Welcome to Ralph Bell

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Classes will be in session once again at Ralph Bell Elementary when it reopens its doors as a kindergarten to grade 7 school on September 6, 2022.

Originally opened in 1961, Ralph Bell Elementary in Valleyview was one of five Kamloops schools that closed in 2010 due to declining enrolment. With enrolment now climbing and many schools at or over capacity, the Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education voted to reopen the school in June 2021.

The new Ralph Bell Elementary catchment includes Juniper West, west of Galore Drive, including future development areas in Juniper West, the Trail Side development in Juniper West, and the area west of Vicars Road, Rose Hill, and Sun Rivers. The new catchment change eases the enrolment pressure at Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary and provides for balanced operational capacity at all three schools (see a map of new catchment area here)

Classes will be in session once again at Ralph Bell Elementary when it reopens its doors as a kindergarten to grade 7 school on September 6, 2022.

Originally opened in 1961, Ralph Bell Elementary in Valleyview was one of five Kamloops schools that closed in 2010 due to declining enrolment. With enrolment now climbing and many schools at or over capacity, the Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education voted to reopen the school in June 2021.

The new Ralph Bell Elementary catchment includes Juniper West, west of Galore Drive, including future development areas in Juniper West, the Trail Side development in Juniper West, and the area west of Vicars Road, Rose Hill, and Sun Rivers. The new catchment change eases the enrolment pressure at Juniper Ridge Elementary and Marion Schilling Elementary and provides for balanced operational capacity at all three schools (see a map of new catchment area here)

  • Meet the Ralph Bell Staff

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    The roster for Ralph Bell staff is finally complete! Meet the RB staff:

    Tiffany Hawkins (principal)

    Donna Rein (teacher librarian)

    Kelly Kirby (admin assistant)

    Michelle Marinelli (library assistant)

    Megan Poole (teacher)

    Tina Dagleish (LART)

    Ashlea Davey (teacher)

    Brooke Fichtner (CEA)

    Sharon Parker (teacher)

    Danielle Marchant (CEA)

    Zita Thompson (teacher)

    Ashly Vicars (CEA)

    Lisa Pehowich (teacher)

    Cora-Lee Wilie (CEA)

    Kim Bojesen (teacher)

    Connie Wenzel (day custodian)

    Karen Hill (teacher)

    Randy Seymour (night custodian)

    Gord Hohensee (prep teacher)



  • Bus Schedule - Juniper West to Ralph Bell

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    Morning Pick-Up

    Location

    Afternoon Drop Off


    Ralph Bell Elementary

    Leaves 2:46 PM

    Leaves 7:46 AM

    Skeena Dr. @ Coldwater (city bus stop)

    Arrives 2:56 PM

    Leaves 7:48 AM

    Juniper West Park

    Arrives 2:57 PM

    Leaves 7:49 AM

    Emerald Dr. @ Pathway

    Arrives 2:59 PM

    Arrives 8:00 AM

    Ralph Bell Elementary

    Leaves 3:08 PM

    Leaves 8:07 AM

    Qu’Appelle @ Highland (Juniper Store)

    Arrives 3:15 PM

    Leaves 8:08 AM

    East Galore @ Mailboxes

    Arrives 3:16 PM

    Leaves 8:09 AM

    Galore Cres. @ Pathway

    Arrives 3:17 PM

    Leaves 8:10 AM

    West Galore Cres. & Qu’Appelle Blvd

    Arrives 3:18 PM

    Leaves 8:11 AM

    Juniper West Dog Park

    Arrives 3:19 PM

    Arrives 8:20 AM

    Ralph Bell Elementary


    Please note: a bus safety orientation session for all students will be arranged in early September 2022.

    Parents will receive a postcard in the mail from SD73 Transportation in August confirming bus transportation details. If you have questions about the proposed bus routes, please contact Sherry Kristjanson by email or call 250-372-5853.

  • Summer updates

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    Mascot
    The final aspects of the mascot are being put together. We will be asking families for their input in the next couple of weeks to choose the final design. Keep an eye out for an email!

    September 15
    Please add this date to your calendars. We are going to be having a BBQ for our families on the evening of September 15.

    Kindergarten Parents
    The Gradual Entry schedule is being mailed out this week. If you do not receive a schedule by July 21, please email thawkins@sd73.bc.ca for a copy.

  • Children and Families Benefit from New Accessible Playgrounds

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    Students at Ralph Bell and Heffley Creek Elementary Schools will be able to play on new accessible playgrounds in the coming year.

    Each school will receive a new, accessible playground based on universal design principles to make sure they are inclusive for all elementary-aged students regardless of ability.

    Valued at $165,000 each, the playgrounds are two of 30 ministry-funded playgrounds in 24 school districts throughout B.C.

    Read the District release here and the Ministry release here.

  • Ralph Bell Principal Announced

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    I am pleased to announce that effective April 6, 2022, Tiffany Hawkins will be the principal for Ralph Bell Elementary.

    Currently the principal at Barriere Elementary, Mrs. Hawkins has been an educator for 17 years, including six years in school leadership. Known for her strong commitment to working with Indigenous stakeholders, Mrs. Hawkins brings both rural and urban school leadership experience, including leading a school with similar enrollment to Ralph Bell’s projected enrollment.

    Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Hawkins as the leader of Ralph Bell Elementary. She is eager to begin the work of ensuring students and staff are well supported as they transition to the reopened Ralph Bell Elementary this September.

    Grant Reilly,
    Assistant Superintendent, Early Learning and Elementary Education

  • How to Build a Library: Ralph Bell Edition

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    What goes into creating a library space? The answer is a lot more than just books!

    With the re-opening of Ralph Bell Elementary School slated for September 2022, the District’s Library Learning Commons team has been working hard to ensure the space is ready to welcome brand new students.

    Beginning in the Fall of 2021, Art McDonald, Director of Maintenance, and Andrea Wallin, District Library Learning Commons Coordinator, toured and measured the Ralph Bell library space. Following many sketches and consultations with a multitude of groups such as IT, Maintenance, Purchasing, District library staff, students, coordinators, the Aboriginal Department, and provincial library leaders, the innovative design for the Ralph Bell space was complete.

    The collective goal was to “create a library learning commons that becomes the heart of the school,” said Wallin. “A physical and virtual learning hub which plays a leading role in designing learning experiences to nurture all literacies, fostering an active reading culture.”

    In order to facilitate the environment, library furniture was thoughtfully selected by various suppliers – Canadian whenever possible – featuring mostly natural materials with some colorful accents. The use of flexible furniture which can be easily moved and reconfigured is important to provide functional workspaces for students and classes. These include bookshelves and benches on castors, as well as adjustable stools.

    Equally as important as designing a learning space to support instructional excellence is developing a collection aligned with the BC Curriculum that reflects cultural diversity, points of view, and equity. “Stories of other people’s lives can impact our own by helping us better understand our world,” said Wallin. “In books, learners can see characters and themes that reflect their identities and experiences.”

    Wallin and the District’s Library Learning Commons team spent months planning, evaluating, selecting, purchasing, receiving, processing, and cataloguing thousands of picture books, graphic novels, comics, fiction, information books, and reference materials. In addition to print resources, the Ralph Bell Library Learning Commons will provide students and staff access to e-audiobooks, e-books, and district-subscribed digital research databases.

    Some additional design features that aim to support the teaching of 21st century learning skills included in the Ralph Bell library plans are:

    • Presentation space with audio/visual capabilities
    • Access to technology for important tech integration teaching and learning (ie. chromebook cart and chromebooks, digital databases, library catalog access 24/7)
    • Production and maker areas (green screen, Lego, and loose parts)
    • Light table and loose parts to encourage the development of a wide range of skills
    • Puzzles and games to promote collaboration
    • Listening centers to help learners access books in audio formats


    Soon the Ralph Bell Library Learning Commons will begin taking shape. Over the next weeks and months, furniture will be delivered and crews will start working on flooring, electrical, carpentry, painting, and installation of technology. All books will be ready to be delivered, unpacked, and shelved by the end of the summer, just in time to fall into the hands of eager learners.

  • Who was Ralph Bell?

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    As a new four-room school on Valleyview Drive was nearing completion, a well-liked and long-serving principal was getting ready to retire from Lloyd George Elementary. Ralph Bell was retiring after 47 years with School District 24. On June 3, 1961, W. Tennant, Chair of the Board of Trustees wrote,

    On this occasion which marks your retirement, may we, the Board, express on behalf of the whole District, our appreciation of the service which you have rendered to the young people of our community. No doubt other teachers have taught for 47 years, I am sure that not one of them has made his profession a truly full time occupation to the extent that you have done.

    It is our hope that your retirement will be pleasant and that before you leave Kamloops you will assist in the formal opening of the school which will be named in your honour.

    Boom Baby Boom

    Like now, School District 24 was faced with growing student enrolment in 1960. So many students were moving to the region that four elementary schools were opened in 1961: Arthur Stevenson, Rayleigh, Bert Edwards, and Ralph Bell.

    In the Annual Report to the Board ending October 31, 1961, Chair Tennant reported that besides the four schools that had been completed, additions were underway on Dallas Elementary, George Hilliard (temporary home to Parkcrest Elementary), and John Peterson (now Kamloops School of the Arts).

    1961 vs 2022

    When Ralph Bell originally opened, the cost to build the four-room school was $50,000. The operating and capital costs for the entire district was $2.6 million for 6,459 students.

    Fast forward to 2021, the District’s annual budget is $211 million for nearly 16,000 students.

    To reopen Ralph Bell for the 2022-2023 school year, the estimated one-time capital cost to bring it up to standards, similar to Westsyde Elementary which reopened in 2019, is $759,000. In addition, another $464,000 in annual operating costs is projected. That money will cover various staffing positions, plus the cost of busing some former Juniper Ridge Elementary students to Ralph Bell as part of catchment area changes.




  • Progress Report: Ralph Bell Re-opening

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    When school starts this fall, elementary students and staff will once again fill the halls and classrooms of Ralph Bell Elementary. While that may seem like some months away, preparation is already underway to get the 10 room, 26,330 square foot space ready for the 200 students and their teachers.

    The principal for Ralph Bell is expected to be announced in mid-March. In the meantime, District staff are compiling student lists, identifying new bus stops, and meeting with the principals at Juniper Ridge and Marion Schilling to ensure the best support is in place for students transitioning to new schools.

    “It takes teamwork and mutual support to build excitement in a community and to support the re-opening of a school or the transitioning of communities into new catchment areas,” Superintendent Rhonda Nixon said in her opening remarks to the committee when they met for a progress update on February 7, 2022.

    And there is a lot to be excited about. Each fixture, desk, and book at Ralph Bell will be brand new. Library materials have been ordered and the collection includes picture books and novels. The same materials you would find in any other elementary school will be on the shelves at Ralph Bell.

    Even the library shelves and computers will be new as preparing Ralph Bell is the top priority for the District’s Maintenance and Information Technology Departments. Maintenance has begun painting and renovating the six rooms that have been vacated. The flooring, lockers, roll shutters, partitions, doors, and hardware have been ordered. IT has ordered servers, client machines, and will have the internet infrastructure in the school by the end of February.

Page last updated: 06 Jul 2022, 01:00 PM