May 2013 Update
May 3, From the Principal's Desk
I would like to begin by recognizing and thanking the newly formed Friends of Bruderheim School Society. These dedicated parents have a vision and plan to rebuild a small playground and start long (very long range) planning regarding the large playground. You undoubtedly have seen the "Pennies for the Playground" tins in and around the Town. Congratulations to the Friends and thank-you for all the support received so far. BPAC continues their excellent, dedicated work. We recently had an amazing meatloaf, mashed potatoes (with gravy) and carrot lunch. Desert was a cinnamon cake that people are still raving about!
On April 22 we celebrated Earth Day with our first ever walk to school event. 20 students, 2 parents, one grand-parent and one administrator met at the beautiful gazebo by the Fire Hall. Shortly after 8:15 we all walked to school. In many communities this is also known as a "walking school bus". I hope to repeat this more than just annually. Since that was a day without Kindergarten students, this represents over 20% participation rate! We also reduced our power consumption by having as many lights as practical off and had our first "litterless lunch". Students were encouraged to "pack in, pack out" by having reusable lunch containers.
The library hosted a hugely successful book fair. We are pleased that so many community members were able to stop by the book fair. We feel this is an important example of the community and school work together! Mrs. Bartz is going to try to book the bookfair again for next year.
As busy as April was, May won't let up at all either. We will resume our Fire Drills in early May, weather permitting. We have already completed three of the required six annual drills. May will also feature the first round of Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs). Students in grades three and six will be completing the written portion of their English Language Arts PATs. Students will be required to write a story, and grade sixes typically also write a newspaper article as their functional writing piece. We will also participate in the "Peoples of the North Saskatchewan" festival in Fort Saskatchewan, and have our first Grade 6 Science Review (with the Bennett Centre). The running team will continue and participate in the Elk Island Invitational on May 7. One more highlight in May, Mrs. Dey and Mrs. Janssen will be recognized by Elk Island Public Schools for five years of faithful service.
April 5, From the Principal's Desk
The third and final term is underway. We finished March with report cards and successful report card conferences. Due to inclement weather we had to postpone/reschedule one of the evenings to April. We began April with our annual whole school field trip to the Telus World of Science. This day is always a highlight for students, and we couldn't do this without the help of a dedicated group of parents, the Bruderheim Parent Advisory Council, who generously support this experience by paying for bussing for this trip!
The Bruderheim School Choir Chimes participated in the Fort Saskatchewan Music Festival, where they awarded 85% and Honours With Distinction. At the Kalyna Country Festival, the Choir Chimes also received 85% and Distinction. They were further honoured by being awarded "Top Large Group Instrumental Performance"! Well done, we're proud of you! They were even featured in the Lamont Leader’s April 3rd edition.
There are many other noteworthy happenings. Three students, one each from grade four, five and six, participated in the annual Elk Island Speech competition. Also, two students went to the first (elementary) Student Leadership Conference. The school will be hosting a Kindergarten Open House on Thursday, April 11 at 6:30 PM. We are working on a volunteer appreciation event and the spell-a-thon.
Another important event will be the return of the Scholastic Book Fair. This is open to students and their families, and we will also have the Book Fair open for Town residents to do some shopping as well! The "Big Event" is Wednesday, April 17 from after school to 7:30 PM and is the time when the book fair is open to the public. Last year's event was a terrific success and we appreciated the excellent participation by Bruderheim Citizens!
You may have seen the pictures of Dallas Arcand in the Lamont Leader. He, and his son Dallas Jr., were at the school in early March. Their Hoop Dancing was intricate and energetic. Students appreciated the music and words of wisdom Mr. Arcand shared with them. We also had a special guest speaker, Goota Desmarais present Inuit Connections to students. One highlight for students was the opportunity to taste traditional Inuit foods. These special presentations were linked to learning and understanding FNMI (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) history and culture.
March 8, From the Principal's Desk
March is always a fascinating month. We have been fully immersed in the work of teaching and learning, and as the days begin to get longer we look towards several key events in the life of the school, notably the March report cards. Teachers are working diligently on these important documents and put a lot of time and effort into the report cards, just as students put a lot of time and effort into their work. We are looking forward to Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences on March 19 and 20, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.
When I walk down the hallways, I see so many wonderful examples of the work being done. There are always creative art projects and examples of student writing that highlight what's happening. Grade 1 students recently celebrated the 100th day of school. A highlight for me was all the writing, counting and even art students did to explore the number 100.
I enjoyed seeing many students and their families at the Town's Family Day Celebration. Although somewhat cool, the company was warm. The hot dogs with the warming fires behind the Fire Station helped keep the cold at bay. I was able to raise $1220 for the Hair Massacure, and am grateful for the encouragement and support I received! Thank-you! We are looking at increased participation in/for this event next year with students!
While we may already be looking forward to Spring Break at the end of March, we have a "jam-packed" March first. We began with a PD day on March 1st where teachers continued their work on writing - a key part of our School Education Plan. Teachers worked on selecting writing exemplars to use with students to support and expand their writing skills. We have music festivals at Kalyna Country and Fort Saskatchewan for the Choir Chimes. Goota Desmarais, an Inuit guest speaker, and World Champion Hoop Dancer Dallas Arcand came to the school to help students learn more about and gain insight and appreciation for FNMI (First Nations Metis Inuit) cultures.
Believe it or not, the end of the year is approaching. Part of the planning will involve the budget. As the Provincial budget has just been released, we don’t yet know what the budget holds for us specifically.
February 6, From the Principal's Desk
January can seem like a long, cold and dark month, however things were certainly warm and hopping at the school. In early January Grade 1 students introduced us to the character trait "Courage" and students had ample opportunity to put it into action. We held our first Student Council election. Division two students not only become class representatives, they campaigned for their roles! Students from grade 4 ran for Secretary, from grade 5 Vice-Chair and grade 6 for Chair.
The candidates demonstrated courage by overcoming what for some is a big obstacle: public speaking. Each candidate prepared some election materials (campaign posters). Candidates then introduced themselves during a mini-assembly to voters in grades 3-6. Each candidate gave a short speech based on the nomination form they filled out. As another way to have students (candidates) demonstrate accountability, all nomination forms had to be signed by both a parent and teacher. We have now held two meetings. Our regular monthly meetings will be on the Tuesday before Staff Meeting day.
January was also busy in terms of PD (Professional Development) as staff learned more about educational technology. Students in grades 4 and 5 are now using "Edmodo", and educational social networking site. Students in grades 2, 4 and 5 are also beginning to blog using “Kidblog”. On the January 31 PD Day teachers worked on using formative assessment and developing student writing exemplars. The exemplars will be used to support student writing by helping students see and understand what and how they need to write. A key to this is that we are all working on a similar writing task. There is more PD on the way as well, notably Teachers' Convention on the 7th and 8th. We will continue with the writing PD on March 1st.
Students will also have many different learning opportunities. For Grade 4-6 students there is a field trip to the Winspear to hear the "Music of the Night Sky”. Students in grades 4-6 will also be preparing for the Elk Island Speech competition. Grade 6 students will also be participating in a math contest organized by the Canadian Math League. Students in grades 4 - 5 will participate in the Math Contest in April. The results will be used for a new award for grade 4-6 students, a Math Award, which will be presented at the year end awards assembly.
For more information please visit the school website at: http://www.bruderheimschool.ca/
January 11, From the Principal's Desk
Our Christmas concert was a sensational success! This year's concert was "Is Santa Smarter?", and you likely recognized the format as familiar to the game show "Are you Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" Mrs. Becker's skilled direction and planning brought together a most enjoyable performance that highlighted the wonderful and talented students at Bruderheim School!
In December, Grade 6 students introduced us to the Character Trait of "Compassion". The entire school practiced compassion: classes were challenged to bring in 100+ food items each for the Bruderheim Christmas Hamper. There were over 1000 items brought in ~ compassion in action! The front row was also "raffled off". This raised an additional $78 for the Bruderheim Christmas Hamper, however distinguised guests Trustee Colleen Lopushinsky, MLA Jacquie Fenske and Elk Island Public School’s Director of Communications Heather Massel then sat in the second row.
The school would also like to thank the generosity of BPAC and community members for their support, giving their time and talent to such diverse areas as BPAC, the Milk Program, Breakfast for Learning and field trips, in the library and in classrooms. Parents of Bruderheim School's children deserve a heartfelt thank-you! Again, Bruderheim Lions paid the "lion's share" of the costs for bussing to swimming. The Town of Bruderheim pays the Learning Resource Fee. BPAC provides, free of charge, a monthly nutritious and delicious Hot Lunch. Special mention and thanks are extended to the Bruderheim Moravian Church. The Christmas Eve collection for the Breakfast Program raised an astounding $1400! Thank-you for the generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness shown! On the day this part of the letter was written, over 10% of students participated in the Breakfast Program.
January promises to be a busy month as we settle back into our routines. The John Howard Society will be here with presentations for students that compliment our Character Education program. Topics range from cooperation and sharing (for grade 1s) all the way to the Youth Criminal Justice Act for grade 6. Staff work diligently on the PD planned for the year. Our focus is writing; we are starting by looking at writing standards across grade levels.
Students are also preparing for their future – work and other responsibilities. One way this is happening is though a Student Council election. Kindergarten Registrations are now being accepted. If you have a child who is eligible for Kindergarten, please stop by the office any time and pick up a registration form. Likewise, if you know other families with school aged children, please encourage them to stop by and register.
Alberta Education is beginning the annual Accountability Pillar survey process. Parents with students in grades 4-6 will receive surveys through the mail. Please fill in surveys and return to Alberta Education at your earliest convenience.
All the best to you and yours for 2013!
December 7, From the Principal's Desk
The first term is over and parent teacher conferences were a well attended success. When one distills the essence of school, we arrive at the fundamentals of what we're about: teaching and learning. And this is happening very well! Recently released PAT (Provincial Achievement Test) results show that Bruderheim students are learning well and making good progress. They, along with school staff, are to be commended for their hard work! Report cards went home on November 9th. Monthly assemblies are continuing and we recognize students' success in three categories: citizenship, academic and diligence.
We are continuing with our work on our School Education Plan. We have selected three goals that generally focus on literacy, numeracy and citizenship. The goals are still "in progress", meaning that we are reviewing input from a variety of sources. Parents and staff have had opportunity for input. Students did too, in a unique and new way. Grade 4-6 students participated in a special "Tell Them From Me Survey". In their current form, our goals are to:
- Improve writing skills by increasing student engagement in narrative and functional writing.
- Improve students’ achievement in mathematics, particularly in moderate and high level of complexity questions.
- Increase global citizenship through student leadership, accountability, and effectivenes.
After preparing for the Remembrance Day assembly, students turned their attention to getting ready for the Christmas Concert. This year, our Christmas Concert will be December 13th. There will be a dress rehearsal at 1 PM and the evening concert is at 7 PM.
The Concert’s theme is “Is Santa Smarter?” I won’t give away too much of the plot here. Rest assured that students have been diligently working on their portion (songs) for the concert. The halls, classrooms and gym are filling up with many creative and beautiful decorations. I never cease to be amazed at the creativity teachers and staff show in decorating the school and getting it to look festive.
We look forward to seeing you at the Christmas Concert!
Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013!
November 9 From the Principal's Desk...
The Breakfast Program is in full swing thanks to the combined efforts of FCSS (Family and Community Support Services) and a dedicated group of parent volunteers . Each morning parents set out cereal, juice, fresh fruit, and get ready to make toast. We also received a generous donation of a deep freeze and $200 from the Lamont Alliance Church, and are very grateful for community support of this important program. It is true that students learn better if they have had breakfast, and again we are very appreciative of how much parents and community members support the school.
BPAC continues their tireless work for the school. Congratulations to the new and continuing executive! On October 23 we had a ham and macaroni casserole hot lunch. Yum! It is always astounding how the Hot Lunch BPAC generously gives of their time and talent to make the hot lunches happen for the school. Hot lunch is free for all students who want lunch! Thank-you BPAC!
We have now finished three (of six) fire drills and a "lock-down" drill. Students know and are well aware of the over-arching school rule "Be Safe, Show Respect", and were complimented on how well they did during the drills. The lock-down can be unsettling for younger students, and staff work diligently with the children to help them know how to act and respond. The third fire drill was completed under the watchful eye and assistance of the Bruderheim Fire Department. Students always love visits from the Bruderheim Fire Department, especially during Fire Prevention Week when Sparky accompanies the fire-fighters! All students participated in the annual School Bus Evacuation Drill. Throughout the year we will conduct three more fire drills and hold other drills such as "shelter in place".
Staff have been busy looking at PAT (Provincial Achievement Test) results and working on our SEP (School Education Plan). During October’s BPAC meeting, parents were invited to give input into the SEP. Once this newsletter is posted on the web, I will upload a document for further input into the SEP. Any parents wishing to provide their input/thoughts, please access the document from our web-page and return it to the office by the end of November.
November will be a busy month as students get their first report cards and parent/teacher/student interviews are held. We will have our Remembrance Day Ceremony on Friday November 9th, the closest day prior to November 11th. We sincerely hope that all will pause to remember during the 11th hour of the 11th day. Even though it is still some time from now, we're starting to think about the Christmas season. The Christmas Concert will be on December 13th at 7 PM, with a dress rehearsal at 1 PM. We are continuing the tradition of participating in the Bruderheim Christmas Hamper and plan to also be involved with the Operation Christmas Child (the shoe-boxes) and a clothing drive organized by a school in EIPS.
October 4 From the Principal’s Desk…
We certainly had a wonderful month with a very smooth startup to the school year. Many people came to the Meet the Staff Hot Dog BBQ on September 11th, in spite of the weather. We had to relocate to the gym because it was just too windy. As in previous years, staff brought salads and BPAC supplied the hot dogs, fixings, and BBQ skills. Thank-you!
We had our annual Terry Fox Run on September 28th. Students were encouraged to bring pledges to support the cause started by a true Canadian Hero. More information, particularly how much we raised, is printed later in the newsletter. Our Character Education focus for the month has been getting to know our new school rules. These are posted in every classroom, the library, gym, the lunch room, and computer lab. Students know the rules and are working diligently on following them. Grade 1-3 students enjoyed their swimming lessons, and grade 4-6 students will be going in October. Thank-you to the Bruderheim Lions for their generous donation towards bussing. This is an annual gift that makes the swimming program happen. As you may know and appreciate, bussing costs from the school to any field trip can be very high. Thank-you also to BPAC who paid the balance of the bussing costs.
BPAC, and in particular the Hot Lunch group is deserving of a great Thank-you! September's hot lunch was pulled roast beef on a bun, fresh veggies and strawberry short-cake, all made from scratch! The buns smelled amazing while they were baking...the entire school population's mouths were watering! BPAC is having two fundraisers: Pennies for the Playground and a hot dog lunch. So far support has been superb - some of the cans holding pennies weigh a lot!
Read in Week is October 1 through 5, and the theme is "The Great Escape". The 5th also happens to be our first of two District PD Days for the year. We're also looking forward to Fire Prevention week and getting a visit from The Bruderheim Fire Department.
October 18th will be the next BPAC meeting. This is a very important meeting because it is the annual general election of BPAC. BPAC works very hard to support, contribute to and improve the learning opportunities for students. Please consider coming to the meeting. All parents are welcome!
September 7 From the Principal's Desk...
And we’re off! I would like to extend a sincere thank-you to students, parents and staff for a smooth startup. We are ready for what promises to be a rewarding and fulfilling year of teaching and learning. We have meet new students and their families, and re-kindled friendships with returning students and their families. The Before and After School Care program has resumed while the Bruderheim Preschool will be starting up in October. We're also looking forward to continuing to work with the Town of Bruderheim and are thankful for the generous support the Town, many businesses and community groups give the school. Students here are very fortunate indeed!
I would also like to point out again that BPAC, the Bruderheim Parent Advisory Council, works hard for the benefit of the students. An ambitious task that BPAC has begun is the start of the playground redevelopment. We have been told that the "life expectancy" of the current structure is 8-10 years. While this may be some time in the future, there are many steps required to rebuild a playground ... from planning to fundraising this is a process that takes many years. Many parents have stopped by the office to offer to help in a variety of ways, from the library to hot lunch to BPAC to the new Breakfast Program. We gratefully welcome your help!
The division 1 (Grades 1-3) washroom renovation is nearly complete. A few partition trim pieces need to be delivered and installed. The new tiles really liven up the space and are clean and bright. Students are enjoying the automatic shut-off taps, and especially for younger students, the counter height has been reduced. Definitely more “kid-friendly”!
Character Education and Religion classes have resumed. We have also had our first assembly. The assembly focused on our school rules. In previous years the rules focused more on “Be Safe, Show Respect”. This is a great umbrella statement, and we continue to use it. We have spelled out the rules for students though, if you’ll pardon the pun, to make them a clearer and therefore easier to follo
The home-school partnership is a hallmark of successful students’ education experiences. I hope that all parents will take the opportunity to get to know their child(ren)’s teacher(s) over the next few weeks. We will again be having a Meet the Staff BBQ. This will take place on Tuesday, September 11 from 5-6:30 PM. The first BPAC meeting follows immediately after the BBQ.
September 4 From the Principal's Desk
Happy New Year! Welcome back to school. There will be a longer, more comprehensive school newsletter sent home on Friday. This short note is being sent home to welcome back returning students and families, and to say hello and welcome to new students and families.
Routine is good for students, and helps us as well. The first Wednesday of each month is “early out” for students so staff can have a staff meeting. The next day, Thursday, we will have an assembly at 9 AM. This is usually a “Character Education” assembly. Students are also recognized for Citizenship and Academic achievements. The Friday after early dismissal is the day the newsletter is sent home. This will showcase what is happening in and around the school and District.
Kindergarten begins next week, on Tuesday, September 11. Preschool will also begin soon.
Even though there are reminders in every newsletter, as well as a general letter that is sent home to all students, I would like to briefly point out that we are “allergy aware”, which included being “nut aware”. Please refrain from sending products that have or may contain nuts to school.
Best wishes for a happy and successful year of Teaching and Learning!