Sep 06
Welcome Back PFS Families to the 2023-24 SY

Welcome Back PFS Families,​

I hope your summer months brought a sense of rejuvenation to you and your children that attend Piitoayis Family School. PFS welcomed me openly last school year, and after seeing how school operations run I see what is important to the school community. PFS has four Blackfoot values that shape our time daily in the classroom including Aatsimmoiyihkanni, kimma'piipitsini, kakyosin, and aksistoiypaittapiisinni. PFS opens up the school day with Aatsimmoiyihkanni and the Blackfoot flag song. It is a way for our PFS pookaiks to make a spiritual connection to their traditional ways. PFS recognizes there are other Indigenous groups, and there is a growing understanding of First Nations that exist in Mohkintsis, the City of Calgary. The Indigenous term is a global term that helps identify groups of people that have experienced colonization. And through helping students understand the traditional territory where Piitoayis is situated helps staff and students understand Indigenous people's connection to the land. Learning from the land is a great way for the pookaiks to connect with the New curriculum.

This year PFS introduced the 100-minute literacy block from 9:00-10:35 am. Essential elements of the 100-minute literacy block include:

  • Reading Time (20-30 minutes, this includes reading instruction eg. UFLI or Heggerty and comprehension)
  • AWARD Time (40 minutes, this includes small reading groups, reading response, morning message, literacy centres, word work)
  • Writing Time (30 minutes, this includes direct instruction around writing. Genre specific writing like poetry or personal narratives)​

Lastly, I would like to welcome our new Assistant Principal, Preston Huppie, who is Metis Cree. I would also like to mention our new Indigenous Student Support Learning Leader, Jodie Rivard, who is Metis.

Our School Development Plan for 2023/24 school year is being developed and I would invite you to attend our meet the teacher event on Sept 22. There will be a pancake breakfast for PFS families from 9:00-11:00 am in the back foyer.

Hand to heart,

Crystal Good Rider
Principal  ​​

Apr 28
Next Steps in my Professional Journey

Dear Piitoayis Family School Parents and Guardians,

I am writing to inform you that I announced to staff this afternoon my plan to Niit’tahk’kak’koo - to take the next steps in my professional and educational journey. At the end of this school year, June 30, 2022, I will leave Piitoayis Family School as your principal to begin a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – Educational Research degree program at the University of Calgary.

It has been my pleasure and honor to lead our school community for the past six years as your Assistant Principal and Principal. I have grown professionally and established many life-long friendships with students, families, and staff. My time at PFS has been by far my most rewarding learning experience. Hand to heart in gratitude.

My hope for our students is that they continue to embody our traditional PFS values of aatsimmoiyhkanni-ceremony, kimmapiiypitsinni- kindness, kakyosin-awareness, and aksistoiypaittapiisinni-independence. Our values provide a strong foundation for their academic and personal journey. I look forward to witnessing each student walk the stage to receive their Grade 12 high school diploma in the future. A gentle reminder to always help your child remember to be proud of who they are and where they come from as Indigenous people.

I am grateful to share that there will be a consultative opportunity for students, staff, and families to share their thoughts during the selection process of the new principal. I will share via School Messenger when available. Your voice is necessary; please take the time to complete the online survey.

There is still a full spring of learning and fun activities before my departure, please stop by the school for a visit and a chat. I will follow PFS tradition by saying kitaikitamatsin – we’ll see you soon; my heart and spirit will not be far from PFS.


Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn

Oct 15
September was a Wonderful Month

Oki / Tansi PFS Families

After a wonderful month of September, which focused on school routines, getting to know one another, and celebrating the start of another school year, staff and students are now beginning to dive into their teaching and learning.  September was a month of excitement and big events such as the Terry Fox Run and Truth and Reconciliation Week, October has fewer events planned, which provides an opportunity for students to further engage in their work.  The school value that we are focusing on this month is Kakyosin.  This is a Blackfoot value, it means, “Be aware of your environment; be observant”.  By learning to be Kakyosin, our students notice their environment.  They notice what is happening on the land, and in their classroom.  They notice things that make them feel safe, and they notice things that help them feel ready to learn.  They also begin to notice how their actions affect their environment both positively and negatively, and they begin to take responsibility for their actions. 

Parents please know we continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols established by the CBE. This includes mask wearing, cohorting classes and staying home if you are sick. For more information regarding COVID-19 for the 2021-22 school year, please see the link below.

Have a great fall season!

Take care,

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn

Sep 13
Welcome to the New School Year

Oki/Tansi PFS families,

Welcome to the new school year. PFS staff are excited to welcome students to a year of learning, laughter, and friendship.

COVID-19 protocols will continue, including mask-wearing and cohort classes. Ensure your child(ren) are wearing their mask as they board their bus. The students and staff are also expected to complete the daily health check before arriving at school. Please keep students home if they are sick. Please visit the CBE website for COVID-19 information for the 2021-22 school year at

I look forward to a year of many possibilities of learning from an Indigenous lens, focusing on literacy, math, and wellness.

Take care,

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn

Jun 29
Thank You for Your Support This Year


As we conclude another school year that was challenging and different from a typical school year, with many adjustments to ensure PFS student and staff safety from the COVID-19 virus, I want to thank you. Thank you for your support, understanding and for sending your children to school.  We would also like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of our PFS students who embodied the PFS values of aatsimmoiyhkanni, kimmapiiypitsinni, kakyosin, and aksistoiypaittapiisinni. Hand to Spirt in gratitude.

The upcoming 2021-22 school year will begin on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. The re-entry will be a staggered entry:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 1                  Students with the last name A – K
  • Thursday, Sept. 2                       Students with the last name L-Z
  • Friday, Sept. 3                           All students arrive at school

The Calgary Police Youth Foundation has made a very generous donation of backpacks with all school supplies. Please do not purchase backpacks and school supplies for your students. We ask that students arrive with in-door shoes on the first day of school.

COVID-19 cohort protocols will remain until further notice. Please continue to monitor the PFS website for updates. Have a safe and fun summer!

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn, Principal
Mr. Benjamin Williams, Assistant Principal  

Jan 11
Welcome back to In-Person Learning

​January 11, 2021 Principal Message:

Oki/Tansi Student, Parents, & Guardians,

I am excited to welcome back students to in-person learning this week. Please be at the bus stop 5 minutes before the assigned pick-up time. Teachers have planned daily walks in the community and parks; please dress your children in their winter gear. 

Darcy Turning Robe and Sandra Many Feathers will continue to share their traditional music and Blackfoot language teachings this week. Ensure you encourage your children to share what they have learned about the songs, stories, and language. Each week your child will bring home a Home Reading package; I encourage you to take time to read with your child.

Finally, PFS staff will continue to follow COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of students and staff. Parents/guardians play a critical role as they support actions in the home (such as keeping children/students home when sick and accessing testing if symptoms develop) that ultimately keep other children, students, and staff safe. We will work together during this time of uncertainty.


Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn


Dec 07
Welcome to December

Welcome to December! It has been an exciting and interesting start to a new school year.  Thank you to students, parents, and guardians for adhering to all AHS COVID-19 safety protocols.  We are working together to keep our students’ safe and learning at PFS.

Winter Solstice celebrations will look different this year. Students and teachers are busy working on an entertaining program that will be shared online for student and parent viewing. Please check your School Messenger email for more information for parents to partake in the celebration.  We will celebrate the completion of the Indigenous Sports Council of Alberta fitness challenge. The culminating activities will take place on Thursday, December 10. Students and staff have participated in weekly fitness challenges to promote a healthy mind, body, and spirit at school and home. 

A gentle reminder to continue to check School Messenger email for important information on online learning in the New Year and critical COVID-19 updates.

Take care,

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn
Principal, Piitoayis Family School

Jun 22
June 2020 Update

We have been busy preparing online lessons in Google Classroom and meeting with students in Google Meet. We are amazed at how many students have engaged in online learning during this time away from school. 

We are excited to gather online to say farewell to our grade, six students, on Wednesday, June 24, at 10:00 a.m. The google meet nickname to enter the assembly is PFS assembly. Unfortunately, there will not be any opportunity to gather as a school community before the end of the year. 

We are also sad to share that Ms. Audrey, Ms. Tracy C. Ms. Sheena and Ms. Dalia will be leaving our PFS family. Again, we will have an online farewell ceremony to say kiaikitamatsin on Friday, June 26, 2020.

Report cards will be online on Friday, June 26.  We will not be printing hard copy report cards. Please ensure you have registered on Parent Portal to access your child(ren)'s report cards.

Thinking ahead to September, we have not yet had direction from the Province regarding re-opening protocols.  Please ensure you are checking your email after August 1, 2020, for instruction as to the re-opening process.

We hope you have a safe and fun summer, and we look forward to the return of smiling faces, and a year of wonderful learning.

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn, Principal
Benjamin Williams, Assistant Principal 


Apr 06
April | Challenging Times

During these extraordinary and challenging times, our teaching staff have attempted to reach out to each student to share our next steps in learning.  If you have not heard from your child’s teacher, please call the school as soon as possible at 403-777-7860.

This week your child will receive a personalized card from their teacher. Also in the envelope is a wallet-size PFS Values card, a treat, and a stamped self-addressed envelope for your child to send a return message to the school. Please encourage your child to write a short note or draw a picture for their teacher. 

We are busy planning for learning; teachers will communicate the next steps with a phone call or email early this week.  For the time being, encourage your children to read every day.  Please share with them they are missed at Piitoayis Family School, and we look forward to hearing their voices when we call this week.

Feb 28
March | Acknowledgement of the Land

Thank you to Ms. Georgia’s Grade 6 class with their interpretation of the Acknowledgement of the Land.

Just like it’s important to acknowledge all our classmates’ efforts, it’s important that we pause, take a moment and remember that the land our school is built on is Treaty 7 land.  This land is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Nations, which include the Siksika, Piikani and Kainai.  We also acknowledge the Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda and Metis Nation (Region 3). 

We welcome you all here today and are grateful for this gathering.  We would like to remind you that this is Indigenous land first, the original people (Niitsitapi) who always showed love and respect for Na’a.  Thank her for what she has given us, for her spirit and her teachings.   This land is sacred and it is our responsibility to respect her, honour her, and keep her safe. We need to speak our truth about the damage that was done to our land and our people.

Always remember to show the land kindness because we need Na’a.  She gives us food, water, shelter and medicine.  Our ancestors are watching us and creator is hoping that we always remember who we are and respect our land and her spirit.  What settlers did to the land is bad, we were at the edge of forgetting our traditions but we are still here and we are the future that can make a difference.  Please remember to take care of one another and respect one another as well. 

As PFS students you should feel proud and never forget who you are. Our land is special and you are special also.  Hand to heart in gratitude.  

Take care,

Iikiinayookaa M. Yellow Horn 
Principal, Piitoayis Family School

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