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Dec 14
December News

The first term of school is fast coming to a close, our annual Holiday Concert has taken place. Soon progress reports will be going home and the community will be gathering for our annual Community Breakfast in support of school nutrition programs. The school year is flying by!

A big thank you goes out to all the staff who helped make our K to 5 Holiday Concert a big success.  Our gym was filled for both the afternoon and the evening shows and a number of parents and grandparents expressed their gratitude for the students' fine performance. As principal, I get to accept the compliments on behalf of the school but I know that the real work was done by Mrs. Friesen in her selection of the concert, the teaching of the songs and the practicing of lines. She is not alone in the task with the middle years Art students preparing the backdrops, Mrs. Hagues accompanying the students on the piano and Mr. Whittom setting everything up and taking it all down. It is a lot of work putting the concert together but there is a real joy that comes when you see the children showcasing their talents and the community enjoying the presentation.

Teachers have been busy preparing our first set of progress reports and they should be printed and ready to go home on December 15th.  We hope that the reports will provide parents with a realistic snap shot of student learning to this point in the year. Our next set of Tri-Conferences are scheduled for early February but should you have questions about the progress report, feel welcome to contact the teachers.

At Halloween I sent out a note about some changes to the school division's Food Safety Procedures.   Since that time, some revisions to the procedures have been put in place that clarified many of the questions we had. The revised procedures have made things easier for schools while stressing the importance of appropriate food handing.  The new safety procedures are available on the division's website at:

I mention the Food Handling Procedures because of our upcoming Community Breakfast. It is with great pleasure that I announce Mr. Church, who annually caters our Meet the Teacher/Spaghetti dinner, has offered to cater our annual Community Breakfast. Not only has he offered to prepare the food, he has also successfully secured the donation of all he plans to cook. With the food being professionally prepared, we will once again be able to serve the community a wonderful breakfast for an excellent cause.  What else could a school principal ask for? I look forward to assisting Mr. Church….and in not having to spend hours making pancakes with Mrs. Hawley and Mrs. Hagues! The breakfast costs $5.00 per person and we ask that you bring a box of cereal as a donation. Last year we raised over $800 and donated close to 100 boxes of cereal.

In other school news, we were excited to see our girls' grade 7 & 8 volleyball team win the divisional "Diggers" championship. The final was an exciting affair at Arthur A. Leach School. A very special thanks goes out to Mrs. King for an excellent job coaching.  Thanks goes out as well to Mr. Johnson for his time and efforts with our grade 7 & 8 boys' team. While not as successful as the girls, the boys had an excellent season and we are very proud of their performance.

Basketball season is just gearing up and Ms. Opperman will be busy coaching our teams. We are thankful that her fractured ankle, which she got playing basketball, has healed to the point where she can put our teams through their paces.  We are looking forward to an exciting season of basketball.  Go Warriors!

Our WE team has been busy this past month supporting both the Salvation Army and the Christmas Cheer Board. All WE Team activities are student planned and organized and it is a pleasure to see our students take up the challenge to make a difference in our world.

On the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) front, we have received delivery of our eco-friendly lunch bags. Thanks to everyone who joined in and purchased these handy bags.   Our other EDS news is that we have installed a new water fountain in our front hallway that enables students to fill their water bottles. The fountain includes a counter to keep track of the number of plastic water bottles we have not used by filling our own bottles. It is fun to hear the kids commenting on the ever increasing number.

As the school term comes to a close we are hopeful that all in our community with have an enjoyable Holiday season. I know the teachers and the students (not to mention one principal) are all looking forward to a little time off to celebrate the season. Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year.

Nov 08
November News

​Halloween has come and gone and it looks like the colder, snowy weather seems to be here to stay.   With the cooler weather comes our annual reminder for parents to check out their children's clothing in the mornings.  This especially goes for our younger students because we have a few showing up in clothing too light for the cold outside weather at morning recess.

The month of October seemed to buzz past and was a particularly busy one for our school WE Team.   On October 25th, thirty-five students attended the annual We Day event at BellMTS Place.  The energy filled day was a celebration of all the philanthropic work done by students throughout the province and an invitation for students to take a leadership role in making our world a better place.   Over 15,000 students heard motivational speakers, were entertained by various performers, and stood, clapped and cheered.   The students responded vigorously every time they were invited to make some noise.  Needless to say, this rapidly maturing school administrator was a little done when the day came to a close.   A great cause, lots of energy and hopefully it will fuel concrete actions by the students in attendance.  

Our We Team completed their second undertaking by raising $360 for Winnipeg Harvest as part of the WE Scare Hunger initiative.   The students are in the process of planning other activities and the great thing about WE Team is the kids come up with the ideas and do the organizing.

Our school Eco Team has combined with our We Team to undertake a fundraiser selling reusable lunch bags.  Proceeds will go to support childhood cancer research and The Dream Factory.   Our Eco team has set a goal to reduce the volume of our school garbage and recycling so this initiative will support a number of good causes including our environment.

Preparations are underway for our annual Remembrance Day Assembly which is set to take place at 11:00 am on Thursday, November 9th.   It was originally planned for the Friday but we realized both our Music and Band teachers were away so we have shifted to Thursday because of the important role both play in the event.   Community members are invited to attend and join with our school community as we remember the sacrifices that have been made for our country and commit ourselves to be peacemakers in our world.

We will be closed for a teacher in-service day on Monday, November 13th.   RWP will be hosting Westdale and Westgrove teaching staffs for a day focused on literacy instruction.   The session is aimed at supporting our schools implement the school division's Standards for Success in Literacy document.

Finally, the end of November will see teachers preparing our first term student progress reports.  The school will be closed on November 24th so teachers can work on their progress reports and we anticipate they will be going home on or around December 14th.

Sep 19
And they're off.....

​I am always amazed how busy a school gets as soon as the doors are open and the summer vacation comes to an end. The two weeks prior to the start of school there is a steady stream of teachers coming in and custodial staff doing the final touches as we all get ready for the opening day.   During that time, the administration and office staff work on all the fine details that need to be in place for the school year to begin with the odd phone call or office drop in to change the pace. Then comes the big day everyone has been waiting for and very quickly the school moves from zero to sixty as we are launched into a new school year.

The return from holidays and the opening of the office had a similar flavor this year and the start of the year has seen things really start to hum. We had a wonderful beginning and it was wonderful to see so many parents out on the first school day. Special thanks to our Parent Council for providing coffee and treats in the library on the first morning so our parent community could gather, new parents could make connections and summer stories could be shared. Thanks as well to our parents for participating in our flag raising ceremony which annually kicks off our school year.  Thanks also to the weather man for the sunny weather once again.   We are on a ten year run, gathering in front of the school to raise the flag and celebrate the start of our school year.

For those parents who attended our June 30th Canada 150 celebrations you would have heard my story about having wanted to celebrate Canada's 100th birthday by going to Ottawa and Expo '67 as an elementary school student only to have my parents take the family to Spokane, Washington on the excuse we had to visit my oldest brother who was studying there.  I am pleased to report that 50 years later Mrs. Burns and I made it to Ottawa on Canada Day to celebrate Canada's 150th on Parliament Hill…along with 400,000 of our fellow Canadians.  After 2 ½ hours in line and a torrential rain storm, Mrs. Burns stated that she must really love me!  I responded that is what happens when you marry a Canadian History teacher.

I was wondering a lot during August how our year would begin with combined classes, a few new staff members and no grade 9 students.  I am pleased to report that we are off to an excellent start.  The classrooms are busy and "on task" and the playground is a vibrant place with many new friendships being formed.  Our Kindergarten is also a busy spot with 22 students making up our class this year.   All in all we are off to a very good start to the school year.

A special thank you goes out to Leonard and Chantell Church and the Parent Council for feeding the community at our annual Spaghetti Dinner/Meet the Teacher evening.  Once again this year the dinner was superb and helped set a wonderful tone for meeting the teachers and starting off the school year.  I am always amazed at the efficiency and the food quality when Mr. Church caters an event!

On the sporting front, cross country running and volleyball season are underway.  Let's hope that the weather is nice for all of our cross county meets that will be taking place over the next few weeks.  A big thank you goes out to Mrs. Hawley for all her efforts coaching and organizing all our school's sporting events.

October will have a different start this year.  Just before spring break is usually when Artists in the School occurs but this year because of scheduling we will be hosting Alicia Taylor, a Hoop Dancer.  Students will showcase their learning for the rest of the school in the later afternoon on Friday, October 6th.

We ask parents to mark October 12th and 13th on their calendar as our first set of Tri Conferences will occur on those dates. Information regarding setting up a conference using our online scheduler will be out about a week before so watch for that email notice.  We like to set conferences early in the year so the home can develop a positive working relationship with the school.  We are looking forward to seeing the parent community out for conferences.

Our library will be holding its annual Book Fair in conjunction with our first set of conferences so know there will be many young readers hoping to add to their personal libraries during conference time.

We hope everyone involved with RWP has a great school year and we look forward to seeing the parent community out for conferences.

Jun 07
The Principal Says...

River West Park has had a first class website for a long time thanks to the efforts of Mr. Todd Johnson. When Mr. Johnson isn't teaching, coaching or tinkering with students' Makerspace projects he is looking after all things digital at RWP, including our website. The school division has embarked on an ambitious eShare project which will change the way we connect with our stakeholders and operate in the digital world. An initial step in the process has been inviting all schools to create new websites on the division's platform.

After many hours of behind the scenes work we are now going live with our new website. We hope it provides families with the information and news needed to keep families connected with our school community.

This blog section will be the area where you will find the principal's message that has traditionally anchored the front page of our school newsletter. I will be counting on our Administrative Secretary, Mrs. Kathy Penner, to continue to remind me that my monthly article is due and I am hoping that as I get into the swing of blogging that I may be posting my thoughts and comments more frequently.

We hope you enjoy our new website and we would love to hear your comments.

With kindest regards,

Bill Burns,


About this blog
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!