FAQs for Parents – September 2015


Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

September 2016


When does school start?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

  • Grade 10:
    • 8:30 AM – Grade 10 welcome and pancake breakfast prepared by our Football teams and athletic leaders
    • 9:15 – 3:00 – Community time and activities
    • 11:30 – 12:30 – Hotdog BBQ (donation to grad charit
  • Grade 11 and 12
  • 11:00 – Meeting in theatre for new grade 11/12 students
  • 11:50 – 12:30 – Grade 11/12’s  BBQ
  • 12:30 – 3:00 – Connect Time and Assembly

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

  • Regular classes begin at 8:30 AM – no Focus class – go to Connect for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Thursday, September 8, 2016 – Grade 10 Assemblies in Theatre

  • 9:00am Orange 10
  • 11:00am Blue 10
  • 1:00pm Red 10


How is high school different from middle/junior high school?

  • The programs of study require students to demonstrate more complex knowledge and thinking.
    • Because of increased content, classes move “quicker”; students can feel overwhelmed and should ask for help to manage deadlines. It will be important for families to work with the school to help their student develop self-advocacy skills.
  • Students are encouraged to be more independent learners.
    • They will have even more voice and choice in their learning and are encouraged to negotiate tasks that fit best with their goals/learning profile.
    • It is important for them to understand the different course outcome/competency requirements. They may achieve a different course sequence or level (courses with a -1 are more complex) depending on the outcomes achieved.)
  • Students should continue to revise/consult their own learning plan.
    • Starting in grade 10, students immediately start gathering credits towards a diploma (100 credits) or certificate (80 credits).
  • Alberta Education requires that marks be reported in percentages. At RTHS we will report in percentages at the half-way point and end point of core courses.


How do I find out more about high school programs of study?

  • Visit this Alberta Education website: http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/mychildslearning/
  • Talk to us or email the teacher (http://vlc.rths.ca/our-staff/staff-list/)
  • Access specific course information organized online by teacher

**  All of our teachers use an electronic learning management system, usually D2L or Edmodo. This system provides day-to-day information about course content, required assignments and assessment.  Marks are also available on Home Logic.


Why are some of the structures in high schools not the same as when I went to school?

Like other professions and businesses, education continues to evolve its practices as we discover more about the science of learning and the needs of our fast-paced world.  Did you know, for example, that while high school grades are a moderate predictor of high school success, 75% of success is predicted by other factors including these: motivation, critical thinking, good study habits, collaboration, ability to handle stress, problem solving…?  Alberta Education has identified these principles of high school design – http://ideas.education.alberta.ca/hsc/redesigning/

We also encourage you to visit sites such as www.cea-ace.ca/facts-on-education to learn more.


What is Connect?

Connect is a scheduled time on Fridays for students to meet in smaller groups with their Connect Teacher.  We know that students are most successful in school when they have a “go to” adult or advocate – at RTHS, their Connect Teacher.  Connect is one way that we provide students with face-to-face information and opportunities for dialogue/questions (ie – announcements, This Week at Thirsk, forms…).  Students will also explore opportunities for success in high school – learning plans, study strategies, positive relationships with others, presentations, career fairs, citizenship (including digital), activities…

  • Grade ten students will learn about transition to high school and begin CALM (Career and Life Management, a required course for high school completion)
  • Grade eleven students will complete CALM.
  • Grade twelve students will learn about graduation, goal setting and transition to the “world beyond high school”.


What is FOCUS?

During FOCUS students have scheduled daily access (Monday to Thursday) to teacher experts for support and enrichment.

  • Students in grade ten will eventually have scheduled FOCUS as determined and directed by their community teachers. Attendance is mandatory and recorded.
  • Students in grade eleven will begin FOCUS as scheduled after the beginning of the term. Attendance is mandatory and recorded.  While students will often have choice of their activity during FOCUS, teachers may direct student choice for scheduled tutorials or assignment completion.
  • Students in grade twelve will begin FOCUS as scheduled after the beginning of term. Attendance is suggested to help students achieve success.

**  At scheduled times and as required FOCUS will be cancelled for students to attend required Connect activities. 


What are Thirsk Days?

Thirsk Days are two shortened days (with longer class periods) prior to the end of each term where students have opportunities to challenge outcomes/competencies, complete complex tasks or access additional enrichment.

  • First Thirsk Day of Term: 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM (Periods 1 and 3)
  • Second Thirsk Day of Term: 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM (Periods 4 and 5)


How do I pay fees?

We prefer that you pay online at https://webapps.cbe.ab.ca/MyAccount/Account/LogOn?ReturnUrl=%2fmyaccount

Only mandatory fees are payable online as of July 13, 2014.  Mandatory and complementary course fees are due by September 28, 2015.   More detailed fee information is available at http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b880/pdfs/fee-sheet.pdf.


If you have questions about fees, installments or waivers, please phone Deepa Madhaven, Business Manager or Matt Christison, Principal at (403) 817 3400.


What do I do if I have questions?

We know that students are most successful when we communicate and work together.  We encourage you to email the person below who is most directly responsible for the answer to your question.   Because our work during the day is concentrated around our students, our goal is to get back to you within 48 hours on school days.***  Please see this staff list – http://vlc.rths.ca/our-staff/staff-list/ – for emails and links to staffs’ learning management systems.

  • First Contact – Connect Teacher– Your child’s staff advocate (Connect Teacher) is your first point of contact regarding any questions. Grade 11/12 Connect Teachers are often the same as the previous year; grade 10 Connect Teachers will be assigned prior to the October Conferences.
  • Second Contacts
  • Subject Teacher – This teacher can answer specific questions about course outcomes, assignments and assessments.
  • Community Learning Leader – This leader can answer questions about community activities, philosophies, planning and assessments.
  • Success Centre/Learning Commons Staff– These professionals can advise on learning assistance/enrichment, technology and career/community resources (including post secondary and scholarships).
  • While our focus is on supporting academic success and well-being, our Success Centre staff can also help link to resources for personal, social, emotional or family issues.
  • Learning Commons Learning Leader – LPSmith@cbe.ab.ca
  • Coach/Athletic Director For questions about a specific team contact the teacher coach directly.  The Athletic Director/PE learning leader can also be of assistance. Steve Maheu – SMMaheu@cbe.ab.ca
  • Physical Education Learning Leader – Benji Williams – BRWilliams@cbe.ab.ca
  • Athletics Learning Leader – Steve Maheu – SMMaheu@cbe.ab.ca
  • School Resource Officer  These members of the Calgary City Police work with our school/community and  assist with matters of safety/security and conduct. Contact them through the office at 804 8143.  Our SRO is Constable Carlamay Blight.
  • Business Office – For questions about fees contact our Business Manager, Deepa Madhaven – demadhavan@cbe.ab.ca
  • Third Contact – Administration
  • Dr. Matt Christison, Principal – wmchristison@cbe.ab.ca
  • Gayleena Clark, Assistant Principal –gmclark@cbe.ab.ca
  • Kyra Bogensberger, Assistant Principal – kdbogensberger@cbe.ab.ca

**  Note that administration will ask staff/students involved (again the people closest to the work) to provide information or attend meetings regarding your questions.

*** For emergent questions, contact the main office directly at 403-817-3400. 


Please visit these websites often for the most current information.  Our CBE corporate site is at http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b880/.  Our Virtual Learning Commons provides recent and day-to-day information for students and parents, including our student handbook – http://vlc.rths.ca/

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