Dear Handsworth Families:
Bienvenue, Tl'iknumut, Welcome! I am excited to be welcoming YOU back to Handsworth for the new school year! The office, custodial and teaching staff at Handsworth have been extremely busy preparing for opening day and we are in excellent shape as we begin our 2019/20 school year.
Our returning families will notice that we have had a number of teaching and support staff changes as a result of retirements, leaves and transfers. I would like to welcome Ms. Laurel Dickson (EA), Ms. Kimberley McKinnon (English), Ms. Lisa Murphy (LST) and Ms. Shannon Paruk (LST) back to Handsworth. New to Handsworth we have Ms. Susanne Chow (Visual Arts), Mr. Matt Cooke (Food Studies), Ms. Robyn Halme (Textiles/Food Studies), Ms. Robyn Renwick (Counselling) and Ms. Hilary Watt (Humanities) – I am thrilled to have them join our amazing school community. We are still in the process of filling a few more vacancies and we will be updating our Handsworth Staff Directory as we fill these positions.
A special welcome to all our new students, and families, including our 2024 Graduates! We are excited to welcome all of our Grade 8s to Handsworth and ask them to look out for our student leaders sporting awesome royal blue t-shirts. Our 50 student leaders are here to support you and we hope everyone is excited for our Grade 8 Retreat themed Branch Out.
The theme we will be focusing on at Handsworth this year is, "Resiliency and Wellness"- this theme was chosen as a result of student and staff feedback and it aligns well with our observational and formal data. We have engaged almost all our students in a comprehensive student survey from The Learning Bar for two consecutive years and as we unpack the data we are starting to seeing trends and understand the needs of our school community better. We hope that a focus on resiliency and wellness will help support our entire school community. We have a number of targeted initiatives and events to support this year's theme for the entire school (staff, students and families) and I look forward to digging deeper into exploring wellness and resiliency throughout the school year.
One way to promote wellness is to encourage your child(ren) to utilize Royal Flex Time on Wednesdays. Royal Flex Time has been specifically allocated for students to innovate, engage in special interest clubs, catch-up on assessments, receive additional support from teachers, work in a supervised setting and in some cases engaging in mandatory grade assemblies, or Career Education curriculum assemblies.
Over the last two school years, with the help of our generous Handsworth families and with the support of our HPAC we revitalized our Library Learning Commons into an inclusive and vibrant space and almost raised enough money to re-furbish one classroom with new furniture! On January 15th, 2018, Education Minister Fleming announced the Handsworth School Replacement HSS 2021. Last school year we started the process to re-imagine our teaching spaces for the new school by engaging a wide range of stakeholders in Design and Input team meetings - we expect to break ground in early 2020. We will continue to focus our school-wide fundraising efforts on classroom furniture this year- we want to create flexible teaching spaces with furniture that inspires conversation, curiosity and collaboration. We will follow the principles of design thinking and will be looking for students, parents and faculty to lend their ideas and expertise to the transformation process. I thank you in advance for your generosity and commitment to supporting excellence in public education.
As the largest school community in the NVSD, with over 1500 students, communication is key! I encourage you to attend our HPAC meetings and get involved with the Handsworth Parent Advisory Council – and stay informed with the most up to date information by visiting our Handsworth school website.
On behalf of all of the staff at Handsworth, we look forward to connecting with all our returning families and welcoming all of the new families to the amazing Handsworth school community. It truly is a privilege to be a member of the Handsworth family and I wish all of you a spectacular start to the new school year!
Rupi Samra-Gynane, Principal
The Handsworth Community develops empowered, innovative, and compassionate learners who serve and lead with curiosity and integrity.