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Apr 18
Staffing Changes

​After six years of taking care of the staff, students and parents, Bob Cowie will be leaving General Vanier School and moving to a Vice-Principalship at Samuel Burland School this fall.  Bob has been a perpetual motion machine at General Vanier and has been influential in the leadership and direction of the school in nearly every facet or what we do.  His experience and diligence were greatly appreciated, and on a personal note, I have a great respect for the work he has done and am thankful for his friendship over the past two years that I have worked with him.

Our new Vice-Principal, starting in the fall, will be Connie Stanley, who is currently working at Niakwa Place School.  As a teacher, she has had experiences in Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grades 4-6 multiage, Grades 5, 6, Grades 2-8 basic French, and Gr 7/8 ELA.  As well she has background in choral and music experiences in the early years, and has taught a course called Music and World Cultures.  She also has experience in student services, and has been a teacher librarian.

As for schools, she has hung her hat at: Nordale, Archwood, Highbury, Marion, Windsor, Frontenac, Samuel Burland, and Niakwa Place and has been serving in a Vice-Prinicipal role since 2007.

I am looking forward to the ideas and rich experiences that she will be able to add to our school community.

Welcome Vice-Principal Stanley.

 

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

Feb 07
Planting Seeds

It's not surprising that the metaphor of seed planting is such a potent one for educators.  Seeds need particular conditions to sprout, and will only grow and flourish if the environment is conducive to growth and development.  Seeds that do not find the hospitable environment they need either do not grow, or find their growth stunted; never reaching their full potential.  There is a mystery to seeds as well.  Except to a trained eye, seeds do not represent their adult manifestations.  We do not know what they may become or how they may exist in the world.

To an educator, it is a great lesson to be reminded of the care and growth that is required to see that students do well in our classes.  We don't pick the seeds in public education.  What we do pick is the environment in which we place our students. 

Over the past few months, staff at General Vanier School have taken the time to review some of the teaching practices and pedagogy that is needed to create classrooms that provide this growth based environment.

Although not all of these practices are in place in every classroom, the following were some of the ways that our staff have learned to care for children as they develop their classrooms. 

  • Reverse Inclusion
  • Responsive Classrooms
  • Growth Mind Sets
  • Project Based Learning
  • Daily 5
  • SOLE:  Student Organized Learning Environment
  • Movement Breaks
  • Mindfulness
  • Mental Health Education
  • Genius Hour
  • Kids In the Know
  • Physiotherapy Planning
  • Occupational Therapy Planning
  • Social Work
  • Educational Psychology Supports
  • Zones of Regulation
  • Brain Breaks
  • Movement Breaks
  • The Quiet Lunch Room
  • 5 Point Scales
  • Social Stories
  • Positive Behavior Programming
  • Sensory Tools
  • Standing Desks
  • Zuma Rockers
  • Fidget Tools
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Words Their Way
  • Play-Based Learning
  • Helping Hands
  • Optimum Learning Model
  • Visual Schedules
  • ERI
  • Assistive Technologies
  • Buddies
  • Daily Share
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Multiple Intelligences
  • Centre Learning
  • STEAM Programming
  • Successmaker
  • Reading Assessments

 

Some of the terms above may seem strange, but they are the tools, programs, and ways of teaching that foster an inclusive and nurturing environment so that students can become the best version of themselves.  As General Vanier staff takes a closer look at our teaching practices, we are collaborating to see that all of our students benefit from a growth based environment.

Planting seeds is easy, but the true work that is done by parents, educators, and the community is providing an environment that is conducive to our children's success. 

 

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

Nov 15
Origami, Lasagna, and the Stingray Cafe

​In Origami, a single piece of paper can become something unique and beautiful merely through time, patience, and skill.  It is a folding process where a person takes some very traditional techniques and through an act of creativity, combines them to create something new.

A year ago, a teacher came to me with a simple idea.  He would like to see some homemade food come out of our canteen that was prepared and organized by our students. 

As there is a growing need for programs that teach through doing, and as there is a need in our school to foster inclusionary practices, and as there is a need to teach basic nutritional content to our students, it seemed a natural thing to fold all of these things together.   After a number of meetings, the efforts of a small group of teachers created connections between a chef who works out of WPC, between our Skills for Living Program, between a grade one/two class, the grade five and six classes and the school body.  After securing a grant from the Manitoba Association of Multiage Educators, they were ready to make some food in our newly named "Stingray Café".

Part of our school vision is to create opportunities for students to engage in learning activities that are relevant and inclusive and there are a number of students in our school who need hands on experiences to grow and develop.   By using our school canteen as a conduit, this team of teachers and learners were able to give diverse students an opportunity to work together while they learn about and create healthy food options.

It was quite a busy day for the people involved, but through careful planning and some hard work over fifty meals of lasagna, Caesar salad, and a breadstick were served to students, by students. 

At one point, it was very interesting for me to see a group of people trying to figure out the correct way to cut 6 lasagnas into at least 53 equal pieces.  The introduction of another fold to the project, using math to solve real world problems.

Education and life are both full of problems and opportunities to solve these problems through creativity, a positive attitude, and some hard work.  I applaud the efforts of our team and their skillful folding and shaping of this project into something unique. 

 

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

Aug 24
Back to School

​It seems like only a few moments ago that Vice-Principal Bob Cowie and I were standing in the halls in June wishing staff, students and caregivers to have a good summer, to read, and to behave themselves.  After what I hope was a safe, happy and restful summer, it is time to turn our attention to getting back to school. 

The following is a bit of information that will help returning families and point new families in our community in the right direction.  Our school webpage contains useful information and is updated regularly.  Please use our calendars, read our Spotlight Stories and our bi-weekly Stingray Statement, and follow us on Twitter so that you can be informed of the many activities that are happening at General Vanier School. 

Again this year please use the Schoolsoft web-based scheduling application called Conference Manager to book your opening day conference appointment. The Conference Manager will be open for booking August 23-Sept 5.  Information is posted on this website.

New students to the General Vanier catchment are encouraged to call the office to set a meeting for registration.  To ensure all of our schools in the division have a consistent approach when registering students, only the following documents will be accepted as proof of address:

  • One (1) of the following documents will be accepted as poof of address:
    • Copy of a Bank Statement
    • Telephone or Electrical Bill
    • Apartment lease with your name and address
    • Offers to Purchase with your name and address  

 

The following important dates will help you organize your family in September.

Tuesday, September 5th – Administration Day – No Classes

Wednesday, September 6th – Opening Day Conferences

Thursday, September 7th – First Day of Classes

Friday, September 15th – School Photos

Monday, September 18 – Divisional Professional Learning – no classes

Welcome everyone, I am looking forward to the new school year!  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact staff through the office. 

 

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

Principal

General Vanier School

May 06
The Rummage Sale

Today at General Vanier School, our Parent Advisory Council (PAC) put on a rummage sale for the community in which dozens of individuals donated items from their households to be sold by our PAC to the community.  During this two day event, hundreds of community members, not just families of our school, came to General Vanier to do some, as one gentleman put it, "Garage Salein'".  Although the main purpose of the sale was to raise money for the construction of inclusive playground equipment, there was a number of other reasons people came to the sale.

Some people came because it was fun to be with their families and friends who they see from time to time at community events like this.  Others came to support the school, their family, son or daughter or grandson or granddaughter.  Still others believe in the need to reduce the impact we have on the world and to reduce the amount of waste that finds its way into our landfill.  Some were just looking for a great deal.  It is strange, at a Rummage Sale, to see buyers haggle to increase the price of items, knowing the profits are going to a good cause. 

I noticed one individual who had bought a few things and was wistfully looking at some of the photographs that we have hanging on our walls.  He was wondering if we had any older pictures of the school, from when he attended.  His name was Calvin Swerid and in a conversation I had with him, he told me about his connection to General Vanier. 

Calvin attended the flag ceremony that was a part of the opening celebration of General Vanier.  He wasn't a member of the school yet, too young, but was there because it was a big community event.  He had a bit of time, so I showed him a number of pictures that I recently found in the school of the flag ceremony he mentioned.  As we were looking at the pictures, he told me that he started GV in the fall of '64.  He attended until grade 6 and then went to another community school Belliveau for grades 7 to 9, and finally Windsor Park Collegiate.  He has lived in Windsor Park his whole life and raised his children here as well.  When I pulled out some old pictures of the staff from the 60s, he was able to pick out many of his teachers by name, and his mother who taught at the school. 

I would like to again thank our PAC for creating these community events that do so much more than just raise money.  They create a place where people can connect, and reconnect, as a member of our community.  Sometimes, these events are even a place where people can connect to their own histories. 

 

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

Mar 22
Playground Improvements

​Having attended General Vanier as a seven year old boy, almost 40 years ago, I was surprised to see some of the same playground structures still at the school as I returned as the principal.  I was glad to hear that as part of their mandate, the General Vanier Parent Association has been working to develop the existing playground so that the community and the school have a playground that is safe, contemporary and designed to enhance the learning and developmental needs of all children who use it.  

For quite some time the importance of education through play has been emphasized within schools and communities.  General Vanier will benefit in many ways from the introduction and development of new structures and spaces at the schools.  With potential plans that include outdoor learning spaces and equipment that will allow for greater access for students with physical challenges, more students are expected to be able to use the space, more often for a variety of purposes.

As home for one of the Skills for Living Programs in the Louis Riel School Division, General Vanier has a number of classrooms that are dedicated to the physical, educational, and emotional well-being of students who need specialized programming as part of their education.  Many of these students have as part of their learning plans, the need for physical therapy and play therapy, and having these spaces outside of the school would be beneficial to the development of the students.

As the spaces around General Vanier are also used by the community throughout the year, in the evenings, on the weekends and over holidays, any improvement to the playground is an improvement to the community as well.  

Seeing the commitment to the school and the community by our PAC, a group of teachers is now also looking for ways that they can improve the outdoor spaces that make up our school.  I would like to recognize and applaud the efforts by our staff and PAC for their commitment to improving the living and learning spaces of our community.

We may have a long road ahead, but I have no doubt, seeing the work of the dedicated individuals who are working on these projects, that we will see it completed. 

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

Jan 18
Welcome 2017!

​The beginning of a "new year" often gives pause for people to reflect on the "old year".  We think about our successes, our troubles and we often see the beginning of January as a chance to reflect on what is most important in our lives.  We set new goals, see new possibilities and remind ourselves of those things that make us happy and keep us well.  The past four months of the 2016/2017 school year have flown by and it is remarkable to think of the many things that our staff, students and community have accomplished in a continuous effort to see that our students meet their potential.

It didn't take long for GV to get back into the swing of things and re-establish those ever important family and school routines that help stabilize and guide our work and learning.  Already planning has begun for Festival du Voyager activities, We Love to Read activities, Winter Concerts, Reporting, Professional Development and a myriad of other events.

Our General Vanier PAC has had a strong start to the year as well.  In a recent meeting they reaffirmed their commitment to the school and to the community in their tireless efforts to see that a new playstructure is created in a timely fashion for the school.  To have parents devote their time to create events that focus not just on fund raising, but on fostering a sense of community, is to be very fortunate indeed. 

The addition of a new Kindergarten pm class at the beginning of January was also a positive way to start the year.  Class size was significantly reduced and our own Ms. Wakeman will be teaching the afternoon students. 

I would like to welcome Barb Shearer to our school as our new half-time, term, Teacher-Librarian until the end of the school year.  Barb is currently teaching at the University of Winnipeg and brings years of experience to our school.  I believe that she will be a great addition to our team.

GV, predictably, is off to a great start to the new year!!   If you haven't already, follow us on Twitter for a nearly daily account of the good work that the General Vanier School community endeavours to accomplish. 

All the best for 2017, to you all!!

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

Principal, General Vanier School

Nov 21
Collaboration

​Over the past few months, General Vanier staff have been working at defining a path for our future; one that will help direct professional learning, school goals and professional development for the next few years.  Our vision will give our staff direction as we strive to create a community of responsible citizens committed to academic and personal excellence within a safe and respectful community.

"Our vision at General Vanier School is to create an engaging learning environment focused on collaboration, inclusion, and opportunity."

One of the important parts of this new vision statement is collaboration.  It may go without saying that collaboration is an essential part of the educational process, but still the re-examination of the purpose of collaboration and an effort to see that meaningful collaboration occurs is currently an important part of the way that General Vanier is doing business.

Recently teams of professionals from the school, the division, and agencies outside of the Louis Riel School Division met to make plans for the needs of students.  Soon after report cards were sent home and were followed by student progress interviews that focus on making connections between home and school through the communication of progress, and the collaborative setting of goals. 

Professional development at the end of November focussed on the collaborative process for all staff members as connections between Divisional, school, and individual professional plans were examined as well as the mechanisms that create meaningful collaboration between staff, students, parents and resources outside of our school community. 

Whether it be through the way that we learn to listen, clarify, encourage, reflect, problem solve or create together, ultimately it is the hope of our staff to create a synergistic effect through collaboration. In this process, we hope that the product of our efforts is greater than the sum of its parts as we work to improve all aspects of learning at General Vanier. 

 

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

Principal, General Vanier School

 

Oct 12
Families of Schools, Family Fun Night, Three Generations, and India

One of the more recent terms to gain popularity in the Louis Riel School Division is the "Family of Schools" or FOS.  But what is a Family of Schools and what purpose does it serve the community of General Vanier School and the surrounding Windsor Park area? 

The term originally came from catchment area schools (jr. highs or middle years schools) that fed into a local high schools.  In our case, General Vanier, Archwood, and Frontinac were known as "feeder" schools for Windsor Park Collegiate.  Of course, many people did not like the idea of "feeding" grade eight students into the local high schools so a more palatable, "Family of Schools", became the preferred term. 

At first, FOSs collaborations focused on the creation of thoughtful and thorough transitions of students to their high school.  Over the past few years our FOSs have come to serve many more purposes than just transition.  I'll speak more about this later.

At the end of September, on a beautiful, Friday night, despite both a Bomber and Jet's game, General Vanier School's Parent Advisory Committee hosted a well-attended, successful community event to raise funds for the creation of a new play area for the students of General Vanier and the greater Windsor Park community.  During the evening it was a pleasure to talk to current students, former students, caregivers, parents, grandparents, and many, many other community members.  I was pleasantly surprised by a number of things.

First, I met a number of grandparents who lived in the area, raised their children in the area, and were now attending the Family Fun Night with their adult children and a third generation of family members; the latest in the family to become General Vanier students.  Although not all of their reminiscing was of good times, there was a sense of connectedness to General Vanier, Windsor Park Collegiate, and the community.

Second, I met a family from India who had left their businesses, extended family, community and country so that their children would get a Canadian education and the opportunities that it affords.  I was humbled by the extreme sacrifices taken by this family to ensure the best for their children, but was pleased to see them volunteer to help at this school event. 

Third, I spoke with former General Vanier students who had moved on to Windsor Park Collegiate, but still felt connected to their "old school" enough to attend the Family Fun Night so that they could see some of their former teachers who were volunteering that night.

Everyone I spoke with reminded me of some of the most important elements of education. That people need to work together, that we need to work towards common goals and share our resources, and that we need to be accepting and encouraging.  Possibly most important, that people need to belong. 

In the development of our FOS, we hope to foster connections between schools, so that collaboration can flourish.  We hope to provide opportunities through our Middle Years Exploration for students to experience a variety of learning through the arts, while sharing the resources and expertise of the teachers and facilities found in our schools.  As well, we hope to encourage a sense of connection and community that has proven to be essential for engaging students in school and helping them become the best that they can be. 

Sometimes creating community is just about recognizing what is already there and helping others see it too.  I want to publicly thank the Parent Advisory Council for creating the Family Fun Night which embodies so much of what General Vanier and our FOSs is trying to create; a positive, safe, inclusive environment of community minded citizens working together for the common good. 

 

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

Principal General Vanier School    

Aug 30
Welcome Back Staff and Students

​It's the first month of school and the staff of General Vanier have been hard at work planning and preparing to start the school year off as smoothly as possible.  Transition from the tempo of summer vacation to school can be tricky both on a home and school front, but with a little extra attention students and staff will all be back in classes soon enough.

As a bit of an introduction, I am the new Principal at General Vanier and have been working as a teacher, teacher-librarian, student services teacher, and vice-principal for more than two decades in the public school system with students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.  It is with great excitement that I join the team of committed and hardworking staff at General Vanier. 

Parents are encouraged to look over the Spotlight Stories, and Calendars on our website, and to connect to our Twitter account to keep informed of what is happening at our school

New students to the General Vanier catchment are encouraged to call the office to set a meeting for registration.  To ensure all of our schools in the division have a consistent approach when registering students, only the following documents will be accepted as proof of address:

  • One (1) of the following documents will be accepted as poof of address:
    • Copy of a Bank Statement
    • Telephone or Electrical Bill
    • Apartment lease with your name and address
    • Offers to Purchase with your name and address   

 

All the best to everyone as we start the school year, and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact staff through the office. 

Respectfully,

Allie Hassin

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No, this isn't actually my picture. I just haven't gotten around to updating this section. It's good to know that someone is reading every last word though. Thanks!
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RT @wpcLRSD: We welcome our Family of Schools today! Thank you to Mitch for leading our afternoon. @vanierLRSD @frontenacLRSD @archwoodLRSD

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RT @ThaddeusBTeach: Thanks to @AnoMagnifico from @wpcLRSD & #ManitobaWomenInConstruction for setting up such an awesome day of career explo…

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