January Professional Development

Teachers in Westwind have been hard at work on professional development for the past two days. Monday was a school-based professional development directed by each school principal. Their focuses were diverse but centred on the needs of the students in their classrooms. You can look for details on what they learned together on each school website.

Tuesday was a divisional professional development day for teachers. They focused on learning a new piece of software called PowerTeacher Pro, and on curriculum redesign and a new digital curriculum platform under development by Alberta Education.

PowerTeacher Pro is a robust classroom management tool that includes advanced features for both standards-based and traditional grading. Teachers use the Gradebook app on their phones to get their work done and to analyze student performance. This new Gradebook application will be rolled out gradually throughout the Westwind School Division with full use in all classrooms beginning in September 2017. Parents can expect to see more and more information being available to them about their student's assignments, study material, and progress through the Powerschool app as we approach the end of this school year. Talk to your teacher to find out when they will be adopting this system for their class!

In the afternoon, teachers went through a presentation about the Alberta Curriculum Redesign Project. The curriculums for different subjects currently in use in Alberta classrooms were created at different times between 1987 and 2009. These curriculums have enabled Alberta students to achieve at world-class levels, but they need to be updated to ensure student success into the future. Previously, curriculums were developed one at a time over different periods so there is no common design to the curriculums. Teachers learned that the new curriculum outcomes will place a greater emphasis on 21st Century Competencies and Literacy and Numeracy across all subjects and grades.

In addition to updating the K-12 curriculum, Alberta Education is developing a powerful digital tool called the Curriculum Development and Management Application (CDMA) that will provide teachers with the opportunity to interact with curriculum in ways that they have never been able to before. This means that curriculum can be updated as needed, within shorter time frames, and teachers have a much easier way to develop unit and lesson plans that align closely with the curriculum’s outcomes for all students. This will help ensure that curriculum remains current and relevant, and is better executed in classrooms.

Westwind is a provincial leader in the use of technology in the classroom and in providing teachers in every school access to appropriate technological tools. We are very excited to be rolling out the PowerTeacher Pro app to teachers throughout this year, and to work with Alberta Education to help in the development of their CDMA, however, we can because we know that both these tools can transform the student experience in all our classrooms.

This professional development should impact students in all classrooms throughout the Division and we would encourage parents to talk with teachers to discover how they will be changing their practice to incorporate what they learned!

Magrath School Modernization Project

Work continues to progress on Magrath School Modernization Project. 

This week our Administration team toured the school with the contractor to see how to project is coming along. The big project over the past weeks has been to get the mechanical area prepared for the new system and to install that system. The size of the system meant that it has to be lowered through the ceiling by a crane! The work is proceeding on schedule so far, and we are excited to see this project continue to come together.

As the project continues to roll forward and we see the building come together, piece by piece, we would like to thank the community and our partners for your support in this project. This will be a world class educational facility that will help Magrath grow and help educate children for decades to come. Your support has been and will continue to be an essential element behind the success of this project. We will provide more updates on the status of this project as the weeks go by and we get closer to reopening the space to students and the public.

Excellence in Communication Recognized in Series of Awards

A picture of two glass awards for excellence in communications and public engagement.

A picture of two glass awards for excellence in communications and public engagement.

Westwind School Division is proud to announce that in the 2016 Westwind won three major awards for communications and public engagement. The awards are for work done by Mr. Graham Ruttan, Westwind's Communications Officer. We are proud that his work has been recognized as excellent and outstanding at the highest levels of his profession at provincial, national, and international levels. His work provided outstanding service to students, parents, teachers, and our communities. It exemplifies the achievement of excellence that Westwind strives for with all employees in every area of contribution to the education of our students.

We won a Golden Communications Award from the  National School Public Relations Association. We also won a Bravo! Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education. This is the highest award that CACE offers and is a major accomplishment. On November 20, 2016, we won the Public Engagement Award from the Alberta School Boards Association. This award means that Westwind’s public engagement efforts were the best in Alberta during the 2015-2016 school year. 

All three of these awards were for our efforts at community education and engagement from January through April 2016. We sought to address community concerns at Alberta Education's release of the "Guidelines for Best Practice: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender identities, and Gender Expressions". Our communications and engagement efforts included holding small and large public meetings, releasing videos, issuing surveys, writing articles and FAQ's, and releasing draft documents for staff and public feedback. 

At the public meeting held in Magrath, we were able to present many of the educational measures we had prepared and released. We were also able to hear the concerns of parents. We incorporated their voice those into the final policy. Board Chair Ron Fromm also forwarded the comments from the meeting to Education Minister David Eggen. This was an effective two-way communication and engagement process. We were able to provide the public with information and hear and act on their informed feedback.

We are thankful for the recognition we have received for our commitment to excellence in engagement and communications. We hope to continue effective engagement in future endeavours and projects. These awards show the dedication of Westwind's Board of Trustees and Administration to communication and engagement with the public, and the Board’s commitment to excellence in all areas, from teaching to transportation to maintenance to technology to communications. Congratulations to Mr. Ruttan on his achievements and recognition this year. 

Ken Sommerfeldt
Superintendent

Provincial Curriculum Development Survey

In June, the Education Minister David Eggen announced that Alberta Education would be engaging in a curriculum redesign project between 2018 and 2022. The Ministry will be developing new curriculums for English and French, for Arts Education, Language Arts (English, French, and Français), Mathematics, Social Studies, Sciences and Wellness. They provided broad estimated timelines for curriculum development:

  • K—4, December 2018
  • 5—8, December 2019
  • 9—10 (3 subjects), December 2020
  • 9—10 (3 subjects) + 11—12 (3 subjects), December 2021
  • 11—12 (3 subjects), December 2022

In late October Minister Eggen and Premier Rachel Notley announced the launch of an online curriculum survey as part of an effort to hear feedback from Alberta parents. The survey can be accessed at curriculumsurvey.alberta.ca, and will be available for everyone in the province until November 18, 2016.

We encourage students, parents, community members, teachers, and interested parties to participate in the survey since it will help your voice be heard at Alberta Education. The Minister has committed to "use the robust and diverse viewpoints of Albertans to help inform our work." More information on curriculum development can be found on the Alberta Education website.

Magrath Modernization Project

Work progresses on Magrath School Modernization Project, which includes the new public library space featured in the picture. The activities are mostly inside and few people get to see what is happening. We’d like to pull back the curtain and let you know and see the status of the modernization. 
 
This week Mr. Dennis Baker, our Director of Operations and Maintenance, toured the school with the contractor to see how to project is coming along. This week the work is focusing on removing hazardous materials and interior walls, and roughing in the plumbing, electrical, heat, and data lines.
 
We will provide more updates on the status of this project as the weeks go by and we get closer to reopening the space to students and the public.

Public Alberta Education Engagement Sessions

The Southern Alberta Professional Development Consortium is facilitating several free Public Engagement Sessions on Alberta Education's curriculum development. These sessions are open to teachers, school council members, and to the general public. They would like anyone interested to preregister for these free sessions, but people arriving at the door will be able to participate as long as there is room. The three sessions they are holding in Lethbridge are:

Read More

Thank You for the Reading Blankets!

In September we handed out reading blankets, lovingly handcrafted by Board Members, Superintendents, and their families to all of our grade one students in all Westwind Schools for International Literacy Day.

The Grade One class at Raymond Elementary School took the time to record a video thanking the Board for making these reading blankets for them! Their short messages of how the use their blankets and what they love about them are so touching and reach the heart of what this project was intended to do. The Board's goal is to get every single child to feel good while reading. We want students to get warm fuzzies when they read, so that they will soar right past their grade reading levels. We want all students to be reading at or above their grade level by the end of grade three. Handing out these blankets has really sparked a love of reading in many of these young minds. 

Not only was International Reading Day a day for reading blankets, but The Mountain View Book Barn was officially opened! The project of building and filling the Book Barn, an outdoor free library in Mountain View, was spearheaded by Sara Salmon, and supported by a grant from the Lethbridge Community Foundation. This was the most remarkable International Literacy Day that Westwind School Division has ever had the pleasure of celebrating!

Literacy is one of the most important life skills that we can teach our kids, and we are serious about making sure that all our students have a solid base from which to approach the rest of the education and life. A big thank you to the principals and teachers at Raymond Elementary School who really made this event something particularly special for their students! 

But how have these projects impacted you and your children? Let us know with the #WestwindReads hashtag and tag us on Facebook and Twitter!

#WeveGotReadingCovered #WestwindReads #Literacy #Reading #ABEd

 
 

World Teachers' Day

UNESCO proclaimed October 5th to be World Teachers’ Day in 1994. This day celebrates the impact that outstanding teachers have through their commitment to excellence for students, themselves, and their colleagues.

Westwind School Board and Administration offer our sincere appreciation to our outstanding teachers. 

Post a picture of your great teacher and tell us what they do that makes them a great teacher! Tag them and us on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #GreatTeachers. 

Happy World Teacher Day!

High School Career Day

On Tuesday October 4th, the entire Westwind School Division high school population gathered for a day of exploration at the tri-annual career fair held at Cardston High School. About 1000 students were treated to an outstanding opening keynote presentation by Alvin Law. He delivered a powerful message covering a wide range of topics. He focused on the ability of every individual to accomplish what they are determined to accomplish. We encourage parents to check out Alvin's site and visit with your sons and daughters about what they heard. Some surprises were in both the message and his abilities as he played the piano and drums while driving home the message that we are meant to succeed. 

Students participated in a wide range workshop sessions put on by members of the community and some of the Westwind teaching staff.  Students had an opportunity to hear about careers from archeologist to veterinarian and just about everything in between. Over 35 presenters donated their time and talents to share their passion for their careers. They provided food for thought for the students as they consider their next steps. 

Special thanks goes out to the four high school academic counsellors: Inge Pot (Stirling), Darryl Salmon (Raymond), Ross Blackmer (Magrath) and Stephen Gibbings (Cardston). Special thanks also goes to the staff of CHS who hosted the event. We encourage students to visit each others about what they learned in the sessions and keep as many options open as possible through your own hard work in class. 

As Alvin Law repeatedly emphasized it's our attitude, our willingness to take risks and learn (chopsticks on the piano even) that really determines our end. Embrace the value in yourself and avoid the victim mentality. Develop your imagination and never give up and you simply can't be stopped, even if you fail a couple of times along the way.

Thanks to our students for being such a great audience in the keynote and in the workshops.

Fentanyl: Information for Teachers and Parents

We have received information for parents and teachers from Alberta Education regarding fentanyl. Since this is a very important issue we strongly encourage all to read it and to be aware of the dangers of fentanyl. 

Fentanyl: Information for Teachers and Parents 

What you need to know 

You may have heard recently about a dangerous drug called fentanyl that is causing a lot of harm in Alberta and across Canada. 

Fentanyl is an opioid (painkiller) that can be used safely when it is prescribed by a health professional and taken as directed. But it is also being made and sold illegally. 

Fentanyl is very toxic. Just a small amount of fentanyl, the size of two grains of salt, can be deadly. Fentanyl is made and sold in many different forms and can be hiding in other drugs. 

Talk to the kids in your life 

Kids and young adults are especially vulnerable to substances since their brains are still developing. It is not always easy, but talking to your kids about fentanyl and other dangerous drugs is one of the best things you can do to keep them safe. 

  • You can start a conversation by telling your kids you care about them and you want them to be safe. 
  • Ask them what they know about fentanyl and encourage open and honest communication. 
  • Tell them what you know about fentanyl: 
    • It’s a very dangerous drug that is being seen more and more in Alberta; 
    • 272 Albertans died from fentanyl in 2015; 
    • If you take fentanyl, it can stop your breathing; 
    • It can be hiding in any street drug and may even look like prescription medication; 
    • Drug dealers may not know if the product they are selling contains fentanyl. 
  • Ask your kids to tell you if they are ever around drugs and let them know it is ok to say no if they are ever offered drugs. 

What parents and caregivers can do?

As parents, you are an important influence in your kids’ lives. Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent drug use, there are some things you can do that we know are helpful: 

  • Spend quality time with your kids, be involved in their lives. 
  • Encourage and support your kids to help them do well in school. Support and help your kids be involved in activities that build on their interest, hobbies (sports, learning, community activities, and leadership development). 
  • Help kids and youth understand the risks and consequences of drug use and have clear expectations. 
  • Support your kids to make healthy decisions and what to do if someone is pressuring them or their friends to use drugs.

If you think your child might be using fentanyl or other drugs, there is help. Call Health Link at 811 and their trained staff will help you with what to do next. 

What can teachers do? 

As teachers, you contribute to healthy and supportive school environments and help students make positive choices. Talk to your students about drugs, and promote drug-use prevention initiatives in your school. Prevention initiatives that have been shown to be helpful in the school setting include: 

  • student led programs; 
  • programs that connect students with positive role models (mentoring); 
  • encouraging meaningful participation (student council, peer tutoring); 
  • programs that focus on life skills (social skills, managing conflict, etc.).

Research shows that the most effective drug prevention programs focus on positive social and behavioural development and put the students at the centre of the design, taking their needs and realities into account. 

Signs of an overdose 

If you are using drugs, or are with someone who has used drugs, and you or they have any of these symptoms call 911: 

  • breathing is slow or not breathing at all 
  • nails and/or lips are blue 
  • choking or throwing up 
  • making gurgling sounds 
  • skin is cold and clammy 
  • can’t wake them up

Learn more about overdose prevention and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe at drugsfool.ca. 

When someone overdoses on fentanyl, they may stop breathing. If you come across someone who you think may be overdosing and is not breathing: 

  1. Call 911 immediately. 
  2. Follow the SAVE ME steps: 
    1. Stimulate (to see if a person is responsive) 
    2. Airway (check and clear) 
    3. Ventilate (1 breath every 5 seconds) 
    4. Evaluate 
    5. Muscular Injection (1ml of naloxone if available) 
    6. Evaluate (consider a second dose of naloxone if needed) 
  3. Stay with the person until help arrives. 

Rescue breathing is best performed with a barrier mask to prevent the potential transfer of disease. 

Naloxone is a drug that may help someone start breathing again after an opioid overdose if given right away. However, its effect is only temporary. 

More information and resources 

Fentanyl and Naloxone 

SAVE ME 

Resources for parents and caregivers 

Resources for teachers, schools and community members 

Welcome Back Students!

We are very excited to welcome all our students back for the new school year! Please check your school's information below. Note that school fees will be announced at the respective schools. Parents, please check your house for textbooks and library books that may have stayed the summer with you. For further information please contact the specific school you have questions for. If you live outside our local calling area and need to phone our schools long distance, please use 1-800-655-4991 and we will connect you with the school you need to talk with. 

Cardston Elementary School

Principal: Mark Bennett
Phone: 403-653-4955
Grades: K-5

Sept 6:  Grades K-5 – First day for students, full-day 8:30 a.m. start time

Cardston Junior High School

Principal: Jeremy Payne
Phone: 403-653-4958
Grades: 6-8

Aug 24-25: New Student Registrations,  9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Aug 26: New Student Registrations 9 a.m. - 12 noon
Sept 6: First day for students, full-day, 8:35 a.m. 
Sept 9: Pancake Breakfast & Student Council Elections
Sept 23: School Pictures

Cardston High School

Principal: Austin Nunn
Phone: 403-653-4951
Grades: 9-12

Sept 1: First day for students, half-day, 8:35 a.m.

Magrath Elementary School

Principal: Brad Sabey
Phone: 403-758-3367
Grades: K-6

Sept 6: First day for Gr 1 – 6, full-day, 8:35 a.m. start time
Sept 6th and 7th: Kindergarten Orientation
Sept. 8th: First day of Kindergarten
Sept 9th: Welcome Back Assembly
Sept 12th and 13th: Preschool Orientation
Sept 14th: First day of Preschool
Sept 21st and 22nd: Parent Teacher Interviews
Sept 28th: Picture day

Magrath High School

Principal: Rob Doig
Phone: 403-758-3366
Grades: 7-12

Sept 1: First day for students, half-day
Gr 7 - Band Room, 8:35 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.
Gr 8 - Band Room, 9:40 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.
Gr 9 - Band Room, 10:40 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. 
Gr 10 - Tom Karen Gym, 10:40 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Gr 11 - Tom Karen Gym 9:40 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.
Gr 12 - Tom Karen Gym 8:35 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.

Mountain View School

Principal: Stacy Jacobs
Phone: 403-653-2404
Grades: K-9

Sept 6: First day for students, full day, 8:05 a.m. start time
Sept 6: Welcome back breakfast, 8 a.m.
Sept 7: First day for Preschool
Sept 8: First day for Kindergarten

Raymond Elementary School

Principal: Marlin Hogg
Phone: 403-752-3004
Grades: K-6

Sept 6: First day for students, full-day, 8:25 a.m. start time

Raymond Junior High School

Principal: Cory Bevans
Phone: 403-752-3348
Grades: 7-9

Aug 23-25: 9:00-12:00 - New student registration
Sept 1: First day for students, (half-day, 8:15 a.m. – 11:30)
Sept 2: Is a regular Friday schedule.
Sept 8: Picture day

Raymond High School

Principal: Todd Heggie
Phone: 403-752-3381
Grades: 10-12

Aug 22-25: Student Registration, 9 am - noon
Sept 1: First day for students, half-day-PICTURES FOR EVERYONE
Gr 10, 8:20 a.m. start time
Gr 11, 9:30 a.m. start time
Gr 12, 10:30 a.m. start time

Spring Glen Elementary School

Principal: Kelly Thomas
Phone: 403-626-3611
Grades: K-5

Sept 6: First day for students, full-day, 8:25 a.m. start time.  Also, Welcome Back Breakfast
Sept 8: First day for Preschool
Sept 14: First day for Kindergarten

Spring Glen Junior High School

Principal: Jamie Barfuss
Phone: 403-626-3616
Grades: 6-9

Sept 6: First day for students, full day, 8:25 a.m. start time

Stirling School

Principal: Darren Mazutinec
Phone: 403-756-3355
Grades: K-12

Sept 1: First day for High School Gr. 10-12, half day
Sept 6: First day for Elem & Jr High students, full-day, 8:10 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.
Aug 26: Office opens
Sept 7: Picture Day

Westwind Alternate School

Principal: Heather Schmitke
Phone: 403-653-1547

Aug 25: Registration for new Distant Learning Students 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sept 1-2: Registration for Outreach Students (Full time and Individual Courses)
Sept 7-8: West End Distance Learning Orientation (email will be sent to registered families)

For more information, contact Ms. Schmitke by email at heather.schmitke@westwind.ab.ca

Hiring Teachers

Westwind School Division invites applications for the following Teaching positions for the 2016/2017 school year:

RAYMOND HIGH SCHOOL (Competition No. RHS-06-2016-TCHR)

1 Full-Time (1.0 FTE) Temporary position to teach Humanities with an emphasis on English. The successful candidate will teach English 10/20, Social Studies 10/20, CALM 20 & other option classes.

RAYMOND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Competition No. RES-06-2016-TCHR)

1 Full-Time (1.0 FTE) Temporary position to teach in Division 1, covering a Medical leave

2 Full-Time (1.0 FTE) Temporary position to teach in Division 2, covering MAT leaves

MAGRATH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Competition No. MES-06-2016-TCHR)

1 Part-Time (0.5 FTE) Probationary ECS position teach kindergarten in the A.M.

1 Full-Time (1.0 FTE) Temporary position to teach in Division 2, covering a MAT leave. The successful candidate will teach in a grade 5/6 environment.

CARDSTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Competition No. CES-06-2016-TCHRS)

1 Full-Time (1.0 FTE) Temporary position to teach in Division 1, covering a MAT leave

All Elementary positions will hire applicants with the following qualities:

  • Successful candidate will have excellence in literacy instruction, Elem. Literacy Courses would be an asset
  • Successful candidate will be a passionate life long learner
  • Successful candidate will be a master teacher or driven to become one
  • Elementary Literacy Courses would be an asset
  • Successful candidate will be a collaborative evidence based professional
  • General considerations for all positions will include a strong understanding of Professional Learning Communities and how teaching strategies, assessment for and of learning, differentiation and interventions are all intertwined to produce positive student learning.
  • The successful applicants will be able to use technology as a tool to improve student learning. Experience an asset.
  • Successful candidates must hold a valid Alberta Teacher Teaching Certificate.

The successful candidates will be required to provide a criminal record check and child welfare check
before employment begins.

Please note competition number and forward a letter of application, resume and 3 references to:

Mr. Ken Sommerfeldt, Superintendent of Schools
Westwind School Division No. 74
Box 10, 445 Main Street Cardston, Alberta T0K 0K0
FAX: (403) 653-4641 or email to: pam.boyson@westwind.ab.ca

Applications to received no later than: NOON FRIDAY JUNE 10, 2016

The competition will remain open until suitable candidates are selected. Only short-listed candidates will be required to submit a criminal record check and a child welfare check and TQS.

Welcoming, Safe, Caring, and Respectful School Communities

Since forming in 1994, we at Westwind School Division have been committed to making our schools welcoming, safe, caring, and respectful places for all students. Children and youth are our greatest treasure as a society. We are dedicated to helping each child pursue their potential.

In January 2016, the Board began the process of reviewing and revising their Safe and Caring Schools Policy. This process was started at the request of the Minister of Education. The Board continued its practice of reviewing, reevaluating and updating this policy to ensure that all children are being helped, protected, and empowered by this policy.

The Westwind Board made an important set of decisions about this policy, starting with it’s name. The policy is now called the Welcoming, Safe, Caring, and Respectful Schools Policy. This showcases the Board recognition that our schools need to be open, welcoming, inclusive, and respectful in addition to being safe and caring for all students. The policy now includes several direct quotes from the Alberta Human Rights Act to ensure that the basic rights of all persons are respected. It also includes concern for the physical, social, cultural, emotional, and psychological well being of all persons; promotes diversity, understanding, respect, and tolerance for others; and encourages parents and guardians to take an active role in their child’s educational success.

Board Trustee Anna-Joyce Frank is excited about these changes to the policy. She has worked hard over her seventeen years as a Board Member to represent and give voice to different cultures and diverse experiences. Trustee Frank sees this policy as a great step towards her long term goals of increasing understanding, empathy, and diversity in the school division.

“The changes to the policy encourage staff, students, and parents to cooperate with one another in creating the best educational environment possible. It is important to spend time with other people to have a better understanding of who they are and accepting their differences in a positive way.”

Trustee Anna-Joyce Frank went to school in Cardston, graduating from Cardston High School. She has since earned Bachelor of Counseling Psychology (University of Great Falls, 1992) and Bachelor of Social Work (University of Calgary, 2004) degrees. She is currently engaged in studies for her Masters of Social Work with the University of Calgary. She has served as a Westwind School Division Board Trustee since 1999. Her two children attended Westwind schools, as do her grandchildren.

Transportation Supervisor Appointment

Westwind School Division is pleased to announce that Mr. Corey McCarthy has been appointed as the new Transportation Supervisor effective Friday, May 20, 2016. Mr. McCarthy is an information systems and technology specialist experienced with project management and administration, having worked for multinational corporations CanWest Media and Hollinger International. He spent time with various companies such USA Today, Global, Shaw, The National Post and the Calgary Herald. In 2013, Mr. McCarthy was hired by Westwind School Division and has worked as a systems administrator supporting technical infrastructure, information, and business systems for the division, including the transportation bus routing and fleet maintenance systems.

Mr. McCarthy’s appointment as Transportation Supervisor is indicative of the shift in transportation to electronic database systems for managing routes and students. Shortly before his appointment, the Board initiated the change to a new and extensive database system for transportation. Mr. McCarthy will be key in rolling out and implementing this and other systems in transportation to ensure that this department is running efficiently for all our students. We are very pleased to welcome Mr. McCarthy into his new role with the Transportation Department.

AHS Whooping Cough Letter

We would like to post a letter here for all staff, parents, and students in Westwind School Division.

PDF: Letter to Schools and Childcare Providers in South Zone

4 May 2016

Letter to Schools and Childcare Providers in South Zone

Re: Increased Pertussis Activity in South Zone

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Facts

Over the past two months there have been an increased number of confirmed Whooping Cough (Pertussis) cases in Southern Alberta. It is expected that there is more Pertussis circulating in the community, as many people with the disease may not seek medical attention. 

Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

  • A highly contagious, material infection of the lungs and airways.

  • Pertussis can be a severe - even fatal - illness, particularly in children. 

  • Children under one year of ae are most likely to have serious illness as a result of Pertussis. 

Signs and Symptoms

  • Pertussis illness starts with a runny nose, sneezing, fever, and mild cough. Typically, over about a week, the cough will become more severe with repetitive coughing spells. 

  • In younger children, these coughing spells are usually followed by a "whooping" sound when inhaling. Vomiting following a coughing spell is also common. 

  • Older children and adults may experience milder symptoms, such as a prolonged cough with or without fits or whooping sound. 

  • The cough may last for two months or longer. 

Why is the disease serious?

  • Complications can include serious pneumonia, seizures, brain injury, and death. 

  • Children under one year of age are most likely to require hospitalization. 

  • People with Pertussis are most contagious in the first three weeks after symptoms begin.

How can you protect your child?

  1. Although immunization is always not 100% effective, it is still the best method to protect your child and limit the spread of disease to others. Parents should ensure their children are vaccinated according to Alberta's Routine Childhood Immunization schedule: www.health.alberta.ca/health-info/imm-routine-schedule.html

  2. Pregnant women in the third trimester (26 weeks) who have not previously received an adult dose of Pertussis vaccine are encouraged to receive Pertussis containing vaccine to protect herself and the child in the first weeks after birth. 

  3. It is recommended that immediate family members and caregivers who live in the same household as infants under one year of age are up to date with their Pertussis immunization.

  4. Encourage your child to not share their water bottles, lipstick, lip balm, or drinks. 

If you wish to immunize your children or yourself against Pertussis, or need to check immunization status, please call your public Health office to make an appointment (see the attached list of offices in southern Alberta).

Treatment

  • A lab test will only be positive in the first three weeks after the start of symptoms.

  • Antibiotics help prevent the spread of pertussis to others. Although taking antibiotics may not change the course of your child's illness, it will shorten the time he/she must stay home. 

  • Anyone diagnosed with pertussis must:

    • Stay at home from school, work, church, public places, and other social settings for five days after the start of antibiotics.

    • Stay home twenty-one days after the start of your symptoms if antibiotics are not taken.

Contacts of confirmed cases with pertussis

  • Public health will follow up with contacts of confirmed cases. Antibiotics to prevent infection are only recommended for certain at risk people (infants and pregnant women in their third trimester or their family members. NOT for all contacts.

Contact your health care provider immediately if you suspect that you or your child has Pertussis. 

For health advice and information, call Health Link Alberta, 24-hours a day, 8-1-1.

Sincerely, 

Vivien Suttorp, MD, MPH, CCFP, FCFP
Lead Medical Officer of Health
Alberta Health Services - South Zone

Karin Goodison, MD, MPH, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health
Alberta Health Services - South Zone

Lena Derie-Gillespie, MD, BSW, CCFP
Medical Officer of Health
Alberta Health Services - South Zone