Spring has sprung at OLCS!

Spring has sprung and there’s spring fever in the air at Oak Lake Community School! Our school has returned to the green level on the COVID system, which means that masks are optional. It has been the best feeling to see so many smiling faces! Students and staff are eagerly anticipating spring break, which runs from March 28-April 1. Students will return to classes for a short week on Monday, April 4, with an administration/professional development day scheduled for Friday, April 8. Due to a combination of cold, storms, and closed highways, we missed a number of school days in February and March. Now that warmer weather is here, students and staff continue to work hard to learn, make friends, and have fun every day. Keep reading to find out how our students have been learning and growing over the past month!

Announcements and Updates

Our local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is always so supportive of our school and students. They were pleased to announce the following Remembrance Day contest winners at the district level:

Grayson Smith, 2nd place, primary colour poster

Taylor Goulet, 2nd place, junior black and white poster

Nova Pirie, 2nd place, intermediate essay

Sara Taylor, 1st place, junior poem

Courtney Cochrane, 2nd place, intermediate poem

At the zone level:

Spencer Gompf, 1st place, junior essay

Grayson Smith, 1st place, primary colour poster

Taylor Goulet, 1st place, junior colour poster

Taylor Goulet, 1st place, junior black and white poster

Courtney Cochrane, 1st place, intermediate poem

Sara Taylor, 1st place, junior poem

Nova Pirie, 1st place, intermediate essay

Jaydon Whitecloud, 1st place, intermediate colour poster

Report cards will be sent home prior to spring break. The second term is always a time of huge growth, and it has been exciting for staff and students to reflect upon and celebrate all the learning that has taken place. Parent-teacher conference time slots will be available for families on Friday, April 8.

Everyone’s favourite chocolate-covered almonds are back! OLCS students are selling almonds until April 18 to raise funds for classroom field trips. Individual boxes of almonds are $3. Contact any OLCS student if you are interested in purchasing a box, or call the school and we’ll make sure you don’t miss out on this delicious treat. Tip: chocolate-covered almonds freeze well, so buy more than one box and support our students!

Due to extreme fog on the roads north of Hamiota, our middle years ski trip was cancelled last week. We are excited to report that students will have a chance to hit the slopes at Asessippi on Friday, March 25! Let’s hope for a sunny day with ideal conditions as our students enjoy this extension of our health and physical education program.

Thanks to the hard work of Parent Advisory Council, our Sportsplex swim program is happening this spring. Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 are swimming on Tuesdays and Kindergarten-Grade 2 and Grades 7/8 are swimming on Thursdays. Swimming is such an important life skill, and we are so pleased to make this program available to all students.

OLCS staff were treated to many nice surprises and yummy treats during Staff Appreciation Week in February. Our hard-working Parent Advisory Council spoiled us with delicious coffee breaks, a special lunch, and gift certificates to purchase classroom materials. Staff felt very appreciated indeed and are so grateful to have such a wonderful parent council.

The war in Ukraine has inspired conversations about peace and the actions that we can take. Please drive by the school and take a look at our fence—the students have created a beautiful peace message to show our support for Ukraine during this sad and difficult time.

The Manitoba Justice Lighthouses program is back in full swing with programs such as Drums Alive, basketball, sticks and pucks, and archery. It is wonderful to see young people coming together to connect, stay active, and acquire new skills. If you’re interested in learning more about this program for Oak Lake youth Grade 5 and up, you can see what’s happening on Facebook at Oak Lake Lighthouses.

We have welcomed some new faces to the staff of Oak Lake Community School. Miss Samantha Lee (granddaughter of Dorothy Winters) has accepted a one-year term maternity leave position teaching Grade 3. We wish Mrs. Hey and her growing family nothing but the best as Miss Lee joins our staff. We were pleased to see Miss Tonja Bokkel return to OLCS last month as an educational assistant. She worked here last school year and her return is a great addition to our educational team.

For the first time ever, a mixed middle years basketball team took to the courts in tournaments at both Reston and Elkhorn. Although the teams did not return home victorious, it was exhilarating to participate in school team sports once again. Coaches Mr. Korol and Mr. Maksuta have reported great skill growth and positive attitudes.

Mr. Korol and Miss Panchuk organized a super fun outdoor Winter Festival on St. Patrick’s Day. With many students wearing green, we spent the afternoon on the playground participating in a variety of winter activities—such as snow shoeing, snow mini-golf, snow painting, and mining for gold (chocolate) coins. The weather was beautiful and it was wonderful to see all the smiling faces as we came together as an entire school community for the first time in two years. In addition to having fun in the snow, students raised money for The Dream Foundation to make the dreams of critically ill children come true.

Grey Cup at OLCS!

It was an especially exciting day at OLCS on Wednesday, March 23, when the famous CFL Grey Cup arrived! Scott Phillips, owner/manager of Deleau General Store and RM of Sifton councillor, partnered with Riley Marra (Senior Manager, Digital Media, Winnipeg Blue Bombers) to surprise the students with this iconic Canadian football trophy. Our students were in awe and we greatly appreciate the efforts of Mr. Phillips—your commitment to our community and youth is wonderful to behold.

Classroom News

The Kindergarten class are growing and learning every day! We have been learning about vowels and how they are the special letters that glue words together. We had an exciting visit from a leprechaun called Clover who happily watched us as we learned how to make more complex patterns using Lucky Charms. We are very excited that the new season is finally here and we look forward to seeing all the changes that will be happening outside!

The Grades 1 and 2 classroom has had a very busy month. We are reviewing a lot of our math strategies and practicing them. Our reading groups are still focusing on a lot of phonics and phonemic awareness activities. We are learning about all the Canadian provinces, finding out what they are known for, and locating them on a map.  We are focusing on the four seasons in Science class. We have enjoyed participating in the Ag in the Classroom program, learning more about Manitoba agriculture and the variety of farms in our province.

The Grade 3 students bid goodbye to their teacher Mrs. Hey and welcomed Miss Lee for the remainder of the school year. The students have done a wonderful job of making Miss Lee feel welcome and have been a great help in showing her the ropes at OLCS. In addition to their regular learning activities, the students are doing a project where they create their own craft out of a cardboard box. Creativity is running wild and Miss Lee is delighted with the amazing creations the students have developed.

The Grade 4 class recently completed dioramas showcasing the geographical regions of Canada. They’ve been studying their multiplication facts and applying what they’ve learned to design animal shelters. Multiplication facts have been very useful in determining the size of their building designs as well as the costs. The students have loved reading The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant) by Roald Dahl.

Mr. Maksuta and the Grades 5/6 class have been studying the Caribou gold rush in Social Studies. They are creating slideshow presentations to share their knowledge. Just in time for the snow to melt, the students finished their snow sculptures in gym class. Dog houses, coffee mugs, and snow globes decorated the playground. In math, the students have been multiplying and dividing decimals and exploring perimeter and area. In ELA, they are enjoying The Losers Club novel.

In Grades 7 and 8, students learned more about the Middle Ages with a special research and design project. All students researched, designed, and constructed their own mangonels and trebuchets (similar to a catapult) and tested them in the school gym with tennis ball projectiles. It was a trip back in time to the medieval period complete with shields, hats, and castles. Social studies learning has never been so much fun!

The library was a busy hub of activity for I Love to Read Month, and Mrs. Wenstob outdid herself with a month of engaging activities that promoted literacy. Different books were featured every day, and the students loved the dress up days—dress up as a teacher, wear stripes, colour day (students wore the colour assigned to their class), sports day, and pajama day. Special activities included reading bingo challenges, DEAR (drop everything and read), a classroom door decorating competition, and guess the mystery reader on the intercom system. What a great month in the library!

Thank you for taking the time to read our school news. As a community school, we look forward to more in-person connections with our community. Stay safe and healthy, and with your ongoing support and interest in our children’s education, we look forward to bright days ahead!