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Archive for the ‘Message’ Category

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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