Thursday, January 28, 2010

Education Forum

An Education Forum was held last night by CAPSC and was attended by Minister of Education, Dave Hancock as well as a number of MLA's from across Calgary. Minister Hancock spoke about the challenges and future of education in this province. Over 100 people attended, including yours truly. Some of the highlights of Minister Hancock's comments included:

- All areas (government, school, teachers, family, community) must work collaboratively rather than competitively to create success in education for children.

- Money alone will not guarantee success; transformative change in the education system is needed.

- A larger proportion of funding needs to be directed to the educational needs of first nations and children in care.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Playground Update

The Playground Committee has spent the last 5 months gathering information and learning about playgrounds. We have met with suppliers, attended the playground fair, met with our school Admin team to collect their input, checked references and utilized our two experienced resources from the Parks Foundation Calgary and the CBE to help guide us in our work. Two surveys were also conducted – one for the kids and one for parents & staff. All our efforts have ensured that we had two great playground suppliers and designs to choose from. Both designs are safe (meet CSA and CBE standards), durable and have lots of play value. Both suppliers are experienced, easy to work with, had excellent references and are recommended by the CBE and the Parks Foundation Calgary. All these positive factors made for a difficult decision. After careful consideration the playground committee recommends CDC as our supplier and design of choice based on the following factors:
1. Our recommendation supports the results from the parent/staff survey. 60% of participants voted for CDC and 40% voted for Park 'n Play.
2. Parents, staff & kids valued the uniqueness factor most when choosing a design.
3. We can add certain Park 'n Play features to the CDC playground but not the reverse. For example, some parents liked that the PnP playground had a second slide – we can try and incorporate that into the CDC playground. However, we can not add the unique agility pods to the PnP playground.

It is also worth mentioning that the agility pods are as close to tubes as we are permitted to have by the CBE. Tubes were the most wanted object in the kids’ survey, followed by something that spins and a spiral slide (which have also been incorporated in the design).

This recommendation was voted on and unanimously accepted at the January 18th MTSPA meeting.

Thank you to all the staff and parents who participated in our playground survey. We received some very valuable feedback. I would like to address a few recurring comments regarding slides, swings and see-saws. We have a relatively small site for our playground. Unfortunately swings would take up almost half the space due to clearance requirements. Considering only one child can play on a swing at a time, we did not feel this was good play value and therefore opted against swings. See saws are also not an option as they are not permitted by the CBE. Many of you would like to see two slides on the playground – we will talk to our supplier about incorporating another slide in our design. Please be aware though that slides (as do all play components) have specific requirements (clearance/orientation/material) and therefore we can’t put one in just anywhere.

We are on track for a Sept. 2010 build. Our next deadline is for the CFEP grant application, due March 31 (though we hope to submit it a couple of weeks prior). To this end, we will be meeting with our chosen supplier to finalize a design, budget and in-kind donation requirements. In an effort to meet our financial requirements, we will be requesting in-kind donations, applying for 1 or 2 more grants, and raising funds through the fundraising committee.

Monday, January 25, 2010

MTSC and MTSPA Meeting Minutes

The minutes for the November meetings of the Mckenzie Towne School Council and Parent Association were ratified at last week's meetings and can now be viewed on-line. For those that were unable to attend the meetings, the minutes are a great way to stay informed on the happenings of your school council and parent association.

MTSC/MTSPA Meeting Recap

Last Monday held our first meeting of the year for the school council and parent association. It was great to finally be meeting in our school; thanks to everyone who came out. Be sure to read the minutes of the last meeting when they are posted; they include everything discussed at the previous meeting including a teacher's report and the leadership report from Mrs. Sarginson.

We were able to stay pretty close to our schedule of one hour per meeting. Some points of interest from the meeting include a response to our letter to Minister Hancock, which you are welcome to read here. See this post to read our original letter. Minister Hancock will be speaking at the Education Forum being hosted by CAPSC this Wednesday evening from 7-9pm at Western Canada High School. A representative from the MTSC will be attending but all parents are welcome.

The issue of traffic and crosswalks was discussed as part of the leadership report. Safety is a top priority and we need to ensure that everyone is crossing the road in a safe manner. Please respect the traffic signs that have recently been put in place. Mrs. Sarginson also updated us on the smooth transition into the school and the successful Joi to the World campaign before Christmas.

In the parent association meeting, a motion was successfully passed to accept CDC as our playground supplier along with their design. Stay tuned for more details regarding this decision and where we are at in terms of the playground in the near future. The fundraising report included an announcement of a raffle being held at the winter celebration as well as ongoing planning for an event in late February or early March.

Our next meeting is at the school on February 22nd. Please come out to some or all of it if you can. You can also read through the latest Key Communique by clicking here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Council & Parent Association Meeting

Join us tomorrow evening, January 18th, for our first council and parent association meetings in our new school. The council meeting begins at 6:30 pm with the parent association meeting following. There will be some important information covered including a motion by the playground committee. You can view the agenda for the council meeting here and the agenda for the parent association meeting here. If you haven't had a chance to visit the new school, this is a great opportunity to do so and get involved at the same time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Key Communiqué

Check out the latest key communiqué to find information about upcoming system meetings, kindergarten registration for the 2010-2011 school year and the December edition of the Trustee-zine.

Just a reminder to join Mrs. Sarginson, Mr. Murphy and the rest of McKenzie Towne School tomorrow morning for a breakfast and tour of our new school. The breakfast begins at 8:05 am. Check out the CBE's McKenzie Towne School website for updated bus and hours information.