December News and Important Updates

A message From the President

The GPA Executive and Board are grateful to our community for your support during these challenging times. Thank-you for your emails, offers to volunteer your time, and your donations. We could not do what we do without your help.

A special thank-you to the executive team members Traci (VP), Jeroen (Treasurer), and Brandi (Secretary); board members Amber (Social Media), Edward (Casino), Stefanie (General Fundraising), and Hiral (Parent Education); and our GATE school site reps Janice, Traci, Tina, and Irina. I can’t thank you all enough for your time and energy.

There’s no denying, it’s been a strange year. We’ve all had to adapt, quickly, and our families have had to make some difficult choices. Whether you’ve elected to learn in-person or through HUB online, we hope you have had learning success.

As we say goodbye to a very challenging 2020, I want to reflect on some of the positive outcomes of this year. Our school teachers and administrators never cease to amaze us. Their strength, adaptability, and positivity this year has been commendable. I would like to thank them on behalf of the GATE community for their hard work to keep our students safe and engaged amidst ever-changing protocols.

This year, thanks to your donations and volunteer efforts, we were able to provide funding to schools for artists in residence, writers in residence, scientists in residence, field trips, computing competitions, math competitions, and resource materials. We were also able to host two parent education sessions on the topics of study skills and resilience. Lastly, we sent teachers from all four GATE schools to a professional development seminar in Calgary.

We know that it hasn’t been a smooth road, and that some of our members continue to experience challenges with respect to their children’s learning. We encourage parents to address any issues with their child’s teachers, and the school administration team. As always, we are just an email away should you have any unresolved concerns.

We hope you find ways to celebrate this holiday season with loved ones. We wish you good health, and all the best as we move into a new year. Our team has great hopes for 2021, and we look forward to continuing to serve the GATE community.

Sue McLarty
President
GATE Parent Association

happyholidays

Best wishes to you from your Executive team and Board!

What has the GPA been up to in 2020?

The Year in Review

  • Funding GATE school materials and activities
  • Funding teacher professional development
  • The launch of our first ever Purdys Easter Fundraiser
  • Advocating for GATE students
  • Preparations for our January 2021 Casino
  • Parent Education Sessions: Study Skills and Resilience

Dates to Remember

Last day of classes in 2020 is December 18th.

Classes resume January 4, 2021. Check with your individual school as to whether classes will be online or in person. There are no changes to the school schedule for HUB students.

Friday, January 8, 2021 @ 12pm: For HUB students only. Intent for HUB students moving back to in-person classes must be submitted. If students require yellow school bus transportation, you must register by this date, as well. If HUB students will remain online, you do not need to do anything. Students can not transfer from in-person learning to HUB learning.

Monday, February 1, 2021 – Students moving from HUB to in-person learning begin back at their school.

Funding Update

The GPA Executive has made some changes to the funding processes that GATE schools use in order to access Casino funds. The changes were made with consideration to: GPA member (parent) feedback, new HUB enrolment (~20%), changes in spending habits (e.g. field trips and school visits are cancelled), potential reduction in future Casino funds due to COVID-related closures, and new opportunities based on our new AGLC (Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis) category of “Aid of the Distressed”.

In the past year, Casino funds were spent as follows:

  • Residencies – not possible in person this year
  • Field trips – not possible in person this year
  • Registration fees – some online contests etc may still occur
  • Resources – some of these perhaps not the best use of GPA funds (paper, pens, etc.)

Survey respondents suggested that, going forward, Casino funds should be spent on:

  • Mental health support
  • Field trips and specialists (once allowed to resume)
  • Increased student engagement
  • Enabling sharing of resources
  • Social skills development

New Casino Funds Distribution Process:

With the expectation of lower spending and lower fundraising income this year, we have decided to limit spending in Q1 and Q2 to 2021 to half of the remaining Casino funds balance. (Previously, existing casino funds were scheduled to be spent by February of 2021. The GPA has submitted a request to extend this due date.) This will ensure more funds are available if field trips and other activities are possible again in 2021/22, and will allow more time to determine how best to meet the needs of students, taking into consideration possible new Use of Proceeds based on our new AGLC categorization.
We have, additionally, elected to move to an approval basis for all expenditures (previously, spending decisions were left up to individual schools, and funds were divided and dispersed based on enrolment numbers rather than greatest need/equity).
Based on our analysis of where most of our Casino funds go, we would like to focus spending on students in Grade 4 to 9 (rather than distributing funds across all grades, including high school where there appears to be less need).

Spending

  1. Based on survey responses, with the help of our school administrators, we will focus on investigating and procuring mental health supports (e.g. classes, programs, resources), potentially to be delivered remotely, aiming to include students in all GATE locations that would benefit.
  2. We will focus on supporting offerings that can be (jointly) accessed by HUB students as well as in-class students that provide enrichment to standard curriculum (e.g. online field trips, online residencies, registrations for contests/competitions/online programs). These would ideally be accessible to students across multiple grades and GATE schools.
  3. We will also focus on resources that will support students through these challenging times and assist with engagement, including resources for HUB students.
  4. Where possible, we would like to fund resources and programs that can be re-used by future students.

This is a new process that has just been communicated to school administrators. It will take some time to implement. If you have any questions or feedback with respect to these changes, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Call for Student Tutors

We are looking to create a space for GATE students to assist and mentor each other. If any of our GATE high school students are interested in helping other students with their home study (HUB/online/isolating), please contact us.

Casino Fundraiser Update

Although casinos are closed at the writing of this letter, the GPA has been advised to proceed as if our casino will still be taking place on Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22, at Elbow River Casino. Thank to you all of you who have already emailed us to volunteer. If it is safe to proceed, we will be looking for additional volunteers in early January.

The casino fundraiser is our biggest fundraiser. As always, we rely on the help of our amazing volunteers to make this event happen. Please email us if you would like to help.

General Fundraising Updates

INDIGO: We are still running our Indigo campaign. This is a great campaign that earns us 15% on every dollar spent! Electronic gift cards make great no-contact gifts. Purchase details and links are below.

SPRING CLOTHING DRIVE: We are hoping to run a spring fundraiser through Value Village. Please start setting aside your spring and summer items for donation!

We are in the process of investigating other ways to raise funds that do not involve the need to bring volunteers together for the purposes of sorting and distributing products. Any suggestions for fundraisers that do not involve distribution are welcome!

Volunteers Needed!

We still need to fill the following positions as soon as possible:

  • General Fundraising Chair who will manage ongoing and new fundraising initiatives with help from the rest of the team
  • Newsletter Coordinator who will work with the executive team, school site reps, and other parties to create quarterly newsletters and updates using MailChimp
  • Henry Wise Wood High School Site Rep who will attend school council meetings and report any news or concerns to the executive team

If you are able to help, please email us at info@gatecalgary.ca.

Parent Education Update

Thank-you to everyone who attended our most recent Parent Education session on Resilience. The feedback we received indicated that it was very helpful, and we are grateful to Amy Shaw for her time and energy. A special thank-you to those who sent donations through PayPal during this event! Your donations help us to continue to provide parent education sessions like this one.

Did you miss this, or one of our other parent information sessions? You can access all of the available presentations from our previous sessions on our webpage: https://gatecalgary.ca/presentations/

Stay tuned for news of upcoming sessions.

Gifted 101: A list of our favourite parenting books
https://www.davidsongifted.org/about-us/davidson-gifted-blog/gifted-101-a-list-of-our-favorite-gifted-parenting-books

The Genius Myth: Our need to define and quantify human potential comes at its expense
https://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/queens-gambit-netflix/the-genius-myth/3517

For more articles, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Community Education Services – Upcoming Webinars

The following information sessions provided by the health region may be of interest to our members:

Tues Jan 12, 6:30 pm
Slaying “Examaphobia”
How students can approach tests with more confidence and strategies
Poster/Register

Wed Jan 13, 6:30 pm
Part 1: Specific Learning Disorders with impairment in Reading: What Parents and Teachers Should Know
Poster/Register

Wed Jan 20, 6:30 pm
Part 2: Specific Learning Disorders with impairment in Written Expression: What Parents and Teachers Should Know
Poster/Register

Wed Jan 27, 6:30 pm
Part 3: Specific Learning Disorders with impairment in Mathematics: What Parents and Teachers Should Know
Poster/Register

For more information, visit CES online at http://community.hmhc.ca/

Indigo Gift Cards

Support GATE by buying books! This ongoing fundraiser allows members to support the GPA, the GATE program, their students, and our GATE teachers. Shop for things you buy anyway, send non-contact electronic GIFT CARDS, and earn funds to help enhance the GATE program.

Click below to buy a gift card, and 15% of the purchase price goes to support the work that we do, including funding for teacher professional development and public information seminars and events. Gift cards may be used at all Chapters, Indigo, and Coles stores, and online. Use this link also to buy items online and earn an additional 3%!

Click on the image below to shop and buy gift cards.

How can we help you?

GATE Gifted and Talented Parent Association logo

How can we help you?

GATE Gifted and Talented Parent Association logo