Heading down the home stretch…

As we sprint our way down the home stretch of this school year, both figuratively with less than 15 days remaining and literally with our Argyle track meet last week, I am left wondering once again…where did this school year go?runners image

In the time since our last post we have had so many awesome learning opportunities for our students both in and out of the classroom environment. A huge thank you to our School Community Council (SCC) for their financial support of two very fun undertakings that we were able to provide for our students: 1) “Cougars in School” which featured University of Regina Cougar Soccer athletes and their coach teaching and training our Gators in the super popular sport of soccer. The program ties soccer to physical education outcomes so it also has a benefit for our staff who get to learn alongside our students for their own professional development as well; 2) Saskatchewan Athletics also came to our facility and delivered their “Run, Jump, Throw, Wheel” program to our grade 3-6 students on multiple occasions and our grade 7-8  students received 5 clinics in different track and field disciplines as well from elite athlete/trainers.

Our Gator Green Sox softball team has been knocking it out of the park in the last few weeks as well. Close to 30 grade 7 and 8 students are playing in the school division softball league under the watchful eyes of Mr. Lamb, Mr. Norman, Ms Brady, and myself. The team and coaches are having a blast and look forward to finishing the season on a high with two games left to play.

Last week our Art Club had their exhibition and there were many amazing pieces on display. Thanks to Ms Paoli, Ms Mepham, and Ms Lerat for their work leading this group…

Another super cool thing that has occurred in the last month was our first ever “Work Bee” organized by our SCC.  Saturday, May 25th roughly 30 Gator students, parents, and community members pulled together to give our school grounds a makeover. Bike racks, goal posts, swings and many other things were treated to a fresh coat of paint and our front flower bed was given some amazing TLC that has transformed the area to a nicely kept area that reflects our love of this place.

Thanks to everyone who came out to help spruce up our area!

As we prepare for fall I would like to thank Mrs. Vonau for her work driving an opportunity with a company called School Start that can provide school supplies to our students without the headache of heading out shopping. We took a late stab at this last year with some success but we would like to encourage you to consider using this service as they do provide a kickback based on quantities sold. Please see the image below and call the school if you have any questions about this undertaking.
school start
As a school, the important work of administering, scoring, and examining the data of the post assessments for our Value Added Assessments is nearing completion .  We are excited to see this year’s individual growth for each of our Gators here at the Swamp! This growth is the reflection of hard work by students, staff, and you – our community, who encourage our students to excel each day…thank you for that!

From a planning perspective for next year, we are well under way in determining class placements and staffing changes that are in the works.

Like last year, we will not be sharing classroom placements until students return in the fall. The rationale for this decision is that things can easily, and often do, change over the summer months (increased enrollment, staff changes, etc) and we will have a much better picture in August regarding plans for classroom placements.  Please understand that one question that comes to the office at the beginning (and end) of each school year is how we determine which class students will be in.  The first thing parents need to know is this is a carefully considered process.  There are a number of factors that go into this decision including the number of students in each grade, trying to get a balance of gender and abilities, and maintaining some social supports for each student.  In the end, the most important consideration is what is in the best academic interest of all of our roughly 300 students.

The reality for many of our students is they will be in a split-grade classroom at some point during their academic careers, often more than once.  Considering the diverse needs and abilities of students, no class is a “straight” grade.  Our teachers will use a variety of strategies to best meet the individual needs of their students, which would include flexible groupings within and beyond their regular classrooms.  Being in a lower split does not mean that students are lower in their ability, the same way a  higher-grade split is not comprised of the highest achieving students.  Each classroom needs a heterogeneous balance.

Finally, students cannot be grouped solely based on where their friends are or whether they will have the favourite teacher they have always wanted.  We do pay attention to social supports, but working in the same classroom with your best friend(s) is not always the best thing from an academic point of view.  While each teacher has their own strengths that may be somewhat different from their colleagues, all have incredible talents to share in a challenging, rewarding, learning environment.  I would welcome the opportunity to have my child educated in any one of their classrooms.

On very rare occasions, changes may be made if it is determined to be in the best academic interests of a particular child.  The final decision rests with the Principal in consultation with the staff.  We appreciate your understanding and support regarding this matter.

As always, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns please let me know…the easiest way to get me is via email at mick.panko@rbe.sk.ca.

Argyle logo

Important Dates:

June 14th – Leupold & Luba to Moose Jaw Tunnels
June 15th – 1:30 – Grade 8 Farewell
June 16th – Grade 5 Band individual interviews
June 16th – 11:00 & 1:15 – E-I-E-I-Oops! performances (Kowalyshyn & Scott)
June 16th – Lamb & Norman to the park for a bbq
June 19th – Multi-School Track Meet – Douglas Park
June 22nd – Leupold & Luba to the Science Centre
June 22nd – Grade 8 EALs barbecue lunch at Sheldon
June 28th – Primary Play Day (p.m.)
June 28th – Pominville & Leupold & Luba & Lamb & Norman to EVRAZ Park
June 29th – 9:15am – Talent Show
June 29th – Last day for students. Report cards go home. Dismissal at 2:30pm.

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