Welcoming our Newest Families at Wolfpack Night!

Recently, on May 11th, we were fortunate to have many of our incoming grade 5 students and parents come to join us at Woodhaven Middle School for our Wolfpack Welcome Evening!

Thank you to those who were able to join us, and hello to those who were unable 🙂 Hopefully this blog post will serve as a reminder to those of you who were able to join us, and as a substitute for the real event for those who were unable to come!

The evening started off with a great performance from our Senior Choir! This group is just one example of the many great opportunities that is available for children at Woodhaven Middle School.

The goal of our evening was to ensure that our new parents and our future grade 5 students had a chance to meet our staff, check out our school, to ask  questions, and to leave feeling more comfortable about the transition to middle school than when they arrived.

We know that for some kids, and for some of our parents, the transition to middle school can be a bit intimidating so there are many transition events in place to support our incoming students.  Your child may currently be participating in Spring League basketball, where students in grades 4-6 get to develop their basketball skills, meet new friends and be guided by our awesome Phys Ed team and grade 9 student leaders.

We have also had the opportunity to come into each school and visit your children to welcome them and answer some of their questions. They had some good ones… everything from how to work the dreaded “lock” to whether or not they get “spares” in middle school!

Next week all of our incoming grade 5 students will be coming to Woodhaven for a Wolfpack morning. This will provide an opportunity for them to again meet their teachers, see the school and to spend a bit of time with some learning activities in the classrooms.

You can learn more about all of these events in this previous blog post.

After all of these activities have taken place, if you have further any further questions, there is still the opportunity for more conversation with Mrs. Kronewitt, myself, or Mrs.DeGroot, our Inclusive Education lead teacher. Please just connect with us at the school.

During our Wolfpack Evening I spoke about Choir and Spring League as being a couple of the opportunities available to  children at Woodhaven. While it’s impossible to outline everything that happens within our school, some of the things your child will be talking about next year when they come to Woodhaven is the Daily Physical Education with our awesome PE team, Health Days, our super helpful Counselor, Mrs. Scheidl, the many clubs ranging from origami and chess to art club and the running room games. Your kids will talk about the intramurals that happen throughout the year and so much more.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we shared this video with our parents and students.

After the video we had the opportunity to introduce all of the staff who were in attendance, then send our students and parents to see the school. 

If you were unable to join us and would like to learn a bit more about our school, please do not hesitate to contact me at the school! We look forward to welcoming your kids in the fall!

Sincerely,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

 

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Welcome to our Newest Members of “The Pack”

On behalf of the staff of Woodhaven Middle School, I would like to welcome all of our incoming grade 5 students and their parents to Woodhaven, Home of “The Wolfpack”.

Over the next few months I will share some information with our new families through this blog, and encourage any of our new parents to contact me at the school with any questions you may have. It is our goal to ensure a smooth transition to middle school for every student!

We know that the transition to middle school raises many questions for our incoming students and parents so today’s message focuses on the many events and opportunities that we provide to our incoming grade 5 students so please read on!

Spring League 2017 – April-May

Spring League is underway 🙂 Spring League is a great opportunity for students currently in grades 4-6 to come to Woodhaven Middle School to meet teachers, fellow students, and learn the game of basketball. Our fantastic PE team help develop skills and a joy for the game of basketball, all the while helping our incoming grade 5 students to become more comfortable within our school.

We are very proud of our grade 8&9 students who take on a leadership role during these sessions and help run the drills and games for our participants. It’s a great way for the younger students to connect with our older kids!

May 4th ~ Visits to Early Years Schools

I will be joining Ms. Darla Senkow (Principal of Greystone Centennial Middle School) and Mrs. Karen Stride Goudie (Principal of Prescott Learning Centre)  to visit Grade 4 classes at Brookwood, Millgrove, and Parkland Village Schools. During our visit, we bring several current grade 5 students to  provide a their perspective on life at Woodhaven Middle School.  Students will receive several forms during this visit which we would ask be completed and returned May 11th evening at our Wolfpack Night. For those students and parents who are not able to attend May 11th, forms can be returned to their homeroom teacher to be forwarded onto Woodhaven Middle School.

May 11th ~ Wolf Pack Night

Your child’s future grade five teachers and our Senior Choir students will be hosting an Open House for students and families.  Join us at Woodhaven Middle School starting at 6:00 p.m. – meet your teachers and take a look around the school!  This is a great opportunity for students and parents to learn more about our school, to meet their child’s teachers and other Woodhaven Staff, and to ask questions that you may have. Parents are asked to bring their completed forms on this evening.

May 16th ~ Wolf Pack Visit

 Grade 4 students will come to Woodhaven Middle School for the morning from approximately 9-11 a.m.  Our older students will host a morning of activities and our “future grade five students” will see what it is like to be in Middle School.  Students will be provided with a light snack during this morning.

Should you have any questions regarding the registration process, do not hesitate to call. We are looking forward to welcoming our new grade fives to Woodhaven Middle School.

Yours truly,

Mr. Shaye Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

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Farewell is Fast Approaching!

As a parent of a Grade 9 Woodhaven Middle School student, you are likely aware that our Farewell is coming soon! It’s hard to believe that staff and students have been planning for months already but these efforts are paying off. We are beginning to see this event take shape.  The intent of this blog post is to provide some basic information about Farewell, while recognizing that there are still details to be sorted out by teachers and students.

If your questions aren’t answered in this post, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s home room teacher or Mr. Patras at the School.

WHO (‘s coming?)

  • All grade 9 students in our mainstream and Maranatha Christian Program, staff and families
  • Based on space within our school gym, each student will be able to purchase tickets for up to 3 guests

WHAT (‘s happening?)

  • The formal program is typically about 1 hour in length
  • Students and Gr 9 Teachers will identify a teacher(s) to MC the event for our kids
  • Generally there are a few fun stories about our kids, some reminiscing and lots of laughs. Much of the fun is provided by the baby pictures that each student is asked to provide for the slide show.
  • After the program parents, staff, and students are invited into the Multipurpose room for some light snacks and refreshments.
  • Students and staff are exploring additional opportunities for this evening for our students. In the past, students have enjoyed a Photo Booth which they are again considering for this year.
  • Based on low student interest, there will NOT be a dance for the Farewell. When surveyed, 60% of students reported they would likely attend the dance. Since that time, we have seen very low turn out at school based dances. It appears that our students have other plans for that evening which we certainly want to honour.

WHERE (is everything happening?)

  • The formal program is hosted within the school gym.
  • Refreshments and socializing is hosted in the multipurpose room.

WHEN (is the event?)

  • Friday, May 26th, 2017 – 6:00 p.m. – approximately 8:30 p.m. (students are expected to arrive at 5:30 p.m.).

WHY 

  • We know that it’s important for students, parents and staff to be able to celebrate the relationships that have been built over the past year(s) with our students. We have an amazing group of grade 9 kids, with so many stories to tell! It will be an evening of fun, celebration and one dedicated to recognizing the amazing kids that we will be sending to their next adventure in High School!

WHAT ELSE (do I need to know?)

  • Students are still working with their teachers to identify a theme for their Farewell
  • The cost of tickets is still to be determined, and will be finalized when students and staff determine if there will be a photo booth or other event within the evening. In previous years, the cost of a similar Farewell program has ranged from $10-$15/ticket.
  • Parents will receive an email from their child’s home room teacher indicating when tickets go on sale. Up to three tickets will be reserved for each family (Gr 9 Woodhaven students celebrating their farewell do not require a ticket)  to be purchased at the school office. These tickets will remain reserved for each family for approximately two weeks. After that time if there are any extra tickets they will be made available for purchase at the school office on a first come, first – served basis. The appropriate dates for ticket sales will be communicated in an email to all parents by the home room teachers.
  • While we greatly appreciate those parents who have indicated that they are interested in fundraising, based on the anticipated cost of this Farewell, we will not be fundraising this year.

We are really excited to be able to celebrate a great year with our students, and you …. their families in just a few months. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s home room teacher or Mr. Patras with any additional questions you may have as we prepare for a great evening.

Sincerely,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

 

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Let’s Talk!

Early last school year I worked with our School Council Chair, Alicia Shea and together we wrote this blog post, titled Let’s Stay Connected . It was in response to conversation during a school council meeting on communication between home and school.

With the significant changes to our student population this school year, the same conversations and questions have come from our current School Council members. Conversations about not only HOW teachers communicate with home, but also WHEN can parents expect this communication?  This blog post is intended to focus on just that… when parents can expect to hear from their child’s teacher.

While we encourage parents to contact their child’s teacher directly at any time (you can use this staff list from our website) through email or with a quick phone call, we also want to take the initiative to ensure that you are connected with what’s happening in your child’s classroom.

WHEN

As a Woodhaven Middle School parent, you can expect to hear from your child’s teacher a minimum of once per week. While some teachers prefer to send short, brief daily emails, blog posts or remind texts, others prefer to provide you with a summary of the week at either the beginning or end of each week.

WHAT

In these emails, blog posts or remind text messages, you can expect to hear about…

  • what learning is being explored within your child’s classroom
  • when significant assessments (tests, projects, major assignments etc.) are due
  • when these assessments have been returned

Other Thoughts…

As questions or concerns arise throughout the year, you can expect to be contacted by your child’s teacher. This may be through a quick, personalized email or via phone. As you can appreciate, in a middle school classroom teachers deal with small challenges throughout the day. We know it’s part of the job! 🙂 The vast majority of these problems are quickly resolved, typically with small interventions and occasionally requiring small consequences. If challenges persist, or are more significant, or significant consequences are used as part of the problem solving process, you will be invited in to the school to discuss these with your child and his/her learning team.

These sorts of daily challenges that kids face in a middle school of over 600 students also provide an opportunity to help facilitate kids’ problem solving problems. We are happy to take advantage of these opportunities to help our students continue to develop their ability to “Do Right”.

What Else…

You can also expect to receive communication from your child’s teacher or the school with more general information such as the registration process for High School for our Grade 9’s, upcoming Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences and many other events that happen in our busy middle school. While these sorts of events are on our webpage , we try to bring them to your attention directly as well.

I will wrap up by saying, please don’t ever hesitate to give us a call or email, or to make an appointment at the school with any questions or concerns that you have. We are committed to working with you to ensure the learning and well-being of your child.

Sincerely,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

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Celebrating our Kids!

At the previous two Woodhaven Middle School Council meetings, the sometimes controversial topic of awards has come to the forefront. While there are many opinions and views in this area (check out Alfie Kohn or my friend George Couros), this blog post is not intended to discuss the merits or pitfalls of awards, but rather to serve as an explanation of Awards at Woodhaven Middle School for the 2016-17 school year.

With the changes within Spruce Grove and Parkland School Division that occurred between the previous school year and this one, the result has been over half of the 630 students at Woodhaven this year are new to our school! That’s a lot of people who need to know what’s happening 🙂

During the 2015-16 school year significant time and energy was put into the Awards program at Woodhaven Middle School. Staff had multiple conversations about what should be celebrated, how and why. Students were brought together to give their thoughts, and parents were connected to the conversations through School Council meetings. While there will always be room for improvement and change, I have outlined below the awards that will be distributed to our students this June.

Academic Excellence

Students who receive this award have demonstrated a deep understanding of learning across the four academic core subject areas (Math, Science, Social Studies and English Language Arts). They are engaged and dedicated learners who have achieved Exemplary as a cumulative mark in at least 17 of the 21 process skills in these subject areas.

Learn How To Learn

Students receiving the Learn How To Learn award have exceeded the high expectations that their teachers have for them. These students have become engaged in the learning process and have demonstrated extraordinary growth in realizing their full potential for learning in all core subject areas.

Leader of the Pack

Students receiving the Leader of the Pack award have achieved academic success and demonstrated outstanding citizenship.  These students have not only met the criteria for either the Academic Excellence award or the Learning How To Learn award but have also been positive role models within our Woodhaven community.  These students have demonstrated a willingness to share their leadership qualities in both formal and informal ways, to give of their time through volunteering and to show respect for the property and environment of our school.  They have represented Woodhaven, and themselves, with great pride.

Athletic Do Right Award

The Athletic Do Right Awards are presented to students who have represented Woodhaven as an ambassador in inter-school athletics.  These students in grades 7-9 have played on a minimum of 3 school teams and in grades 5 and 6 have played on a minimum of 2 school teams.  These school teams include cross-country, volleyball, basketball, badminton, track (at the County level) soccer and/or competed in the annual golf tournament.

Pam Plourde Award

The Pam Plourde Award recognizes students who serve our school through outstanding citizenship at all times. These students support staff, parents and fellow students throughout the year, in a variety of ways and expect nothing in return. Students receiving the Pam Plourde award are extraordinary, selfless representatives of the Woodhaven learning community.   They consistently go above and beyond the high expectations of students at Woodhaven Middle School to give to others and exemplify the expectation to always “Do Right”!

While the list above outlines the formal awards being given out at the end of the school year, it is also important to note that at Woodhaven Middle School we believe that ongoing student recognition is so important to middle school kids. Programs like our Pack Pride weekly citizenship celebration, as well as Athlete of the Month and our Fine Arts Awards are just a few of the other ways in which we celebrate the achievements of our students in an ongoing way.

If you have any questions about awards and student recognition at Woodhaven Middle School, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s homeroom teacher or give me a call.

Until next time…

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

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Wrapping up the Year… sort of

It’s hard to believe that we are almost on Christmas break and wrapping up the 2016 year! We know it’s true with the fantastic Christmas Concerts we’ve seen from our band program, our gr 5’s and 6’s performing the Elf and the Shoemaker, and the Senior Choir’s performance this past Tuesday.  So much has happened over the past several weeks at Woodhaven Middle School that it’s hard to keep up.

Earlier this month report cards were issued, (online for the first time) and we were able to have some good conversations with students and parents about the learning of our kids! We appreciate the patience of those parents who had difficulty accessing their child’s report card online and we apologize for the inconvenience.

We have seen the work of our Health Champions, Mr. McLachlan and Mrs. Scheidl continue to move forward. Recently, Mrs. Scheidl has worked with many of our students to form the SWAT team (Student Wellness Action Team) which will provide students with the opportunity to have a positive impact on the health and wellness of kids at Woodhaven Middle School.

Our November School Council meeting again provided an opportunity for parents to provide advice and share their perspectives on many topics ranging from the transition of the Maranatha Christian Program to Woodhaven to online school announcements keeping parents informed of what’s happening. We had a great turn out to this meeting and invite you all to join us for our next meeting on Thursday, January 19th at 6:30 p.m. in our School Library Commons.

We have been fortunate to have an extremely dedicated, small group of parents who are helping to implement our Grab and Go breakfast. For those not familiar with this program, through the generous support of Stony Plain Chrysler, any Woodhaven students who come to school without a healthy breakfast have access to a few healthy snacks. Typically there is fruit and dairy (yogurt or cheese) available to our students.

Also coming soon is our Hot Lunch program. Through the dedication of a small group of parents, we have now been able to form our Parents’ Association, which coordinates this program. You will be hearing more about this early in the new year!

 

Finally, we are truly excited about the Woodhaven Connects projects that our students have undertaken this year. Woodhaven Connects is a service learning project where students in each grade level provide some sort of service to the community. This year our grade 5’s initiated a Door Decorating contest for our school, while the grade 9’s supported several inner city initiatives through the Mustard Seed Church and Hope Mission Shelter.

We are looking forward to building on this great work in 2017!

On behalf of the staff and students of Woodhaven Middle School, I would like to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season, with time for family and friends.

Sincerely,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

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Physical Education At Woodhaven Middle School

At Woodhaven Middle School we are proud to offer a strong physical education program to every one of our students! We recognize the numerous benefits of physical activity for adolescents not only on learning, but also for physical and emotional well-being, as well as the opportunity physical education provides to students for development of their social skills.

These are just a few of the reasons why we offer daily physical education to our students. Woodhaven students receive physical education instruction from a dedicated team of experts within our school. Our PE teachers focus exclusively teaching Physical Education to the over 600 students we have in our school! We are proud of their innovative programs such as “Wellness Wednesday” and their incentives such as “Fitness Freak” and “Athlete of the Month” to name just a few. You can find more information about our PE program on their blog.

Providing this daily, high quality programming to our students is not without it’s challenges. Perhaps the most significant challenge is finding the space necessary to provide daily PE to our kids. With only 1 gymnasium to serve 600 students  our team must be very flexible!

This year the structure of PE at Woodhaven is as follows:

  • students in grade 5 E will be divided to join 5A, 5B, 5C & 5D
  • students in grade 6B will be divided to join 6A, 6C, 6D and the Gr 6  MCP PE class
  • students in grade 7D will be divided to join 7A, 7B, 7C and the Gr 7 MCP PE class
  • students in grade 8A will have PE as a group, as will students in Gr 8B. Students within the gr 5 MCP program will also have PE at this time but will not be integrated with the grade 8 students.
  • students in grade 9 (including MCP) will be divided into 2 girls classes and 2 boys classes

Should you have any questions about the structure of our Physical Education program, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s homeroom teacher, Mr. Patras or Mrs. Kronewitt.

We are excited for another great year of fun and development for all of our students.

Sincerely,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

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