Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Meet the Principal Night/MTSPA Executive Evening

We'd like to extend a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who came out to meet the new principal of our McKenzie Towne School and to get involved in the Parent Association. Parent involvement plays such a large role in the success of the school and its students!

We would especially like to thank Annette Sarginson for taking the time to meet with parents and answer their many questions. It is a challenge to move and set up a home, one can’t even begin to imagine what it is going to take to move and set up a school. However, from our conversations with Mrs. Sarginson, we know the right person has accepted this challenge!

Questions asked at the meeting will be posted shortly in the Q&A section of the blog. If you have additional questions, please click on the “Let us know what you Think” link to the left and submit your question. They will then be forwarded onto Mrs. Sarginson for her response.

Interim elections for the Parent Association were held and the executive was established. We will be working together over the next few months to further the groundwork that has already been started so that when the new school year begins, we too, will be off and running.

Official term elections will be held at the AGM in September (date TBA). The Association bylaws will also be reviewed and officially voted on at that time.

The elected interim executive is as follows:
Chair – Sherri M
Vice-Chair – Sean T
Secretary – Jaime N
Treasurer – Sherry T
*Playground Director – Annika C
*Fundraising Director – Tammy S
Volunteer Coordinator – vacant
Key Communicator – Tiffany V

* Playground and fundraising committees have also been established. The directors will meet with these committees separately from the main executive. Once again, thank you to everyone who volunteered to be a part of these committees. Your director will be in touch with you via email to arrange meeting dates. We would like to get at least one meeting in before the end of the current school year.

Email addresses that were collected at the meeting Monday evening will only be used for the purposes of the Parent Association; primarily to relay information to parents. If you did not submit your email, or would like to be included on the list, please add it to the mailing list on the left or via the comment link.

Our next MTSPA meeting will be held Monday, June 22, 2009 at the McKenzie Towne Fire Hall at 6:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to come and be a part of our children’s future.

Monday, May 18, 2009

School Naming Survey

The Calgary Board of Education is asking for parent input in naming the new school in McKenzie Towne. A survey has been posted on the CBE's site; click here to find it. You have until Friday May 22nd to complete the survey and provide your input into the naming of our new school.

Q & A With Mrs. Sarginson: Imagine, Inquire, Inspire

This post comes from the Haultain Parent Association blog and has been re-posted with permission as it will be of interest to parents of McKenzie Towne students.

The CBE has hired a principal for McKenzie Towne. Shane, from the Haultain School Council, had a chance to meet with Mrs. Annette Sarginson through email and she was kind enough to do a short Question and Answer for their blog. Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Sarginson to Haultain and McKenzie Towne.

1) How long have you been a principal and where was that experience?

I have had the privilege of being the principal for 11 years at three different locations. Each experience has been rewarding with children learning, parents involved and staff focused on keeping children at the centre. I began at Maple Ridge school, moved to James Short Memorial and then on to Janet Johnstone School. Each was unique and an inspiring opportunity.

2) Before that, how long and where were you teaching?

I taught at a number of schools before becoming an administrator. I taught kindergarten, grade 1 and 2, in James Short and Ramsay. I was a specialist for Kindergarten and Language Arts for three years. I was fortunate to teach art, drama, physical education, and library skills to Division II at Mountain View as an AP. During my first principalship, I taught art and drama to two special education classes in Division I and II. I believe it is my 23rd year of teaching.

3) Do you have children of your own?

We have two adorable children who now have their own children. Yes, I am a grandmother to three grandchildren, ages 2, 4 and 6 years. Until I became a grandmother, I didn't realize it is "the best of the best".

4) Where did you go to university?

I attended the University of Calgary for my undergraduate and graduate work. My emphasis was on Early Childhood. I went to university after I was married and had two children during that time period.

5) If you had to sum up your teaching philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?

That is an excellent question as it causes me to reflect on my beliefs and values. First and foremost, "Every child matters". If I envision for a moment it is about living together in a democratic community where children are actively engaged in meaningful learning. Here's a motto that captures the celebration of children learning and may read something like "Imagine. Inquire. Inspire."

6) How do you feel about fund raising using casinos?

Although I don't gamble, I respect that for our school, having a casino is the most effective and efficient way to raise money for our children and their learning. Extra resources are a support and an asset to a school climate. In thinking what is significant is the ability for our children to be critical thinkers and with that having a strong connection with technology, curriculum and the arts. Technology is ever changing and with that comes expenditure....

7) What role do you see parents fulfilling in today's public education system?

I see parents having a number of different roles in a school community. The traditional roles of volunteering in the classroom or learning commons (library), helping out with field trips, being involved in School Council, are invaluable. I purport that embracing the sense of mutual respect between us and having conversations and exploring questions that matter will extend our notion of what is important to our children and their learning.

8) What do you see as the biggest challenge faced by McKenzie Towne Elementary School (name TBD) for the 2009/2010 year?

I could concur there will most certainly be hiccups along the way. It will be as much how we face the problems and think deeply about how to solve them as the challenges themselves. It may require us to 'think out of the box'. It will be paramount to take the time to build a spirit of community and form relationships of students, staff and parents. That will keep us focused on what's significant. Together we will be able to solve the challenges and find results. Change is ever present - it is providing the time, quality time to work as a team.

9) In your past school(s), was the Council/Parent Association active and collaborative?

Very much collaboration and team work are at the forefront. I am delighted to work alongside the School Council for the betterment of our children and their learning.

10) Can you tell us your favourite moments as a teacher and/or principal?

I am energized when I hear the everyday stories regarding students and their learning. It is about children stopping me in the halls and showing their work. It is a sense of wonder to hear their excitement. When I visit classrooms it is seeing all children engrossed in learning. It is the reward of learning! It heartens me that we have such outstanding and blossoming citizens.

Another favourite moment is when I hear staff talking about working with all their children in eloquent ways and having success with a most high spirited child. I have a great interest in living in a just and equitable world. To that end, much of my life has been invested in the development of our young children. May we do so together.

Thanks to Mrs. Sarginson for her time and for her thoughtful answers.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

MTSPA Organization Meeting - May 25th

In order for the McKenzie Towne School Parent Association to be truly effective over the summer months, it is imperative that an interim executive be established. Those elected into the interim executive will act in their roles until an AGM is held in September, at which time another election will be held for the term executive positions. Elections for the acting executive positions will be held at our next meeting on May 25th at the Acadia School gym. The meeting begins at 6:30 pm.

The roles and responsibilities for the acting executive are as follows:

Chair: Has general supervision of all Association activities. Chairs the meetings, establishes the agenda, and decides on all matters relating to rules of order at the meetings.

Vice Chair: Assists the Chair and undertakes tasks as agreed with the Chair. Fulfills the Chair's responsibilities in his or her absence. Provides support to other members of the executive.

Secretary: Attends and records minutes of meetings and distributes them appropriately. Keeps records of all correspondence and official Association documents (other than the financial records) for a period of seven years.

Treasurer: Maintains the Association bank account. Presents a full detailed account of receipts and disbursements to the Association. Prepares the budget and financial statements. Presents a brief report at each meeting. Prepares and files tax returns to tax authorities and corporate authorities.

Playground Director: Plans and implements the installation of a playground. Obtains required approvals, funding and support. Heads the playground committee. Acts as a liaison between the playground committee and the Association. Position in effect for the duration of the playground project.

Fundraising Director: Prepares and implements an annual fundraising plan. Heads the fundraising committee and acts as a liaison between the fundraising committee and the Association.

Volunteer Coordinator: Recruits volunteers to help with a variety of school and Association activities.

Key Communicator: Administers the MTSPA website. Acts as an official spokesperson for the Association. Maintains the mailing list for the Association.

If you are interested in serving in one of the above roles, please add a comment to this blog post to express your interest. All candidates will have an opportunity to introduce themselves at the meeting on May 25th before voting commences.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Provincial Funding Concerns?

The CBE has been clear that they are having to make cuts in order to balance their budget for the upcoming school year.  While we are awaiting news on how these cuts will ultimately affect McKenzie Towne School, we have heard that they will have an impact at the student level.  We are already aware that there is no funding for such items as relocatables, which may be needed to address the increasing population of our school.  Classroom sizes and teacher or resource cuts are also a consideration.

If you have concerns regarding provincial funding for the CBE, you are encouraged to contact your MLA.  Our MLA, Art Johnston, can be reached at 255, 11488-24 St. SE, Calgary, AB  T2Z 4C9, or  You can also telephone his office at (403) 215-4380.

Some tips for writing to an MLA: keep the letter simple, be clear and polite, avoid inflammatory remarks and ask for a response.  You may want to end your letter with something like, "I look forward to reading your response on this issue".  Ensure you include your name, address and phone number for future contact.

A personalized letter or phone call is far more effective than a form letter or petition.  It demonstrates that you went to some time and effort to put something together, therefore your concerns must be real and significant.