Choose Joy!

Week of December 7, 2020

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December 6 - St. Nicholas Feast Day

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Staff Prepares School for Advent

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Celebrating Advent This Year!

We are excited to share with you the beautiful and exciting ways we are celebrating Advent with our community this year! Here's a sneak peek of what has begun and what to stay tuned for!
  • Thank you to the many staff who stayed late on November 30th to beautifully decorate the school for children. The lights are dimmed each morning, and Christmas music is enjoyed in the hall as the children enter the school - transforming the school into a sparkling space of wonder and love.
  • Each morning, we gather together virtually for our Advent Prayers with Mme Gravelle and Mrs. Weller (and soon our Grade 4 leaders) who take us through the story of Jesus's birth and the promises of God that begin with the story of creation. Each day we come together to light the Advent candles and learn each story of God's promise through the Jesse Tree. So far we have learned the story of Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob. Each story comes from Scripture and we hear all about God's promise of Love.
  • We are a preparing a special Advent Video Presentation for you to enjoy with your family at home. This will be our OLA children retelling of the story of Jesus' birth. Stay tuned!
  • As has been our tradition, we have had a VIP seats fundraiser for Catholic Social Services and Valeda House for our Advent Concert. This year is no exception. Stay tuned for your chance to win VIP Viewing Packages filled with all sorts of goodies for you to enjoy while watching OLA's Advent Presentation in the comfort of your own home. More details are coming soon! The more tickets you purchase - the more chances you have to win...and the women and children of Valeda House Thank You in advance for your generosity!
  • We will be bringing in more fun by having a Door Decorating Contest coming up near the end of December...with prizes too!
  • December 11 we will be joining St. John XXIII, St. JPII and SAB for a Fort Saskatchewan Catholic School Virtual Mass at 10:45am - Please join us! It will be live streamed from the Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Parish Facebook Page.
  • We are truly blessed to have the opportunity for every OLA staff and child to celebrate mass together with Father Kris at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church. The grade 3 & 4 Cohort family will walk to the church and enjoy mass at 10:00am on Monday, December 21st and the Kindergarten to Grade 2s at 9:30am on Tuesday, December 22 - just days before Jesus' birth! Thank you for your help ensuring students are well dressed to walk to church, and each child wears a mask. Mass will also be streamed on the OLA Catholic Parish Facebook page linked above.
  • Throughout the month of December and the Advent season, interwoven in all classes, we will celebrate God's love for us, for the gift of His only Son and when we return in January, the celebrations will continue with Epiphany!
  • At OLA, we Choose Joy daily!

VIP Viewing Packages and Prizes

If you have or know of a locally based company who would like to contribute to our VIP Viewing Packages, thank you for emailing Mrs. Melanie Martinez at

If you would like to contribute to prizes for the class who wins the door decorating contests, thank you for connecting with our amazing secretary, Mrs. Susan Desaulniers at

Thank you in advance for your generosity, for supporting OLA as well as Catholic Social Services.

The Seven Sacred Teachings

Our OLA School Community is embarking on a journey to learn about and apply the Seven Sacred Teachings as well as learning how they are so truly in alignment with our Gospel values and how we as Catholics live our lives through Christ.

  • The Seven Sacred Teachings are values based on First Nations cultural tradition.

  • Almost all First Nation people follow the Seven Sacred Teachings as a way to know how to behave and treat others well.

  • These teachings reinforce the teachings of our Catholic faith and to people all over the world that are trying to live a good life.

Mrs. Weller shared a beautiful video at our OLA assembly helping us understand the "why" behind recognizing the land we gather on, and the link between the Seven Sacred Teachings and our Catholic Faith.

Click here to see the video!

We also welcome Kokum Doreen who will be joining many of our classes virtually to help us learn about the Seven Sacred Teachings. Thank you to the Fort Saskatchewan Multicultural Society for helping to make this beautiful partnership possible!

Sacred Teaching: LOVE

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Each Wednesday we come together for our Virtual Announcements, and each month we explore one of the Seven Sacred Teachings. Throughout the month of December, we are learning about the Sacred Teaching of Love. Ask your children about what they have learned. :-)

This week @ OLA

School Begins at 8:45am - Thank you for your help to ensure children arrive between 8:33am and 8:45am so they ease into their day. This helps to set them up for successful learning and growing.

Sunday, December 6 - 2nd Sunday in Advent

Power Options Week 4!

Monday, December 7

  • Virtual Prayers from our Chapel each day of Advent
  • Kokum Doreen Virtual Visits - 3MK - 9:00am
  • Choosing Joy today!

Tuesday, December 8

  • Advent Virtual Prayers & Jesse Tree from our Chapel
  • Virtual School Council Daytime Meeting - 11:00am
  • A great day to learn and grow together!

Wednesday, December 9

  • Staff Mass in Chapel & Library @ 8:00am
  • Advent Virtual Prayers & Jesse Tree from our Chapel
  • Virtual Announcements: Sacred Teacher of Love
  • Kokum Doreen Virtual Visits - 4P - 9:00am
  • More spectacular learning and growing!

Thursday, December 10

  • Advent Virtual Prayers & Jesse Tree from our Chapel
  • A great day to be in community together!

Friday, December 11

  • Advent Virtual Prayers & Jesse Tree from our Chapel
  • Fort Saskatchewan Schools Advent Mass @ 10:45am: Livestreamed here
  • Friyay! Where will you Choose Joy today?


To see what is up and coming even further ahead, please visit our website calendar.

You can view our Kindergarten Calendar here.

Who's Who @ OLA

Introducing you to the Team!

Each week we will highlight a few members of the OLA team who welcome OLA children to school and who are walking with them this school year!

Your children are in good hands!

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What's happening at OLA?

3MK Investigative Squad is On It!

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They gathered the scene photos and evidence, investigated motives, interrogated the suspects, apprehended the culprits and FOUND Mme Gravelle and Mrs. Weller!

This was their Power Option!

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By working together, 3MK found and released Mrs. Weller and Mme Gravelle!

1MW Outside

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Quotes of the Week

Miss Miller: "You wrote the word moose in the wrong spot."

Student: "Oops, I made a moosetake!"

Yesterday a boy walked up to the Christmas tree in the hallway and said while pretending to pick it up, "I think I will just take this home with me." Then the student looks down the hallway and said, "and I'm going to take the other tree too!"

Student: "Mrs. Earle, this is the best Christmas at school yet (as he takes in all of the decorations)!"
Mrs. Earle: "Yes, it sure looks great in here!"

The grade 2's were geared up for recess and the weather was gorgeous. We went out a few minutes early during the 3/4 recess and while they were still playing outside. As soon as we got outside one of the girls said, "Doesn’t anyone know how to wear their jackets?"

4E Music Class

Yes...we are still looking!

Looking to purge a little? Doing a little winter cleaning?

OLA is in search of shelving units like the one on the right for our children to put boots on. If you happen to have one that is sturdy (it doesn't have to be pretty) please connect with Mme Gravelle at

We continue to welcome donations of:

  • Scrabble letter squares
  • Magnetic letters
  • Chalk board erasers
  • Complete Board Game sets
  • Decks of Cards
  • Puzzles

Thank you to the families who have already donated items! They are and will be well used!

Ms. Kelava Racing with her Students

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School Fees

School fees have now been added to your PowerSchool ParentPortal and are now due. Payment can be made by debit or credit card by visiting your PowerSchool account.

Field trip: to date all field trips involving bussing are cancelled. Virtual field trips and walking trips may still occur. Once these have been finalized we will share the field trip fee for payment

If the paying of fees is a financial difficulty you may be eligible for the EICS Fee Waiver Program. A fee waiver form can be found here or on the EICS website. The deadline for applications is December 13, 2020.

All unpaid fees by March 1, 2021 may be sent to a collections agency.

OLA Chooses Joy!

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Kinders, Play Doh and Christmas Sweaters!

A Little Thank you to OLA Staff for ALL YOU DO!

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First Communion and Reconciliation

If you would like your child to receive their First Communion this year and they have not yet celebrated their First Reconciliation, please contact the OLA Parish office at 780-998-3288 to make an appointment to meet with Father Kris.

First Eucharist Registration Form & First Eucharist Brochure

Information about registration for all sacrament preparation will be coming out in December. Registration for all sacrament preparation will occur in January.

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Virtual Learning and In-Person Learning: Here are the facts.

Thank you OLA families for your patience as we gained clarification of the Alberta Government's announcement on November 24th.

Our Superintendent has been in numerous conference calls with the Minister and Deputy Minister of Education to ensure clarification is received. Here's what the next little while will look like for our Elk Island Catholic School K-12 students:

The last day of classes for students is Tuesday, December 22nd as per our school calendar.

For Kindergarten to Gr. 6, our students continue in-person instruction to December 22nd.

For Gr. 7 - 12, students are learning virtually beginning November 30th to December 22nd.

-- Christmas Break: December 23, 2020 - January 5, 2021 --

First day of instruction after Christmas is Wednesday, January 6th

Kindergarten - Gr 12 classes are learning virtually from January 6th - 8th.

Google Classroom and January Virtual Learning

Many OLA classes have their Google Classrooms established already, and have been connecting with families to ensure they have access. This will be the platform used for our Grade 1 - 4 learning. If you are not yet connected to Google Classroom, please reach out to your child's teacher for assistance so we are ready to go for January.

Each virtual learning day in January will be different than your experience from March to June. It will include full days of learning and will include all subject areas. This does not mean that students will be online and in Google Meets all day. :-) We have time before January 6th, and we will be sharing with you before the Christmas break what the virtual learning schedule will look like so we are all prepared, and in the know. :-)

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to connect with Mme Gravelle at 780-998-3716 ext. 1.

School Spirit Day: Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

2019-2020 School Yearbooks

School Council has 10, 2019/2020 yearbooks for sale. They are $21.00 each. Please contact Mrs. Desaulniers to purchase one. 780-998-3716 or email

This could make a great Christmas present.

OLA School Council News

See you at our next meeting, on Tuesday, December 8th@ 11:00am.

Google Meet link will be shared with you that day.

Thank you for checking your email inbox or spam/junk folder.

To connect with your OLA School Council, please email

November 18, 2020 Meeting Minutes

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Click below to order your OLA Spirit Wear!

OLA Outside

Fr. Kris Schmidt's Vlog

How can you tell if you’re praying the right way?

In this vlog, Fr. Kris Schmidt explores the world of Lumberjack games to illustrate the fact that our prayer, on order to be real, needs to be fruitful. Lumberjack games are there so Lumberjacks can stay sharp while working, likewise our prayer life needs to be pushed in order for us to see real progress in our Christian life. He explains it all in this week’s ‘Beggar’s Heart’ vlog.

Lumberjack Games & REAL Prayer

Christmas Masses @ OLA Parish

It is a blessing to attend mass in person, in a sacred space at this very special time of year. Space is still available to attend Christmas masses in person at OLA Catholic Parish. Here are the masses, their dates and times with space available:

December 24th

10:00pm and midnight

December 25th


There is also a mass at St. Michael Hall at 9:30pm December 24th for anyone in the Lamont area.

Here is the link for sign up:

4E Math

Walking into Mrs. Earle's Math class, it's obvious the passion she has for Math and how it is spread to her students! What does a math class in 4E look like, sound like, feel like?

  • Today they were practicing how to estimate using real life situations: a fundraising goal
  • Students were selecting different strategies to do so: front end or to the nearest thousand, hundred or tens
  • With Mrs. Earle's guidance, they were thinking critically about which strategy was the best (more accurate and less work! - the less work part, the children were all over!)
  • Children explained their thinking - why they used the strategy they did.
  • When children were struggling to understand, there was palpable patience in the room as children understood that the answer wasn't the goal, it is the journey and the understanding to get there.
  • Visuals like Base Ten Blocks, meter sticks, tables and even tissue boxes (connections to the real world) were used to illustrate
  • After the lesson, once everyone had a chance to share, children put their heads on their desks and closed their eyes - check in time! (self assessment)
  • The students put their hands up in the air, and if they felt they had a good handle on estimating using these strategies, the students would put their thumbs up. If they were getting there, their thumbs up sideways. If some of it was making sense to them they would put their thumbs down (formative assessment - with built in dignity and privacy)
  • When our bodies were telling us we needed a brain break, we would get up, stretch and have a movement break (health and wellness - in Math!)
  • In one math class we talked estimation, symmetry, geometric shapes, real world connections, thinking about thinking, with a focus on process in a safe learning environment where we take risks together to learn and grow.

Student Illness and your Child's Learning

If your child is home with these symptoms:

  • Fever, Cough, Shortness of Breath or difficulty breathing, Runny Nose, Sore Throat, Chills Painful swallowing, Stuffy Nose, Headache, Muscle or joint aches, Feeling unwell, fatigue or severe exhaustion, Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite), Loss of sense of smell or taste, Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye.

Please email Mrs. Desaulniers, and cc: your child's homeroom teacher to share what symptoms your child is experiencing as well as an approximate date for your child's return so we can plan for your child's learning and growing in Literacy and Numeracy while away.

Thank you for continuing to connect with us with your child's test results.

1 & 2 M Christmas Card Making

Today 1&2M got festive in our Christmas sweaters and wrote and decorated Christmas cards for our Canadian Armed Forces who will be away over Christmas this year.

Parent Re-Entry Handbook - Updated November 19, 2020

Updated Alberta Health Documents

Looking Ahead...

December 13, 2020

  • 3rd Sunday in Advent

December 20, 2020

  • 4th Sunday in Advent
December 21, 2020
  • Grade 3&4Mass @ OLA Parish 10:00am
December 22, 2020
  • Kindergarten - Grade 2 Mass @ OLA Parish 9:30am

December 23, 2020 - January 5, 2021

  • Christmas Break

December 25, 2020

  • Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

January 6-8, 2021

  • Virtual Learning at Home - stay tuned for more information coming before the Christmas break.

January 11, 2021

  • In-Class Learning resumes

January 12, 2021

  • Virtual School Council Meeting 7:00 p.m.