September 2019 Newsletter
September 10th, 2019
Click each article below to read this month’s newsletter or read the PDF version.
Learning Without Limits
Welcome Students, Parents and Guardians! On behalf of the staff at Vista Virtual School (VVS), we are excited to have you registered for the 2019-20 school year!
As you are registered and begin your coursework, please connect with your teachers—as we expect students to submit work in each course within the first two weeks of registration. Student Parent Teacher Interviews are in October, and our 2018-19 Awards nights are also in October.
We have already scheduled two events to start the new year: RiverWatch in Edmonton (September 12) and Calgary (September 18). See our activities and events for more details.
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. Staff photos and bios are in the staff directory on our website.
We always welcome your comments. If you have any questions or concerns, please phone us toll-free at 1-855-974-5333 or talk with your teacher, and if you have any stories you’d like to share of your experiences with Vista Virtual School—and how you balance your diverse needs or achievements (including winning awards, scholarships, etc.), contact Jay Zaal, our communications and marketing specialist.
We hope you had a restful summer and are excited about the learning opportunities available this new school year.
` Mike Loitz, Treena Bradbury, Frank McCallum,
Principal Associate Principal Associate Principal
Did you Know?
Orange Shirt Day
Since 2013, schools and individuals have come together each year, in the spirit of reconciliation and hope, to learn more about residential schools and to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying initiatives. Orange Shirt Day at VVS is September 30, and wearing an orange shirt this day encourages Canadians to learn more about the history of residential schools. Wear orange this day!
AHS Back To School
It’s that time of year again – as kids get ready to hit the books, moms and dads face not only a new routine but a growing list of things to do. For families, it can get overwhelming. Alberta Health Services has created a health checklist to assist parents, guardians and children for the new year.
Typically, routine immunizations are provided for children in Grades 1, 5 and 9. More information is available through Alberta Health Services or contact your local Community Health Centre.
About Vista Virtual School (VVS)
VVS is a public school operated by Pembina Hills Public Schools (PHPS), offering Alberta residents full-time, part-time and adult courses for students in grades 1-12 through distance learning. Some of our courses for school-aged students are contracted to Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC). Check out our course catalogue for the courses we offer students (residents) across Alberta—we’re also in the process of adding additional option courses to the catalogue.
School Council and Parent Input
Although we do not have a formal School Council, we welcome parents, guardians, and students to provide input on the operations of the school. Your suggestions can be directed to Mike Loitz, Principal.
Student Parent Teacher Interviews (SPTs)
Student Parent Teacher Interviews (SPTs) are held twice each year (Fall/Spring) in Calgary and Edmonton.
- Edmonton – October 8
- Calgary – October 16
Interviews run from 1 to 9 p.m. and are an excellent opportunity to meet your teachers face-to-face. Please schedule your appointments online soon, as spaces fill up fast.
To Register: Visit https://vista.schoolappointments.com/admin/ or contact VVS support at 1-855-974-5333 x5317 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on SPTs will be posted on our website and social media in mid-September.
Provincial Achievement Tests (Grade 6 and 9)
Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) are administered annually to all Alberta students in grades 6 and 9. These standardized tests reflect the essentials that all Alberta students are expected to achieve, regardless of school choice or location. All grade 6 and 9 students are expected to write PATs. PATs are written in all four core subjects: math, language arts, science and social studies.
See the PAT Schedule for Vista Virtual School (under Provincial Achievement Tests).
For more information please refer to the following links provided by Alberta Education:
Please contact Bryan Frechette for more information.
VVS Activity - RiverWatch
Monthly Events Calendar
Check out our monthly events on our website. We update this calendar as events are added.
VVS 2018-19 Awards Nights - Save the Date
VVS’ annual Awards Nights are in October this year. Save the date if you expect to be receiving an award.
Students will be notified in mid-September if they are an award recipient.
If you have a talent you would like to present at either awards night (physical activities such as dance, karate; photography and spoken or written language; and many more talents…), there is an opportunity for you to showcase your hard work!
Award nights are:
Calgary – October 18
Edmonton – October 25
More information will be posted on the VVS website and social media in September.
Recent News Posts on the VVS Website
Important Dates in September
September – SADD Alberta Liquor Bag Campaign
September 2 – Labour Day (STAT): VVS campuses closed
September 3 – First Day of Classes
September 7 – Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day (Alberta)
September 8 – Grandparents’ Day
September 12 and 18 – Register for RiverWatch
September 15 – International Dot Day
September 18 – National IT Professionals Day
September 23 – First Day of Fall
September 26 – Terry Fox School Run Day (National)
September 30 – Orange Shirt Day
Save the Date! October 8 and 16 – Student Parent Teacher Interviews (SPTs)
Save the Date! October 18 and 25 – VVS Awards Nights
Teacher’s Pet - Chico and Diego
Meet Chico and Diego, administrative assistant, Jadyn Menjivar’s pet Chihuahuas!
Each month we feature our staff, their pets, and experiences at Vista Virtual School.
Chico is a short-haired Chihuahua, and is four years old.
“Chico loves naps and Dairy Queen ice cream,” says Jadyn. “One of our proudest moments was when Chico made it to the finals of the Cinco De Mayo Chihuahua Race in Calgary this year; fellow VVS Support Staff, Stephanie Campbell and Sarah Depeel even came to cheer him on!”
Diego is a long-haired Chihuahua, and is 21 months old.
He has some medical conditions which have led to him being the most spoiled dog ever,” says Jadyn. “He demands constant attention, all the treats, and the best spot in the bed. Diego also gets to go to a monthly chiropractic appointment and pampering treatment.”
These two brothers love each other, with Chico always giving Diego kisses and affection.
VVS on the Road
- Medicine Hat – September 5
- Lethbridge – September 26
- Red Deer – September 26
Tips to Succeed at Distance Learning
Treat a Distance Learning Course like a Regular Course
It takes discipline to start a distance learning course because you are not required to be in a classroom during a specific time or specific day. One advantage to distance learning is that you can complete your coursework when you have scheduled the time—it is more flexible—but it still requires significant time commitments and there are deadlines for completion. Students have to start their coursework within the first two weeks of registration, and follow a schedule for assignments and exams. You can’t put it off and complete everything at the last minute.
If you treat your course(s) like a job or an in-person class, then you will have a specific time that works best for you to focus on your course. It may even help you get more value out of the learning, as you have planned time to work on it.
Meet your Teachers
How long have you been a teacher?
I’ve been teaching since 2005, English Language Arts until 2017, then Social Studies to the present. My experience also includes academic upgrading (mature students), credit recovery, special education needs, and English language learner (ELL) students in diploma-sheltered classes.
I am originally from High Level, and can hunt and fish if needed.
What excites you each day?
Helping students reach the “light bulb” moment and their excitement when they do.
Helpful Steps when Submitting Information to VVS
Submitting Documents Electronically
As you become registered and start your coursework, please contact your teachers—we expect students to submit work for each course within the first two weeks of registration.
Please note: all submissions must be provided electronically. Submitting through Moodle is expected. Learn more about how to submit your assignments.