Dear Maple Grove Community,
I would like to let you know that I will be retiring at the end of this school year. After 35 years with the Vancouver School Board (12 teaching; and 23 admin) I have decided to retire. I restore cars; and planning a Mercedes Sprinter Van buildout (thank you Levi) #vanlife; playing around with guitars, traveling, home renovations and spending time with my family.
I have loved being a school principal! It has truly been a rewarding and gratifying experience. I have always believed in working with our youth is one of the most noble professions one can have. From my early days teaching soccer schools, ski instructing, teaching sailing, tennis and windsurfing, to working in more formal school settings I have always enjoyed helping kids. I have always enjoyed the educational leadership aspect of teaching and learning, in particular, working with outstanding educators and building Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) within schools. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Maple Grove. The students are awesome (thank you parents); the parents are well-informed, supportive, knowledgeable, giving and caring; and the staff are conscientious, detail-oriented, and passionate about education. It has been a highlight to transition to the new school and I’m so happy with the way it’s turned out (especially given all the constraints and parameters that were incumbent upon the design and build).
Working through Covid was interesting- to say the least- but, I’m proud of our community for standing together and and supporting one another. I would like to say, “Thank you to all the parents on the PAC Executive over the years who worked tirelessly on behalf of your children. I’d like to thank Angela, Monica, Cliff, Jeannie, Lisa, Lisa R, Manu, Joel, Tammy, Tom, Steve, Galen, Monica, Andrew, Paula, Tad, Cathy and John, and Doug and all the parents who selflessly work for student engagement, teaching and learning (there’s simply too many of you to mention). To my Admin Teams, and the 12 VPs I’ve trained over the years, I have the utmost respect for all of you, and I’m so happy you’ve moved up, and on, in your careers, journeys and schools. I wish the best for each of you! I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to our lovely Madame Val. She has basically run the school for the past year. She will be an amazing school principal. I’m so proud of her and grateful that she was at the helm. I also would like to send a special thank you to the retired principals, Mr. Land, Ms. Marlow and Madame Morissette for all their support for the past year. My timeline was not my own, and they were always flexible and understanding that recover takes time. To the students… work hard, stay true to your core values and speak your voice. And to my teaching and support staff… you have been amazing! A daily reminder how dedicated and professional each of you are in how you approach your work. You give selflessly of yourselves and I always admired you for being so passionate and dedicated. Be kind, calm and thoughtful to one another!
Are you artsy? Well we have some Gr 6/ 7students who are part of the Art Club. They meet every Tuesday at lunch. Enjoy the pics below, where they are painting murals on the concrete bunkers for the hydro, recycling, earthquake supplies and bike locker. Are you artsy, creative and crafty? Thank you to the staff sponsors, Ms. New, Ms. Gjernes and Ms. Iris.
Thank you Mr. Land for the pics.
Grad Parent Committee
Parent Volunteers Needed (specifically gr 6+7 but any gr welcome)
Parents we find ourselves in the position being able to offer more traditional school experiences as Covid restriction ease provincially and nationally. Each year end we celebrate our gr 7 grads. Past practise had been that gr 6 parents volunteer at the event, and that way gr 7 parents can partake and enjoy the event. Then, the following year, the new set of gr 6 parents volunteer, so the new set of gr 7 parents can have their turn enjoying the event. It’s a kinda, Pay It Forward operation.
This year’s Grad Parent Committee still have openings and need your help (decorating, supervising food, bouncers for the dance afterwards, etc). It’s really fun and a great way to get to know more parents and kids. We need gr 7 parents will be needed for the decoration and set up, and gr 6 (or other gr) parents needed for serving food and supervising the event.
If you’re interested (even just a little) reach out to Kristie Ruff at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week we shared in the blog that the VSB provided all schools in Vancouver with their staffing entitlements based on enrolment projections for September ’22 and that Maple Grove has 94 students, who should be able to attend Maple Grove, but are occupying spaces in nearby schools. We also shared that as a result, the VSB aimed to address the issue by adding two portable classrooms to the school.
The VSB has asked Maple Grove to add a Kindergarten class and an intermediate class to our school organization. This means, Maple Grove traditional side of the school will be increasing from 14 to 16 divisions. Our tentative projections have managed to reduce our waitlist from 94 to about 35 students. We are being told to anticipate this trend to continue for the next few years- partly due to development in the neighbourhood and also the new school factor plays a part in this process.
We are presently engaged in conversations with the staff regarding School Organization and what things might look like for next year. Undoubtedly, we will have two senior classes in the portables- and we will be adding to it for the foreseeable future or until our enrolment settles.
This week was an exciting week at MG. Student-led conferences took place (in-person) on Tuesday and Thursday evening and we were thrilled to have parents in the school for the first time. All the the feedback we received was positive. Thank you to all the students for being great ambassadors of their learning and to the staff for dedicating so much time to the event.
Class Placements for September + Parent Input- DEADLINE, May 27th
Maple Grove likes to work with our parent community and as such, we like to confer about placements of students for September. That staff work very hard to decide on the perfect placement for your child- they often consider a number of factors that parents may not have knowledge of. Similarly, you often have information that we need to know. The first thing you need to do- if you have a placement request for your child- is talk to this year’s teacher! The classroom teacher plays a huge role in determining where your child will be placed.
In September, it takes some students several days/ weeks to settle in to new classroom environments. Generally speaking, after a couple of days/weeks students settle nicely into the rhythm of the new school year/grade/teacher. The beginning of the school year can be emotionally difficult for some students due to the change in schedule (which will happen to us as we share the site with a swing site school), different classmates, different teachers, different school, different everything! Disappointments can be magnified. With your support, and ours, most students adapt to their new class and routines quickly. During this time, please reflect on, rather than react to, your child’s placement. It is extremely important to remain supportive and positive about your child’s placement and to trust last year’s teacher for making the recommendation. Teacher recommendations are made after hours of discussion and debate among teachers. Decisions are not made lightly. We trust your children to be able to adjust to new learning situations and to make new friends – these are normal life challenges. In an effort to assist teachers in making decisions where to place students, Maple Grove traditionally offers parents an opportunity to provide some input into learning circumstances that may be beneficial for their child, or for staff to consider when casting classes.
We have found in the past that with your support, children are able to adapt to and benefit from a variety of experiences and that as parents, we tend to underestimate their ability to do so. Your help with this process is crucial. Please help your child by encouraging them and normalizing change, making new friends and meeting new challenges. As well, work to develop a positive relationship with your child’s teacher. Our goals are the same as yours – we are striving for your child and all children to be successful.
How We Organize Classes:
Organizing students into classes for the upcoming school year is one of the more complex things that we do at Maple Grove. We go to great efforts to ensure that children are placed in optimal educational settings; teams of teachers as well as our Learning Assistance staff work to create what we feel is the best placement for each and every child. The factors we must consider are numerous- there can be many reasons to place a child in a given class and sometimes reasons not to. Both combined and single grade classes will be developed for next year at various grade levels. As well, there is often teacher movement from grade to grade, and to and from the school. Our aim is to build diverse and successful groups of learners who will function and learn well together. To do this, we use a wide range of criteria for grouping students, including:
Class Placement Requests: May 27th
We do not accept teacher requests! We have criteria that we publish annually. Class placement requests must be made in writing and are sent directly to the Vice Principal and must adhere to the criteria. A written request does not guarantee that your request will be granted!
Criteria For Class Placement:
The objective of class placement is to create and organize classes so that each student is in a positive learning situation. The school also wants to ensure that each teacher has a manageable teaching assignment that conforms to Ministry of Education standards and the teacher’s Collective Agreement.
A. Instructional Criteria:
- Ability Distribution
- Work Habits
- Teaching/Learning Styles
- Equitable distribution of students
- Groupings appropriate for the best learning environment for all
B. Positive Social Grouping:
- Peer conflicts
- Boy/ Girl ratios
- Positive leaders
- Social needs / friendships
C. Other Criteria:
- Previous Experience: Previous class assignment of teachers & students is considered.
- Teacher Recommendations
- Parental Input
- Resource Team Input
- Class size + Composition criteria
- Special factors or extenuating circumstances
- Grade level balance in combined classes
- Effort, achievement, independence and leadership
- Cultural diversity
D. Attention to Each Child:
- Each child’s academic needs + progress
- Each child’s social needs
- Class group dynamics
- Gender balance
- Physical and emotional maturity
- Each child’s need for attention in social, emotional and behavioral areas
- Logistical requirements concerning the child’s access to the support of an education assistant whose service is provided in more than one classroom
Parent requests must be emailed to Madame Val by May 27th noon.
Additionally, we must make placements within the constraints of staffing allocations and Collective Agreements and contractual guidelines. In the end, each classroom will have its own character, offering different benefits to each child. We ask that you trust the team of educators working with your child to make the best placement for next year. We know it can make a difference when students have a familiar face in their class. We also know that sometimes, friends do not make the best classmates and that at times, friends should not be in the same class as they can disrupt one another’s learning. When we do place students for social reasons, we primarily consider students your child will succeed with in class, not necessarily friends; the two groups may be completely different. Finally, making new connections, meeting new challenges, and dealing with change are all important life skills. We will be asking students about friends prior to class building.
In the past, we have had a large number of parent requests for class placement that made class building very challenging. Many of the requests were regarding friends and sometimes were at odds with what staff saw as a ‘best placement’ or the requests of the friends. Please consider the following information.
Most times, it should not be necessary to make a special request. Your child’s previous teacher and our extended team know your child well, and will have good ideas about who they learn well with. On occasion, there can be special circumstances such as special needs or past history that we may not be aware of or that you feel we may need to be reminded of. Please give writing a letter serious consideration based on the above information.
If you feel you need to write a letter outlining your perspective regarding September class placement, please focus on the kind of learning environment you believe your child learns best; please remember, you cannot request or exclude certain teachers – this will not be considered.
Letters that focus on learning are welcome and can at times be very helpful. It is also important to note that requests may or may not be met, depending on the input of staff and administration. In other words, writing a letter of request does not guarantee your request will be met. Multiple requests from parents (e.g., for friends, avoiding combine classes or teachers) cannot be met. As well, requests for ‘non-split classes’ or upper or lower parts of splits cannot be accommodated- please don’t even make that a point. This is not a perfect process but we work very hard at it and look at many factors many times between now and September to do the best we can for all children.
Parents who feel that they have educational information that would help the decision-making process should convey that information in writing to the Principal BEFORE MAY 27th.
You may email Madame Val at email@example.com
The VSB Microsoft Mail Server Clients is state-of-the-art and we do not accept late requests or “I sent it” as a reason. We do not lose email. Information will be used as one of the factors staff will consider when forming class lists. Please do not request a specific teacher in your letter. It may eliminate your letter from consideration. Further, submitting a request is not a guarantee that your request will be granted. Requests are not confirmed. You will not receive an email confirming receipt of your request.
* Parents are reminded that they should speak with the current classroom teacher regarding placement of their child, as the current classroom teacher has a significant role in placing the student in next year’s class.
* We respectfully ask that you do not directly talk to, or contact by phone or email, any teachers about your child’s class placement with teachers. Teachers are bound by their Professional Code of Ethics, and these conversations cannot occur without violating this code.
* Parents are reminded that the final decision and authority for pupil placement remains with the Principal, as per the School Act.