June 1st Update – IMPORTANT INFO


SMS Staff Says Hello! 

We are working hard to ensure provincial and district safety protocols are in place to welcome some of our students back next week.  We understand this is a family decision, and respect your choice during this unusual time.  We have over 50% of students returning for our one day a week of in-class learning which is designed to support the home learning opportunities offered to all students.

This post has very important details regarding the rules and guidelines in place as our students return.  But first……….say hello to our fabulous staff by single clicking the link above where it says SMS Staff Says Hello!  Whether you are returning or not, please know how much we have been thinking about you and have missed you!  Thanks to our staff, students and parents for their hard work to have learning continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the restrictions we have in place will seem unusual for students, and strict, we have confidence that once they get into their CORE classroom with their teachers, it will be a positive experience.  Our number one goal is safety.

Scheduled Days

It is VERY important that students are on the school grounds only on the day their CORE teacher is providing in-class support for the home learning opportunities, unless other arrangements have been confirmed with Mr. Matheson or their LRT (Tier 1 workers and some students with an IEP).  Students who have not registered to attend may not be on the school property.  We have worked hard to meet out 20% capacity per day rate.  Students are not to come during the day or at lunch to visit friends.  We know how much our students have missed friends (we have, too).  We will be very strict about this.



Students are to bring their home learning supplies and lunch in one backpack which they will keep with them in their classroom.  They must also bring their own water bottle as the fountains will be closed.   The water refill station will be in operation.  Please ensure students have writing materials and a notebook. Lockers will not be used.  Schedules have been developed to facilitate safety and spacing throughout the school. Specific requests for days or friendship groups could not be met.  Our schedule is as follows:


Mondays:  Hiebert/Brunwald, Olson, Tait/Chalabi,  Craig, Lynka, Rodwell, Maddigan,

Half of Lafortune/Dalgaard (please see Mme Lafortune’s email to families as our late French Immersion grade 7 CORES are divided into two days),

Tuesdays Kenny, Bushell, MacThio, Limber, Gauthier, Vezina, Lazar

Wednesdays:  The school is closed to in-class learning for extra cleaning

Thursdays:  Penner, DeWitt, Whitehead

Half of Hobart/Russell/Weir  (please see Mme Weir’s email to families as our Grade 8 French Immersion classes are divided into two days)

Half of Lafortune/Dalgaard (please see Mme Lafortune’s email to families as our late French Immersion grade 7 CORES are divided into two days)

Fridays: Lawson, Verney, Kallies, Cecco

Half of Hobart/Russell/Weir  (please see Mme Weir’s email to families as our Grade 8 French Immersion classes are divided into two days)

Chromebooks, Textbooks and Library Books

If you are returning to school next week, please bring textbooks and library books back with you.  On May 28, Mme Reed will send email notices to parents of all students with books outstanding.  We’ll have a collection bin for library materials ready for your return.

We lent out over 100 chromebooks to help with home learning.  If you have a chromebook at home that you no longer need, please bring it with you to the school on your scheduled day.  If you are not returning to school in June, please email Ms. Mueller to arrange a safe time to drop it off.  Due date for all chromebook returns is June 19th. 

pd poster



Controlled Space

Because we are a controlled space, we are able to have more than 50 people in our building.  To maintain recommended numbers, all outside doors will be locked during the day.  The safety protocols put in place by SD 83 follow provincial recommendations.


Safety Protocols

All protocols follow provincial and district guidelines.  Below is a summary to review prior to sending your student to school.

  • Students will not be allowed to enter the building except on designated days and only if parents stated “Yes” to returning June 1 on the district survey or spoke to an SMS staff member to make arrangements.  This is to ensure we do not go over the provincial recommendation of 20% in our building each day.  
  • If you did not make arrangements for your student to attend as above, you are welcome to do so for the week beginning June 8th by contacting the office staff directly.  If your family said “yes” to returning but will not be in attendance on any of the scheduled days, we ask that you contact the office.
  • If you require bus transportation and did not indicate so on the district survey, please contact the transportation department at 832-9415.

Prior to sending your student to school:

Child Health Screening – Parents/caregivers are required to keep symptomatic children home. Children showing symptoms of COVID-19 or with a temperature greater than 38°C must not be allowed at school.  Parents are asked to complete the following health check with their child at home prior to leaving for school.  Please do NOT send your child if the answer is yes to anything.  Staff will go through the same questions once again upon arrival.

*This health check must be completed each morning before your child leaves for school. 
Date: Name:
Time: Division/Teacher:
Do you have a fever? Yes                             No


Do you have a cough? Yes                             No


Do you have congestion? Yes                             No


Do you have nasal drip? Yes                             No


Are you sneezing? Yes                             No


Is anyone in your household ill? Yes                             No



Arrival Procedure:

Students will be asked not to walk to, or be dropped off, at the school site before 8:15am.  At 8:15, staff will begin the health check and attendance process at each of the four designated entrances.  By 8:25 all students should be checked in and the doors will be locked.  Late arrivals are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED.  Students who wish to gain access to the building after the day begins will wait outside the front entrance for a health check from a school team member. Your cooperation with getting students to school on time is greatly appreciated.

Physical distancing of 2 meters must be maintained at arrival and dismissal. Parents and guardians will not be permitted inside the building without a scheduled appointment.

Students are to physically distance at their designated entrance when they arrive at school.  Designated entrances are as follows:


Main Entrance Dalgaard

Lafortune Rodwell








Side Entrance Near Music Olson








Rear Entrance Near Portables Tait/Chalabi







Rear Entrance Near MacThio/ Bushell Lynka





Penner Lawson


Isolation Room for students who become symptomatic during school hours:

Students who are awaiting authorization to walk home or pick up due to exhibiting symptoms will wait in the designated “isolation” room.  A nearby washroom will be designated for students awaiting pick up.

Student Behaviorclassroom

  • In addition to the expectations we already have at school, students will also be expected to adhere to the new safety guidelines in place. Students that cannot follow the rules we have put in place to ensure everyone’s safety will not be allowed to participate in in-class instruction.
  • Students will have an expectations review by teacher/administration and a firm reminder that joking, horseplay, teasing and any purposeful attempt to spread germs will be handled with seriousness and consequences.


Masks are a personal choice.  Students and staff may wear them if they choose,.

Dismissal Procedure

Students will be dismissed in the following order:

2:20 – students walking home will be asked to leave the building at 2:20 and to leave the property immediately

2:25 – students getting picked up by parents will be asked to leave the building at 2:25 and to leave the property immediately

2:29 – students who are taking the bus will be asked to leave the building at which point they will begin lining up according to social distancing and administration/supervisor instructions.

take care


If you would like extensive details about the safety protocols, please visit the SD 83 website.

We look forward to seeing some of our fabulous students next week.  As always, feel free to contact the office if you have questions, suggestions or concerns.


Details Tomorrow!

Hi everyone,

We are busy finalizing numbers and making a schedule for each CORE class to attend one day a week beginning June 1.  Thank you to those parents who completed the survey and returned our phone calls to confirm attendance.  Attendance one day per week in June is optional, and we appreciate the ability for families to make the choice that works best for them.  Home Learning Opportunities will continue to be provided weekly.  If students are attending one day a week, they will continue to work on those activities with in-class support.

As per provincial guidelines for grade 6-8, will have less than 20% of students at SMS each day; we are working to ensure all safety protocols are in place for Monday.  Please check your email and the website on Wednesday, May 27th for details regarding your student’s schedule.  We appreciate your support and patience as we prepare.  If you did not indicate that your child will be attending, and you wish to do so, please contact us to make arrangements.  Please do not send your child to school if you did not indicate you would be doing so on the survey or by telephone.  We need your help in keeping everyone safe.

Please see the information below for a glimpse of what the upcoming weeks will look like.  We will email you the link to the website for detailed information tomorrow.

We are looking forward to having students in our building once again.  Take care.

The Strangest May 1st Ever!


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.


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


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.

Student Belongings, Learning Activities & More

lockerHi everyone,

We hope this message finds you well and adjusting to our temporary reality.  It has been difficult to be at school without the students we all care so much about.  All of our staff hope that we are back together soon.  Teachers have reported that it has been wonderful to have the opportunity to talk with each family this week.  We are working hard to provide learning opportunities that will be meaningful and easy to complete at home.  We understand that nothing can replicate the work done by teachers in their classrooms, and are working hard to offer activities that add to students’ learning and don’t increase stress at home during this pandemic.

healthcareWe are passing the information collected from teachers regarding Essential Service Workers and families who would benefit from food support to our Senior Leadership Team at School District 83.  A big thank you to all you from all of us at SMS for keeping the essentials available to us!  Assistant Superintendent, Carl Cooper and his assistant, Sharon Wood, will be reaching out to those families, beginning with those in Tier 1.  The priority for child care for Essential Service Workers is:

groceryTier 1:  Healthcare Workers and Emergency Responders
Tier 2: Workers that support vulnerable populations, utilities workers, workers that support chain functions (groceries, pharmacies)
Tier 3:  Teachers and childcare workers who do not have access to childcare and who are providing instructions to the children of ESWs.

In addition, our Learning Resource Teachers are working with families to determine which of our students with unique needs require support.

We will share information about food support as we receive it.  Our community is working together to determine how to best support families during this difficult time.

inside lockerWe have been working hard to carefully put together each student’s belongings.  We have done our best to retrieve personal belongings from both classrooms and lockers.  This was a difficult process (not just because of the moldy sandwicheswink) as it seemed very personal to be collecting items.  Staff did this very respectfully and missed our students even more in the process.

Pick up will begin on Monday, April 6th from 12:00 – 3:00.  We will be open on Tuesday, April 7th from 8:30-3:00.  Please make arrangements to have someone attend during these times.  With 670 students, we need to work together to complete this task.

To follow physical distancing protocols, the following is in place:

  • Only one person per family may come to the school.  We would prefer an adult, as most students have large bags that will be difficult to carry.
  • Please enter the gym from the stairs adjacent to the field on the side of the building.  There will be lots of signs to help with directions.
  • As you enter the gym, there will be a bin for library books, textbooks or other school items that you are returning from home.  Grade 6 and 7 students are welcome to keep library books if you are still enjoying them.
  • Locker and desk contents are well marked and laid out in the gym (in bags)  by CORE classroom.  Please respect physical distancing as you pick them up.
  • The exit will be the side gym door so that people are entering and exiting from different areas.
  • Band instruments that belong to the school (grade 7) are to be delivered to the outside door of the band room.  Grade 8 experienced players may keep theirs for practice.  Band instruments that need to be retrieved (ie. owned personally or rented from a music store) may be picked up from the outside door of the band room as well.  Please note that not all band instruments are labelled with names.  Students may need to pick them up from the band storage room as they are the only ones who know which cubby they have used for storage.
  • The school is closed and access to other sections will be denied, including washrooms.

Please take care during this difficult time.  Teachers will be in touch regularly with students.  Please do not leave messages on the school phone as we are needing to close the building due to a shortage of cleaning supplies district wide.  Mr. Matheson, Ms. Major and I are always available by email as well:



Wendy Woodhurst

Week of March 30-April 3


Dear Parents,

Please know that in these unprecedented times, we are thinking about all of our SMS families and wishing we could be back with our fabulous students tomorrow.  Our school is a community, and it is unsettling for our students, teachers, CEAs, custodians, bus drivers and office staff not to be returning together after Spring Break.  Our staff are working hard to determine how we can best support our students.  Nothing can replace the caring learning environment that we are proud of, but we will do our best in these uncertain times.  I know there are more questions than answers right now.  I will try to answer a few of the questions.  A detailed letter from SD 83 will be emailed to all parents/guardians on Monday.

The goal of our CORE teachers this week is to connect with each family by telephone.  As we are familiarizing ourselves with a new on-line system, this phone call will not come from the SMS telephone number; it will be generated through teachers’ computers.  The goal of the phone call is to reconnect with students and families and to determine how we can best support continued learning.  We know this will look different for each family.  We are worried about the students who rely on our breakfast and lunch programs.  We will be checking in to determine how many families are in need of continued support (we don’t know what that will look like yet).  Included in the phone call will be a chance for you to let us know if you are an essential service worker.  The district will collate the needs and put a district plan in place to help with day care where needed for our essential service workers.

We will be putting plans in place for students who need access to their belongings.  Priority will be given for items such as orthotics or retainers that may have been left in lockers.  Please be patient as we put together a plan that allows for physical distancing and safety for staff and students.

Please do not leave messages on the school telephone.  If you need to be in contact with the office, please email Mr. Matheson, Ms. Major or me.  We look forward to the time when we are back in session at SMS.   Below this post is an update from SD 83.  Please take care of yourselves and each other.