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Weekly Update | November 24, 2023

Hello UA Families,

We have been fortunate with sunny weather in a typically dark month in this corner of the world. This has meant more park time for our younger students, and more valuable rays of sunshine to bring some brightness to our days and help conquer the winter blues. We are fortunate to work in a school with so many windows and so much natural light and are grateful every day for the UA community of builders, movers, and shakers who made this happen for us.

The UA staff took advantage of our window walls in the school at an excellent Pro-D day last Tuesday facilitated by Mike Pruner. Special thanks to our very own Ms. Melissa Herman who organized this for us. Mike Pruner is an expert in Building Thinking Classrooms and he had all teaching staff practice visible thinking routines. I have to say it was one of the best Pro-D sessions I have attended in years. It was amazing to see all our colleagues collaboratively working and learning together to solve problems and show their thinking. Mike Pruner was guided by an educational guru named Peter Liljedahl, who does a lot of research about thinking. Parents may find this article by Peter Liljedahl interesting: Students Are Busy but Rarely Thinking, Researcher Argues. Do His Teaching Strategies Work Better? It gives you some insight into the work we staff at UA do to remain lifelong learners. It also taps into our goal of making thinking the focus, and making learning visible – to UA students and parents. 

Speaking of making the learning visible, Khatereh Dadar and I are looking forward to hosting another virtual Ask Me Anything session on Tuesday night at 7:00pm during which our focus topic will be assessment and “What Does “Developing” Really Mean?” Bring your questions and comments, although be mindful that this is a group Zoom so questions and comments will not be student-specific. We hope to see you there on Tuesday night.

I wanted to round out this weekly message with a true highlight of the week, and that is a celebration. UA has its first provincial result in Athletics, placing 10th in the 100m freestyle and 16th in the 100m backstroke. Congratulations on this achievement, a first for UA, and thank you for representing us so well as ambassadors and athletes.

In gratitude,
Brenda Ball