Oct 16
Fundraising

Dear Parents of Sibylla Kiddle School,

Many years ago, my wife and I moved into a brand new home which we had built for us. I remember the excitement of everything being new and brimming with possibilities. Many of you have likely been through a similar process and all the excitement that it entails. However, quickly reality sets in and you realize that the house of your dreams didn’t come with a landscaped yard, a fence to keep the dog in, a developed basement for company or that just right piece of furniture for ‘that’ awkward corner.

Opening a new school has been a similar experience. There is so much excitement and innovative ideas that have gone into the building of our school. We have a large gathering area surrounded by natural wood beams and angular lighting made to look like trees. We have a wide open learning commons with big windows to create an open space. Classrooms have the latest SMART Boards and we have storage rooms replete with math manipulatives and science equipment. We have much to be thankful for.

On the other hand, just like moving into a brand new home there are a few gaps in items that would serve to significantly enhance the learning of our students. For each of these gaps we are not missing basic instructional supplies, in fact we have a really good start to the resources needed to run a school. However, we would love to be able to further enhance a few key areas based on observations we have made within the building and based upon feedback you gave us in the spring time about what was important to you. Some particular areas we would like to enhance include: levelled reading books for supporting reading development, general library books, further equipment for physical education and enhancement funding for our eventual playground (planning is well under way).

This particular weekly update outlines three possible ways you can help step into our school wide fundraising efforts. (1) We have set up a fundraising page through Education Matters. (2) We have partnered with Chapters / Indigo and (3) we are set to establish the parent run Fundraising Society on November 5. Every little bit of support makes a long lasting difference in the learning of our students. Thank you!

Sincerely,
Brad Emery
Principal


Oct 09
Global Gratitude

Dear Parents of Sibylla Kiddle School,

I rarely watch the evening news but I happened to have tuned in a few nights ago. I was struck by both the anger and negativity of those being interviewed in the stories. I scroll through Twitter and I see vitriol towards virtually everyone who has an opinion. 2020 has not been an easy year for global gratitude. The media, the reality of current events and even many of our social conversations have focused on all things negative.

I don’t want to negate the challenges you may be facing and the battles our planet is facing but I do encourage you to take time this weekend for practicing gratitude. There is considerable research that suggests the practice of gratitude has positive impacts on the brain and on our general well-being. Who are you thankful for? Have you told them? What are the little every day things you take for granted? Have you taken a moment to reflect on all the little things right in front of you that bring joy?

This Thanksgiving, like you, I am grateful for many things. I’m thankful for staff who come to work with genuine smiles on their faces. I thankful for students who display a daily eagerness to learn. I thankful for you, our parents, who give 110% to supporting the learning and well-being of your children. Superficially, I’m also thankful for freshly chocolate chip cookies, funny dad jokes and any fall day that I don’t have to shovel snow.

Big or small, there is so much to be thankful for. Have a great thanksgiving weekend!

Sincerely,

Brad Emery
Principal ​

Oct 02
My Favourite Season is Autumn

Dear Parents of Sibylla Kiddle School,

Most of us have a favorite season; for me, it is autumn. Crisp mornings and warm days. Pumpkin flavoured food and eye-popping foliage on trees. One of the things about fall is that it is a time of preparation for what is to come. We pack up the yard tools and deck chairs. We dig out the warm blankets from the top of a closet. We swap out the tires on our car.

While preparation can be instinctual, many aspects of preparation relate to skills that must be intentionally learned. As parents of young children, we know how much time we spend every day teaching them to be prepared for life. Did they prepare for the day by brushing their teeth and getting dressed? Did they prepare for going out by thinking about what jacket and shoes to wear? Did they prepare for supper by washing their hands and setting the table?

Preparation for learning is a skill that often needs to be taught. These are skills we directly and indirectly teach throughout the day within our school. We know you, as parents, already do so much to prepare your child for life and learning and we are so thankful to work with you as partners in this process. If you are looking for further ideas of what you can do you may want to try making a visual checklist of what needs to go in their backpack every day and have them pack it. You can role play with them how to introduce themselves to a new friend and how to ask their name. You can model positive growth statements such as ‘I can’ and ‘I’ll give it a try,’ which prepares your child to be a risk taker and to have a positive attitude towards learning. Teaching our children to be prepared will have both immediate and long term benefits.

Sincerely,
Brad Emery
Principal


Sep 25
Building Our Community

​One of the important themes being discussed in our classrooms this year is the concept of community. What is a community? Who helps us in a community? How can we make our communities better? Part of our conversations is built off of the legacy of Sibylla Kiddle, an active member of her community. Sibylla's involvement in volunteering, giving to others and serving the needs of those around her spoke to her intrinsic love of her community. 

One way you can play a significant role in your school community is by being active on the School Council. School Councils bring parents and educators together with the shared desire to enhance the learning of students. As a parent, you can participate in decisions that impact student learning through sharing your ideas and offering your perspectives to the our school's administrative team. 

This upcoming Thursday is an important School Council meeting as this meeting will formally establish a council at Sibylla Kiddle School. This particular meeting will be hosted by the Alberta School Councils' Association (ASCA) as they will walk all of us through the role of a School Council as well as holding an election (if necessary) to determine who will serve on the executive team of the council. To sign up, simply use the RSVP link in the news story below. We will send you a link on the day of the meeting so you can join us online. 

Together, let's model, for our children, the values of being an active member of a community while building on the legacy of Sibylla Kiddle as a proud supporter of her community. Hopefully we will see you there and hopefully some of you will volunteer to be part of our council's leadership team. 

Sincerely,

Brad Emery
Principal 


Sep 18
Going With the Flow in a Time of Change
​Dear Parents of Sibylla Kiddle School,

We can learn much from observing nature. We have all witnessed the meandering flow of a river, a stream or even a trickle of water. Water has innate ability to overcome and navigate obstacles. In nature, when water encounters an obstacle it finds a solution a moves on. The creek may swirl left or the river may rush over a cliff. Water finds a way to where it needs to go.

This school year has felt a little bit like a rush of flowing water. At times there has been a clear path to float down, at other times we have had some rapids in the water to navigate and at other times we have met some obstacles that require a different path to be charted. Regardless of how the water flows, we keep our focus on doing what we believe is best for our students, what is best for learning and what is best for our collective well-being.

One of the areas where we need to change the direction of the water flow, in the coming week, is in our internal classroom locations. With the restructuring of our Kindergarten classes we want to make sure that our largest classrooms are in our largest spaces. Therefore, a few of our classrooms will be switching physical locations within the school to maximize physical distancing for all of our students. 

A couple of our grade 1 classes (Mrs. Olver and Mrs. Romanow) will be swapping rooms with our Kindergarten classes (Mrs. Holmgren and Mrs. Hogue). While this internal change will only impact a few classrooms, it will require significant changes to most students’ drop-off and pick-up doors starting on Monday, Sept. 21. Please see the news story​ for more information.

We want to thank you for your trust and patience as we have flowed through the first few weeks of this school year. We know that our focus on students, learning and well-being are important to you as well. 

Sincerely,

Brad Emery
Principal 
Sep 11
New. When you Read this Word, What other Words Come to Mind?

New. When you read this word, what other words come to mind? Excitement regarding new possibilities? Apprehension about changes? Questions about how something works? The word ‘new’ conjures different feelings for everyone depending on your perspective, the context and the topic.

This past week fell into the category of ‘new’ at Sibylla Kiddle School. New school. New teachers. New classmates. New clothes. New school supplies. New bus routes. New routines. New expectations. I know some of these things caused apprehension for some students while other things raised questions. However, it is my hope that the overall feeling for your family was excitement over new beginnings and new possibilities.

We recognize that ‘new’ does raise questions. Through on-going communication, including our Weekly Update, we hope many of your questions are getting answered. If you ever come up with a ‘new’ question, we are here to help. Often your best point of contact is your child’s teacher. You can find their email address our school website. We look forward to being able to support you and the learning of your child as the year progresses.

Sincerely,
Brad Emery
Principal


Sep 08
Our School has been Years in the Planning
​Our school has been years in the planning. Long before any of you even lived in your community, the developer set aside land for a future school. From zoning, to funding, to planning, to construction the journey has been long. Hundreds of people have played small and big roles in seeing our school become a reality. As I write, construction workers are completing final touches, technology teams are programming school bells and teachers are putting the finishing touches on their first lessons for the year. We are just missing the most important stakeholder in the whole process… Our students!

Sibylla Kiddle School is merely hours away from opening and we could not be more excited. One of our teachers told me today that there is something special here, it just feels different here. I couldn’t agree more. Our staff has been so unified in their conversations and planning for when students arrive. First and foremost, they want students to feel welcomed and safe in their new school surroundings. Secondly, they strongly desire the learning within our building to be authentic, meaningful, purposeful and rich. They are ready to welcome our students with open (albeit distanced) arms.

Take time to chat with your children this weekend about what excites them about coming to Sibylla Kiddle School. Ask them what their learning goals are for this year. Ask them how you can help them with their learning. I encourage you to lean into their answers so you can discover how you can support their 2020-21 learning journey.

See you on Tuesday! We can’t wait!

Sincerely,
Brad Emery
Principal 


Aug 31
Opening a New School
Dear Parents of Sibylla Kiddle School,

Have you ever bought a piece of furniture or a something electronic that came with a setup or operating manual? Are you the type of person that ignores those manuals and you just figure it out yourself? I feel between the opening of a new school and the unique situation the world finds itself in, that the amount of ‘manuals’ we have sent home and will continue to send home feels like the packet of information you get when opening a box with something new in it. 

We know the amount of information can feel overwhelming. However, we are asking that you please read all of the information we are sending. We don’t want you to miss important details as this is an opening like no other. 

We sincerely appreciate the patience you have extended towards us as we have navigated the significant complexities of opening a new school during a pandemic. The plans we have put into place follow CBE guidelines, within the context of our school. We will be continually re-evaluating our school based plans over the coming weeks as we seek to make sure that our process and procedures prioritize student safety, well-being and of course, learning. 

It is my desire to publish weekly communication for families in a similar format to what you see here. It will have dates you need to know about for the week ahead, a few of the important upcoming dates in our calendar, often a brief message from me and key news items you need to know about.

I am looking forward to seeing our students back on September 8.

Sincerely,
Brad Emery
Principal ​

May 19
A Peek Inside

Dear Parents of Sibylla Kiddle School,

Have you driven by our new school recently? It looks like a hive of activity. With each new tarp that is removed I get excited to see the latest reveal. However, I am most anxious to see what the inside of the building looks like. Like you, I have still not been allowed inside. Even though I have not been inside, I can tell that much is happening beyond the exterior walls.

Likewise, lots is happening with respect to some of the logistics related to attending Sibylla Kiddle School. We have been waiting on a variety of factors and decisions made by multiple people before we can make school based decisions and communicate more information to families. I sincerely apologize for the delays in communication. I understand, as a parent, the challenges of planning family life when there are unknown factors to consider. Please keep watch on your email as there will be much more to share in the coming weeks.

Construction Progress

Families are encouraged to continue to monitor the Building & Modernizing Schools website for construction updates. I am working closely with the Calgary Board of Education along with Alberta Infrastructure to understand what impacts the current pandemic may have on construction. I hope to know more and communicate updates in this area by early June.

Hours

We do know the school hours will be from 8:00 AM – 2:35 PM, Monday – Thursday and 8:00 AM – 11:45 PM on Fridays. Lunch hours and Kindergarten hours will be determined by late May and will be communicated at that time.

Kindergarten

We are working on finalizing what Kindergarten will look like for the upcoming school year in terms of hours and AM/PM classes. I anticipate being able to have more communication in this area by the end of May. Please note, due to the current pandemic we will not be able to offer a traditional Kindergarten orientation, as has happened in previous years. We are awaiting direction from the CBE to determine how we can best share out the information you need to know.

Communication (Phone, Email, Website)

Our phone number is 403-817-3432 and it is in operation. We also have a school email which is monitored. It is SibyllaKiddle@cbe.ab.ca. This will be your main point of contact with the school and will eventually become our primary email for reporting student absences and lates.

Before & After School Care

We are in the final stages of determining a before and after school child care provider. Once a decision has been made we will communicate it with families. We anticipate being able to communicate this decision in late May or early June.

Once again, I want to thank you for your patience as some of these logistical but extremely important factors are being determined. I want to assure families that we know how important this information is and we will communicate answers as soon as we have them and are able.

Finally, I would love to be able to meet your family. Unfortunately, in our current reality this is not an easy venture. After much brainstorming as to how I can effectively meet you and our students, I have decided to try running some Pop Up Principal times in the community over the coming weeks. I will station myself at various locations throughout Cranston and Copperfield so you can walk or ride by on your bikes and say hello. We will all need to be aware of physical distancing protocols (I will stay back from the path or sidewalk). I will send an email to families a day or two before my Pop Up Principal times, once I know the weather for the week, with the exact day and time I will be in the location. The tentative schedule will be as follows:

               May 19 – 22 – Zipline Park in Riverstone by Cranbrook Hill and Cranston Avenue

               May 25 – 29 – End of Cul-de-Sac on Cranford Street (east side of Sibylla Kiddle)

               June 1 – 5 – Park at the intersection of Cranford Way and Cranford Park

               June 8 – 12 – Copperfield Community Association tennis courts (south side)

               June 15 – 19 – Cranston Community Association tennis courts (SW side)

               June 22 – 26 – Park between Cranbrook Drive and Cranbrook Rise (south side along path)

               June 29 – June 30 – Copperfield Pond at entrance to Copperfield Close (NW side of pond)

I look forward to meeting you soon!​

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