April 26 Update

Good afternoon Connect Parents;

As I was looking at the calendar for the next month or so, I realized that this week would have seen a frenzy of activity around the school as we loaded the van and prepared for the Fort Steele trips that were to start on Thursday, and the other spring trips that were scheduled for the next six weeks. How times have changed in a short space of time… but being an eternal optimist I am choosing to let myself think we may be able to still plan for some version of fall camps in September. Although many things need to align for that to happen, please feel free to join me in my rose-coloured glasses thinking…because it’s sure better than some of the alternatives. Either way, I do know we will emerge from COVID-19 and once again be able to look forward to the dynamic learning experiences that make Connect Charter School so unique.

Parent Society and School Council AGMs – May 12th 4:30pm

On Tuesday, May 12, from 4:30-5 pm, School Council and Parent Society will hold their annual AGMs. We encourage all parents to join in this virtual event (online link will be sent to all parents prior to May 12). 

School Council Executive is asking that anyone who would like to be considered for the position of Vice-Chair or a member at large, please contact Mel McDonald, chair, at [email protected]

The Connect Charter Parent Society (CCPS) serves as a separate entity in parallel with the Connect Charter School Council at the direction of the Connect Charter School Board. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a CCPS Director please contact the Chair, Traci Zeller at [email protected].

AGM documents for School Council and Parent Society are published here: connectcharter.ca/connect-charter-school-council-and-parent-society/

Forum with Phil – Apr. 28th 4:30-5pm

In lieu of a regular School Council meeting, please join Dr. Phil Butterfield for an online version of Forum With Phil on Tuesday April 28th from 4:30-5:30pm. This will be an opportunity to bring forward questions or provide feedback and suggestions on the Connected e-Learning program and seek clarification on any school related issues you may wish to address. You will be able to access the Zoom webinar to participate in the discussion at zoom.us/j/97073357293?pwd=eHZQczN2cFEvdWdDNU5xZmpSTHplQT09. Once you have logged in, please use the Q and A  function to post any questions or comments.

Parent Support for Students

There is no doubt that ‘school’ looks a lot different when your children are connecting with their teachers from within your home and you have the added organizational responsibility to remind them of e-learning schedules. It is important to keep a few things in mind to ensure your expectations are realistic and your understanding of e-learning is complete:

  • Work will look different in an e-learning environment. Assignments and projects will have variable elements that combine principles of inquiry-based learning, direct instruction, and critical thinking skills. With guidance from teachers, support staff, and parents, students will adapt to redefined expectations that may involve varying degrees of independent work, different ways of accessing academic, social, or emotional support (but be assured this will still be available), and adjustments in the way student progress is assessed and reported. There will be more information on the final report card and student assessment in the coming weeks
  • One question that has come up with increasing frequency over the last few weeks is, “how do I know if my child is doing what they should be doing in relation to school work?”  Every parent should be asking themselves this, and then answer it by ensuring you have open access to your child’s Learning Management System profile so you can check on work completed, submitted, assessed, and see feedback from teachers. Daily conversations with your child about their learning and what projects or assignments they have to complete, as well as timelines, are a great barometer of student engagement. During these conversation opportunities, it is too easy to stick to the superficial stuff…Parent: ”How were your classes today?” Student: “Good.”.. End of discussion. Dig deeper into the online conversations and specifically what are the learning outcomes that are being addressed.
  • It is unreasonable to expect that all learning outcomes for each core course are going to be satisfied by the end of this school year. Teachers have been asked to prioritize learning outcomes for Math, Science, English Language Arts, and Social Studies, in order to ensure the key concepts are addressed in sufficient detail. The Program of Studies is cyclical and relies on a system of scaffolding, whereby specified learning outcomes are brought forward each year for review and to develop deeper understanding. Overall completeness of understanding will not be sacrificed through this prioritization process, but it is important as parents to understand that doing so may alter the look of learning somewhat.
  • Last week I was forwarded a series of resources by Dr. Bruce Perry. You may find his video series of interest, but in particular I invite you to review an article from Psychology Today that highlights Dr. Perry’s  tips for parents managing the many new responsibilities of having children at home 24/7. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/pulling-through/202004/the-pandemic-toolkit-parents-need?eml

Push Up Pyramid Challenge

Mr. Ferguson has created another fun challenge to support the need for students to stay physically active. Please see the Push Up Pyramid Challenge video at drive.google.com/open?id=15yI3PdKYy25NySGJpcDbfCJZFeSHLBvQ

Alberta School Council Association award

I am pleased to share some positive news. In February Dr. Kevin O’Connor of MRU submitted a nomination to the Alberta School Council Association for the ASCA Excellence in Learning Partnerships Award based on the Partners In Place collaboration, specifically the Social Problem Solving Through Design Thinking initiative.   Although only schools who are ASCA members can be nominated, we have now been notified that Connect Charter School’s partnership with Tsuut’ina Education and Mount Royal University are being recognized for this work through the ASCA award. Due to COVID-19 the award presentations will be delayed until a time when a representative can join us in person. The ASCA award is a wonderful recognition of the work being done by our staff in collaboration with Tsuut’ina Education and MRU. Thank you to our School Council executive for initiating this nomination and supporting our ongoing endeavours to make strong connections beyond our school walls.

Physical Distancing T-shirts

Our intrepid ‘Team Spirit’ of Cathy Newton and Dawn Elliott have developed a new spirit wear offering for our community. The t-shirts really say it all… The store will remain open until May 6 for orders.  Distribution will be approximately May 28.  

Here is the link to the store, and the t-shirt will be the only item available at this time. store.kodiaksports.ca/stores/connect-school

Thank you and I wish for all of you a healthy last week of April…truly the longest month ever experienced, I’m sure.

Phil Butterfield