February 25, 2022 – Parent Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

The photo above was taken by a grade 6 student piloting a drone over Sibbald Lake. Students piled the snow and then, after it settled, dug out a warm and safe emergency shelter known by various spellings as a quinzee. Of course…some of them begin to take on a very unique personality…

Round two of our winter camps is underway and the FEC is finally getting some much needed snow. Day camps will continue through to March 17th. Please check the school calendar at  connectcharter.ca/calendar/ to confirm the date of your child’s camp as there have been some scheduling adjustments. If you are able to volunteer and have a current security clearance check, please contact your child’s homeroom teacher.

On a more somber note, the hostilities that have begun with the movement of Russian forces into Ukraine have a profound effect on many Connect families. The ethnic diversity of our school community includes many of Ukrainian or Russian descent who have family and friends in the conflict zone. We are also very aware of the potential impact these events may have on some students, parents, and staff, and we encourage anyone who is experiencing anxiety or emotional distress as a result of these events to seek support through the resources that will be made available within the community or at school. Our thoughts are with all those who are innocently caught in the midst of the conflict as well as those who are separated physically by distance but who may still be subject to the pain and anguish that is the companion of war.

An Update on Student Wellness at Connect

“Creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments requires a shared commitment among school staff, students, families and community partners.” – Alberta Education

In the coming weeks, Connect will be kicking off a community wellness initiative called “Thrive” to engage students in structured learning experiences that provide instruction targeting social emotional learning and mental health and wellness. In response to the recent difficulties the Covid-19 pandemic has created for students over the last few years, research indicates that the mental health of young people has been impacted. As restrictions continue to ease, we sense that students will benefit from explicit instruction on how to connect, collaborate, and self-regulate. Social-emotional learning is fundamental to building the following traits:

  • positive social behavior
  • health and well-being
  • ethical development and citizenship
  • motivation
  • academic learning

Mrs. MacDonald will join grades 4 – 6 for health and wellness instruction on Tuesdays and Thursdays, using the Alberta Program of Studies to guide facilitation, and design content that meets the current needs of students in a given grade. The goal is to build competency and confidence in our students related to their personal health and mental wellness. Core topics include: self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Internal and external resources will be used in the development and implementation of this initiative to ensure students receive a multi-perspective experience. Research shows that the most effective resources engage students in a variety of opportunities to actively learn and practice social-emotional learning (SEL) skills with adults and peers (Alberta Education, 2020). 

While grades 4 – 6 will receive in class sessions with Mrs. MacDonald, Grade 7 – 9 will engage in various health and wellness experiences with both their classroom teachers and external services in the coming months. Finally, weekly posts will be shared with our student community using the SeeSaw messaging feature to share mental health and wellness content. 

What is social emotional learning, and why is this instruction important? 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikehX9o1JbI 

Cohort Adjustment for grades 7-9

We began reconfiguring student cohorts this week by directing that grade 7 to 9 classes may now operate in grade cohorts as opposed to pods of two classes only. This will open up more opportunities for student interaction in the upper grades. Grade 4 to 6 students will remain in pod cohorts for the time being as directed by Alberta Education. We anticipate there may be a further announcement from the government over the weekend concerning pandemic restrictions and any further changes will be relayed to our parent community by Monday morning.  

Masks and Rapid Test Kits 

Those who ordered masks and/or rapid test kits should be receiving them today via your child’s backpack. Some responses are still trickling in and those orders will be filled on Monday.

Parent Society and School Council

Parent Society

RAFFLE

Our 50/50 Raffle winner was drawn on Thursday, Feb 17. Congratulations to Joy Terlesky, parent of Charlie in 4.4, who takes home $7,910! 

Thank you to all members of the Connect Charter community who helped raise awareness for this first-of-its-kind fundraiser. Proceeds will be used to purchase much needed equipment for classrooms and outdoor activities. 

We’d like your feedback on this kind of fundraiser in the future. Do you like 50/50 raffles? How about a playoff hockey pool? If you can help secure prizes such as travel or large consumer items, we can raise even more money for the school. Please send your ideas to the Parent Society at [email protected]

AGM

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 19 when we will hold our Annual General Meeting for the Connect Charter Parent Society. We are in need of new directors for the 2022/2023 school year, and welcome parents or guardians from all grade levels. In the next two years, we will have six directors moving on from Connect, so we especially appreciate representation from younger grade levels.

The Parent Society is responsible for organizing all AGLC related fundraising (casinos, raffles) which accounts for approximately $45k every 18-24 months. These funds are used to purchase items for educational enrichment for all Connect students. Volunteering for Parent Society is a minimal time commitment, but has a huge impact on our school. Please consider getting involved. 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.

Anyone who is interested is welcome to contact Mary Jensen, Parent Society President, at [email protected]

School Council

Easter Chocolates? Nom…nom…nom

School council is egg-cited to announce our Easter Fundraiser with Purdys Chocolatier, just in time for Easter! Connect earns up to 25% of our chocolate sales, so it is a great fundraiser for our school.

For a catalogue sneak peek, go here (you can’t shop in this link): 2022_Easter_Catalogue_Group.pdf (purdys.com)

To purchase chocolates, go to our campaign website here Purdys Chocolatier Group Savings and Fundraising. Create an account, or login if you remember last year’s info, then click Shop Online in the top bar. Choose Marketplace to see all the products and place your order. Payment is made directly online by credit card to Purdys when you’re ready to order.

Feel free to forward this link to any chocolate lovers you know! As long as they can pick up at the school (or you can pickup for them) then they can take part in our campaign.

Deadline for orders is Sunday, March 13th (the website says March 27th based on our delivery date – but our actual deadline is earlier due to spring break)

Pickup at Connect Charter School on the evening of Tuesday, April 12th. Covid friendly car drive-through to be arranged, details TBA.

School Council Executive positions 2022/2023

School Council is looking for parents to fill the following positions for the next school year:

  • Treasurer
  • Vice-Chair (could be a shared co-Vice-Chair)
  • Communications Specialist to help with WordPress site and other parent engagement responsibilities

If you would like to find out more, please contact Sandra Rosano Koeller at [email protected].

Alberta Education Assurance (AEA) Survey

As in previous years, the Ministry of Education will conduct its annual satisfaction telephone/online surveys to collect public and participant perceptions of Alberta’s education system.

 The surveys gather responses from a random sample of parents, the general public, high school students, teachers (online), principals (online) and school board trustees, as well as employers of recent high school graduates. The total number of completed surveys will be over 5,800, ensuring survey results for each of the 10 respondent groups are statistically representative. The survey responses are completely confidential, and no individual responses will be reported.

 The survey is also being offered in French for five respondent groups: senior high school students, parents, teachers, principals and school board trustees.

The purpose of the surveys is to determine satisfaction with:

  •         the overall quality of the education system;
  •         the education system meeting the needs of students and supporting our society and the economy;
  •         schools providing a safe, caring and inclusive environment for students;
  •         preparation of students for lifelong learning, employment and active citizenship;
  •         the education system having effective working relationships with system partners;
  •         leadership and continuous improvement of the education system;
  •         knowledge, skills, abilities and other related attributes of recent high school graduates; and
  •         facilities and equipment in the education system.

Your participation is important, as it provides valuable information to help the ministry identify areas of strength and areas needing improvement, thus helping to provide a more effective and accountable education system. Some survey results are also used in specific business plan performance measures, and will be reported in the ministry’s 2021/22 annual report.

Advanis Inc. has been contracted to administer the telephone/online surveys beginning on February 25, 2022 and ending in May 2022. A summary of the information obtained from the surveys will be posted on Education’s website. Survey instruments and survey results are available atopen.alberta.ca/publications/education-satisfaction-surveys-summary-report-2020.

Important dates

Calendar connectcharter.ca/calendar/ 

February 22-March 17 Winter Camps – Round 2

March 4 Organizational Day – Non-instructional day

March 14  Term 2 report cards available in PowerSchool

March 17  Last day of classes for students

4:30-8pm   Student-led conferences

March 18  8am-1pm   Student-led conferences

Spring break begins

April 4  Classes resume

Have a wonderful weekend,

Phil Butterfield
Principal