Much to be Thankful for….Happy Holidays to you and yours!

A recent visit to beautiful Francois Lake Elementary reminded me of how fortunate we are to live and work in great communities and outstanding schools.  I arrived a little early for a meeting and was 1031entering the school when I glanced a Kindergarten room where the teacher, a young man, had the students gathered on a carpet reading a picture book.  It was one of those great teaching moments when a teacher has lost themselves in the magic of the book and the kids were along for the ride.

A few minutes later, I saw the same teacher in the hallway engaging in positive, relationship building conversations with a variety of students.  As I waited for busy principal Caroline Deane, I thought that I would head into the staff room to meet staff and was then introduced to the young man….Constable Don Gunn of the Burn Lake RCMP….REALLY?

His ease and mannerisms with the students spoke to the positive relationship that he had forged with the school and I know that he is not alone as many of our RCMP school liasons do this type of work daily.  A little while later I was looking at a ‘Gratitude Tree’ display in Ms Hodge’s room and came across photothis piece of student work in which a student was thankful for many things, one of which was Const. Gunn.  Thank you Cst. Gunn and the many other community partners like you!

This week’s post is a variety of contributions from across our district …thank you to all of you who contributed and I hope that you and many others will continue to share the stories of what makes our school district so special.  

New SD 91 school websites that went live in the last few weeks – check them out:

Shared by Assistant Superintendent, Rick Pooley:

WKE students and staff are excited about their new project-based learning program. It’s held every afternoon in a classroom in the Muriel Mould Neighbourhood Learning Centre near the school, and enrolls up to 10 students per group.

birdhousebuilding2012-11-29 14Jeremy Gooding is the teacher.  A broad,inclusive selection process is used to identify student participants. For their current project, students researched the migratory birds found locally and then build bird houses suited for the different types of birds.  Now that the bird houses are completed, the students are creating power point presentations to share with others what they’ve learned and how they learned it.  The bird houses will be displayed at the upcoming WKE Christmas craft fair.  Speaking as a visitor to this classroom, it’s a real pleasure to see the way these students are engaged and learning cooperatively in their hands-on environment.

Mapes to celebrate 100 years!  ~  Contributed by Rhonda Togyi, Mapes Elem. Principal:

The Mapes School began as a log schoolhouse in 1912 (or 1909), the first school built in the Vanderhoof area.  You had to have ten children to start a school and you coul maintain it with an enrollment of eight as long as you had an average annual enrollment of not less than six.  When Mapes was short on students, they would “import” Mapes1students from another district to board with local families.  Mapes School also has the distinction of having the largest schoolyard in B.C. – 160 acres.  In 1926, Mapes wanted a teacherage associated with the school and the trustees voted to build one.  The owner of the ¼ section across from the original school said he would sell them his entire place complete with home and barn for less than it would cost to build the teacherage.  So the 1/4 section was bought from Sidney Johnson in 1926 for $300.00.  The school has, and has had many uses, from church to social gatherings, sports events to 4H and has undergone some changes over the years, but it is still the heart of the community.

We’d like to say thanks to the many dedicated staff, students and parents that have passed through the doors and welcome to the future ones.

From a friend and Mentor to all, some words to live by:  “Remember that life is short.  Don’t waste it.  Don’t take small bites.  Swallow life whole.  Devour life.  Be all you can be.  Be larger than life.”…...Dr. Norman Wicks   (1952-2002)

Contributed by Lynn Maksymchak, NVSS Principal

NVSS is very proud of its global connection with Mr and Mrs Matsui of Japan. Mr. Matsui came to NVSS 8 years ago after retiring from a full career Mr Matsuiwith Mitsubishi. His father told him that he was too young to retire, so he took the training to be a Japanese intern in a Canadian school and luckily for us he was dispatched to Vanderhoof. That year provided the foundation for our annual Matsui Scholarship (every year a senior student is selected to stay with the Matsuis for 4 weeks and get immersed in another culture). Mr and Mrs Matsui draw on friends and other resources to provide a program that is matched to the student’s interests and curiosity. We have had students participate in music programs and in martial arts training. NVSS values this connection immensely.

December at LDSS…contributed by Darlene Havens

Darlene Havens contributed a variety of great pictures from Dec. at LDSS.  It was  a shame not to be able to show all the pictures and so I have combined them into a short movie….enjoy!  The pictures represent:  LDSS Staff teaching drum making at BESS, LDSS students in the CTC Welding and Culinary Trades, Mock interviews with community employers, LDSS Ski & Snowboarding Team begins season, Student art work in library

Positivity Spreads at NVSS…contributed by Anna Pye, Visual Arts Teacher

14673_10152314055395704_1032140969_nA group of NVSS students are stepping up to raise student awareness about the impact of bullying and other harassing behaviours on schoolmates by campaigning around the theme – Be the change you want to see!   They’re emphasizing the pic1value of caring for and supporting each and every individual and are planning on creating a variety of video vignettes for elementary students who are within a few years of transitioning to the high school.  These students are making a difference in their school, and helping others to do the same.

We wish you the best for the holidays and hope that you are surrounded by friends, family, and laughter!

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