Calgary Board of Education

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Assistant Principal’s Message | December 2017

December is here! The daylight is disappearing and cooler temperatures are upon us, even though we’ve recently been blessed with some great chinooks. The upcoming weeks can become quite overwhelming as families prepare for family gatherings, special travels, and perhaps some shopping outings in preparation for special traditions. As much as we’d all like to feel that we are organized and well-prepared, each family deals with the stress of the holidays in different ways. Oftentimes, children and adults fall victim to later bedtimes, hectic trips to the store for that last item, and sometimes experience first-hand the financial stress that plagues many families during this time of the year. Routines often fall to the wayside along with daily reading practices, consistent homework support, and even family meals. At times families need to make a concerted effort to see that the rush and stresses of the holiday season do not seep into their child’s daily routine and need for consistency.

This year SPB is experimenting with a different approach for celebrating the Christmas season as a strategy to eliminate some of the stress and rush. Last year Ms. Benfield produced a wonderful Remembrance Day ceremony as well as an entertaining and charming Christmas concert. We found that rehearsal fatigue set in and teachers and students felt stressed by the amount of time missed from classes to rehearse. As a school we made a choice that we needed to simplify a bit. We didn’t want to remove the Remembrance Day, because in today’s world recognizing and promoting peace seems more important than ever; and what a remarkable performance Ms. Benfield and the students put on for us. In place of another performance so close in date, we are attempting a number of more intimate ways to recognize the spirit of Christmas:

1. A student-led Talent Show will be hosted on the last day of school and parents are warmly invited to attend (December 21, 10:00 am). This kind of an event promotes student leadership and a strong community bond between older and younger students. Teachers will also participate, which we have observed in the past really strengthens the teacher-student bond.

2. During the last week before the holidays, we will host group carolling and singalongs. We will invite any interested parents to sing with us.

3. Each class has been invited to think about one community initiative to take on as a learning community. Here are some examples:

a. Some classes will pair with Dalhousie School at launching an Inn From the Cold giving campaign
b. Some classes have taken on support for The Doorway, for homeless young people
c. One class will carol at a local senior’s home
d. The entire school will bring in food for the Calgary Food-Bank. The Me-to-We club is running free candy-canes to any students that give food.
e. The school will put together a food hamper for a few particularly needy SPB families.

During the two week winter holiday break, we hope our students and families find quiet moments to make special memories and celebrate individual customs and traditions. We also hope that students, staff, and parents make some time each day to read. Here are a few wise thoughts to keep in mind:
“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” (Garrison Keillor)
“Books are uniquely portable magic.” (Stephen King)
“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.” (Frank Serafini)

Our SPB family wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday and a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

Jennifer McTighe
Assistant Principal