École Élémentaire Sunshine Hills Elementary School

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Telephone: 604-594-8491 Absentee Phone: 604-594-3815

11285 Bond Blvd, Delta, BC V4

Dear Parents and Guardians,


The new school year is quickly approaching and I am excited to be welcoming you all to what will, no doubt, be another fantastic year at Sunshine Hills Elementary. We are entering the new year with several changes at our school. The first of which is the new areas of the building as a result of the recent fire at the school, and the second will be welcoming a new Vice-Principal.


As you are all aware, there was a fire at the school in mid-July. It is an emotional experience to know that part of the school you love has been destroyed. It is particularly hard for the teachers who have had their classrooms ruined, and my heart truly goes out to our staff and students. Overall, the southwest interior corner in the courtyard area of the school was affected, which included two classrooms, a learning assistance room, four washrooms and two storage rooms. Despite this very unfortunate and unexpected event, our school is being repaired and will be operational by our September start-up. While some of the repairs may need to be finished in the fall, the majority of the work will be done by school start.


Another significant occurrence at our school is that we will be receiving a new Vice-Principal. Our current Vice-Principal, Claire Clancy, has been appointed as Principal at one of our fellow Delta elementary schools. While we are sad to see Ms. Clancy go, we wish her all the best in her new role and are certain her new school community will appreciate her just as much as we did. Moving forward, senior school district management is committed to maintaining a strong level of consistency and support to our school. As a result, Cheryl Edge-Partington has been appointed as the Acting Vice-Principal for this coming school year.  Ms. Edge-Partington is a familiar face at Sunshine Hills, having been a teacher at our school for the past 14 years. I would like to congratulate Cheryl and I look forward to working with her in her new role.


I am continually inspired and impressed with the exceptional teaching, student engagement and parental support we have in our school. It truly is an honour to be a member of such a great learning community. I am excited for another excellent year at Sunshine Hills Elementary.

Update on school restoration:

It has been three weeks since our school fire. In that time there has been much work accomplished in restoring and readying the building for our September start-up. At this time it appears that the majority of the classrooms will be restored to their original state for our students. The three classrooms directly affected by the fire have needed structural repair and will not be usable until later in the fall. In the meantime temporary classrooms have been assigned within the building. The restoration company as well as district staff are working steadily in order to ensure as smooth a start up as possible to our school year. We hope you continue to enjoy your summer holidays and we look forward to seeing each of you in the fall. 

Sunshine Hills Fire

As many of you have already heard, we had a fire at our school last night.  The investigation into the fire is ongoing. The fire began in the courtyard area outside Mme Stephens and Mrs. Yargeau's rooms at approximately 2am. The fire caused direct damage to those two classrooms as well as to Ms. Cousins and Mr Retallick’s upstairs room.   The office and Primary wing down the staff room hallway smell like smoke but have no water damage. The rest of the classrooms (up and down) have water damage on the floor.  Only the classrooms directly affected by the fire had the overhead sprinklers go on (only sprinklers near fire-not whole room) so fortunately most items were up off the floor in the other classrooms and therefore once water removed should have minimal damage. The restoration company is just getting in. They will be putting ALL materials through a process to rid items of water and smoke damage.  Once this has happened we can then see which items will need to be replaced. Structural damage to the building has rendered the building unsafe at this point. I will do my best to keep everyone informed as to the restoration progress. Currently, there is not a lot for us to do except continue to enjoy our summer.  Again, thank you for all your emails of concern and as a community I know we will rally together and put this behind us.

A Better World Update

Erik from  'A Better World' came by the school today in order that our We Team could present him with his cheque for $20,000. Once again this fantastic community came through and with the hard work of our students and our We Team we were able to meet the goal in support of building another school, this time in Costi, Sudan. What a great community!  Thank you Mme Stephens for all you do to encourage and support the leadership experiences that happen here at Sunshine Hills. Here is what Erik had to say:

An inspiring day at Sunshine Hills Elementary School. This is the 5th year in a row that the students have raised over $20,000. Today they gave me a cheque for $25,000. They had exceeded their goal by $5,000 even though the sign says 20K. These kids and their teacher Joan are one amazing group. To date, they have raised $115,000!
In spite of the teacher strike (40,000 teachers on strike in BC) everyone gathered under a tree for the presentation; it felt like being in an African school where we often gather under a tree. The teachers marching outside were very welcoming and supportive. Thank you Sunshine.
 

Planning for Next Year

At this time of year, we spend a lot of energy preparing for the next school year. You can help us in the following ways:

1.    Your Child’s Class
The staff will soon be planning next year’s classes. We want you to know that when students are assigned to new classes by their teachers many factors are considered. We always try to place students in the class where we believe they will experience the most success.
This is an important decision and if you have information about your child that you would like us to consider, please:
    •    Let Mr. Hall know by coming by the office and picking up a Student Placement Consideration Request. This completed form should be returned to the office by Friday June 6th   . Keep in mind that your letter will be copied and shared with the appropriate teachers when placement meetings are held.
    •    If you have a request to make, it must include educational reasons which explain how your child will benefit. Please avoid requesting placement with individual teachers and best friends. (We will always try and place your child with several school friends).
    •    Be aware that since many of our classes are combined (split), most students will be placed in a combined class several times during their elementary years. This may mean that sometimes students are placed in a combined class two years in a row.
    •    Remember that we have many considerations in placing students and cannot guarantee to meet all requests.
    •    Finally, conversations had with classroom teachers do not substitute for the request forms. If you need to have input into this process it should be done through Mr. Hall and the placement consideration form in the office not through the classroom teacher. 

2.    Will you be moving ?
We really must know if you do not intend to enroll your child at Sunshine Hills next year. Also, if you have moved but wish to keep your child(ren) at Sunshine Hills, you will need to fill out a non-catchment form. Please send a note to the office if either of the above applies to you.

Hip Hop is back at Sunshine Hills

Parents are invited next Friday, April 25 to our performance held in our school gym at 1:15 pm

Sunshine Hills We Day Assembly and Upcoming Walk-a-thon


On Wednesday, April 9th , the We Team hosted our fifth annual Sunshine Hills We Day: “the day we move from thinking just about ME to thinking about WE and how we can help others…” Our program was an urgent call to action. Our goal was to raise awareness of the terrible plight of so many young children in Africa.  These children are without adequate food, water, shelter, safety, medical care, as well as the opportunity to go to school.  These are basic things that we just take for granted in Canada.

Our assembly featured three guest speakers. The first of these was Eric Rajah, co-founder of “A Better World”, an International Development Organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of poverty in the developing world. In 2011, Eric received the Alberta Order of Excellence for his incredible humanitarian work, and on May 4th, 2014, he will be receiving a well-deserved, honourary doctorate from Andrews University. It was Eric who orchestrated the building of our medical clinic in Kosti, Sudan. Without his work behind the scenes, we could never have managed to get help to the refugees living there. And it was Eric who supervised the building of our school for orphaned children in Nakura, Kenya. Our second guest speaker was Helen Chan, a Youth Programming Coordinator for Free the Children. Our third speaker was Miranda Goodman, a graduate of the French Immersion program at Burnsview, who spent time teaching English and French to students in Ghana.

Our 2014 goal is to raise $20,000 to build a school for children in Kosti, Sudan. These children desperately need our help … Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and hunger, and ending the exploitation of children in Africa. We are hoping to raise the money through our annual Sunshine Hills Walk-a-thon, which will take on Thursday, May 1st. The students have brought home a letter explaining our fundraiser, a pledge sheet, and an envelope for donations. We are encouraging each student to try and raise, if possible, a minimum of $20 as our 2014 challenge! We sincerely welcome parents to join us on Thursday, May 1st at 1:15 as we walk to build our school.

Congratulations to our outstanding We Team assembly speakers, Simran Gill, Jessica Guétré, Kassie Kartar, Lexy Lindau, Hannah Milic, Cali Robertson, Emma Smalley, Megan Sutherland, Kira Szewczyk, Natalie Van Grol and Alyssa Vowles, who so passionately delivered our message of compassion, commitment and global social responsibility.
Megan and Natalie closed our assembly with a powerful and inspiring quote from Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who was attacked by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school. Malala is now an advocate for the rights of children everywhere and is the youngest person to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Here are her words:
“Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice, and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools. We must not forget that our brothers and sisters are waiting for a bright peaceful future.  So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”

April Update on Social Emotional Learning at Sunshine Hills

Term 1: Getting Focused

During Term 1, we completed the first unit, “Getting Focused”, of our social emotional learning curriculum, MindUP. The students learned about the three key parts of their brains that help them think and respond to stress:
-    Amygdala: our brain’s security guard who protects us from threats. 
-    Prefrontal cortex: our brain’s “wise leader” who focuses our attention, helps us to make good decisions, and allows us to learn.
-    Hippocampus: our storage vault of memory and learning.

When a child is in a positive emotional state, the amygdala sends incoming information to the prefrontal cortex, the conscious, thinking, reasoning brain. However, when a child is in a negative state (anxious, stressed, fearful), the amygdala prevents the input from passing along, effectively blocking higher-level thinking and reasoned judgement. The students learned how breathing can come to the rescue when we are stressed or anxious: focusing on breathing helps calm the body, lessens anxiety, sharpens focus and supports strong functioning in the prefrontal cortex.


We also learned the difference between being mindful and unmindful:

What is being mindful?

-    I am being mindful when I think before I act.

-    My prefrontal cortex is in charge.

-    I am reflective.

What is being unmindful?

-    I am unmindful when I act without thinking.

-    My amygdala is in charge.

-    I am reactive.


To stay mindful, take deep breaths to calm down and to give yourself time to think clearly before you react. If you react without thinking, you are likely to say or do something that you will regret.


Term 2: It’s All About Attitude

During Term 2, we looked at the unit on attitude. The students learned about perspective taking, putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and developing empathy for others. We also stressed the importance of developing a positive mind-set and choosing optimism. The students have been learning to reframe negative, “red” thoughts into positive “green” thoughts. Here are some examples of helpful “green thoughts”:
-    “This may be hard but I can do it.”
-    “I will do the best I can.”
-    “One step at a time and I will get there.”
-    “I don’t have to be perfect as long as I give my best effort.”
-    “I think I can.”
-    “I can handle this.”


Term 3: Taking Action Mindfully

During Term 3, we will be looking at the MindUP unit called “Taking Action Mindfully”. This unit contains three valuable lessons: expressing gratitude, performing acts of kindness, and taking mindful action in the world. “By expressing gratitude and performing acts of kindness, children develop a stronger understanding of the feelings of other people and a concern for the well-being of others.” They develop the awareness, compassion and empathy to contribute in a positive way to the classroom and the world. (MindUP, page 127)


We have tied this MindUp unit in with the “Virtues Project” and will be focusing on the related virtues of thankfulness, kindness and generosity.

Kinderarten Registration - Date Change 

Due to the recent power outage our Kindergarten Registration will now be held on Friday, February 28, 2014 beginning at 9 am and running until noon. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

 

Update on Social Emotional Learning at Sunshine Hills


During Term 1, we completed the first unit, “Getting Focused”, of our social emotional learning curriculum, MindUP. The students learned about the three key parts of their brains that help them think and respond to stress:
-    Amygdala: our brain’s security guard who protects us from threats.
-    Prefrontal cortex: our brain’s “wise leader” who focuses our attention, helps us to make good decisions, and allows us to learn.
-    Hippocampus: our storage vault of memory and learning.

When a child is in a positive emotional state, the amygdala sends incoming information to the prefrontal cortex, the conscious, thinking, reasoning brain. However, when a child is in a negative state (anxious, stressed, fearful), the amygdala prevents the input from passing along, effectively blocking higher-level thinking and reasoned judgement. The amygdala responds with an automatic fight, flight or freeze reaction.
How these reactions manifest themselves in the classroom:
-    Fight – disruptive
-    Flight – distracted
-    Freeze – withdrawn

The students learned how breathing can come to the rescue when we are stressed or anxious:

Benefits of Core Breathing Practice
¥    Focusing on breathing helps calm the body, lessens anxiety, sharpens focus and supports strong functioning in the prefrontal cortex.
¥    Breathing helps counteract the amygdala reaction which shuts down access to the prefrontal cortex during times of stress.
¥    As children practice controlled breathing, their brains develop and reinforce the habit of responding to stress by focusing on breathing.
¥    The one-minute Core Breathing Practice is done three times daily (begin the day, settle after recess/lunch, end the day).

Breathing Techniques (from Roxanne Jones)

1.    Square breathing: (combat breathing, tactical breathing):  Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts, hold for four counts. Start again.

2.    Diaphragm breathing. (“Bird Breathing”)Inhale, and exhale, counting to four. On your next inhale, bring your arms up so that by the time you reach "4", your hands will be above your head. Exhale and gradually bring your arms back down to your sides by the time you reach "4".  The movement of your arms will help promote a diaphragm movement while you breathe. Keep working on it. When you feel comfortable, add a 1-2 pause when your lungs are full and when they are empty.

3.    Elevator breathing:  Inhale for 2 – exhale for 2 – inhale for 2 – exhale for 4 – inhale for 2 – exhale for 6 etc.

4.    Belly breathing:  Place your hand, palm down over your belly.  As you inhale feel your hand rising as your belly expands.  Exhale and feel your hand lower as your belly falls.  (have children lie down and put a small stuffed animal on their tummy – have them watch the animal rise and lower as the child breathes)

5.    Balloon breaths:  Deep slow breath in exhale through the mouth as though blowing up a balloon.

6.    Anger to Awesome :  Inhale through the mouth gathering in all of the anger exhale slowing through the nose releasing relaxation and peace

7.    Colour breathing: Imagine standing underneath a rainbow on a bright sunny day. Pick two colours: one that reminds you of peacefulness and calm and the other that reminds you of stress or worry. Now, close your eyes and think about that calming colour. Breathe in the colour slowly and steadily, filling up your belly and your whole body with that calming colour. Now, as you breathe out, let the stress colour leave you body, slowly, slowly. With each breath breathe in the colour of peace and breath out the colour of stress. Keep doing this 5-10 times and it’ll leave you ready to face whatever comes your way.

During this second term, we are looking at the unit on attitude. The students are learning about perspective taking, putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and developing empathy for others. We are also stressing the importance of developing a positive mind-set and choosing optimism. The students are learning to reframe negative, “red” thoughts into positive “green” thoughts. Here are some examples of helpful “green thoughts”:
-    “This may be hard but I can do it.”
-    “I will do the best I can.”
-    “One step at a time and I will get there.”
-    “I don’t have to be perfect as long as I give my best effort.”
-    “I think I can.”
-    “I can handle this.”

Why Teach Social Emotional Learning?

¥    Children’s achievement in Grade 7 is better predicted by Grade 3 social and emotional competencies than by academic scores
¥    explicitly teaching social and emotional learning leads to an 11% increase in academic scores

Benefits of Social Emotional Learning

¥    improve self-control and self-regulation skills
¥    strengthen resiliency and decision-making
¥    reduce anxiety
¥    improve attention and focusing skills
¥    bolster enthusiasm for learning
¥    increase optimism
¥    increase academic success
¥    develop positive social skills, such as empathy, compassion, patience and generosity
¥    reduce peer-to-peer conflict

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”  ( Aristotle)


 

 

 

 

@Sunshinehills

Food Drive:

Sunshine Hills food drive was a great success again this year. As many of you may know, in early December, we were challenged to a contest by Cougar Canyon. The winning school would be entitled to an extra recess supervised by the principal of the other school as well as treats supplied to the staff of the winning school. As you can well imagine our students took on this challenge with great spirit and enthusiasm. We were able to collect 3596 pieces and $600 in cash. Our total per student was 9.5 pieces, a whopping win over Cougars 4.6 pieces.  Of course this was all in fun and the real winners are those who rely on the food banks to help make their Christmas a better one. Finally, the two classes that will be recieveing a pizza lunch are Mrs. Yargeau's grade 1/2 with a total of 226 pieces and Mme Lovat's grade 4 class with 389 pieces.

Thank you to everyone for all the enthusiasm, support and of course the caring ! This is truly a community that thinks beyond there own needs. Also special thanks to Mme Miles grade 6/7 class for their efforts in collecting, counting and generally managing the food drive.    

October update:

Here we are well into the school year. September rolled by very quickly as students began to settle into classes and school staff began to get to know their students and started the process of setting up curricular activities based on this years new group of learners.  September carries all kinds of formalities that are must do's in schools such as our first fire drill, individual photos, and special lunch orders. One big responsibility for parents is to be sure that they have updated all of the clild's information on the parent connect site. Also in September we have our annual Terry Fox Run which was a big success and we thank all our grade 7's for their support and enthusiasm with this.
October saw our grade 7's head off to Camp Jubilee on the North Shores of Seymour Mountain. Students spent several days doing team building activities such as canoeing, high ropes, shelter building and rock climbing. After all the rain in September the students got some wonderful weather while away at camp. Also in October our annual Cross Country Challenge was held and as usual was a great success with 500 participants this year, our largest ever. The same week we had our Earthquake drill, another annual must do practice event. Parents please be sure you have all your Emergency release information updated.
Finally, last week was our P/T conferences, we saw a great turnout. Remember, educating your child is a joint effort as is illustrated in the following poem.

                                 Guiding Hand     
    I dreamed I stood in a studio
    And watched two sculptors there
    The clay they used was a young child’s mind
    And they fashioned it with care.
    One was a teacher - the tools he used
    Were books, music and art.
    The other, a parent worked with guiding hands,
    And a gentle, loving heart.
    Day after day, the teacher worked with touch
    That was deft and sure,
    While the parent, standing by his side
    Polished and smoothed it o’er.
    And when at last their task was done,
    They were proud of what they had wrought,
    For the things they had molded into the child,
    Could never be sold nor bought.
    And both agreed they would have failed
    If each had worked alone,
    For behind the teacher stood the school
    And behind the parent, the home.
                ……… author unknown   

If you were unable to make a conference time with your child's teacher please do connect with them and set up an opportunity for some discussion around your child's progress.

Finally, last week we started our Sunshine Hills Half Marathon event. Over the next few weeks students will be running a half marathon and on November 23rd at 10 am will complete the last mile. Students will recieve a half marathon medal and t-shirt. Sample shirt sizes are at the school office now as are registration forms. Please get those back to the office by November 1st.                                                                       

 

Our school organization for the 2013/2014 school year is now complete. We appreciate everyone’s  patience as we worked through the organization process during the first week. Enrolment this year puts our school population at 568 students. Our staffing is now complete and students seem to have settled in nicely. Our first assembly held last week was a success and we were all reminded of expectations such as respect, safety and achieving our personal best.
We hope the transition back to school has been a relatively easy one for you. We are glad to see all those happy, smiling faces but know that getting into the new routines can be challenging for all of us, even the principal…
Our Cross Country practices started this morning with a great turnout of students. We will train each Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8:15 and be ready for our Cross Country run on Wednesday, October 16. Finally, our Stars of Reading Program will begin next week with notices to come home in the next few days. Remember that this is an important home activity - take the time to read as a family activity.

Welcome Back to a New School Year - 2013/14

Opening Tuesday, September 3, 2013 @ 9 a.m.

Please refer to our school web site for calendar, supply lists and other information.

All Returning Students:

Please Report To Last Years Classroom - In Session Until 12 noon

All students in Grades 1 to 7 who are New To The School:

Please Report To The Gym

All New Kindergarten Students:

Please Report To The Library - In session Until 9:45

Students do not need to bring all their school supplies on the first day. They should have a pencil box with things to write with and a snack.

As usual, 2013/14 classes will not be set until enrolment is finalized later in the week.