Education is Our Buffalo program at St. Timothy School
Learning Through the Arts at St. Rita School
Interactive Learning at St. Martha School
CCSD Flames Student Nights

New Tools Help Engage Student Learning at St. Basil School

We spoke to Principal Tony Dal Cin about the impact of incorporating new Maker Space items.

WHAT: The funds provided by the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation (CCEF) grant led to the purchase of four Maker Space items: Play Osmo, Coding: Dash and Dot, Bee Bots Numeracy and Literacy and Circuits: Little Bits. Adding these items to our Learning Commons has led to the formation of a Maker Space Club, where students are free to be creative with the items. Teachers have also embraced them in their classrooms, which has allowed students an opportunity to learn through new mediums. Based on the success of these items, the Learning Commons has also added a Lego Wall and will look at continuing to add items in the future for students as they grow as self-directed learners.

WHY: The inclusion of Maker Space items to our ever-growing Learning Commons helped with our goal of creating a collaborative, self-directed learning space. These items, available for classes to use and students who want to join the new Maker Space Club, provide students the opportunity for student-centered learning, engagement and achievement.

TEACHER FEEDBACK:

  • “Students are engaged in a different way than in the classroom. The level of cooperation and teamwork is amazing to see in people so young. Maker Space gives students the opportunity to explore engineering and mechanics in a way that cannot be met in a traditional classroom setting.” – Mrs. Helena Wojtkiw, Grade 2 TeacherSTUDENT FEEDBACK:
  • “Maker Space is building and programming and working with bits and pieces. We have robots and circuits and iPads that we use to program some of our robots. We’ve learned by doing this, and by working with each other to figure out how machines work.”- Grade 4 student and Maker Space Club Member, Anneke G.

 

HOW THE CCEF HELPED: The CCEF grant for $3,200 allowed us to purchase four new Maker Space items, which are available to all 860 students, as well as our Learning Commons Librarian, Maker Space Club teachers, and any teachers interested in using Maker Space items in their class. It has been great to see the positive impact these Maker Space items have had on the students, as they engaged in self-directed learning opportunities. Thank you for providing the funds for us to purchase these items.

Learn more about donating to the CCEF to help fund meaningful projects and school enhancements that positively impact Calgary Catholic students.

“Let there be Light” at St. Gregory School

We talked to Principal Craig Kittelson about the impact of enhancing their school theatre.

WHAT: The Calgary Catholic Education Foundation (CCEF) funding was used to purchase a set of LED theatre lights to enhance curriculum and presentation quality at St. Gregory School. This has long been a dream project for our school and with the generosity of the CCEF, it became a reality sooner than we thought possible. Because we received half the amount required to buy a full set of lights (eight lights and supporting equipment), we purchased only four lights and the supporting equipment. For our major theatre productions, we rent four other lights to work in tandem with the new ones. This was a successful compromise until such time as we can purchase the other four lights.

WHY: St. Gregory School has a very successful arts program with the total student population being involved in art, drama, musical theatre, instrumental music, choir (option) and/or Celebration Choir (extra-curricular). In addition, liturgies, a talent show, our open house and various school-wide presentations provide even more opportunities for our students to feel empowered to show leadership in our community.

HOW: During the 2015/2016 school year there were over 100 students actively involved in live performances. The school musical, “Seussical Jr.” was a five month project involving at least 75 students and 6 teachers. Five performances took place in March 2016. This provided an opportunity for our entire school community, as well as guest elementary schools to benefit from quality artistic talent. The show was a huge success. In May 2016, St. Gregory hosted the school talent show, involving another 25 students and amazing talent. The students were thrilled to perform under the lights for the entire school. Three teachers were involved with this event. As part of the Drama 9 technical theatre unit, students were taught how to put up, take down and set stage lights in the classroom to prepare them to run the lights for school events.

COMMUNITY FEEDBACK:

  • “…The dance, choreography, music, lighting, sound, etc. were sensational!  And the fact that you had so many other areas of the program working with you to produce sets, costumes, etc. must have really pulled the school together. Thank you for all you do for our children!” –Peter Teppler, Trustee, Wards 6 & 8, CCSD
  • “I just wanted to pass along some congratulations to you, your team and every student involved in the production. The kids were so well-prepared and did a fabulous job. Their costumes were beautifully and thoughtfully made, the lighting was well planned and executed, the dancing was well-rehearsed, the acting beautifully animated and the singing very well done! And the students ran the whole thing. Very impressive.” – Bethany Yon (Routledge), BMus, MMus, audience member

STUDENT FEEDBACK:

  • “The best part about performing under the lights is that you can’t see the audience so you don’t get nearly as nervous.” – Alice, Grade 9, Gertrude in Seussical Jr.
  • “My favorite part about the play was when we entered the gym for the first time with all the stage set up and lights on. It was so cool. It made all our months of work seem worth it.” – Bianca, Grade 9, Bird Girl in Seussical Jr.
  • “Walking into the gym and seeing the lights shine across the room made the [talent show] an even greater event as the Gators came out and rocked their performances, showing us things we had no idea they could even do.” – Christopher, Grade 8, news article in school newspaper assignment.

HOW THE CCEF HELPED: Thank you very much to the CCEF for this $4,000 grant. The whole student body ultimately benefitted from the addition of stage lights to our events. The best part is that this equipment will be used over and over again and will become part of the culture of St. Gregory School.

Learn more about donating to the CCEF to help fund meaningful projects and school enhancements that positively impact Calgary Catholic students.

 

21st Century Teaching and Learning at Sacred Heart School

We spoke to Principal Richard Campbell about the benefits of adding Chromebooks to classes.

WHAT: With the gracious support of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation (CCEF), we were able to purchase five of the Chromebooks needed to enhance our Library Learning Commons (LLC) and teaching and learning throughout the school. With additional support from our School Council and matching grant sources, we were able to increase the number of Chromebooks we have to 1.5 class sets. We still have a long way to go as we’d like to be able to have at least two class sets (one for Div. I and one for Div. II), but we feel so blessed to have built our technology to this point!

Our intent with the project has been to continue to develop the Sacred Heart LLC to meet the needs of our students through ‘leading-edge’ learning opportunities. As part of our 3-year-plan, we have been in the process of re-imagining our library to be an updated LLC for a 21st century inquiry-based learning environment that is complete with technology, books and Makerspace building materials.

WHY: Sacred Heart is a small school with a current enrollment of 182 students, serving students from grades K-6 from communities from the west side of the downtown core. The demographics of the school is very diverse. Over 80% of the students are English Language Learners (ELL). The majority of our parents are new to the country and are struggling to meet their own needs in the current economic climate. Many of our students do not have access to technology at home, so having access to the Chromebooks at school is of great benefit to them.

HOW: Teachers incorporate technology into their classroom curriculum on a daily basis. Chromebooks for students means a variety of programs, as well as online access throughout the day – invaluable 21st century inquiry-based teaching and learning tools! Chromebooks have supported our diverse learners in numerous ways – students with learning disabilities can access assistive technology software and ELL students can learn through pictures and visuals. Parents are able to connect with teachers via Google and have immediate access to work that teachers or students have shared with them. Students have been introduced to various sites such as Raz-Kids, Google Read & Write, Translation programs, etc., and for those that have home access, parents are able to encourage their children and support the teaching done at school by allowing students access from home. Students are also able to help parents who don’t speak English because of what they have learned using the translation programs through Google Read & Write or online translators.

TEACHER FEEDBACK:

  • Throughout the year, the 3/4 Girls’ Class has been utilizing the Chromebooks in many different ways to assist their learning and build upon their researching skills. The students use the Chromebooks to research questions, practice their typing skills through Google Docs programs and Creative Online Writers (C.O.W.), Raz-Kids to support their reading online and using the online dictionaries and thesauruses to assist their language learning. During our math lessons, Chromebooks are an exciting and competitive way to practice our learned skills through a program called Kahoot. Students are highly motivated during this time and are consistently engaged. Through religion, social studies and science lessons, the usage of technology supports their learning by researching questions through inquiry-based projects, as well to showcase student presentations and understanding of learned curriculum. During our French programing, students are encouraged to use the online translator to listen to how words are properly pronounced in another language. As teachers in the Calgary Catholic District, we feel that it is extremely important to integrate technology. – 3/4 Girls Classroom Teacher
  • A Chromebook charging cart is housed in our LLC. I can tell you that it is empty all the time! In other words, the Chromebooks are in use every day – and pretty much all day – from all Grades (1-6) either in the library or throughout the school. Receiving these extra five Chromebooks from the CCEF eased the strain of students having to share and also allowed us to designate a couple of Chromebooks in the LLC as a permanent “look up/research” station! – LLC LibrarianSTUDENT FEEDBACK:
  •  Chromebooks have benefitted us through many ways. The people in our generation are so used to using technology, so whenever children like me get to use an electronic device at school, it intrigues us much more than it would if we were doing our schoolwork on paper. It also makes it much easier to correct spelling mistakes and increases the quality of our work. These devices allow us to present our ideas in a variety of ways such as: PowerPoints, documents, videos and much more. We can also use the internet to look up things like specimens of trees and animals. This is also a much quicker way to find synonyms or definitions from a huge range of words. Using the internet has revolutionized the way we think. I feel lucky to be able to use Chromebooks. – Grade 5 Student

HOW THE CCEF HELPED: Thank you for your generous $2,000 grant to Sacred Heart School. We are truly grateful and want you to know how much we appreciate this gift to assist us in creating a more effective LLC and improving our teaching and learning. This project has directly and positively impacted all of our students because we are able to more effectively utilize technology in the LLC and classrooms.

Learn more about donating to the CCEF to help fund meaningful projects and school enhancements that positively impact Calgary Catholic students.

 

 

 

Thank you to the Ernie & Leah Hagel Family Foundation

The Calgary Catholic Education Foundation (CCEF) would like to sincerely thank the Ernie & Leah Hagel Family Foundation for providing a $10,000 grant!

This grant was designated for the purchase of Chromebooks for two SW schools in the Calgary area.  It is through the generosity of the Hagel family that students from Sacred Heart School and St. Mary’s High School are anticipating the arrival of their new technology. 

Sacred Heart School currently has just over one class set of Chromebooks, shared by all classes and used continuously.  Many of the families at the school are unable to access technology at home and it is only at school where students are able to be engaged in these inquiry-based learning activities. Sacred Heart is a small school and their School Council finds it difficult to fundraise because families themselves require support and therefore cannot also raise money for the school.

St. Mary’s High School population has continually grown over the past years to a point where the technology is not sufficient to meet the learning needs of students. One group of students who will be impacted by the Chromebooks is the English Language Learners (ELL) who are becoming comfortable with this technology and are able to increase their language understanding. St. Mary’s has already seen the impact in the classroom where the engagement is palpable when a Chromebook is in use. 

The Hagel family’s gift will improve and enhance learning opportunities for over 500 students in two of our schools. The CCEF deeply appreciates the support received by the Hagel family.

 

 

Welcome Bishop McGrattan

The Calgary Catholic Education Foundation is pleased to welcome William Terrence McGrattan, former Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough and the new Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary. We look forward to working with Bishop McGrattan as we further the work of supporting schools and students within the Calgary Catholic School District.