First Day Fun!

As the Principal of Woodhaven Middle School, (and as the parent of a middle school daughter) I think I understand the excitement and tension that surrounds the first day of the school year for our kids.

Many kids are excited to see friends they haven’t been around for awhile and others are anxious to wear their new clothes. While the first day is eagerly anticipated for many students, there are others who feel quite anxious and stressed about what seems like an overwhelming experience!

It is with this range of middle school emotions in mind that I write this particular blog post. It is my hope that having a bit of information on how the first day will look will help parents to prepare their kids and to reduce any anxiety that may be occurring.

When students arrive at school next Tuesday September 5th, they will be welcomed by teachers and administration. We are excited to see how they’ve grown and matured over the summer months, and to welcome those new to our community.

While we continue to work on class lists and accommodate our new registrations, we do have our staff list posted on our website. You and your child can look at the teachers for their grade level.

Students will be directed into the gymnasium where they will find their class lists posted according to grade level.

Our PE staff will be there to help anyone having difficulty. Once they’ve determined which teacher they have and what room number they are looking for they can proceed into the front foyer where teachers and administration will be available to help them find their classroom. There will be signs on each of the hallway doors also indicating where they can find their classroom.

Students will be with their homeroom teachers throughout most of the day, with an opportunity to meet other teachers who may be working with them. They will receive their schedules, be assigned locks and lockers (have time to practice working those finicky locks), receive some forms to bring home, they may select their options (gr 7-9) play some “get to know you” games and much more.

The afternoon will again start with students with their homeroom teachers and peers, to be followed by a school wide activity outside to wrap up the day. In the past we’ve had grade vs grade Omniken and many other fun activities.

We are excited to have your child join us and hope that this bit of information will help them as they prepare for their first day of school.

See you all soon,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School


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Grade 9 Farewell – A Student’s Perspective

Recently we hosted our Grade 9 Farewell at  Woodhaven Middle School.  My previous blog shared my perspective as a proud staff member. What we are really proud of is the perspective of two of our students, Emma Wilton and Savannah Bay.

Good evening family, classmates, and staff of Woodhaven Middle School. My name is Emma Wilton and I have been attending Woodhaven for the past five years with my friend Savannah Bay. We are both honoured to have been chosen to represent this year’s group of grade nines.

From the beginning Woodhaven has been a welcoming environment that strives to make the transition into middle school smooth and exciting. Ever since grade four we have had chances to participate in activities such as Spring League Basketball and track meets. This allowed us to familiarize ourselves with the people we would spend the next five years of our lives with.

However, I can still remember the first day I walked into Woodhaven. I was amazed by how large and confusing the hallways seemed. My first thought was how I would manage to avoid being stepped on by the “big kids”. Now I realize that Woodhaven is not the frightening maze I thought it to be. I have to say that I was most excited about the new responsibility of having a locker. We can all fondly look back on the time where we filled up the extra locker space with fancy chandeliers, rugs, and trinkets. This feeling of luxury didn’t last long as now it’s a struggle to even shove in my backpack and a binder or two.

In grade five we were introduced to the variety of options available at Woodhaven. We were able to try things such as foods, art, music, drama, and industrial arts. French became more predominant in our studies and most of us looked forward to learning a second language.  Grade six we fell into a regular routine of core classes and learnt bigger expectations. Academics became more important because of approaching P.A.T.’s but the things that stand out the most were the good times we had with our teachers and friends.

We both recall the times in Mr. Bradshaw’s class where he would assist us in pulling off elaborate pranks on our classmates. An example of this is when we all worked to cover a student’s desk and chair completely with sticky notes. His reaction was priceless.

In grade seven we had many fun collaborative projects such as building bridges and constructing thermoses. I remember carrying Emma across the soccer field wrapped in newspaper, duct tape, and string during one of Ms. Hunka’s science classes. The reason for this assignment has been forgotten, but it is something we both look back on and laugh about. In grade eight we were fortunate to be the first generation of students who worked on chromebooks as an alternative to paper.

Woodhaven was keeping up with the rapid pace of technology in our world, it was exciting to learn with this in a classroom setting. Our class was filled with over sixty students which was something new and provided us with the ability to bond with a larger group of people. As a group we all looked forward to Fridays where we could ask Mr. Luck any question, it was interesting because he always seemed to come up with an answer. We took a trip to the Calgary Zoo to wrap up the unforgettable year.

This year has been fast-paced and memorable for a variety of reasons. Together we were given many opportunities to flourish and reach our full potential as young individuals. This was demonstrated throughout many stages of our grade nine year.

Our teachers have been preparing us from day one for the transfer from middle school into high school. They have given us time to go out into the real world and see what it’s really like. We all looked forward to missing a day of school to go with a professional and observe during a work day. We also went to NAIT and were able to see all of careers available there. These were two chances we were given to help us prosper later in life.

This year we were privileged to participate in the bike-a-thon for The Down Syndrome Society. We were given the responsibility to support the cause by donating and keeping each bike in constant motion for six hours. Not only was this for a great cause but it gave us a fun day to spend with each other.

The teachers of grade nine have gone above and beyond what is necessary to make a classroom environment enjoyable. One of my favourite memories includes Mr. Teliani taking Mr. Huedepohl’s students out of his classroom and hiding them behind the counters. It was hilarious to watch Mr. Teliani try and convince Mr. Huedepohl that his students had run away. This was only one of the many practical jokes our teachers have attempted to pull off on each other.

Throughout my time at Woodhaven I have always been involved in athletics. I started playing basketball in grade four on a spring league team and with the support of my coaches I have played ever since. Woodhaven offers chances to show off and improve athletic abilities in many different areas. From rock climbing in gym class to trips to Marmot Basin there is truly something everyone can enjoy participating in. I will always remember and now appreciate the extra lines we ran on the Senior girls basketball team with Mr. Chan and all the wall sits we had to endure with Ms. Foster on the Volleyball team.

Woodhaven basketball has given me time to grow as a player and develop leadership qualities on and off the court. Savannah and I have both been given the chance to coach younger Woodhaven athletes which is beneficial to both us coaches and the players. We are truly grateful to the teachers that volunteer their time and commitment to give us sports teams and other athletic opportunities such as the Vancouver Sun Run. The Sun Run allowed me to find my appreciation for running, grow friendships and left me with many memories that I will never forget.

My athletic experience has been slightly different than Emma’s. Basketball was never my sport, but I played both volleyball and badminton which gave me skills and confidence during the seasons. I also remember trying out for our soccer team the first year it was established. The soccer coach was pregnant at the time and I recall her saying that if we couldn’t keep up with her we didn’t deserve to be on the team… I didn’t make the team. I’ve never seen a pregnant lady run like that before.

Woodhaven is remarkable with recognizing student achievements. They give out athlete of the month awards, Pack Pride, and there is always a large award ceremony held at the end of each year. This is important for motivating students to do their best. Every year we have the Slam Dunk Competition and Talent Show that give students an opportunity to show off skills that we otherwise wouldn’t see at school. Students always seem to look forward to our annual Woodhaven events such as student-teacher hockey games and the Terry Fox Run.

We are so glad that Woodhaven is an open environment for each and every one of us. Thanks to the staff at Woodhaven we all feel welcome and included. The familiar halls and faces will be missed, but we are ultimately looking forward to a new beginning. The grade nines would like to thank all the staff members who have helped us through these significant five years. As we look forward to high school we will never forget our time at Woodhaven. Thank you all.

Inspiring thoughts from two wonderful students at Woodhaven Middle School.

Until next time…

Shaye Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

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Grade 9 Farewell – A Fantastic Celebration!

This past Friday, May 26th I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak at our Grade 9 Farewell. I, and the staff at Woodhaven Middle School are extremely proud of all of our kids who will be transitioning to high school very soon.

While we can’t possibly know what’s in store for our kids, I am hopeful that they will come back to visit us in the upcoming years to tell us how things are going. I have included the message I shared with them at their Farewell (I am not sure they are words of wisdom:) below for those parents who weren’t able to attend, or those who just want to know a bit more about our awesome group of kids.

Good evening. My name is Mr. Patras and it is my honour to stand up here this evening to speak about this amazing group of students. I would like to welcome all of you, our parents, grandparents, friends, family and community members here to celebrate with us tonight.

This has been a really unique year for the Woodhaven students and staff as we have seen so many new students join our community, and grade 9 is no exception. We have been very fortunate to have had an entire class of grade 9 students in the Maranatha Christian Program join the Wolfpack and contribute so much to an already fantastic group.

Throughout this year, I have had the opportunity to watch so many of these young men and ladies and I have been amazed by the character that they have shown. I can say, without hesitation, that sitting here in front of me is an awesome group of students. Parents, you should be extremely proud of your child here this evening. They would be here without you.

What I am most proud of from this group of kids is their accepting and inclusive attitude.  As I mentioned, we have had an entire class of new students join us this year. While this can prove to bring challenges with it for students, our students have not only managed it, they have embraced it.

As a staff, we talked about how to support all of our students to build a unified culture and to help all of our kids feel welcome and excited to be at Woodhaven. We discussed all of the things we would do and say, how we would help them navigate through problems… With our years of wisdom and experience, we had it all figured out.

What we didn’t figure out was the kids were way ahead of us! These guys didn’t require a whole lot of support. Like middle schoolers often do, they just made it happen.

One of my favourite memories this year is really a simple one. Late in the fall I was walking through the halls during the lunch recess and as I moved through the grade 9 hallway I saw something basic, but great! I saw students in Mr. Dhaliwal’s class that were not only from his homeroom but also from Mr. Schock’s MCP homeroom! Then when I looked in Mr. Schock’s room I saw students from Mr. Dhaliwal’s room. We shouldn’t be surprised that our kids were way ahead of us on adapting to change!

This ability to not only manage change, but to embrace change has been something we have noticed from this group throughout the year.

In this class of 2017 we have amazing athletes, fantastic actors, awesome learners, and most importantly, great people. I have had the opportunity to witness many of these students share their gifts and talents throughout this school year and it has been an absolute privilege. Through everything thing from our Talent Show, Drama Productions, and choir, on to our Sports teams our kids have shown us the many varied talents that they have and it’s been exciting to watch!

We have been able to watch our Drama group bring home several awards from the One Acts Festival. Our Basketball teams competed for banners, just recently our track team won the entire meet! We have many of our grade 9 students serving as mentors in their mentorship option, others coach fall ball and spring league… I could go on and on about their character and leadership.

These kids have been successful because they have the support of so many people… Class of 2017… you wouldn’t be sitting here for your farewell without the support of your parents.. let’s give them a huge round of applause… Not only did your parents help you reach this point, you have a fantastic group of teachers who have helped you through the challenges of middle school … how about a hand for them.

Now most importantly you guys… we have to give credit where it is due. You have not only survived middle school, you have thrived through it! We haven’t had a group like you before, and likely will not have another one again for a really long time!

If I can leave you with one message as you move onto your next adventure in high school, I would tell you to stay honest to who you are… keep accepting others… keep supporting others… don’t feel the need to conform… continue to be exactly who you are… grow, mature and find your own path.

Maya Angelou had the Woodhaven Middle School class of 2017 in mind when she said…

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Congratulations to the class of 2017! You will be missed around here by all of us!

Check out my twitter feed for some pictures of an awesome evening.


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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!


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.).


  • 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.


Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School


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Let’s Talk!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 2 years since I worked with our then School Council Chair, Alicia Shea, together writing 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.

The topic of communication between home and school remains as relevant now as it was then so I thought I would re-affirm our commitment to our parents and students.

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.


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.


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.


Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

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