Good afternoon Connect parents;
Welcome to the 2021-22 school year at Connect. We are looking forward to the return of our students next week and an easing of some pandemic restrictions that will allow us to restart sports activities, outdoor education and field experiences, while also keeping in place the measures intended to maintain student and staff health and safety. The entire start up plan was sent to you yesterday and the purpose of this update is to provide you with information on upcoming activities, events, important dates related to the student experience at Connect, and parent engagement opportunities. Our school thrives by focusing on our vision to “prepare our students as extraordinary citizens”. Recognizing and embracing the diversity, equity, and inclusivity of our school community, and modelling the principles of empathy, understanding, and gratitude that are hallmarks of extraordinary citizenship, provide the solid foundation upon which our school and our student’s success is built. With that in mind we look forward to reconnecting with all of you in person as the year progresses and public health measures permit.
On Monday August 16th the Hon. Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, accompanied by several other MLAs visited the Field Experience Centre at Sibbald Lake and was able to gain a deeper appreciation for the value of this facility for place based, outdoor, and experiential student learning. It was wonderful to have some of our parents and students on hand to share their perspectives on outdoor education with the minister. We are hopeful that there will be future visits from Alberta Education to consolidate support for our outdoor programs.
Beginning today, parent weekly updates will be posted to the school website on Friday afternoons, rather than on Sunday. In addition to the information contained in these updates, you are encouraged to stay in close contact with the school calendar at connectcharter.ca/calendar/. Your child’s pod teachers will also send out a weekly update with information pertinent to their specific class.
I would also like to introduce a new member of our office team… Brenda Gehring will be assuming the role of Accounts Clerk and Office Assistant, taking over these duties from Susan Miller who will be retiring from her post after 16 years with CSS/Connect.
So…here we go…
First day procedures
A reminder that only grade 7-9 students will attend on Monday August 23rd and only grade 4-6 students will attend on Tuesday August 24th. All students will attend beginning Wednesday August 25th.
- School starts at 8:40am and ends at 3:10pm – this is a schedule change from previous years.
- Please complete the simplified digital screening tool that will be emailed over the weekend to your current email address on file. This link is specific to your child and reduces the need to fill in their name on a daily basis.
- All students will have received a ‘welcome back’ email from their homeroom teacher. Be sure to make note of the class number (ie.e – 4.1, 9.2, etc…) and the homeroom teacher’s name, so students can easily find their teacher on the school grounds in the morning.
- As students arrive at school on the first day, they will meet their homeroom teacher out on the field area. Once all students are accounted for, teachers will escort their students into the school through their designated doorway.
- Parents are not to enter the school but may remain outside to reconnect and chat.
Welcome back coffee/tea
School Council is hosting a welcome back coffee/tea for parents on the mornings of Monday Aug. 23rd, for grade 7-9 parents, and on Tuesday Aug. 24th for grade 4-6 parents. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be set up in the basketball court on the west side of the school as soon as the bell has gone to start the day at 8:40.. There will be a few announcements from the School Council and administration, but mostly it is an opportunity for parents to meet and chat. The coffee gathering will take place rain or shine – please plan accordingly.
Photo day – First Day of School
Photo day will take place on the first day of school…Monday August 23rd for grades 7-9 and Tuesday August 24th for grades 4-6. A pdf from Lifetouch will be included in the email with this posting for further information.
Field Experience Centre family orientation – August 28th
We are hosting a family open house at the newly acquired Field Experience Centre at Sibbald lake on Saturday August 28th from 9am-3pm. This will provide parents, students, and siblings with an opportunity to tour the site and become somewhat familiar with our new outdoor education site. Scheduled tours of the facility will take place at 9am, 11, am, and 1pm. You are welcome to stay and enjoy the property and the lake (all children must be supervised). No RSVP is required and directions to the site are below.
How to get to camp (it is approx. a 50 minute drive from the school so you can judge timing accordingly from your home):
- Proceed west on Hwy 1
- Take the exit to Hwy 68 (Sibbald Trail) and turn left to go under Hwy 1 and onto Hwy 68
- Continue for 23 km – the paved road becomes gravel and broken pavement after the first 10km (note – cell service disappears with the pavement)
- Turn right into the Sibbald Lake Recreation Area and follow the signs to the public day use parking area
- Proceed through the green gate at the end of the parking lot and drive onto the camp property
- You will be directed to the parking area by a staff member
Schedule of Field Experience Centre trips by grade
Students will begin their introduction and exploration of the Field Experience Centre at Sibbald Lake through the month of September. A full grade of 4 classes will be on site at any given time as distancing will not be an issue. A cohort (pod of 2 classes) will each be on a school bus to and from the Field Experience Centre on each day. Following is the schedule by grade:
Sept. 7 9
Sept. 8 9
Sept. 9 8
Sept. 10 8
Sept. 13 7
Sept. 14 7
Sept. 15 6
Sept. 16 6
Sept. 17 5
Sept. 20 5
Sept. 21 4
Sept. 22 4
Meet the teacher webinars – Sept. 2
Meet the Teacher night will take place on Thursday Sept. 2nd from 4-8pm. We will use a webinar format for the presentations and each pod will present twice. Grade 4, 5, 6 will present at 5:00 and 6:15. Grade 7, 8 9 will present at 7:00 and 8:15.
COVID-19 immunization clinics
In accordance with a directive from AHS, COVID-19 immunization clinics will be set up in schools beginning Sept. 7th to offer vaccines to anyone over the age of 12 years. Students will require parental consent to receive immunization. The consent forms and an information sheet from AHS will be sent home next week.
As we begin this school year it is important to recognize that in spite of the setbacks resulting from the pandemic we have established a clear path forward for Connect. The acquisition of the Field Experience Centre at Sibbald lake opens up untold opportunities for our students to create memories and shared experiences that will shape the future culture of our school. I have received a few messages expressing concern for the outdoor education opportunities lost to our students – specifically Bamfield for grade 9 and Fort Steele for grades 5 and 7. Before the pandemic even emerged, both of these sites had indicated they were no longer able to accommodate our students and the programs we had delivered there for many years. We were in the process of looking for alternative locations for these programs when COVID-19 entered the picture. The new FEC not only fills a void at a critical time in the school’s evolution but will be an important building block for the current and future generations of extraordinary citizens at Connect.