Archive for the ‘Message’ Category

We have been working on re-entry plans and I know parents have many questions as to what school may look like in the fall.  Our plan is a draft form of our June discussions with staff and information that has since come out from the Government.  As more information becomes available our plans may be subject to change and a finalized version will come out closer to the start of the school year after we have had discussions with staff.  As we try out our plans, we may also decide to change them to improve the effectiveness of them.  I’m going into this year with the mindset of “Failing Forward”. What I mean by this is that we are beginning with the end in mind.  We have a plan in place to ensure that school is going to be a safe place with meaningful learning activities but we will make changes if things don’t go as planned.  If our plan fails, then we will learn from it and be flexible to make the necessary pivot steps that are needed to make it more effective.  I know it may not answer all the questions you may have, but I hope this plan will help so that it doesn’t seem so uncertain.

St. Teresa of Calcutta School Re-Entry Plan for September 2020

Our Faith theme this year is Transformed by the Journey with our calls to Action to be grateful and to be gracious.  I think it’s so important that with everything going on in our world right now that we focus on gratitude. One way to express gratitude is to turn a negative into a positive. Ask yourself if there is a silver lining or what can you be thankful for in a situation. For myself, I am grateful for all the time I got to spend with my family.  Usually everyone’s schedule is so busy that we are running all over but with the pandemic, we have got to experience more togetherness than normal.  For that I am extremely grateful to God as my two sons are getting to the age where they will be moving out on their own soon.  Last fall our family was devastated when we lost our 11-year-old dog, Trinity.  Our family Christmas gift was Dexter, a two month old Cavapoo (King Charles Cavalier Poodle mix). Dexter has also brought us closer together as a family as he is so cute that we all want to be around him all the time.  His love of socks (and chewing in general) knows no bounds as nobody’s socks are safe from him. We have shared many laughs over his antics and he has kept our spirits up during this pandemic. Take some time in the next couple of days to think about any negatives that you can turn into a positive and then say a prayer of gratitude to God. After all, gratitude is the open door through which God sends his blessings.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we do our best to adapt to the pandemic scenarios while still providing high quality student learning opportunities for our students. We all need to keep Habit 1 – Be Proactive in the forefront. We all must  take responsibility for doing our own part in keeping our school community safe by following our new procedures. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in a few weeks and please email me if you have any questions or require clarification. The office opens on August 24 at 8:30 am.

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What a difference a year makes! It is so nice going into this school year with familiarity instead of uncertainty.  Last year was a time to get to know the culture of the school, the staff and the families.  I want to talk about some of the exciting things that are going on this year.

To start with, the school division has a new Three Year Faith Plan with the theme of Making our Mark:  The Journey of an Intentional Disciple.  The theme for year one is Starting our Journey with a focus on being mindful of God’s presence and being prayerful. This theme goes well with our focus on Mary as our Model.  Mary had an open heart and she was mindful of God’s presence in her life. When God asked something of her, she said yes.  Staff is going to be going on a journey to discover more about Mary as we will be reading and studying the book Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross by Edward Sri. I started reading this book this summer and found that there is so much about Mary that I did not know and that there is so much in the book that will help us to develop and ground our school in the example of Mary.

As we our working on our conduct being modeled after Mary, we have changed our incentive programs.  We will no longer be recognizing HELP coupons and Acts of Kindness, but will instead be recognizing students for Acting like Mary.  As before, we will recognize students from both divisions each month and with a year-end award. Bishop McGrattan in his homily at our Divisional Mass told us “me third”.  What that means is that we must put God first, others second and yourself is third.  Putting God and others before yourself is exactly what Mary did and will earn students recognition.

Attendance continues to be an important issue that we are committed to bringing awareness to due to the critical role it plays in student success. According to Alberta Education, students who attend under 90% are considered to be chronically absent.  While that may seem to be high, it means that with a school year of 180 days, students should miss no more than 18 days which equals out to 2 days per month.  Missing this many days puts student at risk of negative academic, economic, mental health and legal outcomes. Last year we started recognizing students who had a 90% or higher attendance rate.  We will continue to do this again and will also set a limit on lates at 90%.  We are so excited that Ascent Cycle is going to be supporting us with our year end incentives of two Norco Storm bikes and helmets. Students who have a 90% or higher rate for absences and lates will be eligible for the draw. Each month students are at that rate their names will be entered.  We will also be having 10 draws of $10 at the end of the year for students who had the 90% or higher rate for at least one month throughout the year. Last year we improved our attendance rates in all categories.  Thanks for all your help in encouraging good attendance behaviours and let’s continue to improve again this year

Improved attendance percentages in each category in 2018 – 2019

Our attendance awareness campaign kicks off with the following five facts courtesy of Attendance Works:

  1. Good attendance helps children do well in school and eventually in the work place.  It matters for school success, starting as early as prekindergarten and throughout elementary school, and helps students stay on the path to academic success. Absences represent lost opportunities to learn in the classroom.
  2. Attendance patterns matter in all grades, including Kindergarten. Preschoolers build skills and develop habits for showing up every day on time. Elementary students learn to read in the early grades.
  3. Students are at academic risk if they miss 10 percent or more of the school year, or about 18 days a year.  Once too many absences occur, they can affect learning, regardless of whether absences are excused or unexcused. Sporadic and consecutive absences negatively impact learning. Some absences are unavoidable, for example, due to serious or contagious illness but they should be prevented whenever possible.
  4. Chronic absence does not just affect the students who miss school. If too many students are chronically absent, it slows down instruction as teachers are likely to repeat material for students who have missed school.  This makes it harder for students to learn and stay engaged, and for teachers to teach.
  5. Chronic absence is a problem we can solve when the whole community works together.  We can all make a difference by encouraging good attendance both at home and at school.  We can also work together to help solve any attendance barriers.

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