Principal Update January 22 – January 25 – Connect Charter School

Connect Charter Family Weekly Update

January 22 - January 25

This Week's Highlights

  • 🗓️ Professional Development Day: Friday, January 26th is a professional development day. There is no school for students.
  • 🎉 25th Anniversary Celebration: Connect Charter students will be celebrating our 25th anniversary on January 24th and January 25th.
  • đź’Ľ Financial Literacy for Grade 9: Grade 9's learn about financial literacy with Junior Achievement onsite on Monday, January 22nd.
  • 🏰 Visit to Lougheed House: Grades 4.1 and 4.2 head to the Lougheed House on Monday, January 22nd. Grades 4.3 and 4.4 on Wednesday, January 24th.
  • 🤝 Focus Groups for Learning Framework: This week, some students engaged in focus groups to help inform our Exemplary Learning Framework which is being updated, and to help us develop an Empowered Bus Use policy.
  • đź“Ł Student Voice in School Policies: Student voice has been an important part of developing processes in the school and has informed the Cell Phone Policy, the approach to student-led conferences, and the Technology Empowered Use Policy. Thank you, students, for your engagement and participation in these meetings.
  • đź‘Ź Thanks to School Council: We thank the school council for supporting our 25th-anniversary celebration, scheduled for this upcoming week.
  • đź”— School Council and Parent Society Update: Please find the school council and parent society update in the dropdown menu.
  • đź”— Bus Communication: Please find the bus communication that was also sent via email earlier this week in the dropdown menu.
  • đź”— Spring Camps Details: We have reposted the details about spring camps in the dropdown menu.
Curling in physical education.
STUDENT CELEBRATION – Connect turns 25 in 2024!
Please join us as a volunteer for the Student Celebration on January 24 & 25. Grades will take turns at an assembly, special photo sesh, time capsule, group art project and more! There will be CAKE. Email to sign up on either day. FYI on Jan 24 grades 7-9 will attend, grades 4-6 on Jan 25. 
There will be adult off-campus cocktail party a BBQ/family day at the FEC this spring. Stay tuned!
Our second parent engagement evening of the year is scheduled for Thursday, March 7. Your kids have been through a series of Thrive mental wellness programs, and now it’s time to loop in the parents! A movie will be screened for the students, dinner may be ordered and supervision will be provided. Siblings (non-Connect kids) are welcome. 
Get ready to buy some raffle tickets, and dream of dream destinations! Launching soon…
SCHOOL COUNCIL / PARENT SOCIETY MEETING –  Wednesday January 31, 9:15am
Our next combined meeting with an update from Administration will be held in the Learning Commons with an option to join online. Have a coffee on us, meet some other parents, hear about what’s going on and see if you’d like to get involved. Everyone’s welcome!
This communication concerns mainly the families who are using our transportation service. In order to distribute this communication in a timely manner, it might go out to all our Connect families. Please disregard this email if it is of no interest to you.
Over the past week we have experienced serious disruptions to our transportation service for a number of reasons. The extreme cold temperatures last week and the ongoing snowfall have led to poor road conditions which severely impact traffic resulting in significant delays on all our routes. The extreme cold weather also damaged mechanical components in a large number of Southland’s buses. These buses cannot all be immediately repaired and there are numerous school routes (not only Connect routes but also routes of other school boards serviced by Southland) that currently do not have a dedicated bus. Southland’s crews have been actively working on triaging and repairing the damaged buses to ensure service as promptly as possible. However, it might take a few more days before all buses are back in service. 
Southland has also been experiencing some server issues this week due to the high traffic on their notification system (i.e. the MyBusStop app) with a significantly higher volume in communication being pushed out to users, as well as the increase of communication requests from users. That is the reason the MBS app was down yesterday morning and today and it might experience these outages again. Southland’s IT department is working very hard to resolve the issue and Southland apologizes for any frustration this may have caused.  
We understand that the current situation is very challenging and frustrating for our families.  Connect Charter School continues to meet with Southland Transportation to advocate for timely communication for families and consistent pickup and drop off times.  Student safety is paramount.  We are working with Southland to obtain and relay any information concerning transportation as quickly as possible and appreciate your understanding and patience. These are circumstances out of the school’s and Southland’s control and we’re working continuously to make the current situation a bit more bearable for our families. 
-We would like to emphasize again the importance of a back-up plan in case your bus is delayed. Here are some suggestions:
  • -Dress appropriately for the weather in case you have to wait longer than anticipated for the bus. 
  • -Agree in your family how long your student should wait at the bus stop if the bus is delayed.
  • -Have a plan where your student should go (home, to a friend etc) if the bus doesn’t show or is significantly delayed.
  • -Make sure your student notifies you of their whereabouts.
  • -Arrange carpooling with other families in your area. Please note that the school cannot give out contact information of other families without their consent. 
  • -Notify the school in case your student is absent because the bus didn’t show or only arrived at their stop very late.
  • -Talk to your child’s teacher if they miss school due to transportation issues.
  • -Use the MyBusStop app and notification service to be informed about delays. If the app is not working, check for email updates from the school.
While this current situation is taxing for everybody, we would kindly ask to please be respectful in all your communication with the school. Our staff is doing everything in their power to work around all these uncertainties and to provide the same support you’ve come to appreciate. We hope that the transportation issues will be resolved shortly and bus services will return to normal.
Thank you,

Connect Charter School

Dear Connect Families,

We are excited to share our roster of spring trips with families. Spring trips provide the opportunity to deepen curricular connections, build a sense of belonging and community and allow students to step outside of their comfort zones to promote confidence and independence. 

Our spring camp fee structure has been adjusted to provide predictability and equity across the grades.  The cost model will be to average trip costs across grades 4-8. We continue to experience ongoing increases in costs related to transportation, programming, accommodation, and food. Connect Charter School is balancing these increased costs with providing the quality experiences that our program is known for.  

All spring trips are 3-day/2-night experiences.   All spring trips continue to operate on a fee-recovery basis.  Bursaries and payment plans continue to be available for those who may require assistance.  Please contact Laurie Kangas (email below) related to payment plans or support inquiries).  


This year, the cost for all grade 4-8 spring trips will be $285.00.  

Spring Trip Fees (Outdoor Ed Camp Fees) may be paid through the PowerSchool parent account login:

  • Grade 7 Outdoor Ed Camp fees are due Jan/Feb, prior to camp dates in February
  • Grades 4-8 Outdoor Ed Camp fees are due Feb/Mar
  • Grade 9 Outdoor Ed Camp (Deposit- Nov) and Balance due Feb

(Note – for planning ahead: Annual re-Registration forms and fees for 2024-2025 occurs in April)

Please contact [email protected] or [email protected] for payment supports.


Connect Charter School Spring Camps 

4 Pioneer Camp Ranch Rocky Mountain House

May 21 -23, 2024

Personal and group development: Gaining independence, building resiliency, stepping out of comfort zones, exposure to many camp activities (horseback riding, rock climbing, water based activities).

5 Circle Square Ranch Halkirk

June 12 – 14, 2024

Personal and group development: Enhancing skills, judgment and confidence explored in the previous year but in a new setting while maintaining familiarity of activities (outlined above).

6 Cultural Exchange Edmonton Area

May 6 – 8 (6.1/6.2)

May 8 – 10 (6.3/6.4)

*Tentative dates

Learning from others: Deepening understanding and appreciation for Indigenous Ways of Knowing.  Visit to the legislature develops understanding of the provincial government.

7 Winter Camp Ribbon Creek/Nakiska

7.1 (February 12 – 14)

7.2 (February 26 – 28)

7.3 (February 21 – 23)

7.4 (March 4 – 6)

Confidence in Winter Conditions: Developing skills in winter survival, and the understanding of the night sky. Building confidence in downhill skiing/snowboarding at Nakiska.

8 Writing on Stone Milk River

May 27 – 29 (8.1/8.2)

May 29 – 31 (8.3/8.4)

*Tentative dates


Worldview: Expanding worldviews through the exploration of Writing on Stone Provincial Park which is an UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases Blackfoot culture. Visit to Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens. 


What is the grade 9 trip this year?

  • West Coast Trip 2024 (June 10 – 14, 2024)

    • Overview: A culminating experience grounded in curricular learning outcomes for students in their final year at Connect Charter School, taking place at two locations.
  • Location 1: Camp Jubilee

    • Activities:
      • Voyager Canoeing
      • Tidal Pool/Beach Study
      • Eco Hike
      • Sea Kayaking
      • High Ropes
      • Team Building and Resiliency
  • Location 2: University of British Columbia (UBC)

    • Activities:
      • Stay and explore campus life at UBC
      • Grouse Mountain Adventure
      • MacMillan Space Centre
      • Vancouver Aquarium
      • Beaty Biodiversity Museum
      • GreenHeart Tree Walk

    What is the Connect Charter School rationale for school trips?

    School trips are a foundational component of our charter.  These experiences support the following elements of student development: 

    • Experiential Learning: The school believes in the value of hands-on experiences to enhance classroom learning. School trips provide students with authentic encounters, deepening their understanding of academic subjects.

    • Cultural Enrichment: Trips to museums, historical sites, and cultural centres are integral to learning multiple world-views. These experiences expose students to diverse cultures, histories, and perspectives, fostering a profound appreciation for global citizenship.

    • Team Building: Recognizing the importance of community and collaboration, school trips serve as opportunities for students to work together outside the classroom. These experiences contribute to the development of strong relationships and teamwork skills.

    • Outdoor Education: Connect Charter School incorporates outdoor trips to promote environmental awareness, teamwork, and outdoor skills. Activities such as camping, hiking, and participation in environmental projects offer students a holistic educational experience and foster a love of nature.

    • Skill Development: The school tailors trips to focus on specific skill development aligned with its educational goals. Whether enhancing leadership, communication, problem-solving, or critical thinking skills, these experiences contribute to students’ overall personal and academic growth.

    • Socialization: School trips provide students with non-school settings for socialization and interaction with their peers. By fostering positive relationships outside the classroom, these experiences contribute to lasting friendships.

    • Inspiration and Motivation: Connect Charter School recognizes the transformative power of exposure to new and inspiring environments. School trips are curated to ignite students’ curiosity, motivation, and passions, fostering a lifelong love of learning.

    We look forward to this year’s Spring Camps and thank all volunteers, in advance, for their support of these important experiences for all of our students.

    Connect Charter School

Have a wonderful week, Connect!

Shannon Bennett 

Shashi Shergill
Assistant Principal

Andrea Friesen
Assistant Principal