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Bernie Wolfe School
River East Transcona School Division

Bernie Wolfe School offers instruction for students in kindergarten to Grade 8.

 History of Bernie Wolfe School

In the mid 1970s when the population of Transcona was rapidly expanding, Bernie Wolfe, in his capacity as deputy mayor of Winnipeg, took special interest in the Mission Gardens area. It was apparent that this growing community of young families warranted the need for a school to be built in the area. Thus, the building of Bernie Wolfe  School, completed in 1977, was the result of an ambitious project and joint financial effort by the former Transcona-Springfield Board of Trustees, and the city councillors in the subdivision known as Mission Gardens.

The site chosen for the new school would be one situated on a very historic part of the Province of Manitoba. The land had been granted years earlier by Lord Selkirk for future schools and churches in his planning of the Red River Colony. Vera Derenchuk, the school superintendent at the time, and the appointed principal, Glen Hammond, devoted many hours to determine the school’s unique architecture and general function in all aspects of community life in addition to providing an interesting, innovative environment for the students.

The school’s concept would be one that combined three types of space into one building. The plan, unique from any other school in the division at that time, would incorporate academic space, community space and joint use facilities which would include a theater and pool.

It was decided that the new school in the Mission Gardens area would be named Bernie Wolfe  School in recognition of a lifelong resident who had figured prominently in civic politics. The original 185 children of school age found temporary quarters at Regent Park Elementary School while anxiously awaiting completion of their new school. They officially occupied the new school space for the first time on Jan. 4, 1977. From that first day it was felt that the school would always have some kind of uniqueness with which both students and staff alike could identify. In its opening year the school housed students from kindergarten to Grade 7, and expanded a grade in each of the following years until reaching the K-9 structure and eventually settling on the current K-8 format.

The academic wing was composed of six large teaching areas on two levels. They consisted of two class groupings around a tiered story center, a raised discussion viewing bowl, elevated teacher’s work space and seminar rooms. At the time of construction, the large kindergarten area opened onto a primary unit to facilitate interaction between beginners and primary pupils. Since this time the kindergarten area has been closed. The school was equipped with an elevator and ramp making it the first school in the division to be wheelchair accessible.

The original community area within the school covered some 10,400 square feet that included a swimming pool, library, horticultural area, skating change room, nursery school, and canteen. Only the library and nursery school remain, with the addition of a school aged daycare. The Divisional Materials Resource Center was located on the second floor where it remained until its closure in June of 1996. That area now serves as a River East Transcona school divisional center that houses the consultant staff, the Education Resource Centre, divisional meetings, seminars, and in-services.

On May 25, 1977, George Marshall, Chairman of the Board of Transcona-Springfield School Division, Vera Derenchuk, Superintendent, Glen Hammond, Principal, and Bernie Wolfe officially opened Bernie Wolfe Community School as the original staff and students proudly looked on! From that day forward the school became "home" for the Mission Gardens Community.

During the opening year, the students and staff of Bernie Wolfe  School decided to design a school crest to represent the areas in which they would strive to attain major goals and objectives. After much deliberation the following objectives were established: academics, athletics, friendship, and citizenship. In 2019-2020 the school's name was changed slightly to Bernie Wolfe School. This was also the final year that the Ukrainian Bilingual Program operated out of the school, as it was re-located to a different school in RETSD.

Since 1977 the school has experienced some structural changes and has grown to a steady enrolment of approximately 700 students. It continues to strive for academic excellence while providing a safe, dynamic learning environment for all of its students, who will be our future responsible, caring, productive citizens.


BWS has implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS is about creating a safe learning environment through positive discipline. Matrices have been developed for the Hallway, Playground, and Lunch room and for all classrooms. The expectations are for students to Be Safe, Responsible and Respectful. The expectations of each location are taught and reinforced throughout the year. All locations have the matrix posted for staff and students to refer to.