September 7 Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

As we conclude our first full week of classes, there have been a few unanticipated challenges and many wins as we grow accustomed to new procedures and identify opportunities to approach teaching and learning in new and innovative ways. Camp Riveredge kicked off this week with both grade 5 pods and one grade 7 group enjoying their days of team building. The 7.3-7.4 trip had to be postponed due to high winds on Wednesday but has been rescheduled for September 18th. Our new KeeBo online platform got underway on Monday with 62 students enrolled for the first term.  With three teachers committed to the KeeBo program, we anticipate those students will maintain pace with their in-school counterparts and will be able to stay in sync with their homeroom classes with a view to rejoining them at a future date.  

Camp Riveredge Schedule for this week

Tuesday Sept. 8 6.1-6.2

Wednesday Sept. 9 8.1-8.2

Thursday Sept. 10 6.3-6.4

Friday Sept. 11 8.3-8.4

*KeeBo families please remember to inform your child’s homeroom teacher and KeeBo teacher if they will be attending Camp Riveredge. 

Staff absences during COVID-19   

The COVID-19 protocols prescribed by AHS require that any staff (or student) who answers YES to any of the daily screening questions is required to complete the AHS screening tool and follow the online instructions, which will often include the need for a COVID test and a wait for the result. As a result, a staff member who has a runny nose may need to 1) make an appointment for a COVID test; 2) go and get the test: 3) wait anywhere from 2 to 4 days for the result; and if it is negative they may then come back to work. The absence of a staff member for a few days should not lead to an assumption that they have tested positive for COVID. We will also not disclose to anyone the status of a staff member who is symptomatic and undergoing testing. If a staff member tests positive for COVID, AHS will undertake the contact tracing and will be in touch with all those who need to be notified. It only provokes rumors and gossip to speculate on why a staff member is absent; your support in refusing to accept gossip as truth is greatly appreciated.

Staffing adjustments  

The allocation of funding from the federal government has opened up an opportunity for us to make some staffing adjustments that ensure the needs of all our students are being met. Brittney MacDonald will be returning to her Inclusive Practices Coordinator role from grade 5, and Ms.Robin McQueen will be the new Humanities teacher in the 5.1-5.2 pod. We are acutely aware of the importance of maintaining consistency of teachers for students and will only make these adjustments when it is in the best interests of the school community. We have also made a minor change in KeeBo: Erin Piper will be teaching grades 6-7 and Louis Cheng will be teaching grades 8-9.  Margaret Leland will remain as the grade 4-5 teacher. We will also be hiring a sixth educational assistant to ensure our in-school and KeeBo students receive learning support as needed.

Daily Screening Tool

We are still experiencing an unsettling number of students each day who have not had a daily screen completed. This week alone, when we started tracking incomplete form numbers, there have been 180 students for whom the screen was either incomplete or not done at all. Of those, 45 have had missing or incomplete screens on multiple occasions. Each morning we need to allocate 4 staff members to process students through the screening tool with a two-fold effect…those students are missing class and our teachers are not teaching. Effective on Tuesday September 8th, any student with multiple missing or incomplete screens will be placed in a supervised and physically distanced space in the IAC. Parents will be contacted and will be required to come to the school to complete the screening process or take their child home. 

As a further reminder – the daily screening tool needs to be completed before 8:30am in order to avoid having the child’s name register as unscreened. You should use one of the links you receive via email to ensure your child’s student number is filled in correctly. Forms without student numbers will not be processed.

Volunteers entering school – clarification, correction, or mea culpa

A few days ago I sent out an email stating that volunteers on outdoor trips would need to wait outside the grade specific door for the teacher and students and would not have access to the school to use washrooms or get water. Even in the age of COVID such a bizarre measure seems extreme, so upon reflection, here is the new plan…

If you are waiting outside for a field experience to get underway and need to use the washroom or fill your water bottle, please use the intercom by the front door and you will be let in. With your mask firmly in place, you may proceed to the office and let them know that you have completed the screening tool for guests (required for all volunteers) and you may then use the washrooms located on the main floor, as well as the water bottle filling station near the playground doors. I hope that seems like a more reasonable solution.

Message from the Connect Charter School Parent Society

The Connect Charter Parent Society (CCPS) is a registered society for parents and guardians of students who attend the Connect Charter School. Every parent or guardian of a Connect student is a member of CCPS. CCPS executives and directors are volunteers from our parent community. We hold elections every year during our AGM (April) and coordinate our meetings with School Council Meetings for ease of attendance. CCPS is in regular communication with School Council, but operate as an entirely separate entity (i.e. separate: meetings, minutes, elections, obligations). 

CCPS was created in order to qualify for funds from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC).  Therefore, all monies raised from the Casino must be approved by the AGLC. Parent Society’s main focus is to work with and support Connect Charter School Administration in providing students with educational enrichment opportunities.

CCPS will hold their first meeting on Tuesday, September 15 at 4:30pm via Zoom (link to be provided in the Parent Weekly Update). We would like to welcome you all to attend and get involved with CCPS to support future opportunities for our students. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the CCPS please feel free to contact Traci Zeller at [email protected]. The last PS meeting minutes and agenda are attached separately.

Wasps

We are experiencing a significant number of wasps around the school grounds this year and we are taking steps to deal with the problem. Areas of the field have been taped off due to swarming wasps while we try to locate the nests in order to properly deal with them. As food is an attractant for wasps, we may need to change our lunch procedures for a couple of weeks to have students eat indoors. Once the first few heavy frosts arrive the wasps will disappear but until then we are setting traps and will directly deal with nests that are found.

Fire Drill

We will be conducting our first school evacuation drill on Friday September 11th at 10am. Given the new exit points by grade, this initial drill will be a walk through of procedures in the event we need to evacuate the building while still trying to be mindful of COVID-19 precautions. 

Bussing

We want to acknowledge how well all of our students who ride the school bus have responded to all of the new safety measures that have been introduced. Our bus drivers have shared with us that on the bus ride students are doing a great job in following the new procedures, additionally we have been impressed with how smoothly students line up in their respective routes and are ready to board the busses safely at the end of the day. Well done, everyone!

End of day messages 

Due to staggered dismissal times at the end of the day we kindly ask that if you need to get any end of the day messages to students that you phone the school before 3pm. It is very difficult to get any messages delivered to students after that time. 

Neil Zeller’s ‘Porchtraits’

It is always a pleasure to acknowledge the achievements of a member of our school community. Neil Zeller, a well known professional photographer and Connect parent decided to turn the COVID lemons into some very fun and tasty lemonade through the introduction of ‘porchtraits’, family photos taken during the lockdown to reinforce community spirit and a sense of being in this together. Neil’s porchtraits are now on display at the Glenbow Museum. For more information, visit:

www.glenbow.org/exhibitions/porchraits/ .

I hope you have all been able to squeeze some of the last rays of summer during this long weekend.

Stay healthy everyone,

Phil Butterfield

Principal