As the Sun Sets on Another Year
We are closing in on the conclusion of another school year, and it has been another wonderful year of learning together at #WaldheimSchool. It feels like we were just marveling at the boom in our population as our little school began to burst at the seams approaching 400 students. Everyone has taken such a positive ‘can do’ approach to dealing with the challenges that a full building presents. The staff and students were incredibly patient, and we are so thankful to the incredible support shown to our school by PSSD.
This year our staff has committed to working together to study how we do our assessment for learning work. We have been digging into a terrific book, Softening the Edges, by Katie White, a Saskatchewan educator, author and speaker. During our study, we have thought about how we can learn more about our students through our assessment practices. We believe that the more we know about our students the better equipped we are to meet their unique and diverse learning needs. We are very excited to be presenting our learning story to our friends and colleagues from PSSD on May 30th in Warman, SK. Our celebration will feature 3 unique stories from 3 teachers and 3 students who will discuss the impact our assessment work has had on their learning this year.
As we put the finishing touches on the 2018-19 year we begin to turn our attention to next year. Building on our goals from this year, we have created our #2020Vision:
At #WaldheimSchool every adult will have a deep and thorough understanding of every student they work with as a learner.
At #WaldheimSchool every adult will respond to the unique and diverse needs of every student they work with by adapting their teaching and classroom environment.
At #WaldheimSchool every adult will be an active participant in a collective inquiry to improve student learning.
As you can see, we are still guided by a desire to develop a deep and thorough understanding of every student we work with, however we now turn our focus to the question, now what? Our work will attempt to uncover the most effective ways to respond to what we have learned about each student through timely assessment.
As usual, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the school at 945-2211.
At the Midway Point
We are now at the midway point in our 2018-19 school year, and it has been an incredibly busy and rewarding journey thus far. Our student population continues to hover around the 400 mark, and even with the addition of our two new relocatable classrooms we are a full house! We have noticed a significant improvement in the movement of our students in the hallways at recess time now that we can access our new doors to the playground. Thank you to the Prairie Spirit School Division facilities department for all of their hard work during the expansion process.
As January comes to a close we are now entering semester two for our grade 7 to 12 students. With a new semester comes new opportunities. Students are invited to build on what they have learned in semester one and to look for areas in which they can grow. For some students it involves trying a new sport, altering learning habits, picking up a new instrument, enrolling in an online course, or looking for ways to give back to the school or the community as a whole. What are some ways you will strive to improve as a learner in 2019?
Many times we do not take a risk because we may tell ourselves we don’t have what it takes. We may convince ourselves we do not have the time or just aren’t smart enough to ‘go for it’. I have included my favorite quote, Henry Ford makes it sound so simple. If you are interested in making a change, or working with your kids on shifting how they think about things, I’d invite you to look into the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. In her book she defines a growth mindset as:
“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 great accomplishment[.]”
If you have a chance to pick this book up it’s a great read. As I read it I thought a lot about the stories I told myself as a student, both in high school and in University, and how self-doubt has impacted my life. I wish someone would have put that book in my hands in the mid 1980’s!
I’m looking forward to what the new semester has in store for our staff and students. As teachers, we continue to work on developing a deep and thorough understanding of your children. This year we are focusing on developing our assessment practices as a way of better informing everyone of important next steps. We want students to understand their next steps in their learning and want to help them achieve success. We want parents and guardians to understand how their child is progressing and what role they can play in their development. And finally, we want teachers to understand their impact on student learning and how they need to adjust their teaching to meet the needs of every student they work with.
As I said, we are looking forward to the second half of the school year, and as always, if you are in or around the school, stop in and say hi!
What Will You Work On?
Jan. 2019 – The new year is upon us, and with it comes new opportunities. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas break surrounded by your loved ones, and hopefully you were able to get the rest and relaxation we had all earned as 2018 came to an end. I am very excited about getting back to school, I love the routine that work brings, and I really look forward to seeing all the students again. The break was an opportunity for me to spend more quality time with my wife and children and was also a chance to reconnect with my mother, my brother, and my sisters. As is normally the case, I ate too much, exercised too little, and laughed just the right amount!
But now it is time to get back to work. The changing of the calendar provides an opportunity to reflect on the year that was, and to plan for the year ahead. I love the culture in our building, and love the way we work together to try and make everyone feel as though they are part of the fabric of Waldheim School. That being said, we all know that we must continue to improve, both individually and as a collective. I think about the new members of our #WaldheimSchool family, both staff and students, and hope that they have figured out what it means to be a Raider. I do not think there is anyone in our school family that would say they are perfect or that there are not areas they want to improve on. While we need to be aware of areas of growth, we also need to be nice to ourselves and celebrate those things we do well.
Looking back at 2018 I can see things I need to improve on as your principal. This year, I will continue to work on my leadership skills in the following ways:
- Asking more questions: every day is an opportunity for me to connect with the members of our school family. I will ask more questions that will hopefully help those around me think deeper about what they are learning and what their impact is on the learning in our building.
- Trying to see around the corner: with experience comes the ability to see some things coming, and I’m going to work harder on being more proactive than being reactive. I am hoping that spending more time in classrooms and asking more questions will help me see what’s coming sooner rather than later.
- Fostering a growth mindset: this is for everyone, myself included. I hope everyone can either continue, or begin to adopt a growth mindset as they think about what role they play at #WaldheimSchool. Henry Ford said, whether you believe you can, or believe you cannot, you are correct. I hope that spending more time in classrooms and asking more questions will help as we work to develop our growth mindset.
- Reading and writing more: this is more of a personal one, however I want to keep pushing myself through reading and writing. There is a wealth of knowledge available to us, and I want to continue to grow as a leader by reading more professional books. I also want to continue developing my own voice as a leader, and will continue to work on my weekly blog along with any other writing opportunities that come my way. Who knows, maybe in 2020 I won’t wait for writing opportunities, rather I will make them.
So what will you work on this year? How will you make 2019 your best year ever? I look forward to seeing everyone on January 7th as we continue to learn together and grow together.
A New School Year is Upon Us!
Sept. 2018 – Welcome back Waldheim School Community! It is wonderful to see all of the students, staff, and parents around the school. Holidays are so much fun, but the start of a school year is so exciting. The students are excited to see their old friends and meet new ones. They are curious about what their new teacher is going to be like. Often they have some new clothes or school supplies. The teachers are full of energy and they are eager to get to know their students. It is a wonderful time of year.
Our school goals this year will once again center around literacy and student engagement. We have already had a staff meeting and we have started our learning journey. We are intent on working hard this year to improve how we teach to improve our students’ learning. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated staff who are so passionate about building relationships with our students and providing the best possible learning for our students.
We would like to remind all students to use the crosswalk this year. We have 28 eager crosswalk guards signed up for this year. We have had some near misses over the past few years with students running across the street at other locations than the crosswalk. We train crosswalk guards to keep our students safe. Please help us keep all the students safe.
We want to remind everyone that all the doors to the school will be open in the morning starting at 8:40. This is also when our supervision begins. Our exterior doors will be locked throughout the school day. The only door that will be unlocked will be the door by the office. We require visitors to our school to check in at the office. We enjoy when you stop in and say hi and connect with us.
Mr. Mellesmoen & Mr. Reis