Exciting News for FLVT

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We are excited to announce that Alberta Education has approved Holy Spirit Catholic Schools request for additional space at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.  Two modular classes will be added to FLVT for the 2019-20 school year.  Thank you to our Board of Trustees and central office staff for advocating for our students.  Once we have more details we will share them with our school community.

Great news!

Greg Kostiuk

Asking Our Parents: The Results

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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 65 parents respond to the survey.  Some of the survey questions dealt with our School Council and those results will be shared at our School Council meeting on February 12 at 7 pm.  Here are the results of the other questions and the planned action:

Indoor Recesses Days

indoor recess

Action: We will continue to use -15C as our guiding temperature for indoor recesses.

 Virtue Vouchers

virtue vouchers

Action: We will be continuing this positive incentive program.

Class Lists

class lists

Action: We plan on posting class lists before school starts.

 ‘Away During the Day’ Student Cell Phone Policy

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Action: We will be continuing ‘Away During the Day’ policy.

School Photos

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Action: We will be looking at changing to LifeTouch for next year.

 School Communication

communication

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

Our parent survey is helping to give parents a voice at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.  We hope to continue to use this strategy.

Thank you for your insights,

Greg Kostiuk

Your Voice Matters

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Alberta Education is conducting the annual Accountability Pillar Surveys from January to end of February 2019.  These surveys are necessary and help guide our school. Parents of students of grade 4 and 7 will receive a survey mailed to their homes directly from Alberta Education.  Also, all students in grade 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 2019 and will be reported publicly by jurisdictions as part of the Annual Education Results Reports in the fall of 2019.

Also, please note if you answer “don’t know” on the survey questions, it indirectly becomes a “no” response.  Please see the below example:

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The Accountability Survey will report that only 33% 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 n.ot apply.  Please contact the school if you have any questions regarding the survey.

Also, next week, after consulting with School Council, Father Leonard Van Tighem School will be sending out a school created survey to get all our parents and staff to get their input about some specific topics about our learning community.

Greg Kostiuk

Real Work of Christmas

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Happy New Year to everyone in of our learning community!  I hope everybody had a restful Christmas break with family and friends.  Although Christmas is a joyous time, for some it is not.  I ask everyone to pray and help support the people who experienced stress this past Christmas season.

We have had all the Christmas celebrating, opening gifts, and delicious Christmas meals. We have taken down the Christmas tree and boxed up the decorations.  Christmas is over, but wait; is that all there is to Christmas?  Is it just a time to briefly remember the birth of Christ, give and receive gifts, visit with family, and enjoy big meals?  As Howard Thurman says, now that the Christmas season is over the real work of Christmas begins:

“When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When Kings and Princes return home,

When the shepherds are back with their flocks,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken in spirit,

To feed the hungry,

To release the oppressed,

To rebuild nations,

To bring peace among all people’s,

To make a little music with the heart . . .

And to radiate the Light of Christ,

Every day, in every way,

In all that we do and in all that we say.

Then the work of Christmas begins.”

As Christmas ends and a new year starts, we must remember that the ‘New Year’ is a gift from God.  All the joyous events that we will be experiencing in 2019 will be carrying God’s blessing.  I hope that every day in 2019 we live like it is Christmas Day.  Christ, our Savior will be with us throughout 2019, all we must do is invite and welcome Him in.  As we reflect on the miracle of Christmas, you realize that the work of Christmas has only just begun.  Please work throughout 2019 to support all the members of our community, especially those that may be struggling.  The work of Christmas has just started.

Blessings to everyone in our learning community as we continually celebrate the birth of Jesus and a Happy New Year!

Greg Kostiuk

Safety First

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On Monday, January 7, 2019, we welcome back our students and staff.  We hope everyone had a blessed and safe Christmas break.  As our school community continues to grow we wanted to bring up a safety concern.  Our parking lot can be very congested and can become a safety concern in the morning and after school.  Two main areas of concern are:

  • The very north part of the parking lot (near the baseball diamond) is a ‘No Parking Zone.’  Parents have been blocked in and unable to leave their parking spots.  This area does not allow enough room for both parking and vehicles exiting stalls.  These extra vehicles can create blind spots that students may be walking in.
  • The very east part of the parking lot (nearest the front doors) is a ‘No Parking Zone.’  This area is a fire lane.  Although parents may quickly drop off or pick up students, they may not wait here and definitely not park here.  Currently, we are looking to get proper signage for this fire lane.

We are asking everyone to please take extra care and only park in the appropriate parking areas.  Often, there are empty stalls in the west area of the parking lot.  Always ensure you have a safe route planned to drop off or pick up your child.  Please see this map to see the proper places to park and traffic flow direction:

parking lot 2

Our school division is looking at the issues in our parking lot.  As part of our Infrastructure Renewal and Maintenace (IMR) Plan, there is a plan to reconstruct our parking lot and roadways during the summer of 2019.

Thank you for driving carefully and keeping our children safe.

Greg Kostiuk

 

Just Imagine

Just imagine if as a child, I was physically taken from my mom and dad to live in a school.
Just imagine if at my school I had to change my appearance, my hair, and my dress.
Just imagine if at my school I was not allowed to use the name my parents gave me. Instead, I was given a new name.
Just imagine I was not allowed to speak my language or practice my beliefs.
Just imagine if I broke the rules, rules I did not understand or even know, I was beaten or humiliated.
Just imagine even if I did not break the rules, I was abused.
Just imagine a childhood lost. I could not play. I had to grow up overnight. I needed to survive.

Because I survived, I lost my identity, my language, and my beliefs.
Because I survived, I have become dependent on others.
Because I survived, I lost my personal connections with others, including my family.
Because I survived, I no longer trust.
Because I survived, I have some issues, including substance abuses and mental health issues.
Because I survived, I have an unconscious inferiority complex. I was always told I was bad, I was not good enough.
Because I survived, I do not feel safe or secure.

I am very thankful that this did not happen to me, but it did happen to a People. It happened in Canadian residential schools. It happened to generations of First Nations people in Canada. Canada had 80 residential schools and over 150,000 children went through these Imageschools. The last residential school closed in 1996, just 22 years ago. The Canadian government followed a policy of “Kill the Indian in the child.”  We tried to isolate and remove children from the influences of their families and community.  The film, We Were Children shows the issue of residential schools. Here is a short trailer of the film:

I am not writing this to assign blame. I am writing this hoping to be part of a solution. Canada’s history, with respect to our aboriginal population, is a history of genocide (diseases and sterilization) and cultural genocide. We attempted to rob a People of their beliefs, language, history, spirituality, and way of life – their culture.

walking togetherThe staff of Father Leonard Van Tighem School are participating in a series of workshops entitled Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation.  The workshops are part of a commitment between the Alberta Teachers’ Association and Alberta Education to ensure that all students learn about the histories, cultures and worldviews of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.  Not all of the workshops deal with the impact of Residential Schools, but many of them explain how the history of residential schools has a generational effect on the current First Nations youth of today.

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What now? The term ‘reconcile’ means to restore friendly relationships. If we truly want to restore friendly relationships, the issue of residential schools cannot be ignored. I was not part of the decision to implement residential schools, but it is part of my history. Residential schools are part of my history as a Canadian. As a teacher, it is part of my classroom. Students in our school suffer from generational effects of residential schools.

  • We must recognize the wrong. Prime Minister Harper recognized the wrong in his apology in the House of Commons. We must recognize the wrong in our schools and classrooms. In Alberta’s new curriculum, students in Alberta will learn about the history and legacy of residential schools.
  • We must learn. Educators need to learn about residential schools and their effects. Likewise, we need to learn about our treaty: yes, our treaty. We are all treaty people, the general Canadian population and First Nations People.
  • We must listen. Sometimes we give people a token ear, but we do not listen. We hear, but do not listen. We must listen to the survivors of residential schools.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has done this for Canada, but we need to do it for our local community.  Until we do this, we cannot move forward in rebuilding our relationships.
  • We must look in the mirror. We need to decide what we can do better. We must create an environment that does not focus on “us” and “them”, but develops a community of “we”.
  • We must find ways to engage our First Nations community in our schools. We cannot simply invite, we need to find ways to empower our First Nations community to be active. Education is their new buffalo.

The wrongs of residential schools will not disappear tomorrow, nor is there a quick solution. Hopefully together, we can start the process of reconciliation and healing. The longest journey starts with a single step. It is time to start walking together.

 

Greg Kostiuk

‘Niitsitapikoan’

Away During the Day

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To start our year all our Jr. High students signed a ‘Responsible Use Agreement’ concerning the use of technology.  As our year has proceeded, we have noticed an increased use of smartphones for non-educational uses.  Therefore, the Jr. High and Grade 6 teachers have decided to implement a new phone policy called ‘Away During the Day.’  This policy requires that during class time, all students must keep their phones in their lockers.  Phones are not allowed in the classroom.  Students are allowed to have their phones before school, during the lunch break, and after school as long as they follow the ‘Responsible Use Agreement.’  Here are a few of the reasons for the implementation of ‘Away During the Day’ policy:

  • Phones can create an unnecessary distraction in the classroom;
  • Phones can remove us socially, intellectually, and emotionally from the here and now and from the people around us;
  • Phones can decrease face-to-face connections;
  • While the majority of social media can be intentional and positive, it can also cause others to feel left out, judged, anxious, and targeted;
  • Phones have the potential to be misused concerning privacy issues (for example live streaming);
  • Phones can become an unhealthy addiction.

Students come to school to learn with others.  In our connected learning community, we learn from each other in face-to-face interactions.

We are in a technology revolution—something that has changed our society. The challenge is to learn not to let it control us. We adapt and adjust to make improvements when things are not working well. Currently, phones are creating more problems than solutions in our school.

If students decide to bring their phones to the classroom, teachers will confiscate the student phone, and he/she may pick it up from the teacher at the end of the day.  An office referral will occur if a student continually breaks the ‘Away During the Day’ policy.

On occasion, teachers may use smartphones as an educational tool.  If this occurs, the teacher will give the students instructions on what particular day or class students will be allowed to bring them to class.  If this happens, it would be an exception from the ‘Away During the Day’ policy.

We are asking for parents to support ‘Away During the Day’ by only contacting their child by their phone before school, during the noon hour, or after school.  If a parent needs to reach their child during class time we are asking them to contact the school office.  Likewise, if a student needs to contact their parent during class time, we are asking them to use the office phone.

*Resources modified from http://www.awayfortheday.org