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.
school start
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!”


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.

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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.

We keep getting Gator and Gator (or greater and greater)

As we race through May it is evident in so many different ways how much Gator greater we are getting at things. Our Gators have been improving in so many ways…academically, socially, physically (especially when we look back at pictures from fall some of these kiddos have really sprouted), and in other areas. What makes me most proud is seeing the way students have taken on the idea of community and embraced it so that they understand how important it is to care for ourselves and each other. That is growth…

As always the swamp is a busy place! Last night our grade 8’s and their families hosted the Carnival in support of their Farewell and it was a terrific success as always. Over 100 of our families participated in a fun-filled event that was, as always, a blast and a community builder! Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the event and our Farewell for the grade 8’s!

Today while our grade 8’s visited Sheldon-Williams for their Spartans in Training morning our Grade 7’s demonstrated the future is bright here at Argyle. They took on cleanup duties from the Carnival, but, took it to another level as they walked and cleaned up our school yard and the alleys that surround the school from garbage. Not a fun task for sure, however, there was much fun had and many laughs as we filled a few garbage bags with unwanted trash.

Recently, some student art work from our Art Club students was featured in an Art Show launch at the division office. Great job to all of our students involved in the Art club! Special thanks to Ms. Paoli, Mrs. Flaten-Orr, and Ms. Lerat for your work with our aspiring artists.

With the great weather many of our classrooms have been enjoying our wonderful space outside to learn in an alternate location. Please make sure your Gators have sunscreen and bug spray in their bags if you think that it is necessary. We also have the Sask Athletics crew in doing clinics with our grade 7 and 8’s and doing a terrific program called “Run, Jump, Throw, Wheel” with our grades 3-6 classrooms. Other exciting events to look forward to include the return of the Cougars in School soccer program and a visit from the SGI Safety Squad.

We also have our Kindergarten Family Orientation tonight and a chance for new kindergarten students to visit the classroom space for a portion of the May 24th morning. Another exciting undertaking led by our School Community Council is the Argyle Work Bee hat will run the morning of May 27th in an effort to further beautify our outdoor space.
As always I want to encourage all of you to connect with our various digital profiles including this space, our Facebook Page, our Twitter Feed, and our website. As always, if you ever need anything please drop me an email at mick.panko@rbe.sk.ca or call the school office.

Some upcoming events for you to be aware of:

  1. May 12th – SGI Safety Presentation
  2. May 15th – Gr 3-6 RJTW – PM
  3. May 17th – Grade 7 Band Trip
  4. May 17th – Band Concert 930am
  5. May 17th – Gr 3-6 RJTW – PM
  6. May 17th – Gr 7/8 RJTW – PM
  7. May 18th – Cougars in School Soccer Day
  8. May 18th – Grade 2’s PM – RPS Showcase
  9. May 19th – PD/Staff Meeting No School
  10. May 22nd – No School
  11. May 24th – New Kindergarten Student Visit 1045-1130am
  12. May 24th – Gr 3-6 RJTW – PM
  13. May 24th – Gr 7/8 RJTW – PM
  14. May 26th – Gr 3-6 RJTW – PM
  15. May 27th – Argyle SCC Work Bee 9m-12pm
  16. May 29th – Gr 3-6 RJTW – PM
  17. May 29-30 – Grade 8 Band Trip
  18. May 31 – Gr 7/8 RJTW – PM