December 3 – Parent Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

As this week draws to a close, so do our Student-Led Conferences that provide an opportunity for grade 4 to 8 students to share their learning experiences with parents. We are now in the second year of conducting virtual conferences due to the pandemic, and while there is no question that we would prefer to have parents, students, and teachers interacting inside the school to share these experiences, we remain committed to the goal of engaging students not only in their learning but also in the assessment of their learning, and that is the primary purpose of the SLCs….for students to understand what they learn, why they learn it, and how they learn it. It is important to remember that if you wish to speak in greater detail with any of your child’s teachers, you may contact them directly by email to set up a meeting at a mutually convenient time. During the scheduled conference times of the last two days our grade 9 teachers have met with parents and students through individually scheduled meetings to discuss high school options and pathways that require consideration and decisions in the coming weeks.

We will now turn our attention to the next two weeks leading up to winter break. After an unseasonably mild fall, we are now seeing some temperatures that will hopefully allow the ice on the community rink to take shape for skating…a popular activity for classes at this time of year. The grade 9 students and teachers are also planning a series of indoor and outdoor activities for all students beginning on December 9th and culminating with our virtual Peace Festival assembly on Dec. 16th. The theme for this year’s Peace Festival is “Even in these times, we can come together as a community”, a sentiment that applies well to Connect as we strive to strengthen our community despite being kept apart by the pandemic restrictions.

School Council 

Our School Council are contributing tremendously to our community spirit in a variety of ways. A fundraising event offered through Growing Smiles Florists and coordinated by Council not only gave families the opportunity to bring some seasonal foliage into their homes for the holidays, but was also a time for some social reconnection during the plant pick up at the school. Watching parents greet each other as long lost friends was a reminder of just how valuable and vital it is for our community to join together at every opportunity. The plant fundraiser contributed $1537.87 to enriching school programs. A special thank you to Sandra, Tricia, Bea, Maryam, and Jennifer, who volunteered to make this endeavour a success.

We are also very grateful to School Council for the acknowledgement gift cards they provided for every member of our staff, including our bus drivers. This recognition is so meaningful as we continue to navigate through challenging times. Thank you to Melissa for taking the lead on this expression of gratitude.

We would also like to extend our thanks to Council for endorsing the purchase of a track setter to develop a system of cross country ski trails at the FEC. To further ensure our students will be able to hone their skills this winter, Parent Society approved the purchase of cross country ski boots to expand our ability to get an entire pod of students (52) on skis at the same time, as well as purchasing 100 sets of ice grippers for students and staff to use as needed at the camp.

Parent Webinar Series

We have long held the belief that in order for parents to truly be partners in their child’s education, it is important that we provide opportunities for parents to gain insight and knowledge into child development, potential challenges, and aspects of the Connect program. We will be launching a series of webinars beginning in January 2022 to address some of the most prevalent topics that have been brought forward by parents this year. 

January 19  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Executive Functioning

February 2 Centre for Sexuality

February 23  Literacy Development

March 9  Numeracy Development 

In addition, a technology orientation video will be forthcoming to guide parents in better understanding iPad use, SeeSaw, parental controls, and common troubleshooting issues.

All webinars will take place from 6:30-8pm and will be recorded for access by those who cannot participate in the session. More details will be forthcoming early in the new year.

Computer Science Education Week

We know that computational thinking is an important skill for learning (not just about computers and technology!) and it’s one of the reasons we have integrated it into our Creative Technology class. Next week we are celebrating Computer Science Education Week! Students at Connect get a few minutes of coding every week through Creative Technology, and many will get some extended opportunities to celebrate this particular week. However, hosting an hour of code is also a great at-home activity! Consider running your own at home family “Hour of Code” – there are lots of free guided projects that can be completed in an hour here – you don’t need any previous coding experience. This would also be a great time to check out Swift Playgrounds as a family and see what your child has been learning on Learn to Code 1 in Creative Tech class.

COVID-19 Update 

On December 1st we introduced our Proof of Vaccination protocol. Visitors to the school must scan their QR code at the ipad station located inside the main door. Office staff will guide visitors through the process as they enter the building. Despite one or two minor hiccups the system seems to be working well and we thank everyone for your cooperation and patience as we get used to this new aspect of our screening system. 

If your plans for the upcoming winter break include travel outside of Canada, please check for the most current information on re-entry requirements and restrictions. Although there are many unanswered questions regarding the Omicron variant, emerging details may change the requirements for returning travellers with very little notice.

Cold Weather Preparedness

Our weather will become more seasonable from now until winter break, with temperatures remaining below freezing during the day. Please make sure your children are dressed to be outside, including toques, gloves, jacket, and boots. This is especially critical for students who ride the school bus and may have extended wait times, however it applies to all students as we still encourage everyone to go outside for morning and lunch recess breaks. In addition, some phys ed classes will still take place outside and students will need to be dressed appropriately in order to participate.

Important Dates 

December 13-16 Peace Festival

December 16 Last day of classes for students before winter break

December 17  PD Day/Non-instructional day – no classes

December 18-January 2 Winter break – school closed

January 3, 2022  Classes resume

January 17-March 8 Winter day camps (see calendar)

January 19 Parent Webinar – ADHD and Executive Functioning

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Phil Butterfield