The Strangest May 1st Ever!

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Dear SMS students and families,

We hope this update finds you healthy and safe.  I know I have posted this quote previously, however it is even more true as we head into our second month of home learning due to the COVID-19 virus.  At SMS, all of our adults; our CORE teachers, custodians, bus drivers, CEAs, secretaries, counselors, librarians, expo teachers and office staff miss our students and have our fingers crossed for some kind of return to school before the end of the scheduled school year. Thank you for the work you are doing at home.  We appreciate the extra load on parents and know that many of you are also working from home as your students are learning.  We also know this is a stressful time for many families with job layoffs and uncertainty.  Please let any of our admin or counseling team know if we can be of assistance.

Please be sure to check out all of the great videos and activities posted by our PE, library and exploration teachers on our website for more challenges and fun at home.  Take care and we hope we see you back soon.  Please keep reading for lots of news despite our students not being in session.

New Administrators Joining Ms. Major

We have two changes in our admin team at SMS.  Mr. Matheson will be going to AL Fortune Secondary School in Enderby.  We will miss his positive energy and support for our students.  The students, staff and parents at ALF are fortunate to have him heading their way.  We are pleased to announce that Mme Weir will be taking his place as one of our vice-principals.  Mme Weir will continue teaching Social Studies on the yellow team and looks forward to joining Ms. Major in the office as well.

I have taken a position as the principal of Surabaya International School in Indonesia beginning August 1st.  This has been a dream which I put on hold when I was lucky enough to become the principal at SMS.  Working with our incredible staff and fabulous students has been a highlight of my career and I will miss everyone.

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We are very fortunate to have Ms. Sydney Griffith coming from Kamloops to take on the role of principal of SMS.  Ms. Griffith is currently the principal of the Kamloops School of Fine Arts.  She has been a principal at all K-12 levels for many years and is looking forward to sharing her expertise with our students, staff and parents.  She will soon learn that she has the best job in the district!

Sport Court Update

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Our wonderful PAC has been fundraising for several years to refinish our tennis courts.  Thanks in particular to the work of past treasurer Suzy Beckner and current treasurer Darcy Caulkins who have been relentlessly pursuing grant opportunities, the dream is becoming a reality!  Pictured above is our PAC executive reviewing final budget details and voting to move forward with the new “Sport Court” this spring.  Now we need your help!  Mr. Matheson has put together a few samples and a process for getting student input into the color scheme.  Please click on the link below to see the colour options and get your vote in before May 8th!

Planning for 2020/21

As always at this time of year, our transition team is busy preparing for September.  Thanks to the many staff who made phone calls to ensure students’ exploration selections for next year are ready to timetable.

We are working closely with Jackson to ensure a smooth transition for our grade 8 students.  In “normal” times, this process involves a parent night and student visits to the Jackson campus.  We will update you as we receive information, however, please be assured that Jackson is working hard with our School Based Team to be ready for this fantastic group of soon to be grade 9s.

Our welcome for next year’s grade 6 students is usually in full swing at this time.  Our School Based Team led by Ms. Little and Ms. Mueller is working hard with grade 5 teachers, learning resource teachers, counselors and principals to ensure current grade 5 students receive all the information they need.  If we are not able to meet our grade 5 students in person, we are working on a video introduction.  Mr. Gecse has been flying a drone around the school to show off our fabulous facility and Ms. Mueller is coordinating video introductions which we will share with families soon.

Class Placement Requests

In May, the School-Based Team (SBT) will meet and discuss the class placement of each student. Tentative classes for September 2020 will be created in June, then finalized during the first week of September. The SBT consists of the outgoing and potential receiving classroom teachers, Learning Resource Teacher, Vice-principal and Principal.  For the most part, our students keep their CORE teacher for grade 6 and 7.  Parent requests are considered, but not encouraged.  We work hard to meet the needs of each of our students.  The SBT looks at the strengths and needs of the children and the team will make decisions based on the following:

High Priority Considerations
• Instructional groupings;
• Class composition, including special needs requirements;
• Social/cultural issues (independence, interactions, leadership);
• Behavioural/social concerns;
• Diversity in development (academic, social, emotional).

Middle Priority Considerations
• Groupings in previous years;
• Dominant grade grouping;
• Physical/social maturation;
• Learning style;
• Siblings and relations.

Lower Priority Considerations
• Friendships;
• Teacher-learner compatibility;
• Class size (room to accommodate new students).

If you feel your child has  unique circumstances that we are unaware of and would like to submit a request for September 2020, they are accepted effective now, by email only.  Requests must be submitted by May 15th in order to be considered.  Please submit an email to the school’s principal, Wendy Woodhurst, at wwoodhur@sd83.bc.ca. The email must clearly outline the request as well as provide specific educational reasons for the placement request which match the criteria above.

When creating tentative classes, parent requests will be considered. However, we are unable to guarantee that requests can be fulfilled.