Knights’ News – Year End Edition

July 1, 2017

Message from Mr Wejr

Families of James Hill, it has been another successful year for so many of us at James Hill. I want to first acknowledge your efforts in working with us in a variety of ways to support all the students and the school community. I also want to thank our dedicated staff for their efforts again this year.

I hope you take the time to savour the moments and build memories this summer through play and exploration… and remember that there will never be another summer like this one!

It has been an honour and a privilege to once again serve the students, families, staff, and community as principal of James Hill.

Please take a moment to read this newsletter that includes school highlights as well as updates on staffing and some info and reminders for the summer and fall.  This month’s “Good Things” will focus on more school-wide events and highlights.


Good Things To Talk About 

Grade 5 Farewell – We gathered together in our gym recently to honour and say farewell to this year’s grade 5 class. We have been so pleased with their growth over the years know they are leaving us with the skills they need to be successful in grade 6 and beyond!  We showed 2 slideshows that celebrated their year; if you would like to view them, click here and here. To all the grade 5s and their families: thank you for your service and the memories you have created. We will miss you all!

District Program Farewell – In, we were informed that, sadly, this will be the last year for our District Program for Students With Special Needs.  There is a deep history of education and care so we had a gathering earlier this week to honour all those students, staff, and families that have been directly and indirectly impacted by the program. One of the District’s Cultural Presenters, Carman McKay, joined us and honoured the people with 3 songs and 3 drums to continue the teachings of the drum.  A special thank you to Ms DeRoche, Mrs Davis, Ms Scheitel, Mrs Hebert, Mrs Premack, Mrs Thorn, Ms. de Commerford, Ms Carich, Mrs Paradon, and Miss Jackson for all their efforts, care, and dedication in this final year of the program.  We will miss the students, families and the staff!

Sliding Into the End of the Year – Our grade 4s and 5s travelled to Cultus Lake Waterpark to do some tubing and sliding with their peers… and they even got a sunny day! Thank you to all those parents who helped drive.

Breakfast Program – Our breakfast program gave out 187 servings on its final day of the year. This program has been a huge success in helping students have a positive start to the day. We have noticed improvements in attendance and overall well-being for a number of students. Special thank you to all our volunteers and to our team: Marg Deibert, Lee-Ann Vinson, Nicole Grainger, and Jon Grochowski.  Also a thank you to our sponsors: McGill Realty, Southridge Fellowship TD Canada Trust, RBC Bank, Aldergrove Credit Union, Farm Canada, and Langley School District Foundation.

Thank You to Our PAC – At our assembly on Wednesday, we took the time to honour our PAC coordinators and executive for all their volunteer efforts this year.

PAC Coordinators:

  • Jennifer Adams – Emergency Preparedness
  • Tamiko Hinze – Support Person
  • Gina Twellman – Sunshine Coordinator
  • Michelle Terrio & Kristi MacKinnon – KM Club
  • Lindsay Gallichen – Fruit & Veggie Coordinator
  • Lindsay Gallichen & Sabrina Bradshaw – Caring Committee
  • Leah-Ann Nicholson – Volunteer Coordinator
  • Lee-Ann Vinson – Popcorn
  • Lee-Ann Vinson – Fundraising Coordinator
  • Amanda Gresham & Amanda Thomas – Hot Lunch

PAC Executive

  • Christina Fraser – Treasurer
  • Kaeli Seward – Secretary
  • Amanda Thomas – Vice-President
  • Debbie Patchett – President

Staff That Are Moving On – We are sad to say farewell to a number of staff members who are moving on to different schools for next year. We thank them for their dedicated service to our community!

  • Ruth de Roche, SEA
  • Rhonda Davis, SEA
  • Lynn Scheitel, SEA
  • Michelle Aplas, SEA
  • Stacey Ekkert, grade 1 teacher
  • Kristin Maki, grade 1/2 teacher
  • Andrea Clipsham, PE teacher
  • Caitlin McDermott, Youth Care Worker
  • Sonya Carich, SEA
  • Larissa Kondo, grade 4/5 teacher
  • Edith de Commerford, SEA
  • Jaslien Khatker, SEA
  • Tessa Preston, PE and grade 5 teacher
  • Janine Jackson, teacher, district special needs program

Staff Retirees – Three of our outstanding teachers have decided to move on to the next phase of their careers… retirement! Mrs Takasaki (grade 3 and Reading Recovery), Mr Maines (grade 4/5), and Mrs Giddings (grade 5 and music) have all worked their last day as classroom teachers. We took the time at our assembly to honour these wonderful people for their dedication, care, professionalism and overall awesomeness.  The entire gym stood up a number of times to honour them with a standing ovation. Former and current James Hill students, and dancers at Lisa’s School of Dance, performed a beautiful lyrical piece (choreographed by Tamiko Hinze) as a dedication to our 3 retirees (the video has been posted on our FB page). James Hill will never be the same but we wish them all the best and we know they will come back and visit.

New Staff – We are excited to announce and welcome some new teachers to our school.

  • Mr Jade Graber will be joining us as a grade 4/5 teacher.  His children all attended James Hill so he knows our community well. Mr Graber comes to us as a highly respected educator who has worked at Parkside Elementary for the past 10 years.
  • Miss Laura Baird will be joining us as a grade K/1 teacher. Miss Baird came highly recommended from her work at Dorothy Peacock Elementary and is excited to join our team!
  • Mr. Jered Steeves will be taking on our music program 2 days per week. Mr Steeves joins us with experience in choral, band, and musical theatre (as well as experience coaching volleyball). He recently taught at Alice Brown Elementary and Brookswood Secondary
  • Mrs Shauna Monkman joins us as a Special Education Assistant. With a passion for inclusion (and dance!), we are excited to have Mrs Monkman join our strong resource team.
  • We will also have Mrs Coffin and Mrs Brooks returning from maternity leaves to join our primary team. Mrs Reavley (one of our LA teachers this year) will also be teaching primary.  Miss Anderson will be moving to be an intermediate teacher as well as our Learning Commons Teacher (Teacher-Librarian).

Summer Reading Program – Students were jumping up and down with excitement last week as they were able to “shop” for FREE books as part of our annual Summer Reading Program. The program was started by Mrs Peck a few years ago and has built up to the point this year where students were offered up to 25 free books to take home for the summer!!! Special thank you to Mrs Peck, Lindsay Gallichen and Courtney Robichaud and the entire parent team for helping make the event such a huge success.  Thank you so much for your support through donating books over the past year.  A reminder that we encourage families to return the books after the summer but if they have a book they simply do not want to part with… they can keep it!  During this year’s event, we asked the volunteers to make note of the books that the students ran over to try to grab; we accept donations year-round through the office so if you happen to be out at a garage sale or at a thrift store and see any of the following books, we would love to have a few more for next year:

  • Big Nate, How to Train your Dragon, Minecraft, Pokemon, Star Wars, Captain Underpants, Harry Potter, Sports, Amulet, Raina Graphic novels (smile, sisters ghosts), David Williams books, Whatever After, Goosebumps, Roald Dahl books, Masterminds series- Gordon Korman, Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey, Dork Diaries, Jedi Academy, Transformers, And then it Happened

Div 7 Saves the Salmon Program!  A few months ago, Mrs Hobbs was told that the beloved Salmon Enhancement Program would be cut. Teachers, students and families were devastated by the news but they decided to try and do something about it. Through the leadership of Mrs Hobbs, her students wrote letters to the Minister of Fisheries in an attempt to have their voices heard. There was also an online petition that many educators and parents signed. Due to the huge response, the decision was overturned! In a Facebook Video, the MP of Cloverdale-Langley City, the honourable John Aldag, shared the great news and even acknowledged James Hill students for their help in saving the program! This past week, Mr Aldag came and personally thanked the students and sat with them to learn about the program. It was such a wonderful visit for our kids. Thank you Division 7!

JH’s Got Talent!  Over 20 performers took the stage in front of a packed gym to showcase their skills as part of our 2017 talent show. Students were entertained with performances in areas such as comedic theatre, dance, vocals, and instrumental music.  Mrs Giddings was also surprised with a Division 1 Flash Mob to help celebrate her retirement. The James Hill staff put on their own display of “talent”, led by our leader, Mrs Giddings. Thank you to Mrs Giddings for her years of service to providing students a moment to shine through her work with the talent show and various concerts and musicals.

Looking Back on June –  A slideshow of images from June can be viewed here.

School Start Up – Information will start coming back out in August but school re-opens on Tuesday, September 5.  A school calendar will also be sent out next week. School supplies online ordering is now over but lists can be found here.

Supporting Local Kwantlen Youth -Part of our journey of reconciliation is to support the Kwantlen First Nation, of which is the unceded traditional territory in which James Hill resides. Community members of the Kwantlen First Nation are raising money to purchase a canoe to use to help build wellness for elders, adults, and local youth! If you are able to donate even a small amount, please donate and/or get more info here.

Community Bulletin Board – Please take a moment to check out the board that includes info on:

  • Family Literacy
  • Soccer, Rugby, Rowing, Speed Skating, Basketball registration and/or summer camp information
  • Jabberwocky, Science, Kids’ Yoga, Langley Museum  Summer Camps
  • Parkour Park
  • FVRL Summer Programs
  • TWU Sports Camps
  • and More!
  • There is also a West Coast Volleyball Camp at DW Poppy for students 10 and older – info is here.

On behalf of all the staff at James Hill, have a wonderful summer!