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John de Graff School
River East Transcona School Division


John de Graff is committed to providing appropriate education for all of our students in a supportive, caring, safe and challenging environment.


Through best teaching practices, relevant learning opportunities, strong communication and collaboration as well as focused and responsive professional development. John de Graff will provide appropriate education for all of our students.

Our School

John de Graff School is situated in the Valley Gardens area of north-east Winnipeg.  The school is named after a market garden pioneer in the area as the school site and surrounding parkland came from local market garden land.  The school opened in 1977 and the open area “pod” plan was seen as holding both open and closed classroom space. This architecture is still functioning well today to meet the ever changing needs of the various programming in place within the school.  Many parents who have children in the school today grew up in the Valley Gardens area and attended John de Graff School as a child. This is a tribute to the stable nature of the community and the quality of education provided at the school.

There are approximately 450 students in kindergarten to Grade 5. Students’ countries of origin include Canada and numerous other countries worldwide. This diversity in experiences, language and ethnic backgrounds brings a great richness to the school.

The school has a professional staff of 30, a Educational Assistant staff of 22, a clerical staff of two, a Library Tech, 2  Numeracy Facilitators, a Community Connector, a lunch program staff and a custodial staff of 4.

The School as a Safe and Secure Place

John de Graff School adheres to the River East Transcona School Division Code of Conduct.

The core of the behaviour strategies at John de Graff is the belief that as a community of learners, it is our societal obligation to model, teach, and practice the broad concepts of moral intelligence. These include: empathy, conscience, self-control, fairness, kindness, tolerance (celebrating diversity) and respect. These values are the foundation of everything we do in the school. Both home and school are keys to helping to develop resilient children.

There are clearly defined expectations for student behaviour and these are included in our Matrix of Positive Expectations. Appropriate behaviours are taught for all the areas of the school and reviewed regularly. Unacceptable behavior is followed up on with verbal reminders, modeling, logical consequences .

Serious behaviours or students who are not changing their behaviours in an appropriate way are documented using a behaviour tracking form. The form outlines the details of the incident and an appropriate intervention/support is implemented.  A phone call home/ a follow-up response may be made regarding the incident. The form is kept and the data compiled over the year. This data is used to assist in the analysis of problem areas or times and to identify long term problems that need further intervention and support. The teaching is based around the moral intelligences and the behaviour grid.

 Teachers at John de Graff create learning communities where students become responsible for their behavior, develop social skills and are successful with their learning. Positive behavior helps children feel safe, cared for and supported.


John de Graff School is an English track school that offers all of the required courses of study for an English program as authorized by Manitoba Education (ME), as well as programs sanctioned by the River East Transcona School Division. These programs include:

·         English Language Arts

·         Mathematics

·         Science

·         Social Studies

·         Physical Education

·         Health

·         Music

·         Art

·         Basic French (Gr. 4 - 5)

Reading Recovery- John de Graff School has a Reading Recovery Program.  Reading Recovery is an effective early literacy program, designed to dramatically reduce the number of students with reading and writing difficulties. The goal is to accelerate achievement levels for the lowest achieving students in grade one. Students in Reading Recovery have, in addition to classroom instruction, daily individual teaching. On-going data collection and analysis show that most of these students maintain their gains when literacy programming continues.

Resource- The role of the resource teachers at John de Graff School is to collaborate with classroom teachers to support a community of learners within the school and the classroom. All students have opportunities to learn in a safe supportive and caring environment, an environment where students who have learning problems are given instruction and  opportunities to succeed, where students’ strengths are recognized and weaknesses acknowledged and appropriate strategies taught to compensate for the areas of weakness.  Resource teachers also work with EAL (English as an Additional Language) students to enhance English language acquisition.

Counselling- Our School Counsellor works with individual students, groups of students and families to support student learning and development in areas of problem solving, conflict resolution, development of positive peer relationships and goal setting for behavior and learning. The Counsellor and the Resource Teachers work collaboratively to support students’ success.

Library and Inquiry Based Learning- The library is an important resource for the school. Students have opportunities to listen to interesting books being read, learn about authors and illustrators and appreciate literature. Students are also taught information literacy skills and are challenged to improve their reading selections.  During the year the classroom teachers and the teacher-librarian collaborate in planning, teaching and assessing units from the curriculum through an inquiry-based learning (IBL) process.  This process develops students’ information literacy skills, technology skills, and reading and writing of non-fiction. 

Phys. Ed- Children in Kindergarten to Grade 5 are provided with an active physical education program.  Morning, recess and lunch hour activities/clubs may include:  fitness games, cross country running, soccer, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, curling, folk dancing and jump rope.  As well, there are several Divisional Events throughout the year that our students participate in.  The focus of the physical education program is to encourage skill development, fitness and fair play. 

Music- Students receive a music program that stresses music literacy and appreciation.  Through a variety of elementary music education methods students are taught music using several media: creativity / improvisation, movement, playing of pitched / non-pitched instruments and singing. 

Lunch Program- There is a Lunch program that operates daily for students in Gr. 1 to 5 to have the opportunity to stay at school for lunch. The Lunch Program Coordinator manages the registration, organization and payments for this program.

Dawn and Dusk- This is the Day Care that operates out of John de Graff School- before and after school. It is for the use of families requiring this care for their children that attend the school. There is also a Kindercare  Program available for John de Graff Kindergarten children. The space in these programs is limited, so parents are encouraged to contact the Dawn and Dusk Director for further information.

Student Assessment

Each classroom teacher regularly sends subject and activity information home. Student assessment is ongoing throughout the school year. These assessments provide both students and parents with information about the students’ progress towards meeting the curriculum outcomes of learning and skill development as well as personal and social development. Assessment is used to inform instruction and celebrate learning successes.

Assessment for learning includes teacher observations, classroom guided practice,  discussions, group activities and projects, individual work and homework assignments, quizzes, and oral and written presentations that inform teachers of student progress and helps students improve their skills.

Assessment of learning includes student products and written tests. It also includes observations and conversations. This information is used for feedback to students and for formal reports about student performance. Students also reflect on their learning, set goals and help to develop criteria for learning.

 The school participates in the provincial Grade 3 assessment. The data is shared with Grade 3 parents in October and conferences to discuss the data are available to parents. The data is analyzed at the school level in order to help individual children and to inform the instruction practices for all students.

 Student progress is regularly communicated to parents by telephone, notes, or interviews and both teachers and parents are encouraged to have contact whenever necessary to discuss student learning. Report cards are sent home three times a year: November, March and June.  Parent-teacher-student conferences are held at the November and March reporting periods. Students share portfolios of their work at these times.

School Plan

The annual school plan has three  priority areas for 2017-18:


The Writing and Reading Connection and Assessment and the continuatuin of our Regie Routman Writing Project




Math Numeracy Development across the grades and interventions for support.

Our Students

Wherever possible and appropriate, staff include students in the planning and participation of school activities.

Our students are involved in leadership, clubs and activities. Moral intelligences provide an environment that is safe and caring and our students flourish.

The students are also involved in street, kindergarten and bus patrols, assisting with the milk program and the Green Team, Grade 5 Leadership, Technology Leadership, and Cross Grade Reading Buddies and Kindergarten.

The staff encourage students to express their opinions/concerns and discuss ideas to make the classrooms and playground  a positive community. All teachers provide a wide range of activities that are designed to meet the learning needs of students. Art, writing  and other projects are displayed in the classroom, in the hallway or through formal presentations

Parents in the School

Parents are invited to the school on numerous occasions throughout the year. Some of these include, Kindergarten Open House, Parent-Teacher-Student interviews regarding assessment, assemblies, concerts, learning evenings and Our Book Fair. Visitors to the school are welcome, but need to check in at the office upon arrival.

Communication between teachers and parents takes many forms. The student agenda book is a tool in which students record assignments and information about school, and both parents and teachers can communicate with each other. In addition, teachers phone parents and parents are encouraged to call the teachers with comments, concerns, updates and questions. At the end of each of the first two reporting periods, all parents are invited to meet with teachers to share information about their child’s progress. Notes about class activities or special events are communicated with parents through letters home. General information about the school is sent home through the newsletter.

John de Graff has an active parent advisory council. This group meets once per month and supports the school through discussions, special projects, purchase of extra resources, running our lunch program and special hot lunch days for students, and support of school events. All parents are invited to participate in our PAC.

Our Community Connector provides services and activities that help to further connect home and school. These include the registration and organization of volunteers, Family Evenings, "Preschool Play and Stay" times and Literacy Programs.

Writing Project

This is the fifth year that John de Graff will be participating in a writing project for non-fiction writing. This is a collaboration with the RETSD divisional support, Regie Routman and Nancy McLean (literacy coaches). The goals of the project are:

  • students' sustained engagement in writing
  • improved sophistication in writing products throughout the grades
  • reading/writing connections to improve reading comprehension
  • clarity with wrting  teacher professional learning

For More Information

Principal:                                                Mrs. Margaret Fair                                204-669-1280

Vice-Principal:                                       Mrs. Rachel Reyes                                 204-669-1280

Parent Advisory Council Chair:           Mrs. Susanne Kilbrei                            204-669-1280

Lunch Program Coordinator:              Mrs. Susanne Kilbrei                            204-669-1280