A Holiday Greeting
As 2017 draws to a close, we want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season.
It is easy to be thankful at this time of year and students in Calgary have more to be thankful for because of you. Your support over the past year has made incredible opportunities possible for students across our city.
You provided healthy meals at school for students who would otherwise go hungry. You helped to supply safety equipment so that students can begin meaningful career training in the skilled trades. And, you also helped to enrich arts programs with additional supplies, instruments, and materials for students who may not otherwise have access.
These are only a few examples of the ways you, and other EducationMatters supporters, helped to ensure that every student has an equal opportunity to succeed over the past year.
On behalf of the EducationMatters Board of Governors and staff, we are sharing our heartfelt thanks. We hope the holiday season provides you with an opportunity to celebrate and spend time with those who matter most to you.
As you know, the needs of public students in Calgary continue to evolve. We look forward to working with you in the New Year to continue to enrich the educational opportunities for students in the Calgary Board of Education.
Fuel for School: Tackling Hunger in the CBE
It’s 7:45 am and the smell of fresh pancakes, fruit, and syrup invites a group of elementary school students into the small kitchen off of the side of the gymnasium.
Buzzing with excitement, the students politely form a single file line and choose from the spread of breakfast options for the day.
While many of us enjoy a delicious breakfast before arriving at school or work, this is not the reality for everyone in our city. The EducationMatters team was recently invited to tour the Fuel for School program at a Calgary elementary school, to see one of the ways that student hunger is being tackled in the public education system.
The Fuel for School program provides healthy breakfasts to students who would otherwise go hungry each morning. The program runs at 20 elementary schools across Calgary, with each school serving between 20 to 60 meals on a daily basis.
As one breakfast program supervisor says, “The combination of free food and free smiles and love are a great way to start the day.”
The meals provide opportunities for positive interactions between staff and students, but also result in increased attendance and a greater awareness of healthy eating habits among students.
Most importantly, for some of Calgary’s most disadvantaged students, the Fuel for School program provides them with a healthy meal to start their day, which many would not have access to at home.
A nutritious breakfast improves the health and well-being of students, getting them ready to learn and better able to concentrate on school work. The Fuel for School program ensures that more students in Calgary, regardless of the conditions at home, have the basic energy they need to power their learning.
Judging by the smiles on the student’s faces, as they gather around bowls of cereal, bananas, and glasses of juice, the program is clearly a highlight of the day.
As the EducationMatters team prepares to leave, a line up for second helpings forms. However, this line is different; staying true to the polite atmosphere of the program, student’s line up to the side, ensuring that those who have not been served yet are able to enjoy their breakfast first.
You Are Enriching Students’ Educational Experiences: A Highlight of the Fall Grants Made Possible by Donors
The EducationMatters volunteer Grants Committee pored over applications from 53 schools, putting their heads together and making tough decisions to spread out just over $119,000 in available funds to 22 different projects.
These grants, made possible by you, are creating amazing opportunities for CBE students.
• Children at Colonel J. Fred Scott School will be working on a project entitled “Through the Eyes of Children: Homelessness Re-examined”. Funds will be used to purchase camera equipment and cover transportation costs – the community understanding, learning, and empathy-building that will emerge from this opportunity will be extraordinary for students.
• An Indigenous Artist-in-residence will join students at Catherine Nichols Gunn School. The artist will focus on reconciliation and enhance the schools’ efforts with the children to increase inter-cultural understanding and help them to be catalysts for social change.
• “View from the Inside” will take place at Forest Lawn High School where students, along with their teachers, will explore mental health and wellness through puppet making, photography, drama, music and dance.
Other projects will include: supporting a bouldering wall at the William Taylor Learning Centre; learning commons updates to transform educational spaces into flexible and innovative places; “Mathletics” will be integrated into the programming at Highwood School, and Discovering Choices students will cultivate resilience, leadership, connection, and compassion in the natural world.
These are just a few of the exciting programs which have received funding. Your generosity will have far-reaching effects as CBE students grow and build their love of learning. We can’t support this work without you – thank you!
Introducing: Amanda Field
Student success is made possible through the combined efforts of generous volunteers and donors. Amanda Field, a long time EducationMatters supporter, is both.
A lawyer by profession, after a stint in New York City, Amanda returned to her hometown of Calgary in 2012 and was looking for ways to reconnect with the community.
“My mother, who spent her career with the Calgary Board of Education, retiring as a high school Principal, suggested approaching EducationMatters about their volunteer needs,” she says.
As it would turn out, there was an opening for a community member to join the Student Awards Selection Committee, to help evaluate the applications for student scholarships that EducationMatters receives each year. Amanda jumped at the opportunity and has been a member of the team since.
“The cost of running programs and pursuing post-secondary education has become so high that they can be out of reach for many schools and students,” says Amanda. “I continue to support and be a part of EducationMatters to help ensure that all Calgary public students are given opportunities to be exposed to as many learnings and experiences as possible, and so that they have a chance to pursue their educational and career dreams, without a lack of funding standing in the way.”
After nearly five years as a generous student supporter, Amanda has recently joined the EducationMatters Board of Governors to help guide the direction of the organization.
“I firmly believe that students have the right to equal and excellent education, regardless of their socio-economic background. I also believe that public education unifies a diverse population and promotes tolerance and understanding of the society in which we live,” she says.
As a graduate of the Calgary Board of Education herself, Amanda knows that it is important to put the citizens of our community in a position to succeed.
“I’m confident that public education in Calgary is doing just that, which makes me optimistic and hopeful for the future.”