CAPSC - giving parents a voice

Update: Election Financing Petition

While election financing laws have been changed provincially, they have not changed for trustee elections.

We launched a petition today to change that – and ask for you to sign it and forward this onto your friends.  Also post it to your Facebook, and twitter!

Corporations, unions, and political action committees can donate to trustee elections and this must be changed.

Kids Come First and CAPSC (Calgary Association of Parents and School Councils) have launched a petition asking the Alberta Government to end special interest group financing of trustee elections.

These legislative changes must be made for the upcoming October 2017 trustee elections.

For example, the last Calgary Board of Education trustee was elected in a by-election in 2015.  The successful candidate, Julie Hrdlicka, took almost $19,000 in union donations.  This was a huge increase from past elections and was four times the amount the next candidate raised in total from third parties.  School boards also spend millions of dollars on third party contracts, and it is important these expenditures are perceived to be free from interference.

 

Math Engagement and Math results: With the upcoming math engagement almost here, we wanted to bring your attention to an important report on math that was recently released by Kids Come First showing concerning data about the performance of math at the Calgary Board of Education vs. Calgary Catholic (CCSD) (www.kidscomefirst.ca). The data reveals:

  1. CBE now has more children failing grade 6 than achieving excellence – a complete reversal over the last few years.
  2. CBE’s math failure rate for grade 6 is 58% higher than CCSD.
  3. CBE’s math failure rate for grade 9 is 46% higher than CCSD.
  4. There is a significant difference in performance by quadrant.  In the northeast, 93% of schools in CBE are below the provincial average, vs. 47% for CCSD.  This is a serious social justice issue that must be addressed.

The report points to high administrative and support spending relative to CCSD as one of the culprits, as well as the aggressive move to discovery/inquiry based math at CBE.  These same concerns were raised by CAPSC in a letter to the Chief Superintendent almost a year ago.

At the COSC meeting in January, CBE acknowledged a 5-year decline in math, so we were hoping they would be presenting solutions this spring instead of a consultation.  There are many good mathematicians and resources who have solved these issues elsewhere and hopefully CBE will be working with them to implement immediate solutions.  CBE's response to the report has been clarified by Kids Come First and can be found here. The report identifies 5 solutions that can make a difference immediately, and we encourage you to take a look!

Education Advocacy

This fall we continued our advocacy on issues as they came up in the media, including our thoughts on the need to reduce school fees, the need for more transparency in the curriculum review, and the importance of report cards that provide a fulsome picture of our children’s progress.

CAPSC asked to participate on the Curriculum Working Groups last fall, but was not accepted.  We also asked Minister Eggen last year for a meeting to discuss parental concerns, and hopefully we will hear in the near future about his willingness to hear from Calgary parents.

STEM Education & STEAM Education

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)  is of growing interest to many parents.  If your school has a good project/resources/information, let us know and we would love to share it!

Here are a few graphs from the Kids Come First math report for your review!

Since 2001, CAPSC has acted as an independent voice for parents and school councils on issues in education.
Learn more about us.

Welcome Back!

Feedback

Welcome back! CAPSC wishes you and your family a great year of learning.

As the 2016/17 school year begins, we encourage parents to get involved in what’s happening at their children’s schools.  Calgary’s kids need your voice and your support.

Recognizing CAPSC’s 2015/16 Outstanding School Volunteers

Respectful | Focused | Energetic | Community-building | Leaders

The words you read above were used to describe our outstanding school volunteers. Parents and community members make an enormous contribution to education, and these five were nominated by their peers for their service in 2015/16.

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Danielle AndersonRoyal Oak School
As 2015/16 joint chair for the Royal Oak council, Danielle was at the school almost daily to lend a hand with everything from classroom support to Calgary Reads to committee work. Her nominators describe her as ‘incredible’ and ‘selfless’ – the first to step forward when anyone needs help. Thank you, Danielle!

Katey Fok | Olympics Heights School
Katey is the quiet force and initiative behind many events that power the soul of Olympic Heights School. From food bank drives to staff appreciation lunches and bake sales, she is the first volunteer to arrive and the last one cleaning up at the end of an event.  Her cheer and contagious smile bring fun and warmth to her community. Thank you, Katey!

Nicole Lukach | Nellie McClung School
Nicole completed a second year as Nellie McClung council chair in 2015/16. During her terms, she pulled together passionate parents to complete two significant projects – a learning commons area and school council website. She also organized enrichments including Calgary Reads literacy programs, and social learning programs for students and their parents. Her calm, respectful and focused leadership helped bring the community together.  Thank you, Nicole!

Sara Saunders | W.O. Mitchell School
For several years, Sara has spent her spare time organizing fundraisers, helping in classrooms, at school events and field trips, and otherwise supporting the W.O. Mitchell School community. Children in the school know her well, as she read in kindergarten weekly and acted as room parent. Her nominator says she inspires others to follow in her footsteps, making the school the best that it can be for the kids.  Thank you, Sara!

Stacey Schaub-Szabo | École Sam Livingston School
Stacey stepped up to become Spirit Coordinator for École Sam Livingston school council when her first daughter was in kindergarten. Seven years later she is still going strong, constantly finding new ways to give back, serve the community, and put the focus on the kids. Stacey established and grew many spirit and fundraising events. Her welcoming and inclusive attitude allows the school to continually recruit and maintain and active roster of parent volunteers. Thank you Stacey!

We are delighted to recognize the work of these five dedicated Calgarians.

Parent Tips

This Metro article contains a few reminders and pointers for getting back to school.
http://www.metronews.ca/news/calgary/2016/09/02/5-things-for-calgary-parents-to-remember-for-back-to-school.html

If you are a CBE parent, you may find the following links useful:

Find your 2016-17 yellow bus stop
http://www.cbe.ab.ca/news-centre/Pages/find-your-2016-17-yellow-school-bus-stop.aspx

Questions about the beginning of the school year
http://www.cbe.ab.ca/registration/back-to-school/Pages/back-to-school.aspx

Opting in
To meet anti-spam legislation requirements, parents must now opt in to receive ‘commercial messages’ coming from the school. This includes anything that involves a payment, such as cafeteria menus, field trips including fees, yearbooks, school pictures and council fundraisers. Watch for an e-mail coming home from your school about subscribing to School Messenger. Sign up and stay in the loop!

CAPSC in the year to come

CAPSC executive keep an eye on what’s happening in education, and speak on behalf of parents.  Keep us posted on what is happening with your child’s education, so we can update education stakeholders.

Want to support CAPSC? We can always use help bringing more events and services to Calgary parents. To volunteer, or if you have a question or concern about your school or with education in general, please contact us.

THE MATH LEARNING CONVERSATION

Position Statement | Open Letter to Minister Eggen:
Math Learning and Parent Voice

Dear Minister Eggen;

A recent letter from Deputy Minister of Education Curtis Clarke states the department has cut off communication with Dr. Tran-Davies on the issue of math education. “We consider the matter of how mathematics is taught at individual schools closed at this time and will not be communicating further with you on this topic,” Clarke says.

CAPSC executive is very concerned by this move, as the response seems to downplay the concerns of many Calgary parents who need solutions. Read CAPSC’s full post here. 

Transportation

CBE releases transportation plan for 2016/17 school year

CAPSC requests that the CBE invest in the technology and training recommended in the independent technical review, and that Alberta Learning provide additional short-term funding to support transportation of special needs students in the CBE system.

Improving public consultation on issues affecting Alberta’s largest public school system is a step in the right direction. Recently, the CBE brought forward six possible scenarios to manage the gap in transportation funding.  Read CAPSC’s full recommendation here.

STEM Talk & AGM

Wednesday, April 20
7 PM | Connect Charter School | 5915 Lewis Drive SW

STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) in Education | Dr. Gina Cherkowski

Dr. Gina Cherkowski is a mathematics educator and researcher, a STEM professor and educational game changer. She earned a double cognate Ph. D. in mathematics education and culture studies. Dr. Cherkowski believes all students can, and should be, mathematically literate in the 21st century.

Link here to access the full post.

IN BRIEF

UPCOMING EVENTS

CAPSC in the Media

Recent interviews and articles

Transportation
Advocacy

Use these links to advise stakeholders of how transportation services are working for you.

School Traffic Safety Tools

Take advantage of these resources for improving safety around schools.

Lend A Hand

CAPSC is a volunteer organization.  Help us grow by donating your time and talents! We need:

  • Assistance with organizational tasks
  • Presenters on topics of interest to parents
  • Organizers for the School Council Volunteer/Traffic Safety awards.

Can you spare some time? Please contact us.