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Principal's Message | November 2017

We would like to start by reflecting on our leadership practices at Hillhurst School. Helen Timperely (2011) states that leadership is more like patterns of influence that is distributed across many players. Leadership effectiveness depends on how this influence promotes leader and teacher learning in ways that improve the engagement, learning and well-being of all students. This is not the work of one person. As an Administrative Team, we have worked with staff to build their capacity with a focus on professional and intellectual engagement. In this process, we have shared standards of prac-tice, engaged in job-embedded professional learning and used research-informed practices. As a staff we are engaging in dialogue focused on deci-sions we are making, the impact these decisions have on student learning and what are the next required steps. We are fortunate to be working with staff that is dedicated and committed to our common goal of student suc-cess.

In the month of October, we officially started our Math Residency with Geri Lorway. Geri worked with staff to plan mathematics tasks that are active and rigorous. Geri went into all classrooms and worked with students to model mathematics strategies as connected to assessment practices. Geri is also working with staff and providing suggestions on quality mathematics resources that we are purchasing as a school. Geri will be joining our School Council meeting on Wednesday, November 8 at 6:30pm to meet with par-ents. Please check the remainder of this newsletter for pictures of Geri working alongside our staff and students.

Another new initiative at Hillhurst School this year is “Passion Projects.” In the previous school year, a com-mittee of teachers started planning for this initiative based on the question, “How can we connect our stu-dents as a school-wide community and increase their intellectual engagement?” Passion Projects gives students an opportunity to broaden and deepen their learning while increasing engagement. Students have the opportunity to collaborate and work with students from different ages and classes from grades 3-6. This enhances the sense of community at Hillhurst and also allows them to work with different teachers on staff. Some of the Passion Projects include: Scratch Coding Club, Chess Club, Foods, 3-D Printing Club, Photography Club, Robotics Club and Art Club. Passion Projects will continue to expand and grow as stu-dent interest does. Passion Projects started on Friday, October 13th and takes place from 11:00-12:00 on a six week schedule.

We are welcoming five Students Teachers from the Werklund School of Education at the University of Cal-gary. These Pre-Service teachers are working towards completing their Bachelor of Education program. Please join us in welcoming the following Practicum Teachers from the University of Calgary. They will be starting their pre-service experience at Hillhurst on Monday, November 6, 2017.

  • Ms. Jesse Hamilton will be hosting Carrie Leung.
  • Mr. David Kooperberg will be hosting Mackenzie Brush.
  • Ms. Leslie Halper will be hosting Elaine Velletta.
  • Ms. Andrea Watkins will be hosting Vickey Wong.
  • Mrs. Larraine Ryan will be hosting Heather Million.

The Classroom Improvement Fund (CIF) was part of the central agreement reached between the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Teachers Employer Bargaining Association in May. Under the agreement, school boards and teachers created a joint proposal for how the CIF money will be used by school authori-ties. The intent of the CIF grant is “to improve the student experience in the classroom.” To support the student experience with the funds allocated to our jurisdiction each school with a qualifying grant applica-tion will receive an allocation of a maximum of .5 FTE for the first round of applications.

We are excited to share that Leigh Underdahl started her additional half-day position on Monday, October 2 in the afternoons. Leigh will continue with her Physical Education Specialist position in the morning and now this additional position in the afternoons. Leigh will be on a 6-week targeted schedule where she will be sup-porting grade teams. She is starting her work in grade 1/2, 3/4. The focus of her work will be to support our students in the area of Literacy and Mathematics.

Leigh’s support will encompass the following:

  • Working with small groups on guided reading
  • Working with small groups on targeted literacy strategies (ie. letter recognition, letter sounds, word fami-lies)
  • Working with small groups on specific mathematics strategies and or fluency
  • Flexible-Grouping and working with a Math Group on targeted strategies (ie. regrouping, time, patterns)
  • Supporting the whole classroom as the additional teacher in whole-class tasks

Our current Facility Operator, Anthony Pietrzyk has accepted a position at Rosedale School. We would like to thank Anthony for his work at Hillhurst School and wish him the best. Please join me in welcoming Andrew Li as the new Facility Operator at Hillhurst School and his first day will be on Monday, November 6, 2017.

Please check the attached calendar for November School Events.

Prem Randhawa, Principal
Adam Topp, Assistant Principal

Prem Randhawa, Principal