“Spring”ing into Learning at RMB


Spring is certainly in the air and we have had a sprinkling of summer weather mixed in as well.  Teachers have begun 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 well under way in 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.  I would welcome the opportunity to have my child educated in any one of their classrooms.

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.

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.

I hope you are able to join us on June 28th at 9:00 AM for our Final  Year End Assembly where we will acknowledge our staff moving on and also celebrate our fabulous school year.  It will certainly be a memorable assembly!

Mrs. A. Balkwill


Learning Together Every Day at RMB

You know how they say “a picture is worth a thousand words”?  This past week the pictures that were taken are proof enough!  The Educators, students and families at RMB made this year’s theme of Building Our Future by Learning Together a reality by planning and participating in a wide variety of events that aligned to the theme.  The energy in the building, quality of discussion and engaged commitment has sent a very powerful message that we value education and will work together to make our school amazing for each person who enters it.

Please enjoy some of the photos that were taken throughout the week!

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Education Week at RMB: Building Our Future by Learning Together

The Educators at RMB have embraced this year’s theme for Education Week of Building Our Future by Learning Together.  Each day students and staff will be participating in carefully selected learning opportunities that showcase the power of collaborative learning.  These learning opportunities embrace our core beliefs that, as the adults in the building, it is essential for us to continually model life-long learning.  Our students will see our Educators in the role of the student, co-learner, facilitator, and community member over the course of the week.  It is going to be a week full of authentic learning opportunities!  Be sure to follow this blog, our Twitter feed and school website to keep up to date on all the awesome learning that continues to happen at RMB!

Ed Week 2017



Change as Opportunity

Dear Ruth M. Buck Families,

I want to personally thank you for the support and understanding as we transitioned to one less classroom teacher this past week due to lower than expected student enrollment.  As Mrs. Gilroy and I spoke with each family whose child was impacted by this change, we were frequently thanked for the work being done at our school.  We appreciated the excellent questions posed regarding the process for the transition and the trust that decisions were not made lightly nor in haste.  Throughout this change in staffing we were provided with an opportunity to connect personally with over 50 families.  It is quite rare that school administrators have contact of this quantity so early in the school year.  So, although the circumstances were a challenge, they also presented us with an opportunity to connect with many families and for that, we are both very grateful.

For those of you able to join us at our Open House followed by the SCC BBQ last Tuesday, I want to thank you for coming out to our first family event of the school year.  It was so wonderful to meet many of you and I was soaking up the strong sense of community that exists at Ruth M. Buck.  Our SCC prepared over 600 hot dogs and hamburgers and despite some unexpected grilling challenges, ensured the BBQ was a huge hit.

You know you have landed someplace special when you near the end of the evening and you see staff still in attendance, pitching in, visiting with families, visiting with one another, and willing to stay until the last piece of equipment has been loaded into the truck.  The staff at RMB exude a commitment to community and this was evident throughout the entire evening.  I am so incredibly proud to call myself their Principal!

Staff Open House

As we embark on the final week of our first month of school, I want to invite you to thank a staff member at RMB for all of the work, effort, and time they have put forth to ensure that we start the year off with the greatest of success.  Whether it be our care taking crew, an Educational Assistant, a bus driver, teacher, etc.  It does not take much time to send a quick email, give a quick thank you as you pass in the hall, or make a call.  Make the change YOUR opportunity.  Thank a staff member today – trust me, you won’t regret it!

Mrs. A. Balkwill, Principal

Beginnings as Opportunities

Dear Ruth M. Buck Families

I am thrilled to be joining the school community at Ruth M. Buck and to serve as your Principal.  The start of a new year is always my favourite time.  Watching staff bring forth an energy full of enthusiasm, determination and desire for this to be the very best year.  Behind the doors there is a contagious buzz as these dedicated educators plan, collaborate and establish priorities for the upcoming school year.  Your children are incredibly fortunate to have access to such high level professionals here at Buck.  Throughout the course of the year you can expect a refined focus on school culture and climate for all of our stakeholders:  Students, Staff, and Community.  You will also notice a compelling commitment focused on Literacy.

I hope that you had a restful and rejuvenating summer.  As we begin another school year, we are reminded of an African proverb; “it takes an entire village to raise a child”. It seems fitting when we consider the accomplishments achieved and those to come!  Your commitment to your child’s education past and present are good examples of what is required of that village to achieve success.  Therefore, one of the goals we set this school year is to help build and support an even stronger village by relying on you, the families, who are our most important partners to ensure a quality education for every student!

As your Principal, I am thrilled to be a part of a school community where family members are visible and actively engaged, as well as an integral component of Ruth M. Buck. Our staff will continue a legacy of commitment, care, and dedication.  We are honoured and privileged to lead a dynamic community where teachers and staff cultivate an environment where students achieve and believe in themselves and their school.  As mentioned previously, your input, feedback, and support will be critical to our leadership, the teaching and learning environment, and above all to the success of your child in our school.

With our school’s aim of having a greater emphasis on individual student success, Ruth M. Buck will continue to incorporate the shared values of our school division:

I am Responsible.  I Want to Know.  I Belong.  I Respect.

Using these as our guiding principles, each child will be encouraged and supported in working to his/her full potential academically, socially, and emotionally.  We believe that everyone who enters our school brings value.

In order to achieve these things, we have included several ways that family members of our school community can work together with Ruth M. Buck staff:

  • Send your child to school every day on time.
  • Make sure your child gets sufficient sleep each night.
  • Establish a routine for reading each and every day at home.
  • Keep in touch with your child’s teachers via e-mail, notes, agendas, or blogs
  • Check the school website frequently, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to Mrs. Balkwill’s blog
  • Attend school-wide events, classroom events, and conferences

Our Director, Mr. Greg Enion, has shared 7 Big Rocks so that as a division we are focusing on common priorities through Leadership for Learning:

  1. High expectations for all students
  2. Literacy achievement for all students
  3. Climate of belonging
  4. Authentic engagement for all students
  5. Focusing on Attendance Matters
  6. Improvement and Success – Celebrating what we do well
  7. Improving graduation rates of FNMI students

Throughout the school year you will find our staff committed and focused on these seven Big Rocks.  Our priorities, efforts, and resources will align with this commitment to enhance the learning journey for every child at Ruth M. Buck.


We are excited to see all of our students on Tuesday, September 5th at 8:53 AM!

Your incredibly proud Principal,

Angie Balkwill