January 4th – 8th


Welcome back Ami, it is great to have you back in grade 5!  When Ami was out for a visit prior to the break we talked about how it is going to feel like September in January for her.  Getting to know her kids, understanding where they are at in their learning journey and figuring out who they are as individuals.   I’m sure she is as nervous and excited as the students are.

Even though I have not been back yet, I’m sure we will be greeted tomorrow morning with a sparkling school.  Joanne and Joe worked very hard during the break to get things ready for 2016, a big thank you to our hardworking custodial staff!!!

I know I’m excited to get back to work, two weeks off is a wonderful way to recharge, but with 4 little ones, sometimes going to work is a little less stressful….sometimes.  I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, however I am looking forward to 2016 and a renewed focus for myself professionally.  I am going to try to talk less and listen more (Renaye & Taryn insert smart remarks here) as I keep trying to learn from all of you.  As I wrote prior to the break, I am part of a book study looking at embedded formative assessment.  During my class visits this will be the lens I will be looking through as the group I am part of has been tasked to find examples of this in their own schools.  I will be asking you questions via e-mail or one on one conversations to help me get a better understanding of how you are using formative assessments to improve student learning.

The following quote is from the first learning link this week, formative assessments are not about gotcha-ing students but about guiding where instruction needs to go next. We should use them frequently, and while or after kids learn a new idea, concept, or process.

I found this statement, from learning link number two, sums things up nicely, the important thing about formative assessment is that it is not a test, nor an instrument, but rather an approach to teaching and learning that uses feedback as its centerpiece in a supportive classroom context.

Here are a couple links that Lori sent out to us, reminds us to keep our focus on what’s important.


Proof in Photos

One Word (mine is understand)

Our calendar this week is very quiet as we get back into gear after our two week hiatus.

As always, create a great week!


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Dec. 14 – 18


The final week is upon us, and it’s a time to reflect on 2015.  How has your professional year been?  Have you achieved the goals you set for yourself, or made progress towards them?  Have your students surprised you this year?  How?  When you come back in 2016, what is it that you are hoping to try?  Please feel free to take some risks, try to engage your students in ways you may have never thought of before….think outside the box, and when it works celebrate the heck out of it, and if it bombs, file it under the won’t try that one again file.

The students have been working hard on their preparation for the Christmas concert and we are all looking forward to seeing the finished product on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday night.  Just remember that the gym will not be open for the week so plan your PE accordingly.

Some house keeping items before the break:

  • Make sure kids take home any perishable items and have them do a locker clean up
  • Joanne & Joe will be doing the floors in the high school end (all rooms) so we need to help them out by moving our desks/chairs to the hallway on Friday, period 5.
  • If you have furniture (i.e. couches/big chairs/area rugs, etc.) please have a couple kids move those to the stage
  • During the week of the 28th to Jan. 1st they are waxing the hallways so please do not come out to the school unless it’s an emergency

If anything else comes up, we’ll let you know.

What’s Happening This Week:


  • The gym will be closing today as we prepare for the Christmas concert this week


  • The sr. girls basketball team heads to Dalmeny


  • Christmas concert takes place at 1:30 – open to all
  • Gr. 8 bowling period 3


  • Baby Shower 3:45 @ Jen Willms’ house
  • Christmas concert 7:00
  • Sr. girls & boys hosting basketball games at Bethany


  • Subway lunch
  • Classroom clean up
  • Note:  the bowling alley is unavailable today

Finally, a wish to you all to have a safe and relaxing holiday.  Take some time for yourself and make sure you give your loved ones that little extra hug.

Create a great week everyone!

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December 7 – 11

What sets you apart?

What sets you apart?

Kurt & The Boys
Kurt & The Boys

So much learning last week, I’m not even sure where to start!  Looking around the school I see a community learning together in preparation for the Christmas concert, I see interns exploring various grade levels to get a sense of life in a K – 12 school, I see teachers performing with students, it is truly humbling to be surrounded by such dedicated professionals.

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to visit Venture Heights School to see how they are actualizing one of their school goals: making learning targets explicit.  In every room, from Kindergarten to the PAA shop, you would see “I can…” statements for every subject that is being taught in that room.  Along with that you would notice in many (not all) classrooms clear learning targets for the current lesson being taught.  The teachers explained that these targets always support the larger I can statement that is a long term fixture in the room. Learning Link #1 called,   Learning Targets on Parade, comes from Neda Wilson and it was used to support an activity at ALT on Tuesday, this talks about the importance of learning targets.  Question:  when someone walks in your room, what do they see that lets them know what the students are learning?  Is this practice of posting learning targets reflected in MPSC?

On Thursday I was very fortunate to have a chance to sit one on one with our Director, John Kuzbik, to discuss student and adult learning.  We also talked about my role as a vice-principal and how I can impact this learning.  I’d like to share some of key things I learned during our time together.  If John asked you these questions, what would you say?

  • focus on living in the moment and being the very best (insert role here) you can be.  There is nothing wrong with goals and aspirations, but you can’t let the “finish line” detract you from what is important right now.
  • a question he asked was, “what is the difference between a personal relationship and a learning relationship, and how important are these relationships when it comes to student learning?”
  • he asked me to think about the very best teacher I have every worked with and then asked me to describe what it was that this person did that made them stand out.

This led to Friday and one of the best PD sessions I’ve been to in a long time.  Jackie Salzl and I went to see Dr. Danny Brassell and listen to him speak about the importance of reading, especially for those reluctant middle and high school boys.  My biggest take away from the day was the importance of relationships and personalizing the learning experiences for our students.  He was able to use humor very effectively in his presentation and the numerous simple body breaks (i.e. learning how to bow properly based on Japanese culture) kept us from losing focus.  He had a million tips and websites for us and I will share these when I get the e-mail from him (it contains his presentation).  I also have 3 audio CDs for those who wish to tune out their carpool partners 🙂  Learning link #2 is a 17 minute YouTube video of Dr. Brassell, it is really worth the watch if you can take the time.

That takes us to what is coming up this week (I’ve included some other out of school things that are going on as well)




  • The grade 8’s are hosting a tea for local seniors, this will be held in the library starting at noon (set up) and going all afternoon, so please plan accordingly
  • The sr. boys and sr. girls basketball teams head over to RJC
  • TIME Magazine announces their person of the year



  • Rachel & Courtney’s last official day of their internship…time sure does fly!
  • Jr. boys basketball head to Vanscoy
  • Even though everyday at a school is lost and found day, there is an official one….and it’s today!


  • Jr. girls basketball home tournament


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November 30th – December (WHAT!) 4th

65-226908-architectural-banner-imagesCongratulations to Ron and the boys on capturing a silver medal at provincials this weekend in Gravelbourg.  Ron was not sure how they would fair this year, but felt they’d be competitive, and competitive they were.  So ends another great volleyball season at Hepburn School, and now it’s on to basketball!

On Friday I had the opportunity to head over to Waldheim to see our grade 8’s working in the IA shop and Home Ec lab.  The kids were fully engaged in all sorts of different projects and each student was eager to share with me what they were creating.  While I was there, I had a chance to pop into a couple classrooms to see how teachers there have begun re-shaping their learning environments to become more student centered and noticed a lot of similarities between our two schools and where we are in our respective journeys.  Hopefully you continue to think of ways to keep your environment evolving to best suit the learning needs of your students.  Please have a look at the learning links for more information about learning environments.

Learning Links:

How Student Centered Is Your Classroom?

Setting Up Your Classroom

10 Ways to Think About Your Learning Space

A video about setting up a grade one room….how could this look in other grades?  What about senior subjects?

This is a long one, but it caused me to think about learning environments and wonder, what if…

Here is a look at the week ahead

Monday 30th:

  • Moustache Monday

Tuesday 1st:

  • Ron & Bruce at ALT all day
  • Jr. boys basketball practice today

Wednesday 2nd:

  • Bruce gone (am only)

Thursday 3rd:

  • 12 Days of Christmas Dress Up Day!

Friday 4th:

  • Bruce gone all day (PD in Saskatoon with Jackie Salzl!)
  • Grade 8’s gone on their field trip Central Haven to do some volunteer work and then off to Can-Am Gymnastics to blow off some steam!

Create a great week!

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November 23rd to 27th

learning_objectivesCongratulations to Ron and the senior boys volleyball team as they secured a spot in the 2A provincial playoffs coming up this Friday in Gravelbourg.

Last week in Ryan’s ELA class the students were discussing the books they were reading in their Dystopia unit, and while the conversations were all interesting, one stood out above all others.  One student was commenting on how much she “hated” the book she was reading.  She was able to explain, in great detail, what happens in the book, and why she was so upset about it.  The exciting part, from a learning stand point, is where Ryan went next with this.  He started asking deeper questions to allow this student to talk about why she was so passionate about this novel.  In the end it was this discussion, and those probing questions that lead her to understand that what she really had was a love/hate relationship with the novel.  While she loved the novel, she hated how the protagonist made her feel and in the end she finished her group presentation with the line that Ryan had shared with her, “after all, there is a fine line between love and hate”.

I share this story because this week’s focus for our staff meeting is the difference between conferencing and “touching base”.  Ryan could of asked, “how do you like that book” and maybe even asked, “why is that”, but it was the deeper conversation that allowed the real, meaningful learning to occur.  Have a look at the learning links if you have time, and during the week try to stay aware of moments when you could probe for more understanding.

Learning Links:

5 Powerful Questions

Promoting Higher Level Thinking ~ The Goldilocks Zone

And just for a laugh:

Here is what’s on the horizon for this week:


  • Staff meeting (together first 30 then split for final 30+)
  • Jamie is away at an LF pro. dev.
  • Grade 1 – 8 marks due today
  • Auto Attendance goes live today, make sure you are getting your attendance done in a timely fashion


  • Jamie is away at an LF pro. dev. (am only)
  • Cara is at an ILO for the afternoon


  • Eric Fehr & Luke Martens away at Spotlight on Careers activity (all day)
  • Ruth away at an ILO (am only)


  • SRC assembly during period 4 to kick off food drive bingo and discuss the 12 days of Christmas (with a fashion show???).  We will also wish the senior boys luck!
  • Senior PE swimming/scuba trip (leaving at 11:00 will be back at 3:00)


  • Subway lunch
  • 1 – 8 progress reports go home
  • Tell Them From Me survey closes today
  • Ron gone with Sr. Boys V-ball team to provincials

Create a great week!

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Nov. 16 – 20

boat wakeCongratulations to Ron and the senior boys volleyball team for a successful Saturday, it’s so nice to see their hard work pay off.  On a not so happy note, Friday’s terrible events in Paris had me glued to the TV and social media as information continued to surface about the horrific ISIS attacks.  You may want to consider how you will handle classroom discussions should they arise through questions from students who will have certainly heard about this as well. Situations like these also help me put my own life in perspective.  I had a tough conversation with a parent on Friday that gave me some things to reflect on, and while it may have dampened my mood a bit, I needed to remember some advice I received from my father, that is, don’t let the highs get too high or the lows get too low.

Here is a look at what’s coming up this week:

Monday 16th

  • Lori is popping in for a visit, she will be out around 8:30

Tuesday 17th

  • Senior progress reports should be ready to go as the issues with PowerSchool seem to have been rectified

Wednesday 18th

  • Final Humphrey Assembly
  • Bruce gone in the afternoon (my son’s ed psych assessment)

Thursday 19th

  • John Kuzbik visit ~ 8:30 am

Friday 20th

  • Just a reminder that progress reports for grades 1 – 8 are due on Monday 23rd

This week’s learning link are contained below:

  1. This learning link deals with the workshop model in your math class.  It has been so great to see some of this happening in our school this year.  There is a pretty interesting video from a grade 5 class as well as some helpful information that could get you started or help you on the journey you are currently on.  http://mathsolutions.com/nl48/math-workshop.html 
  2. The second link deals with trying to avoid the dreading shoelace inspection, you know the one that occurs after you ask a question.  This article posits that maybe it’s the type of question that is standing in the way of discussions.  Have a read and see if you can make any connections to the article.  http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/engaging-students-through-effective-questions 

This final piece relates to the Prairie Spirit School Foundation and their Trip a Month fundraiser.  Click on the poster for more information.

Trip a month raffle (2)





As always, create a great week!

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November 1st – 6th

remembranceI hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween weekend.  We had a blast with the little ones out trick-or-treating…I even shared some candy with the kids!

This week we welcome a couple new team members to the Hepburn School family as Cara Fleischhacker joins us in grade 3 and Joe Dobraski starts Monday working with Cory as our assistant caretaker.  While it is a short week, there is still a lot going on (as usual!)


  • Grade 9 – 12 progress reports are due to the office
  • Grade 11 & 12 gone all day to a career fair in Saskatoon with Meredith and Ryan
  • It’s picture retake time, so if you didn’t say cheese the first time….well you get it


  • Ron & Bruce are gone to ALT today, Kurt is acting principal for the day


  • Sr. boys have volleyball practice after school


  • Our annual Remembrance Day program will be held today
  • 9 – 12 progress reports go home today
  • Bruce & Tania are gone all  day to a division SERT meeting in Warman

Friday:  This is our day in lieu, please make sure students take home any gym clothes to wash and any perishables that may get “funky” during our little break.

The learning link this week comes from a former classmate of mine at the U of S and if I’m not mistaken Sandi had some classes with him as well.  His blog post talks about the possibility of change and it caused me to reflect on the process that we have been going through with Jamie as our LF.  What may have seemed too daunting last year, or even earlier this fall, is now becoming our version of the 4-minute mile (read the blog and you’ll get that reference).  As you read the article think about what it is you’ve wanted to achieve as a member of Hepburn School.  Are your goals reflected in MPSC?  Who do you share your dreams with? What are some of the things holding you back?  Who can help you get past those barriers?  How can you help others?  Feel free to share by commenting below.

As always, create a great week!

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Oct. 26th – 30th

fall-leaves-treeHopefully the results from the Jays and Riders didn’t dampen an otherwise pleasant weekend for you too much.  I’m excited to hear how our volleyball teams did over the weekend as things are really starting to gear up for playoffs.
From all accounts, parent/student/teacher (PST) conferences went very well, and the organizing of meals by Sandi & Renaye was greatly appreciated.

Here’s what you can expect this week:


We will be doing our bus evacuation drills today, please listen for announcements calling you down to the front entrance

We will be having a staff meeting/PD meeting after school, please refer to the information Ron sent on Friday morning

Tuesday – Thursday:

Business as usual

Friday, Saturday:

Sr. Boys & Girls volleyball teams will host their annual home tournament

This article had me reflecting on our PST conferences, and I was thinking about what I usually share during these meetings.  I spend a portion discussing what has happened up to the conference and then some time talking about goals for the future.  Maybe I need to spend less time on the past and more on the future?  I do know that I need to involve student voice more in these conferences, and that will be a goal for our next round. What are somethings that you do that make your PST conferences effective?  How can some of the statements from MPSC be actualized in an effective PST conference?  Feel free to start the conversation below by clicking the comment icon.

As always, create a great week!

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