Jun 03
Update | June 3, 2020

Update | June 3, 2020
 
Good afternoon,
I hope you are well. A common thread in staff conversations is certainly around how much we are missing the ongoing face to face interactions with students and colleagues. I imagine this could be a stressful time for families, and we hope to be sensitive to this. June often brings with it the usual ebbs and flows of a school year and additional complexities around engaging students; however, it is often an exciting time for young people as they celebrate the year and look forward to the summer break. I wanted to take a moment to share some of our plans for the last few weeks of June.
 
The following email relates to:
  • Ongoing Learning
  • Pick up and drop off processes
  • Budget and Fees  information and survey 
June 15 - 26: Ongoing Learning
  • Learning opportunities will continue to be offered and classroom teachers will be available for students. Tasks will continue to focus on supporting students in being ready for the next level of a course, while supporting engagement as students ready themselves for the break. This is also a time when we invite you to share any relevant information that may support us in understanding your child as we look to the coming school year.
  • Report cards will be distributed electronically through PowerSchool. More details will follow around the process.
  • IPPs will be distributed electronically where we have consent, or can be picked up from the school during the times outlined below.
June 15 - 17: Pick up/Drop off
  • While continuing to follow protocols, we are providing the following opportunities for students to drop off library books and pick up refund cheques/remaining locker items etc. As of Monday June 22, any unclaimed items will be donated, recycled or discarded.
Monday June 15
Tuesday June 16
Wednesday June 17
Last Name  A – B
9:00am – 10:30am
Last Name: K - M
9:00am – 10:30am
Last Name: U - W
9:00am – 10:30am
Last Name: C - D
10:30am – 12:00pm
Last Name: N - P
10:30am – 12:00pm
Last Name: X - Z
10:30am – 12:00pm
Last Name:  E - G
12:00pm – 1:30pm
Last Name: Q - R
12:00pm – 1:30pm
Last Name:  H - J
1:30pm – 3:00pm
Last Name: S - T
 1:30pm – 3:00pm
    
If these times do not work for you, please connect with the main office – we can be flexible.
At this point, we do not know what learning will look like in the fall. The CBE has established a “Re-Entry Task Force’ to lead the planning, and consider input from the surveys. All decisions will be guided by the advice of the province’s chief medical officer and Alberta Education guidelines. As soon as information is available, communication will go out to families.
We would also appreciate your input on the survey below.
2020-21 Budget & Fees Info & Parent Survey
Learn and Share | CBE and school budget and school fees information and online engagement
We know we make better decisions to support student learning when we build understanding and work together. That’s why we’ll be sharing information about the CBE budget and how we develop our own school budget and establish school fees for some services and activities through an upcoming online engagement opportunity.  This morning, we updated our John Ware School website with information and the engagement opportunity.
During this online engagement opportunity, you will have the opportunity to:
1.     Learn
  • Where funding for the CBE comes from and how it is spent
  • About the Resource Allocation Method (RAM) used to fund schools
  • How we estimate, then finalize, RAM for our school
  • How we establish school fees for some activities and services
Please select the link on the right to view the presentation.
 
2.     Participate
  • Share your perspectives on school budget and school fees
  • Active online engagement will be open until  June 10, 2020.
Here is the link to the on-line engagement:
 
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Take good care,
 
Mandy
Apr 05
Update | Friday April 3rd

Dear John Ware Families,

I hope that you are doing well and staying healthy and peaceful in the middle of our present situation. We are aware that current circumstances have impacted families in different ways, some more significantly than others, and you are certainly in our thoughts as you navigate life and learning together through these times. I apologize for the length of this email – please bear with me.
As of today, teachers have reached out to all of their students/families. It has been exciting to hear of how learning is unfolding. The initial invite to learning was simply related to supporting our students in connecting - navigating Google Classroom/D2L, checking that families had technology supports, supporting wellness and refreshing students’ collective understanding of online etiquette. Having said that, some classes have stepped into learning activities, and some are even preparing for upcoming labs at home. This looks slightly different across classrooms and grades, as it does in a physical building. We have no doubt that students will continue to learn how to live well in different contexts. However, all teachers are providing clear outlines around the learning tasks.
We are aware that there may be some complexities related to connecting with families. As teachers are using their personal devices, they are following protocols around hiding their numbers, so you may be cautious answering a call. Please contact Jodie Blasken at jlblasken@cbe.ab.ca  if you have not received some form of communication from a staff member.
There have been a couple of questions from students and families around engagement and assessment. While we work together as a CBE, alongside Alberta Education, to think through what assessment/marks will look like as learning unfolds, supporting students in understanding the impact of not engaging on their readiness and success for the 2020-2021 school year is an important conversation.
As you are aware, the focus for learning at this point is on Math, Science, ELA and Social Studies; however, as things settle into more of a pattern, we are hoping to share possibilities for optional engagement in tasks related to our complimentary courses. These tasks will be available to all students. Further information will follow. We also have a group of teachers who are caring more particularly for the health and wellness needs of our young people. Please reach out to our assistant principal, Linda Doyle (lmdoyle@cbe.ab.ca) if you are aware of young people from our school who are struggling in this way.
As you can imagine, as teachers seek to care for students, they are also in the middle of learning new ways of teaching and learning, as well as navigating these difficult times on a personal level. I am so appreciative of the many ways in which you are showing support for our staff as they field hundreds of emails, and struggle to disconnect from work for a time. They are remaining calm and constant – thank you for your patience. I am hoping there can be some refreshment for all this weekend.
Continue to take good care, and please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
Sincerely,
Mandy
Mar 29
March 29 | Update

Good Evening John Ware Families,

You have been in my thoughts over this past week, and I hope that despite the complexity and struggles in our world at the moment you have had a wonderful opportunity to pause and be refreshed with your family close by. I was reminded over the break, that it is sometimes in the midst of what appears to be scarcity, we find a different kind of abundance. May you see images of hope in the days ahead.
While I am aware that CBE families have been receiving updates from Chief Superintendent Usih, I wanted to share some information that is specific to John Ware families.
While teaching and learning is certainly taking shape in different ways outside of the school building, the school is still open to support any questions you may have. The administrative team continues to be available to support you, and connect you to the right staff members to support your child’s learning and wellness. Please reach out – we are here to support you. While most belongings were picked up prior to the break, if you still need to stop by with your child(ren) to pick up personal belongings, please phone first.
As a full school team, and as smaller disciplinary teams, we will be engaging in a number of online meetings over the next couple of days to think through how we can best support your family. I will endeavour to keep you updated. In the meantime, a few things you can expect to see over the next few days:
Grades 7 – 9
Planning that focuses on core Mathematics, Language/Literacy, Science and Social Studies. All option courses are now cancelled until further notice. Teachers will assign an average of 10 hours of work per student per week.
 
Teacher Communication
As we work together to ensure that each child is supported, you can expect to receive an email in the next couple of days from one of your child’s teachers to identify tools for learning, key contacts, and to ask some questions around technology access. As we gather this information, we will put plans in place to support families who do not have access to technology or the internet.
 
Principal Communication
You can expect to receive ongoing communication from me, but please reach out if you have questions that are not addressed.
 
As we seek to gather images of hope, I am aware that we have many artists in our community, and while complimentary courses are on hold, I am hoping we can gather some of those images to share with the John Ware community. Further information will follow.
Once again, I would like to express my sincere thanks for your patience as we continue to work through some necessary planning in preparation for resuming structured learning opportunities for your child. I understand there has been plenty of uncertainty about what learning is going to look like moving forward. We will endeavour to stay connected as a community.
Take good care,
Sincerely,
Mandy
Mar 27
Spring Break Update

Dear John Ware Families,
 
Thank you to all members of our school community for your cooperation and adherence to the guidelines outlined by AHS during the retrieval of personal items.  A few staff members went through lockers this morning to check for any food items - this was quite an adventure:) For those members who still have personal belongings within the school, rest assured that they will be safe and available upon our eventual return to school.  For those families with medical supplies stored at the office, please contact the main office to make an arrangement for pick up.  
 
March break is to continue as planned for the week of March 23-27, 2020.  I ask all John Ware School community members, including our staff, to recognize this is a “break” and is meant to be a time to enjoy family and to stay safe.  During March Break, I anticipate communication will be less frequent, I still encourage you to check your email for system messages, and I will re-connect with our community after the March break.  
 
We continue to better understand the unusual and challenging events of classroom cancellation.  We don’t want to overwhelm students and families with programming expectations or offerings while we settle into day 5 of this new reality.  In addition, it is important that consistent messaging and resources are offered to students across the CBE and Alberta. The resources found on the CBE “Learning At Home” webpage  have been reviewed by CBE staff and offer wonderful learning opportunities for students to engage in.  Again, I encourage everyone to become involved in things that interest them and provide some physical and mental rigor.  Maintaining a balanced and consistent routine for children; including regular sleeping and eating times, breaks for activity and outdoor time, and healthy boundaries on screen time are very important to bringing normalcy to our days.    
 
These past week has been met with a lot of mixed emotions.  Hallways and classrooms are quiet and simply make up the structure of a building.  The children, whose laughter and energy is greatly missed, is clearly what makes John Ware a strong and vibrant community school.  As we learn new words and protocols such as social distancing and self-isolation, we are challenged to contemplate things that matter most as we are faced with uncertainty.  Uncertainty is heavy!  However, this notion of a “new normal” offers up the opportunity to re-align and take note of what is most important, what is truly valued and connect with loved ones. 
 
I would never have thought that I would be quoting the Chief Medical Officer of Health in Alberta, Dr. Hinshaw, but her advice is now more important than ever.  Dr. Hinshaw tweeted “The days and months ahead will be difficult for all of us.  We need to face this pandemic together and respond to this extraordinary crisis with extraordinary kindness. I want to remind Albertans: it is together that we will overcome.”
 
I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the community for your support and generosity, particulary over this past week.
Continue to be kind to one another and take good care of yourself, family and friends. 
 
Sincerely,
Mandy Hambidge
Principal, John Ware School
Nov 09
Upcoming Events

Hello Longhorn Families,

 

Thank you for keeping informed by reviewing updates from the school:

 

·         Our Remembrance Day Assembly was Friday.  It was great to see some parents and grandparents attend.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to the assembly.  If you have spare change to send in to support the Canadian Legion for donating poppies to the entire school, you can forward it to homeroom teachers on Tuesday.  See the news article for photos and further details, but highlights included:

o   Alex D bravely shared thoughts on the proud legacy of indigenous veterans in Canadian history. 

o   Madelyn H ? courageously tackled the most difficult assignment facing any junior high student – playing solo of The Last Post.

o   Addi L was awarded the Chad Horn Memorial Award for integrity, selflessness, and active citizenship.  She is a role model for us all.

·         Last Call for John Ware Clothing is Sunday, November 10.  See the news item on the website for ordering. 

·         There is no school on Monday, November 11 due to Remembrance Day statutory holiday.  Thank you to all veterans for preserving the freedoms we enjoy.

·         Parent Council is this Thursday evening, November 14, 6:30-8 PM in our library. 

o   See the minutes from October on our website.

o   This month’s main topic is expected to be budget implications for our school.

o   Regarding the budget, every school in the province is bracing for cuts.  At the school level, we do not know any more information than has been made public from our Chief Superintendent’s message to parents last week.  I anticipate knowing more on Thursday afternoon.  The delay is due to the fact that never before has a government cut education funding partway through a school year.  Further complicating decisions for school districts is the cuts are retroactive to the beginning of the school year, after staffing has been in place for over 2 months.  I will be doing everything I can to maintain our focus on classroom supports.

·         Parent Conferences are approaching on November 21 and 22.  We look forward to seeing everyone then.

o   Thursday, November 21 is an early dismissal day of 11:50 AM.

o   Friday, November 22 is a non-instructional day for students.

o   Conferences bookings will open November 14 @ 7 AM for parents to book.

o   You can go now to MyCBE portal to ensure you are set up to book conferences.

o   Call our office for support on booking conferences, if necessary.

·         Thank you to all parents who responded to my request last week to catch up on overdue fees from September and October field trips.  This still remains an issue though.  I will be sending home individual requests to parents in the coming days.  As you can appreciate, trying to recover fees is taking a great deal of time resources that are better spent on other issues. 

 ​Have a great week!

David

Oct 21
Oct 20 Update

Update – October 21

Hello Parents,

Here are a number of items for your consideration:

 ·         Photo Retakes are this Wednesday, October 23 – AM only.

 ·         School Apparel On-line store now open.  Just in time for gift-giving season!

 

Based on input collected from staff and students, we are offering a variety of Longhorn gear to raise school spirit and promote community. 

 

o   The store is open now until midnight on Sunday, November 3rd.

o   Deliver date is expected the week of November 25th.

o   All items are for optional purchase through the website.

o   Items such as t-shirts, zip up hoodies, name brand hoodie and/or fleece-lined pants, toques, hats, backpacks, even socks are available.

o   Logo choice includes the current Alberta logo, the retro Pride and Joy logo, a collegiate style name/initials only, and a very retro Longhorn logo that is mistakenly called ‘new’

o   Note:  Once the store closes, there could be opportunities for student athletes to purchase sport-specific apparel organized by their coaches. 

 ·         Hallowe’en – we are continuing with our policy to encourage anyone wanting to celebrate this cultural event by wearing costumes and consuming candy to do so in the community, not at school.  Thank you for your support on this.


We always welcome any feedback or clarification on policies or procedures.  Thanks!

David

Jun 26
Last update
 

The last day of school is a bittersweet day.  We are all tired and ready for a break, but we are also sentimental about the year that was.  We reminisce about the growth we have seen in our students and ourselves over the year with pride and smiles. 

On behalf of the staff of John Ware School, we thank you for trusting us with your children.  If you are leaving our school family, we wish you all the best that life offers.  If you are returning to us in the fall, I will be sending some key information in a separate message soon.

Either way, have a safe and happy summer.  We had a great year.  Thank you for being part of it.

Some last notes:

  • If you paid the refundable $50 security deposit in the fall, we learned this deposit will be e-transferred directly to parents via our central fees department. 
  • The report card is now available on-line in MyCBE/PowerSchool.
  • If you have questions or concerns arising from the report card that went home today, please contact the teacher directly to arrange a conversation.

David​

Jun 06
June 6 Update

 

Reminder   No classes Friday, June 5

 

Staff Appreciation Lunch June 24 – School council is seeking parent support for the annual Staff Appreciation Lunch by providing a dish and/or time.   Please consider supporting this show of appreciation for the staff who care for our children all year.  Please see the signup genius for how you can support.

 

Key Work Skill Development

One of the most foundational work skills is the ability to be at your post on time.  Each period of each day, teachers are required to record absences and lates of students.  Sometimes, those lates are unavoidable; sometimes, they are from lack of concern. 

On Monday, office staff processed 40 lates by 8:45 AM with no report of a late bus (nearly 10% of school enrollment).  This amounts to missed class time, class interruptions, wasted office support staff time to process, and potentially worrisome alerts to parents. 

Please reinforce with your students the importance of punctuality for school, future employment, and life.  Have a look at Powerschool to see whether lateness is becoming a habit for your student and support them in developing a better morning routine.  If there is a legitimate reason for being late, please call the absence reporting line at 403-777-7930.

As a natural consequence for chronic lates, we will begin detaining students after school.  We will work on time management goal-setting. 

 

Farewell Grade 9s! – click the link to see the news post and pictures arising from our Grade 9 Farewell and individual award presentation.  It was a Feel-Good day for John Ware School.

 

Battery Recycling – One of our grade 7 classes has been visiting classrooms to raise awareness about environmentally conscious of electronics recycling.  One small, but important form of recycling is batteries.  All CBE schools collect batteries for recycling, so when you collect your dead batteries, periodically send them to the front desk or the library desk for storage/pick up. 

Thanks for being Green.

 

Have a great day!

David

 ​

Apr 15
News & Updates

JW Update | April 15

 

Date Reminders

                Friday, April 19 is Good Friday – stat holiday, school closed

                Monday, April 22, is a Professional Development Day, no school for students

                Thursday, May 9 – Grade 9 Provincial Achievement Test in Writing

 

School Council Meeting this Thursday, April 18 @ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM in library.  All parents can be part of council, so if you are interested in hearing about, or voicing your opinion on topics of school interest, you are welcome to attend.  The agenda will include:

·         Next year council positions

·         Council of School Council – AGM and our vote

·         2019-2020 Calendar

·         Revision of budget expectations for 2019-2020

Minutes for March are posted.  They include detailed information on the funding concerns facing our school and the CBE.  Please consider reviewing.

 

Advocating for Public Education – Our board of trustees has prepared some interesting information on the financial issues facing the CBE.  It is obvious that education is a feature of every provincial election.  I encourage you to consider the information the Board has prepared and carefully consider the education platforms of the various parties vying for your support in tomorrow’s election.

Here’s the article: Board of Trustees Advocates for Students.

 

Cheryl Foggo’s Speech on John Ware

At our 50th Anniversary, Cheryl Foggo (producer of upcoming documentary on John Ware)  was asked to speak about the relevance of John Ware’s personal legacy today.  Her words for profound, so if you did not get a chance to attend, Cheryl’s speech is now posted in our news centre for your consideration.

 

Longhorn Receives Huge Science Opportunity - Han Yang (Selena) Zheng has been selected to participate in the Centre for Education in Math and Computing Workshop in Computer Science for Young Women. This workshop is being held from May 11 - 18, 2019, at the University of Waterloo.

Over 400 students from across Canada applied for the workshop and only 36 students were selected.  It is all expenses paid.

Congratulations Selena!

 

Math Contest Success – Several students participated in the Pascal Math Contest in February.  Kevin D, Selena Z, and Nadia K finished in the top 25% of all competitors in the country.  John D will receive a medal for his achievement.

Rather than testing content, most of the contest problems test logical thinking and mathematical problem solving.

Congratulations!

See here for the full article including photos on the Math Contests.

 

Calgary Youth Science Fair Success – 10 Longhorn students represented us very admirably at the recent Science Fair.  Students received 3 honourable mention medals, 4 bronze, and 2 silver medals.  Helen L and Noa P took home the U of C Veterinary Medicine Animal Health Award for their project, which included a plaque and cash reward.

Congratulations!

See here for the full article including photos on the Science Fair

 

 ​

Dec 14
Reflections on Results


“A good decision is based on knowledge and not just on numbers.”  - Plato

 A few weeks ago, the Provincial Achievement Test (PAT) results for the province were publicly released.  They were largely positive for the CBE, but some headlines declared we are failing math.  There was discussion of cut scores and a there was a subtext that public education is in crisis.  At first glance, our Provincial Achievement Test results suggest a crisis, as well.  This entry is meant to provide our stakeholders more information to understand the context of our results.  More importantly, this is a celebration of the work we did last year.

As a school principal, I have several reports available to me with many, many graphs and charts available to analyze and utilize in order to improve student academic success.  I am also mandated to report specific information on our School Results Report (the full copy of it can be found on the Our School link on our website.   

We are required to report our PAT results based on the % of all grade 9 students enrolled, regardless of whether students were excused from writing due to being incapable of response or being absent during tests.  In other words, students who either do not write or cannot write the tests count as a zero in our results.  The PAT data for all gr 9 students without the context is negative:

·         English LA 9 Acceptable rate declined 9% to 77%; Excellence rate declined 9% to 24%

·         Math 9 Acceptable rate declined 16% to 62%; Excellence rate declined 13% to 20%

·         Science 9 Acceptable rate declined 9% to 80%; Excellence rate declined 8% to 33%

·         Social Studies 9 Acceptable rate declined 14% to 67%; Excellence rate declined 3% to 27%

There are several primary factors influencing these results, none of which are reflected in the official data.   Our community has become more diverse in terms of individual needs:

·         25% of our students are identified with a special educational need (academic, cognitive, social and/or emotional) and increasing over time.  Many are successfully supported; many struggle.

·         2018 cohort had several students in grade 10 incapable (due to emotional or cognitive difficulties) of completing tests.  The 2017 cohort had 2.

·         2018 cohort of students had numerous individuals with significant needs that were not formally identified.  Several became non-attenders, despite supports. 

The confluence of these factors meant the percentage of students who did not write the tests increased from an average of 4 students (3% of grade 9s enrolled) per test in 2017 to an average of 12 students (10% of grade 9s enrolled) per test in 2018.  In effect, this means our ratings are immediately 7% lower due to non-writers. 

                We are evaluated based on all students, but our results based on the gr 9 students who actually wrote the tests are much more aligned with expectations:

·         English LA 9 Acceptable rate declined 2% to 88% (2% above provincial average)

·         English LA 9 Excellence rate increased 2% to 28% (11% above provincial average)

·         Math 9 Acceptable rate declined 13% to 70% (3% above provincial average)

·         Math 9 Excellence rate declined 13% to 22% (5% above provincial average)

·         Science 9 Acceptable rate declined 2% to 88% (3% above provincial average)

·         Science 9 Excellence rate declined 8% to 36% (6% above provincial average)

·         Social Studies 9 Acceptable rate declined 10% to 75% (1% above provincial average)

·         Social Studies 9 Excellence rate declined 2% to 30% (6% above provincial average)

With the exception of Math (which needs further context below), our acceptability results show we are statistically maintaining our high standards, despite increased needs.  Teachers in each program area have dissected the itemized results and have identified several areas to target.  These can be seen in the School DevelopmentPlan 2018-19 ​document posted online.  

                Regarding Math 9, further context is required.  In 2018, Alberta Education made changes to the test format and to the cut scoring.  Both were detrimental to standardized results:

1.       The test format change was the introduction of a Part A, which tested mental math skills.  The difficulty with that format is those students had not had mental math skills as a focused skill of their program of studies; therefore, they had limited exposure to mental math skill building.  This is now an intentional part of the program of studies that teachers include in most math tasks.   John Ware students did not perform as well on Part A as they did on Part B (the more familiar multiple choice questions that allowed calculator use).  Compared to provincial results, we did much better on Part A than the provincial average, however.    

·         Part A Mental Math acceptable rate 66% (16% higher than provincial average)

·         Part B Multiple Choice acceptable rate 73% (2 percent higher than provincial average)

2.       The cut score change is a complex practice I will attempt to explain clearly and concisely.  Each year, Alberta Education identifies the acceptable and excellence scores once they see the province-wide results.  They adjust the scores to be standardized from year to year.  Put simply, the average of the averages should be standard over time – this average has fluctuated between 2014 and 2017 from 72% to 75%.  This year, they lowered the cut score to 66%.  In effect, compared to last year’s results, the entire province is 9% lower.  If the cut score had been maintained, our results would have been similar to previous years’ results. 

Regardless of interpretation, we know the challenge ahead of us.  Our teachers are dedicated to implementing higher impact strategies to support our students in all areas of learning.

PAT results are important, but they are one snapshot in time that does not reflect all the work we do on behalf of students.  What is missed in this data is how far individual students grow in their learning each year, how rich the learning experiences of students is, how many memorable field trip experiences they had, and how many school culture activities they enjoyed.

We will use the data to do better on this measure.  We will also continue to develop a rich learning experiences to develop strong character, personal development, and promote positive citizenship.

Thank you for your interest and support,

David
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Friday, Sept 25 is a system-wide non-instructional day. There are no in-person or online classes for students. Students in the hub can still access their course materials but teachers are not available to respond to questions. #WeAreCBE #yycbe https://t.co/sVPT78XTW8

Here is an opportunity for #WeAreCBE student leaders interested in volunteering in the community. Deadline is Sept. 28 https://t.co/6N9qmmrGPi

Congratulations to Henry Wise Wood student Suchir, who got to be Mayor for a Day yesterday #WeAreCBE https://t.co/Fx4f516FqC

Congratulations to F.E. Osborne School. Students raised over $10,700 for their #TerryFoxSchoolRun (surpassing last year’s total of $2,995!) Way to go! #WeAreCBE @feo_eagles_cbe https://t.co/3LbhHboxWY

Many #WeAreCBE schools will be honouring #OrangeShirtDay on Wednesday, Sept. 30 to recognize the resiliency and bravery of residential school survivors https://t.co/jo0zw97DWj