ISSUE #7 VOLUME 21— May, 2015
Up the
On Saturday April 11th, Wolf Creek Teacher’s ATA Local #3 offered a Retirement Planning Workshop that was hosted by Wolf Creek Public Schools. This free workshop, targeted to those who are
considering retiring within the next 5 – 10 years, and their pension partners; explored planning for
retirement, the changing character of retirement, and the process of making important decisions.
The day’s agenda included an introductory activity and information proceeded by presentations on
the Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association, Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund, Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan, Service Canada - CPP/OAS, and Financial Planning. Indeed considerable information, along with answers to many questions, was provided.
In all 44 people, in addition to the presenters, attended the workshop; some of the feedback is shared
Thanks for hosting this very informative retirement session!!
Thank you very much for organizing today's retirement seminar. Name Withheld and I both thought
that it was very informative and helpful. It was fast paced but not rushed and a lot was packed into
the day.
I attended the Retirement Workshop yesterday and would like to thank you personally for your organization of this event. It was very informative. Thank you.
Thank you for arranging the retirement information workshop. It was excellent!
Up the Creek! is published monthly, nine times a year. Your contributions
and feedback are always welcome.
Ian McLaren, Communications Officer,
Wolf Creek ATA Local #3
by Shauna Murdoch
Audiences were amazed as they travelled to the mystical land of Narnia Friday April 24th and Saturday April 25th in Rimbey, as the high school performed the play “The lion, the witch and the wardrobe.” After practicing hard for two months,
students gave it their all in the production to sold out crowds. All of the characters enchanted students from the high school
and elementary schools as well as parents in this creative and moving story. Directed by their teacher Shauna Murdoch, students told the story of Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan as they were transported through a magical wardrobe into Narnia
where they would fulfill the prophecy and destroy the
evil White Witch.
None of it would be possible without the support of a
few people, and I would like to thank them now. I’d
like to thank Rosebud theatre for renting their beautiful
costumes, Alberta Teachers Association Local #3 for
their generous donation, Thomas Ussher, professor at
RDC, for his sword fighting lesson and rental of the
swords, Nancy Lindley and Laura Rasmussen for making the lion costume, Michaels Studio for the beautiful
banner, and the staff at the High School for their support.
Audiences were amazed by the costumes, set design,
and dynamic performances of the main characters;
Kassidy Hohn who plays the White Witch did a fantastic job using her presence and aptitude for the stage to
become evil and controlling. Amanda Cameron who
played Aslan was majestic and kind, but when it came
time to deal with the White Witch she had a big roar
and helped the kids become victorious! And of course, who could forget the children? Lucy played by Johanna Lunzmann
did a great job of always having faith in herself, and in Aslan. Edmund played by Ryley Matthews was always thinking
about his stomach, and getting himself into trouble, but learned the valuable lesson of trust and believing in himself. Peter
played by Bryce Sargeant and Susan played by Journey Giesbrecht also had amazing roles, each shining as they used their
maturity to lead the army in the destruction of the White Witch.
The play held audiences attention as they were gripped by the acting, special effects, and the story that unfolded before them.
I would like to thank everyone who helped my students perform this magical journey and make their performance one to
To all those within the Wolf Creek Public School Division:
Albertans go to the polls on May 5th to elect the next provincial government. The 2015 Alberta general election will determine the members of the next Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Both Wolf Creek Public
Schools and Wolf Creek Teachers’ ATA Local #3 encourage and support your involvement in deciding who
will shape our province and its educational systems going forward. District staff can support public education by voting on Election Day and participating directly in the selection of Alberta’s next government.
While we are nonpartisan and do not endorse any one political party or candidate over another, we do encourage individuals to become engaged in the political life of the province. This involvement may include,
among other actions, joining and becoming active in a political party of your choice; the decision to join a
political party is, of course, an individual one. If you want to do more to influence the political process than
cast a ballot in the next election, you might want to consider joining a political party. Party membership can
prove a rewarding experience. Not only will you be able to participate in nomination meetings and leadership campaigns, but you will also have the opportunity to shape policy, work alongside those who share your
beliefs and values, and help your party succeed.
Now that Premier Jim Prentice dropped the writ on April 7th, individuals who might be inclined to support a
party have a particular incentive to become active members of that party. Members of any party can use the
election race to raise issues of concern about public education and participate directly in the selection of Alberta’s next government.
If you make a decision to join one or more political parties, your level of involvement is, again of course, up
to you. You may wish to remain a passive member, receiving the party’s newsletter and other communiqués,
or you may wish to become actively involved in its affairs. Choose a level of involvement with which you
feel comfortable; it may change over time.
Trudy Bratland
Chair, Wolf Creek Public School Board
Michael Doll
President, Wolf Creek Teachers’ ATA Local #3
Jim Osinchuk
Economic Policy Committee Chair, Wolf Creek
Teachers’ ATA Local #3
Larry W. Jacobs Ph.D.
Superintendent, Wolf Creek Public Schools
Wondering where the parties stand on Education issues?
Here’s an overview, prepared by Michelle Wotherspoon
Provincial Election – Tuesday May 5th
Check out the website
A strong public education system is the cornerstone of a prosperous society. Public education provides students from all backgrounds
with learning experiences to discover and develop their potential, their passions and their gifts, allowing them to make significant contributions to their communities.
This election, candidates for public office should be encouraged to articulate their policies on education and to provide a financial plan
designed to implement these policies. Decisions on many important issues that affect students and schools will be made by elected
officials currently running for office. Find out where your candidate stands on these matters.
May 5th Provincial Election Candidates
Alberta Party
Lacombe –
Red Deer North
Red DeerSouth
Tony Jeglum
Sylvan Lake
Danielle Klooster
Doug Hart
Progressive Conservative
Peter DeWitt
Ron Orr
Hannah Schlamp
Tammy Cote
Jason Nixon
Krystal Kromm
Micheal Dawe
Kim Schreiner
Christine Moore
Buck Buchanan
Serge Gingras
Deborah Checkel
Barb Miller
Darcy Mykytyshyn
Norman Weibe
Patricia Norman
Kerry Towle
Donald MacIntyre
Joe Anglin
Patti Argent
William Berry
Ben Dubois (green
Where do the parties stand on Education?
(all info taken from the stand up for schools website)
Alberta Party
The Alberta Party will work to…
Build schools, protect our teachers and reduce class sizes
Reverse the PCs’ cuts to education and guarantee per-student funding to match population growth and inflation.
Invest in new schools to keep pace with Alberta’s population growth.
Phase out school fees.
Reduce taxpayer subsidies to private schools that do not serve the public interest.
Green Party
The Green Party of Alberta stands with the vast majority of Albertans in supporting strong, publicly-funded institutions to provide
excellent education, health-care and open, fully-accountable government.
Liberal Party
The PC government’s chronic underfunding of our education system is hurting teachers and students. Since this government slashed
the education budget five years ago, the system has been lurching from one potential crisis to another. Now, we are staring down the
barrel of another austerity budget and deeper cuts.
We simply cannot afford to keep tying children’s education to the price of oil.
Our classrooms are already overcrowded due to a lack of space and teachers, more layoffs would simply exacerbate this problem, and
our students are going to pay the price.
Now is the time to invest in education in order to protect young families in this province. Slashing the budget will end up costing all
of us more in the long run. It will damage our economy and our society, and it will shortchange our children’s future.
Alberta Liberals will stand up for students, stand up for teachers, STAND UP FOR EDUCATION.
Approved Policies:
Eliminate school fees
Increase ESL funding
Make schools community hubs
New Democratic Party
Rachel Notley’s NDP will stop the PCs’ cuts to our schools. Our education plan focuses on reducing class sizes, cutting school
fees for families by half, and introducing a school lunch program to tackle child hunger.
Our Plan:
We will cancel the PCs’ cuts to education funding and fund enrolment growth in our schools.
Under the NDP plan, we will also focus on class size reduction initiatives, reduce school fees by half, and introduce a school
lunch program to reduce child hunger in our schools.
In 2013/14, there were 657,811 students in our schools, according to Alberta Education.
PC Cuts:
The PCs are cutting $104 million from school boards this year by refusing to fund enrolment increases. The PC budget states
that “School boards will not be funded for projected enrolment growth of 1.9%” (Fiscal Plan, pg. 4).
As a result of these cuts to education, “There is no additional funding to address projected enrolment growth of 12,000 students
(1.9%) in 2015-16” (Fiscal Plan, pg. 16). That means that 12,000 new students will enter Alberta’s schools this September –
without the teachers and textbooks they need.
These cuts are also embedded in subsequent budget years, compounding the impacts each year.
Class Sizes:
The PC budget states that overall class-size averages are expected to increase by 1.5 students this fall (Fiscal Plan, pgs. 16-17).
Earlier this month, data collected by the ATA revealed that class sizes across the province have ballooned over the past five
years, including a dramatic 23.6 percent increase to grade 10-12 class sizes in Calgary School District and an 18 percent increase
in K-3 class sizes in Lethbridge School District.
School Fees:
According to the Minister of Education, Alberta families paid $86.79 million dollars in school fees in 2011-12, including $53.65
million in instructional material and supplies fees and $33.14 million in transportation fees.
Child Hunger:
As of 2012, approximately 16.2 percent of Alberta kids (approx. 143,200 children) live in poverty, according to Campaign 2000.
New Democrats will reverse the PCs’ cut to school boards this year, which amount to $104 million in restored funding. New
Democrats will also take steps to target funding to class size reduction initiatives, and reduce the trend of increasing class sizes
in Alberta’s schools.
We will invest $45 million to reduce school fees by half, with a particular focus on banning lunch supervision fees. Reducing
school fees will protect the principles of public education and ensure all students have access to opportunities regardless of their
family’s income.
Progressive Conservative
The following platform elements were included in the PC platform document, The Prentice Plan.
Education is the great economic equalizer. No matter where a child was born, or into what economic circumstance, in Alberta
every child has access to a world-class education system. Our schools exist to give children the tools they need to be successful
in an increasingly competitive and complex economy.
All children in Alberta should have equal opportunity to succeed. That’s why we will invest and support them in their early
years and throughout their education. If we do this, they can get a good head start in life.
Invest in Early Childhood Development
Action: Implement Alberta’s Early Childhood Development initiative, including an integrated early learning system.
Action: Add three new Parent Link Centres that provide free parenting and play programs to meet the unique needs of families.
Support Student Success
Action: Develop a strategy for higher student achievement including: curriculum changes, coherent grading, 21st century competencies such as innovation, communication and critical thinking.
Action: Shift diploma exam weighting from a 50/50 to a 30/70 weighting where school-awarded grades will be worth 70 per
Action: Dual-credit partnerships: students can now take high school trades and skills courses and get credits at a post-secondary
Action: Promote safe, dignified and respectful education environments.
Invest in Teacher Excellence
Our teachers play a vital role in preparing our children to complete in a 21st century economy and we will give them the
tools and support they need to do so.
Action: Preserve front line teaching positions.
Action: Invest in training and support for Alberta teachers with a focus on math as an essential skill.
Action: Work with educators to ensure professional teaching standards address the diverse needs of students in the 21st
Action: Provide support and mentorship for new teachers.
Wildrose Party
The following policy statements have been extracted from the Wildrose platform, Standing Up for Albertans: Five Priorities.
Building Schools On Time and On Budget
• Ensure that new school projects, modernizations, and modular classrooms are approved in a transparent and consistent
way, and aligned with the priorities determined by school boards, not the Minister
• Speed up completion of new schools and major projects and save money by improving the tendering and design process so that more builders are eligible
• Empower local boards to find efficiencies by coordinating with developers and community facilities such as recreation
centres and libraries
Getting Back to Basics In Curriculum and Grading
• Clearly identify the knowledge and skills required for each grade level and entrust teachers to choose the method of
instruction for their classrooms
• Develop a consistent provincial grading standard with traditional letter or percentage grades for Grade 5-12 students
and support the practice of teachers who give a grade of zero for incomplete work
• Improve transparency concerning student results so parents have the information they need to make decisions regarding their child’s education
Protecting Choice and Equality
• Eliminate mandatory school fees
• Protect a parent’s right to choose what school their child attends (Public, Catholic, Francophone, Public Charter, Private, or Homeschool) and maintain the current model for school funding
• Review funding and government supports to help schools be more sustainable in small communities
• Recognize that meeting the needs of special needs students means improving the supports for their families and teachers
• Ensure adequate funding follows each special needs student and is used in a way that best meets the individual needs
of the child.
• Facilitate students who would benefit from greater inclusion, but ensure adequate supervision and support is provided
so the classroom is a healthy learning environment for everyone
• Work with all partners to make sure that every child, regardless of gender, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation,
appearance or any other characteristic, has a bully-free educational experience