Tuesday, February 28, 2012

MTSC/PA Meeting Recap

Thank you to those that attended last night's School Council and Parent Association meetings. In the Council meeting, we heard from grade 2 teachers Mrs. Hull and Mrs. Bredahl about the work the students have been doing about the Inuit and their current project on arctic animals. It was great to hear how their work has evolved and the planned field trips to tie their learnings together.

Dr. Slater and Mr. Muprhy provided an update in the leadership report about the relocatables that have been installed on the west side of the school. Work on the inside of the relocatables is underway. The outside will receive skirting and some paint to complete them. The school is hopeful that the two relocatable approved for the east side of the school will be in place and ready for students in September.

Linda B. was appointed as Volunteer Coordinator for the school council. Thanks Linda for volunteering for this important role!

In the Parent Association meeting, we were given an update regarding the fundraising success of the family dance and silent auction. Once again, we thank everyone for their support in our fundraisers. The Coco Brooks fundraiser is looking like another great success. Please remember that pick up of orders is on March 15th from 7-8:30pm.

The PA made a number of motions to support a variety of enhancements for the school, including funding for books and resources for the Learning Commons, funding towards Smartboards for the new relocatable classrooms and covering the cost of the recent Quest Theatre presentations in the school. We also voted to cover the cost of the Alien In-Line Skating program that will begin on April 4th. Each student in the school will have the opportunity to learn in-line skating skills in this program.

Or next meeting is on March 19th. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

MTS Meeting Reminder - Monday, February 27 at 6:30pm

Please join us Monday at 6:30pm for the MTS Council and MTS Parent Association monthly meetings.  At these meetings we focus on supporting and enhancing student learning and experiences at McKenzie Towne School.

A link to the agenda is provided below for your review.  If you have something you would like to cover in a future meeting please contact Sean Tyson and we can have it included in one of our next meetings.

Look forward to see you there.

Link: Agenda Monday, February 27, 2012 

P.S. If you can't make this meeting save the date for our next meeting on March 19th .


Thursday, February 16, 2012

MTS Capacity Update

Good news! Late yesterday, we received an update regarding the capacity and relocatables for MTS. We have been advised that two out of the four requested relocatables have been approved for McKenzie Towne School. As this approval was received before the end of February and in accordance with the CBE's timelines, we are hopeful that these relocatables will be in place and ready for students for September 2012. We have also been advised that the final two relocatables will be requested again in November 2012 for the following school year.

Thanks to all parents who have sent emails, letters or made phone calls regarding your concerns. We appreciate your involvement and hope that you continue to stay informed and involved with respect to the future of MTS.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coco Brooks Pizza Fundraiser

The McKenzie Towne School Parent Association is pleased to be working with Coco Brooks for our newest fundraising program. Coco Brooks creates premium quality, frozen, personal sized (7-8”) pizzas that are individually packaged with reheating instructions. They offer 35 different varieties, ranging from gluten free to thin-crust to the classic kids pepperoni!

To get  a list of all the pizza options click here for the order form.  For each order you take you will need a new form.  When you are done please tally everything together on Form #2 (print here).  For more information and to print these instructions please click here.

All orders and payments must be into the school by Feb 24th.  Pizzas can be picked up ONLY March 15th between 7-8:30pm. Product is frozen so there is no exceptions to this time.  Thank you in advance for all your support and efforts to make this another successful event.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MTS Capacity

Dear MTS Parents,

We are writing today to advise you of a concern regarding capacity and student accommodation at McKenzie Towne School. As many of you will know, last year we successfully lobbied for four relocatables to be added to our school to accommodate the students for this school year. While we were successful in having those relocatables approved, due to delays with construction and installation, it appears as if those relocatables will not be ready for students until the spring.

On January 23rd, we had a number of guests from the CBE attend our school council meeting to discuss enrolment projections for the coming years and the process involved in acquiring relocatables. We learned that our school will continue to see increasing enrolment and that capacity is quickly becoming a major concern. Based on information we were given when the school was announced in 2008, it is our position that our school was built to accommodate 450 students in its core and an additional 200 students in relocatables. The CBE is now saying that our auxiliary gymnasium, which has been used to accommodate approximately 40 grade 4 students this year, is considered a classroom. This means that according to the CBE, MTS can accommodate 475 students in its core. We strongly disagree with their position on this matter and have asked them to honour the commitment they made in 2008 regarding the core capacity of MTS. It is our view that the auxiliary gymnasium is not appropriate instructional space and should not continue to be used as classroom space next year.

With the addition of the 4 relocatables currently underway, the school will be able to accommodate 550 students next year, based on the CBE's guidelines of 25 students per classroom. We are projected to have 605 students enrolled next year. As 155 of these students will be kindergarten students, our enrolment is considered to be 528 full-time equivalent students. In order to accommodate that number of students in the space that we have, we will no doubt see larger class sizes, split grades, an impact on programming and the use of non-instructional spaces for classroom teaching. It is important to understand that these enrolment figures have been in line with the expectations of how and when the school would grow. This is not unexpected growth.

This school year has seen two grade 4 classes sharing the auxiliary gymnasium as a classroom and one kindergarten class having to use common space as part of their classroom centres. In our view, this is unacceptable. It is our belief that all students should have appropriate instructional space in which to learn. The CBE has made a formal request for an additional 4 relocatables to be built on the east side of the school. We have been advised that in order to have those in place for September, the CBE would need government approval by the end of February.

We have been told that once the CBE hears whether or not the additional 4 relocatables are approved, they will consider a timeline for discussions with the community regarding future capacity at MTS. Should the relocatables not be approved, we will reach our capacity by the end of the next school year and decisions will need to be made about the future of MTS. Even if we do receive the relocatables, capacity will be reached within a couple of years. We have communicated our desire to be involved in any discussions and decisions around how capacity is managed at MTS, whether that be by capping school enrolment, changing the grades of the school or any other options considered.

We are asking the parent community to once again get involved in this important issue. We have seen in the past how our efforts to effect change have been successful when we have worked together. Please consider contacting our current MLA, Art Johnston and the Education Minister, Thomas Lukaszuk to share your concerns and ask that the additional relocatables be approved by the end of February. Representatives from the school council will be trying to arrange a meeting with Mr. Johnston and will continue to communicate with both the Ministry of Education and the CBE, but we need your help. We have been told in the past that individual letters from parents have a bigger impact than a petition or one letter on behalf of all parents. In addition, we encourage you to share your vision of McKenzie Towne School with the CBE. Let them know what is important to you about student accommodation. Contact information is as follows:

Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Education
423 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB, T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-5010
Fax: (780) 427-5018
Email: jeff.kasbrick@gov.ab.ca (Executive Asst to the Minister)

MLA Art Johnston
255, 11488-24 Street SE
Calgary, AB, T2Z 4C9
Phone: (403) 215-4380
Fax: (403) 215-4383
Email: calgary.hays@assembly.ab.ca

Trustee Carol Bazinet
1221- 8 Street S.W.
Calgary AB T2R 0L4
Phone: 403-817-7930
Fax: 403-294-8282
E-mail: cabazinet@cbe.ab.ca

Monday, February 6, 2012

Family Dance Reminder

Thanks to your support, this year's Family Dance is sold out!

Unfortunately, due to the capacity of the gym, tickets were limited and sold
on a first come first serve basis.   If you are unable to attend, and have tickets, please contact fundraising@mtsparents.com and let them know so another family on the waitlist can take your place.

There is a large number of Auction items up for bidding this year so please bring your cash or check to get in on the fun.  Click here to see some of the many items up for grabs.