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About our School

École Robert H. Smith School is an elementary dual-track school with approximately 470 students.

The English program has classes from Nursery to grade 6 with 35% and the French Immersion track has classes from kindergarten to grade 6 with 65% of the total population. Thirty minutes of French is taught in grades 4 – 6 in the English program. Conversational French is also taught from kindergarten to grade three for 20 minutes per day. Special education students are integrated into the regular classrooms. The staff consists of 27 teachers, 10 teacher assistants, 2 clerks and 3 custodians.

Complementing our academic program are well-developed music, physical education, computer, art, Conversational and Basic French. We also have a variety of activities such as winter concert, a musical production, honour choir, Music Festival,  le Concours d’Art Oratoire and Division Speech Competition, Mad Science, soccer and volleyball tournaments, speed skating, Bridge the Gap (Special Olympics), running club, Jump Rope for Heart, track meets, Terry Fox Run, outdoor education, Learning Fair,  Heritage Fair and Book Buddies. Students in the upper elementary levels are provided with leadership opportunities by conducting the morning announcements, being student secretaries over the lunch hour, leading the rest of the school student body through our various at school special days, Babysitting Course, patrols and student-led assemblies. The Green Team (Recycling) is run by the grade 3/4 students. ,
Our school is centrally located in tree-lined River Heights, a well established neighborhood in the heart of the City of Winnipeg.

Bienvenue à l’école Robert H. Smith, qui se trouve au centre du quartier de River Heights à Winnipeg.

Nous avons plus de 470 élèves de la prématernelle jusqu’à la sixième année. Nous offrons le programme d’immersion française, le français de base ainsi que le programme anglais. Nous vous invitons de consulter notre site et de nous communiquer vos commentaires.
Enjoy our website and please feel free to contact us.

T. Rossi – Principal
C. Warnke – Vice Principal
Phone #: (204) 488-1137
Fax#: (204) 487-1463
Call Back# 488-1139
Public Health Nurse Judy Westdal 938-5108

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scholdRobert H. Smith School was named after Robert Huston Smith (1875 – 1926) secretary-treasurer of The Winnipeg School Division No. 1 for 20 years. However, it was not the school’s only name.

During construction, from 1919 through 1920, it was known as Oak Street School. The building opened in 1920 as River Heights School, housing Grades 1 through 8. In 1926, it was renamed to honor Robert Huston Smith, the secretary-treasurer of the school division.

The Robert H. Smith School was built by the Sutherland Construction Company. Colonel Mitchell was the architect. The one-story solid brick building contained 8 rooms. It was built at a cost of $56,996. Due to an increase in population and the size of many classes, an addition of a 2-story structure was made to the school in 1929 at a cost of $118,931. This included a hall for physical training and other school activities. The contractor was R. Sigurdson and the architect was Northwood & Chivers. The style of the building was “Modern-Gothic”.

Following the construction in 1929 of the south two-story addition, the school became River Heights Junior High School, for Grades 7-9, in addition to Grades 1 and 2. At this time Capt. Wilkinson was the principal in charge. The school was a junior high until 1954 when it was switched back to an elementary school.

In 1982, Principal Dale Scott informed the students and staff that the school was unsafe and they would be attending nearby schools. The school was closed indefinitely due to a cracking foundation and fears of a natural gas explosion. The teachers and students of Robert H. Smith School were relocated in the neighbouring schools – Queenston, Grosvenor, Carpathia and Rockwood Schools – retained their identity as Robert H. Smith School, confident of their eventual return to Kingsway and Oak. Estimated costs for the underpinning and refurbishing of the school were $600,000. The school board considered closing the school, but the community rallied behind parent leaders to press for their school’s reopening. And reopen it did in September 1983, when after major structural improvements, Robert H. became dual-track, English-French, with K to 6 English and K to 2 French immersion. Mr. Jack Offman was the new principal.

The school has continued to develop. In 1984, a nursery school class opened for four year olds. In addition, the French Immersion track has grown to include K-6. This was made possible with the addition of 5 portable classrooms. However, due to additional structural difficulties and lack of space, it became necessary to construct a new school. In April 1992, we said farewell to the old school. On the 73rd anniversary of Robert H. Smith School, a farewell heritage tea and fashion show was held at the school. Nearly 700 people attended the tea and toured the memorabilia rooms which were organized to reflect each era at Robert H. Smith.

In 1991, a new school was begun on the playground of the old school. The new entrance was to be located on Oak Street rather that Kingsway Avenue, thus necessitating the change in address to 315 Oak Street. The school was built by Central Canadian Structures. The architectural company was IKOY. During the summer of 1992, the old Robert H. Smith School was torn down and the area became soccer and baseball fields. The entrance to the new salmon and gold striped building retains the curved entrance style that graced the old building. In June 1992, the furniture from the old building was moved into the new building and in September 1992, school was begun in the new building. The school population has continued to grow and we now have 460 students, 28 teachers, 6 teacher assistants and 2 administrators. In 1996, the nursery program was changed to an 8 month program which has continued until 2005-06 school year. In 2006-07, a full 10 month nursery program was reinstated.

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roberthROBERT HUSTON SMITH (1875-1926)

Robert Huston Smith was born on April 21, at Goderich, Ontario in 1875. When he was very young, his parents moved to Winnipeg. He received all his education in the Winnipeg schools and in 1893 he entered the services of the Winnipeg School Board as assistant to Major Stewart Mulvey who was at that time Secretary-Treasurer.

In 1907 when Major Mulvey retired, the very popular R. H. (Bob) Smith was appointed to succeed him. “In this capacity having been trained by the first secretary- treasurer of the first Winnipeg School Board, Mr. Smith formed a link between the time when Winnipeg had one school, one teacher, and thirty-four pupils, and the time, 1926, when there were nine hundred seventy-two teachers and more than forty thousand pupils attending seventy schools.” With this tremendous growth Mr. Smith’s duties grew accordingly. “In addition to retaining grasp of the financial matters which increased from modest proportions to almost ten million dollars, he was among the first to advocate improvements for the good of teachers and pupils. He had the faculty of winning the confidence of both the Board and the teachers.

His interests were many and varied. He was secretary of the Winnipeg Teachers’ Retirement Fund; he was business manager of the Western School Journal, and vice- president of the Winnipeg School Masters’ Club. His services for all of these were voluntary. His interest in the teachers of the city and the confidence which they had in him were shown by his official connection with the Manitoba Educational Association and the Winnipeg Teachers’ Association. He was a charter member of the Canadian Club and honorary treasurer from 1906 to 1909; and honorary secretary from 1910 to 1916.

During the Club’s formative years no one did more than “Bobbie Smith” to promote its interest, to increase its membership, and to keep it true to its ideals. Mr. Smith was also keenly interested in sports. He was father of the Boys’ Lacrosse League in the public schools and for many years he was the moving spirit in the game that was so popular at that time.

At the time of Mr. Smith’s very sudden death in August 1926, the School Board placed on record this tribute to their very capable Secretary-Treasurer: “The Board recorded the sense of great loss sustained in the death of the late Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. Robert H. Smith – a loss falling not merely upon the schools which he served with efficiency and loyalty, but also upon the community at large, in which he played the part of a public-spirited and unselfish citizen.”

As a personal word, Mr. A. E. Bowles acting Chairman on behalf of the Board had this to say – “The School Board Offices will not seem the same. His long period of faithful service, his assistance to the members of the Board, his unfailing courtesy, his thoroughness and unquestionable integrity made him not only an efficient official, but a friend to whom all could turn for assistance. I venture to say Mr. Smith could count as his friend every person in any way connected with the schools of Winnipeg. I do not believe may citizens can fully realize his efficiency and the loss Winnipeg has sustained. I regret his passing more than I can say.”

The School which now bears Mr. Smith’s name was started in 1919 and opened in the autumn of 1920. Its original name was River Heights Junior High School. This name was changed to Robert H. Smith shortly after Mr. Smith’s death in 1926.