Palliser Heights School Builds for Change
In only 30 school days, Palliser Heights School has raised an incredible $15,950. The money raised will be used by Free The Children to build a school in Kenya and to purchase 119 goats that shall help to empower women in impoverished communities.
This achievement came on the back of the school's visit to WE Day in Saskatoon on November 7th, 2014. Twenty-two students, two teachers and 1 parent all attended the event along with another 15,000 students from across the province. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of how students can change their thinking from 'me' to 'we' and so make a change collectively both within the community and with a global cause.
The WE Day Committee in Palliser Heights School decided that it would be a real challenge to raise $10,000 dollars, to build a school in Africa, by June 2015. They also believed that the challenge was, indeed, a realistic one. An assembly was help on December 4th, 2014 where the committee outlined their plan. As a school the fundraising would come about through three main strands: the purchase of paper 'bricks' valued at $100, $50 and $20 that would be used to complete a 'wall' within the school that represented the $10,000 target; a Spelling Challenge for the whole school where students would raise money through pledges; and voluntary donations put into containers in classrooms that would allow classes to purchase the bricks.
The School Community Council set the ball rolling with a donation of $550 – almost a dollar for each student in the school. Individuals and families also started to buy the bricks and even before the Christmas break started, the wall was starting to take shape. Another school also became involved when the Grade 5/6 class in Empire Community School in Moose Jaw bought a $100 brick and held a bake sale to raise money.
Additionally, one of the WE Day Committee students, Chloe Bjelde – a Grade 8 student, decided to host a bake sale in the school during the week before Christmas. Creating a sub-committee she arranged the dates, location, bakers, helpers and schedule of when students could come and buy. This event alone raised $475. She says, "At the WE Day, we received little bags with souvenirs in them. One of them was a book of things you could do to make a difference. I was skimming through the pages and one page just caught my attention and that was the 'We bake for change' page. I looked at the steps on how to do it and thought it would be fun to do, so I gathered some of my friends and put my plan into action. I surely couldn't have done it without my team!"
Logan Cushway, a Grade 5 student, raided his own bank so that he could purchase a $50 brick, and also bought a $20 brick as a Christmas present for his teacher. He explained why – "I decided to buy my own $50 brick because I am fortunate and have education but they don't. The Christmas present brick was because we did not want to give Mr. Gallagher candy or flowers. My family thought that this present would last longer than candy would for Mr. Gallagher. My sister also bought a brick for her teacher."
The Spelling Challenge in January proved to be much more successful than had been anticipated. The Grade 5 class, taught by Mrs. Leanne Scholpp-Smith managed to raise $1016.17. Of this achievement she says, "I am very proud of my students, not only for raising the money but more importantly understanding the needs of others and that we can make a difference in this world." One individual student, Taylor Michelson in Grade 6, managed to raise $472 in pledges all on his own. He felt that it was an important activity to do because, "Some children don't have as much we have so we can at least give them a school. I just wanted to help so that we could raise money and build a school". And the donations were not only from older students. Alexis Laic in the French Immersion Kindergarten class brought in 48 cents of her own money because she "thought it would be a good idea to build a school so that they can learn lots of letters and stuff and do lots of crafts and make things".
Speaking as the chair of the WE day Committee, Mr. Andrew Gallagher said, "When we set out to raise the $10,000 I fully expected it to take us all year. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that it could be achieved in only 30 days, and that the total would be so far above our original goal. The school that we are going to get built in Kenya will change that community for years to come, and that fact that we can also provide 119 goats to empower women in a variety of communities is a real added bonus. The goats will provide enough income for these women to provide food and education for their children. Within the Broad Areas of Learning as outlined by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education there is a range of desired attributes for all K-12 students. One of these is that students become Engaged Citizens and the document states that "Students [should] demonstrate confidence, courage, and commitment in shaping positive change for the benefit of all. They [should] contribute to the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of local and global communities. Through this recognition, students [should] advocate for self and others, and act for the common good as engaged citizens." There is no doubt in my mind that we have achieved this goal through our fundraising this year."
Further information about the work being done by Free The Children, and how you can donate, can be found at www.freethechildren.com.
"Embracing Our Traditional Knowledge Keepers" Round Dance
Prairie South is proud to work with the Wakamow Aboriginal Community Association and other community partners in bringing the "Embracing Our Traditional Knowledge Keepers" Round Dance. The Round Dance will be held Saturday, February 7, 2015 at the Sask Polytechnic Campus.
Sunningdale takes part in Family Literacy Day activities
Family Reading Challenge takes reading to a new level
With three young kids attending Sunningdale Elementary School, Const. Shawn Mohle knows the importance of reading to his children.
"It's very important for me and my wife, even though we both have fulltime jobs, to make sure we read to our kids every day," said the Moose Jaw Police Service officer. "It 's our job."
Cst. Mohle was one of about 20 Prairie South School Division and community members who took an hour out of their Tuesday morning to read to Sunningdale students on Family Literacy Day.
Having spent four years as a school community resource officer, Cst. Mohle thought he was received well by the three classes he read to – two of which his kids were in.
"I think they related to the fun stories, and we laughed and cheered," he said.
According to Sunningdale principal Steve Michaluk, being part of a national awareness day geared toward literacy is important, but he noted the school pushes reading on a daily basis.
However, there is an emphasis during its Family Reading Challenge, lasting this week.
"Hopefully each night parents are sitting down with their children – listening to them read and taking turns reading with them," said Michaluk.
He also noted that during the challenge, the school asks students to count the number of pages they read during the week. The numbers are then tallied and prizes – donated from the School community Council and the Sunningdale/VLA Community Association – to the top readers will be awarded.
At last year's Family Reading Challenge, Sunningdale students, their siblings and parents read more than 67,000 pages in a wide variety of books.
"We're not only counting the pages that the kids read, but those of the entire family," said Michaluk.
He told the Times-Herald that the school has its work cut out in order to surpass the 2014 total, but he hopes the prospect of prizes will push the students to make a point of reading this week.
Students in Laurie Helling 's Grade 2 class explained why they think literacy is important.
Kasen Watterson said, "It helps you understand what you are reading."
While Eric Swalm noted, "Reading helps you figure out new things because all stories have a message."
Later in the day, Sunningdale students also participated in a number of literacy games, including Boggle and Scrabble.
Times-Herald reporter Nathan Liewicki reads to Danielle Gossard's Grade 2/3 class at Sunningdale Elementary School on Tuesday morning. Liewicki was one of about 20 Prairie South and community members reading to Sunningdale students as part of Family Literacy Day.
Article courtesy of the Moose Jaw Times Herald.
Monday, January 12: Early Dismissal Day
It's an Early Dismissal Day at Prairie South Schools!
Schools will dismiss one hour early today, and every second or third Monday. This pattern will continue until the end of June. The early dismissals allow our teachers to work together in teams to address student learning. These teams are referred to as Learning Improvement Teams (LITs) and will be a key part of school goals. An abundance of research shows that when teachers work collaboratively, student learning improves as the specific needs of students at our school are addressed.
Should you have any questions or concerns about the LITs, please do not hesitate to contact your local school. We look forward to an exciting year of learning together!
Upcoming Early Dismissal Days:
March 2, 23
April 13, 27
May 11, 25
January 2015 Board Meeting - Live Stream
It's the first Prairie South Board meeting of 2015! Watch the live streaming at https://www.prairiesouth.ca/streaming/ and tune in starting at 11:00am.
Want to know what's on the agenda? Click here.