January 31 Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

It’s hard to believe we are now exactly halfway through the 2020-21 school year… a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with success being measured more by how few confirmed cases of the virus we have and less by the quality of collaborative and experiential learning opportunities. In spite of all that, those tremendous learning opportunities are being created every day in our classrooms by teachers and support staff who are committed to fulfilling our charter mandate…and a pandemic isn’t going to interfere with that goal.  It seems we will have several more months of restrictions and COVID related measures before we can begin to get students integrated back into outdoor education programs, elective classes, peer mentoring, and school sports, to name a few of the activities currently on hold. 

In spite of the restrictions, however, we are setting in motion plans to provide all our students with a modified outdoor education program similar to last fall when we had students congregate by pod at Camp Riveredge for day long activities.  We anticipate the rotations to Riveredge will begin in the latter part of May and continue through to mid-June. The cancellation of the grade 9 Bamfield trip this year and the added misfortune that we cannot take our departing students to Camp River’s Edge (the camp near Cremona that has hosted year end grade 9 activities for several years) are also being discussed by teachers and school leadership to plan meaningful alternatives. 

January 27th was Family Literacy Day, and February is We Love Reading Month. Although physical student access to the Learning Commons has been restricted due to the pandemic, there are still ways for students to access books from the library:

  • Your child has access to Connect’s digital book collection through Sora, installed on their iPads. They can also access their Calgary Public Library account through Sora. 
  • Your child may also access physical books from our library by placing a hold at ccs.libib.com. Younger children may need your assistance to set up the password and click the reminder. Books will be delivered as soon as possible during the school day. 

We greatly appreciate your support of your child’s literacy!

Please be sure to check the school calendar at connectcharter.ca/calendar/ for important upcoming dates, including the PD day/non-instructional day for students on Friday Feb. 5th.

Report card access in PowerSchool

In order to begin preparing for term 2 report card distribution, we will need to restrict parent access to report cards in PowerSchool from February 15th to March 15th. If you require your child’s Term 1 report card for any reason (such as high school registration) please be sure to download it prior to Feb. 15th. Term 2 report cards will be available in PowerSchool on Monday March 15th.

Monitoring student devices and staying safe online

As the current restrictions around outdoor and indoor gatherings continue to be extended we realize the impact that this can have on young people and their need for social interactions. As these social interactions move into an online environment we all need to continue to be vigilant in monitoring children’s safety and well being. Just as you would ask your child where they are going if they leave the house, who they will be hanging out with and until what time,  these are similar questions parents should be asking about social interactions in an online space. We also encourage you to sit down with your child and have them share with you the apps they use on the school and personal device to stay connected. 

Following are some suggested resources and comments from David Cloutier, our Educational Technologist, on this topic:

Here is that federally funded and sponsored resource for online safety:

protectkidsonline.ca/app/en/

(from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection)

What I like about this one is the two sections, “what are my child’s interests and what are the risks”, and “what online issues should I know about” – each have a section by age with specific actionable items to think about or look into. I think this is a good opportunity for every parent to talk about these questions and in some cases go through devices together in terms of what apps are installed, who is being communicated with, etc.

Parents might also visit:

www.cybertip.ca/app/en/

(This is a joint project between the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Government of Canada)

There are a number of activities for kids (particularly teens) to work through here as well as a resource on some of the nuances of navigating being a youth in the pandemic while online.

Child Well-Being After the Pandemic

What do we do with the children after the pandemic? This is an interesting blog post on a question that is gaining momentum…

dianeravitch.net/2020/12/12/teresa-thayer-snyder-what-shall-we-do-about-the-children-after-the-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR0m6OfdkeRsqZrlOm1rOSlwqgWQN3HSSUr0lm7_mBRLqRd_wE7oiMXP8Io 

Parent Society and School Council

Parent Society recently approved the purchase of new DPA equipment packages for each classroom, ensuring students will be able to get outside and enjoy some physically distanced activities and games as the spring weather approaches. A huge thank you to our Parent Society and School Council for all the fundraising efforts that continue to provide students with opportunities to pursue personal wellness in spite of pandemic restrictions.

New Travel Restrictions

With the Family Day break only a week away (Feb. 11-15), and Spring Break following 5 weeks later (March 22-April 2), please be aware of travel restrictions if you are contemplating leaving Canada. New federal travel restrictions may be found at www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2021/01/government-of-canada-introduces-further-restrictions-on-international-travel.html

Registration for 2021-2022 School Year 

Please mark your calendars to register your child for the 2021-22 school year. Registration will open on April 6th and will close on April 16th. Laurie Kangas will send out further information prior to Spring Break.

Have a wonderful week and stay safe everyone,

Phil Butterfield

Principal