Jun 29
Student Communication - June 26

Dear Students,


The staff at Hillhurst School is incredibly proud of all of you. As a school community we had many great memories together including field trips, special events, projects and all the regular day to day tasks and activities that make elementary school special. Smile as you reminisce about all these positive experiences. You grew both personally and academically, and we know you will not allow the unexpectedness of the last few months to define your experience this year. You are wiser, more mature and ready for the transition to the next grade. We want to thank all of you for the resilience, versatility and understanding you demonstrated through the disappointments of the last few months. Missing out is never fun, but you persevered.  As adults, we can learn from the collective of our children and how you handled this sudden, drastic change. As Christopher Robin declared, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” As students, you lived this throughout the spring and this makes us very hopeful for the future. The 2019-2020 school year will be one that none of us ever forgets, but it will make us appreciate ‘normal’ more than we ever have. Take care, find the joy in the little things and don’t forget to smile.


See you soon,

Mr. Giffen on behalf of all Hillhurst Staff​

Jun 29
Parent Communications June 26

Dear Parents and Guardians,


Thank you. Upon my arrival in January, I was immediately impressed by your immense support for and dedication to Hillhurst School. I was very delighted to see how many volunteers there were to support both in and out of the school. Programs like grandparent reading and fun lunch among others contribute massively to the vibrancy of this school community. I met many of you before and after school and through your generous volunteerism, and I look forward to meeting the rest of you throughout the next school year. I know that the last few months were hard. I am a parent of two elementary aged children, and so I can relate to the ups and downs that each of us faced as we endeavoured to keep positive and support our children through this most trying time. I know each of you had your own stresses and demands while you also supported your child’s learning, so, again, I thank you. We are most hopeful that we will begin September 1st with kids attending in-school classes. I look forward to seeing you again in person and continuing to learn about the Hillhurst School community. I am excited to be leading Hillhurst through whatever the 2020-2021 school year brings, and I know we can count on you for your continued support.



Chris Giffen, Principal

May 26
Gate Families - Transportation Registration

To: Dear Parents/Guardians - GATE Students:


RE: 2020-2021 Transportation


We have received confirmation that the cost for CBE transportation for GATE students for the next school year is $465/year.  Should you be interested in registering for transportation please do so by June 14, 2020. This is the only way a bus with a corresponding bus stop will be arranged for your child, so please be sure to register for transportation by this deadline. Registration for transportation is easily completed through your MY CBE Account www.cbe.ab.ca/mycbe . Once you are logged into your account click on ‘Future Charges’ and then click the Specialized Transportation Pre-Registration icon to  complete and submit the form which will initiate the transportation registration process for your child. This needs to be completed for all students even if you have registered for transportation in previous years. This is an annual requirement.

 Should you have any questions or require further assistance with transportation registration please contact our office at 403-777-6360 ext. 0.​

May 26
Parent Communications and Updates - May 26

Hello all,

We hope you are doing well and enjoying the sunshine when you can.  We are including a number of updates below.  Some of which are new and others a reminder.

Staffing updates

We want to say thank you to Ms. Betty Pond for all the work she did with the music program. Her passion for music was evident everyday.  Betty was covering a leave for Mrs. Louis AuYeung. Mrs. AuYeung is now back at Hillhurst and we want to welcome her back to the team.  We also want to congratulate Mrs. Josephine Cesario, our outstanding admin secretary, for becoming a permanent member of the Hillhurst staff.  Josie has been on a temporary contract, but has now been given the position permanently. Finally, my title of Acting Principal has been changed to Principal.  I am very excited to join the Hillhurst community on a permanent basis and I very much look forward to our continued work together.


The CBE has released information about the budget for 2020-2021 and related information about school fees. Important information for parents can be found on the CBE web site.

An announcement regarding transportation for the 2020- 21 school year was also recently shared. You can find details here: Transportation Fees for 2020-21. Gate families; please click the separate link within the original e-mail with instructions on how to register for transportation.  Please do this by June 14th.  If you have any questions, please phone the school office.

Parent Engagement

Parents are invited to engage in our planning process through a survey that will be sent out in the coming week. Please watch for an invitation to provide input into planning decisions. Further engagement will occur at our next school council meeting set for June 10th and 6:30pm.

When Will We See You Again?

The staff at Hillhurst School have been missing our students and their families. We collectively put together, under the direction of Mrs. Klassen, a video to show our faces and our support to everyone who is part of our learning community. You can view the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV7oPLgiMNg&t=1s  Additionally, staff often decorate the sidewalk in front of the school with chalk messages.  We are missing you all and cannot wait to get back to a normal routine.

We are making plans for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, however, the re-opening of schools is based on recommendations of the government. Re-entry plans have not been finalized. We will communicate any and all information as soon as we have been provided with details.

 Technical Support for Parents

Technical support is now available for students and parents. https://www.cbe.ab.ca/support/Pages/Google-Apps-Gmail.aspx


Ongoing Learning Update

Your child’s teacher is your first point of contact for all questions.  Information, tasks and learning continue to be shared via Google Classroom, and Google Meet sessions continue to be scheduled throughout the week for student learning and to ensure student connection.  Staff are committed to meeting the needs of all students. Should you need help with anything, please contact your child’s teacher.  School administration is also here to help.


This continues to be a stressful time for everyone, and we want to remind you that we are here to help.  Additionally, here are some resources for you or anyone who may need support. https://cbe.ab.ca/about-us/school-culture-and-environment/health-and-wellness-in-school/Pages/Positive-Mental-Health.aspx

School Access

We are aware that arrangements will need to be made for students to retrieve any remaining items from the school. We will put a plan in place for students to retrieve their items before the end of June. A plan will be communicated classroom by classroom and follow social distancing protocols. In the meantime, all student belongings are secure. Should you urgently need an item, please call or e-mail the office and we can make a plan to help.

Planning for 2020-21

All CBE schools are in the process of organizing for the next school year. This involves school budgets, staffing and class configuration, transportation and timetabling, and other organizational considerations. We will share information about this work through these weekly updates.

Thank you for your continued support.

Wishing you all the best,

Chris Giffen, Principal




May 26
Bell Schedule Changes - 2020-2021 School Year

To: Parents/Guardians 

From: Chris Giffen
Subject: 2020-2021 School Bell Times 


Dear Parents/Guardians, 

As communicated on May 15, the CBE is making adjustments to the start (entry) and end (dismissal) times of the school day at some CBE schools for the 2020-21 school year. We are making these plans for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, however, the re-opening of schools is based on recommendations of the governmentRe-entry plans have not been finalized. 

For the 2020-21 school year, our school hours will be:

Grades 1 - 6 

Monday – Friday ENTRY TIME: Soft entry

·                     Door open 8:35 (students may come in early)

·                     Warning bell 8:40 (all students enter)

·                     School begins 8:45 (instruction begins)

Monday – Thursday DISMISSAL TIME: 3:20 



Kindergarten A.M.  

Monday – Friday ENTRY TIME

·         8:40 (Teacher brings students inside)

·         School begins 8:45 (instruction begins)

Monday – Thursday DISMISSAL TIME 11:25



The only change to instructional hours is the 12:45 dismissal on Fridays. School start time will remain 8:45. However, we are making changes to our entry plan to ensure students can enter more calmly and begin learning promptly at 8:45.  Therefore, school doors will be unlocked at 8:35 and the bell will ring at 8:40 signalling Grade 1 -6 students to come inside.  Kindergarten students will be brought into the school by their teacher at 8:40. The final bell will ring at 8:45 meaning students should be seated in their classroom. Supervision will continue to be offered outside from 8:30 – 8:40. As well, staff will be supervising inside beginning at 8:35. Bussed students will arrive to school in time to enter at 8:40 and begin their learning at 8:45.


Lunch and Recess

Since re-entry plans have not been finalized by the province, we are planning for next year with flexibility in mind. For the beginning of the year, we are planning to offer recess through a floating model.  Meaning that each class will have a 15 minute recess sometime throughout the day.  Timing will be determined based on a number of factors such as when they have physical education class, the weather, when other classes are going outside etc.  We are beginning the year with this model for two main reasons. The first reason is that it allows for maximum scheduling efficiency throughout the day thus ensuring all classes will be able to attend daily physical education class as a single class. This is important considering the size of our gym. The second reason is that it allows for the flow of teacher instruction and student engagement in tasks to determine the most appropriate time to take a break. We are also planning to make an adjustment to lunch by being prepared to begin the year with staggered lunch times. This means that half of the school eats while the other half has recess and then half way through the lunch period, the two groups switch. Our lunchbreak will run this way because it allows us to be the most efficient in how we designate staff to supervise. It also allows for greater movement and use of playground equipment when students are outside.  Groupings have yet to be determined; however, the number of students will be balanced, and set according to number of staff. As with any type of change, there are positives and negatives.  We will continually evaluate these changes to ensure they are best serving our students and be prepared with changes if needed.  

School hours continue to be aligned at all schools that use transportation services to optimize transportation services. These changes are one part of the CBE’s efforts to develop equitable, sustainable, and coherent transportation service for all CBE students. 


We know that these changes could have an impact on families. By informing you before the end of this school year, we hope you are able to make the necessary adjustments to your routines and make any required childcare arrangements before the start of the 2020-21 school year. I’d like to thank you for your patience and support. We look forward to a great year in learning together next year! 


Thank you, 


Chris Giffen  


Mar 30
Hillhurst Updates - March 30

Hillhurst School 


Good Morning Hillhurst families.

We hope you are doing well and keeping your spirits up. Staff at Hillhurst have had time during their spring break to let all the changes in our world sink in and have begun to eagerly plan and explore ideas for on-line learning. There will be adjustments as we transition to an on-line learning environment, but please know we are here to support you and your child as best we can. These are still our students. Hillhurst is still their school. Also know that we understand that each of our families have been impacted by this pandemic, and that it won’t always be easy to support your children in their learning at home.  We do not expect parents to deliver the same learning that students receive at school, but to do whatever they can to encourage and support learning for their children.  Please know that many staff members also have school aged children at home and spouses that are having to work, either from home or at their work place, so we absolutely understand these challenges.  Also, know that the on-line learning plan will evolve over time.  We ask for your patience as we continue to receive guidelines and expectations from the Calgary Board of Education. Beginning today, teachers will connect with students and their families to see how you are and to ask a few questions which will help to guide our next steps in the online learning approach. Some staff may contact you using their personal devices.  We ask that you please not use this number to contact staff, but instead contact them via e-mail. We will use the information gleaned from families to inform our next step.  The on-line learning environment will begin to take shape as the week progresses.  We ask for your understanding as we try to meet the varied needs of our families.  In a stressful time such as this we will be working hard to not overwhelm families with too much and to be flexible to the needs of everyone, all while adhering to Alberta Education’s guidelines guidelines to direct student learning .  For those families wanting to supplement the work you receive from your child’s teacher you can also access the Learning at Home webpage, which offers a variety of educational ideas to support literacy, numeracy and wellness. We are here for your children.  Our commitment to their learning will not waver – it will just look different.  Please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail at CJGiffen@cbe.ab.ca or at the school. I am here to help.


Thank you,

Chris Giffen, Acting Principal

Hillhurst School


Mar 20
Hillhurst Updates - March 20

Depending on age and individual circumstances, students will have very different reactions and understandings of all that is going on in our rapidly changing world.  Below are some resources that may be useful in helping your children understand what is happening. 

General Principles for Talking to Children About COVID - CBE.pdf 

Covid Social Story for Children.pdf 

Managing Anxiety and Stress - CBE.pdf 

WHO Helping Chidren Cope with Stress.pdf 

Children are now officially on spring break, so we encourage you and your family to do what works for you knowing that it won’t be the spring break any of us had planned.  If your children are asking for something to do, you may refer to the ideas shared by the Calgary Board of Education or use the ideas communicated via your child’s teacher. Hillhurst staff are going to take their spring break to refresh and when we return we expect to have more direction as to how schools should proceed.  We will communicate next steps as soon as possible after our March 30th professional development day.

Take care and stay healthy.

Dec 09
Dec. 9 - Hillhurst School Updated

Dear Hillhurst Families,

As we approach Winter Break, I find myself reflecting on both how quickly this year has progressed, as well as how far students have come in their learning.  As I engage in chats with teachers, discussing student progress and next steps, I can confidently say that without exception, all students have demonstrated growth in some capacity.  What growth looks like varies of course, grade to grade, student to student. 

All Hillhurst staff are also constantly looking to improve and demonstrate personal and professional growth.  In continuation of our growth as teachers, we will be welcoming Adrienne Gear, renowned researcher on literacy, to work with our teaching staff on our January 6th Non-Instructional Day.  Our School Development Plan focus is: “If teachers design robust, responsive, engaging tasks grounded in a caring environment, then students will demonstrate an improved ability to write and problem-solve.”  There is a lot to consider in this statement, but know that care, writing, and problem-solving are at the core.  As such, Ms. Gear will be supporting us with her findings and strategies that relate to optimizing our writing techniques, in support of our school goals.  You can learn more about Ms. Gear and her reading and writing professional development at https://www.readingpowergear.com/.  Also, attached to this email you will find a .PDF sent to us by our Occupational Therapist, which offers information about supporting writing at home.

Finally, I realize that many people are awaiting word about the impact of the provincial budget on our school.  As you have no doubt been made aware via news outlets, budget allocations and understandings have been shifting regularly over the past couple weeks.  Know that as soon as I am able to report anything with “certainty” about impacts on Hillhurst School, I will do so.  I have been informed that information will be shared within the next couple days via email about the budget and its implications, so stay tuned.

A few reminders

Interviews, Report card dates:  Report Cards are scheduled to come home on Monday, December 16, 2019.  You can book an interview with your child’s teacher through the PowerSchool portal, at https://sis.cbe.ab.ca/public/Bookings are on a first-come, first-served basis, and opens up online for booking effective Monday, December 16th, 2019 at 6:00pm.  Interviews are scheduled for almost all classes on the evening of Thursday, December 19th and the morning of Friday December 20th.

Fun Lunch:  A reminder that our next Fun Lunch is this Thursday, December 12th.

Grandfriends:  We were very happy to see the Grandfriends program continue last week.  Thank you to our School Council for your work in making this opportunity happen, in support of student learning and positive relationships.

Fill a sock campaign:  Thank you to all families who have sent in a sock for our “Fill a Sock” campaign; they will be delivered on December 20th to families and people in need.

Winter Break:  Reminder that students’ last day of school before Winter Break is Thursday, December 19, 2019.  School will resume for students on Tuesday, January 7th, 2020. 


Warmest wishes,

Ryan Turner

Acting Principal, Hillhurst School


Oct 04
Formative Assessment

One month into the school year already; time is passing by very quickly, but we are making good use of our time!  Students have been working diligently on refining understandings based on grade-level curriculum, and one aspect that teachers are looking at deeply during some of our Friday afternoon time is assessment.  One area of assessment that we are looking at is how we can leverage ‘formative assessment’ to both engage students deeply in their work, as well as continually move learning forward.  Dylan William is a renowned authority in the area of formative assessment, and we have been looking at his five key strategies for effective formative assessment.  They are:

  1. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding goals for learning and criteria for success with learners./li>
  2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions, activities and tasks that elicit evidence of student learning.
  3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward.
  4. Activating students as owners of their own learning.
  5. Activating students as learning resources for one another.

Some of the strategies are more appropriate in certain learning situations of course, but Wiliam offers excellent guidance on establishing where learners are in their learning, where they are going, and how to get there, regardless of ability level or subject area.  It is challenging work, but very worthwhile, and we are excited about implementing these strategies in our classrooms to help all students learn what they need to learn to succeed in school and our world.  To learn more about formative assessment and Dylan Wiliam’s research, you can easily find some of his talks/seminars about assessment and student success on YouTube.

Mar 22
April Administrative Message

Administrative Message

As school leaders, we continuously reflect on our leadership practices and our impact.  We collect data/evidence, engage in conversations and use research-driven information to inform our actions. Recently, we read an article, “How Do Principals Influence Student Achievement?” by the UChicago Consortium of School Research.  Below is a visual that speaks to our work as a collective.  If School Principals create Strong Learning Climates, supported by Teacher Leadership then school-wide goals will improve.  Simple, but yet a very powerful focus.  


In staffing news, we would like to formally welcome Mrs. Josephine Cesario as our new Administrative E Secretary.  Josie joins the Hillhurst team with a variety of career experiences both in the public and private sector.  She is very enthusiastic and excited about her new role.  Please be sure to take a moment to introduce yourself and give her a warm Hillhurst welcome! 

This school year, we have had a number of Celebration of Learning events in the evening.  Many families have had an opportunity to celebrate in their child’s learning.  We wanted to take a moment and share some feed-back we have received from families in from the Celebration of Learning evening events:

Great! So fun! Best part is seeing the enthusiasm in XXX about her work.

I’m so impressed by the variety of learning experiences.  I especially liked the Anne Frank biography and the Mt. St. Helen’s Volcano. 

Really enjoyed it, kids have worked super hard!

Love the crime scenes project!

Robotics – look at all the coding!

French – so personalized! Really helps to engage the students.

Music – Wow! My son has no musical background and he played a piece and sang it!

Thank you for all your hard work!

A group gathering with families and students will give students more confidence.

The math strategy game was very good.  We enjoyed the robotics and it was cool to see her creativity.

On behalf of the staff, thank you for attending the Celebration of Learnings, thus far and we look forward to the remaining ones for the year.

In May and June of this year, all Grade 6 students throughout the province will write provincial achievement tests in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Results from these tests will provide Alberta Education, school administrators, teachers, parents, students, and the public with information about what students know and can do in relation to provincial standards at the end of Grade 6.

Grade 6 ELA Part A – May 8

Grade 6 ELA Part B – May 13

Grade 6 Math Part A – June 14

Grade 6 Math Part B – June 12

Grade 6 Social Studies – June 11

Grade 6 Science – June 17

As we head into Spring Break, we hope that you will enjoy your time with family and friends and that you and your child (ren) will have time to enjoy some fresh spring air!



Prem Randhawa, Principal

Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

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Prem Randhawa, Principal

Adam Topp, Assistant Principal


Students registered for hub online will receive an email by end of day Wednesday with a teacher introduction, info about how and where to log in and more. Check https://t.co/ee2XFbs1qB for more details. #cbehub #yycbe https://t.co/7MiZG7UAE0

Today is the first public Board meeting of the 2020-21 school year. We invite you to stream the meeting online starting at noon https://t.co/nvCl1fNgoJ #yycbe https://t.co/dNj3EMkOpC

The Ship to Shore program was piloted in three of our schools last year, connecting CBE students with the Royal Canadian Navy, HMCS Calgary and HMCS Tecumseh. https://t.co/SHtygBolKh #WeAreCBE @HMCSNCSMCalgary @RoyalCanNavy https://t.co/CCXMTngmgZ

Thank you to all of our students, families and staff for a successful first week of in-person classes! Have a great long weekend, classes resume on Tues. Sept 8 #WeAreCBE https://t.co/yji3wkSCfq