Parents » BRE Friday Communicator

BRE Friday Communicator

Health and Safety Highlight of the Week


Arrival/Dismissal Procedures help ensure the health and well-being of children and adults in our school community:

  • Daily Health Check - Every child and every adult who goes to school must do a daily health checksafety
      • Stay home if sick
      • Keep children home if they are ill or show signs of illness
  • Every child must go directly to their arrival zone and remain there while they wait for their teacher
      • Please do not send your child to school early; arrive close to 8:45am
  • Parents and caregivers must avoid congregating and maintain 1-2 metre physical distancing from others.
      • As physical distancing is not always possible, adults are encouraged to wear a mask
  • Teachers escort their classes to their Arrival/Dismissal Zone in a staggered fashion to avoid congestion and mixing of cohorts
  • Playgrounds are closed at arrival and dismissal to minimize mixing of cohorts
  • Use the bike rack assigned to your class and Learning Group.
      • To further disperse people, consider making your class bike a place to meet parents/guardians


4 Blankets of Resilience

Beginning with the first blanket of the self, family as the second, the third blanket of community, and finally the fourth blanket of land and culture, that wrap around them, students celebrate their strengths, connections and relationships that build their sense of self-efficacy, resiliency, and purpose.

(Adapted from: The Ripple Effect of Resiliency – An Indigenous Perspective by Monique Gray Smith)


Identity Project by Mr. Hirn’s Class

As an artistic representation of their 4 Blankets, Mr. Hirn’s students created an Identity Poster to celebrate their strengths, likes/dislike, their name story, their origin story, special family and culture.  Ms. Saenger interviewed Yuri about his project.


Ms. Saenger: I am curious about your name story.

Yuri:  My name means big and smart. I was named after the Russian Astronaut, Yuri Gragarin, who was the first human to journey to outer space.  He did this before the first man on the moon who was Neil Armstrong

Ms. Saenger: How do you feel about being named after this famous astronaut? 

Yuri: I think I am the only one in my class is who is named after a famous astronaut so that’s kinda cool. 

Ms. Saenger: Do you have aspirations to be a scientist or an astronaut?

Yuri:  Maybe, I have lots of space books.

Ms. Saenger:  What do you think about the meaning of your name: big and smart?

Yuri: I find it kinda cool that my name means big and smart. I am already smart but not big yet.  My Dad thinks I will have a late growth spurt. I am tired and achy right now. My Dad thinks I might be 7ft tall soon. Well, if I stacked up a bunch of chairs and stood on the top, then I’d be 7ft tall!


Many of the students were keen to share their identity project for this article.  Thank you to all Mr. Hirn’s students for celebrating their unique selves with us.


Virtual Book Fair countdown
Our PAC, in support of our school Library, are stepping up to keep the Brackendale Scholastic Book Fair tradition alive!  We can't host the book fair in person but we can hold a Virtual Book Fair.  Just think - you can join in the fun from your home, at a time convenient to you, in your pajamas if you feel like it!  The books will be delivered directly to you (no more trying to sneak them home without your child noticing) and the shipping is free for orders over $35.  What a great way to do a little sneaky Covid-safe holiday shopping and help the school library at the same time!
Parents header
In The Know series poster
Upcoming FamilySmart online workshop for parents - Parenting when our kids can't go to school.  This is a complex challenge - join the facilitators to talk about the pieces parents have control over, remembering how much relationships matter, and who to turn to for support. 
Thursday, October 29th, 2020 from 6:30 - 8:00pm.  Click here to register
PAC Meeting - Wednesday, October 28th by Zoom (details
TBA) - see the agenda here.
Nesters logoA great fundraiser for Brackendale Elementary is the Nesters Gift Card program!  This is such an easy way to help support our school, especially when fundraising is a little more challenging due to Covid19.  Nesters Market will generously donate 10% of the purchase price of the gift card - for every $50 you spend at the grocery store that's $5.00 that goes directly to Brackendale Elementary PAC.  Gift cards are available in $50 and $100 amounts and can be ordered through the online hot lunch website and then picked up at the school office. You don't need to use up the entire card in one shopping trip.
Purdy's logoDon't forget to get your Purdy's chocolate orders placed - online ordering is easy - click here to register with customer number 7337.  Deadline for ordering is Friday, November 13th and pickup on November 27 and 28.
Health and Safety Highlight of the Week
Personal measures are actions individuals can take to protect themselves and others.  The basic measures identified in the school health and safety plan include:
  • Stay home when sick,
  • Follow Hand Hygiene
  • Use Respiratory Etiquette
  • Maintain Physical Distancing
  • Avoid sharing food, drink and personal items
To help teach and reinforce personal measures, Ms. Moo and our Intermediate students created a music video called “You can’t touch this” - A COVID parody of MC Hammer’s hit song.  Here are some of the actions this video highlights: 
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Give others lots of space
  • Cough into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Clean surfaces that others touch – including money!
  • Wash your hands
  • Use your elbow to press elevator buttons and to turn on or off the lights
  • Use your sleeve to open doors
  • Rap or hum instead of singing out loudly
  • Keep your snacks and toys to yourself
  • Wash your hands!

Flexible Learning Spaces “…inherent in deeper student learning, are flexible and dynamic structures which take into consideration students’ physical, medical, social emotional, sensory, and academic needs.”SD#48 Education Plan
How we design and use physical space, including the tools we use, the materials we explore, the peers we work with, and the time we schedule for inquiry learning, form the essence of a student centered learning environment.  At BRE students are also often given the choice of technology, learning with a buddy, working on their own learning targets and finding a comfortable space for learning.  Captured in these photos are:
  • Mrs.Borsoff’s students taking their reading into the hallway, under desks, and into the corners of their classroom.
  • Mrs.Webb’s students enjoying their special reading spot in the classroom while exploring their books.
reading in the hallwayKindies reading

Student Photos – your child’s photo was likely taken on September 15th.  Lifetouch would like us to remind you that you that you should get your order placed as soon as possible.  If your child was absent on September 15th or you would like to have retakes done, our retake day is Thursday, October 22nd.  For retakes please return the original photo package to the school.
Forms and Student Supplies – many families have already completed the online permission forms that we require each year, but just in case you have forgotten please pop in to our online site and see if there is anything outstanding.  Student supplies payments ($45 per student) can be made there as well.


PAC header

Do you struggle to keep track of your children’s things?  Are you looking for labels for your canning and preserving? Do you just want the bear to know whose garbage can he’s bashing around the neighbourhood? The PAC has just the thing for you – place an order for Lovable Labels at – the PAC receives a portion of your purchase and you can put your own stamp on anything you want.

This holiday season, Brackendale Elementary School PAC will be fundraising with Purdy's Chocolatier! This program gives 25% profit back to the school and it's an EASY way to complete your Christmas shopping! As a special request we are running the program a few weeks early so that deliveries will be in time for Advent Calendars!  Please share your catalogue or the web-link with family, friends, neighbors and coworkers.  Order online at – the school customer number is 7337. ALL ORDERS DUE by November 13th  - pickup will be Friday and Saturday Nov 27/28 – location TBA 
Thank you for supporting our school and the PAC!

Orange Shirt Day

We recognize and honour the residential school survivors, we understand that every child matters,Orange Shirt Day and we reflect on the experiences of our Indigenous community members. Our students study literature, view videos and have class discussions that capture the meaning behind Orange Shirt Day.  While reconciliation is a life-long endeavor, this past week students have used words and imagery to capture their feelings and thinking about past wrongs. 


Every Child MattersHere are some student reflections, from Kindergarten through grade 6:

“Residential schools were a big mistake and I can’t imagine how the kids felt.”

“I’m sorry that you couldn’t speak your language at school.”

“I’m sorry that you couldn’t be at home with your Granny.”

“I wish you got to keep your self blanket.”

“I hope the government doesn’t make a mistake again.  What the government did was wrong!”

“We need our language”

“We need our culture”

“We need our family”

“We are important”

“Every Child Matters!”


Highlights from our Health and Safety Plan


We practice hand hygiene a lot! This is one way to prevent spreading diseases including COVID-19. 

Ms. Saenger interviewed some students about handwashing.  Derek (gr. 6) explained that: “Handwashing is healthy for you and I do it at home too.” Jakub (gr. 5) commented that “It is getting annoying washing my hands for 20 seconds, but I still do it because I need too.”  When discussing the importance of hand washing in Mr. Hirn’s classroom, Easton (gr. 4) said:

“The best way to get rid of hand washing…is to keep handwashing!”

Everyone at BRE must wash their hands:soapy hands

  • before leaving home; 
  • upon arrival at school
  • after using the washroom;
  • after breaks and outdoor activities;
  • before and after using playground equipment;
  • before and after using shared spaces (gym, library, etc.)
  • before food preparation;
  • before and after eating any food; and,
  • before leaving the school

We are fortunate at BRE because every classroom has a sink area which is equipped with running water, soap and paper towel which makes handwashing accessible. 


Put a Pause on Sharing - We often use the phrase “sharing is caring”.  For now, we are putting a pause on sharing personal items, food and snacks. You may see snack wrappers and compost coming home in lunch kits.  That’s because our school sustainability plan, created by students and PAC, says “Leave No Trace”.

Pack-in, Pack-out:

  • BRE started a “pack in/pack out” environmental practice last year and halted compostable and plastic recycling
  • Items from home may not be shared including food, snacks, birthday treats 
  • Personal items will go home with students each day
  • Students will help ensure that the ‘coat cupboard' is completely empty of shoes, coats, bags etc.

Student and Parent Handbook - a great place to look for the answers to your frequently asked questions about Brackendale Elementary.  Please make sure you take a look through it.  Inside you will find our student code of conduct, the dress code and lots of other useful information.  You can find it here.

Some New Additions to Mr. Zigar's Class
giant snails

"Hey! Mr. Zigar's class has three new slimey GALS. Do you know what GALS are? What should we name them? Put your suggestions in the box by Mr. Zigar's class. The names must be, funny and clever.  Thanks, Rhyden and Tori


Mr. Zigar has also welcomed Anastasia (below) - she's an albino California kingsnake.


Health and Safety Highlight of the Week - Minimizing Physical Contact

  • Send someone an “Air High Five”kindie air hugs
  • Replace Bear Hugs with “Air Hugs”
  • Keep hands to yourself

Reducing the number of close, in-person interactions helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. When students are interacting within their Learning Group cohort they are to reduce physical contact with each other but do not need to practice physical distancing.  When students and staff are interacting with others outside of their cohorts, they practice physical distancing and avoid physical contact.

 (Source: School Health and Safety Plan)


To support this important health and safety measure, our learning groups play in designated zones at recess and lunch, students have access to their learning group bin or bag of outdoor equipment like hoops and scoops and balls for recess times and we adapt games and do not participate in traditional contact sport matches like football, rugby and hockey. 

Check out this fun YouTube of Katie Dedmak‘s book ‘If You Can’t Bear Hug, Air Hug'


We are maintaining physical distancing in our safety practice at school - our first fire drill was held this past week and we arranged it by learning cohorts in staggered time slots.  Ms. Saenger spent time with each group ensuring that they understood the importance of these safety drills and was very pleased by the respectful and orderly conduct of all the classes.


Growth Mindset - Teaching and reinforcing a growth mindset, defined as empathy,growth mindset posters flexibility, persistence, resilience, and optimism, enables students to stay the course when things get tough and become better learners.  The following examples come from Mrs. Stroh’s class where students in grades 1 and 2 connect literacy to their real life learning.  Through the book series about Gerald (an elephant), and Piggy (a pig); and the series of Indigenous legend books by Robert James Challenger which combine stories of the Northwest Coast with the tradition of Aesops's Fables, students deepen their understand each of these different traits.


Dylan – “Finn hurt his leg at recess.  Brysen showed Empathy with Finn when he fell down.  Brysen was asking Finn if he was OK.”

Gibson – “I showed Resilience when I wasn’t giving up at bike camp.  I tried to get all of the cones but only got two.  I got only a little bit sad but knew I could get more next time.”

Finn – “My example is Persistence.  I saw other students with big, big logs, and sticks and big rocks and lots of stuff like that.  They worked hard at building their fort.”


Truth and Reconciliation – Comparing and contrasting how we feel at our school with our thoughts about residential school is one way that students in Mrs. Fieldhouse’s class explored this important topic.  They also noticed a lot of Empathy during these learning activities.

orange shirt day messages

On the Orange Shirts students have written words that they would like to say to children who attended residential school.

“I wish you could have stayed home”

“I’m sorry your language got taken away”

“I’m sorry your family blanket is gone”

“I’m sorry you got taken away”

“I wish that your self-blanket didn’t get taken away” (Teacher note: Self-blanket means self-identity)


On the White shirts, students have written words to describe how they feel at our school.

“Joyful, safe, good, happy, grateful, smart, loved”

“I feel joyful, safe, loved, ready to learn, amazing”

“I feel loved ready to learn”

“I feel happy, good, safe”


Do you know what the PAC committee does?

parents - the information you need

The Brackendale Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is an unbiased, non-profit organization representing the parent community at our school. We hold meetings monthly and volunteer our time at a variety of events and fundraisers that benefit students, families, and teachers.  We collaborate with school staff and encourage parents to share their ideas around issues and opportunities regarding the school’s programs, policies and procedures, budgets, facilities, and equipment.

A few programs and fundraisers we help with: 

  • Book Fairs - it will be virtual this year!
  • Food program with Helping Hands
  • Hot Lunches 
  • Art Cards for Kids 
  • Pancake Breakfast (fundraiser to support the Sea to Sky Community Christmas Care program) 
  • Writing Day 
  • Kids Christmas Sale 
  • Neufeld Farm Fundraiser 
  • Purdy’s Fundraiser (watch for your Purdy's catalogues coming home next week!)
  • Nesters Gift Cards (available anytime through the school office - just call Ms. Hackett)

Money raised during the year goes to help funding many programs, including new play equipment, Teacher classroom funds, sports activities, arts and music programs and learning resources. 

We know a lot of these programs will look very different in the coming school year, but we are going to continue to support these fun events and programs the best that we can, in new ways.


If you would like to help out with PAC this year, even if it's only an hour, any support is greatly appreciated. You can email with your availability and contact information to be added to our volunteer list. Without parent and family volunteers, these programs would not be possible. 

Have an idea for PAC? Send us an email and we will discuss it at our upcoming PAC Meeting October 28th.

PAC Zoom Meeting information, agendas and past minutes are all posted in the PAC section of the Brackendale Elementary School Website, under the Families tab.

Professional Development Day, September 28th – Learning together is paramount to helping our children, staff and the school community thrive during these ever-changing times. By focusing on First Peoples’ Principles of Learning, Trauma-in formed Practice and Educational Technology we will be better equipped to support student agency, foster resilience and be inspired to create different learning opportunities for children.  For information about part of our Pro-D Day see: “Building Compassionate Communities in a New Normal”. We are excited that Monique Gray Smith, who authored the concept of the 4 Blankets of Resilience, is one of the speakers in this webinar.  Thank you also to Tina Sherlock, Dixie Cameron and Natalie Mah for leading our technology infused in-service workshops.

Orange Shirt Day - Wednesday, September 30 -  opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools.  It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind.  A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation.  A day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that have been affected.  Every Child Matters, even if they are an adult, from now on.
Highlights from the PAC Meeting
  • New PAC Executive for 2020-2021
    • Jinelle Thompson - President
    • Krista Breau - Vice President
    • Catherine Rosen - Secretary
    • Heather Teasell - Treasurer
    • Krista Brea and Heather Teasell - DPAC Reps
  • Neufeld Farms Fundraiser - We’re excited to offer another Neufeld Farms fundraiser, time to stock the freezer with some fall goodies!
    • Orders are due Thursday October 1st
    • Pick up is Wednesday October 14th at 330pm at the school! 
    • Ordering online through the hot lunch site for your convenience!  New to the hot lunch site? 
    • Register here Access Code: BDHL  Payment can be made on the site by Paypal (etransfer, cheque or cash payments can also be arranged if needed)
    • If you have any questions - please reach out to Jinelle Thompson or Michelle Greenlees. 
    • PAC email -    We look forward to this fundraiser being another success!  Thank you for your continued support.
Dress for the Weather - we play and learn outside a lot!  Please make sure that your child has clothing and footwear appropriate to the weather each day.  It is very helpful if younger students also have a change of clothes with them in case they get wet.

What a busy week we have had!  We are settling into a routine again (with some adjustments for COVID protocols and the smoky weather.)

Welcome Ceremony

Welcome Ceremony  - Roxy Lewis, Rachel Baker, Yvonne Brekke and Cynthia Lewis marked the beginning of the school year with some drumming and singing in our beautiful forest area.  We live-streamed the ceremony into our classrooms at both Brackendale Elementary School and Don Ross Middle School. This tradition brings us together as one community and highlights our special relationship with the land on which our schools sit. We are hounoured to be teaching and learning on the Traditional, Ancestral, Unceded Territory of the   Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation. The video is available here on our website.


Today we also held a modified Terry Fox "Walk" – students walked in their

Terry Fox - Try Like Terry

learning groups at staggered times through the day.  We didn’t send home our usual donation envelopes, but we encourage you to make a donation if you can – here is the link to our school donation page

Thanks so much to Emily Tolmie, Heather Teasell and others for stepping up to help our last year Grade 6 students make their handprint stepping stones before school started last week.  We are very grateful that our  students were able to participate in this legacy project.


The Brackendale PAC has some very exciting plans in the works and would love for you to join in the fun!  They are holding the BRE PAC AGM/ 1st Meeting Virtually on Sept 23rd - 7pm via Zoom and will be communicating details very soon. Neufeld Farms fundraiser is happening now!  Orders are due by Oct. 1st.  Order online here and note that the access code to register is BDHL.


There are a few housekeeping items for you to review:

  • Please take a read through the Student/Parent Handbook – it holds the answers to many of your frequently asked questions and is a great resource for families.
  • Our school calendar can be found here – please make sure you note Pro-D Days and early dismissals in your family calendar.
  • There are a few forms that we need you to sign – they are available electronically at if you are not already registered it is an easy process and makes paying for students supplies and field trips and signing forms a snap.
  • Speaking of School Supplies – if you have not already purchased your child’s supplies please visit the site and do so at your earliest convenience. We are happy to provide this slick alternative to the mad scramble of supply shopping each year.
  • Late Arrivals - Students who arrive after their class has entered the building in the morning must check in at the school office. It is a quick and efficient process, but there may be a short delay due to the need for physical distancing in our foyer.