BTPS Newsletter

January 30, 2023

Superintendent's Memo

Where did the month of January go? Here we are on the last days of the month already and about to start semester 2! Thanks to everyone for your hard work and dedication to our students and all those who had a supporting hand in the successful delivery of our final exams and diplomas for semester 1.

January was a great month here in BTPS. We hosted four stakeholder engagements and our last 4 Year Plan Engagement is online on Feb. 1. Contact your principal or supervisor if you need the link shared with you. The themes of our engagements have been consistent with our provincial results which indicate that our parents and guardians feel that staff care about students in our schools. You all play such a critical role in making this happen so please keep up the amazing work! It will be exciting to work through creating our priorities for the next four years.

I am so very proud of all the work that is happening in our schools to ensure the success of all of our students. To showcase our work, we have created a BTPS Learning Guide to inform staff and stakeholders of the support to improve student learning and professional practice within our schools. The Learning Guide provides an opportunity to share how we maximize student learning, in a safe and caring environment, supported by a highly effective team. This is posted on our website.

The 2023-2024 Calendar was approved by the Board after a survey to staff and parents/guardians. Michelle led the work with a calendar committee to develop a calendar to align to regulations and have feedback from the survey incorporated. You can view it here on our website. There is also a FAQ and video about calendar development which aligns with our 302.1 AP Calendar Guidelines.

Because of you we have heard positive feedback from parents, guardians, stakeholders and teachers about our schools! Again, I want to thank you for all you do to make our schools great places to be.

I appreciated hearing from staff about their favourite Elvis songs. Each song that was shared with me, I took the time to listen to again. One can never get enough Elvis. Thanks for sharing.

This week and in future weeks, you will be hearing some radio ad messages from our students about treaties, smudging and land acknowledgements. If you have students who wish to contribute a radio ad message for us, please let me know. You can listen to them here.

February is also Black History Month. There are many resources available to use in classrooms or for your own learning about the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities. The 2022 theme for Black History Month is: “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day,”. The Canadian Heritage website has a toolkit. Here is a free read-aloud of 'Howdy, I'm John Ware'. You are welcome to play the 15-minute animated video in their classrooms.

Happy February!

Take care,

Rhae-Ann Holoien


International Women's Day Event 2023

Buffalo Trail Public Schools celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD). This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity. On March 9, 2023, we are hosting an in person event and Darci Lang will be engaging us in conversation during the evening. Darci has written four books and her book Embrace the 90% supports this year’s IWD theme.

This event on March 9 is for everyone. We will have an opportunity to hear Darci Lang speak and also have conversations with others on how we all are able to advocate and champion accelerating women's equality and support the development of an inclusive mindset.

Save the date on your calendars:

Date: March 9, 2023

Time: 5:30 PM

Location: Hall 1 & 2 at the Wainwright Communiplex

Meal Cost: $25.00/meal

We will have supper together, listen to Darci and celebrate IWD 2023. We will have limited seats available. Sign up here and contact Bri Blackie to pay for your meal ticket via e-transfer. Learn more about Darci Lang on her website.

BTPS Publishes Division Wide Learning Guide

To share our division wide and school based professional learning opportunities, we have published a BTPS Learning Guide. The intent of the BTPS Learning Guide is to inform staff and stakeholders of the support to improve student learning and professional practice within our schools. With a focus on optimum learning, the Learning Guide provides an opportunity to share how we maximize student learning, in a safe and caring environment, supported by a highly effective team.

The BTPS Learning Guide is found on our website under About > BTPS Learning Guide. It is an amazing resource that shares with you the work of our staff and it promotes an understanding of how we are achieving our learning goals across BTPS. It shares the connection among our schools and promotes an understanding of how we promote student learning. It is easy to read this Learning Guide and be amazed at all we do to support student learning. This guide will be updated annually as schools and the division create learning plans to meet our goals.

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Letter to Staff - Save the Date - International Women's Day 2023

Letter to Parents/Guardians - 2023-2024 School Year Calendar

Media Releases

BTPS Publishes Division Wide Learning Guide

BTPS Annual Audited Financial Statement 2021-2022

You can view all of our news releases on our website here.

Read Alouds

Rhae-Ann Holoien, Superintendent, reads aloud "My Heart Fills With Happiness" by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett

You can view all of our Read Alouds on our BTPS YouTube here.

Radio Ads

Maizie from Dewberry School - What is a Land Acknowledgement?

Pyrrha from JR Robson School - What is a Treaty?

Emmit from Kitscoty Elementary School - Kindergarten Registration

You can listen to all of our Radio Ads on our website here.

BTPS Learning on the Trail Podcast

Check out all of our BTPS Learning on the Trail podcast episodes here.

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Elementary teachers (!!): Having trouble finding decodable texts that align with your current lessons? The University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI) has put together a decodable guide that follows their scope and sequence. Find more resources, including all the freebies (lesson slide decks, decodable passages, and games & activities) from UFLI on our BTPS resource site.


Each Little Book in Mathology comes has an accompanying digital activity using the Interactive Math Tools. Ask me about how you can use Hapara Highlights to open these links for your fast finishers in just a few clicks!

Kindergarten - A Warm Cozy Nest Little Book and Interactive Activity

Grade 1 - That’s 10! Little Book and Interactive Activity

Grade 2 - Array’s Bakery Little Book and Interactive Activity

Grade 3 - A Week of Challenges Little Book and Interactive Activity

EdTech Tips with Stacy

Let’s talk assessment, shall we? Need help providing meaningful, impactful feedback in a more timely and efficient way? Try the Chromebook extension, Annotate PRO. Annotate PRO (AP) makes it easy to create and share reusable libraries of comments, so you can write great feedback once, then use it over and over again only tweaking it to personalize for a specific student. Simply download the FREE Chromebook extension to get started. Annotate PRO integrates seemlessly with Google Docs. Check out this helpful how-to video on the use of AP! Another easy way to provide feedback is to use Google Keep! Check out this simple how-to from Alice Keeler.
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A strong HUMAN firewall is our best line of defense when securing our data online. Here are three measures all staff should have in place to keep their data (and colleagues data) safe.

  1. Secure Passwords - keep private, minimum 13 characters, change regularly

  2. 2-Factor Authentication - set this up on all professional and personal accounts

  3. Personal Information - do not share any personal information digitally (SIN, Drivers License, Credit Cards, etc)

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Where Learning Flourishes

GRIT is pleased to offer a variety of learning opportunities geared to the work of early childhood educators, teachers, parents, and other professionals. This interactive, online learning focuses on providing knowledge and strategies to adults who support diverse learners in the early years (e.g. preschool / kindergarten).

Click here to register for your desired workshop.

Connecting Educators with the Resources They Want

Schedule a time to dive deeper into FASD-specific classroom and instructional strategies. For more information, please contact

AMH Education Services - Free Mental Health Webinars - February 2023

AMH Education Services, Edmonton Zone, is proud to offer free addiction and mental health virtual programming for parents and caregivers of children and youth, as well as sessions for all adults.

To register for a session and for more information on topics, dates, times, and registration, visit:
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JR Robson School & BTPS Italy & Spain International Field Trip 2024

  • March 29 - April 6, 2024

  • Open to any BTPS grade 10-12 student, parent or staff member to join

  • Parent & student registration night: Monday, February 13, 2023 at 7:00 pm at JR Robson School, Vermilion

Contact Lorne Maier at JR Robson School for information or questions (

PSBAA Photo Contest

PSBAA photo contest is open to all residents of Alberta – including students, teachers, parents and school community members. Photos must relate to people or subjects connected with K-12 public school education in Alberta.

Please note the deadline for submissions is May 1, 2023. Just a reminder there are three prizes up for grabs: $300 (1st place); $200 (2nd place), and $100 (3rd place).

If you have any questions, please email Troy Tait at

If you prefer, you may also submit your photos to Bri at Central Office and she can submit them to PSBAA on you/your school's behalf!

2 Billion Trees

The Government of Canada is accepting proposals for its “2 Billion Trees” initiative! As part of its nature-based climate solution, the government’s 2 Billion Trees program aims to motivate and support new tree-planting projects. Over the next 10 years, up to $3.2 billion will be invested in tree-planting efforts to support provinces, territories, third-party organizations (for-profit and not-for-profit), and Indigenous organizations to plant two billion trees across Canada. Trees can be planted on public or private lands. Want to get your students involved? Contact the 2BT program team.



Are you between the ages of 15-25 and interested in health and well-being? Join the Ever Active Schools Youth Advisory Council! We're looking for 10 enthusiastic youth from across Alberta and beyond to share their voices on topics like employment, education, and health and wellness. If selected, you'll serve on the council for a term of 1-3 years.

Applications are open until March 3, 2023 -

Animated Black History story for Grades 2-4

Here is a free read-aloud of 'Howdy, I'm John Ware'. Teachers are welcome to play the 15-minute animated video in their classrooms to mark Black History Month in February. 'Howdy, I’m John Ware' is ideal for Grades 2-4. If anyone would like to buy a copy, they can order via ULS or directly on the Red Barn Books website using code EDUCATORS for a 30% discount.

Gender and Sexual Diversity in Youth
Live Virtual Workshop:
February 14-15, 9am-4pm CST

This workshop reviews gender and sexual diversity from the adolescent perspective and offers strategies for creating more accessible and welcoming environments.

Some of the Topics Reviewed
· Gender and Sexual Diversity Spectrum
· Affirmative Approaches to Support
· The Critical Periods in Development
· Strategies to Support Youth’s Needs
· Considerations for Supporting Families