What's happening at Foothills
March 1, 2022
COVID-19 Protocols for Community Services for In-Person Programs (as of March 1, 2022)
On March 1, 2022, Alberta moved into Step 2 of the plan to relax COVID-19 health measures. As Foothills Academy adjusts to these new guidelines in our school, we also want to honour the expectations that families had when they registered for our Community Services.
Feb. 28, 2022
COVID Step 2 - March 1, 2022
On Saturday, the Alberta government confirmed that the province will enter Step 2 starting on March 1. As part of that step, they have stated that “any remaining school requirements are removed”.
Feb. 9, 2022
Feb. 9 COVID Update
As of Monday 14th February, schools will no longer be empowered by provincial health order or CMOH recommendations to require students from grades 1-12 to wear masks to attend school in person or to ride a school bus.
Jan. 18, 2022
The Foothills News Grade 6 Project
Grade 6 students are marvellous storytellers. Not a day goes by without one of them telling a tale of one adventure or another! Their teachers, Mrs. Henze, Ms. Merrick, Mrs. Hughes, and Ms. Goldberg are often left in stitches as they add colour with their detailed description and enlightening point of view. When it comes to writing, there is no shortage of inspiration - whether they are regaling each of us with information about their weekend adventures, or informing us of the goings-on in the world. Their finger is on the pulse of what is happening, now!. Each one of the twenty-seven students has a unique point-of-view and a vast array of interests.
Jan. 14, 2022
Mask and Rapid Test Delay
We had anticipated sending out rapid tests and medical-grade masks for all students by the end of this week. Unfortunately, the provincial government has now announced that the rapid tests and masks will be delayed.
Jan. 11, 2022
Staying Safe and Healthy this School Year
This week we should receive rapid tests and medical-grade masks for all students, which will provide an additional layer of protection for all. Every student will be provided with one box of five rapid tests and a two-week supply of masks. The rapid tests are for Alberta Education’s At-Home Rapid Testing Program, and it is optional whether you participate or not. If you DO NOT want the rapid tests and/or the masks sent home, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan. 6, 2022
Return to In-Person Learning Jan. 10, 2022
Foothills Academy is a safe and caring environment and we are excited to see our students return to in-person learning on Monday, 10th January.
Jan. 1, 2022
Optional Online Support & Device Pick Up Information
As a follow-up to the information about the extended school break next week, here are further details about the optional online opportunities for students from Tuesday 4th to Friday 7th.
Dec. 30, 2021
Winter Break Extension
Due to the rising number of cases of the highly transmissible Omicron COVID-19 variant, the Minister of Education made an announcement this evening that the kindergarten to Grade 12 winter break will be extended province-wide until January 10.
Dec. 13, 2021
COVID-19 Protocols for Community Services for In-Person Programs (Winter 2022) - Updated Jan. 13, 2022
Given the ongoing realities of COVID-19, our Community Services programs will maintain safety protocols for Winter 2022 and require clients to comply with protocols to ensure the health and safety of us all.
Oct. 28, 2021
A Message from the Board of Governors
The Board of Governors of the Foothills Academy Society would like to take a moment, during this month of Learning Disabilities and ADHD Awareness, to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of the staff at Foothills Academy – both in the School and in Estelle Siebens Community Services, and to thank them for all they do, not just during these unprecedented times, but at all times. Not only does this incredible group ensure that students receive a first-rate education and the supports they need to succeed, but they continue to innovate and think outside the box.
Oct. 19, 2021
COVID-19 Update October 19, 2021
There have been some recent changes in the way schools are managing the COVID-19 pandemic, notably around the government’s guidance on how families will be notified of positive COVID-19 cases.
Oct. 12, 2021
Dyslexia & Learning Disabilities – Which Awareness Month is it?
In addition to October being Learning Disabilities Awareness Month and ADHD Awareness Month, the Alberta Ministry of Education has declared that October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. This may cause some confusion, because is it not the case that dyslexia is a Learning Disability?
Sept. 16, 2021
COVID-19 Protocols for September 2021 (Updated September 16)
As you are likely aware, yesterday the Premier announced a state of public health emergency, in an attempt to combat the ongoing spread of COVID-19. The measures imposed by the government include protections for schools.
Sept. 3, 2021
Welcome Back Message from the Co-EDs 2021
June 24, 2021
COVID-19 Protocols for Community Services for In-Person Programs (June 24)
Despite the evolving guidelines in Calgary, for summer 2021 we will be continuing with our existing COVID guidelines within the building
May 19, 2021
Students Returning to In-Person Schooling May 25th
Students are returning to in-person learning on Tuesday, May 25th
May 5, 2021
Students Moving to Online Learning Until May 25th
As you are likely aware, the Premier has announced the requirement for all Kindergarten to Grade 6 students to switch to at-home learning as of Friday, May 7th. This will mean that all students will be learning online; returning to in-class learning on Tuesday, May 25th (after the Victoria Day long weekend).
April 26, 2021
Increasing Accessibility of the Foothills Academy website
We are happy to announce that Foothills Academy has added a new web accessibility and language toolbar to our website. Having accessibility tools right on the website will make it accessible and inclusive for as many people as possible.
April 14, 2021
COVID-19 Update: Foothills Academy Remains Open for In-person Learning for All Grades
Although the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic School Division announced today that their grade 7 - 12 classes will be moving online for at least two weeks, Foothills Academy remains open for In-person learning for all grades
April 13, 2021
Simon Says: Foothills Academy's Response to Alberta's Draft K - 6 Curriculum
You are most likely aware that the new draft curriculum was announced by the Minister of Education during the first week of Spring Break. Media attention about the draft curriculum has been rife, and there is some consternation about the draft. The draft curriculum is K-6 (Math, English Language Arts/Literature, Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts and Physical Education & Wellness), and will be trialled by some schools this September. At this juncture, Foothills has no intention to volunteer to trial the curriculum this coming school year.
March 9, 2021
Alison Roberts Retirement
It is with a heavy heart as well as an inordinate amount of gratitude and respect that we announce the retirement of Alison Roberts. Alison is retiring with immediate effect so that she can focus on some current medical issues and regain good health.
Jan. 12, 2021
Happy New Year and welcome back to school life with a return to regular routines in 2021.
Jan. 5, 2021
Readers Choice Award Winner 2020
In 2020, the readers of the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun voted Foothills Academy one of the top 3 Private/Charters schools in Calgary.
Nov. 26, 2020
Temporary Move to Online Learning for Grade 7 - 12
Dear Parents and Guardians of grade 7-12 students, As we enter another period of at-home learning, we want to assure you that we are striving for as smooth a transition as possible for every student and family. We want to provide as much continuity as possible for each students’ ongoing learning of the rigorous Alberta curriculum, whilst continuing to be vigilant with our support of students’ social and emotional needs. It is important for us to be clear that the health and wellness of all of our students and families is paramount during these unpredictable and challenging times.
Nov. 24, 2020
COVID Enhanced Public Health Measures Announced
Dear Parents and Guardians, As you are most likely aware, this evening the Government of Alberta called a state of public health emergency, part of which impacts students' in-person attendance at school.
Nov. 17, 2020
November 17 COVID-19 Update
First and foremost, it is important to express our utmost thanks to each and every one of you, for working with us and adhering to the COVID-19 protocols this year. Despite the constraints and inconveniences imposed by school protocols, your efforts to support the entire Foothills community by strictly adhering to the measures, have been instrumental in our ability to maintain a safe school environment. We started the year focusing upon how we can be ‘Stronger Together’, and thus far it is evident that we are stronger and safer together; the care and concern shared throughout our community shines brightly. Thank you.
Sept. 15, 2020
September General Meeting
Due to COVID-19, our in-person September General Meeting will not be taking place. Instead, please watch and listen to this presentation from our co-Executive Directors Simon Williams and Karen MacMillan.
Sept. 1, 2020
Welcome Back! Simon's Message for the First Day Back 2020
After 170 days of silent hallways and empty classrooms, it was a delight today to welcome all of our students back into the building. The extensive preparation and planning put into making school re-entry safe and welcoming is a testament to the care and commitment of all Foothills staff. Our aim for the first day back was to normalize the school day, have students reacclimatise to the building, and reengage positive connections with other students and staff, all of which are essential for successful learning and growth moving forwards. This seems to have been a success, despite the masks, cohorts, handwashing, directional flow in hallways and physical distancing. It really was quite wonderful to see shining eyes peeking over the tops of masks, as students arrived ready for the new school year today. Thank you to all parents and guardians for helping to prepare your children for the first day of school, as this had a huge impact on helping to make today successful.
Aug. 26, 2020
Return to School Protocols (Updated Aug. 26)
The COVID-19 School Re-Entry Protocols has been updated on August 26th. Additionally, a summary sheet has been provided for parents to use each day with their student. A new Parent/Student Handbook is also available.
Aug. 21, 2020
What Students Should Expect When They Return to School Fall 2020
The return to school in September 2020 will look a little bit different than other years. To help everyone prepare, we are offering some virtual Meet and Greet times before classes start and have prepared a short video showing some of the changes students should expect.
Aug. 12, 2020
Return to School Protocols
As the return to school date draws ever closer (September 1st) we want to share with you our plan for re-entry to Foothills Academy. Please review the Foothills Academy re-entry document for details about our plans to open school as safely as possible.
July 22, 2020
2020 - 2021 School Re-entry Plans
The Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange, and Premier Jason Kenny, announced yesterday that all schools in Alberta will return to classes in the new school year, with health measures in place. Foothills Academy’s school year is scheduled to begin on Tuesday September 1st. We are excited to be able to return to school in September, whilst being able to keep every student, staff member and visitor as safe as possible.
June 22, 2020
Weekly Wellness #13 - Hello Summer! What Should We Do Now?
Well … we have made it to the end of the school year! No doubt you are looking forward to enjoying some of your favourite summer activities as a family. While the summertime looks different for everyone, we ideally want to capitalize on the warmer weather and more flexible schedules, in order to infuse our lives with restorative things such as rest, laughter, nature, and connection.
June 17, 2020
Simon Says - What Happens Next? Summer, September and School Re-Entry
The current projection is for schools to operate under the conditions of scenario 1, where all students return to school as normal, but with significant health measures and protocols in place. However, we will not know for sure which scenario is going to be in place until we are told on August 1st. Also, even if we begin the school year with scenario 1, there is a possibility that we may have to switch to scenario 2 or 3 at short notice during the course of the year; depending upon the changing status of COVID-19 throughout the province and country. Therefore, we are developing plans for each eventuality.
June 12, 2020
Weekly Wellness #12 - The Importance of Empathy
With so much happening in the world right now, this is a particularly important time for all of us to treat each other with respect and compassion. We are more likely to do this when we have empathy for others. Empathy involves the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
June 5, 2020
Weekly Wellness #11: The Importance of Purposeful Conversation Right Now
The strange times continue. Over the past few weeks, the world has been highly focused on navigating new health guidelines as we begin to cautiously venture back into public life. And this week, individuals across North America have become united in a growing call for solidarity against racial injustice.
May 26, 2020
FAQs for School Families
We know that this different approach to learning will generate many questions related to programming for your child, and we wanted to address some of them by incorporating some frequently asked questions (FAQs) for the time that we are having to teach our students remotely due to COVID-19. Please take some time to review the questions below:
May 23, 2020
Weekly Wellness #10: Understanding LD/ADHD Communication Challenges
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we all have new information to process; decisions to make, and public behaviours to adjust – so this is a good time to reflect on how we communicate with each other!
May 20, 2020
Community Services Program Updates May 20
Community Services at Foothills Academy takes the safety of its clients and employees very seriously. With the two-metre physical distancing expectations and other safety requirements in place this summer due to COVID-19, we must carefully limit the total number of people in our building at any given time. Therefore, this summer we will be offering the majority of our programs and services online while prioritizing a few select offerings to be provided onsite.
May 15, 2020
Weekly Wellness # 9:How to Deal with the Ambiguity of the Relaunch
It is definitely okay to have mixed feelings about the evolving situation, but we also need to recognize that we still have a lot of things in our control. Focusing on identifying what is the right way for us, and our families, to proceed is an empowering opportunity to practice tolerating the ambiguity in the world.
May 9, 2020
Weekly Wellness #8 - What is Self-Determination and How Can You Support It
This week we are focusing on ways in which we can further support the healthy development of young people. So much has changed over the past couple of months, but our basic parenting goals remain the same – even if it looks a little different right now!
May 5, 2020
Simon Says - COVID-19 Update May 5th
Although Foothills has strived to continue with all aspects of our supportive school program, for which immense credit goes out to all staff members, we are as keen as anybody to resume ‘normal’ school life. The problem, however, is that currently, nobody knows what ‘normal’ looks like. The re-entry plan for students to return to schools across the province is still ongoing. Whilst the Ministry of Education continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health, there are many different scenarios that are being considered by the government with regards to re-opening schools in September.
May 1, 2020
Weekly Wellness #7 - Answering Your Parenting Questions
Families are rising to the challenges of COVID-19 and demonstrating their resilience in the face of adversity. As our home lives have evolved to meet the societal expectations of physical distancing, new challenges have emerged for or children and teens. This week we are answering the parenting questions you have submitted to us.
April 24, 2020
Weekly Wellness #6 - The Importance of Self-Compassion
Right now there is a lot of talk about compassion – being sensitive to the suffering and needs of others. Compassion is incredibly important in times of great stress in society. The experience of COVID-19 impacts every family and individual differently, so there is a valuable emphasis in our society on being sensitive to each others’ needs. And as parents, our children are typically at the forefront of our thoughts, and our compassion for them can be all-consuming!
April 21, 2020
Community Services COVID-19 Program Updates
As we adjust to COVID-19, we are adapting some of the Community Services programs that we are able to offer. We will update this post so that you can find all our current program offerings in one place.
April 17, 2020
Weekly Wellness #5
It is hard to believe, but we are a month into physical-distancing. I have found that (like anything in life) there are associated challenges and joys in this unexpected situation. I hope you have too. As we are all getting oriented to this new way of being, it can be helpful to look past how we can ‘cope’ with the circumstances, and look at how we are actually fostering resilience in ourselves and our children.
April 9, 2020
Weekly Wellness #4
Connection is key to our mental health and happiness, but connection is looking a bit different these days! We are all trying to create a ‘new normal’ in our homes, while coping with the loss of our typical daily routines. With so much more free-time suddenly on their hands, we need to be cautious of how our children and adolescents can get stuck on devices for many hours each day. Since we are all trying to do our part to stay at home more, electronic platforms can play a uniquely valuable role in helping us stay connected to the outside world. However, we also know that there are some pitfalls to avoid when making decisions about the use of technology. Below are some Q & As about navigating all types of screen time in your home.
April 4, 2020
COVID-19: Continuing Quality Educational Supports with At-Home Learning.
As a school, we are committed to ensuring a continuation of quality educational programming for your child. Regardless of the baseline standards of teaching expected by the Ministry of Education, Foothills Academy recognizes the utmost need to maintain our own high academic, social and emotional supports for all students. Foothills Academy will not be reducing the number of educational assistants from the school program for May and June. We recognize the essential role of educational assistants working with students with Learning Disabilities in DSEPS such as Foothills Academy. We will continue to provide a quality school-program during these very trying circumstances whilst also ensuring positively high levels of consistency, learning and support; for your children and yourselves.
April 3, 2020
Weekly Wellness #3 - Gearing Up for School & Finding a Balance When Everyone is at Home
Some families started back to school this week after an extended break and others are just getting back to school next week. Regardless, we are all just beginning to navigate this new world of online/distance learning. With school resuming, there is more need for structure in our days, which can also be good for our mental health in the long run. Here are some things to consider so you can set your household up for school success.
March 27, 2020
Weekly Wellness #2
How are you doing? The need for Social Distancing (or, more accurately Physical Distancing, since we want to maintain as much social contact as possible!) has many unintentional impacts on our home lives. No doubt, all this unexpected “togetherness” is causing increased tensions in many households. Along with heightened concerns about health, and the significant adjustments to our lifestyles, there are also financial impacts for many families. According to an Angus Reid survey released on March 25th, half of the households in Alberta said that they had already experienced work or job loss due to COVID-19. These added stressors can put pressure on all the relationships in a home. And, given these realities, we all need to find ways to regulate our emotions and communicate effectively. Below are some Q & As to support those goals.
March 19, 2020
Weekly Wellness #1
The amount of information we are all getting is overwhelming as we try to adjust to the new realities of COVID-19. We are all trying to make decisions and make sense of something the world has not seen in over 100 years. And as we are trying to adjust, our children and adolescents are looking at us to help them make sense of it as well. Welcome to our new Weekly Wellness E-news that will be written while the schools are closed. It is intended to support families as we navigate this new territory. Below is a Q & A for families regarding some common concerns.
March 17, 2020
Community Services Temporarily Suspending Services
Until further notice, our in-person Community Services programs will no longer be operating. Current clients will be contacted by their instructor or psychologist. Our online professional development and parent courses are still available. We are pleased that Counselling services are continuing and will be delivered online or over the telephone.
March 15, 2020
COVID-19 Update March 15
As you will likely have heard by now, on the news, or from your homeroom teacher, there is a provincial-wide class closure for all schools due to COVID-19. Foothills Academy will not be open for school this week, so please do not send your student(s) to school on Monday 16th March 2020 and until further notice. Community Services one-to-one services remains open to clients however we will enforce strict zero-tolerance policy regarding no sickness in the building. All group programs have been suspended until further notice.
March 11, 2020
COVID-19 Update March 11
At this time, we request that if you or your child has symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing and has travelled outside Canada or has been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, stay home and call Health Link 811.
March 4, 2020
Alberta Health Update on Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)
On March 3, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta has issued an update for Alberta Education.
Nov. 19, 2019
Advocating for Designated Special Needs Private Schools
Although choice is openly promoted by the UCP, we should be sure to remind the government that Designated Special Education Private Schools (DSEPS) such as Foothills Academy are more than choice, they are a need. DSEPS serve a need beyond other independent schools. Other private schools serve a great purpose and offer Albertan parents the right to a range of choices in education, but we firmly believe that a DSEPS like Foothills is a need and must be guaranteed stable and predictable funding so that the future of our vulnerable population is not jeopardized.
Oct. 10, 2019
Learning Disabilities Awareness Month 2019
I am trying to convince myself that winter is not arriving just yet, hoping that there is still a little bit of Fall warmth left to enjoy before the roads are buried under snow and ice. I would like to be able to appreciate October a little longer, and not just for meteorological reasons. October is also Learning Disability Awareness Month, where we should reflect upon the successes and achievements made by individuals living with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability Awareness Month provides us with more opportunities to advocate for individuals with Learning Disabilities. Such advocacy is in full force at Foothills, as this month Foothills Academy will be hosting the Honorable Adrianna LaGrange, Minister of Education. We will be sharing the great work happening at Foothills, highlighting the achievements and accomplishments of our students, whilst promoting the ongoing need to support individuals with Learning Disabilities in schools, universities and the workplace.
Sept. 23, 2019
Foothills Academy - The Early Days
Foothills Academy is here because of the passion and determination of two parents who wanted the best for their child. Bill and Beth Mackasey had a child, Patrick, who was bright but was 2 -3 years behind academically. In 1979, there were no school programs specifically for students with Learning Disabilities in Calgary. The only academic option for children with severe Learning Disabilities was to be sent to a school called Denver Academy in Colorado. Thirty-four percent of that school’s students were from Calgary. Not willing to send their son away, the Mackaseys convinced Tom Aylesworth and Gordon Bullivant, both working at the Children’s Hospital at the time, that there was a need for a school for LD students in Calgary.
Sept. 22, 2019
FAPA Car Raffle 2019 - Global TV Gil Tucker
On Wednesday, September 18, 2019, Global Calgary reporter Gil Tucker came to Foothills Academy to report on the FAPA car raffle. He interviewed FAPA president, Kathy Laycock and Foothills Academy students.
Sept. 3, 2019
Welcome Back 2019! Some Thoughts to Start the Year Off Right
On behalf of everyone at Foothills, I warmly welcome you to the start of the 2019-2020 school year. I am sure that in many households this weekend there were the annual Labour Day anxieties; and not in relation to whether the Stamps would keep the Eskimos at bay again. Despite back-to-school anxieties experienced by some students, Foothills is set up to alleviate such worries. And it is not only students who become anxious before school. As parents, we worry greatly about the welfare of our children, and there is much we can do at home to help.
June 10, 2019
Valedictorian Speech 2019
Our 2019 Valedictorian Dani S. shares her thoughts with the graduating class and their families at our Graduation Banquet on May 24, 2019.
April 30, 2019
Welcome to the first blog post on our new website. Given that many staff invested blood, sweat and tears into this revamped website (thank you to all concerned), it is fitting to begin this blog series focusing upon the role of technology in education. Our dependence upon technology in society is becoming ever greater, and the impacts of this are seen throughout the educational world. This is currently a hot topic in Ontario where Premier Doug Ford has issued a ban on cell phones in the classroom, citing that phones are a distraction which hampers learning.
March 8, 2019
Literacy Month 2019
Every year in the month of February, we encourage our students to "fall in love with reading"! We feel it is important to make literacy more visible and to communicate its high priority. For many of our students, reading at school is the only time they read. We want all of our students to see themselves as readers, and to know that all of their teachers, assistants and support staff along with parents welcome them into our reading community to discuss, recommend, and share books.
Feb. 6, 2019
Donation for C-Pen Readers Increases Student Independence
On Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, Rotary Club of Calgary South presented Karen MacMillan and Simon Williams with a cheque. Their generous donation will be used to purchase 10 C-Pen Readers for our students. Because of their support, our students will be able to be more independent with their learning.
Feb. 6, 2019
Recognizing Bell Let's Talk Day
Foothills Academy participated in the Bell Let's Talk 2019 campaign. All students were asked to write down ways that they support their own and others mental health.