June Update

                                 Students and staff enjoyed our recent “Twin Day”!

This will be the last “long” newsletter of the year.  There is lots of information below about our busy June.  Students are continuing to be focused on their academics despite the increasing number of learning opportunities happening outside of the school.  Thanks to our staff and students for their hard work!

Change in our Bell Schedule for 2018/19

Due to changes in the transportation department, our bell times will shift slightly next year.  Our warning bell will ring at 8:20 instead of 8:10 in the morning.  Dismissal will move from 2:19 to 2:29.  We think our students will be happy with the extra 10 minutes of sleep in the morning!

In order to meet grade 8 minutes of instruction, our grade 8 students will not have a formal Nutrition Break next year.  Teachers will ensure they have a chance to grab a snack at some point in the morning as they move between classes.

We are growing!

Next year, we are adding three divisions to our school.  We will have a fourth class on the red team (Early French Immersion), an additional English track grade 6/7 class, and a fourth class on the yellow team (Grade 8 French Immersion).  We already have two portables on the property and have researched creative ways to solve our space problem.  We will be adding two innovative teaching and learning environments.  Mrs. Thio and Ms. MacDonald will combine their classes in one of our extra large classrooms.  They are looking forward to team teaching.  Mr. Olson and another teacher (we are posting the position) are looking forward to creating a similar situation in grade 8.  Proposals are being shared with the SD 83 Senior Leadership Team next week.  The idea of team teaching has been studied  by educational specialists for some time and successfully implemented in many places, including the Vernon School District.  Benefits to the students include such things as “specialized services to individual students” (Conderman, 2011).  Current grade 6 students in Mrs. Thio and Ms. MacDonald’s classes will remain with their current teacher as is practice at SMS.  Students for Mr. Olson’s team teaching class will be randomly chosen.  I am confident that with the strength of the teachers involved in these classrooms, the innovative approach to the year will be successful.  If you feel strongly that these team teaching situations either will or will not work for your son or daughter, please let me know prior to June 15th.  As always, please feel free to contact me if you have questions, suggestions or concerns you would like to discuss.

Transitions

Thanks to the hard work of Ms. Little, our outgoing grade 8s are well prepared for their move to Jackson campus, and our next year’s grade 6 group is being welcomed to SMS. Parent nights have taken place and school tours are organized.  Our grade 8 students visit the Jackson campus on June 26th.  Our new grade 6s visit us according to the schedule below:

June 13th 10:55-11:55 English Track Students

June 14th 12:30-1:30  Early French Immersion Track Students

June 15th 12:25-1:30  Late French Immersion Track Students

Indigenous Education

Thanks to Sherelle and Tara, our Indigenous Education Workers, for an informative year of Indigenous Education opportunities this year.  We have had Sekwepmec language lessons, an inspiring speech from Laura Grizzly Paws, Winter Wellness Day, a visit from the BC Artifacts Museum, and lessons in the art of Birch Bark Biting.  Thanks to our PAC for their support which enabled each team to have at least one cultural experience this year, and to Tara and Sherelle for their organization and grant writing!

Huge Thanks to our Wonderful PAC

A big thank you to our PAC for their tremendous support of our academic and extra-curricular programs this year.  We greatly appreciate this hard working group of parents who have made possible a variety of field trips, the leadership conference; our Grade 8 Dessert and Dance; robotics; wheelchair basketball; shop, library, and homec equipment; and the beautifying of our courtyard; to name a few!  You will see from the photo below that not only did every student have the opportunity to experience what it is like to play basketball from a wheelchair; some of our staff did, too!

wheelchair

Gifted Program

gifted

Many of our students enjoyed the opportunity this year to work with SD 83 Gifted Teacher, Leslie Drinovz on individual projects.  Thanks to Leslie for her inspiring work with this talented crew!

Meet Rowan and Tucker

School District 83 Policy allows for “staff and students to bring their own pets/animals into district facilities for educational reasons”.  Many of you have met Rowan, who often spends the day in the office.  Rowan is a labradoodle.  Several students start their day with him before going to class to regulate them for a successful day.  Rowan also “reads” with students, and helps students who are sent to the office calm down and be ready to fix the problem that resulted in the office referral.  Many of our students with special needs visit the office to spend time with Rowan and return to class ready to focus.  Students with exam anxiety will often choose to write a test in the office with Rowan at their side rather than in the classroom.  Tucker spends his days in our Inclusive Support Program with a group of nine students.  He is a key component to the success of the program which helps students who are not successful in the regular classroom.  Tucker’s job is to supply emotional support and assist students in regulating their behavior.  The ISP class begins each day with a hike at Little Mountain where students needing a quiet chance to debrief situations outside of school walk with him and the ISP teachers, Adam and Nadya.  Students in the ISP have said that some days the only reason they come to school is to see Tucker.  SD 83 Regulation 1070.01R states that “if any parent disagrees with the animal being brought on site, the animal will not be allowed on school premises.”  Please feel free to contact me or Adam Barraball if you have questions or concerns.  Additional information about the benefits of dogs can be found at http://you.ubc.ca/ubc_stories/bark-therapy-dogs/ or https://www.facebook.com/TherapyService-Dogs-of-the-Okanagan-388524038286633/

June Dates

We update our website regularly with upcoming dates.  Please continue to check and call our office staff (Dee, Kyla, Paul, Wendy) if you have any questions.