Message from Our Superintendent

Holy Spirit

Good day everyone,

It has been exactly one month since I began my new role as Superintendent of Schools. I wanted to make sure to take this opportunity to thank all of you for providing your feedback in the ThoughtExchange Survey that we completed this past November 2019; helping me to learn more about what is important to you as I begin my new position.

First, I’m pleased to report that a total of 661 individuals from across the division participated in the ThoughtExchange.  Of those, 297 provided 667 thoughts and 343 rated and ranked those thoughts using a total of 30,025 stars.

Though there was a wide variety of topics and thoughts provided through this process, as can be seen in the table below, there was definite concern surrounding budget cuts in education and the importance of ensuring that educational resources remain focused on the classroom and front-line staff members, who are essential to ensuring high quality education for students.

TABLE 1: Top 5 Thoughts

Ranking

Thought (as found in the survey)

Average Star Rating

1st

Budget restraints requiring staff reduction should NOT happen at the front line level! Children cannot learn without teachers and inclusive classrooms cannot be managed without EA’s. Children do not benefit from top heavy management.

4.5

2nd

Maintaining educational quality in the face of declining resources. Provincial education cuts are here and they will impact staffing levels, morale, and resources for programming.

4.2

3rd

Helping kids learn how to work hard and push through failure to go on to succeed. Resilience.

4.1

4th

School life is being increasingly controlled by aversion to risk. Physical activities, sports, field trips, and recess fun are being increasingly restricted due to fear of injury. All of these are essential to growth

4.1

5th

Make budget cuts from the top-down. Front line workers are more important to the success of students than they are given credit for.

4.

Through further review of the 667 thoughts provided, 15 major categories emerged.  The following table identifies these categories and shows how many thoughts were included in each, as well as the average star rating.

TABLE 2: Identified Themes

Theme

Number of Thoughts within Theme

Average Star Rating for Theme

Resources & Fiscal Stewardship

97

3.3

Processes & Practices

94

3.0

Skills & Programs (Literacy/Numeracy/Life)

85

3.3

Staffing / Human Resources

62

3.3

Faith & Catholic Education

48

3.1

PD & Training

40

3.3

Class Sizes

37

3.6

Leadership

36

3.4

Inclusive Education (Culture & Needs)

35

3.3

Soft Skills for Students (Social / Citizenship)

34

3.5

Support for Staff

30

3.6

Environment & Culture

26

3.3

Parent & Community Engagement

22

3.1

First Nations, Metis & Inuit Education

13

2.9

Miscellaneous

8

2.9

Clearly, this is just the tip of the iceberg in reviewing the rich feedback that was provided through this survey.  If you are interested in learning more, I certainly invite you to explore the results at: http://bit.ly/hs4incomingresults

Thank you again for taking part in this valuable conversation, which I’ll certainly be coming back to as the year goes on. In the meantime, I look forward to working more closely with all of you as we continue to build a strong Holy Spirit Catholic School Division community.

Kind regards,
Ken Sampson, Superintendent
Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

Asking Our Parents (January 2020)

survey says

Asking Our Parents

In January, in order to help give our parents a better voice, we conducted a parent survey called ‘Asking Our Parents.’  We were pleased to have 160 parents respond to the survey, that’s approximately 100 more than last year.  Soon we will be doing a student survey to get their input.  Here are the results of our parent survey and the planned action:

2020-21 School PD Days

1

Action: We will advocate for the bulk of our PD Days to be on Fridays next year.

School Communication

2

Action: We will be continuing, but trying to improve current school communication practices.

Email Blackouts – A positive change?

3

Action: We will be continuing the Email Blackouts policy.

Continue with the Jr. High Awards Night?

4

Action: We plan on continuing the Jr. High Awards Night every October.

Faith Plan – Has it helped FLVT to become a more safe and caring, prayerful school?

5

Action: Although the ‘yes to no’ ratio is very positive; it is clear we need to increase communication regarding the implementation of our faith plan.

One to One Initiative (purchasing Chromebooks through FLVT) – Jr. High

6

Action: We will plan to deliver the One to One Initiative later this school year.

Our parent survey is helping to give parents a voice at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.  Thank you to everyone that did the survey and please contact the school if you have any questions.

Thank you for your insights,

Greg Kostiuk

Curriculum Update – January 29, 2020

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(weedezign/Shutterstock)

Here is the link to the Education Minister’s press release from this morning regarding the recommendations of the Curriculum Advisory Panel:
A link to the full report from the Curriculum Advisory Panel can be found here:
One of the recommendations was to get further feedback from Albertans on the future direction of curriculum, therefore a survey regarding a new draft ministerial order has been created that is open to all Albertans until Feb. 24th. Here is the link to both the draft ministerial order as well as the survey itself.

https://www.alberta.ca/vision-for-student-learning-engagement.aspx

Thank you for giving this a read and for considering doing this important AB ED survey.

Greg Kostiuk

CCH Grade 10 Orientation for 2020-21

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January 7, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians of Grade 9 Students:

Your son/daughter will soon be embarking on the next exciting stage in his/her educational journey.  We are looking forward to welcoming these new students to Catholic Central High School (CCHS), and being part of their academic, spiritual, and social growth.  To help ease the transition from junior high to high school, and to ensure that you have all the information necessary to assist your child in making decisions, we invite you to attend our parent meeting, to be held as follows:

  • Tuesday, February 4, 2020, Campus East – 405-18 Street South; 7:00 p.m. in the cafeteria

During this parent meeting, we will provide information about program selection and registration. Students are also welcome to attend these meetings, although they will be receiving similar information during their orientation visit to CCHS.

In terms of how to register your child to attend CCHS, current Holy Spirit students will be completing a registration update (“re-registration”) form online. Students from our feeder schools (of which FLVT is one) will need to indicate the designated school as CCHS. The division is targeting February for these registration update forms to roll out to you via email.

For the course selection process, I will be visiting FLVT on Monday,  February 10  (a.m. classes.).  During this time, they will receive a course selection sheet and will be guided through the first stage of completing their program selection.  Please ask to see your child’s course selection sheet when he/she comes home. We will be returning to FLVT between February 24 and March 2 to visit all Grade 9 classes and, at that time, will collect from students their signed course selection sheets. Please note, however, that students cannot be registered at CCHS until the registration update form has been submitted online. 

The parent meeting and the visits to the schools should provide you and your child with the information you need to transition to high school.  However, if you require more assistance or information, please contact any of our counsellors or administrators at CCHS and we will be pleased to set up an appointment time to answer all your questions.

At CCHS, we believe that a culture of Rigor, Relevance and Relationships is essential to ensuring the success of all students.  We look forward to welcoming you and your child into our community.

Blessings,

Joanne Polec, Principal CCHS

How Was Your Year?

Happy New Year to all the parents, students and staff of our learning community!  I hope everyone had a safe and restful Christmas break.  I would like to thank you for all the Christmas and New Year’s wishes.  Also, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who volunteered to support the many activities throughout the busy month of December, including our weekly Advent celebrations, various social justice projects, Gr. 2 and 3 Choir Performance, elementary Christmas Fun Afternoon, and Jr. High Christmas Formal and Dance.

2020 offers many challenges, especially with looming budget cuts, and many opportunities.  Through these challenges and opportunities, we can be thankful for our school.  To me, Catholic Education is a gift. Every day we get to live our school motto of “Many Hands Building A Better World.”

At a past New Year’s Eve celebration, I was visiting with some family and friends. At one point, I asked someone how his year went and received a warm, pleasant response.  I expected a generic question back, but instead, the gentleman asked, “At the end of each day, did you get closer to your life’s dream?”  Wow, what a question!  Since then, I have often reflected on my past, and if I am getting closer to my dream.  The answer is yes.  I have a loving family, I am part of an active faith community, and every day I have thejourney pic pleasure of working with the talented staff of Father Leonard Van Tighem School, the terrific students, and the supportive parents.  Upon reflection, I realize that I continue to get closer to living my dream.  The journey is often just as important as the destination.

Happy New Year to everyone and may 2020 be a blessed year for everyone at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.

Greg Kostiuk

Accountability Pillar Survey

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Father Leonard Van Tighem School

Accountability Pillar Survey – Information for Parents

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Alberta Education is conducting the annual Accountability Pillar Surveys from January to the end of February 2020.  These surveys are necessary and help guide our school. 1 Parents of students of grades 4 and 7 will receive a survey mailed to their homes directly from Alberta Education.  Also, all students in grades 4 and 7 and all teachers will be completing their surveys online through their schools.  All surveys are anonymous.  Respondents are expected to answer the questions based on the experiences they have had at their school.

We strongly encourage your participation as the results help us identify our school and jurisdiction’s strengths and weaknesses. Survey results will be available to jurisdictions by the start of May 2020 and will be reported publicly by jurisdictions as part of the Annual Education Results Reports in the fall of 2020.

Parents have told us that there are questions asked on the Accountability Pillar Survey for which they have little information.  As a result, they often select “don’t know” as their response. Regrettably, any survey response of “don’t know” reflects negatively on our school.  Please see the below example:

1

The Accountability Survey will report that only 30% of our parents believe “High School students demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for learning throughout their lifetime.”  Parents may skip any question they feel does not apply.

To help parents, we have created the below document as an overview of the actions we use to support each child at our school regarding the questions many parents answer “don’t know” as their response.  Although this is not a complete list, it provides a general idea of the effort we make to meet the needs of each student in the specified areas.

We hope this document provides you with information that helps you to complete the Accountability Pillar Survey.  If you need more clarification or would like to speak about our practices, please contact Father Leonard Van Tighem School at 403-381-0953.

Respectfully yours,

Greg Kostiuk

Principal

To what extent do you agree or disagree that your child can get help at school with problems that are not related to schoolwork.
Actions by Father Leonard Van Tighem School to support this question.

●        Referrals to mental health, counselling services and speech/occupational therapy services.

●        Risk assessment trained staff.

●        On-site Counsellor in school to use as a resource person to access professional services.

●        Staff ready and willing to help students with personal issues.

●        Many staff trained in First Aid.

●        Three on-site Administrators trained to assist students with problems.

 

How satisfied or dissatisfied are you that High School students demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for learning throughout their lifetime.
Actions by Father Leonard Van Tighem School and Holy Spirit Catholic Schools to support this question.

●        We prepare the students through the teaching of the prescribed curriculum from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

●        We prepare the students by teaching them the skills they need for organization, homework and accountability for their education.

●        January Career Day.

●        Students that graduate from Holy Spirit Catholic Schools are prepared to go directly into the workforce, post-secondary studies, or whatever they desire to do when complete.

●        Students are supported by school administration and Holy Spirit Catholic Schools in ensuring they have the requirements needed to transition into life after high school.

●        Classroom visits for all grades to discuss knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for lifelong learning.

●        Presentations for High School CALM classes from community agencies.

●        Visuals – posters, Rutherford Scholarships.

●        Work Experience and classroom discussions.

●        Dual-credit opportunities for students to get college credits in High School.

●        College/University handbook (calendars).

●        Students involved in Career and Technology Studies classes learn real-life skills.

●        Many skills such as carpentry, cooking, computer technology, and welding are relevant to situations and challenges encountered throughout a student’s life.

●        Through social class, students are able to demonstrate an ability to understand and analyze global issues.

How satisfied or dissatisfied are you that your child is taught the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for learning throughout his or her lifetime.
Actions by Father Leonard Van Tighem School to support this question.

●        Students are taught responsibility for their actions and showing respect.

●        Students are given age-appropriate classroom duties to foster responsibility and accountability

●        Students are taught how to model positive character traits which will enable them to be respected citizens in the community they will live.

●        Students are taught cooperation and how to work with other people.

●        Students are taught the meaning of social justice and to help those who are less fortunate than they are.

 

How satisfied or dissatisfied are you that your child is taught attitudes and behaviours to be successful at work when he or she leaves school.
Actions by Father Leonard Van Tighem School to support this question.

●        Jr. High Tutorial period Monday to Thursday for mentorship, organizing and class preparation.

●        Study habits are taught to the students and are encouraged throughout all subject areas.

●        Policies encourage students to be on time and to attend all classes.

●        Organizational strategies are taught and reinforced.

●        Students are taught accountability, ownership and responsibility for their actions.

●        Elementary students receive agendas to support communication and organizational skills.

●        Study skills and test-taking strategies are taught to support students.

●        Jr. High Academic Awards.

●        Students are taught the value of completing tasks on time and to the best of their ability.

●        Students are taught to respect themselves and those around them.

 

To what extent are you involved in decisions about your child’s education?
●        Communication between home and school through school newsletters available on the web page monthly.

●        Emails to parent groups and regular Facebook notices.

●        Parent surveys on a variety of issues.

●        Many parent meetings occur on an “ongoing” basis when parents stop by the school.

●        Special notices are sent home between newsletters.

●        Communication with parents through the school and class websites.

●        Many parent meetings are arranged between teacher and parent, or teacher and student.

●        For students with special needs, an Individual Support Plan is developed between the parent and the teacher.

●        School Council meetings are held monthly to get input from parents of our school community.

●        ThoughtExchange is used to gather input from school communities on district initiatives.

●        Phone calls home from teachers to parents to discuss their child’s educational needs.

●        Report Cards are sent home and parent/teacher/student interviews are held.

●        Parents can make contact with their child’s teachers when needed.

 

How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the opportunity to be involved in decisions about your child’s education?
Opportunities for decision making at Father Leonard Van Tighem School related to this area.

●        Individual Support Plans

●        Diverse Learning Needs – Parent meetings

●        Report cards and parent/teacher/student interviews

●        Parent surveys

●        School Council meetings held once a month.

●        Parent meetings with teachers – ongoing.

 

To what extent are you involved in decisions at your child’s school?
Actions by Father Leonard Van Tighem School to support this question.

●        School Council meetings are held monthly to get input from parents about upcoming changes within the school.

●        Parent surveys.

●        Open Door Policy – allows parents to come into the school to become more familiar with the school and provide input.

●        Parental meetings with teachers – ongoing.

●        Parent/Teacher/Student interviews.

●        Parents have input on educational plans through our School Council.

●        Administration can be contacted through our school website, email, meetings, or phone to give input on school.