School Handbook 2019-20

W.G. MURDOCH SCHOOL
SCHOOL HANDBOOK

Passion, Belonging, Success

School Handbook 2019-20

2019-2020

1020 Mountain Ave.
Crossfield, AB
TOM OSO

Phone: (403) 946-5665
Fax:  (403) 946-5669

Mr. Derek Keenan
Principal

Mme Lesley-Anne Petcoff
Assistant Principal

Mrs Melissa Hardy
Counsellor


HOME OF THE TROJANS

School colors: Dark and Light Blue

Changes to this handbook may occur throughout the year.  It is parents and students responsibility to check the handbook periodically for any updates

 

WELCOME TO W. G. MURDOCH SCHOOL

This document is a key resource for W.G. Murdoch School when questions arise. It provides information that will assist students and parents/guardians in understanding the programs, operations and mandates of our school community. For questions regarding School Board Policy, please consult the Rocky View Schools web page. For questions regarding specific classroom or course expectations, please consult with the subject teachers or the subject teacher web page.

SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY AND MOTTO

Passion, Belonging, Success

At W.G. Murdoch, these three words represent how we approach everything.

At WGM we are passionate people, existing in a culture of belonging, while striving for success. Here is how that is lived out.

Passion
We believe that passionate people make W.G. Murdoch a place where students and staff want to come to learn every day. Passion is on display all around the school, from teachers taking risks in their classrooms to engage students, to our students going the extra mile both inside and outside the classroom. As Simon Sinek says, "Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion". Being people that passionately approach our day to day work at WGM is what we’re about.

Belonging
In order to learn, students and staff must feel a sense of belonging. Whether it’s a teacher noticing a student isn't themselves one day to our terrific student support team working more intentionally with kids, we want our students to feel that WGM is a place they belong. Our school intentionally does large school events run by our students to ensure that all students feel a sense of belonging at WGM.

Success
We desire to see all of our students have success. We also are aware success looks different for each student. Working collaboratively with students, parents, and staff, we aim to personalize learning for each student to ensure their needs are being met. Being a community of 370 kids, this allows us to get to know our kids and what they need. Whether it is working with our students in off campus education, giving them more time in our active learning support environment, or helping them access online courses that we do not offer, learning at WGM is personalized and engaging. In the end, our students’ success is paramount to what we do at WGM

GENERAL INFORMATION

W.G. Murdoch School strives to be honest, open and timely in communication with parents. Parents become partners when communication is two-way, solution oriented and child centered. Please do not hesitate to call for information or clarification. The answers to your questions are often acquired through the teacher closest to your child (e.g. the subject teacher). Learn about our school through our webpage, the Trojan Times, Meet the Teacher and Parent/Teacher Interview evenings, and other school functions. Please, if you have a concern, intervene early; call the appropriate teacher for an interview, whenever necessary.

-Policies and Procedures (including emergency information)

-Fees

-Power School
Marks and attendance are posted on Power School.  Parents will require a login name and password that can be obtained from the school office. Power School allows student and parents to know what is happening in each course a student is enrolled in.

-The Trojan Times
Our newsletter is published weekly.   Important information and upcoming events are included in this communication. You can find a link to our current edition of the Trojan Times along with previous editions here:

-Daily Announcements: Can be found here

-School Calendar
School events are updated through the year on our school calendar. We recommend subscribing to our calendar to keep
up-to-date on activities in the school.

-For other information: Please review our Parent tab, Student tab, and

SCHOOL POLICIES

ATTENDANCE

Regular and punctual attendance is important for the success of students. We urge parents to ensure that their child is only absent when necessary, and that they develop habits of punctuality.  Minimum attendance requirements are set by Alberta Education. It is important that parents make a phone call when their child is absent. All absences must be excused by a phone call from the parent/guardian within 24 hours of the absence. Students are expected to arrive to class on time and prepared. If a student is arriving to class late, they must report to the office.  If a student arrives more than 30 minutes late, this will be considered an absence. Phone calls can be made anytime to report an absence at 946-5665.  An automated phone system will call daily to inform parents if students are absent without it being excused. Parents can check PowerSchool via the app or site to see their students attendance. Notifications can be set up on your account to inform you immediatley of any changes in your students attendance.

Overall attendance is reviewed regularly at the school and several supports are provided to families struggling with attendance. In cases where attendance becomes a chronic concern, the school provides documentation to families to ensure they are aware of the concern. Students who are absent for over 10% of their yearly classes based on course load will receive a letter reminding them of the importance of consistent attendance with reference to supports offered by the school to improve attendance. At 20% of yearly absences, a second letter will be issued and families will be required to have a collaborative meeting in order to create an attendance plan to get students back on track. You can read more about the importance of attendance in school on the RVS website.

CODE OF COMMITMENT

1. SAFETY OF SELF AND OTHERS

I am committed to:

a) involve myself in positive and constructive activities.

b) request assistance for a problem.

c) help those in need.

d) report to a staff member any hazardous conditions that I observe.

e) seek assistance when I see students at risk to themselves or others.

f) keeping the school safe by not bringing weapons, drugs, alcohol and tobacco  products on to school property, or to school sponsored events.

2. RESPECT FOR SELF AND OTHERS

I am committed to:

a) show consideration, courtesy and respect toward others at school &  school sponsored events.

b) demonstrate respect for other’s  property,  including  the  reporting of

vandalism, theft, mischief and the return of found  items.

c) use language and gestures which are socially acceptable.

d) earn my marks honestly.

e) be a good example to all students.

f) dress appropriately as outlined in the W.G. Murdoch school dress policy.

3.  RESPECT FOR LEARNING AND SCHOOL CLIMATE

I am committed to:

a) demonstrate that I am at  school to learn, showing commitment and responsibility.

b) support others  in their learning.

c) be on time for class and ensure any absences are reported to the office by a parent/guardian.

d) be in the halls only by permission; and to observe quiet in the halls  during class time.

4.  RESPECT FOR THE CARE AND CLEANLINESS OF THE SCHOOL

I am committed to:

a) treat all school property with care and  consideration.

b) clean up any messes for which I am responsible.

c) clean and/or  dry my footwear as I enter the school.

d) eat in designated areas.

e) report vandalism, with the assurance that it will be dealt with in  confidence.

ETHICAL USE OF DIGITAL DEVICES

1. Students need a signed permission form to use the Internet, the school computer, or a personal digital device in the school.

2. Students must take care not to consume food/drinks around school technology devices.

3. Students are not to tamper with equipment or touch the cables at the back of the computers.

4. Students are to act safely in areas containing school technology.

5. Students can make adjustments to the monitors or computer volume as long at they support learning.

6. Students are to log off properly, leave their workstation in an orderly manner and push chairs in at the end of a session.

Students will lose computer privileges, or may enter the discipline cycle for any one of the following violations:

  1. Damaging computers, computer components, computer systems or the network through physical means or through the use of software.

  1. Installing or uninstalling any programs, add-ins, plug-ins, or updates without express permission of the school technologist or teacher.

  1. Bypassing any Rocky View Schools Internet Security Measures.

  1. Intentionally wasting limited resources such as the school’s internet connection by downloading personal files or streaming video unrelated to course work.

  1. Viewing, sharing, sending, or posting any violent or obscene messages, pictures, videos or web sites.

  1. Downloading any illegal or offensive material.

  1. Using someone else’s password or trespassing in another person’s folders, work or files.

  1. Violating copyright laws.

NOTE: The computers at W.G. Murdoch School are maintained by network administrators, therefore THERE IS NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY ON A SCHOOL COMPUTER. Files and communications of students are reviewed periodically to maintain system integrity and to ensure that users are using the system responsibly. Personal devices in use at school can be subject to a search of contents by school administration.

CELLPHONE POLICY

Cell phones are expected to be turned off during classes in the school day. They should be kept in the student’s locker or in their vehicle during classes in which they are not required. People needing to contact students during the school day should contact the office. The office staff will inform the students through the regular school process.  Students using cell phones inappropriately in class will be expected to give them to the respective classroom teacher if asked. If this policy is contravened then a student’s cell phone may be confiscated. The phone will remain in the office until the end of the day and returned to the student. A second occurrence will result in a parent conference and the phone will be returned to the parent or guardian. A third will result in a student entering the progressive discipline cycle and a recommendation to leave the cell phone home.

ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT

The school will take no responsibility for lost or stolen electronic equipment such as iPods, personal computers, laptops, cell phones, etc. These should be left in lockers at all times unless required in class. Students are reminded to never bring digital devices, money, or valuables into the change rooms.

STUDENT DRIVING/PARKING

The parking of student vehicles on W.G. Murdoch School property is a privilege and students are asked to comply with the guidelines in the interest of public safety and security. The student parking area at W.G. Murdoch School covers the entire West and East parking lots.  These parking lots are wholly owned by Rocky view Schools and as such, are subject to school policy. Students who do not follow the rules and directives may be suspended from school, lose parking privileges, and have the vehicle towed at owner’s expense.

GYM STRIP

Gym strip is required for physical education classes.  Students may bring their own gym strip or purchase one from the school through SchoolCash at a reasonable cost.  We also at various times offer hoodies and sweat pants to the students and staff at W.G.M. at an additional cost.  The hoodies and sweats are not part of the gym strip, but they are acceptable substitutes during inclement weather.

LOCKERS

Each student is assigned a locker at the beginning of the year. It is the student’s responsibility to keep his/her combination number confidential. It is also his/her responsibility to keep the locker clean and tidy and to report any damage immediately to the home room teacher.  There is a nominal fee for the purchaseof a school lock upon entering W.G. Murdoch as a student, and students must use a school lock. We ask that students avoid bringing valuables to school since lockers are not necessarily a secure place. It is important to note that lockers are the property of the school, and therefore, are subject to search if reasonable cause exists.  A locker search will be performed in the presence of the student whenever possible.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Individual photographs will be taken in September. Retakes will be taken in October. Grad photo information is contained in the Graduation Handbook.

SCHOOL DRESS

W.G. Murdoch is a learning and business environment. As such, all members of the school community are expected to meet reasonable standards of dress in keeping with the atmosphere of the school, teachers as professionals and assisting students to prepare for the world of work. The following dress code was made in consultation and collaboration with W.G. Murdoch students who had a fair and representative voice in the establishment of this policy. As such, clothing should meet the following criteria:

Clothing should be clean and be in good repair; excessive rips or tears are inappropriate.

Shoes must be worn at all times in order to meet safety criteria.

Should not expose undergarments, backs, buttocks, breasts, bellies or rib cages.

Have straps that are at least a finger-width wide (no spaghetti straps).

Should not  display suggestive,  inappropriate,  or offensive  language,  slogans, messages  or signs  including,  but not  limited  to, promotion  of  violence, drugs, alcohol, racism, sexism or any form of intolerance.

Shorts, skirts, dresses, etc. should be of modest length.

Pajama pants should only be worn on pajama-theme days.

Hats in hallways and common areas are permitted. Hats are not permitted during assemblies or in the office. Classroom expectations with hats will be set by the classroom teacher.

Sheer/mesh shirts are not permitted without a shirt underneath.

Special clothing requirements are needed during gym (gym strip), lab experiments, shop, mechanics and other specialized programs.

The office keeps a selection of clean attire for the convenience of the student, should they need to change. Students will be permitted to change in between classes rather than during a class, depending on the level of dress code violation and at the discretion of the teacher and/or administration.

It is recommended that students have a hoodie or other clothing in their locker to prevent having to go home to change and to assist with unanticipated weather, spills, etc.

PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES POLICY

The use of tobacco/vaping/marijuana products is banned from W.G. Murdoch school and property, including the parking lot.

Guidelines:

  1. Cigarettes, Vapes, e-cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol including packages, and other related materials such as matches, lighters, cigarette papers, and so on, are not to be in the school building, or on school property. If brought into view within the school or on the school property, they are subject to confiscation without return, and possible suspension as outlined under PROCEDURES. This includes students who are 18 years of age.

  1. Field Trips, Physical Education classes held away from the school, school buses, ski trips, extra-curricular trips and so on, are all considered to be an extension of the school program, and are therefore subject to all policies listed above.

  2. For the purposes of this policy, the school property includes all areas up to and including:  the sidewalk to the south of the building, the tree line on the east side of Saskatchewan Street (including all of Crossfield Elementary School property), the fence line on Whitfield Avenue, and all grassed areas to the east of the school.  “Near the school property” will include any areas visible from the school or school property.

  3. Students should be aware that use of prohibited substances in any public place will place them in violation of the law, which may result in consequences in excess of what the school administration delivers.

Procedures: Violations of the Prohibited Substance Policy will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis using the progressive discipline cycle. For such violations, suspensions will occur.

VANDALISM

Students are encouraged to take pride in, and care for, their school.  Every effort will be made to discourage vandalism, however, when vandalism can be attributed to specific individuals, recovery of costs will be pursued.

W.G. MURDOCH PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE CYCLE

W.G. Murdoch’s first approach to discipline is to foster self-discipline. Students are taught and encouraged to accept the responsibilities associated with individual rights and privileges. Should students make choices not in keeping with the Education Act, RVS procedures or school rules, administration will support students in improving their choices/behaviour using a progressive discipline approach. This approach is contextual and allows for flexibility based on the circumstances of a given situation, with increasing consequences should behaviours continue. If you have questions about our approach to discipline at W.G. Murdoch, please reach out to school administration. Parents will be notified of school-based consequences involving their child(ren), though .

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES AND DRILLS

Students are informed as to the quickest and safest routes from the school. Practice drills are carried out throughout the year.  Exit maps are available in each classroom. W.G. Murdoch incorporates Hour Zero practices in its emergency planning

GRADUATION GUIDELINES

In order to be placed on the W.G. Murdoch High School graduation list, you must be a student in good standing and meet the conditions listed:

  • You are responsible to check the accuracy of your high school record of courses, marks and credits.  Any questions regarding your high school record should be discussed with the counselor.

  • You must ensure that you are registered in the necessary credits and courses to fulfill high school diploma requirements.  Grade 12 students are expected to register in a minimum of 15 credits each semester.

  • Students must be on track for successful completion of all courses of the first reporting period of the second semester required for graduation.  This mark must be maintained for the remainder of the semester.  Students not meeting this condition will meet with the Principal to determine eligibility for participation in the graduation program.

  • All school fees and grad fees must be paid in full by the deadline of May 13, 2019 in order to participate in the graduation ceremony. Arrangements for fee payments can be made with the school and should be in place early in the school year. Please contact our office for assistance

  • The School Act states that students must attend school regularly and punctually. Attendance records will be reviewed by school administration on a monthly basis or as needed. If attendance is not satisfactory, participation in the graduation ceremony and banquet could be at risk.  Parents will be informed of attendance concerns as they emerge in accordance with the school attendance policy.

  • Absences must be excused the morning of a major test or exam.

  • Medical documents may be required for missed assessments, tests, and exams.

INCLEMENT WEATHER

In the event of school closure due to inclement weather, parents and students should  listen  to  these   radio  stations  between  6:00  and  8:00 a.m. QR77-AM

FAN 960 – AM / Q91 – AM / CHFM Lite 96 – FM / CJAY 92 – FM / Jack FM / Country 105 – FM / CKMX 1060 / Q 107 / CBC / Global News Morning Show.

Parents can check the school web page for updates as well bus information can be found on the Rocky View School Division web page. ***Transportation line? Link to inclement weather policy.

INSTRUCTIONAL FEES

Instructional school fees are levied, depending upon the grade level and course, pursuant to Rocky View Schools Policy.  Additional fees may be levied for specific circumstances not covered by instructional fees, including yearbooks, field trips, student union, locks, etc.  The fee schedule is posted on the website.

ACADEMICS/ACTIVITIES

COURSE ACCELERATION POLICY

  • Students wishing to accelerate a course must have a minimum mark of 80 in the prerequisite course in order to be considered for acceleration.  For example, students must have achieved a mark of 80% in Science 10 before they would be eligible to take Chemistry 20 in semester two of their grade 10 year.

  • Students wishing to accelerate a course must meet with the Principal and include an educational rationale that must be signed by the parent/guardian and the teacher of the prerequisite course.

  • Students will be granted permission to accelerate only if there is space in the course in which they wish to accelerate.

  • Those grade 12 students who have accelerated courses will still be expected to enroll in 30 credits in their grade 12 year.

COURSE LOAD

Alberta Education states that in order to be eligible to receive an Alberta High School Diploma, a student must earn 100 credits.  WGM School expects students in grades 10 and 11 to carry a course load that will earn them a minimum of 40 credits in each of these years and 30 credits in grade 12.  Students in grades 10 and 11 will not be eligible for spares in the regular timetable.  Students who choose to enroll in a summer school program should not do this with the expectation that they will be eligible for a spare during the school year.

HIGH SCHOOL EXAM EXEMPTION GUIDELINES

  • Exemptions apply to all high school students in all courses, except those involving a grade 12 Diploma, or grade 9 Achievement exam.

  • Students who exempt from Science 10 must write at least one 20 level Science final examination in the next school year.

  • Students must achieve a minimum of 85% to be exempted.

  • All exemptions from previous school terms will be considered in determining exemptions for this year.

  • Students may have their exemption revoked after submitting an application if their mark falls below 85%.

COURSE OUTLINES

Course outlines will be provided to students in all courses and posted on our website.  Please contact the subject teacher if any questions arise that are not addressed through the outline.

BLENDED LEARNING

A school the size of WGM can at times be limited in the number of course offerings due to a smaller enrollment.  The school offers a blended learning program as a means of addressing these needs. The purpose of the blended learning program is to provide students with access to programs not offered at the school. If a high school course is offered in WGM’s timetable, students are expected to be enrolled in it. Students are encouraged to take diploma courses through the school if at all possible. All blended learning courses must be approved by the Guidance Counselor, the Principal, or the Assistant Principal.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Students are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities which help the individual develop social skills, and make the school experience more fulfilling.  Extra-curricular activities involving competition with other schools, occur mainly after school and on weekends. Students will be charged a participation fee. Students may discuss payment alternatives with administration.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible, a student must be in good standing which includes:

Receive course grades of 50% or higher, satisfactory attendance, no outstanding assignments or courses, no previous suspensions (especially drugs, alcohol or weapon related offences).  Any of the above may deem the student ineligible to participate in any or all extra-curricular activities.

IF A STUDENT IS INEXCUSABLY ABSENT ON THE DAY OF AN EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITY, HE/SHE IS INELIGIBLE FOR THAT ACTIVITY.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC (BAND)

Instrumental Music is available in Grades 6-12 at W.G. Murdoch. A variety of performance based programs including Concert Band, Jazz Band and Percussion Ensemble, at the various levels are offered.

OFF CAMPUS EDUCATION

Off campus education is designed to provide high school students with on-the-job training or experience at various business sites within the community. A student may earn credits while working on the farm through the Green Certificate program, at a trade through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) or on a job site through the Work Experience Program.

ROCKY VIEW SPORT COMMITTEE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR PLAYERS AND SPECTATORS

Students, parents/guardians, and coaches are required to sign a Code of Conduct form outlining expectations and responsibilities prior to involvement in RVS activities.

STUDENT LEADERSHIP

We take pride in our student leadership program where students earn credits while also learning valuable skills in leadership and coordinating and managing events designed to enhance school culture.

STUDENT SERVICES

CONCESSION

The school offers a selection of healthy items: one hot entrée per day as well as hot and cold snack foods. The concession does not accept cash, concession tickets may be purchased online through SchoolCash. At times, W.G. Murdoch swag may be available for purchase through the concession as well. Students may use concession tickets or purchase these items directly on SchoolCash.

COUNSELLING

The School Counselor is available to both students and parents. Information and consultation regarding the following is offered:

1.  Career Planning and Information

2.  Financial Aid/Scholarships

3.  Educational Issues

4.  Personal Issues

FAMILY/SCHOOL LIAISON

W.G. Murdoch has a Family School Liaison Worker to support our students and families. This worker provides individual counseling of students at school and family counseling in the home.  For more information, or to access this service, you can contact the school.

INFIRMARY

An infirmary is available for those students who become ill during school hours.  Every attempt will be made to contact the parents of ill students. Medication cannot legally be provided or administered by the staff without medical information provided to the school administration, supported by written doctor’s directions and parental permission with a specific RVS form completed and submitted to the school.

RURAL TRANSPORTATION

Rural students requiring busing must complete a Transportation Form and mail it to Rocky View Schools.  The forms are available on the webpage, at the school office, or you may contact the Transportation Department at Rocky View Schools office @ 945-4000.  School bus policy will be implemented by the bus driver. Parents are advised to phone the driver to discuss concerns.

SCHOOL NURSE

W. G. Murdoch has a school nurse in conjunction with AHS who supports the school with health questions and provides immunization and information to both students and parents regarding health-related issues.

IV. PARENTS

SCHOOL COUNCIL

The School Council is comprised of parents, community members, administrators, at least one teacher and our local trustee.  School Council executive members usually are elected from the community.

SCHOOL VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

Parents and community members are invited to share their expertise and interests by becoming volunteers in a variety of ways. Please note all volunteering requires a current criminal record check including vulnerable sector check and a signed privacy form. Further information is available in the school office.

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