February 15 Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

I hope you have all managed to stay warm and enjoy some family time during the extended Family Day break. Be sure to visit the school calendar at connectcharter.ca/calendar/ regularly to keep track of upcoming events, activities, and non-instructional days for students as we enter the last few weeks leading up to the end of term 2 and spring break (March 21-April 2). 

February is Black History Month and Literacy (I Love to Read) Month and both are focal points for staff and students.  Pink Shirt Day is Wednesday February 24th and is an opportunity to reinforce our resolve to prepare our students as extraordinary citizens and take a stand against bullying and disrespectful words and actions. 

Although this initiative lives within our school vision, and is therefore an ongoing part of our culture, Pink Shirt Day reminds us of the often silent pain and suffering endured by those who are subject to bullying, harassment, and alienation. Don’t have pink in your wardrobe? No problem… our school store at Kodiak Sports store.kodiaksports.ca/stores/pink-connect is offering pink Connect shirts for sale until the close of business on Tuesday February 16th. Shirts will be delivered to the school by February 22nd and will be sent home with students.

School Council meeting – Tuesday Feb. 16th  7pm @ connectcharter-ca.zoom.us/j/92602378281 

Our School Council will meet via Zoom at 7pm on Tuesday February 16th. The meeting will begin with a special presentation of the ASCA Excellence in Learning Partnerships Award  to Connect School Council, Tsuut’ina Education, and Mount Royal University for our joint efforts on the Partners in Place initiative. The award was announced by the Alberta School Councils Association last spring but the presentation could not take place due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

The council meeting agenda is available at: docs.google.com/document/d/1hASvb6ZcrrT542NQBMn3dkBkz8PbBYmd2wxbdSdRQ88/edit 

and the minutes of the January 19th meeting  may be found at: 

drive.google.com/file/d/1JPMfswp1fSsNJhcSODa0z9uGr-Z-uN8L/view?ts=6025660a 

Black History Month

Black History Month provides an opportunity to recognize the contributions of Black Canadians to the development of Canada, and also to acknowledge the challenges of widespread systemic racism that has so profoundly impacted North American society. Staff will be planning grade appropriate units to engage students to deepen their understanding of Black history in Canada and Alberta. 

www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/black-history-month.html 

I Love to Read…

 This week is a busy week for our “I Love to Read” month. This week is “Random Acts of Kindness and Canadian Authors week”

Upcoming activities this week include:

  1. Wednesday’s spirit day is “Wacky hair”. Our Masked reader will be reading a passage from “An ode to the Fresh cut”. Students are encouraged to come to school with their wackiest hairstyles!
  2. Acts of Kindness will be discussed through a variety of books and activities throughout the week.
  3. Wednesday February 17th is also Canada Reads day. Canadian authors will be highlighted in our classrooms!
  4. Students will continue to track all the places that their reading has taken them to. A school map will be created at the end of the month with all the places Connect has visited throughout the month.

Pink Shirt Day is Wednesday February 24, 2021

Our Pink Shirt Day Committee is very happy to have the ability to bring our school together (albeit virtually,) to raise awareness on important issues around bullying.  This year’s theme is Lift Each Other Up

We will be hosting a virtual assembly and are putting a call out to interested students that would like to participate by making a short video clip.  

We have two questions for the students to answer.

1.) What does it mean to lift each other up?

2.) Describe a time when someone lifted you up.

Submissions are due February 19th and teachers will be able to assist with video uploads to the google drive.

Along with a special presentation from the Calgary Hitmen, guest speakers from the Center for Sexuality, a school wide activity (to be announced soon),  and this student video,  we sincerely hope we can all come away feeling even more connected and supported during these tough times. Further details will be sent out in the days ahead.

Connect Parent Webinar with Dr. Brent Macdonald – February 24, 2021 7pm (Zoom link will be in the Feb. 21st update)

Important: To help Dr. Macdonald prepare the most meaningful and interactive session possible, please submit your questions or concerns regarding this topic to me at [email protected] by Monday Feb. 21st. 

“Are we done yet?”  COVID a Year Later:  How are our kids doing?

COVID has made words like “unprecedented,” “difficult, ”challenging,” “new normal,” and others a daily part of our lives.  And we are all just so tired.  Students have been in and out of school, living online, and missing a lot of their favourite activities.  Sleep has been disrupted, we are in a continual state of confusion around the rules.  How have your kids been dealing with all of this uncertainty and change?  How have parents been doing?  Knowing that we are months away from any possible normal world, what can parents do to help their kids (and themselves) make it through, especially now that we are so tired and our coping strategies have been stretched thin?  Dr. Macdonald will address these concerns and ideas with a specific focus not just on where we are, but also on what we can all do to make it through these next few months by using effective mental health strategies.

Dr. Macdonald welcomes questions prior to the workshop – please email any questions or issues you would like to have addressed related to this topic to [email protected]

For instance:

  •     How do I reduce my/ my child’s anxiety about possible exposure/ adapting to variants
  •     How do I speak with my kids about masking/ anti-masking?
  •     What are the possible long-term stress effects of COVID?
  •     How can I support my child’s education when I am burning out myself?
  •     How can I keep my kids’ confusion to a minimum when faced with confusing messages from governmental agencies/ media/ social media?

Parent Resources

As further support of Literacy Month, check out these links:

Reading and Writing

www.foothillsacademy.org/community-services/read-write-math/rwm-programs 

Supporting Reading at Home

Did you know that you can build literacy and critical thinking as you cook, play games and watch movies? Think about how you can adapt these questions to your child’s online activities, for example:

lexile.com/parents-students/tools-to-support-reading-at-home/21-questions-ask-child-book/

ADHD

www.foothillsacademy.org/community-services/parent-education/parent-articles/adhd-social-skills 

Community Education Sessions

CES facilitates online sessions for parents on a variety of relevant and timely topics.

community.hmhc.ca/sessions/?p=online 

 

Mental Health Resources…message from the Minister of Education

As COVID-19 continues to be a concern in our province, I am pleased to share with you the newly created Alberta COVID-19 Youth Mental Health Resource Hub on Jack.org. Alberta’s government partnered with the Kids Help Phone and Jack.org to create this hub where youth, educators and parents can find easy-to-access tools and supports.  

 The mental health of youth is top-of-mind and a priority for Alberta’s government and for schools. The challenges and pressures brought on by the pandemic has brought have exacerbated feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. I encourage you to share this new resource with the school community.

The youth-focused resources on this hub include:

  • Jack Chapters – Youth-led, community-driven mental health advocacy clubs at schools or in the community.
  • Jack Talks – Mental health presentations delivered to young people by young people.
  • Jack Summits – Mental health conferences developed by youth, where young people within a region connect, strategize and learn from one another.
  • Do Something – Tools to take small, simple steps that make a big difference to youth mental health and the mental health of others.
  • Be There – Tools to support someone who may be struggling with their mental health.

I also want to remind you of the following mental health resources available to support students, families and school staff:

Lost and Found

Please check out  our online lost and found gallery. Directions for claiming items are included in the slides found at:

docs.google.com/presentation/d/1e6nlpSsAmoDXWqVVxDbX8xpxPlJaZffEBlryBwVCwp4/edit?usp=sharing 

In anticipation of the weather warming up this week we are looking forward to getting students outside for recess breaks, PE, and DPA as conditions allow. Please make sure children are dressed for changing weather conditions…is it late winter or early spring? It’s all about perspective, my friends…and so whatever your view might be, I hope you can find joy in the coming week.

Stay safe everyone,

Phil Butterfield

Principal