Welcome Back 2021-22

event Published 2021-09-08T16:36:36.753Z

Welcome Back 2021-22

Welcome to the 2021-22 school year!  If you are new to the Ascension Community, I extend a hearty welcome and best wishes for a productive and happy school year. For those families who are returning, I look forward to another year of learning and success. We are filled with hope for a return to a more normal year but are taking a cautious approach to this school year with student safety and mental health at the forefront.

Ascension has continued to grow as a community of caring throughout the pandemic and the care we have shown one another has helped carry us all through this challenging time. This year, we will continue to build on our school theme of Be Humble, Be Kind, Belong in our school, with a particular focus on belonging. Our school is a place where we see the face of God in every person, where we learn and grow to become the best version of ourselves, and where every person is seen as sacred and worthy of love and respect. We will continue to reflect on the meaning of reconciliation as we listen to, grieve with, and come alongside our Indigenous communities to build a better future.

Our district faith theme for this year comes from 1 Corinthians 13 – “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” This year we will focus on hope. We will grow as disciples of hope through prayer, acts of charity, and a focus on gratitude. Being disciples of hope means cultivating a hopeful mindset and imagining our school, and the world, as it can and should be. 

As we continue to make our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, we appreciate your support as we navigate the challenges of balancing safety and health concerns with student learning. We know that, like last year, our parents, students, and staff have different comfort levels about returning to school. We also have many students who were online last year and are returning to in-person learning this year. Some of you may be nervous or feeling overwhelmed about returning. Please know that our administrative team, teachers, and staff are committed to supporting our students and families through this time. Please reach out if you need anything.

Mr. Hickie, Ms. Cusano, and I are committed to a safe and productive return to school. We continue to follow the advice of Alberta Health Services, Alberta Education, and the Calgary Catholic School District in keeping students and staff safe while continuing to be a dynamic, engaged, faith-filled learning community. You can help us! Please continue to complete daily health checks, monitor your child for symptoms, and keep your child home when they are sick.

I extend my wishes for a joyful school year filled with great learning and student success. I thank you in advance for your Ascension of Our Lord school spirit and support. I look forward to your continued involvement in the education of your child.  My door is always open, please feel free to email or call me at anytime should you have any celebrations or concerns. Many blessings for the 2021-22 school year!

 

Mrs. Crystal Bertsch         Mr. Mark Hickie                     Ms. Teresa Cusano

     Principal                           Vice Principal                         Assistant Principal

Health Checks and Sanitizing:

As a part of the additional health measures that are being implemented for a safe return:

  1. Daily health checks will be completed by parents prior to students entering the school here.
  2. Students will have access to hand sanitizer and regular handwashing routines will be built into our day.
  3. Surfaces will be sanitized, and high use areas cleaned regularly.
  4. Masks will be worn by all students (K-12), staff, visitors, volunteers (with some exceptions).
  5. Physical distancing measures will be put in place where possible.

 Masks: All students in K to 12 are required to wear masks at CCSD schools. Some children will find it difficult to wear a mask for the whole day and for other children it will be impossible for medical reasons. This is okay. Together we will work to accommodate those who need accommodations and train our young people to adopt this expectation. 

How can you as a parent help your children become comfortable with masks? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Have your children pick out masks in designs and patterns they like.
  • Practice wearing them properly at home for short periods of time and build up to longer periods of time.
  • Explain that each class will have 1 or 2 “mask break zones.” This space will be for kids who want to take a mask break and remove it, while social distancing. They will have to sanitize the area after they use it.
  • Outside breaks and lunch time will be mask free times.
  • Explain to your children that some students will be unable to wear a mask for various reasons. They may wear a face shield instead or not be able to wear anything at all. Each child’s situation is different, and you can be reassured that we treat everyone with consideration and care. Encourage your children to be kind and understanding towards others who may have different needs they are not aware of.

When a child is sick at school: Daily health checks are required for every member of our school community before coming to school. Anyone (students or staff) who is experiencing symptoms according to AHS guidelines is required to stay home and contact 8-1-1 (Health Link) for further instructions. 

If required to self-isolate, students may be able to complete limited schoolwork from home (if that is appropriate). Teachers will be maintaining Google Classroom and D2L/Brightspace with classwork. Please contact your child’s homeroom teacher if your child is required to self-isolate for an extended period.

If a child develops symptoms while at school, the child will be escorted to the Nurse’s Room (in the front office), their parents will be contacted, and it is expected that their parents will pick them up in a timely manner. While we will need to limit contact with a symptomatic child, we will still do our utmost to ensure they are treated with care.

At this time, if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our school, we will follow AHS guidance around contact tracing, quarantine, and communication with the broader school community.

Recess and Lunch Hour: We will once again have a common elementary recess time (10:16 to 10:30) and staggered lunch time recesses for our elementary and Junior High (see bell times above).

Students in elementary will have both a morning and lunch hour recess. We will have a rotation schedule by day and will train the students on where they may play on which day so that each grade has an opportunity to use the playground.

All students will be eating lunch in classrooms and will not be congregating in the gym to eat. Please ensure that your child can open any containers that are sent as our staff members will not be able to help them this year by handling containers. Please be mindful of students with allergies and avoid sending items to school that contain nuts.

Canteen: We will once again be offering Healthy Hunger as a daily option for students wishing to purchase lunch as of Tuesday, September 7th. You can access the link to order here. Our school account will be set up soon.

 Lockers: Junior High students will return to having lockers from the start of the year. However, as students will be remaining in homeroom classes for most subjects, they are encouraged to consider a storage option (i.e. basket) for their materials at their desk. Homeroom teachers will provide more information on the staggered entry days.

Technology: We recommend that parents consider purchasing a Chromebook for their child this year for several reasons: (1) our teachers will be utilizing Google Classroom/D2L consistently this year in case we are required to move to remote learning once again. Having access to a personally owned device will create continuity for your child as Google apps are used widely across all grade levels for schoolwork. (2) We will be limited in our ability to share tech between students and classes this year. Once again, having access to a personally owned device would make it easier for students to access technology to support their learning at school and will allow us to distribute the technology we have in ways to support students who may not have access.

Like cell phones, Chromebooks fall under our Personally Owned Devices Policy at the school and can be used at the teacher’s discretion in class and must be used responsibly for educational purposes. While the school cannot be responsible for the safety of devices at school, we will continue to lock classroom doors when students are not present and will find options for securing devices during lunch etc.

Junior High Options and CTS: As with the end of last year, we will return to offering a full options program for our junior High students. Options selection procedures will be communicated separately and will take place in the first week of school.

CTS will continue to be offered at Ascension to our Grade 8 and 9 students, but some activities may be limited due to health considerations.

Athletics: We are planning for a return to Junior High athletics for the 2021-22 school year! Cross Country and Volleyball seasons will be underway in September. Watch for more information soon. #GoLightning!

Field Trips: There may be off-campus field trips this school year. Like last year, we will continue looking at on-campus and virtual field trips as an alternative until we can move ahead with planning other off-campus opportunities. Safety considerations are always a priority in planning any off-campus activity.

Visitors/Volunteers: As always, we welcome volunteers and visitors to our school if they follow health measures outlined in our School Resumption handbook and if their visit has been scheduled ahead of time. Our volunteer orientation has been changed to reflect new safety measures. The volunteer orientation and forms must be completed yearly. The forms and orientation can be found here.

 Parent-Teacher Conferences: We will once again be utilizing online options for most school-related meetings and orientations using Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Our first parent-teacher conferences will take place on Thursday, September 23rd. For more information, please visit the website here.

School Council: All parents/guardians with children attending AOOL are already members of School Council! We encourage you to get involved by attending meetings and/or support school council activities. Our first meeting and elections will take place on Tuesday, September 21st at 6:15 PM on Zoom. Please RSVP to our office by emailing us at ascension@cssd.ab.ca and we will send you the link. For the complete brochure with meeting dates, please visit the website here.