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Blog: Friday, October 4th, 2019

Principal's Message

By Andrew Macphail

Hello Parents of ATSS.  Welcome back to a new school year.  Our start up has had some wrinkles this year but overall the student and staff engagement and feeling of the school as a whole is very positive this year at start up.  It was good to be back in session and the students seemed eager to engage in their new school year. 

I would like to welcome several new staff members to our ATSS staff this year.  In the front office we have two new permanent secretaries, Mrs. Deol and Mrs. Mielke and one temporary while Mrs. Lejoie is off on medical leave.  We have added two new teachers to our roster for this semester.  Mr. Samford is taking Mrs. Kehoe’s place teaching Foods and Careers 10.  As Mrs. O’Brien has extended her maternity leave, we had Mrs. MacIntosh at the beginning of the year for the temporary position, however when a continuing position opened up for her, we have since lost her and are waiting for the arrival of Mrs. Lagrotta for a replacement for Art, Theater Production and Math 9.  We currently have two new Educational Assistants, Mrs. Gupta and Ms. McCaan.  If you can please introduce yourselves to our new staff members.

Our enrollment did dip between the end of last year and the start of this by approx. 24 students which has resulted in some adjustments and timetable changes.  As a result, we were forced to collapse three classes, which were significantly under enrolled.  However, we were fortunate in that in each of these courses we had other blocks available so we did not have to completely close a course option.  This did lead to adjustments in both the first and second semester timetable as some students’ course loads were affected.  My thanks to all, parents, students, staff and our counsellor for the adjustments which had to be made. 

We had our annual meet the teacher, pizza and samosa supper meeting this past Thursday.  Our parent attendance was not a good as last year.  Although we were disappointed in the high school parent turnout, a big thankyou to those who did come out and meet the teachers of their children.  We encourage you as parents to contact the teachers of your child if you have any concerns or questions.  You can get the contact e-mails from our website, or by contacting the front office.

We have boys’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ volleyball and cross country racing up and running for this year with coaches.  It looks like we will be well staffed in coaching for basketball come basketball season.  Mr. Havilland has worked hard to recruit additional coaches so we will have a coach for each level of boys’ basketball and for two levels of girls’ basketball.  This is the best year for coaches so far.  Thanks to Ms. Hunt and her coaching staff for their work in this area.

As you may know we intentionally plan a major outdoor away from Abbotsford experience for each of our grades at the beginning of the school year to build connection, teamwork and to develop school spirit with our students and to expose them to outdoor and out of town experiences.  We have already had the Gr. 10 class excursion to Vancouver to complete a Murder Mystery hunt organized by a Vancouver Entertainment company.  A big thank-you to  parents and others who helped out.  It was enjoyed by all.  This week we have just completed our Gr. 9 Excursion to Camp Stillwood, Tues. Oct 1 and Gr. 11 trip to TWU, Oct 4 for the Omada team building and outdoor activities.  Our Gr. 12 Grad Cruise is coming up on Oct. 17.  A big thank-you to Mrs. Webster and Mrs. Toews for organizing these events and the other teachers who help in supervising.

We had a great staff retreat last Friday, Sept. 27, at Harrison Resort with Tom Hierck  a well-respected educator and author, who will be working with us on developing the Seven Keys to a Positive Learning Environment.  We are looking as a staff to review what are our essentials as a school as we seek to continue to enhance our assessment practices, our classroom and behaviour expectations, develop a stronger sense of community and continue to develop support for our struggling learners.

We have yet to receive any communication that the decision from the Ministry of Education has been made yet concerning Option 6 which is the seismic upgrade and renovation of the one story section and the demolishing of part the two story section.  We will communicate this out as soon as we hear.

We are looking forward to a great year.  Should any of you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact either myself or Mrs. Webster the Vice-Principal.


Glen Hildebrand, Principal, ATSS