October News

October certainly arrived in a hurry!  September was a fantastic month at SMS.  Our new students quickly settled into routines.  Our staff has done a terrific job of getting learning underway quickly, and also ensuring SMS is a safe and happy place for our 670 students. The website is updated frequently.  We email parents only when we do a larger newsletter.  Please check it regularly.  Thanks to a great suggestion from a parent, we are providing a “Week at a Glance” which provides information about the many activities happening each day at SMS.  Our goal is to have this posted by Sunday so families can plan for the week ahead.  Read on for lots of information about life at SMS.

SMS Shows Our Orange

Thanks to Theresa Johnson and Chelsea Beckman, our Indigenous Education Workers who, along with Mr. Matheson, organized a very thought provoking Orange Shirt Day assembly to end September.  Our special guest was Rose Miller, a residential school survivor who shared her experiences and answered excellent questions from our very engaged audience.  Rose is pictured above with Chelsea and our District Principal of Indigenous Education, Anne Tenning.

Traffic Flow at SMS


We are continuously working to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Our staff has doubled our presence outside in the morning to help with safety. We are working hard to ensure our students are safe in the morning and after school.    We are grateful for the district’s support of our crossing guards (Wella in the morning and Kari in the afternoon) who provide a safe crossing from the Field of Dreams.   

A reminder that in the morning, there are three options for drop off.  The least busy, at this point, is our lower parking lot.  It is possible to turn right into the lot when you enter from 30th, or access from Okanagan Avenue.  This avoids having to turn right at the stop sign as you exit our lot.  Field of Dreams is another good option to avoid the busy parking lot at the school.  We appreciate only those students who require a drop off with projects or have special needs being driven right to the front doors. 

After school there is no pick up in the upper parking lot as it is too congested to ensure safety.  Please make arrangements with your student(s) to meet at a safe place.  Thanks!

Unfortunately, a few drivers are making it difficult for the majority of parents following the rules.  Please ensure you are driving less than 10 km an hour in our parking lot, obeying all traffic signs (no left turn into the lower parking lot or onto 30th), and stopping at the stop sign above the crosswalk to check for students and give our buses the right of way.  A few parents have asked about the time for the “no left turn into the lower parking lot”.  Last year, our bell schedule changed by 10 minutes.  The sign was changed from 8:15  to read 8:25 to accommodate the still busy parking lot right up to bell time.  On 30th, please ensure you are driving less than 30 km/hr in the school zone.  Thanks for your cooperation in keeping all of our 670 students safe!


Fall Sports in Full Swing!athletic.png

As usual, SMS has a large contingent of dedicated coaches making it possible for all interested students to play on our teams.  Weekly updates for practices and games are being posted on the website. We are very fortunate to have the following coaches working with our students:

Grade 6/7 Volleyball:  Danielle Brunwald, Jennie Currie, Melissa Dalgaard, Bev DeWitt, Alex Johnson, Theresa Johnson, Sam Lazar, Bob Lynka, Jaime Russell, Aaron Smith and Amanda Tait

Grade 6/7/8 Rugby:  Derek Gecse and Geoff Power

Grade 8 Cross Country Running:  Wyona Maddigan and Megan Weir

Grade 8 Volleyball:  Adam Barraball, Andi King, Erik Kok and Aaron Smith

Breakfast and Lunchtime Donations

The Salmon Arm Rotary Club has made it possible for us to provide lunches for students who do not bring a lunch from home.  Their support is greatly appreciated.  Many thanks to the parents who have also provided donations for our breakfast program.  We are feeding up to 100 students per day and your support is fabulous.  Many students who attend our morning open gym grab a “second breakfast” on their way to class.  We are proud of our program which not only supports students who may not be able to afford breakfast at home, but also those who burn extra calories in the gym before school starts!  We are feeding more students this year than we have in the past so donations are always welcome.   Please also  help us by checking with your children to see if they need to pack an extra snack or a bigger lunch.

Litter-less Lunch Challenge

Chelie Elsom has created what has become a very popular program at SMS.  Our students are learning more about the positive impact created by reducing waste.  With over 700 students and adults in the building, lunch packages that are discarded in waste baskets have a very negative impact.  Our staff, especially our fantastic Noon Hour Supervisors, are encouraging students to eat whole fruit, use reusable utensils, reusable containers, a refillable beverage bottle and to try to avoid ziplock bags and individually wrapped snacks.  Each student who brings a litter-less lunch has their name entered to win a $10 gift certificate to our cafeteria.  Draws take place every two weeks and students with litter-less lunches can enter every day.

Extra Curricular Activities at SMS

Our talented staff has begun offering a number of clubs, sports and activities for students.  We will update these on the website each week.  Even more opportunities are offered once the weather is colder.  Below is a summary:

Art Room

  • Open Monday, Tuesday mornings at 7:30 and at lunch for project and sketchbook work (Ms. Packlan and Mrs. Brandsma)

Sewing Room

  • open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch (Ms. MacPherson)

Open Gym

  • Monday, Tuesday, Friday at 7:00 am (Wednesday and Thursday are team practices – please see website – Mr. Smith’s blog)
  • Thursday grade 6 open gym volleyball at lunch

Intramural Volleyball

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday at lunch

Chess Club

  • Thursdays at lunch in the library – all welcome. (Mr. Lynka)

Library (Mme Reed and Mrs. Wright…..best librarian names EVER!)

  • Open at 8:00 daily, nutrition break and after school until 2:45
  • Open for grade 8 students on Monday and Wednesday at lunch
  • Open for grade 6/7 students on Tuesday and Friday at lunch

Magic Club

  • Tuesdays and Fridays at lunch in room 124 (M Hobart).  All card players are welcome.

Pinterest Club

  • Grade 8 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch in room 121 (Mrs. Whitehead)(October-December)
  • Grade 6/7 will run from January – March

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)

  • Thursdays at lunch in room 214 (Mme Lafortune)

Francais Fridays

  • Begin in November in room 133 (Mme Russell)
  • Listen, speak and play games in French

Mindful Mondays

  • Begin in November in room 133 (Mme Russell)
  • A quiet space to be!

Rugby, Cross Country and Volleyball information

  • Please see website for weekly updates about games, meets and practices

Shuswap Dogs

North Okanagan-Shuswap School District No. 83 Policy 1070 recognizes that “animals may play an important role in regard to companionship, therapeutic, and educational manners”.  Animals are permitted on school grounds in accordance with local municipal bylawa and inside district facilities with the written consent of the principal and in accordance with the regulations which accompany the policy.  Owners are expected to keep animals on leash and are responsible for cleaning up after them.

rowanMany of you knew “Rowan”, Mrs. Woodhurst’s labradoodle, who regularly worked with the students in the office at SMS.  He was much loved by everyone and when he died in May, the students planted a tree for him and flooded the office with cards and letters.  While he is greatly missed, we have two dogs that would like to help fill the void he has left.


District policy states that “if an animal is to be kept on school premises for an extended period of time, parents shall be notified in advance in writing.  The notice shall include a description of the educational benefit of having the animal on site, and shall include a statement that if any parent disagrees with the animal being brought on site, the animal will not be allowed on school premises”.

“Murphy” is an Australian Labradoodle.  He is hypoallergenic.  Murphy would like to spend his days in our Inclusive Support Program.  This class currently has eight boys who have met Murphy and love having him visit.  The boys start their day with a hike at Little Mountain and appreciate his love and affection throughout the day.


“George” is a “Woodle” and is also hypoallergenic.  George would like to visit the office on a regular basis.  He is very calm, and students who are upset find it very soothing to pet him and spend time with him if they need help solving a problem.  George also sits with students who are sick and waiting for a parent to pick them up.  On the days George has visited this year, many parents, our health nurses, and our RCMP liaison officers have all commented on how his presence helps make the office welcoming and calm.


If you would like to know more about Murphy or George, would like to meet them, or have concerns about them at SMS, please contact Mrs. Woodhurst prior to October 7th.  The full policy is available on the School District No. 83 website under Board of Education – Board Policies.

September PAC meeting – WOW


It was fantastic to have so many parents attend our September PAC meeting.  Thank you to our returning members and the many new faces.  Our staff and students greatly appreciate our PAC’s support.  In addition to supporting many activities and events, our 2018/19 PAC worked hard with the City of Salmon Arm and School District No. 83 to begin a cost sharing process for the resurfacing of our tennis courts.  A letter has been sent to the City (thanks to Suzy Beckner and Darcy Caulkins) and we are hoping to hear if the project will be a part of the budget process.  Our next PAC meeting will take place on October 21st at 6:30 in the library.  Please join us!


As always, our office staff is available to hear suggestions or answer questions any time.  Please call or stop by to see our secretaries, Cinnamon Neumeyer or Kyla Lafleur, our vice-principals, Chris Matheson or Sandra Major, or our principal, Wendy Woodhurst.  Enjoy the early October sunshine!