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It Takes a Village … to Build a Playground!

As anyone who has ever been involved in imagining a new playground at a school can attest to it is a marathon, not a sprint!

Several years ago the parent fundraising society – F.O.G.S. (Friends of Greystone Society) began the journey to build some new playground structures at Greystone. They envisioned a place that students in middle years would want to play on, be active, visit and enjoy for years to come.

Then came the planning, the budgeting, and the fundraising, oh the fundraising. Casinos, bake sales and everything else you can imagine went on in order to make the vision a reality. Many families contributed to these fundraising opportunities, and without the support of fundraisers and the community, this playground would never have become a reality.

Now we’re on the homestretch — the building phase. We have had some incredibly dedicated organizers and volunteers who have come out and put in hours of organizing and back-breaking labour in order to create a new play structure for GCMS. We have also had the support of numerous local businesses through donations and discounts that have made this project possible.

The build dates have been postponed from time to time, the weather has been chilly, the ground has been muddy — but the playground is coming together with the help from so many members of the GCMS village. It is going to be so wonderful to see our students being active and playing on the new equipment, that wouldn’t be there if not for the committment and hard work of the community.

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Teacher Learning Made Public ~ Reflections From the Year


Once again this year, I asked our Greystone teachers if they would open up their teaching practice and share the learning from this past year with others. Our dynamic, hilarious, creative grade 6 teacher, Patty Nicholls, who is leaving our Greystone School Community this year as she and her family relocate to Manitoba, shared her learning from her past EIGHT years at Greystone. Many thanks Patty, for your incredible contributions to our school community – we know you will have a huge impact on your students, their families and your colleagues in your new school.

Reflection – My Time at Greystone

By Patty Nicholls

This August it will be eight years since I first heard of Spruce Grove, Alberta and Greystone Centennial Middle School.  I remember the day clearly.  Clive was at work, it was pouring rain and I was getting ready for a weekend camping trip to Pigeon Lake.  The phone rang, and a lady by the name of Kelly Wilkins had come across my resume online and asked if I was interested in interviewing for a grade 7 teaching position.  I eagerly jumped at the opportunity and within a few hours found myself sitting in what appeared to be a construction zone of a new school.  I don’t remember all the specifics of the interview, or what I said that actually won Kelly and Carolyn over, but I do know that was the day my life, as a teacher, changed.

As my journey at Greystone comes to an end, I reflect on both my personal growth as an individual and as an educator.  Greystone has been my home for eight years.  I can’t believe it’s almost over.  Eight years seems like a lifetime, so many things have happened and changed.  Personally, I’ve become a wife, bought a new house, became a mom, all of which has taught me about patience, to simplify and that the little things don’t matter in the big picture.  Professionally I’ve learned about collaboration, engagement, critical thinking, inquiry and innovation.  I’ve been guided and encouraged by amazing mentors; I’ve grown in terms of student questioning and making learning authentic; and most recently, sharing my professional experiences and thoughts with others through blogging and twitter.  I’m excited to take what I’ve learned, personally and professionally, and share it with the world.

I’m going to miss the people, past and present, of Greystone.  The positive energy that fills the halls by both the students and the staff is powerful.  It will be hard to replace.  I see us as one big supportive family.  A family with the same end goal in mind – student success.

A huge thank you to the great administrators who challenged me, supported me, and most importantly, transformed me into the teacher I’ve become.

Thank you to my personal ‘Learning Coach’ for forcing me to think outside the box, teaching me the basis of inquiry, checking in on me (not annoying at all!) and for the friendship we’ve created.

Thank you to my curling team for putting some ‘spice’ into my Thursday nights.   I really don’t understand why no one came to watch us.  You ladies will be missed!

Thank you to my work husband for the opportunity to collaborate, team teach and bounce ideas off of one another.  For the record, you left me first!

Thank you to my entire team: Joan, Claudia, Laura, Marge, Craig, Pat and Cheryl, you guys will be hard to replace.  Our experiences will not be forgotten, yet shared with others.

Thank you to the students and staff for making Greystone Centennial Middle School the great learning place that it is.  I’ll miss you!

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