Always, the land remains.
We would like to acknowledge the traditional territories and oral practices of the Blackfoot Nations, which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, and the Kainai. We also acknowledge the Tsuut'ina and Stoney Nakoda First Nations, The Metis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.
Principal Edgemont School
November 13th, 2020My Trusting Grateful Inspired (Remembrance Week) Friday
Trusting our teachers and community members to follow the new Alberta Health Guidelines. We have been working very hard to make sure that our students at Edgemont School are safe and healthy! I am so proud of the resilience of our students and teachers throughout this year. We are ready to support learning in whatever way we need to in the days and weeks ahead. for the forward thinking and preparedness of all our teachers as we consider the possibility of needing to shift to Scenario 2 or 3. I am grateful that we have had time to adjust to Scenario 1 and that staff have created meaningful learning for students both online and in person. I have every faith in our ability to stay focussed on supporting our learners regardless of what circumstances may arise in the future.
Grateful to live and work in a community and country that honours our history and creates meaningful connections to the sacrifices of our service men and women. The Remembrance Day assembly at school is always profoundly meaningful to me. I a grateful for all the meaning making conversations, big and small, that help children to understand the significance of peace and the profound impact of war. Lest we forget.
Inspired by all of our classrooms who did thoughtful work leading up to Remembrance Day Assembly. Thank you to teachers for sharing your students’ reflections and creative interpretations with us via our virtual Remembrance Day Assembly. War is a difficult topic for young students to sometimes wrap their thinking around. I am grateful for the connects teachers made to student areas of study, prior experiences and rich literature. A real highlight for me was Room 22’s Peace Rap which the the student wrote and performed with passion!
Have a wonderful weekend!
November 6th, 2020
My Trusting Grateful Inspired Friday
Trusting our provincial health officer to relay timely information to Albertans and lead with incredible calm. Trusting also in the strength and resilience of our Edgemont community that we will all continue to be vigilant in keeping our students and school safe.
Grateful to my principal colleagues for sharing their wisdom so that I can learn from their experiences. Also grateful for the strong and compassionate leadership from our Area 1 leadership team including Director Prem Randawa, Director Christine Davies and Area Principal Shelaugh Reading. Even though many parents and staff my not know these names, you need to know that they are actively working to support students in our school. Thank you all for supporting new directions for our school development plan, for creating opportunities for meaningful dialogue and for your incredible ability to shine light in dark places!
Inspired our Elder Saa’kokoto who met with our students virtually over 3 days this week. His stories and teachings have profound meaning for our staff and students. Using virtual meeting software presents many challenges and I am grateful to our Assistant Principal for facilitating this important connection for our students. Saa’kokoto you inspire us as a teacher and a learner!
Fun! It’s been wonderful to see all the amazing student projects pop up on bulletin boards around the school. Students light up when they see Ms. Dickson come into the classroom with her bright smile boundless enthusiasm. Fine Arts FUN for everyone!
Have a wonderful weekend!
My Trusting Grateful Inspired Friday
Trusting teacher collaboration and deep knowledge about student learning and learner outcomes. Our PD day on Friday was full of rich and purposeful conversation starting with student writing assessments and leading to impactful learning strategies to support next steps. The conversations and clarifications about learning targets led us to research based instructional practices that we've all committed to integrating into instruction over the next 6-8 weeks. Simon Breakspear calls these Teaching Sprints. I completely trust in Edgemont Teachers' already strong practice and their commitment to continuous improvement! Honoured to work with and for these incredible people.
Grateful to my mentor and retired principal who treated our staff to pizza lunch during our professional development day. She wanted our staff to know that retired teachers stand with us and that we are seen and cared for. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to learn from the heart of this wonderul leader and educator. MJ, our bellies and hearts are full from your generosity!
Inspired by kindergarten students demonstrating their literacy skills using loose parts and document cameras. Check out this joyful tweet showing Literacy in Kindergarten.
Fun! Wearing Halloween costumes and digital costume parade were a big success. It was a glimpse of kids being kids and finding delight in the unexpected. Thank you teachers and all staff for getting in the spirit and honouring our student voice to bring costumes back for Halloween.
Have a Happy Halloween weekend!
My Trusting Grateful Inspired Friday
Trusting the incredible work that our cleaners and facilities team have done to keep our school safe and clean. It is a huge task to repeatedly sanitize touchpoints and respond to requests in the moment. We appreciate their vigilance and hard work. Thank you Yaming, Tammi, Leanne and Surrinder!
Grateful for Ms. Briand who has decorated our front hallway and office. The festive decorations have given us all a lift and a smile! Our Edgemont School Council Executive members are finding their way in new roles in very different ways.
Inspired by our teaching staff who are finding rich and authentic ways to engage students in learning tasks within the “new normal”. I admire their commitment to students and their tenacity in showing up physically and mentally for their kids! I am also inspired by our outdoor learning. This has been a great success and even as the weather turns cold, we breathe fresh air, move our bodies and become more healthy and resilient day by day. Finally by author Brené Brown. She is a research professor and writer who studies vulnerability, courage, and authenticity. TGIF is her format!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Our first few weeks have been different, challenging but also wonderful! We have truly missed our students and our community! I am sure that we all have had moments of doubt as we approached September 1st. Our first week was spent welcoming and acclimating small groups of students at a time to the new health and safety protocols in our school. Parents can access our Edgemont School Re-Entry Plan here.
Our students have been nothing short of amazing in our first 2 weeks! They have listened and practiced and have found ways to learn and laugh even through masked faces! We can tell that students are excited to be back, to interact with their peers and engage in rich learning activities at school.
Thank you to each of you who has taken time to share a positive experience your child has had returning to school. Your encouagement means the world to us! Our theme for the year is “What is Our Story? “. If you would like to share your child’s back to school story you can do so here.
A huge shout out our teaching and support staff who continue to ensure that students are safe at school. We are truly blessed to have a group of dedicated people caring for and inspiring the hearts and minds of our students. The constraints of our “new normal” at school have not stopped our staff from caring for and nurturing students social, emotional and mental well-being.
Whether your child is returning to school in person or online in the hub, I want you to know that every student has a teacher committed to making sure that they are seen and supported in their learning. As a parent myself I know that the decision whether to return to in-person classes or enroll in hub learning was a difficult one. Whichever option you’ve chosen, we are aware of the huge trust that you have put in us to meet the needs of your child. Please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher at any time during the year.
As I write this blog post our in-person students are at last starting to work with their own teachers. Our hub teachers have now been identified and have spent much of the last week training for learning online. Hub students will begin working with their teachers using Google Classroom in the week to come. We appreciate the patience and expressions of support over the first few uncertain weeks.
There have been only a few changes on our staff this year, though some of our teachers are taking up different roles. As you know our wonderful Mrs. Lang retired last year. As Covid -19 restrictions do not allow us to do many of the things we would like to do in music, this year we will be approaching the arts more generally. Ms. Corrine Dickson will be teaching fine arts, integrating music, drama, dance and visual arts into her learning experiences.
Ms. Vahaaho will continue to engage students in physical education and has been planning for programming that takes full advantage of our beautiful outside spaces. We are also excited to announce that students will have longer physical education classes (40 minutes) this year. If you have been to our school in the last few days you may have also noticed that many of our playground games have been repainted and look marvelous! We are looking forward to teaching students new ways to use the playground games for learning and for fun.
We are excited to welcome Hub Teachers who will be working with Edgemont Students Online.
Teachers for our Edgemont Hub students are:
Kelli Gibb and Laureen Plaxton - Grade 1
Kara Medlicott and Kim Rai - Grade 2
Danielle deNance and Madison Wilcox- Grade 3
Tony Tang and Jeff Watt - Grade 4
Karissa Peters and Ye Zhang - Grade 5
A few reminders:
Parents, students, and school staff must review the self-screening questionnaire each day before entering the school. A copy of the questionnaire will be in your child’s Welcome Package due to be sent out later this week.
Students are to come to school wearing a mask. We encourage families to send a spare mask in students’ backpacks just in case.
We will be going outside as much as possible for learning and for body breaks. Please make sure that your child dresses in layers and is prepared to go outside even when it is wet or cold. Remember, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing!
We are using a soft entry model for the beginning of the day. Students may arrive and go directly to their classrooms anytime between 8:55 and 9:10 am.
Please remember that our playgrounds are not open immediately before or after school. During school hours students will be able to use the playground in their cohorts but limiting use after school will help us to also limit the number of contacts each student has with others outside their cohorts. We would appreciate if parents take their children directly home afterschool and do not stay to play.
Demographic information forms will be sent home next week. It is important that you review your child’s in formation carefully and update any information that may have changed. We ask that parents ensure that all emergency contacts are correct so that we can reach you in case of an emergency or important change at our school. It is import that we have more than one emergency for your child.
We know this year will bring us challenges. Within those challenges there will also be opportunities! We will embrace the possibilities for things to be done a little differently. I am certain that this will allow us to grow and evolve as a school and for us to model resilience for our students. Our school’s focus will continue be on best practices in teaching and learning, with a strong emphasis on academic success.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments. I may be reached at email@example.com
The staff of Edgemont looks forward to a fantastic year of learning together!
Proud Principal, Edgemont School
Happy March to all of our Families and Friends of Edgemont School
The first few months of 2020 have been busy at Edgemont. Through January and February students have been engaged in a variety of artist-in-residency opportunities including felting, photography and dance. These experiences help to make the long cold winter weeks engaging and memorable. As we approach March we are thankful for the signs of spring we see in our community and a return to more regular time spent outdoors.
Winter Walks - Learning on the Land Inititative
Throughout the year Edgemont School students “learn-on-the-land” and are inspired by the lessons our natural environment offers; however there is no denying the power of spring to renew our energy and spirit! This month each classroom committed to taking winter walk and classroom connecting learning the outdoors. It has been exciting to see the Twitter posts from each of our classrooms celebrating both the warmer weather and fresh air opportunities to engage minds! We encourage all of our community to follow our classrooms on Twitter. Classroom accounts can be found by navigating to the classroom blogs page on this website. You can also follow the school account @Misspelled WordEdgemontCBE.
Play it Forward - Kindness Initiative
This past week our Student Spirit and Belonging Committee coordinated a week of kindness at Edgemont. During this week students collaborated with their buddy classes to create game cards that would be used a "Play It Forward" game. Cards were all individually created and decorated. Each card described a task to be completed by the receiver. Typical tasks included giving compliments, acts of service or sharing a game or a joke. During game times and recesses, students exchanged game cards with each other and interacted with students both in their own classrooms and throughout the school. Cards changed hands several times as students continued to "play forward" chains of positive interactions. The focus on connecting with others and creating a positive culture in our school has been powerful! We look forward to building on the connections this week!
Spark - New School Program
I am excited to share a new program at Edgemont School - Spark! Spark is an exercise, stretch and relaxation program that is based mainly on the work of Dr. John Ratey. Back in the fall, three of our staff visited Eric Harvey School to find out about their program. We are very grateful to the staff and administration of Eric Harvey School for their generosity in sharing their work with us. After visiting their school we developed a pilot program aimed at meeting the needs of our students at Misspelled WordEdgemont.We developed a program that follows a weekly schedule of fun dance games, fitness routines, relay activities to work on teamwork skills and games. Each session closes with a “cool-down” segment when SPARK students - practice breathing exercises and calm stretching.
The purpose of the program is to enhance students' learning. Research has identified strong links between learning and exercise, as well as the power to enhance student focus, memory and concentration. In the pilot program we were able to serve 20 students and we have recently expanded the program offering to 40. Other plans include the purchase of stationary bikes to be used throughout the school and throughout the day!
Student Learning Conferences
Later next month we look forward to meeting with parents to discuss student growth during our Student Learning Conferences. Achievement information shared in March is different from that shared in report cards. In January and June, teachers report student achievement in reference to the Alberta Program of Study, while conferences held in March are much more personalized. The focus of March conferences is to look closely at the individual growth students demonstrate compared to their own achievement earlier in the year. It is important for students to be part of these conversations. Below are some suggestions to help your child reflect on their during learning conferences and throughout the year:
- Ask your child to explain what his or her goal is for their learning? For example: What is your goal for your writing? How will he or she know they've been successful?
- Ask your child to explain the criteria for their assignments. We know that students can be very successful if they understand the target they are aiming for. If neither you or your child understand the criteria, contact your child's teacher
- Be specific when giving your child feedback. Using the criteria as a guide, tell him what he did well and suggest improvements that are related to his or her goals.
- Read your child's work out loud or have your child read his/her work to you.
Wishing everyone in our community a happy and healthy spring!
Principal, Edgemont School
Dear Families and Friends of Edgemont School
Well we have made it to the end of a very cold week. If our weather forecast is correct, next week we will see a return to much more tolerable winter days and the opportunity for our students to safely go outside to play. I want to thank our students and our staff for their efforts to make the last week comfortable. During our week of indoor recess times, we had circuits in the gym, dancing in the Panorama Room, STEM challenges, board games, movies and opportunities to curl up with a book next to the digital “fire” in the learning commons. While we may see some extreme cold weather again this season, we will gladly welcome the chance to be under our big Alberta sky once again.
Photo Credit: Mr. Tang
After a week indoors we are all acutely aware of the benefits of getting out. The National Wildlife Federation has great top 10 list:
10 Reasons Kids Need Fresh Air
More Vitamin D leads to stronger bones and better health. In Canada we never get enough of the sunshine vitamin!
Fitter and more healthy kids: An hour of play a day is what doctors say is a basic tool in the effort to ward off childhood obesity and diabetes.
Improved eyesight: Recent studies find that kids who get outdoor time have less nearsightedness and need for eye glasses.
Less depression and hyperactivity: Outdoor time in natural setting soothes emotions and may reduce the need for medications.
Longer attention spans: Too much “screen time” has been shown to reduce attention span in children
Improved social skills: Kids playing together outdoors relate directly with one another, create games together.
Outdoor kids are more likely to use their own imaginations, inventions and creativity while playing.
Less “acting out” at home and school: TV and video games are often not the best role models for children’s behavior.
Measurably better grades in school: Healthier bodies that move more lead to healthy brains that are more creative and problem solve better!
A longer lifespan and healthier adult life: Fit kids become active adults with a potential longer expectancy.
Source National Wildlife Federation
Report Card Update - Changes in Math Stems
As promised, this week I’m sharing more information about the changes in CBE report cards. Report Cards will be issued January 30th and parents will likely notice that the math stems are different. Previously students were assessed on stems such as communicating mathematically, estimating, problem solving and the ability to perform computations. These stems applied to math learning across the different strands in the Alberta Program of Study. While students will still be assessed on these important skills, reporting will now be organized according to math content areas. Parents will see the following indicators on their child’s report card:
Since more than half the school year remains at this point in the year, there are some areas that may not be graded this term. The indicator NATR (Not Applicable This Report) will be used if the outcomes within a stem/area have not been directly taught or fully assessed within a particular reporting period.
More information about the changes in Math reporting can be found HERE.
Thank you all for reading and for supporting our school.
Please follow us on Twitter @EdgemontCBE
Dear Edgemont School Families and Friends
We hope that all of our families and friends have had a wonderful winter break! The month of December was a busy one at our school filled with celebrations and performances. As we return to school we are focused on new beginnings in 2020 and continuing with rich learning experiences for our students.
Report Card Changes
Later this month students will receive their first report cards for the year. Report Cards represent a snapshot in time where teachers evaluate student learning compared to the Provincial Program of Study learning outcomes. Report Cards are an important and highly anticipated part of our communication strategy. Teacher communicate formally through report cards and conferences at scheduled times through the year. They also communicate informally through informal conversations, work sent home, agenda messages and email communication. Programming information in each classroom is shared weekly through Classroom Twitter feeds and the school website.
We want parents to know that there have a been a few changes in the way that learning is reported. The report card indicator scale (1 - 4) has changed somewhat. These changes have been made to increase the clarity and consistency of reporting across the Calgary Board of Education.
The new indicators continue to describe learning on the following 4 point scale:
The indicator scale still has 3 levels that describe achievement at grade level and 1 level that represents achievement that is not yet at grade level. What has changed is the description of each indicator. Where a 1 used to represent limited or insufficient understanding, it now describes a student that is at a beginning level of understanding. This allows teachers to report more clearly what achievement at a beginning level would look like in relation to the program of study.
The 4 indicator does not indicate that a student is beyond grade level expectations. For clarity, a 4 is now described as understanding that is at a Mastery level for the learning outcomes in the child's current grade.
Teachers apply indicators to a body of evidence at report card time. Examining the body of student evidence teachers determine which indicator best describes the students’ learning at this point in the year. For this reason teachers look very closely at the most recent learning evidence when determining what a child can do at this time.
The indicator also describes next steps in learning and instruction. For example a student receiving a 2 in a subject will require adjustments to planning and instruction for further learning in this area. This signals to teachers and parents that instructional intervention may be necessary to prevent gaps in learning. These gaps may lead to below grade level achievement in the future.
More information about assessment and reporting in the CBE can be found HERE.
While we do not have formal conferences at this point in the school year parents are always encouraged to communicate with teachers about their child’s learning as questions or concerns arise.
Please tune in to the principal blog next week for news about reporting in Math.
Dear Students, Families and Friends of Edgemont School,
From the bottom of our hearts we want to thank all of our school community for working with us at Edgemont School. It is the greatest privilege to work with you children each day.
As we approach Winter Break we also have the incredible joy to be part of seeing the holidays through the hopes and dreams of children. We have had a fun and exhausting spirit week filled with plaid, pj’s and the ugliest sweaters in all of Calgary. A huge thank you has to go out to our teachers and support staff who ensured that meaningful learning was occurring each day, even as we counted down to Winter Break.
For those of you who already follow us on Twitter, THANK YOU! It is important to us that our community knows about the amazing learning opportunities in our classrooms every day. We hope you will consider retweeting our school posts and spreading the good news about learning at our school. If you haven’t followed us yet I hope you will consider following both your child’s classroom (click here to find your classroom) and our school’s Twitter account @EdgemontCBE.
A Special Christmas Wish: On behalf of al the Staff and Students at Edgemont we want to wish all of our families a very special Winter Break. Please click this youtube link for a special message from Ms. Holford and Mr. Quinney!
A reminder: There is no school for students Friday December 20th, school resumes on January 6th. As our office staff is away over Winter Break we will respond to any messages the when school resumes.
We look forward to seeing everyone in 2020.
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