Dear Parents & Guardians:
We are very excited to be returning to another school year. Students will be excited to see a new section of our playground on the west field be built. This will happen between August 29 and September 8.
Before our teachers went on summer holidays, they were securing field trips and residencies for our students this year. They include an author visit in September, our Grade 5-6 outdoor school at Camp Chief Hector (October 16-19), a hip-hop dance residency by Pulse Dance Studios at the end of January and a science residency put on by Evergreen Theatre. Many of these experiences are funded by parent donations through the Elbow Park Parent Society.
Do not miss our “Muffin Mixer" parent social activity on the morning of our first day of school, August 31, 2023 (7:45 a.m.)
It has been a busy week for our staff and students with Alien inline skating, National Indigenous People's Day, a Kindergarten field trip to Safety City and Provincial Achievement Tests for our Grade 6 students. We appreciate the many parent volunteers who have helped us out with the many opportunities this week.
To continue our acts of commitment towards the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, we renewed our implementation goal for next year. We will continue to acknowledge the land and the Indigenous people of the land in authentic and meaningful ways. To leverage opportunities for students and staff to learn from the land and the significance of place. To honour land as a teacher and to protect and respect the life it shares and the stories it holds. To understand the truth and impact of residential schooling on Canadian history and in our community today. In making our commitment, Calls to Action #57 & 63 offered inspiration.
Through this school year in art class, each student gathered a stone from the river bank and wrote a message and/or symbol on it. Their messages were based on reflections they had after learning about Canada's history with residential schools. These stones have been painted and arranged to resemble a medicine wheel. This echoes the CBE's holistic learning framework that is grounded in the four directions of the wheel. Starting in the east, yellow represents “Spirit – To Be", south is “Heart – To Belong," west is black representing “Body – To Do," and north is white for “Mind – To Know." We intend for the stones to remain outside year-long as a symbol of our commitment to these teachings as acts of reconciliation. Please feel free to visit this in our outdoor boulder classroom on the east side of the school grounds. Click here to see our renewed commitment to the TRC and to view a photograph of the medicine wheel.
Every CBE school was also gifted three Indigenous flags (Treaty 7, Metis and Inuit) to hang in our school. They are now located in our office beside our Land Acknowledgment after the flag ceremony that we held on Wednesday morning with our students. This explained the symbols on each of the flags as well as how most government buildings now hang these flags alongside the Canadian and provincial flags. After this assembly, we arranged to have a virtual live presentation for students that was hosted by an Alberta author, Sigmund Brouwer, who visited our school in the spring. He was joined by artist and Calgary resident Elizabeth Buller Page (member of Treaty 6 Mistawasis Nehiyawak of Saskatchewan) and rising country music star Mat Cardinal (Big Stone Cree Nation, Desmarais, AB) to share art, music, stories and video. We also heard from former NHL player, Bryan Trottier, best-selling author, seven-time Stanley Cup winner and recognized as the most decorated Indigenous athlete in all of sports history. His message was about giving your best effort in everything that you do.
We also thank our Parent Society for a lovely end-of-year staff luncheon. This allowed us to say thank you and farewell to some of our staff members who will not be at Elbow Park School next year: Miss Karly (literacy, art, PE), Ms. Hunter (Gr.3-4), Mr. Scullion (PE), Ms. Kunerth (supply teacher), and two of our lunch supervisors: Miss Alaire and Miss Susie. We thank them for their time and dedication and success in their new roles next year. We do anticipate the return of Mr. Messer from his leave of absence for next school year.
Our students had a busy day today reflecting on the meaning of Red Shirt Day and our Grade 1-2 students hosted our current Kindergartners in their classroom for a tour.
All of our students took some time to reflect on #RedForAccessAbility and how we as individuals and collectively as a community can support disabled people and their families. Our students designed red patches to wear with a message of support. This coincides with our fundraiser to support Camp Horizon and subsidies for disabled campers to utilize their facility. More information on that below.
We had our next year Kindergartners in our school for a tour this morning and they all seemed very ready to join our community.
We want to thank our families for their generous donations that allow our Parent Society to fund our Aussie Rules Football residency this week. Our K-6 students were outside with Mia from Australia for physical education this week learning the rules of Australian football.
Next week we are looking forward to our Gala Fundraiser that is almost sold-out. Please visit our Fundraiser webpage to view the canvases that will be for auction. The canvases have been reprinted on postcards for purchase and there are also special edition posters of the school that can be purchased as part of the fundraiser.
We had Alberta author Sigmund Brouwer visit our school on Thursday (March 23) morning. Sigmund used humour, music, movement, and personal anecdotes to encourage our students to express themselves through story. Students learned about the writing process, how to find ideas and inspiration in their own lives, how to write for a specific purpose or a specific audience, and how to persevere through challenges. Our school learning commons has several of Mr. Brouwer's books in the shelves - he was kind enough to autograph them for us.
It was amazing to see our K-6 students paint six masterpieces on large canvasses in just two days this week. A huge thank you to Chlan Grant, our artist in residence, who makes this magic happen. We appreciate her time and talents that she donates to this cause. Also, this would not be possible without the time and efforts of our many parent volunteers who came in to support this project under Tara Shaw's guidance! Stay tuned for some sneak-a-peak footage of the paintings, a time-lapse video of the process and a viewing of the works of art at our March parent/teacher conferences.
Our students enjoyed an afternoon performance by Evergreen Theatre entitled, “The Wicked Witch of the Wetlands." This included some student participation on stage in supporting roles of various wetland creatures. The message was about the importance that our wetlands play in our ecosystem and climate. Curricular outcomes for Science at every grade level were addressed from plants, animals, insects and climate. The cost for this play was covered by the fundraising efforts of our parent community – thank you so much!
We look forward to our painting residency with Chlan Grant. Students will over the next couple of months begin to study and appreciate the works of the selected Canadian painters, who include: Jennifer Woodburn, David Thauberger, Jillian Jurchuk and Jason Carter.
Also, with Valentines Day and Pink Shirt Day this month, our students will be learning about healthy friendships and solving peer relationship issues. Our students will be making their own symbolic messages to support these themes to wear on Pink-Shirt Day (Feb. 22). Of course students are welcome to wear a pink shirt on that day, however there is no expectation to.
Our hip-hop dance residency put on by Pulse Dance Studios was a huge success. Student engagement across all grades was high and the performance today was stellar. We had at least one hundred parents in attendance to view the event and the gym was rockin' to some familiar dance hits from back when I was in Junior High! Thank you so much to the fundraising efforts from our families to make these enrichment opportunities happen!
Our staff are excited to be back after our Winter Break. As we approach our first report cards on Jan. 30, our students will be learning hip hop dance in partnership with Pulse Dance studios. Students will also be able to participate in some extra-curricular activities as we move into the spring including basketball and floor hockey.
Thanks to the generous fundraising efforts of our parent community, the Elbow Park Parent Society is funding on-site activities that include Pulse Hip Hop dance, Nordic Skiing, and Mad Science. We also look forward to our artist residency in February which also serves as a fundraising auction for families to purchase the student paintings.
We would like to thank all of our students and parents for their unwavering support this school year.
It was a highlight to have Jessie, a Metis-Cree land consultant, work with our students and tell them stories from the land. We also had the pleasure of working with Jeff Stockton, a master story-teller, who taught our students how to be in front of an audience with confidence and tell a story.
It was great to see students on field trips again this spring: our Grade 5-6 students downtown exploring architecture, our Grade 1-2s at Granary Road and our Kindergartners at the Zoo.
To host a talent show with about 70 students participating and having our Grade 6 students walk the stage for their farewell again - amazing!
We wish everyone a safe and exciting summer holiday!
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