June 3, 2022 Parent Update

Good afternoon Connect families;

A huge thank you to all the families and staff who participated in the FEC work bee last Saturday to prepare the site for spring camps. We had upwards of thirty people completing a variety of vital tasks, including setting up tents and creating the tent village seen above, clearing brush from the fire smarting process that was recently completed, and building two new gaga ball pits.

Our first pods of students began spring camps on Wednesday with grade 8’s having the inaugural overnight trip. During these field experiences, students will gain first hand knowledge of environmental stewardship and further develop their appreciation of their connection to the land.

Spring camps are a critically important part of the Connect program and are mandatory for all students. While there may be extraordinary circumstances that prevent a student from participating in off site activities, it is generally understood that essential knowledge, skills, and attributes are acquired through engagement in the outdoor, experiential, and environmental education programs. For many students, particularly in the younger grades, attending camp with their class is the first time they have been away from home or slept in a tent. Connecting with the land and gaining an appreciation for the natural world help students make connections between conceptual learning that takes place in the classroom and authentic application of knowledge and skills that ties learning together into a complete package. School staff are well equipped to manage circumstances such as homesickness and separation anxiety. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s participation in any off site activity, contact their homeroom teacher or school administration for a further discussion.

Our grade 9’s ventured to Camp River’s Edge, near Water Valley, for their capstone celebration to mark the end of their journey at Connect and their transition to high school. Students enjoyed lots of activities during the day on Thursday, followed by a catered dinner and dance.

Volunteer Appreciation

Volunteers are essential to the overall success of our school and we are so immenselybgrateful to all those who give their time and energy to support our programs and ensure that Connect students have access to the most enriching learning experiences possible. Below is a  partial list of the ways in which parents contribute to our school:

  • School Council
  • Parent Society
  • Fun Lunch
  • Meat Fundraisers
  • Work bees
  • Board of Directors (parent positions)
  • Single and multi-day field experiences
  • Support for specific projects and acquisitions

 

We wish to acknowledge the many parents who have supported our staff and students during the 2021-22 school year by inviting volunteers to an appreciation tea on Wednesday June 15th from 2:00-3:10pm in the gym. Volunteers who are able to attend are asked to RSVP to [email protected] no later than June 10th. 

School Council Meeting Tuesday June 7th 5:30-6:30pm

The final regular meeting of School Council will take place Tuesday June 7th at 5:30pm in the Learning Commons. Although this is planned as an in-person meeting, a Zoom link will be available for those who wish to connect remotely. The link will be sent out to parents on Tuesday afternoon. The meeting will be followed by the new parent orientation in the gym at 6:30pm.

Parent Society Meeting Tuesday June 21st 6:30-7pm

The final Parent Society meeting of the 2021-22 school year will take place via Zoom on Tuesday June 21st from 6:30-7pm. A Zoom link will beb sent to all parents on the afternoon of June 21st.

Grade 6 and Grade 9 Student iPad Buyouts

Thank you to families in Grade 6 and Grade 9 who completed the device buyout form. A few important notes:

  • A final reminder to fill out the form if you have not yet done so, as it is due June 6th at 3:10 PM. We will not be able to accept requests after this time this year.
  • If your child has a Bluetooth keyboard (wireless), it needs to be returned.
  • They will be able to take their iPad and other accessories once it is reset on the date indicated below.
  • It is very important any personal items are backed up. For students not returning to Connect, it should be backed up to a personal account.
  • PowerSchool fees will need to be up to date for your iPad to be released.

Parent – General Tech Recall

Connect will be recalling iPads for the summer break. Please see below for important information on the process this year.

  • Tech recall will take place on the following dates:
    • Friday, June 24 – Grade 4/5/6 Tech Recall Day (6 students who are buying out their devices need to return their Bluetooth keyboard, if applicable)
    • Monday, June 27 – Grade 7/8/9 Tech Recall Day (9 students who are buying out their devices need to return their Bluetooth keyboard, if applicable)
    • Tuesday, June 28 – Catch-up day, for any students away due to emergent circumstances, etc.
  • If you know you are going to be away on either of these days (early vacation, appointment, etc.) it is important all technology is dropped off before these dates.
  • iPads will be remotely wiped the morning of these days, and so it is important any important documents, resources, etc. are saved to iCloud, or Google Drive. Students can ask their homeroom teachers, or Creative Tech teachers, for support with this if there is any confusion. 

Lottery Application Deadline Change

We have updated our lottery process and families can now submit an application for any child with a valid birth certificate until October 31st of their grade 3 school year. Parents will be notified if their child has or has not been selected for the grade 4 lottery draw by November 30th of their grade 3 school year. The lottery application can be found at this link: connectcharter.ca/how-to-register/

Important Details:

  1. The sibling policy continues.
  2. Parents of children from birth to grade 3 can submit their name to the lottery using the above link.  
  3. If you are aware of anyone interested in their younger child getting into the lottery, please share these changes with them. 

Rationale for the Change to Our Lottery Process

  1. Opening the lottery for a longer duration increases access to the lottery. Equitable access was the primary motivation to move towards a lottery format. 
  2. This change aligns with previous communications shared with families prior to this school year.
  3. The lottery timing is more logical and follows the timelines of other jurisdictions. 

Proposed Connect Charter School Expansion to New Campus

Seeking the right opportunity to expand the Connect Charter program to a second campus has been a longstanding goal for the school.  We are excited to share that over the past 18 months, Connect Charter School has been working closely with our partners at Mount Royal University on a model for expansion that is grounded in our charter goals and continuous mission to provide optimal and innovative  learning experiences for our students.  We would like to clarify that this opportunity is actively being pursued but is not guaranteed and is looking highly unlikely for then upcoming school year. Nonetheless we want to be as transparent as possible without school community as these discussions continue. 

To expand intentionally and to ensure the integrity of our program, the process takes time.  At this point, a thorough feasibility study, funded by Mount Royal University is underway.  Connect Charter School has provided the information required alongside a proposal for how this expansion might evolve.  Currently, we are waiting for the feasibility study preliminary report that will inform decision making at Mount Royal University. At this stage, we are unclear of the timelines and no final decision has been made.  While unlikely, we may need to be prepared to proceed with expansion as early as the new school year (2022-2023).  Our leadership team is developing plans for various scenarios.  Current Connect Charter School families can be aware that initially this would be an evolution and expansion of our junior high program (grades 7-9) to Mount Royal University with a long term vision to expand to high school.  The feasibility study looks at all aspects of this proposed expansion including: opportunity to utilize university spaces and facilities; synergies; transportation; student safety; opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships and programming.  We appreciate that this information would generate a lot of questions, assumptions and rumous.  Once more concrete details are available we will host an information webinar.

Staffing

We congratulate Evan Ferguson who will be taking on the role as Place Based Education Coordinator next year.  Evan brings experience as an athletic director and PE teacher at Connect Charter School, as well as experience as teacher and land based learning coordinator in Deline in NWT.  His passion for outdoor education, personal connection to this land and commitment to reconciliation and providing meaningful foundations of Indigenous Ways of Knowing for students will enrich learning opportunities for our students. 

National Indigenous History Month

June 1st marks the start of #NationalIndigenousHistoryMonth where we recognize the rich history of Indigenous Peoples, the resilience of Indigenous communities and the work being done towards truth and reconciliation.

This month, take the time to learn and explore Indigenous history. These resources will assist you in exploring the experiences of Indigenous Peoples across the country.

Here is a link to education resources arranged by grade level.

nctr.ca/education/?fbclid=IwAR0tqHVh58PYkZ6__fIsoupMC9eqAqd3HW8IiDsa0x82fNaNOm3P4MGROhM

Virtual Reality Comes to Grade 5 (Submitted by Heather Melville, grade 5 Math/Science teacher)

The 5.3 and 5.4 pod were fortunate to borrow VR headsets from Energy Safety Canada. The headsets were programmed with tours of the Oil and Gas industry sites as well as a section devoted to working the careers involved with Oil and Gas. It was so much fun to watch the students participate in this activity. I really loved hearing them talk about what they were experiencing in the moment. Ie: I’m using the schematic drawings to build a pipeline”. 

We have the headsets until June 10th so if time allows, we are hopeful to use them again. It was a very valuable experience for the students which furthered their understanding of fossil fuels, natural resources, greenhouse gasses and the complexities of reclamation. 

“My personal experience was amazing. Not only did we learn an enormous amount in the tour, but we also got to see how it felt to be there, as if we really were at the site. The next exciting thing we did with the V.R was the mini games; these games were fun and still taught us a bit and it was a great source of entertainment and learning.”

–       M.  5.3

“It was so interesting. I have used VR headsets before but never ever like that. I loved it. The tour was where you had to find information and stuff. You got to look around the oil and gas industry. The scariest part was where the heavy hauler was driving towards you. The challenge was where you had to do the jobs of a oil and gas worker.”

–       W. . 5.4

Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs)

Grade 6 and 9 students will continue writing PATs through June. Below is a schedule for the PATs:

Monday June 13 Grade 6 Science

Tuesday June 14 Grade 6 ELA Part B

Wednesday June 15 Grade 6 Social Studies

Thursday June 16  Grade 6 Math Part A and B

Monday June 20 Grade 9 ELA Part B

Wednesday June 22 Grade 9 Math

Thursday June 23 Grade 9 Science

Friday June 24 Grade 9 Social Studies

Lost and Found

Please check the lost and found link below for items that may have become separated from your child. docs.google.com/presentation/d/1e6nlpSsAmoDXWqVVxDbX8xpxPlJaZffEBlryBwVCwp4/edit#slide=id.gc6f73a04f_0_0

Important dates

Check the school calendar at connectcharter.ca/calendar/ and weekly updates from your child’s teachers for dates of class field experiences and other school activities and events.

June 1-24 Spring camps at the FEC 

June 7 5:30pm School Council meeting (in person & Zoom)

June 7 6:30pm New Parent Orientation (in person – gym)

June 15 2:00-3:10  Volunteer Appreciation Tea

June 16 6-7pm Grade 9 stage walk

June 17 Organizational Day/ Non-instructional day

June 21 6:30-7pm Parent Society meeting (via Zoom)

June 29 Last day of school for students

June 30 Non-instructional day/ Appeals Day

Have a wonderful weekend, 

Phil Butterfield
Principal