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Mustang Memo - March 1, 2024

Kindness rules at DCE!

Pink Shirts, acts of kindness and cute Grade 1 students singing - what an inspirational week to support bullying awareness and belonging at DCE!

Students, staff and community wore our very own student-designed pink shirts for Pink Shirt Day. Did you know that we were featured in an Elk Island Public Schools news release? Click here to check it out!

Our Grade 1 students wowed us with their incredible public speaking skills, their adorable kindness pledge and their excellent kindness song during their kindness assembly. They showed leadership and citizenship skills in how they ran the assembly and taught us all that you don't have to be big to have an impact!

We continue to feel inspired by this incredible community and we are so proud to be part of the Mustang family!

Enjoy a great weekend!

Helene Hewitt & Jay Robertson

Principal & Assistant Principal

You belong here!

Table of Contents

Week At a Glance


  • Have your say! EIPS’ 2023-24 Annual Feedback Survey Opens March 1-21
  • Substitute Appreciation Week is Coming
  • Kindergarten Registration is Now Open


  • Counselor's Corner
  • Caregiver Series: March sessions
  • Pre-kindergarten Programming at EIPS
  • EIPS Round Dance 2024: Save the Date
  • March Book Madness


  • What did Staff Learn on the March 1 PL day?
  • Did you Know?
  • Literacy Tidbits
  • Parents Make the Difference


  • Swimming Lessons (Snaterse & Versteegt) @ 1:45-2:30 p.m.
  • Swimming Lessons KG Group A @ 1:00pm
  • Lunch clubs: 
    • Running Club Boys and Girls
  • Swimming Lessons (Lobe & Oslanski/Tambasco-Nicks & Parker) @ 10:00-10:45 a.m.
  • Group B KG Swimming Lessons @ 1pm
  • Gr. 5 DARE lessons in the afternoon
  • Lunch clubs:
    • Cute Things Club: Gr. 4 Group 1
    • Library Helpers: Gr. 5
    • Badminton Club: girls
  • Early Dismissal @ 2:18 p.m.
  • Running Room Indoor Games 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  • Lunch clubs:
    • Choir - Gr. 3-6
    • D & D Club: Gr. 5 Group 1
    • Games Club: Div 1
    • Pokémon Club: Gr. 3 group 3
    • Library Helpers: Gr. 5
    • Running Club Boys and Girls
  • Grade 6 Field trip to the Alberta Legislature 8:55 a.m. - 2:40 p.m.
  • Lunch clubs:
    • Badminton Club - boys
    • D & D Club: Gr. 4 group 3
    • Library helpers: Gr. 5
    • Cute Things Club: Gr. 4 Group 2
  • Mustang Memo posted
  • Lunch clubs:
    • Daebak Dance - Gr. 4-6
    • Gymnastics - Gr. 4-6


Have your say! EIPS’ 2023-24 Annual Feedback Survey Opens March 1-21

Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) wants to hear from you. Make sure to complete the 2023-24 EIPS Annual Feedback Survey: For parents and caregivers—open from March 1-21.

Every year, EIPS conducts the feedback survey to gauge its progress toward meeting the goals and priorities outlined in its Four-Year Education Plan. Families are asked a series of questions about:

  • their experiences with EIPS and the specific school their child attends;
  • the quality of education being provided to students;
  • areas for improvement; and
  • new this year, the survey includes an additional series of questions—focused on stakeholder confidence in EIPS’ priorities and strategic direction as a whole.

Collectively, the Division uses the survey feedback to help guide future planning, decision-making and strategies—all aimed at enhancing student learning and better serving the wider community.

open March 1-21

To preview the questions before completing the survey, see Question Preview - 2023-24 EIPS Annual Feedback Survey: For parents and caregivers.

NOTE: To share the experiences of more than one child, or if you have a child who attends classes at more than one EIPS school—such as Next Step and an EIPS senior high school—simply complete the survey again.

The survey is anonymous and only takes roughly 10-15 minutes to complete. EIPS will share the survey results in next year’s Annual Education Results Report 2023-24.


EIPS Annual Education Results Report 2022-23
EIPS Annual Education Results Report 2022-23: Overview

EIPS Four Year Education Plan: 2022-26

The background links are also provided throughout the survey, which you can use to help inform your survey answers.

Substitute Appreciation Week is Coming

EIPS is celebrating Substitute Appreciation Week from March 11-15. Annually, the Division officially recognizes the professional service EIPS’ substitute teachers and non-teaching staff provide throughout the Division each day. Throughout the week, the Division encourages schools, boards, families and community members to take a moment to tell your valued teaching and non-teaching substitute colleagues how thankful you are for the exceptional services they bring to your school community. From all of EIPS, thank you for all that you do!

Kindergarten Registration is Open!

Is your child turning five on or before Dec. 31, 2024? If so, it’s now time to register for kindergarten. To register, simply complete the online registration form at

To help families prepare, Elk Island Public Schools has put together an online EIPS Kindergarten Tool kit to make the transition as smooth as possible. The kit includes information on registration, important dates, programming options, what to expect, eligibility, how to find your designated school, transportation and more.

Additional information regarding Davidson Creek Elementary’s kindergarten program is available at


Counselor's Corner

Alberta Health Services offers free online programming for parents and caregivers of children and youth. Sessions are offered through Zoom. Upcoming topics include:

  • How to problem-solve collaboratively with your child
  • Understanding self-injury 
  • Fostering resilience through connecting, caring and coping
  • Ideas for supporting your child with "junior high jitters"

The list of March 2024 sessions is now available.

Madison Bashaw & Kelley Mitchell

DCE Counsellors

Caregiver Series - March sessions

Alberta Health Services offers free online programming for parents and caregivers of children and youth. Sessions are offered through Zoom. Upcoming topics include junior high jitters, collaborative problem-solving and understanding self-injury. The list of March 2024 sessions is now available.

Pre-kindergarten Programming at EIPS

Is there a preschooler in your life experiencing developmental delays or challenges with speech-language or motor-skill development—big or small? If so, Elk Island Public School’s Play And Learn at School (PALS) program could help.

Early learning lays the foundation for success in primary grades and beyond. As such, EIPS offers the pre-kindergarten PALS program in five of its elementary school locations. Applications are now open for free speech-language assessments for those interested in registering in the PALS program this fall. The assessment helps determine if PALS is appropriate for your child.

If you know a preschooler, born in 2020 or 2021, who could benefit from pre-kindergarten programming or want to book an assessment, fill out the PALS Program Request Form or call 780-417-8219. For more information, visit

EIPS Round Dance 2024: Save the Date!

F.R. Haythorne Junior High staff and students and the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education team are working together to host the second EIPS Round Dance. The event will take place at the school in the evening on Friday, March 15. The time of the event will be shared in an upcoming Mustang Memo!

Everyone is welcome to attend. This is a fantastic opportunity for staff, students and families to experience a traditional, cultural event with teachings from the Nakota People. The Division asks that no cameras or video are used during the event. Before and after the event—with the permission of the Elders and Knowledge Holders—media is allowed.

March Book Madness

Next time you pop by the school, make sure to check out the March Book Madness display on the library glass doors! You can see the incredible books that our students are reading throughout the month of March. Books are matched up in head to head brackets and students vote on their favourite title until there is only one book left! Make sure to ask your children about which books they voted for!


What did staff learn on the March 1 PL day?

While students can put their feet up with a day off, our staff spent the day learning! We began the morning by listening to a keynote presentation by Dr. Jared Cooney Horvath about impacts of stress, distraction and technology on student learning and ways we can help kids to work through them. This supports our School Education Plan (SEP) goal to "build mental health and wellness skills of students, staff and parents to foster a positive and healthy school community"

Teachers then worked in grade level teams to collaboratively score and analyze student writing samples. They worked together to decide what next steps their students will need to move their writing into the next achievement level as well as what kinds of instruction they might do to support overall growth in student writing. 

In the afternoon, teachers joined mixed grade level teams to look at student writing samples from kindergarten to grade 6 to see the progression of writing skills as compared to the English Language Arts and Literature curriculum. They finished off the day in their grade level teams to discuss key learnings and next steps that they will take to support student writing at each grade level.

This professional learning was designed by our teachers to support our SEP goal to "develop teacher capacity in evidence-based writing instruction".

It was a great day of learning!

Did you know?

Alberta Education provides funding to EIPS. The provincial government’s funding framework allocates funding directly to the Division, who then allocates funding to individual schools. Every year, EIPS prepares a budget in the spring based on projected enrolment, funding and student-focused initiatives directed by the Board of Trustees. Learn more about K-12 Education Funding in Alberta and the EIPS Budget.

Literacy Tidbits for Caregivers

Executive function and self-regulation are the skills that children need to learn in order to be successful in many areas. Imagine your brain is like a busy airport and executive function is the air traffic control tower that helps planes take off and land safely. Without executive function, students may struggle with things like decoding words or organizing their ideas when writing.

While we’re not born with executive function skills, our brains are ready to learn these skills. Some are modeled to us and we pick them up. Others need more explicit instruction and practice. Check out this article for some great activities that help children from infancy to adolescence develop their executive function skills. 

Parents make the difference

Here is this week's article with helpful tips for families:

Set high expectations that your child can achieve

Setting expectations can be tricky. Research shows that students generally live up to family and teacher expectations, whether those expectations are high or low. So, you want to set the bar high for your child.

It’s also important to be realistic. Most students are not going to excel at everything. If only near-perfection satisfies you, your child may think, “What’s the point?” and stop trying altogether.

To make sure your expectations are realistic and effective: 

  • Encourage your child’s best effort in all pursuits.
  • Have unique expectations for each of your children. Avoid comparing your child with siblings, friends or classmates.
  • Express pride in your child’s effort and hard work. Say things like, “You should be proud of yourself.”
  • Remember that your expectations are for your child, not for you. Kids are entitled to their own dreams. Avoid expecting your child to do what you wish you had done.
  • Learn about your child’s interests. When children feel like their families value their passions, they are more motivated to do their best.
  • Be a good role model. Let your child see you give your best effort. Set expectations for yourself and talk to your child about how you plan to meet them.

Reprinted with permission from the March 2024 issue of Parents make the difference!®  (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2024 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: J.A. Fredricks and others, Handbook of Student Engagement Interventions: Working with Disengaged Students, Academic Press.


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