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Peace Wapiti Public School Division
Educating today for success tomorrow
Peace Wapiti Public School Division No. 76
News Item

Trustees engage with students, tour schools in Rycroft, Eaglesham and Birch Hills

May 09, 2017

On Thursday, May 4, PWSD Trustees wrapped up their school tour schedule for the 2016-2017 school year with visits to Rycroft School, Eaglesham School, and Birch Meadows Colony School.

Rycroft School
In keeping with the "May the fourth be with you" Star Wars theme celebrated worldwide on May 4, Principal Julie Hynes was joined by a Storm Trooper and Captain Phasma in welcoming PWSD Trustees and Superintendent Sheldon Rowe to Rycroft School.

Grade 8 student tour guides Dylan Gellings and Kayla Paulson led the group on a tour of Mrs. Vinck's class where Grade 1 students were lining up for a field trip to Safety City in Grande Prairie. After the Grade 1 class headed out, 16 Kindergarten students returned from recess and were very excited to meet their visitors.

Ms. Zutter's Grade 2 class chatted with Trustees and were eager to display their Star Wars costumes in a group photo with their teacher.

In the school's Family First room, Heather Campbell was busy prepping a dream catcher project for students. The multifunctional room offers space suitable for piano lessons, FNMI activities, community meetings, Early Childhood Coalition meetings, and school team meetings. This term, Grades 7-8 students have been gathering in the room during the noon hour to work on moccasin projects.

The large, well-equipped Home Economics room is also home to the school's breakfast program. The spacious library is stocked with books for all ages and reading levels. Outside the library, a Rycroft High School sweater is on display – a throwback to the fifties when the school was home to Kindergarten to Grade 12 students.

After a quick visit with Ms. Chafe's Grades 7-8 class, Trustees participated in a question and answer session with Ms. Hanna's Grades 5-6 class. Among their prepared list of questions, students asked what part of being a trustee they liked the best. The students were curious about other schools the group had visited and wanted to know how a school board ensures that all buses pick up all students each day. When asked to rate on a scale of 1-10 the importance of being a trustee, the group largely agreed on a rating of nine, but only because their families receive their top rating.

View more photos on PWSD's Facebook page.

Eaglesham School

Eaglesham School was the next stop on the tour, where Co-Principals Terry Pattison and Fiona Logan welcomed the group to join lunch break with school staff. Following lunch, trustees enjoyed a school showcase in the gym, featuring puppet shows written and performed by students, and the classic comedy routine, "Who's on First?" The event wrapped up with the Summer Nights song and scene from the popular hit movie, Grease that had everyone singing along. Trustees were thrilled to pose for a group photo with the student-actors.

Grade 10 students Payton Emerson and Kolton Notenbomer remained in costume for their roles as tour guides, and led trustees to Mrs. Bolster's Grades 1-2 class where students were learning about trees in honour of Arbor Day. During a presentation by Alberta Wildfire earlier that morning, each student received a tree to plant at home.

In the Kindergarten room, students were working in centres under the direction of their teacher Ms. Boivon and Ms. Martin, educational assistant. Groups of students were busy building with blocks, painting, and matching numbers.  

Ms. Collie's Grades 5-6 class was engaged in a strategy game involving standing in a circle while tossing two balls among the players. Students had to keep track of who they had tossed a ball to, and who had thrown one back to them. Players who dropped a ball were required to leave the game. The game was also a test of personal honesty, as participants must disqualify themselves for catching the ball from the wrong person.

The group also toured the library, the well-equipped industrial arts classroom, and the combined music, art and Inclusive Education room.  

The tour wrapped up in the science lab where trustees could not resist testing the Rube Goldberg machine built by the Grades 7-8 science class as part of their Simple Machines unit. The machine, run by a single motor, lifts a ball to the top of the tower, and then drops it down one of four pathways.

View more photos on PWSD's Facebook page.

Birch Meadows Colony School

The group arrived at Birch Meadows Colony School at 2:00 p.m., just as students were rushing outside to play during recess. The well-manicured schoolyard is part of a communal complex that includes a school and church building surrounded by row housing, a kitchen/bakery and dining building, and a playschool/Kindergarten facility. In the distance, a busy farming operation is underway.

Bob Zahara, PWSD's District Principal of Hutterite Schools, led trustees on a tour of the school and colony.

The school's basement houses a large arena where students enjoy playing sports, such as roller blade hockey. The rubberized flooring surface creates a safe place for all ages to play.

The group moved upstairs to the classroom level where they were greeted by a "Welcome to Birch Meadows Colony School" sign crafted by the students. Ms. Pattison's Grades 4-6 classroom was also decorated with many fine examples of student art projects, which she pointed out is a favourite subject area for her students. The class also enjoys cowboy-themed stories and poetry, as evidenced in their presentation of a fun poem entitled, "When Pa goes to the Bull Sale."

In the next classroom, Ms. Girard's Grades 1-3 students were eager to introduce themselves, along with their age, grade and German name. The group performed a song that received a round applause from the trustees.  

In Mr. Reichel's Grades 7-9 class, students were excited to demonstrate the scientific principles of gravity, force and motion using the egg drop trick, followed by the tablecloth trick. Students in PWSD's eight Hutterite Colony Schools are taught standard Alberta Education curriculum. Since German is the first language for Hutterite colonies, they take German language lessons outside the regular school day schedule. Mr. Reichel teaches two one-hour German classes to Birch Meadows Colony students twice daily at 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. during weekdays, in addition to a two-hour class on Saturday mornings.

After touring the school, community members led the group on a tour of their church. A short stroll along the connecting walkways running through the internal courtyard of the colony led to the building that houses a communal dining room and state-of-the-art kitchen and bakery facilities. The kitchen and dining room windows provide stunning views of expansive fields and the nearby preschool and Kindergarten building where the colony's children receive early childhood education.

View more photos on PWSD's Facebook page.