A gift from the Gators…

It feels like we comment on how fast time flies every month and this month is no different. We are counting down in hours now until our winter break, however, we have witnessed some terrific things in and out of the classroom from our Gators.

We started the month with some great learning together as a staff and enjoyed the chance to set a course for ourselves moving forward in this busy time of year..

As we have progressed through the month we have celebrated the growth of our Band students in the Sheldon Williams Area Band in grades 6-8 in their Winter Concert. It is so cool to see our students progressing in their abilities concert to concert and year to year. Under the guidance of Mrs. Stennes and Ms. Gasparic-Block our Gators are showing tremendous growth and joy in the opportunity they have.

The next night, “Kids singing songs and stuff” had its world premiere under the watchful eye of writer and director Mr. Norman. Our entire community who were able to make it out enjoyed our show tremendously. Students and staff had a pile of fun as classes shared various “songs and stuff” (yes we are being ironic). Following our show our School Community Council hosted their annual Hot Chocolate Social which was super well attended as always.

Our grade 5-8 were very fortunate to have a visit from Saskatchewan Roughrider, Henoc Muamba, last week. Henoc shared a moving presentation that challenged students and staff to pursue greatness in all that we do. Following our concert where we saw students doing wonderful things it was a timely reminder to continue on that path. Henoc discussed with us a pathway to success and ways that positive peer pressure can push us along the pathway we should all desire.

We are very excited about the grade 7/8 Cardboard Arcade that is happening this week on Wednesday through the day for our students and in the evening for the community. The event is an opportunity for our students to give back to our greater city community. Donations of non-perishable food and clothing are the entry and user fee for the event with proceeds to the Food Bank and Salvation Army. I can tell you I am excited to see this event occur as our students have been working hard and have been very creative in the games they have created.

As we enter this Holiday season I want to wish you all a wonderful and restful break. Thank you for a wonderful first four months…I am excited to see what the rest of this school year holds.

Go Gators!
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Embrace the present…

I love words and playing with them!

What does it mean to “embrace the present?”

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The phrase has two meanings that I want to unpack that I think apply well to what we get to do here at Argyle School. First. there is the meaning of “present” as gift. It truly is a gift to be a part of a community that values this place and what happens here. In this regard, I, and our staff, truly do value the gift of being a part of this community. The turnout for our conferences last week was awesome! It was so cool to see students, families, and our staff celebrating the work that has been accomplished already this

year and then to set plans in place for further growth and experiences for our Gators.
The second meaning of “present” I would like to focus in on is the time based idea that contrasts the past. As a staff, we have had some conversations in the past and continue to, about the idea of “Growth Mindset.” Carol

Dweck is an educator that has done much of the foundational work on this concept. She has argued that,  “in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for

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great accomplishment.”  Personally, from an education standpoint I embrace this idea because it promotes a belief that we all have the ability to learn, evolve, and grow. I believe the idea of embracing where we are today, right now, the present but with an eye towards progress is essential for us as learners, and teachers, to be most successful in a school context and beyond. I would encourage each of you to further examine the idea of Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets and think through how it might shape some of your attitudes and beliefs in the things you do everyday as well. There has been much written about this topic, however, for some more information click here.
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There are so many efforts made every day around here to make this place wonderful and they are all appreciated. However, our student Gator Gusto Group (think SRC) makes a huge impact regularly and I would like to publically thank them and their staff leaders (Mr. Lamb and Mrs. Luba) for the work they do to make Argyle awesome. They do things like Spirit Days/Weeks, Hot Lunches, Menchie’s sales, and many other behind the scenes things to provide an enhanced student experience. Thank you so much…

An example of a recent Spirit day was, “Dress as your favorite Celebrity/YouTube sensation/Meme.” Here you see, “Santa in training” with a number of other dressed up Gators. Can you spot some costumes?

December promises to be a busy month with many things going on around the Swamp. Please make sure to follow along on our calendar for information on many of the events going on. We have recently added an upcoming events bar to the right side of our


webpage as well for information at a glance. One event that our Senior students (grades 5-8) are excited about is the viewing of the movie, “Wonder.” Each class has been reading and doing activities tied to this heart-warming story in preparation for the planned trip to take in this movie.  Also, a reminder that while we are enjoying a respite from the brisk weather of earlier in November cold weather is certain to return…and all of our Gators need to be dressed for the weather.
IMG_3846A couple of events to highlight in December include our Band students concert on Dec 13th and our school wide production entitled, “Kids singing and stuff…” that runs the night of Dec 14th. Please see the list below and the previously mentioned school calendar for more information.

  •         Dec 7-8th – Bake Sale – noon both days
  •         Dec 8th – Grade 6 Curling
  •         Dec 8th – Grade 7/8 Soccer Tournament
  •         Dec 11th – Grade 5-8 @ “Wonder” 11-3pm
  •         Dec 12th – Grade 5-8 Skating PM
  •         Dec 13th – SWAMP Band Student Concert 7pm at Sheldon Williams
  •         Dec 14th – Winter Concert Rehearsal for students – afternoon at Sheldon Williams
  •         Dec 14th – Winter Concert followed by Hot Chocolate Social 630pm at Sheldon Williams
  •         Dec 15th – PJ/Comfy Day
  •         Dec 15th – Afternoon – Grade 5-8 “Winter Wonderland Dance” in the gym – produced by the GGG
  •         Dec 22nd – Last Day before the break (break is Dec 23rd-Jan7th inclusive)

As always, I welcome your input, feedback, and thoughts. Please drop me an email at mick.panko@rbe.sk.ca, call our main office, or stop by and chat.

Also, a reminder to check out our other online platforms including our Facebook Page, our Twitter Feed, and our website.


On a cold day we can still have warm hearts…

Argyle logoLet’s begin with a confession, this blog post is not normal in that I usually only post once a month.  However, I felt compelled to share today due to the overwhelming sense of pride I am feeling about our students and staff.

This morning we had our annual Remembrance Day program and as usual it was well done. Mr. Stoffel and his team did a wonderful job of planning and executing an assembly that was respectful, thought provoking, and focused upon students and the things we/they can continue to learn today about what has been done for us to live in this place.

Alone, even this was enough to make me very proud of our students and staff who continue to learn and grow together. The thing that resonated even more greatly with me today, in a way that it never has before, was the sound of nearly 300 young voices, joined in one, singing “O Canada.” I have to admit I was a little glassy looking at our students, staff, and guests standing proudly singing with unified voice for our country. When I look at the diversity of background and experiences in our collective group, I am reminded that while we don’t have it all right as a country we are moving in the right direction…at least in this place and in this moment. There is much work to be done in this great land, but, we can start in our own backyard and move towards unity, respect, and understanding. We don’t have it all right but we are moving!

I was also moved today when I received a random text from a teacher on staff that simply said, “For the record I LOVE THESE KIDS!!!!!” It doesn’t matter who it was because the reality is all of our staff feel this for our students and it is evident in what goes on here each and every day.
IMG_3770I feel like collectively we are living this quotation out. It makes me very proud to be a Gator and a part of this wonderful community of teachers, students, and you!

A reminder that conference notifications should be arriving home. Please make every effort to connect with your Gator and his/her teacher so that we can celebrate successes together and make plans moving forward.

Thanks for all that each of you do to make Argyle a wonderful place that is moving in the right direction! We may not have it all right but we are moving in that direction and that is a win!

Tomorrow take some time to remember with your Gator!

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Some important upcoming dates:
 November 22nd – Grade 5-8 Skating PM
 November 23rd – Kinder Conferences Day 1
 November 24th – School Wide Conferences
 November 29th – Grade 6 Curling
 December 1st – Staff Meeting/PD Day – No School

A season of thanks…

Well we joked about September flying by and its close friend October has also whistled

Argyle logopast…that wasn’t just the ever-present wind of late either.

As this month comes to a close we have much to celebrate here at Argyle and even more to be thankful for.  Our students, staff, and you  have once again rallied together to embrace the idea of community that makes this such a special place to be a part of.  Forgive me for repeating myself month after month, but, one of the most important things that happens in this place is that together we make this place important and invest in it together. We are all richer for this investment and I want to thank you for it; further, I want to encourage you to continue making Argyle a special place for everyone that has anything to do with it with your care and efforts.

Evidence of our collective investment in this community was demonstrated by Mr. Norman’s grade 7/8s who went out and raked yards of people on our surrounding streets and by Mr. Lamb’s 7/8s who ventured out into our substantial school yard and cleaned it of debris which had blown in.

Our SCC (School Community Council) recently held their Annual General Meeting in conjunction with their regular October meeting and our turnout was once again awesome. A huge thank you to this group who so tirelessly work to support this school and financially support so many undertakings that might not otherwise occur. Our newly elected SCC is composed of:
· Chair: Marlene Jackson
· Vice-Chair: James Gates
· Secretary: Lois Young-Hamel/Tara Boutin
· Treasurer: Aaron Dalziel
· Members At Large: Darren Weir, Marjory Zech, Angela Ahlquist, Marina Toews, Rob Reynar, Katie Hosford
· QSP Magazine Coordinator: Lois Young-Hamel
– Staff Liaisons – Lisa Kowalyshyn,Tricia Scott, Mick Panko
This group is always looking for more members to come to meetings or to volunteer at events. If you are interested please email argylescc@gmail.com for more information.

Speaking of our SCC, their annual Halloween Family Dance was a big hit as always and we had some spooktacular costumes on the dance floor in our gym last Friday night. It was great to see so many families out together having a wonderful time…we’d like to encourage everyone to attend next year’s event with your Gator in tow.  It is a great opportunity to have fun as a family in our community and with our community. Thank you to the SCC for organizing, hosting, and sponsoring the event.

The week of October 16th-20th we celebrated Education Week here at the Swamp. Our committee organized a number of events that worked with the the theme of, “Building our Future by Learning Together.” Our schedule had fun events every day that looked like this:
Education Week 2017 ScheduleThere were so many events that had students and staff engaged in fun learning experiences together and I would like to thank our school based team for doing a wonderful job planning the week. Also, a big thanks to those of you who came out Thursday of the week for “Math, Munchies, and More…” It is always fun to have a coffee with you and to see you and your little Gator engaged in learning together.

We were also fortunate to have had a visit from the Regina Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players to our concert hall in late October. While it may not be the nicest venue the group plays, it was a terrific show with a super attentive audience. Thank you to the RSO Chamber Players for the gift of music to our students…a special thanks to our guest performers Ms. Haig and Ms. Yee!

Congratulations to grade 7, Ashley Grice, on your victory in the city wide cross-country race! Thank you to all who participated and coached this year’s Gator squad…even out of the water you are some kind of fast!

Our Volleyball teams’ seasons are also nearing completion and I would like to thank the teams for their efforts and congratulate them on their improvement over the course of the season. It was a treat to see our students participating at the Sheldon-Williams associate school tournament and the way that they represented our school and community was one that I am very thankful for. Thanks to Mr. Lamb, Ms. Yee, and Ms. Wilson for your work with our two teams.
As always, I welcome your input, feedback, and thoughts. Please drop me an email at mick.panko@rbe.sk.ca, call our main office, or stop by and chat.

Also, a reminder to check out our other online platforms including our Facebook Page, our Twitter Feed, and our website.

Blink and it’s gone…

I am not sure about your home, but at our house September has disappeared quicker than ever before. Here at the Swamp we have hit the ground running, not just at the cross-country trail either, and our staff have once again worked tirelessly to create a learning environment, and community, that is second to none.

A special Argyle welcome to Ms. Lyndsie Wilson who joined us part way through September in the Grade 3/4 room and she will be with us through the end of the year. If you are around, please stop by and meet Ms. Wilson, you will be glad you did as she is going to be another terrific addition to our Gator team.

There are always many things going on in, and around, Argyle and I would encourage you to talk to your Gator about some of the many cool ways that they are being engaged in learning and community. I know first hand at the efforts our staff are making to create opportunities that connect with learners of varied styles and interests. Here are a few candids from some cool things that have gone on in September already.

We were so thankful for the turnout of families at our SCC Potluck and Meet the Teacher night. A huge thank you to our SCC (School Community Council) for their efforts in organizing the evening and support of all things Argyle. If you are interested in joining this group of amazing community members their next meeting is their Annual General Meeting which takes place on October 16th at 630pm in our school library. Stop by and check it out or contact them via email at argylescc@gmail.com for more information. A couple of great shots from in front of our school that evening capture our community well.

We have been quite fortunate the last two Friday’s to be a part of events which allow us to be a part of our greater community as well. Last week, our school and community (Gator Park helped out in a big way too) raised over $700 as part of our annual participation in the Terry Fox run. While this week we celebrated with our entire school division, Orange Shirt Day, which raises awareness of the impact of “Residential Schools” upon our community and reminds us that “Every Child Matters.” We had a number of lessons occur around our school to help us further our understanding of the impact of Residential Schools.

Just a reminder that if your Gator is a part-timer in our lunchrooms we need to hear from you regarding when your child will be with us or away from school over lunch. Your continued communication in all things helps us to make sure your Gator has the best, and safest, experience possible here at Argyle.

A special thank you to Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Cressman, Ms. Desnoyers, and Mr. Norman for your organization of our Gator Cross-Country team. Our athletes represented us well and ran hard at our qualifying meet and a number have moved on to run in the city wide meet next week.

Our Gator Band students are already at it in full force as well and we are so grateful for the work done with them by Ms. Stennes and Mrs. Gasparic-Block.

Gator Volleyball season kicks off next week and we look forward to seeing our teams growing, improving, and competing over the course of their seasons. Special thanks to Mr. Lamb and Ms. Yee for their work coaching the teams.

Upcoming events:

  • October 4th – Cross Country City Run for Athletes who Qualified
  • October 6th – Staff Meeting/PD Day
  • October 9th – Thanksgiving – No school
  • October 10th – School Photos – Kinder and Gr. 1-4
  • October 10th – Argyle @ Davin Girls VB
  • October 11th – School Photos – Kinder and Gr. 5-8
  • October 11th – Davin @ Argyle Boys VB
  • October 16-20 – Education Week “Building Our Future By Learning Together”
  • October 16th – Argyle @ Laval Boys VB
  • October 17th – Argyle @ Connaught Girls VB
  • October 18th – Ford @ Argyle Boys VB
  • October 19th – Argyle @ Perry Girls VB

As always, I invite your feedback and would love to hear from you. It is truly an honour and a privilege to be a part of this tremendous Argyle Community.

Go Gators!
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Welcome back to the Swamp!

Argyle logoHey Gators welcome back to the Swamp…it is an unbelievably exciting time for us here at Argyle as we ready ourselves for another amazing year. I believe this will be another year where we see the Gators take a chomp out of all we do.

We have a number of new additions to the Argyle staff and we are super excited about the work we have been doing together to ensure we are ready for each and every learner that enters our halls. We know that we have a tremendously unique community


with diversity in so many ways – we celebrate that and look forward to seeing every Gator find his or her own way this school year. This display is just one of many ways that we will proclaim this message and will welcome each person to our school as they enter from the north doors by the staff parking lot.

Speaking of new staff, we have a number of them and we are confident that they will be tremendous additions to our school community. All of our staff are excited for the return of our students tomorrow.

Clockwise from top left we have our primary staff, grade 3 and 3/4 teachers, our two grade 5/6 teachers, our specialists, and lastly our senior teachers. Unfortunately I didn’t get a shot of our amazing educational assistants or facility caretakers who so admirably serve our students and staff. I am beyond grateful for the work that all of these folks do to make Argyle the special place that it is. You will notice a number of new faces this year on our staff and I would encourage you to stop by and meet new staff and stop by for our annual SCC Potluck and Meet the Teacher night on September 21st.

I would like to offer a special welcome to our new staff:
– Ms. D. Haig in grade 1/2
– Mrs. C. Bray in grade 3/4
– Ms. K. Yee in grade 4
– Ms. K. Evans in grade 5/6
– Mrs. R. Adema in Arts Ed.
– Mr. A. Stoffel in Arts Ed.
– Mrs. A. Hendrick who will be joining us in late October in Arts Ed.
– Mr. C. Parker in EAL
– Mr. F. Robinson in the Teacher Librarian Role

STEAM boat

Last week we did a lot of learning together and participated in a number of fun team-building activities including a “build a boat” contest that featured this feat of engineering mastery. We did a number of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities together which we all enjoyed and had a guest in who specializes in STEAM who shared a number of really cool activities.

Our opening morning will closely resemble last year with class lists posted on the east side of the building before school, all staff outside to help our Gators find their way when our opening bell goes, and a welcome back assembly later on in the morning.

Those of you who were with us last year will recall that we had a street safety focus for our community and we will continue that this year. Please click on this link to see a map that highlights some very important areas around our school.

Please click on this link for our 2017-2018 Communication Plan which includes a link to our new website (same address brand new format and look). I will be working to make sure that we get you all of the information you need to be in the know of all things Gator again this year!

As always please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns that I can help you with. Have a wonderful school year and as always Go Gators!





A fond farewell…

Argyle Logo_WebsiteAs the sun sets over the Swamp we bid a fond farewell to many students and staff who will be moving on to new experiences and adventures. I often talk about the importance of community and the amazing community we have here at Argyle. With the numerous changes we will experience in personnel this fall there is a real challenge to build a team that continues to reflect the values that this community holds dear.

We bid farewell to the following staff:
– Mr. Pare – EA
– Ms Palmer – Arts Ed
– Mrs. Flaten-Orr – Arts Ed
– Mrs. Huber – Core French/PE
– Ms. Paoli – EAL
– Mrs. Sanchuck – Teacher Librarian
– Ms Toporowski – Gr. 1/2
– Ms. Brady – Gr. 3
– Ms Burns – Gr. 3/4
– Mrs. Pominville – Gr. 4/5
– Mrs. Leupold – Gr. 5/6

A tremendous example of what an amazing community we have was demonstrated on our last day as we held our second annual, “Talent Show.” Many of our students bravely presented various talents for our entire school community to witness and appreciate. One of our very talented young men who was singing a beautiful song accompanied by a great friend stumbled upon his words – every performer’s worst nightmare I am sure – through the struggle our performer stopped and was upset. However, through the young man’s desire to do a great job and finish our student body, and the guests in attendance, gave him encouragement through applause when appropriate, silence when required, and vocal accompaniment through a few meaningful chorus’…not to mention a powerful standing ovation at the completion of  the song. For this Gator, and all of us, the phrase “One call away…”  perhaps hasn’t been as meaningful as it was right then!

What an amazing finish and picture of what I think community can, and should be: serving each other, building each other up, being together to support each other in the trials, and celebrate together in the victories! I don’t know that I have ever felt more proud to be a Gator…and that pride seemed to seep out of my eyes.

There are truly so many ways that this community builds into itself and the way Gator Park Daycare and our students so regularly interact is another awesome example. Below are a couple of images of Grade 2’s reading to some future Gators in the daycare.

Our Grade 8 Farewell is a culminating event each year that signifies a milestone in the lives of some of our students. Mr. Norman and Mr. Lamb once again did an amazing job of organizing an event that meaningfully showcased each of our finishing students. Thanks fellas!!! Also a big thank you to our parent volunteer team who decorated and worked behind the scenes to make this a memorable event for all.  Congrats to all of you Grade 8 Gators who move on to high school…it was said at Farewell, “Once a Gator, Always a Gator!”

A couple of reminders for startup in the fall: students return to classes on September 5th and class lists will be made available then; and if you would, please consider using School Start for purchasing your school supplies as it does benefit our school.
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I want to thank all of you who are a part of the Argyle Gator Community for your support of your students and our school. This is truly a wonderful place to be a part of and I am grateful to be a part of your team. If you have questions over the summer please know the office will be closed until August 28th, however, feel free to email me mick.panko@rbe.sk.ca and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I will not be on email every day but will be checking regularly.

Have a safe, restful, and relaxing summer…see you in the fall!

Remember, we are only “One Call Away!”