Sharing the Gift of Literacy

Yesterday as I was visiting a classroom, a student was bubbling with excitement as she was about to read out loud to her teacher.  She quickly gave me a hug and then hurried off to the table where her teacher was awaiting her arrival.  Upon sitting down, the student looked at her teacher and exclaimed, “I love to read and so does my mom.”  Now, you may wonder why this comment is worthy of including in this blog, but let me tell you, this is a big deal.  I have no doubt that the love for reading that is taking place in this home has fostered such a positive attitude towards reading (and learning to read) at school.  Here we have a student who identifies their parent as a reader, their teachers as readers, their Principal and Vice-Principal as readers, and most importantly, themselves as a reader. She is surrounded with the gift of a love for literacy and this gift will redeem itself every day and in every way … forever.  I left the classroom asking myself, “do my own children see me as someone who loves to read?”.  I know my students do, as well as my colleagues and friends, but what about my own three children?  What occurs in a home for a child to identify their parent as not just a reader, but someone who loves to read? I know this question still lingers with me personally, and I encourage you to take a moment to think how your child(ren) would describe your relationship with literacy.

This month, the Educators at RMB wanted to share some of their favourite holiday stories with our students and families.  Under the leadership of our Literacy Council, staff have created a video series for everyone to enjoy. Below are a few of the videos created so far, and more will be added soon!  Be sure to check them out.

RMB Staff Read Holiday Favourites:

Mrs. Swann

Mrs. Papp

Ms. Goode

From our school family to yours, we wish you the warmest of holidays greetings!

Mrs. Balkwill, Principal

Beyond the 15 Minute Conference

Dear Families,

Thank you to all of our families that were able to attend conferences last week and to those who are scheduled to attend conferences this week as well.  As a parent of three school aged children who, up until this past year, attended three different schools, I know the commitment it takes to attend school conferences.  It is so much more than 15 minutes out of your day. For some it may be taking an extended lunch at 2:00 PM.  For others it may mean having someone watch over younger children who are nestled in for their morning nap at home and you don’t dare disrupt their sleep schedule.  Whatever the challenge, and we know there are many, we want to thank you for showing up.  Showing up is far greater than arriving on time for the conference.  Showing up is a way of letting your child(ren) know that you are interested in the goals they have set for themselves.  Showing up is a statement of your partnership with with Educators at RMB.  Showing up is an opportunity to interact with other families.  Showing up allows you to witness the learning that occurs throughout our school.

Conferences are also an opportunity for our Educators to show up as well.  If we only focused on the 15 minutes, we would lose sight of the many ways the staff show up as well.  From scheduling families to ensure little to no wait time, to accommodating reasonable requests for rescheduling, to supporting students to create goals that are meaningful and growth oriented, and to providing information that supports the unique learning needs of each student.

As parents and Educators, we are partners that choose to show up on conference day and beyond.  Our actions tell our students and your children that we value education, we support the belief that each child will experience success, and that we are a team.

So, thank you for showing up.  Conference Day is so much more than 15 minutes because of our united commitment to education at RMB!

Mrs. Balkwill, Principal

Oh and ps, if you missed your conference time, don’t worry!  Simple contact the office and we will be happy to assist in scheduling a new time.

showing up

Of Loss and Leadership

Every Sunday I sit down to prepare an internal newsletter for the Educators at RMB.  It provides the typical “school” reminders and a list of upcoming events for the week.  This year I wanted to focus on the purpose to be beyond the day-to-day functions of a school.  To align with our school division priority of Writing, I set an intention to write to my staff at the beginning of each weekly communication.  Often my writing reflects my observations from the week:  student and staff celebrations, community engagement and involvement, struggles and challenges, and personal reflection.  I initially set this intention to model how adults use purposeful writing within their workplace and beyond.  My writing takes time, several drafts, and on some weeks, a great deal of perseverance.  It is far from perfect, but that was never my intention, so I give myself a break knowing what the ultimate goal was.  Yes, was.

Last week, due to a heart breaking situation for one of our colleagues, the goal changed.  It changed from being something I felt I needed to do as a Principal, to something I needed to do for me.  As I sat down to write to the staff, all of the emotions from the week appeared on the screen through my words.  From sadness to gratitude, it was all there.  Each word was a personal reflection, and I mean REAL personal, on how our staff came together through a difficult time.  How each Educator took their compassionate leadership to a new height, respected one another’s grief, acknowledged and actualized a response plan in an efficient and nurturing manner, supported students with dignity, and gave themselves permission to be true to their emotions knowing that they would be supported by their colleagues without judgement.

What occurred was not luck or coincidence.  It was the result of a group of people making a commitment, with intent and purpose, to follow through with integrity.  These are the Educators at RMB.  These leaders model every day for your children what caring, compassionate and professional relationships look and sound like.

I don’t know about you, but I feel incredibly proud to know that these are the Educators who are teaching our students every day!

Mrs. Balkwill

This is Me at RMB Video Debut

This year the staff and students made a commitment to ensure that all students feel valued and respected for the individuals that they are.  In an effort to make this commitment in true RMB spirit, over 250 students came together to create, direct, perform, edit, film and choreograph a video entitled, This is Me at RMB.

After a month of preparations, the final video is now ready to share!  We hope you enjoy!

 

This Is Me at RMB

At the start of the school year, the Educators at RMB made a commitment to support and value each student for their individuality.  We wanted to ensure that students truly felt that they belonged.  One way we decided to do this was to create a student video using the emotional and touching lyrics to the song This Is Me from the hit movie The Greatest Showman.  We presented the idea to our students in September and the response simply blew us away!  This week, after hours of finalizing permissions, holding auditions, staffing our editors, assistant directors, creative designers, and determining our cast we will work with over 250 students to start making our video.  You can feel the energy throughout the school.  There is an excitement that is contagious.  Students know that they are about to be part of something special, something unique.  They also know that their involvement is their commitment to sharing this belief that every student matters and every student belongs.  They are united in telling the world that everyone who enters our school brings value and is an important part of making our school great.

This week I want to share with you a behind the scenes video that was used to convince those in power to take The Greatest Showman and make it into a movie.  It took 7 years in the making, and it is moments like this that showcase the power of team work, strength through vulnerability, perseverance, and determination.  All of the values that we hold true to ourselves and one another at RMB.  Enjoy!

We can hardly wait to debut our own version of This is Me at RMB in the near future!

Mrs. Balkwill, Principal

this is me

 

 

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Three Hundred Nineteen.  This is the number of students at RMB that were in the Green for Attendance in September.

Four Hundred and Six.  This is the number of students that attend RMB.

I want you to imagine what school could and would be like if each student was able to be in the green for attendance every month.  The impact of instruction.  The opportunity to receive in-the-moment feedback frequently.  The strength in relationships with peers and staff.  The list goes on.

traffic_light

Attendance isn’t the responsibility of one, it is the responsibility of us all!  Students, teachers, support staff, families, and community members.  At school, you will see reminders in our entrance, hallways, offices and classrooms reinforcing the importance of good attendance.  You will hear conversations with students welcoming them each day and offering support when absences have occurred.  You will see staff reaching out to families to see if there are obstacles that are preventing regular attendance and offering to work together to find solutions.  Attendance Matters. 

At RMB, we want to work with any families that are finding it hard to be in the green.  This month we will be personally contacting each family where attendance was not in the green.  We will be doing this as a gesture of support.  A way to let you know that you are not alone and that we are here to help, to problem solve, and to work together to create a plan that will support regular attendance for your child(ren).

We are here to be your partners with a common goal of having each student at RMB feel success!

#dontmissaday

Mrs. A. Balkwill, Principal

 

 

 

Thanks and Giving

There is no greater feeling than being thankful and this school year has already provided so many opportunities to be thankful for.  One being our Open House and SCC BBQ this past week.  As you can appreciate, the time spent in preparation for this annual event is significant, yet not once did I hear a complaint.  From staff preparing welcome packages, ensuring the classroom environment is welcoming, to making arrangements with their family in order for them to stay for the evening.  I am thankful to the staff at RMB. From the SCC members who formed a committee to ensure that the BBQ was organized and efficient, who worked as a team modelling the power of being a united front, and who saw the value in each other’s efforts and contributions.  I am thankful to our SCC.  From the families who were able to join us and made it a priority to connect with staff, who visited among one another over a tasty supper, and who let their child(ren) take the lead on proudly showing off their classroom and introducing their teacher.  I am thankful for our families.  There is much to be thankful for!

As we continue to digest a long weekend of Thanksgiving feasting, it is important that, along with being thankful, that we also engage in the positive impact of giving.  Later this month we will launch a unique school fundraiser that will focus on giving (and not just money!).  The fundraiser will challenge students, staff and families to be generous in their contributions in making RMB and the RMB community rich in human spirit.  We know that everyone will rise to this challenge as we strive to create tomorrow together.

thanks and giving

So thank YOU for all you continue to do to support learning at RMB.  We know you make regular attendance a priority, we hear the positive way you speak about the staff to your child(ren), and we see the impact of your engagement with school priorities.

Thank you!

Mrs. A. Balkwill (Principal)

Failure Leads to Success

Failure.  It is a tough word that can bring out the worst or the best in us.  As we near the end of the first month of school, it would be easy to spend this post reflecting on the many successes we have experienced as a school community.  Instead, I have decided to dive a little deeper, to go beyond the surface, and really explore the pathway to success at RMB.  It doesn’t take much to soon realize a common theme to many of our successes.  It is failure.  Now, you may be reading this thinking that your Principal is already in need of a vacation because what kind of Principal writes about failure.  This one does and I will tell you why.

Take a moment to think of a skill that you consider yourself masterful at.  It could be something in your personal or professional life.  Now reflect on your journey to mastery.  My guess is that you were not proficient the very first time you tried this skill, and in fact, likely stumbled or failed multiple times.  I would also make a guess that you relied on someone who you deemed to be masterful to help guide you.  Maybe a family member, friend, or teacher.  And then, just maybe, you practiced and received feedback until you felt confident enough to start sharing or teaching your skill to others.  From there, you became masterful.  You persevered and built your resilience.

So let’s go back a few steps.  Imagine if after the first time trying you failed, that you gave up and never made another attempt.  Imagine the missed opportunities.  Seems hard to even consider not having this skill, doesn’t it?

Without failure, we would never experience many of our successes.  This applies to school every day.  The Educators at RMB make an effort to model for students the importance of resiliency.  They show support for student growth by encouraging students to build resilience and perseverance by learning how to fail forward, reflect, accept feedback, practice, and accept that others may develop a skill differently.  It is this type of belief, this mindset, that will see student success soar.

Let’s embrace failure, because it is evidence that we are learning and growing!

Mrs. Balkwill

failure

Perseverance at RMB

This week we were fortunate to have Fred Fox, brother to the late Terry Fox, come and speak to all of our students at a special assembly.  Fred came to visit us at RMB because this year marks our 15th year as a school participating in the fundraising campaign.  What an accomplishment!  Fred was a magnificent speaker who captured the attention of each student and Educator within seconds.  He spoke to us about his brother and through the stories and memories that he shared, came a common message about the power of perseverance.  Each day we are all faced with choices and challenges.  Each day, it is up to us how,or if, we persevere.  Fred spoke about the importance of facing difficulty, embracing discomfort, and setting both short and long term goals.  His words left us all thinking of ways we can honour the efforts of his brother, Terry.  His words also compelled us to think of how we have the opportunity to practice perseverance and that we owe it ourselves to do just that.

This week, the Educators at RMB are taking the perseverance challenge personally.  We are all reflecting on one area that can benefit from some continued perseverance.  We will set the example for our students, that as adults, we are continually working to be better.  That we fall, but when we do, we fall forward and get back up and keep trying.

We encourage all of our families to take time and do the same thing.  Where could you benefit from a little extra perseverance?  Is it taking time to read each day?  Ensuring that attendance at school is on time and a priority?  Or maybe it is carving out 5 minutes to sit and just have some “me” time.  Whatever it is, we invite you to embrace the power of perseverance, because at RMB, we truly are committed to Creating Tomorrow Together!

Mrs. Balkwill

perserverance.jpg

Kid President is So Wise!

I came across this fantastic quote over the weekend and I immediately gave credit to some adult who I was instantly envious of for crafting such wise words.  I looked closely to see who I needed to give credit to and it was none other than Kid President.  I should have known!  Now, if you don’t know who Kid President is, stop reading my blog, google “Kid President” and sit back and be astonished at the powerful words of one awesome kid.

I think this particular quote resonated with me so much this week in particular, because I had the privilege of watching the Educators at RMB embrace this notion that their actions and words have great impact on students, families and fellow colleagues.  They get it.  They understand and welcome the responsibility that comes with being dedicated to our profession.  And to think, I have the honour of leading alongside, witnessing the integrity, grit and determination of these professionals every day.

Watch out world, because at RMB, we really are Creating Tomorrow Together! 

Be Somebody