Welcome to 2017-18!

Hello TLA Families,

Welcome to the first official day of school! Blessings on you all as you embark on what we pray is a joyful and fulfilling year of learning. You have an enthusiastic team of support alongside you – your teachers, our office staff, the technical team, educational assistants, and leadership team are all here to serve. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you’re confused about anything or have a question.

There are a few items I’d like to bring to your attention today:

  1. “Hang School and Hit the Beach” – we’ve been running this event for several years during the first week of school to celebrate the start of the year, meet other students and families, and to take advantage of the flexibility that distributed learning allows. There are multiple events around the province this year:
    • today in Enderby at Tuey Park at 1:00pm, contact Michelle Johnson mjohnson@schoolathome.ca or head down now!
    • Sept. 7 in Fort St. James at the Historic Park – contact Jen Duncan for details: jduncan@schoolathome.ca.
    • Sept. 8 in the Castlegar area (“Hang School, Let’s Hike”) – contact Darren Stoltz: dstoltz@schoolathome.ca
    • Sept. 8 at Blackie Spit in White Rock from 11am to 2pm. Show up with some snacks and maybe some beach toys. Nothing formal is planned, normally parents mill about and chat, while students and children play.
    • Sept. 12 in Prince George – contact Amy Wilkinson for details: awilkinson@schoolathome.ca
  2. For students taking Online and Blended courses, TLA teacher Gaynor Sward has developed an excellent course called Intro to Online and Blended Learning that teaches students how to use the primary digital tools needed to learn online at TLA. This course is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended, and within the course there is an optional extension that allows students from grade 8-12 to gain high school credit. Parents are encouraged to go through the course alongside their children in order to become familiar with the tools as well. All online and blended course students will see it on their list of courses when they log in to the Hub.
  3. Blended Open House – we will host an Open House for our Blended programs on September 7 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. The Open House will start with a short welcomeat the William of Orange school gymnasium. After the general welcome, parents and students can find teachers of the K-6 Blended programs and courses at the William of Orange portables, and the grade 7-12 programs and courses at TLA Hawthorne.
  4. School-Wide Orientation 7:00-9:00pm at TLA Hawthorne and online (meeting link here) – meant primarily for new K-12 families but all are welcome. The orientation will involve an overview of the school and our programs, with time afterward to talk to me and vice principals Steve Borley, Mary-Anne VanderHorst, and Lindsay Sanderson, along with any teachers in attendance.

TLA End of Summer Update

Hello TLA Families,

Warm greetings to you all as we approach the end of summer. What follows is a short update on our various programs and departments.

What’s New:

OverDrive: We are working on populating and rolling out a digital library using OverDrive. This is a system that many public libraries in BC currently use. We are adding a combination of curriculum-type resources as well as fiction and non-fiction ebooks and audio-ebooks at a wide range of reading levels. There will be a system in place to put holds on books, to request books we don’t have, and to sign books out through our single-sign-on login system. This year it will be a work in progress as we build the library and you all become more familiar with how to use it.

FreshGrade: Many of you already use FreshGrade to communicate with your teachers. FreshGrade is a made-in-BC success story, an educational app that is used to connect students, teachers, and parents. You can see more at freshgrade.com. We are making our systems more fully integrated with FreshGrade, such that all of our K-9 teachers will know how to use it if you want to use it as a communication and portfolio tool. We have wonderful training videos for parents available.

TLA Website: stay tuned, sometime next week we’ll be rolling out an updated website. Apologies for any outdated information that is on our current website.

New Teachers: we welcome the following new teachers to TLA:
Kerry Watson: LSS teacher on Vancouver Island
Libby Voth: teaching two-day Blended grade 6-7, and Blended Humanities 10
Elda Egan: K-9 and LSS teacher based in Prince George
Rebekah MacEwan: Blended Drama and Theatre Production

We bid farewell to the following teachers this year: CJ Scott, Melinda Johnston-Harder, Megan Mackenzie, Jan Fung, Bev Thiessen, Velda Chan and Bev Ellis. Seems like a lot, but with a staff of around 90 this amount of turnover is normal for us. We thank these teachers for their years of service and dedication to TLA’s home learning community.

K-9 – Vice Principal Steve Borley:

We have created and are offering Online courses down into grade seven now. Your child has access to STEM 7, Humanities 7, PHE 7, Textiles 7, Foods 7, 2D Studio Art 7, and Intro to Agriculture 7 courses starting this September. Further, we have created and are offering Blended courses as low as grade one – your options include STEM, Humanities, Visual Arts, and Physical and Health Education.
We welcome three new teachers to the K-9 team. Libby Voth is teaching Two-Day Blended 6/7; Elda Egan is teaching in the Home and LSS realms in Prince George and area; and Virtue El-Aleyrt is teaching all Blended programs and courses in Kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 except PHE.
With these additions to our staff, we currently have room in all regions and programs for new enrollments. If you have found TLA to be a good school, please spread the news. Thank you.

Home: our K-9 Home program has space available in all areas of the province.
Online: We offer many grade 8 and 9 online courses, in addition to new grade 7 online courses such as: STEM, Humanities, PHE, 2D Studio Arts, Textiles, Foods. We now have Intro to Agriculture as new grade 7-9 online course. Our website update is going to make these course options clear – currently the grade 7 courses are not listed on our website, but they are available.
-There are still spaces available in some of the one and two day blended programs.
-There are spaces available in all of the blended courses.
-“Programs” are the one and two day programs where the teacher is also the Home teacher, partnering with the parent on the whole program. “Courses” are courses that form part of a student’s program, while they still maintain a separate Home teacher.
-Blended Physical Education schedule: we are having to wait until August 29th to determine our gym schedule at William of Orange. Sorry for the delay, we have to wait until William of Orange settles on their needs first.

10-12 – Vice Principal Mary-Anne VanderHorst

Online: Our Online courses all have space available. New offerings include Mandarin 10-12, Tourism 12, and an updated Marketing 11 focusing on Sports and Entertainment. We may also add Outdoor Education 11 and 12.
Innovations: Erin Philps is taking over from CJ Scott in running our 10-12 Innovations program, a project-based cross-curricular program. Contact ephilps@schoolathome.ca for more info.
-Large enrolment in at the grade 10 level has required us to divide the Humanities 10, FMP 10, and Science 10 classes between Tuesday and Wednesday. We sincerely thank families who have been flexible with the day change. Some switch requests are still pending and we may be contacting other grade 10 families with regard to the day change.
-Low enrolment in a few classes has required us to cancel AWM 10 and AWM 11.
-Blended Physical Education schedule: we are having to wait until August 29th to determine our gym schedule at William of Orange. Sorry for the delay, we have to wait until William of Orange settles on their needs first.
-Friday’s Art and Drama classes are now starting at 9:30 instead of 9:00am.

Learning Support Services – Vice-Principal Lindsay Sanderson

Our Learning Support Services department is at about 98% capacity. If you know of families considering TLA’s DL program for a child who has special needs, please advise them to apply as soon as possible.
New LSS programs for the 2017/18 school year:
-We are offering an LSS support on Monday’s at TLA Main office. This is for students in Grade 8-12 that may need additional academic support, as well as to encourage and support the development of executive functioning skills. Please contact your LSS teacher if you feel your child would be interested.
-We are offering a Social Emotional Learning class this year. The class runs on Tuesdays. Our first class is now full (Tues morning). We are taking a wait list to open a second class on Tuesday afternoons. Please contact your LSS teacher if you are interested. Students interested in attending SEL must be able to sit and work independently for a minimum of 15 minutes.
-We are hoping to organize several field trips for LSS students this year. Please look for more information from your LSS teacher this fall.

TLA Orientation and Blended Open House:

5:00-7:00 PM on September 7 at TLA Hawthorne (5741 176th St. Surrey) we will have a Blended Open House – a chance to meet the Blended program teachers and hear about their plans for the year.

7:00-9:00 PM on September 7 at TLA Hawthorne and Online (meeting link here) we will host a general TLA K-12 welcome and orientation. Primarily meant for new families but all are welcome.


Gabe Linder