February Newsletter (2019)

February 5th, 2019


Click each article below to read this month’s newsletter or read the PDF version.


Learning Without Limits


As we enter the second semester (for high school students), if you are still working through semester one courses, or you haven’t requested your semester two courses yet, please contact our school counsellors for assistance.

Student Parent Teacher Interviews (SPTs) are coming up shortly (in March). Please register early so you can ensure you get the time slot(s) you prefer.

Teachers are attending the annual teachers’ conventions this month. Edmonton-area Vista Virtual School teachers attend February 7-8, and Calgary-area Vista Virtual School teachers attend February 14-15 or February 21-22. Internal coverage is arranged; however, please be patient as responses may take longer during these conference dates.

As always, we welcome your comments. If you have any questions or concerns, please phone us toll-free at 1-855-974-5333, and if you have any stories you’d like to share of your experiences with Vista Virtual School and how this is positively affecting your education experience and balancing with your diverse needs, contact Jay Zaal, our Communications and Marketing expert.


`   Mike Loitz,         Treena Bradbury,      Frank McCallum,
`   Principal             Associate Principal   Associate Principal

Did you Know?

Registration for Student Parent Teacher Interviews is completed through our online booking site https://vista.schoolappointments.com, or you can call us at 1-855-974-5333 Ext. 5317 and we’ll assist you in scheduling interview(s).

  • March 5 – Calgary SPTs: at the Hotel Blackfoot, Ballroom, 5940 Blackfoot Trail SE, Calgary.
  • March 14 – Edmonton SPTs: at the Fantasyland Hotel, Conference Room 7, 17700 87 Avenue, Edmonton.

If you are a full-time student in elementary, junior high or senior high, you are expected to attend SPTs. If you are unable to attend in person, there is a Google Hangouts or Skype option. We look forward to meeting our students and their families.


Students Taking ADLC Classes - June 30 Deadline for Completion

Please be advised if you are taking an Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC) class through Vista Virtual School (VVS), you need to complete that course by June 30, 2019. In most cases, extensions are not available.

VVS contracts ADLC’s services for some courses, and the ADLC has set June 30 as the completion date for all its courses for school-aged students. This end date was previously communicated to ADLC students in September 2018.

Note: Please make sure to have your course finished by June 21 (including all assignments and exams) to ensure marking has been completed by the end date.

How does this apply to me:
This deadline does not apply to VVS courses.

This generally applies to school-aged VVS students enrolled in optional courses such as CTS and Art, and some other courses (if the student is block-funded). It is specifically for courses contracted by VVS through ADLC. We are sending an email to affected students by February 15.

For new students registering in these courses, a note has been added to the course catalogue (to confirm you have until June 30 to complete the class). As such, the last date a VVS student can register in a related course through ADLC each year will be April 1 (and they must complete their course by June 30).

If you have any questions, concerns, or want to confirm if this applies to you, please contact Associate Principals Treena Bradbury or Frank McCallum.

Social Media Contest


Facebook   Twitter

Accountability Pillar (REMINDER)

Don’t forget to complete the Accountability Pillar survey (if you or your parents/guardians received the invitation from Alberta Education).

As part of the Accountability Pillar, Alberta Education surveys teachers, students and their parents/guardians each year. The survey data helps to gather information on the quality of education provided by school divisions/authorities and their schools.

Student Event

A science-themed event is being planned for all interested students at our Calgary and Edmonton campuses. Keep an eye on our website (vvschool.ca) later this month or in early March for more information on how to attend.

Citizenship Awards: New Process for 2018-19

Based on your feedback (parents, guardians, staff and students from across Pembina Hills Public School division), the board approved two types of division awards for Citizenship starting this school year. Here’s how you can nominate students at Vista Virtual School:

  • Ongoing awards:
    Eligibility: grades 1-12 (by nomination). Check out the Student Citizenship Awards on the PHPS website for more information.
    Award: Certificate and medallion.
    How to nominate: students can be nominated by a staff member, community member, or another student until May 10.
  • Annual award (Grade 12):
    Eligibility: Grade 12 students, by application. Check out the Student Citizenship Awards on the PHPS website for more information.
    Award: $500 (two awards for Vista Virtual School)
    How to nominate: students complete the online or print application form. Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee at each school.


Nominations and applications must include statements or examples of how the student meets at least three (3) of the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates responsibility
  • Helps/supports others
  • Has a positive attitude
  • Displays kindness to others
  • Works towards goals
  • Listens to others
  • Is honest
  • Has the courage to do what is right
  • Respects others
  • Shows concern for others
  • Is dependable

See the new policy for additional information.

Let us Know Your Achievements!

Have you done anything exciting, received an award or scholarship, been recognized for your achievements, or are really making distance education work? Let us know, as at Vista Virtual School, we like to highlight our student achievements both in and out of class—whether we post a short story in this newsletter or on our website (depending on the achievement). We would love to hear your story, contact Jay Zaal to provide details.

Important Dates in February
  • Black History Month
  • Start of Semester 2 (February 1)
  • Groundhog Day (February 2)
  • Chinese New Year (February 5)
  • Teachers’ Convention (North): February 7-8
  • Teachers’ Convention (South): February 14-15
  • Teachers’ Convention (Calgary): February 21-22
  • Family Day (VVS Campuses Closed): February 18
  • Pink Shirt Day (Bullying Awareness): February 27
Junior High Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) Courses (NEW!)


Meet your Teachers

Chris Pethybridge

How long have you been a teacher?
I’ve been a teacher since 1995, teaching primarily high school English, but also many other subjects. I taught a year in Japan, in a couple of rural Alberta communities, and have been with VVS/ADLC since 1998—making this my 21st year in distance ed.!

Interesting fact?
Though I do cheer for the Oilers, I’m a huge Jets fan! I coach and still play hockey, even at my “advanced” age.

I also spent a year teaching English in Japan.

What excites you each day?
I enjoy discussing literature with students, and look for the “light” coming on when understanding sets in!

New Staff at Vista Virtual School 

A warm welcome to new VVS teachers, transfers from ADLC:

Kate Jung (Science), Phoebe Arcilla (Math), Dominick Gallo (Math) and Shelley Grey-Sortland (English). New staff photos and bios will be added to the staff directory on our website shortly.

Monthly Events Calendar

Check out our monthly events on our website. This calendar is updated as events are added.

Recent News Posts on the VVS Website
  • Junior High Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) Courses (NEW!)
  • Students Taking ADLC Classes – June 30 Deadline for Completion
  • Every Child Matters – 2019 Orange Shirt Initiative (Logo Contest)
  • Student Parent Teacher Interviews (SPTs)
  • UBC Michael Smith Science Challenge
  • Martyn Godfrey Young Writers Award
  • Math and Science Helpline
Tips to Succeed at Distance Education

Do not rush through your work!

Even though distance learning courses may initially appear to be easier or that you can complete these faster than in-class courses, it is important that you learn on a pace that is appropriate for your course and skills.

It is vital to stay on task and have a schedule for completing assignments and activities—including study time. Managing your time and fully completing the work assignments in order, ensures you the greatest success.

While you may save the time compared to attending in a typical classroom, and can do the work on your own schedule between other activities and life circumstances, don’t count on finishing course work quicker or that it will be easier just because it is through distance—take time to plan out your schedule and ensure you have enough time to fully complete your learning.

VVS on the Road
  • Medicine Hat: February 7
  • Lethbridge: February 21
  • Red Deer: February 28 *Note: Location change for this visit: Red Deer Library, downtown location: Waskasoo Room from 10-2 p.m.
Teacher’s Pet - Joy

Meet Joy, Bryan Frechette (junior high Department Head)’s 11 year-old Labrador Retriever! Each month we feature some of the pets that are part of the staff families at Vista Virtual School.

Even though Joy is 11, she still acts like a puppy and is an integral part of our family. She loves snacks, people, treats, walks, food, camping—pretty much anything we do as a family (or related to eating!).

She dislikes thunderstorms and finds them terrifying.



Mike Loitz
Associate PrincipalsTreena BradburyFrank McCallum
Academic CounsellorsLise PethybridgeAndrea Robin
Adult Academic CounsellorsChristie BorleWayne Bobrosky
School Hours 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Contact InformationP: 1-855-974-5333VVS Support
Edmonton Campus

300-10055 106 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T7N 1P4
Calgary Campus

341 58th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2H 0P3
School Websitevvschool.ca
School Emailvvsupport@phrd.ab.cavvsadults@phrd.ab.ca
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Connect with Us

Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on events and activities throughout the year. Our website is also a valuable source of information. Do you have a story to tell, or a typo to report? Email Jay Zaal. The newsletter is published monthly and sent to students, parents and guardians by email.