Archive for the ‘October’ Category

Every month we highlight a habit and during October we are focusing on Habit 1 Be Proactive: You are in Charge. This habit teaches about personal responsibility: I am in charge of me; I am responsible for my choices and behaviours; I can choose how I react to other people or situations. The common themes that we reinforce are as follows:

  1. Pause
  2. Proactive
  3. Circle of Control

Pause helps us to make Proactive choices. Before responding to a situation, take a moment to pause and think about your response. We have the freedom to choose our response.  Kelso’s choices are giving students proactive options as to how to respond to others.  Being proactive is about the language we use and the choices we make.  Proactive language helps us take responsibility while reactive language can be about blame.  In making our choices we also use the analogy of water vs soda.  If you shake up a bottle of water and a bottle of soda and then open the lid, you will get two different reactions.  The soda spraying all over is an example of how we can explode and be reactive.  Without the pause, the soda does not get to settle and sprays all over everyone near you.  In life there are things we can control and things we cannot and being proactive means focusing on the things within our circle of control and taking action that will make a difference.  Our goal with this habit is to get our students to become a transition person:  a role model of proactive, helpful and effective behaviours. 

Communication is an area in which we can Be Proactive.  Knowing where to find information is within our circle of control.  The following are different ways to stay connected at St. Teresa of Calcutta School.

  1. School Messenger – The school and the division sends out communications via text, email or phone.  It can be done through your phone or via the School Messenger app. Each week we will be sending out texts to remind you about upcoming events.  Currently we have 37% of parents signed up to receive texts. If you didn’t receive a text this week, you can sign up sending a text to 978338. Reply with a Y to opt in.
  1. STC Website – Our website links on it for all kinds of information you may need.  Explore it at https://stc.holyspirit.ab.ca
  2. Email – Want to connect to the front office?  Send us an email at stcoffice@ holyspirit.ab.ca. Want to connect with the staff?  You can find contact information on our website under the School/Contact Tab.
  3. Office Hours – If you want to know how your child is doing at school, you can connect with the teacher during office hours. Every second month, teachers are available to connect with parents.  Our first virtual round is set for Thursday October 21 from 4:30 – 6:00. Teachers will send out information and links to parents in advance so that parents can make appointments. If that time doesn’t fit your schedule then please contact the teacher for an alternate time.
  4. Newsletter – If you do not receive our monthly newsletter, you can find it on our website.  You can access it from the home page newsletter button.
  5. Calendar – Our Live Google Calendar of school events.  Sync this calendar with your own calendar. Upcoming Events scroll down the right side of the home page.
  6. Facebook – Like and follow us at STChs4
  7. Twitter – Follow us @STChs4
  8. Instagram – Follow us stchs4
  9. School Council – Meetings are the first or second Monday of the month at 6:00 pm. Minutes are under the School/School Council Tab
  10. Spaces – Coming Soon – Digital Portfolio to celebrate student learning and to communicate with home.  Students have been rostered into the program and teachers are still learning how to use Spaces.  We will be discussing our implementation plan at our October PD Day.  A parent information night and a date for going live with the program will be set soon. Spaces Website 

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.

St. Teresa of Calcutta

Read Full Post »

October Thoughts

It is a month into our new normal and as we are approaching Thanksgiving, I want to express my thanks to the entire school community for adapting to all the new procedures.  The staff has worked hard to come up with the general school procedures and to develop procedures for their own classes.  Our caretaking staff needs a huge pat on the back as they have worked tirelessly to create a cleaning and sanitizing schedule that ensures the classrooms are all sanitized during lunch recess.  There are days where they are running from one class to another and we should soon have an additional four-hour caretaker to help out during the day. With everyone Synergizing, together is truly better.

We are in our second year of our Faith Plan Making Our Mark – Journey of an Intentional Disciple and our theme for this coming year is Transformed by the Journey.  Our first call to action is to Be Gracious and when we are welcoming to others, we welcome Jesus into our midst and become Jesus for that person. It is fitting that with this theme that we are able to welcome students back to school.  In Matthew 18:20 Jesus said that where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.  We will continue to gather and welcome Jesus into our midst, but our gatherings will look a little different this year.  As we did with opening mass, we had a class of students present while the others joined in virtually.  We are hoping to be able to have our school community join us virtually for future celebrations.

Our second call to action is to Be Grateful and we are focusing on an attitude of gratitude where we acknowledge God’s presence and give thanks. As we are heading into Thanksgiving, we will be focusing on giving thanks and expressing gratitude.   One of the things I am grateful for is that I am at a Leader in Me school.   The students are learning the language and meaning of the 7 Habits and I am learning alongside them. The more I learn, the more I realize the depths of the meaning of each habit.  There are many layers to each habit and, each year, students peel more layers to develop a deeper understanding and to learn more skills.  Below is a summary of each of the habits so that you can use the same language at home with them.

Habit 1: Be Proactive (You’re in Charge)

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind (Have a Plan)

Habit 3:  Put First Things First (Work First, then Play)

Habit 4:  Think Win-Win (Everyone Can Win)

Habit 5:  Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood (Listen Before You Talk)

Habit 6: Synergize (Together is Better)

Habit 7:  Sharpen the Saw (Balance feels Best)

St. Teresa of Calcutta spoke of gratitude and said that, “joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love.  God loves a cheerful giver.  The best way we can show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy.” I pray that your October is filled with joy.

Read Full Post »

With the crazy snowfall of the weekend, it feels more like December than it does October.  Both May and October are dedicated as Marian months. At our PD Day on Friday, staff started our book study of Walking with Mary: A Biblical Journey from Nazareth to the Cross by Edward Sri.  We learned many new things, such as, Nazareth was a lowly city and did not seem to have a good reputation, and that Joseph and Mary were betrothed which meant they had said vows and were considered married but were not yet living together as man and wife. On the surface Mary is not living an extraordinary life but God has been preparing her for her most important mission. Through studying this book, we are going to learn more about her life which will help us to better understand her and to further develop Mary as our Model.  So far we have developed three guiding statements about Mary. 

Open Heart – We want our students to be open to God’s presence in their lives as Mary did.  Even when she knew it was not going to be easy, she said yes to God.

Love Everyone – We are asking our students to love like Mary did.  She put God first, others second and herself third.

Act Like Mary – Finally, we want our students to follow Mary’s example in all that they do.  We want our students to be a servant of the Lord like Mary and to be willing let Jesus act through them.

We want students to be knowledgeable about Mary, to come to understand her as our model of behaviour and then, to put that into practice by making wise choices as she did.

This month is not only a celebration of Mary, but also the month of the Rosary. On October 7, we celebrate the yearly feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Mary is a powerful intercessor and praying the rosary is a way for her to intercede to Jesus on our behalf. When we pray the rosary, we meditate on the events in Jesus’ life: the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.  According the Edward Sri (who wrote Praying the Rosary Like Never Before) in his article “Why Pray the Rosary” we can pray the rosary in many different ways and that it can be two and a half minutes that can change your day. If you want to try out praying the rosary this month, the Knights of Columbus have A Guide to Praying the Rosary that can get you started. We will be praying the rosary throughout the month at school and I challenge you to give two and a half minutes to God every day this month: One decade of the rosary = one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and one Glory Be

How to pray the rosary

Read Full Post »

nature red forest leaves

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For me it is a toss up as to which season I prefer more –  spring or fall.  There is such beauty in the colors of the two seasons whether it be the new spring green or the fall shades of red, orange, yellow and brown. I live on the West-side and everyday that I drive to school I am struck by the beauty of the fall trees draping over 12th Avenue.  The variety of colors bring to mind our Faith Theme for this year, Sharing our Bounty. The faith focus is to serve God by serving others. In doing this we are sharing the bounty of gifts that God has given us whether it be our time, treasures and/or talents. Each month we are challenging the students to find ways to serve others. The challenge for October is to develop the talent of kindness through caring for others.  At the assembly we watched a video All About Kindness that gave a variety of examples:  lending a hand, helping someone carry books, sharing with others, picking up something that has fallen, smiling and thanking parents for dinner.  Hopefully you will receive many thanks throughout the month.

If you are looking at ways to become involved in the life of the school, all parents are welcome to come out to a School Council meeting on October 16th at 6:30 pm in the library. It is a great way to find out more about what is happening at the school and gives you a chance to give input into decisions that occur at the school.  Each month we will be highlighting an area of the school that parents may want to learn more about.  This month we will be talking about the school’s Continuous Improvement Plan and discussing the goals of the school.

While sharing our bounty, a heart filled with gratitude allows us to share our gifts with others. In looking ahead to the calendar for this month and reflecting on the previous month, there are many activities and things to be grateful for where time and talents are being shared.

  1. Catholic Central Faith in Action students who are putting in 40 hours of volunteering organizing the gym equipment and other jobs around the school.
  2. Science Sizzle Club put on by the University of Lethbridge.
  3. Volleyball teams for our grades 5 and 6 students coached by Miss Nadeau, Miss Ingham and Mr. Cahoon.
  4. Snack Shack for offering healthy treats which is organized by Mrs. Nemecek.
  5. Luigi’s for once again providing pasta lunch and parent volunteers who help serve it
  6. Pulse for providing a faith retreat.
  7. The variety of fieldtrips organized by our teachers: Corn Maze, Helen Schuler Centre and Galt Museum.
  8. 6N for organizing our FCC Drive Away Hunger project.
  9. Learning about and becoming more aware about dyspraxia.
  10. The creativity of our students (and parents) involved in Crazy Hat Day. I’m looking forward to seeing the creations for the Turkey Trot and Halloween Costumes.
  11. School Council members who organize and all families who help to support the fundraising efforts which enhance the activities offered at the school.
  12. The amazing attendance numbers from September: 67% of students are at 100% attendance and 17% are between 90 – 99%.
  13. Attending mass each month with the Assumption community.

Finally, thank you for sharing your treasures, your children, with us. I am enjoying getting to know them and am starting to recognize some of them by name.  I am also grateful for the welcome I have been given from the school community.  I look forward to continue getting to know each and every one of you.  Please stop by and say hello at any time.  I would like to wish you a blessed Thanksgiving and safe travels!

photo of pumpkins

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Read Full Post »

Thanksgiving Blessings

Last week I was going across the bridge on Whoop Up Drive and was struck by the beauty of the array of fall colors. It was a moment where I wish I had my camera out so I could capture the shades or orange, yellow and red leaves. The changing of the leaves is a signal for our thoughts to turn towards Thanksgiving.  The roots of the holiday are in being thankful for an abundant harvest, and I would like to focus on the abundance of gifts that blesses our school community.  We are blessed at FLVT that we have many things to be thankful for.

First and foremost, the community is made up of people.  Thank you to all the parents and students who make up our Van Tighem community.  We are blessed that you have chosen to become part of our community and that you share your gifts and talents with us. Our students truly feel a part of the school community which is evidenced by the number of Catholic Central grade twelve students who come back to do their Faith in Action hours with us – currently we have ten former students. I am also grateful that we have such a committed and dedicated staff who give of their time to ensure that our students have the opportunity to develop their talents. Whether it is putting many hours into preparing lessons; helping to supervise a tournament or dance; organizing field trips; running a student club in the morning, at lunch time or after school; volunteering at the book fair; creating opportunities for prayer or spending time on learning new and innovative practices, our staff is always willing to put in the time for our school community. The following list is a few of the activities going on during the month of October:

  • Fieldtrips to Helen Schuler, Save on Foods, Water Treatment Plant, cross country zones, curling rink, soup kitchen and the Gardens.
  • Junior high book club, scrapbooking club, and after school skating
  • Father Salvador visiting
  • Thanksgiving prayer service
  • Parent teacher interviews
  • Fire Prevention safety presentations
  • Awards Night for our junior high students
  • Junior high volleyball games and practices
  • Weekly teacher professional learning time
  • Teacher professional learning on Catholic Leadership in Alberta Schools, Faith Formation, Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment, Guided Math, Fountas and Pinnell Levelled Literacy Intervention,
  • Staff professional learning on Residential Schools

Parents are also encouraged to become involved in the life of the school.  All parents are welcome to come out to a Parent Council meeting where they are able to give parental input into decisions that occur at the school.  Each month we will be presenting about an area of the school that parents may want to learn more about.  This month we will be talking about the supports, programs and services that are offered at the school. This year we are thankful that we have Tracy Rocca as our full time Family School Liaison Counsellor.  She will be talking to parents on Tuesday October 24th at 7pm about the counselling services. In November, we will be learning about the programs that our student nursing cohort have been working on during their fall practicum at FLVT.  All parents are welcome to come out to any meeting and I would like to thank all our parents who work to keep our Parent Council running.

To ALL of you in our community THANK YOU for being a part of our FLVT family and I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving bless us o lord

Read Full Post »

We officially kicked off our Van Tighem Virtues with our student retreat and guest speaker Alvin Law on September 21. It was an amazing day where students made pledges to put their best foot forward, talked about our Virtues, and participated in two sessions with Alvin. Thank you to all the families who stayed after the BBQ and listened to Alvin’s inspirational message. This day was the culmination of a year of planning by our committee in working towards revising our code of conduct.  We also received student input through the Tell Them From Me Survey, parent input at parent council meetings, and central office input from Joann Bartley our Director of Religious Education.

Our Faith Theme for this school year is “Rooted in Christ” with a focus on Scripture.  As our Van Tighem Virtues will guide our code of conduct, we have rooted it in Jesus’ words to us: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” John 13:34.  With Joann’s help, we also tied each Van Tighem Virtue to the cardinal and theological virtues of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that a virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good. It allows the person to not only perform good acts, but to give the best of himself (1803). To help remember our Virtues we have used our HAWKS name as an acronym. The following is a list of virtues, a description, and the linked Catholic virtue:

Honest – I am sincere, truthful and trustworthy.  (Tied to Prudence)

Accepting – I accept that everyone is unique and made in the image and likeness of God (Tied to Fortitude)

Wise – I speak up for myself and others even when it may not be popular (Tied to Justice)

Kind – I treat people with dignity and respect all rights and property.   (Tied to Justice)

Spiritual – I follow the example Jesus taught us in the way I think, speak, and act.  (Tied to Charity)

These virtues will permeate the culture of the school and we will be working towards developing a deeper understanding of them and how they will guide our conduct. Throughout the year at class meetings and assemblies, students will be discussing each Virtue. They will be also be articulating behaviour expectations for all areas of the school and a variety of areas that came up as areas of concerns in our surveys:  classroom, hallway, outside, and gym.  By the end of the year we will have completed common expectations for each virtue.  We are also working on developing student conduct guidelines, consequences, and procedures. To find out more about our progress with our virtues, I invite you to come to parent council meetings as we look to parents to advise us on their perspective.

To read more about the Virtues in the Catechism click the following link: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a7.htm



Read Full Post »

With our faith theme being “A Horizon of Hope” and trying to focus on an Attitude of Gratitude, we are trying to be thankful each and every day.  As we are approaching Thanksgiving I would like to thank the staff and parent/community volunteers who give of their own time to ensure that our students have the opportunity to develop their God-given talents. Students have the opportunity to participate in academic, artistic, athletic, cultural, and spiritual activities.  The following is a list of clubs and activities that I am grateful that we offer:

  • Basketball for grades 3-6 takes place in the winter and spring months.
  • Beading club grades 4-6 and 7-9. Students will learn multiple styles of beading and projects will be determined by skill level.
  • Book Club for both grades 3-6 and 7-9. Elementary meets Wednesdays at lunch and JH on Mondays after school once a month. Students who love reading should join the book club to spend time with others of the same interests, and expand the types of books they choose.
  • Choir for elementary students in grades 3-6 runs Tuesdays at lunch.
  • LSAA teams for our junior high students: cross country, volleyball, basketball, badminton, track and field.
  • LSAA scorekeeper. Our junior high students who want to support teams can come out and be scorekeepers for volleyball or basketball.
  • Me to We Club for junior high students. This is a social justice club that offers students the chance to make a difference in our world. It is designed to transform students into world changers one action and experience at a time. Better choices make a better world. This club meets at lunch time.
  • Spring Production for junior high students. Our students write the play, call the show in the booth, and can participate by acting, singing, dancing, or being a member of the backstage crew. Auditions start in October and rehearsals continue weekly until our Production in the first week of May.
  • Running Club for elementary students meets at lunch time on Tuesday and Thursday in the fall.
  • Scrapbooking club for students from grades 4-9. Students learn different techniques in a variety of projects.
  • Skating at Nicholas Sheran Arena takes place on Thursdays after school for all students and families from October – March. Helmets are required.

Also, if you have an idea for a new club, come talk to me as we are always changing what we do based on students’ interests.  I encourage students to come out and join in a club or an activity as it is a great way to not only develop your skills, but also to meet new people. When you leave your activity, don’t forget to say thanks to the volunteers who have made it possible for you to participate.

Pope Francis words for young people.

Pope Francis words for young people.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: