Spring is certainly in the air and we have had a sprinkling of summer and even a touch of winter weather mixed in as well. Teachers will soon begin the important task of administering the post assessments for Literacy and Numeracy. We can hardly wait to see all the growth that each individual student has experienced this year at RMB.
We are beginning the process of determining class placements for next year along with staffing. As our process was last year, we will not be sharing classroom placements until the Fall. The reason behind this decision is that things can easily change over the summer months (increased enrollment, staff changes, etc) and we will have a much better picture in August regarding plans for classroom placements. Please understand that one question that comes to the office at the beginning (and end) of each school year is how we determine which class students will be in. The first thing parents need to know is this is a carefully considered process. There are a number of factors that go into this decision including the number of students in each grade, trying to get a balance of gender and abilities, and maintaining some social supports for each student. In the end, the most important consideration is what is in the best academic interest of all of our over 400 students.
The reality for many of our students is they will be in a split-grade classroom at some point during their academic careers, often more than once. Considering the diverse needs and abilities of students, no class is a “straight” grade. Our teachers will use a variety of strategies to best meet the individual needs of their students, which would include flexible groupings within and beyond their regular classrooms. Being in a lower split does not mean that students are lower in their ability, the same way a higher-grade split is not comprised of the highest achieving students. Each classroom needs a heterogeneous balance.
Finally, students cannot be grouped solely based on where their friends are or whether they will have the favourite teacher they have always wanted. We do pay attention to social supports, but working in the same classroom with your best friend(s) is not always the best thing from an academic point of view. While each teacher has their own strengths that may be somewhat different from their colleagues, all have incredible talents to share in a challenging, rewarding, learning environment.
On very rare occasions, changes may be made if it is determined to be in the best academic interests of a particular child. The final decision rests with the Principal in consultation with the staff. We appreciate your understanding and support regarding this matter.
At this time I would like to inform you that I will be leaving Ruth M. Buck as Principal at the end of June as I have been offered, and have accepted, a position at Division Office. I will continue to support students in my new role as Supervisor of Intensive Supports starting August 1st. Although it will be difficult for me to say good bye to the students, staff and community at RMB, I know you will be in very good hands with the incoming Principal, Mr. Blair Litzenberger. Mr. Litzenberger comes to the Buck community with a wealth of administrative experience which is student centered. He is a former Buck student himself and is thrilled to be returning to his childhood roots in this role. I know that together with Mr. Pelling, the school will be under great care and attention for the upcoming school year.
Teaching and Educational Assistant staffing changes will be shared with students and the community once finalized. This typically occurs mid-June.
Please continue to spread the word to other families about signing up for my blog so that they can stay in touch with the latest school news. Our school website and twitter feed (@ruthmbuckschool) will continue to be great sources of information as well.
Mrs. A. Balkwill