June 27th – June 30th

THANK YOU on speech bubble price labelsIt has been another great year at Hepburn School and we are at that time when we wrap things up for a well deserved summer break. This will be a very busy week but I’d invite you to all take a moment to savor what it is we have here in Hepburn. Our little community has a great heart and too often I found myself looking past the great things that were happening right in front of me as I turned my focus on other things.

This is my final On the Horizon and I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for four great years. There has been a lot of laughter, heaps of learning, more than a few tears, and yes even some not so fun conversations. I am very excited for the opportunities that lie ahead for me, but as I leave I know it will be with a heavy heart, you have all helped me grow as a leader, a teacher, and most importantly as a person.

Jamie: you always welcomed me into the Kindergarten class with a smile and never batted an eye when I joined the kids on the carpet or at their table. Your leadership in the LF role helped me grow as an administrator, thank you Jamie!

Barb: whenever I came into your classroom I always marveled at how “on task” your kids were and how eager they were to share their learning with me. That love of learning can either be fostered or extinguished and you have been a shining star for all of those children. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of a calm, quiet word, thank you Barb.

Corey: it’s never easy being the only male in the elementary end, but you managed to keep all of those women on task (see I can say these things, I’m leaving). I always loved coming to see what your kids were up to or to watch and listen to you read to your students from your big, comfy chair. You have a calm, gentle way about you that I truly appreciated. Thank you Corey!

Cara: this year you inherited a classroom filled with energetic students that were so full of wonder and excitement that sometimes it was tough to keep their feet on the ground. Not only did you do an amazing job with your students, you showed tremendous leadership in the area of literacy through your use of the Reader’s Workshop. I loved coming into your class because those little critters always had something to share with me. Thank you Cara!

Taryn: moving to a new school is always scary because there is always the unknown factor. You were the only teacher I knew before I came over from Langham, and since day one you have always “had my back”. You have that special gift that can’t be taught, and whenever I saw you interact with students from K to 12 I was always reminded of why we are doing this, it’s about the kids! Thank you Taryn!

Ami: as our who has more kids competition continued through the years our time together was interrupted by maternity leaves. What I admire about you Ami is your desire to do things right the first time, each time and do them right for the right reason, because it’s best for the kids. I am going to miss our talks in the office and your infectious energy. Thank you Ami!

Leah: similar to Ami, our relationship was also interrupted by maternity leaves, but over the years together I have learned one important thing about you Leah, you are a risk taker that loves learning! Your work with technology and genius hour has had a ripple effect in the school and your leadership has been so important in moving our school forward. Thank you Leah!

An Important Prayer for Me
An Important Prayer for Me

Jackie: like two Cheerios in a bowl of milk, like-minded people tend to find each other. Over the years at Hepburn School I have really enjoyed our conversations about student and adult learning and have really enjoyed how you challenged my thinking on a myriad of topics. One of your many gifts is your ability to always remain positive and it was always a great reminder for me of how I need to lead my life. Thank you Jackie!

Ruth: it took a semester of team teaching, but I think I figured out your secret to being a master teacher…treat it the way you treat parenting. Watching and listening to you reminded me of the importance of relationships and routines, especially when dealing with those grade 8’s! You are a true professional and you expected me to be one as well, and you always brought the best out in me. Thank you Ruth!

Meredith: we only worked together for one year, but I really appreciated the learning that occurred whenever we had a chance to talk. Your leadership with the SRC reminded me of the importance of letting the kids take the lead. You had a way about with them that allowed them to flourish as the year went on. When I think of you I think of the importance of balance in a school, it is important for all students to have a voice. Thank you Meredith!

Jesse: your quirky sense of humor and your interest in the unique (go carting and dance, dance revolution to just name two) always made me smile. It was so obvious everyday how much you love kids and how excited you get when you see them learn. The board game club brought together a lot of kids who might otherwise not have hung out together. When I think of you I’m reminded of the importance of staying true to one’s self. Thank you for that Jesse!

Renaye: I remember meeting you in the library at WCMS and knowing instantly you had that “it” that great teachers have. My intuition was not wrong as you proved over and over how important the students are to you and how you are willing to go above and beyond for them. What I’m taking from you is the reminder that students need and love to share their work with a broader audience. Thank you Renaye!

Kurt: from day one I knew that there was something special about you, and there had to be given that you taught at McClellan School in Young! I was in awe of your work with the students both in class and out and marveled at how well you kept those kids believing in themselves when even they thought it was impossible. Your dedication to your craft is inspiring and what I’m taking from you is that I need to keep learning something new every year! Thank you Kurt!

Ryan: the best interview I’ve ever sat through was when I got to meet you Ryan. When you walked into the conference room I wondered who let the new grade 11 student in, but after a couple minutes of chatting with you, you morphed into what I know you as today. You are a creative, inspiring, caring teacher who will stop at nothing to help your kids believe in themselves. You went from a new teacher to a good teacher to a great leader in a very short time and I’m so happy I was along for the ride. Thank you Ryan!

Important Words to Live By
Important Words to Live By

Sandi: my supervision partner! It seems like we spent more time together outside this year than I spent with Ron in his office. We had so many great conversations over the years, from our time together at University to our discussions about parenting, it’s been great! I was so impressed with what you turned the elementary art program into this year and what I’m taking from you is the commitment to always do your best regardless of the situation that presents itself. Thank you Sandi!

Tania: our paths crossed a lot more this year and I am so grateful that they did. I learned so much from you about the world of Special Education and I know this will help me for the rest of my career. You have a quiet confidence about you and I always admired your leadership skills that you yourself likely don’t even recognize. When I think of you I think of the way you always believed in the good in people, even when there were tough times. Thank you Tania!

Barb, Betty, Jen, Sheri, & Pam: there is not a medal big enough to give to you five for the tireless work you do with the kids who need it the most. All of you have a special gift that allows you to do your job with a smile on your face when most other people would be grinding their teeth to the gums and pulling their hair out. I believe part of this comes from working with Tania, and like her what I am taking from you 5 is the belief that everyone is worth it and that everyone deserves our best. Thank you Barb, Betty, Jen, Sheri & Pam!

Cory: I’m not sure if we’ve had more talks about parenting or maintenance over the years, but one thing is for sure, I’ve learned a lot from you Mr. J! You were never looking for accolades or pats on the back during my time, you just quietly went about your business. I’m going to miss our talks about life. I’m a better person for having met you. Thank you Cory!

Sandra: I’m not sure where to start with you Sandra. You have been my guide since day one and I was always able to count on you to make me look good. There is no one who has the pulse of the school like you do and without your support there is no way I could have ever done the work I needed to do. I’m so thankful for Facebook as it will give me the opportunity to continue watching Dax and grandma play. Thank you for everything Sandra!

Ron: a friend, a mentor, a colleague, a sounding board, an inspiration, a confidant. The list could go on as you have been many things to me over the years. I remember our first real opportunity to get to know each other on our leadership training in Hinton and I knew then there was something “special” about you. There are so many things I could thank you for, you gave me an opportunity in the spring of 2012 when you took a chance on me saying “yes” to my appointment as VP. Since then you have given me the room to grow as a leader and I truly appreciate that and everything else you have provided me. We haven’t always agreed, and I think that’s a testament to our relationship. I will be forever grateful. Thank you Ron!

Well, there is not a lot more to say. I am a better person today than I was four years ago and you all had a hand in that. I will miss you all dearly but am so glad the world of education is a small one as I am sure our paths will cross numerous times.

The Best Farside Ever!
The Best Farside Ever!

Keep creating great weeks, one day at a time!



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June 20th – 24th

the-wizard-of-oz-slice1I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, whether it was at Fair Days, betting on the ponies, working in the yard, or just relaxing at your favorite hiding spot. Just a reminder as we head into our final two weeks that this can be a stressful time for students, not only the kids writing finals, but for those who may lose touch with friends as they head off to camp or travel with their families. I also know it is a stressful time for all of us as well as we look towards final assessments and progress reports. If you are “full” and need a place to vent, you know where the office is 🙂

Last week I was having a nice chat with Meredith about her upcoming performance in The Wizard of Oz at The Barn Playhouse and we came around to the topic of learning lines. She indicated there still a couple of performers who were not quite spot on, close, but not where they should be. It was interesting to hear her talk about the support that each performer has for one another, how they realize that they all need to be in sync for an optimal performance. I was thinking about those performers and wondering what would happen if they never did master their lines. The show would still go on, and the audience might notice missed cues or mixed up lines, however the overall message of the play would still come through. I noticed a parallel between this situation and our work with MPSC this year. We all play a role in our school, and just like the actors strive to provide the audience with a tremendous experience, we strive to provide our students with optimal learning experiences. But what do we do if one of our colleagues is struggling with their “lines” of MPSC? How do we support each other just as the actors in Meredith’s play support one another? This year we were working with a new script, and 2015-16 was a chance to practice our “lines” and work on picking up on cues from the audience, our students. I hope that everything you learned this year serves as the beginning of your foundation for years to come and through practice, practice, practice you begin to master the statements in a seamless fashion.

I have really enjoyed working alongside each and everyone of you for the past four years as we continued to strive for excellence in our students and in ourselves. I truly believe there is great potential at Hepburn School and that great things are in store for years to come. One of the many reasons I believe this is the leadership that is present on staff, from K through 12, there are tremendous leaders. I am only attaching one learning link this week because I think it is so important for all of you to watch. It’s only a 6 minute video, but it is one of my all time favorites. As I watched it I reflected on all the ways I saw everyone on staff lead in the four years I’ve been with you. In one form or another you all have your “lollipop story”, which I guess takes us full circle and makes us all part of the lollipop guild! Take a look, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here is what lies ahead this week:


  • Grade 6’s swimming (Martensville)


  • Grade 4’s gone to Batoche


  • Final exams begin
  • Bruce gone all day (daughter’s field trip to Pike Lake)


  • Grade 8’s leave for Redberry
  • Bruce gone~am only (specialist appointment)
  • Staff Social~Barn Playhouse


  • Ron gone all day (chaperone field trip)
  • Grade 1, 3 gymnastics / swimming trip (Saskatoon)
  • Grade 5 swimming trip (Saskatoon)
  • Grade 7, 9 swimming trip (PA)
  • Grade 8 Redberry~Day 2

As always, create a great week!


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June 13th – 17th

03-16-11-ThingsThatMatterChart-FeatureJust like the monkey said after he ran over his tail with a lawn mower, “it won’t be long now”. We are certainly on the home stretch as we wind up the 2015-16 school year, and last week was another example of what a tremendous school community we have. The SRC summer-fest was a great success, culminating in an epic slip-and-slide ball tournament. I’m sure many players (young and old) were feeling the effects of the many spills they took, all in the name of house points. It was great to see so many parents involved in activities this week, from field trips to Wednesday’s hamburger fund-raiser, to 4-6 track and field on Friday. Speaking of track and field, we have a great crop of track athletes moving up to the high-school in the next few years, I’m looking forward to seeing how they do in the future.

SCC letting the town know the burgers are ready

If you recall from the May 30th edition of On the Horizon, the topic of gathering feedback for reflection was the topic of the blog post. This edition will be similar given the fact that our staff meeting on Monday, 13th will be a chance for us to reflect on the year together. I hope you had a chance to offer Jamie some feedback via the survey she created, not only will it help us move forward next year, it will provide Jamie with some information for herself as she continues to grow professionally.

In the first learning link Tesia Marshik challenges us to look at the science behind learning styles and the importance of critical self-reflection. It was the conclusion of her talk that had me really thinking about how I lead and how I teach. Why do I lead the way I do? Is it simply because it is what I believe is the best way, or do I have proof? This also applies to how I teach. Do I teach the way I do because it has worked in the past? Or is it because I’ve heard the strategies I use have worked for others? Do I teach the way I do because it fits who I am, or do I teach the way I do because it fits who my students are? Take some time to watch the video, I’d love to hear your comments.

Burger time!
Burger time!

Of course any sort of reflecting without involving your students would seem futile, after all they have been your audience all year. In the second learning link David Cutler (@spinedu)discusses strategies he employs to gather information and use it to improve as a teacher. One of his suggestions is using his personal learning network to connect with teachers during the year and over the summer months. As you reflect on your year, think about your PLN, has it grown? Have you offered advice to others in your PLN?

The final, and in my opinion the most important learning link is a short, simple video that reminds us what is important in life. Keep things in perspective!

Here is a look ahead at the week to come:


  • Staff meeting (3:15)


  • Grade 9 drama production
  • Bruce gone (pm only) ~ Assessment book study


  • Hot dog Lunch


  • Physics 30 presentations (am)
  • Sheppard’s Villa Lunch ($2.00 by donation)


  • Ron gone (all day)

As always, create a GREAT week!


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June 6th – June 10th

poh08Please pass the sun screen! Whoa, the temperature is really going to ramp up this week, I have a feeling the 3’s to 6’s might be using the library and computer lab more than usual to help the kids keep their focus. Hopefully you had a chance to enjoy the nice weather this weekend, I was busy with the kids in the park and getting our children’s annual  photos completed. These pictures are something we do every year, and this got me thinking about patterns, and the patterns we follow in education.

ducksWhat are the things that are likely to happen in June? Are teachers away more? Are units winding up  so there is more “busy work”? Are we rushing the kids trying to “dot the I’s and cross the T’s” in time for progress reports? Is it a time for bus trips to take the kids on experiential leaning adventures? Is June a month where Ron and I spend less time in your rooms? Are you more excited to come into school in June, or are you being pulled by other interests? You may scoff at that question, but think about a teacher who has 4 young kids at home and for this person school is a chance for some adult contact.

Think about how kids are approaching June, have they been trained to think they just need to get through a few more weeks? Is June always the month where kids begin to get more stressed due to final assessments? Is June the month kids look forward to the most because there are field trips and more opportunities for hands on learning? Do you know how your students feel about June? What do you think they would tell you? Yesterday, my brother-in-law, who is also a teacher, asked my 9-year old if he’s looking forward to summer. I was shocked to hear him say, “I’m going to miss math.” I asked him on the way home why he said that and he said he is going to miss math because, “I have gotten really good at it”. Interesting stuff. What are your students going to miss?

44ccbe95859d0b2a12ca47f21843178aLearning Link 1, for those who love poetry, speaks of the importance of pattern, not only in our writing, but in our own being. Could this need for pattern be the reason we continue to follow the same routine we do? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Regardless of whether you change things or not, one of the activities I think is so important is the act of reflecting with your students on the year that has past. In Learning Link 2 the author shares some ideas for end of the year reflections for students. I really like the idea of creating a hashtag for what the students have learned for each subject. I wonder what some of those young scientists in grade 9 would create? Or if the grade 8’s would create one like #mycardboardboatsank? Maybe the grade 3’s would create a hashtag like, #nodesksnoproblem. Another cool activity is the letter to a future student or to your future self. This is something we have done as an ALT group, and it is pretty neat to open the letter in September and get the reminder of what is important to focus on. What would a student in grade 4 write to a new kid coming into Mrs. K’s class? What about a grade 10 student? What would they write to a grade 9 student as they get set to embark on the journey of percentages and credits? And what about a kindergarten student? What advice would they give to a student entering Hepburn School for the first time? I’m sure they would talk about baby ducks at some point!calvin-hobbes-school

Here’s what is coming up this week:


  • Spirit week starts


  • Grade 8’s are gone to the cardboard boat races in Saskatoon
  • Grade 6’s are at the U of S for a field trip to the Biology building

Wednesday (Hawaiian Day):

  • Kindergarten field trip to Saskatoon
  • Fort McMurray fundraiser lunch


  • Joanne Reed here to work with Jackie Salzl (per. 1 only)


  • Grade 4-6 Track and Field in Rosthern

As always, create a great week!

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