May 26, 2016
Tonight was our last meeting of the 2015-2016 school year. Catherine called the meeting to order. There were 15 people in attendance, including two Leadership students who came to make a presentation. There was no translator available due to a last-minute cancellation. We apologized for this problem.
Grade Six students Jacob and Tristan made a presentation about two major projects for Prince Street School. The Leadership team successfully applied for funding for a Health and Wellness project to install Buddy Benches in the schoolyard. If a student feels lonely, sad, or left out, they will be able to sit on the Buddy Bench and a member of the Leadership team will come to spend time with them. They have the benches built now (by students at Bluefield School) and will paint them next week. There will be one bench in the front and one in back. The other big project is that there was a visit from Atlantic Circus School, and next year, there will be a circus club at Prince Street! One of the Grade Five students who learned circus skills submitted a written report about their learning and their plan for next year. Jacob and Tristan read her report. The Home and School members congratulated Jacob and Tristan for the tremendous accomplishments of the leadership team.
Spring Fling, our annual neighbourhood festival, will take place next Friday, June 3rd, from 5:30 to 7:30. There will be set-up happening all afternoon, and anyone who is able to come is welcome to come as early as possible at the end of the school day. We are still really lacking for volunteers – neighbours, friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles are all welcome. There will be a volunteer check-in table on the evening of the event with a volunteer coordinator to direct traffic!
There will be a set-up meeting on Thursday evening, June 2nd, at 6:30 p.m. for those who can make it.
Catherine listed some of the games, foods, and events that are confirmed for the evening.
Donations welcome for 1) the bake sale; 2) the book sale – children’s books only, please; and 3) small toys for the fish pond.
Donations accepted in the office up to a half-hour before the event.
There will also be need of help for clean-up after 7:30.
Catherine handed out cake mixes for people to make a couple of cakes for the Cake Walk game.
Principal Erin will need a list of room requests and needs and she and staff will help ensure rooms are set up. Catherine will provide tickets to Erin for distribution by Mr. Stanley for students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to take part.
There are two volunteers with a truck who will help with the truck-reliant set-up.
Catherine is looking into the cost for totes for storing Spring Fling stuff in a more organized way. She is also looking into costs for signs to put on the street corners and for a banner to replace the one that work out last year..
Erin noted that if the Environment-a-thon is moved to the rain date (Friday, the same day as the Spring Fling), set-up can be earlier because the school will be empty in the afternoon.
There is a new email address for getting in touch with Home and School about Spring Fling or other ideas or issues: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This email address will carry over to next year.
NEXT YEAR’S EXECUTIVE: VOTING
There are President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer roles, though there are other roles that help support the Home and School in many ways.
Ramona Doyle has offered to continue as Vice-President. Catherine called for nominations. There being none, she moved nomination of Ramona. Heather seconded. Carried.
Jane Ledwell has offered to continue as Secretary. Catherine called for nominations. Catherine called for nominations. There being none, she moved nomination of Jane. Kristy seconded. Carried.
Heather MacEwen offered to continue as Treasurer. Catherine called for nominations. Catherine called for nominations. There being none, she moved nomination of Heather. Joanne seconded. Carried.
Kristy Bishop will continue to be a signing officer for the Home and School bank account and considered a member of the executive (at large). Catherine moved this and Heather seconded. Carried.
There were no volunteers to be President or Co-Presidents. Catherine offered to attend the first meeting in the fall and to help mentor the incoming President. Over the summer, we’ll look for a President or Co-Presidents – or, failing that, we’ll ask people to take responsibility to lead specific tasks, such as organizing a family fun night or coordinating Spring Fling. This is a model that has worked at other schools when they had trouble getting volunteers.
Heather said that she was very proud to go to a tournament with the Prince Street Chess Club. There is great potential to build on what has begun with the Chess Club! A few of the newcomer parents would be interested in coaching. Heather and her partner Richard will help coordinate next steps in the fall with support from Erin and the school.
Vice-Principal Kelly reiterated that the visit from the Atlantic Circus School was very, very fun learning, and that next year they might launch the year with Grade Fours.
Erin reported that the Environment-a-thon fundraiser is going on right now. There are lots of wonderful prizes. If the $5,000 fundraising goal is reached, Mr. Brown will be Principal for the Day and has special events and ice cream planned. If the school raises $8,000 he also gets to throw a pie in Erin’s face, too.
End of year trips are similar to past years and are now confirmed. Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 are going to Shining Waters on Tuesday, June 21, with a rain date of the 22nd. Grades 1 and 2 are going to Rustico Beach on June 22, with a rain date of 24th. Kindergarten classes are going for a picnic day in a city park on June 23, with a rain date of the 24th.
The school’s Sports Day is June 17th, rain date of the 20th. Intramural banquet (kids only) is June 24th.
Volunteer appreciation day/week will be different this year. Rather than have an assembly that many volunteers can’t make it to, kids will deliver the recognition to them personally when they are volunteering in the school.
Home and School offers an award at year-end for a staff member. Heather will follow up with Laura Bird about what happened last year and what needs to happen for this year.
Home and School offers four dozen cupcakes for Grade Six graduation, along with juice boxes. The Home and School had instituted an award in the name of Terry MacIsaac when he finished his time at Prince Street. This $100 award would best be given to the Leadership Team for their use, now that there is a Leadership team doing humanitarian projects.
Jane asked Kelly how the Grade 5s are feeling about their amazing video project. Kelly said they are very proud and excited. They presented the video at the ArtsSmarts exhibition at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery – and since then they have had emails about what a great job the presenters did. Jane attended the exhibit opening and said it was wonderful and the presenters did an excellent job representing Prince Street. Here's the video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRspJeGBlZk
Erin said staffing allocation for next year arrived just this afternoon, and it can’t be reported on yet but is in hand for Erin and Kelly to make decisions for the coming season.
Track and field events took place recently and jerseys look terrific!
Home and School members thanked Catherine Nicholson very much for all her work over the year as President! Congratulations to her son Thomas for graduating from Grade Six this year.
Prince Street Home and School
April 14, 2016
There were 16 people present at the meeting. Catherine called the meeting to order at 6:30. The main item on the agenda was planning for the Spring Fling. Student Prabin provided translation into Nepali. Parent Dima provided translation into Arabic.
Chairperson Catherine Nicholson started us off with a welcome and round table of introductions.
Principal Erin Johnston gave a verbal report.
The school has been celebrating each of the words in the school motto. April is “C” month: Caring is the theme, and there will be a “caring” themed assembly on the diversity celebration day next week.
Next Friday, April 22nd, we will celebrate Diversity Day at Prince Street with food, activities, music, dance, and an assembly. (This event replaces the International Dinner that used to take place in years past.)
There will be a spring concert in May for choir, recorder, and other musical performances. It will take place during the day. Parents of students who are involved will be invited.
Coming soon will be the Environment-a-thon community cleanup fundraiser. The dates will be set for late in May. In past years, this has raised $8,000 or more, and had great prizes for students. It is also a great community event. And last year, Erin kissed a goat. The Grade One class challenged Erin that if the school raised $8,000, she would kiss a goat. And she did.
We’ve had some staffing changes in the last while. Ms. MacKinnon in Grade Five has gone on a maternity leave and her replacement has begun. Steve Connor has joined us as a new EA to help support new students with special needs who have joined the school. Ms. MacFarlane is on medical leave for a period of time, and her replacement while she is on leave is Megan Grant.
Erin and Kelly have made their proposal for staffing for next year and hope to have the staffing allocation confirmed by the end of this month to begin planning for next year.
Last week, there was a pyjama day to raise funds for Easter Seals, and yesterday the Easter Seals Ambassador visited the school for a lovely assembly.
Tomorrow, there is no school for students. It is a school effectiveness day, where there is professional development within the school, based on the priorities set by the school. Prince Street will be working with a literacy coach to develop and learn about the writing workshop model and how that can be used more effectively in classrooms.
Every school in the province is getting wireless (wifi). Planning for how it will be installed in our school has taken place, and Kelly and Erin will meet to consult about devices, since there will be brand-new devices in the entire school. Every teacher will have a new laptop computer and the computer lab will be completely stripped of old computers. Chromebooks will be available on carts so there is a travelling computer lab, with the devices taken to where the students need them rather than students going to the lab. The hope is for all the plans to be completed by the end of June, then the intention is to have everything in place for the beginning of school in September.
The ArtsSmarts project Kelly Gillis applied for and that is being led by Grade Five is almost complete. The project was to create a video about the Prince Street values, and the final product is getting ready to be unveiled next week! The goal is for the day of the assembly for it to be launched on YouTube and shared on Facebook. One of the pieces the Grade Fives who are coordinating this are working on is learning about using social media and generating hits. This is part of their learning about persuasive writing. Look for the video on social media and YouTube on April 22.
It has been a great year for the Leadership group in Grade Six. They have begun mentoring Grade Fives into the program. They took part in the Play Academy, a leadership training program, for a day and were extremely proud. The group applied for a grant themselves around healthy lifestyles, and they are going to prepare a presentation for the Home and School and gain some feedback from us. Their plan is to present to us in May. They were one of five schools in the province to get the grant.
Prince Street tee-shirts were such a big hit that there will be sweatshirts available and long-sleeve tee-shirts. An order form will go out next week. The sweaters are pricier, but there were lots of requests for sweatshirts. There is no obligation to buy shirts.
The dental check-up clinic was here this month. A parent noted that her child was treated before she gave consent. Erin will look into that.
Kevin Atkins, long-time bus driver, retired recently. He has been part of this school community a long time.
The week before March break we celebrated French Week in the school. Mr. Brown led the school-wide activities throughout the week.
During the March break, Trinity Clifton United Church held its annual pancake breakfast to support the school breakfast program, and the church donated a significant cheque. They are great ongoing supporters!
We have 32 students registered for kindergarten for next year, which is two classes. There will be an Early Years Evaluation assessment in the school, then Welcome to Kindergarten on May 12, then Friday, May 27 will be the day the incoming kindergarten class comes into the school. (Current kindergarten students will have no school that day.)
Kathy Kiley who is a Grade Six teacher is the coordinator of the breakfast program at the school. There are many tasks related to coordinating this program. She will be on leave from September to December next year. In order for our breakfast program to continue next year, we will need a volunteer to coordinate. The coordinator can be either a staff member or volunteer.
This is a very important program for our school community. In some schools, the Home and School coordinates this program, so Erin wanted to let us know what was coming up. Coordinating is a big job but not a hard job. If there’s someone interested, please let Erin know. This will need to be decided soon so that we can ensure the continuation of the program.
There are adequate numbers of committed volunteers who turn up on a regular basis. More volunteers and new volunteers are always welcome! There were questions about the timing and flow of volunteer tasks for the breakfast program, answered by school staff and volunteers.
CROSSING GUARD AWARD & BUS DRIVER OF THE YEAR AWARD
There are two awards from the Home and School Federation this year: one for a crossing guard and one for a bus driver.
The group decided to prepare Prince Street nominations for each of these awards. Catherine took notes about who to approach for letters of support for our nominations.
The deadlines are coming up May 13.
There was a suggestion of someone from the Prince Street community to nominate for a future Volunteer of the Year Award.
We will need to have another meeting just about the Spring Fling in the coming two weeks. The Spring Fling will take place on June 3rd this year, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It is like a carnival for the school and the neighbourhood.
Based on last year’s activities and numbers, we will need many volunteers.
Catherine explained we will need at least one adult to be the volunteer responsible for each activity for the evening. Some of the past activities have been:
• Cake Walk (musical chairs game which requires a dozen cakes as prizes)
• Dunk Tank
• Face Painting (might be possible to hire someone)
• Nail Painting
• Barbecue & Snacks
• Bake Sale
• Fish Pond
• Indoor Games (sucker pull, plinko, ring toss, and so on)
• Bouncy Castle
Catherine asked each person at the meeting tonight to recruit one or two additional volunteers.
There will be a notice going home to invite parents to volunteer. It will list jobs that could be options for people.
It’s hard to make Spring Fling happen unless we have enough people. The more volunteers, the less work for each volunteer and the more people can participate in the activities instead of just working at them.
Catherine is also looking for support on communications tasks for Spring Fling.
Catherine is looking into
• Balloon Animals
• French Cafe
• Cotton Candy
• Selling Tulips or Potted Plants
• Magic Tricks
• Costume Room (costumes and props and take a picture)
In the past we’ve done a silent auction, which is a huge amount of work and which we will take a break from this year. The silent auction works best when there is a particular fundraising project or goal (such as getting funding for playground equipment).
Date for a Spring Fling meeting: Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. Spring Fling will be the only topic.
Catherine had to leave early. She thanked everyone for attending and asked others to report on the final items on the agenda.
PEI HOME AND SCHOOL FEDERATION ANNUAL MEETING UPDATE
Heather reported on the annual meeting.
Catherine, Heather, and Jane represented Prince Street at the provincial annual meeting of the Home and School Federation last week. This was very well attended and was an excellent event. We had not had a Parents of Prince Street meeting in March, so we did not get a chance to discuss the resolutions in person, but there were opportunities to comment on them on Facebook.
Heather said that at the annual meeting, four of the five resolutions passed, a few with small amendments. One was tabled until the fall, pending further research. This was the resolution to have a Teachers’ Professions Act for PEI. There was a lot of interesting discussion on each of the motions, and Heather shared some of what was said.
The Department of Education and/or any other groups that receive the resolutions are responsible to follow up on each of the resolutions put forward by the Home and School Federation.
As part of the day’s events, Catherine and Heather went for a tour of the Fab Lab at UPEI in the new school of sustainable design engineering. This was very rewarding. Jane participated in a workshop led by Gerry Hopkirk to imagine different models of education. The workshop gave participants space to imagine education from the ground up, to imagine an education system as different or similar to the current system as they wished. It was inspiring and it will be interesting to see what ideas and themes came out of the workshop.
ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE
Jane represents Prince Street on the Colonel Gray family of schools District Advisory Council. The next meeting is April 21. Jane would be happy to raise any questions or comments that the Prince Street community has.
The summary of the discussion at the first Colonel Gray District Advisory Council meeting is here:
The highlights from all the District Advisory Councils’ first meetings are here:
GREENING SCHOOL YARDS PROJECT
Ramona reported on this item. There is a grant program through Toyota for schools that want to implement a nature-based learning area for students. The grant would provide $3,500 towards a project. This can be an outdoor classroom area or play area or other project to “green” the yard.
We are planning to put together an application for the September deadline. Ramona has met with the school administration about this. The school has been very supportive and the School Board has said it would also be supportive if they like the site plan.
Ramona said the next step is to meet with landscape architects to see if they would be willing to help and make plans and recommendations from their expertise.
Jane explained that there had been some discussion about progress monitoring at the District Advisory Council, and she knew that Prince Street was using this model but didn’t know much about it. She had asked Catherine to request some more information from Erin to help parents understand this progress monitoring process.
Erin was happy to explain. She said we’re in our first year of progress monitoring at Prince Street. The pilot schools are in year four of applying this process in their schools. Erin said it is excellent and provided an overview of the principles.
There is a provincial curriculum for every subject in every grade. The curriculum lists many outcomes that teachers are expected to cover in every grade. The list of outcomes can be overwhelming for teachers and for students. However, it is clear that some outcomes are more important than others, especially outcomes that get carried to the next grade level and built on for future learning.
Progress monitoring is a way of tracking skills students need to carry from grade to grade in order to achieve success on future outcomes. For each grade level in literacy and math, the progress monitoring process identifies seven to twelve “foundational learnings.” These are the skills that a student needs as a foundation for next-level learning, to be able to build their learning year to year.
While teachers are still required to teach and assess all the outcomes for the curriculum, the progress monitoring process acknowledges that the foundational learnings are the most important.
Progress monitoring changes the way the teachers and the school think about “grades.” The new approach considers the K-9 school journey, and what learning students need to complete and achieve by the end of that journey. Progress monitoring keeps track of students’ progress on the foundational learnings along that journey so that it is possible for each student to look back and identify gaps in foundational learnings and then fill them in.
There is structure and support laid over top of assessment. This creates a shift in mindset for teachers and students and how we identify who needs what specific help. Progress monitoring is focused on how to identify the most important gaps and create a plan to fill in those gaps to get individual students to where they need to be.
Erin used the analogy of learning a skill in hockey. A hockey player in a Midget league may be trying to learn to do a slapshot, and may be struggling. Rather than getting the hockey player to keep trying to make a slapshot again and again using the same approach, a progress monitoring approach would get the coach asking why the hockey player was having trouble by looking at gaps in the foundational skills. Do they know how to hold their stick? Do they know where their feet are supposed to be? Do they know how to skate? Is the stick too long? The player struggling with the snapshot would still stay in Midget level hockey, but coaching would work on filling in the gaps in skills that create barriers to making a slapshot.
Translated into a school environment, what would that mean for a Grade Six student struggling with Grade Six math outcomes? A progress monitoring approach would require the teacher to go back and figure out which foundational learnings the student still needs to meet. Is the problem with a foundational learning from Grade Five? from Grade Four? or even from Grade Three? When the foundational learning gap is identified, the teacher can work with the student to fill in the gap.
Part of what progress monitoring relies on, then, is a continuous record of each student’s foundational learnings that teachers can look back to. Prince Street is in the first year of progress monitoring, so that means we are beginning the start of this record. As each year goes on, the record for each student will grow, and it will be easier to look back. This process is called creating a continuum profile for each student that shows exactly what skills each student has completed for foundational learnings and what gaps they have.
Erin said that in addition to helping students fill gaps when they are not at grade level, there will be opportunities for students who have completed the foundational learnings for their grade level to go beyond and/or to go deeper.
The assessment and record of an individual student’s foundational learnings will be for teachers; it won’t come back to parents directly. However, next year, there will be a new report card format based on progress monitoring that will share information with parents in a new way. The progress monitoring process will also change some of the understandings around “promotion” and “placement” (related to meeting grade level expectations), but that will not be in place next year. Under progress monitoring, students stay with their age-level peers for the most part, but progress monitoring will be in place to allow them to fill in gaps in foundational learnings.
The resources and PD available related to progress monitoring are tremendous. Applying this new mindset is challenging and new, but the results are amazing. It has been a huge learning curve for the school but is well worth it.
A parent asked if cuts to administration positions with the integration of the School Board and Department of Education put progress monitoring in jeopardy. It is not yet know what changes to curriculum delivery within the Department of Education will mean for this process, but there have not been cuts that affect progress monitoring yet. Parents agreed it is a program worth fighting for!
Prince Street Home and School Meeting
February 11, 2016
Catherine welcomed everyone to the meeting. There were 10 people in attendance, including a family that is new to Canada and new to Prince Street School. We offered them a special welcome. Grade Six student Prabin again translated into Nepali.
Erin gave a report on events from the past month.
Gymnastics club is going very well, and there is a competitive gymnastics meet at St. Jean’s school tomorrow.
Tomorrow is the second art blitz of the year. All afternoon, other subjects are suspended and all students will do art. The theme will be Valentine’s Day.
The after-school technology group for Grades Five and Six started today with 18 students. The focus is on computer coding. It will run for six weeks and is being facilitated by teacher volunteers from the community.
Ms. MacKinnon will be leaving soon for a maternity leave. The posting for a teacher to fill that leave will be out soon and hiring will follow.
On February 25 for the “Never Give Up”–themed school assembly, the Island Storm Basketball team will come to the school. The basketball team loves the school, and the school loves them.
Report cards will go out to parents on March 8, and parent-teacher interviews are in the evening on March 10 and in the morning onMarch 11.
An afterschool baseball program run by the Boys and Girls Club and called “spring training” will begin later in the month, after school on Mondays until 4:00 p.m. This is open to Grades Three to Six. Today was the first day for permission slips. Students who wish to sign up can get a permission slip from the office.
The coupon book fundraiser is underway. The order forms have gone home and all parents should have seen them by now. This fundraiser brings in a few thousand dollars each year for classroom needs.
The new Prince Street Power jerseys for the athletics program are ordered, and it is hoped they will be here for the track and field season. They are very fancy.
The Arts Smarts program to make a school video will begin next week. Kelly Gillis and others involved have been planning, planning, planning. A parent asked if the video will be sold on DVDs like the school song was sold on CDs last year. Brian Sharpe, the artist involved, will help teach the students involved to upload the video to YouTube or another free platform and to learn about media literacy at the same time as they learn the technical parts of this. There are ideas about how to promote the video as well.
In the next few weeks, there will be some university students here doing internships and learning in our school.
There are four new iPads in the school that are attached to new programs in Core French, but there may be other opportunities to use the new iPads in other programs as well.
Erin recently attended a meeting about the province-wide wireless program to put wireless in all schools. There is wireless available in the school already. The TeacherNet we have in place is an independent project. It will be replaced by the system that is the same as the system that will be installed in all other schools across PEI. We’ll be wired into the new system this summer, and all teachers will have a laptop. A parent asked how students will be prevented from being on the wireless. It will be password protected (as is the current system), and there will be firewalls.
The last Professional Development day on February 2 was focused on progress monitoring in our school, and it was an excellent day. Charlene Matthews and Erin led it. The school is in its first year of progress monitoring, and people are really running with it.
Erin invited questions. A parent offered a reminder that since last year’s afterschool special programs were almost all for Grades Four to Six, and the art program this year was for Grade Two and Three and the computer programming is for Grades Five and Six, the group that is in Grade Four this year has missed out on most opportunities.
A parent asked for more details about track and field. Competitive track and field is typically for Grades Five and Six and usually starts in May. It would begin as an intramural club and students with a particular interest and ability would have the chance to develop more skills and compete with other schools.
DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCIL
Jane described how the District Advisory Council fits into the new structure for the education system. Prince Street School has a seat on the Colonel Gray family of schools district council. Jane Ledwell is sitting on that committee for Prince Street. The first meeting is on February 18. Jane asked if anyone had issues they wanted raised at the first meeting or put on the agenda for future meetings. Meeting participants did not have suggestions, since the advisory council’s mandate and scope are not well known yet. Everyone is looking forward to learning more after the District Advisory Council’s first meeting.
STAFF APPRECIATION WEEK
Staff appreciation week is next week. There is no school on Monday, but we will make plans for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to show appreciation for staff.
Catherine said we are encouraging parents to sit down with their child with a form we will send home to fill out to say something they really appreciate about a teacher or staff person in their life. The form will include the prompt, “I really appreciate __________________ because...” Forms will go home with students tomorrow (Friday, February 12).
Please also encourage children, parents and guardians, and volunteers to express their appreciation with a few kind words or a card or whatever feels like the best.
If you are able to contribute a snack for staff on one of the days during staff appreciation week, please let Catherine know.
At the end of the year, we have a community party and barbecue in the school and schoolyard with lots of activities. It is like a school carnival. This is the Spring Fling.
Our next meeting is April 14 and will need to focus on Spring Fling.
There was some discussion about the pros and cons of having Spring Fling on the same day as the Environment-a-thon. They were the same date last year. This year, the most likely date for the Spring Fling (June 3) is the rain date for the Environment-a-thon. The group decided it was a good idea or not a problem to have the two events on the same day.
The group confirmed that Spring Fling will be on Friday, June 3, 2016. It normally takes place from 5:30 to 7:30. At the April 14 meeting, we will spend the majority of the time planning for the Spring Fling. Since many volunteers will be needed, we’ll work hard to get a good turnout for the April 14 meeting.
Booking a bouncy castle might need to happen right away, and we will have to make sure that it has a supervisor. We may have more options of which castle to choose from. Catherine will try to get the details.
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS PRESENTATION
Spring Park and Prince Street schools are together organizing a mental health and wellness presentation next Tuesday, February 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Spring Park School. This presentation will focus on helping parents with children 0 to 12 support their children to develop coping skills for dealing with anxiety or stress. The presentation will be led by the Triple P Positive Parenting Program. The event will be in Spring Park School. Parents can go in the front doors, and there will be signs directing you where to go.
There will not be childcare or translators available for this event.
ROUND TABLE: OTHER BUSINESS
For any parents of students in Grade Six who are considering late French immersion in Grade Seven, the meeting about Birchwood French Immersion is 7:00 p.m. on February 17.
We had talked about licensing movies and planning a movie night. Did this prove workable? Catherine and Heather are looking at ways to make a movie night part of parent engagement for next year. There will not be a movie night this winter, but we will look into this again in September. Licensing rights are expensive. Catherine and Heather have been working on parent engagement grant proposals for this year and next year.
The next school dance will take place on Thursday, February 25, for students from Grades Four to Six. There is sometimes a sock hop during lunchtime recess for younger grades. It is a great source of fun, mayhem, and exercise.
The last round of Christmas concert DVDs has been ordered and will be ready to distribute when they arrive.
Catherine thanked everyone for participating and invited people to stay after the meeting if they had any questions. There is no March meeting, so we will see everyone on Monday, April 14!
Parents of Prince Street Home and School Meeting
January 14, 2016
Catherine welcomed everyone to the meeting. Just over a dozen people attended the meeting on a cold Thursday night.
The Nepali translator was not able to attend at the last minute, so Grade 6 student Prabin translated. He did a great job!
Erin reported on many school goings-on.
We are ordering sports jerseys for team sports for when they participate in competitions. It will have the Prince Street logo on it.
It’s cold outside, so parents and neighbours and friends are to encourage each other to help make sure students are wearing enough warm outdoor clothing.
There used to be a police anti-drug program for Grade Six called DARE that has been replaced with a new program called “Healthy Me.” This program looks good and will be delivered to students by police in the coming weeks.
Wednesday, January 27, will be Prince Street Literacy Day with activities all day to promote literacy at home and at school.
This is “Never Give Up” theme month (following “Pride,” Respect,” and “Inclusive” themes from the school motto). The school is figuring out what that will be involved, but the theme will feature a visit from the Island Storm basketball team in February.
The CDs from the Christmas concerts should have arrived today but were delayed by the storm. This has been a very popular project. There have been a lot of late orders and we might want to do a second call for orders to make sure everyone who wants one gets one.
Kindergarten registration is still open and decisions are being made right now about staffing for each school, so it is very, very important that children who will be entering kindergarten get registered right away.
Ms. MacMillan in Guidance has had her baby and is now on parental leave, and Mr. Greg Anderson has started in her place and will be with us to the end of the year. He is fitting in marvellously.
Many, many Prince Street families got supported by donations at Christmas — gifts, grocery cards, and holiday food baskets all helped support families the school, thanks to lots of generosity and collaboration.
The school’s Turkey Dinner is one of the best days of the year. It was wonderful. This is sponsored by Trinity Clifton United Church.
Chip the Elf on the Shelf was joined by Magic the Reindeer this year. Students love this holiday-time tradition. Chip gave a book of their choice to every student in the school, and every child went home as well with a Prince Street Power yellow backpack bag.
Vice-principal Kelly Gillis applied for another ArtsSmarts grant like the one that funded the school song. We were accepted for a new project this year. This will provide funding and access to artists to make a school video.
Ms. J has been working with Home and School member Heather MacEwan to set up an after-school program on computer coding. They are working out the final details.
There are two tutors in place in the school, tutoring students from different grades at different times during the school day.
SCHOOL-WIDE DATA AND PROVINCIAL DATA
Erin circulated data about how Prince Street students are doing in reading, writing, and math. The school collects school-wide data about student achievement in writing and reading. The Province collects data about Grade Three and Grade Six achievement in reading, writing, and math. Last year’s data from the school and from the Province has helped inform this year’s school achievement goals.
Erin walked the Home and School attendees through the data report.
Reading data: Erin talked about the indicator of how many students are showing improvement from the beginning to the end of the year. Whether they were meeting grade-level expectations or not, all students showed improvement from the beginning of the year to the end of the year — a huge accomplishment. There was a small group of 14 students who did not show reading growth from the middle of the year to the end of the year. (They reached their highest level of achievement before March and retained that level but did not progress.)
Writing data: There are a lot fewer students meeting expectations in the writing goals compared to reading goals. For this reason, writing is one of the school main focuses for this year. Students are assessed on three writing traits (ideas, organization, and convention) and to meet the provincial grade-level expectations, students have to meet expectations in all three of these traits. When the data is broken down by writing traits, it is clear that the number of students meeting expectations in each trait is higher than the number meeting expectations across all three traits. The biggest drop in achievement from 2014 to 2015 was in the “ideas” trait, so there is a focus this year on developing ideas in writing in particular.
Math data: We have no school-wide way of measuring math achievement but will develop this in the next few years. Erin noted that incredible professional development for Grade Six teachers has helped boost Grade Six achievement in math across the province, including at Prince Street. The data show declingin numbers in Grade Three achievement, but there will be a similar focus on working with Grade Three teachers to improve the math achievement at that level.
Erin clarified that students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are exempt from the school’s testing and the province-wide testing, since they are working to achieve individually set goals, not the standard grade-level outcomes. In the school-wide data, all other students participate in the assessments if they are present that day. For province-wide assessments, there are very strict guidelines about who is exempt and also the time window in which they need to complete the assessment. If a student is absent one day, they still complete the assessment.
What percentage of students are on IEP? Probably 15 to 20 students (at a rough guess). How many students are EAL? There are 40 to 50 kids with an EAL designation, most of whom would write this assessment. EAL students are only exempt from provincial data in very specific circumstances, if it would interfere with learning goals.
Catherine said we were thinking of getting movie rights to be able to show a movie and have a movie night. We need to pay some of the bills from the wish lists first. If the budget allows, we’ll host a movie night in the next month or two.
Late last year, government announced major changes to the Education system, abolishing the English Language schools board, rolling its duties into the Department of Education, and setting up district advisory councils, a principals advisory council, and a learning partners advisory council to shape education policy for the future.
Each Home and School association has the chance to put a nominee forward for the district advisory councils. A notice went home to see if any parents were interested in serving on this council for Prince Street. Jane Ledwell volunteered, but also offered that if anyone else was interested in trying out this role, she would step aside and help support the new volunteer. Catherine explained the deadline was tight to put our nominee forward, and we registered a concern that the process was undemocratic, since we had to put a name forward before a meeting and a vote. Catherine put Jane’s name forward on the understanding that we would vote tonight and if someone else wanted to represent the school, we’d submit the new name. Catherine asked people at the meeting if anyone else wanted to represent the school. No one did.
MOTION: To nominate Jane Ledwell to represent Prince Street School at the new district advisory council. Catherine moved the nomination. Ramona seconded. There was a unanimous vote in favour of the motion. Carried.
STAFF APPRECIATION WEEK
The week of February 16 to 19 is Staff Appreciation Week. It is a four-day week this year because Monday is Islander Day. The Home and School usually plans treats and supports for staff.
Last year, we did treats each day, had a lunch catered on Thursday, and offered school-ground coverage at lunchtime on the day of the lunch. Erin said the challenge with covering the playground is that it is not possible to only have parents out on duty. Some staff have to go outside even if parents are there, for safety/liability and to meet students’ special needs. The parental help is still welcome, but it is help but not replacement. Some parents really enjoy this.
The treats are very much appreciated. A thank you note in mailboxes to each of the staff would be very welcome. Last year, notes from the principal and vice-principal during staff appreciation week were thought to be from Home and School. Two years ago, the Home and School coordinated a thank-you to staff.
Catherine will follow up with Erin about appreciation notes this year. Could the Grade Six leadership group be involved in soliciting notes from students?
Catherine will send a notice to parents to see what treats or volunteer time they can offer and on what day. Erin hinted a number of times that she would like chocolate cake. There are about 40 staff, so this is the right number of cookies or pieces of chocolate cake. ;)
There were a few questions about Staff Appreciation Week. Nepalese food welcome! All food treats are welcome, but no peanuts are permitted in the school, and one teacher is allergic to curry.
Each year, the provincial home and school federation welcomes policy resolutions to be discussed at the annual general meeting. If we wanted to submit a policy resolution, it would be due in January. Catherine and Ramona reviewed possible policy resolutions but concluded there wasn’t an issue we wanted to address this year.
Others agreed this was a good decision this year with all the changes in the education system. We will want to see how policy decisions are being handled before making resolutions to add into the discussion.
All parents in the Colonel Gray family of schools will be invited to presentation about helping youth (under 12) dealing with anxiety and developing coping skills. This will take place on Tuesday, February 16, at Spring Park. Details will be in the February school newsletter and perhaps in a stand-alone notice that will go home as well.
Who is delivering this session? Representatives from the Triple P Positive Parenting Program.
Will there be child care? At this point no, but Catherine will look into it.
Would there be any interpretation? Catherine will ask this as well. Even if any of the handout material could be translated this would help EAL parents.
PARENT LEADERSHIP GRANT
Catherine and Heather are working on a grant application for a parent leadership grant. These grants let the Home and School put on learning activities for parents.
Past presentations at our school and other schools would be presentations on healthy eating or the new ways of teaching math. Catherine and Heather are proposing a presentation to parents on homework, to help parents help their children better with homework. They are working with Erin on the application and thinking of ways to make it interesting enough to entice parents to attend.
Any questions? Thanks to Catherine and Heather for working on the application. Erin has started conversations with the resource team about it. Homework is not uniform from class to class or from teacher to teacher, so the focus might have to be very general.
It was suggested a resource we could create as part of the parent leadership grant could be a checklist of questions to ask individual teachers about homework. The workshop could even be used to generate the list of frequently asked questions. The presentation could also include general information about good homework habits and practices.
Does the school still have stationary bikes and under-table pedals? Are these being used? The stationary bike gets used every day by students who need to burn off extra energy. The under-table bike pedals were ordered for Ms. Gillis’s class. They are also being used well. They are challenging for the students to use. The machines were inching forward and needed to be secured with cinder blocks.
In Grade Six, is there any presentation from post-secondary programs to begin students thinking about post-secondary education? No, there are not presentations from university or college. Junior Achievement comes in during Grade Three. There is a career component in the health curriculum.
Does the school or the school board order sanitary items such as toilet paper and hand soap? There have been reports from a number of parents of chafed, sore bums from low-quality scratchy toilet paper and chapped hands from harsh soap. These items are not ordered at the school level. They are delivered to the school in bulk. The items are probably tendered through the school board and probably the cheapest tender wins. It just gets delivered to school. Students can bring in their own soap pumps as long as the soap is scent-free. Several children with skin conditions use their own special soap.
The next meeting is scheduled for February 11 at 6:30. Catherine asked if it might be possible to move to another night than Thursday to accommodate members who are not free Thursday. There was not a better night, so the previously decided date was retained for February. We will return to this discussion at the next meeting to consider alternating nights of the week or changing the March meeting date.
Catherine thanked everyone for attending and especially thanked Prabin for translating.
PARENTS OF PRINCE STREEET
About a dozen parents and teachers and staff attended the meeting. There was interpretation into Nepali.
Catherine circulated an agenda and welcomed the participants. There was a round of introductions.
Wendy Poirier sent a notice to the meeting calling for volunteers for the book fair during parent-teacher interviews. Several parents present volunteered for shifts. Erin noted names and times with thanks.
Erin Johnston gave an oral report of recent happenings.
Staffing: A new guidance counsellor has been hired for Sheri-Lynn’s maternity leave. His name is Greg Anderson and he will join Prince Street in January. During the time between the beginning of Sheri-Lynn’s leave and Greg’s contract, Kelly and Erin will cover guidance responsibilities.
Hot lunches: Subway sandwiches have been added to the hot lunch options and have been very popular. There was a question about whether there is an option on whole wheat buns.
Leadership: The Leadership team from Grade 6 planned and orchestrated the whole Halloween dance. They have also been planning and leading games with the K-2 students during recess. This is a very cool thing to see. They are setting up a “Lunch Buddies” program for older students to eat with younger students to model good manners and positive eating behaviours.
School Values Themes: October was “Respect” month and activities were modelled after the “Kid President” videos, with a Prince Street video made and shown for the October assembly. November
and December will focus on “I” for “Inclusive” and the planning is happening. Each theme month includes going into classrooms with lessons on the school value for each month, as a proactive teaching piece. The school also focuses on creating some kind of visual or other engaging product to bring the theme to life.
Halloween: Halloween Fun Day was on Friday, October 30th, and was a lot of fun. Older classes were paired with younger students. Teachers dressed as superheroes.
Report Cards: We’re at the end of Term 1 and this is one of the busiest times of the year, with report cards and planning, testing and assessments, and parent-teacher interviews. Everyone is working very hard this time of year.
School Pictures: Retakes happened this week as well. Most of the picture orders from picture day have come in. Picture orders should be distributed soon.
T-Shirts: School t-shirts came in and were distributed last week. There have been lots of students wearing them around the school. There are a few spares of the various sizes so if one is comically large or small, it might be possible to check with Erin and make an exchange.
Casual Days: Staff will be doing an extra casual day through the week most weeks, with a theme to add to fun and excitement and build morale. It gives students something to notice and talk about. For example, there was a pink day for breast cancer awareness and staff wore black to offset their poppies for Remembrance Day.
Kindergarten Registration: The official week for Kindergarten registration is next week, and the earlier we can get the registrations the better. This has a very large impact on staffing levels. If you know of a child who will be attending Kindergarten at Prince Street next year, please have them sign up as soon as possible.
Christmas Theatre Show: Aladdin is the Christmas pantomime show at the Confederation Centre. The whole school will be going. The cost is $10 per student, but the school will be charging $5 and all children will be going regardless. Parents will be asked to chip in for an additional child if they are able. Is there any option for parent chaperones for events like this? The number of seats is very limited, so it isn’t possible to have parents help.
Turkey: The turkey dinner with Trinity United Church is happening again this year, the last full week of classes.
Art Blitz: The first art blitz of the year is coming up. All activities stop and all students work on artwork that meets art curriculum outcomes. There are three art blitzes each year.
Christmas Concerts: The Christmas Concert is not a simple K-3, 4-6 split because of the 3/4 classes that were combined for gym and music. It is only grades 3 and 4 that are divided in a complicated way. Grade sK, 1, and 2 and Grades 5 and 6 are as usual. For families with students in Grades 3 and 4, a more detailed note will go home outlining which classes and which children are in which concert!
PARENT LEADERSHIP GRANT
Catherine said we can apply for up to $1,000 a year to help engage parents for any kind of learning activity with their child.
Heather said that a common question was what are the school’s expectations about homework? What are parents supposed to do? How much are we supposed to help? Do we correct their spellings or let their errors stand? How much are we to help them with reading? What are the strategies that will best support the learning and teaching in the classroom?
Are there options that families can use that are alternatives to the assigned homework, such as other forms of reading or board games that could help with math skills?
Resource teachers have asked for another subscription to Razz Kids, and we could buy a subscription from Home and School for the school, as an eligible expense under the Home and School grant as long as it is a part of the parent engagement activities around homework.
Catherine and Heather attended the recent introduction seminar to Triple P Positive Parenting. Triple P also has a module around homework and behaviour. At a next meeting, we will have more details.
Erin thought it sounded like a great idea and will check back with the school team to help figure out how best to deliver a workshop or workshops about homework and how best to meet parents’ needs. There is no school-wide or board-wide policy on homework, and it varies from teacher to teacher. But there should be good agreement about basic good practices for homework.
WISH LIST UPDATE
Heather and Erin went over the teachers’ wish list requests to help plan and priorize. Catherine, Heather, and Jane as representatives of the executive went through the wish list to meet classroom needs, and we were able to commit just over $1,300 to purchases the teachers requested. Heather provided the school with a spreadsheet of approved wishes. Teachers have been asked to place their orders before Christmas so that book-keeping is easier.
The Department of Health has given the provincial Home and School Federation a wellness grant for sessions on youth mental health. They circulated a list of types of topics that could be a focus for presentations or workshops. The Home and School Federation wanted ideas for topics that school communities might need, so Catherine asked if there are other topics that would be of benefit to Prince Street School on the theme of mental wellness. There were no additional ideas. The list from the Home and School Federation sounded great .Catherine doesn’t know yet how this program will be delivered. When she finds out more, she will let people know.
POTENTIAL MOVIE NIGHT
We’ve had movie nights before but had to stop doing them when licensing for viewing rights changed. We’ve looked at the numbers, and if we have several movie nights in the course of a year, we would be able to break even on purchasing a license. We are looking at possibly having a movie night in January.
The movie needs to be a new and very engaging movie so that students enjoy watching it and don’t just talk and run around. It might be better to have age-focused movie picks. At one school, they had a movie for K-2 kids right after school and then a later movie for older students. That’s a model to consider.
Another option we talked about was another family fun night in the dead of winter, with a sports focus, such as a ball hockey tournament or other kind of activity. The family fun night in October brought in about $200.
We’re going to keep a close eye out for a new/used popcorn maker!
We’ve been talking about videotaping the Christmas concert and burning and selling DVDs for a reasonable price. The school has a video camera and tripod. Catherine is volunteering to record both concerts.
Burning the DVDs will be the challenge. Catherine will check into services (Staples maybe, or the musicians who burned the school song CDs) and prices.
Another option discussed was to upload it to a secure server. This would not make it as accessible to families this year but is worth keeping in mind as an option.
When Erin sends out the notice about Christmas concerts, she will include a blurb about the videotaping and a request that people not take videos of their own if their cameras block other people’s view. Erin will draft a notice on this topic and check in with Home and School executive about whether the notice meets needs.
We had also talked about selling “priority seating” or a raffle in advance of the concert for a draw on a VIP seating. The reserved seating will take some managing! Kirsty will manage the raffle money. Erin will include information about the raffle in the notice she concocts about the concerts.
The VIP seating scheme will have to take into consideration people with mobility challenges or special needs who will also require priority seating. Our VIP seating arrangement should not create barriers for people.
There will be a bake sale for each concert. Food can be dropped off on the day of each concert. Catherine will do a notice about the bake sale. We have had a raffle basket in the past as well. We decided not to raffle off a gift basket this year, but to try the VIP seating raffle instead.
Volunteers will be needed for the bake sale as well. The notice will include a note about this.
Policy resolutions are due January 21st. Catherine is open to suggestions about possible resolutions for Prince Street School to put forward.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE SCHOOL BOARD
The Annual meeting of the English Language School Board is on November 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Stratford Town Hall. This will be the final meeting of the School Board, since the Board is being absorbed into the Department of Education. Catherine plans to attend on behalf of Prince Street. Anyone else who is interested is also welcome to take part. There is a great deal of change happening in the education system at present, and the meeting is likely to include a lot of discussion.
TRIPLE P POSITIVE PARENTING PROGRAM
The Triple P Positive Parenting Program is a new program to Prince Edward Island but has been a success for about 30 years in other parts of the world. The program’s purpose is to help foster healthy families. The first evening seminar was an introduction to what they do. Online there are modules for different topics and strategies for parents for positive parenting: http://www.triplep-parenting.net/pei-en/home/. You will hear more about this.
Kelly noted that last year we got yoga mats and hula hoops and this year we applied to get a crazy big omnikin ball that requires teamwork for a variety of games and we also applied for and got a circus kit! We have also requested to be put on the list for the Go!PEI travelling trailer.
Heather coordinated access to the Home and School LEGO robotics kit and there is a teacher keen to incorporate it.
A parent asked if there has been any discussion about coding at this school? There is some incorporated in the we-do kit. If it is something there is interest in, Heather has some connections. We will be looking for another eight-week after-school activity and if coding is a possibility, it would be a neat one.
DECISION: Kirsty Phillips Is approved as a signing officer of the Prince Street Home and School.
Reserve these upcoming meeting dates:
- [no December meeting]
- January 14
- February 11
- [no March meeting]
- April 14
- May 12
PARENTS OF PRINCE STREET
October 8, 2015
Catherine welcomed everyone and circulated an agenda. There were more than 20 people attending. There were translators present for Nepali and Mandarin speakers. Catherine started the meeting with a roundtable of introductions.
Erin provided updates.
Tee-shirts: The order forms for Prince Street Power tee-shirts will come home very soon. The cost for youth sizes will be $8, and a few dollars more for larger sizes. Buying the tee-shirt is optional, and it is not a uniform. The fee will only cover the costs. It is not a fundraiser. Parents can send money for the tee-shirt order to school with their children. There might be another opportunity to order tee-shirts in November or in the spring or both. It will depend on how successful the ordering is. Kelly showed a sample of the tee-shirts.
New hot lunch ordering system: There were a few glitches and things they are sorting out, and it is going very, very well. It saves a great deal of time for teachers. Kirsty is doing a lot of volunteer counting! Thank you to everyone for cooperating to make the new system work. Whole wheat buns for the hot dogs will not be optional. The hot dogs are not proving popular. There are very good reviews for the chicken pizza.
Website: The Prince Street website should be updated with correct information since last meeting.
Assemblies: The Terry Fox Run was rained out last week so it will take place tomorrow. The “Pride” assembly that was planned to go with the Run took place last week and was great. There will be no second assembly tomorrow.This month is “Respect” month. There will be a “Respect” month assembly on October 30 and this will coincide with some Halloween fun!
The school councillor will be taking a maternity/parental leave later this fall, so Erin and Kelly are working on the hiring of a school councillor to fill her leave.
The staff has a plan for a Halloween theme again this year. There will be fun activities for the students in the afternoon. Also for Halloween, on the evening of October 30 there will be a dance for grades 4 to 6 from 5:45 to 7:00 p.m. that has been organized from start to finish by Grade 6 Leadership students. There will be a notice about the dance that will come home with more details.
Slap cheek: We’ve had two confirmed cases of the virus “slap cheek” in the school. It is contagious before the symptoms show up. This can be problematic in the early stages of pregnancy. Erin has shared the information with staff and will notify volunteers.
Parents were pleased to hear more about the Grade 6 Leadership program and the work that the students are achieving. The leadership group was open to Grade 6 students by application. There are 15 students in the program. Their activities are woven into their day. They are showing leadership in ways that fit their skills and interests.
A parent asked, do we have to buy costumes for our kids at Halloween? Answer: Only if you want to. Some students wear costumes and some don’t. Some make homemade costumes.
Erin provided the teachers’ wish list to Catherine. The Home and School will use funds raised last year to purchase as many of the “wish list” items as we can. Catherine will coordinate the wish list review and if anyone has questions about it, ask Catherine.
PARENT LEADERSHIP GRANT
There are parent leadership grants available from the Provincial Home and School. The money is available for events that bring parents together for an activity. Catherine is going to do a little bit of research and bring some ideas to the table for us all to consider so we can apply for a grant in the new year (2016).
Catherine asked for ideas about better ways to communicate together with parents to get people involved in school activities, like the Family Fun Night planned for October 21. What are ways we can get in touch with each other the share information and make plans?
Right now, we have a school Facebook page, and parents might wish to bookmark this. It is a very active and very large following. A parent suggested an incentive (prize!) for people to “like” our Facebook page on Family Fun Night.
The Prince Street Home and School has a website. You are here!
Catherine also will set up a Prince Street Home and School email address and will ask parents to sign up for email notices (about once a month) to get news.
Notices about Home and School go home with students. Anyone who has ideas for content they want to see on Home and School notices, these ideas would be welcome.
Parents thought that regular monthly meetings are a really important part of communications. Parents also thanked Catherine for all her efforts so far. There’s a great turn-out tonight, and that is a positive sign.
We can use the Facebook more. Ramona and Catherine will talk about specific messages that might be a good focus. Pictures always help.
There is a Twitter feed that is not active. If someone wants to re-start this, Jane can get them the password. It is more of a way of connecting with the wider community than people within the school community.
IDEAS FOR UPCOMING EVENTS
- Family fun Night
- Parent Engagement
- Bake sale and raffle at winter concert.
- Spring Fling in spring.
Catherine would love to hear ideas for other events. Catherine is going to consult with other schools’ Home and School leaders to get ideas that have worked elsewhere. VIP seating at the winter concert could be sold by raffle. Front-row seats awarded by raffle. Videotaping and reproducing of the Christmas concert still an option on the table for volunteers.
The date of the winter concerts will be Tuesday, December 8 for K-3 and Thursday, December 10 for 4-6. Both will be in the evening, probably a 6:30 start. We can try to institute a rule for people not to stand up, but this is hard to enforce.
We’ll make sure the winter concerts is on the agenda for the November Home and School meeting! Ideas welcome for that meeting.
FAMILY FUN NIGHT
This will take place on Wednesday, October 21 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Children of all grades and parents will be welcome to come to the school. Some of the activities will include
- Bake sale table, coordinated by Ramona.
- At least one other volunteer is needed.
- A notice will go home asking for donations.
- Popcorn and juice boxes
- The popcorn maker requires coming in very early. It works slowly.
- This would need a volunteer or two.
- Granola bars or other snacks won’t be needed with a bake sale table.
- Board games in the gym
- If anyone has board games they are willing to loan to the school for the evening,
that would be great.
- We can’t guarantee all the pieces will go home with your board!
- There was minimal supervision needed at the board game stations last year.
It’s very low maintenance after set-up. Last year, we used breakfast room tables. These were great.
- Craft room
- Jane will coordinate. Another volunteer would be welcome.
- Bricks 4 Kids and Lego
- We are looking at hiring Bricks 4 Kids to attract some of the older kids. This would require
pre-registration and include about 30 kids. The project would be about an hour,
so it would leave time
- There can also be a Lego free-for-all table in the gym with the board games. This will be with the
- WII dance room
- Kelly is on this and will get it all set up!
- Karaoke room
- Keri will loan her machine. Someone will need to set up the TV and hook it up.
Keri has two or three CDs for the karaoke machine.
We talked about a 50/50 draw but decided against it.
Suggested donation $2 a person or $5 a family.
At the entry booth, Catherine will be setting up information about Home and School and a chance to sign up for email or Like the Facebook page. Catherine will also be sharing information about government grants for your child’s education savings fund for lower-income families (income less than $44,000 a year). There was some discussion about the details of this. Parents will be keen for the information about this. Catherine shared the flyer about it with some parents who were going to ask for more information from the Association for Newcomers to Canada.
Erin will give out Prince Street Power tattoos at Family Fun Night.
If you can arrive at 5:30 to help set up Family Fun Night, please do.
The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m. Catherine welcomed additional questions and comments after the meeting.
See you all at Family Fun Night! Happy Thanksgiving to all!
The next meeting is Thursday, November 12 at 6:30.
Reserve these upcoming meeting dates:
- [no December meeting]
- January 14
- February 11
- [no March meeting]
- April 14
- May 12
PARENTS OF PRINCE STREET
First Meeting of the 2015–2016 School Year
September 24, 2015
Catherine Nicholson circulated an agenda and said a word of welcome. She has volunteered to be President this year unless anyone else offers at election time. She invited all the parents and educators present to introduce themselves. The Chinese translator had cancelled at the last moment. This was very disappointing.
The Home and School asked Erin to help make sure parents with English as an additional language know the notes are posted online very soon after meetings. Some parents can use translation programs to read the notes. We will do our best to have a translator present any time we can.
ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM PROVINCIAL HOME AND SCHOOL
Catherine shared information about the October 1st Leadership Training Workshop hosted by Home and School to be held at Sherwood Elementary. More information is available from Catherine. She had a notice for anyone who wanted more details.
The semi-annual meeting of the provincial Home and School will take place on October 20th in Summerside. Catherine has more details about this as well, or check out the Home and School notices in the September newsletter that went home from school with students.
Erin reported about the following:
- New staff include Bethany Morrison (EA), Amy MacKinnon (Grade 5), Allison Read (behaviour resource), and Kelly Joudrey (Grade 4). There was a smaller turnover of staff this year than last year.
- There is new EAL staff: Jo-Anne McNevin in the morning, Evelyn MacLeod in the afternoon, and Celine White for two extra afternoons per cycle. There is a new model for EAL staff for this year, to meet the changing needs of all the different schools.
- Staffing has been a whirlwind over the summer and into the fall. In the spring, 28 teacher positions had been cut; these were later restored, and our school got one position reinstated that had been cut in June. Then, this fall, we had 32 new kids join the school that we hadn’t expected. To meet the needs of a higher number of students, we received an additional 60% position. This meant the school was able to eliminate the Grade 3/Grade 4 split class and have two full Grade Three and two full Grade Four classes. This is great news. The school board listened to our needs. We now have 25.06 teachers in this school, though on the negative side we are down to two kindergarten classes from the previous norm of three.
- There is head lice in the school, though less than this time last year. Parents, please check heads regularly. Once a week is a good plan.
- The coupon book fundraiser is underway. This usually brings in about $2,000 to meet school needs. Orders are due in next week.
- The new Prince Street logo is not only on display on the wall but is also being printed on everything, including tee-shirts that will be available for $10 or less!
- Art Program – Jennifer Brown returns as an instructor for this after-school program, once a week for 7 weeks for Grades 2 and 3. One parent noted that these after-school programs had only been available to Grades 4 to 6 last year, so kids who are in Grade 4 this year and were looking forward to being eligible for programs are now not eligible again.
- Dance Club is happening again on Friday mornings, for Grades 1 to 6. Kelly Gillis is leading this activity. Last week, there was a big crew of kids – 20 or 30 kids – on the first day!
- After School Programs with Mr. Stanley – Soccer is the activity running right now, and activities are running on five-week blocks. For this, the art program, and the dance club, permission forms went home with anyone who was interested. If students were not interested, they didn’t ask for a form. Parents asked to have the sign-up options posted on the Facebook page for parents whose children don’t ask for forms.
- The Terry Fox Run next week will be connected to an assembly. The assembly themes this year will be based on the values in the P.R.I.D.E. meanings. This month is “P” for “pride.” Next will be “R” for respect.
- There are new Prince Street temporary tattoos that students and parents will soon see popping up.
- Hot Lunch and Milk ordering: There are new lunch options, with chicken bites from Dominos this week, 3” and 6” buns from Subway another week, and chicken pizza on whole-wheat crust from Dominos. The school is trying to get whole-wheat buns for hot dogs (but these are proving hard to source). Pizza is $2. Hot dogs will stay as $1. Chicken bites will be $2.50. Still working on pricing of the Subway. All parents should have received a notice today about the new options and the new ordering system. Last year at Home and School, we talked a lot about the need for more options. It is very challenging to follow the healthy eating policy for schools. Keeping the prices low is also really hard to do. We are adding different options to get closer to the healthy eating goals. The hardest part for parents to adjust to will be that the order has to be in on Monday or there will be no order.
- Breakfast Program started this week, and it is going very well. The start time has changed to 8:00 a.m. to ensure there is proper supervision on the playground when students finish eating and also to coordinate with the time the buses arrive. There is a new breakfast room that is a dedicated space for food, and the space has been renovated. There are enough volunteers for now, with lots returning and a good number on the back-up helpers list.
- Supervision of the playground now starts at 8:05 a.m.
- The School Effectiveness goal this year is around writing and meeting expectations around “ideas” while writing.
- The September PD days before school started were very effective. A focus this year on “progress monitoring” will allow us to monitor students’ progress better and more specifically over time. It will tighten up how we do things and help students learn what they need to know. It takes learning on the part of the teachers, and this will be well worthwhile.
- Literacy room: The newly renovated teacher-only literacy room will be a great asset for collaborative meetings and resources. This is a great space. These renovations plus the renovations to the breakfast room and to a new teacher photocopy room make good use of school space.
- Leadership program for Grade 6 – This is a new project, for which Grade 6 students apply, make a commitment, and then work on school projects as a group.
- Fire drills: three have taken place, and a lockdown drill will take place in October. Bus evacuation drills will take place this week.
- The Fabulous Board is back to feature and celebrate students who do something fabulous; we have student work displayed in the trophy cabinet as well.
- Picture day will be on October 15th. Coming up soon!
- HPV needles for Grade 6 students, both boys and girls, were last week, and a second needle will be given before the end of the year. There are only two needles this year, not three.
- Our public health nurse for the school is Loretta Taylor, and she is in evry Tuesday.
- There are many volunteers in the school right now, including UPEI students, nursing students, community members, and more. There are different processes for volunteers this year. Volunteers need a criminal record check and a must complete a volunteer application.
- All classes will have a technology class again this year.
A parent asked about Scholastic ordering online – is this option available now at Prince Street? Erin didn’t know about it previous to today but will look into it. She noted Prince Street has chosen not to go to online ordering for lunches because it requires a credit card or PayPal.
Parents noted that the home page for Prince Street School needs some updating, especially with the new time for the breakfast program. If there are other things parents notice, please send them along to Erin.
SCHOOL WISH LIST
Home and School buys some supplies for teachers from their “wish lists,” based on teacher requests and what Home and School can afford. Erin has a form the executive of Home and School developed in the past. Teachers submit this to Erin. The executive reviews them and the budget. We try our best to put one thing in each classroom or bigger items that benefit the most students possible. This year we have about $1,400 to spend.
Erin said that if Home and School can subsidize but not provide the full cost of an item, we can discuss it with her, since a subsidy might be enough to make a purchase possible.
Heather said in some cases, parent engagement money in other jurisdictions has been used to purchase new software for resource, for example. Resource often sends things home with students for parents to use with them. Heather will check with the Provincial Home and School about the eligibility of this kind of idea.
Parent Leadership grant – Catherine and Heather will check into the software option before October and before January will revisit options for the second grant.
Wish lists – Erin will invite wish lists from teachers. We asked Erin to encourage collaboration.
We have just over $2,000 in the bank, which will cover about $1,400 for wish lists, the cost of wi-fi until it gets taken over by the Province, and other commitments. Bake sales this Christmas will cover the rest of the year’s activities.
CHANGE OF POLICY – SCHOOL BOARD
Catherine shared copies of the Board Governance Policy regarding School Change. The proposed policy will basically give the school board the ability to make changes more easily to change zones, close schools, or adjust school boundaries. This is the start of a process to set overarching guidelines before changes happen. There is a deadline to provide feedback.
We have a spring event – it would be nice to have a fall event to welcome new students and parents. This mMy be just as simple as a family fun night earlier in the season – in September or October. At last year’s family fun night, games and crafts were mostly enjoyed by younger students; karaoke and dance rooms attracted older students. There were also science outreach activities and Bricks for Kids.
Snacks were popcorn and juice and granola bars.
Decision: To have another Family Fun Night as a fall event.
Date: Wednesday, October 21
Time: 6:00 to 7:30
Suggested donation: $2/person or $5/family
Sign-up for staff has to go up really early and an invitation to help from the Home and School is really helpful.
Catherine asked for a person to coordinate/oversee each activity:
- Bake sale/food – Ramona
- Craft – Jane
- Board games – Heather
- Dance room – Kelly
- Bricks for Kids – Heather will get a quote
- 50/50 draw – ??
- Karaoke – Keri has a machine and 3 CDs
- Communications/coordination for volunteers and helpers – Catherine (notices to students at least a week in advance, invitation to teachers to help, etc.)
Parents and staff who are able to contribute a board game for the evening, this is very welcome.
Catherine asked people to give some thought to what you can do, what we can do better or simpler. Brainstorm ideas and we’ll finalize the details on October 8 at our next meeting.
FUNDRAISING IDEAS FOR THE UPCOMING YEAR
Ideas are welcome.
A parent suggested there are good ideas from provincial Home and School annual school reports – for example, VIP seats at the winter concert, or partnering with a youth group to have a movie night without having to pay ourselves for screening licenses.
An idea that comes up every year: Videotaping of the winter concert and then selling the CDs. The school can’t take this on but if Home and School could, the school has a video camera. We will consider this at next meeting.
Heather is going to look into the toonie matinees they do at the movie theatre on Saturday or Sunday mornings at 10:00.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES
Regular meeting: 2nd Thursday a month at 6:30
Meetings for 2015–2016
- October 8
- November 12
- [no December meeting]
- January 14
- February 11
- [no March meeting]
- April 14
- May 12
There may be additional meetings as needed for special events such as Spring Fling.
We want to think about how to involve more parents in the Home and School. Ideas or suggestions are welcome to help fan out the work, recognizing that not all parents can get to meetings.
One comment was that parents need to see they are getting something back from their time to be truly engaged.
We could do a needs survey of parents to find out what they are interested in. Erin could generate a list of possible topics, parents could add to the list, and we could do a survey to see how interested people are. Some ideas we talked about this evening include the following:
- How to pack a healthy lunch on a budget
- How to deal with head lice
- How to help with homework
- “New math” approaches
- How to teach good sportsmanship
- How to help your child to make good friends
- Parenting support (partnering with CHANCES next door)
- Family literacy (CHANCES)
- Age-appropriate consequences (CHANCES)
- “Daddy day” (CHANCES)
- Transitioning to the time kids will be home alone (like the babysitters) – offered in the community through Red Cross
- Kids versus parents dodge ball or other events that get kids together with their friends
- Adult-child silly Olympics
- Gym nights at the school or Orlebar Park soccer (though better to connect to the school)
We’ll look over the CHANCES brochure with their programs.
Home and School members asked what food donations are needed to help ensure our students have enough to eat. The priority should be donations to the snack cupboard because the breakfast program is subsidized and really well supported by Trinity United Church.
Donations to snack cupboard needed
- granola bars (nut-free)
- juice boxes
- cheese and crackers
- applesauce and fruit cups
- other food that won’t spoil
Breakfast program no-nos –
- Cheez Whiz
- products that contain nuts
Breakfast program needs –
- blocks of cheese
- paper cups
President – Catherine Nicholson
Vice-President – Ramona Doyle
Secretary – Jane Ledwell
Treasurer – Heather MacEwen
Everyone has guided reading tables, gymnastic floor mat, tablets, stage curtains.
Expect to be asked for pinnies or jerseys with new logo on it. For track and field and so on.
Principal’s and Vice-Principal's Report
Erin reported that students raised $8,001 in the Environment-a-thon, and Erin kissed a goat as promised, which was better than expected. :John McFarlane’s retirement is big news but is being treated in a low-key way, at his request. The graduation/closing is on Thursday, and the whole school closing is on Friday morning, but students get out at the regular time on Friday afternoon.
Field trips are winding up and have been very successful. Robin Burgess’s class in Grade 2 did a yard sale and got $160 and decided to use it to buy toys for children at the hospital. On Thursday, they will deliver them in person, travelling by bus.
Today’s talent show was wonderful. The intramural banquet is tomorrow afternoon.
Staffing is very delayed this year due to the lateness of the provincial budget, so there is an air of stress. Staffing decisions will start now and so Erin will talk with staff over the next few days for making plans.
Enrolment will be down a little, with only two kindergarten classes next year after having three kindergarten classes since kindergarten was introduced.
Sonia Wadden Hughes will be here again next year, a year’s extension of the exchange. There will be a lot of changes.
Kelly talked about a Go!PEI pilot project that is “parked” at the school this week. It consists of a trailer full of equipment that kids can try. Lots of extra activities for this week, and if there is equipment they really love, it will give an indication what the kids enjoy.
There is an Education 20/20 Foundation that Prince Street was nominated for and has won, and it resulted in $2,500 for the school. The award was for student and community engagement and was called an “Excellence in Education Award.”
Home and School reminded Erin and Kelly that the Home and School can always provide letters of support and partnership for projects and nominations.
Graduation and School Closing
For the Grade Six closing, Laura can pick up stuff that the school needs. The budget for Home and School contributions will be under $100 for snacks (chips, lemonade, cupcakes, fruit, cheese and crackers). Laura is going to see if she can borrow baskets of flowers and set up some decorations. If it’s not nice outside, the event will be in the music room, but it’s nicest if it can be outside.
Once it was made official that Mr. MacFarlane is retiring, Home and School thought a gift that pays tribute to his love of literacy would be great. The Home and School decided on a gift and will present it at the school closing. Shelley will be there to present it.
There are awards the Home and School has presented in the past. One was a Terry Award, in honour of Terry MacIsaac, that consisted of $100 seed money for a Grade 5 class to do something in Grade 6 along humanitarian lines. This was not presented last year.
This year, all the awards are taken care of. If Home and School wants to present any awards next year, we can discuss and plan this in advance.
Spring Fling Updates
Shelley deposited $2,155 today. Some expenses were already paid for out of cash ($425). We also wrote cheques for some expenses and there are additional expenses to come out (about $500). In the $2,155 there is some of the money from the silent auction, but there is some additional money yet to be deposited (about $500, so it will pretty much even out with the expenses).
The tickets from the French Cafe traditionally go back into the Breakfast Program. It was recommended that the Breakfast Program is in good shape this year and that this contribution should be used by Home and School for next year. Erin will let Phillip Brown know that the contribution from the French Cafe is well taken care of.
We’ll clear more than last year on the Spring Fling, but we have used up any reserves throughout the year.
Usually, holiday fundraising covers expenses through the year and the Spring Fling covers the wish list.
We still need to apply for reimbursement for a Parent Engagement grant from two years’ ago.
There was a special gift for Shelley Muzika for her 10 years of service to growing the Prince Street Home and School. Laura is also graduating from Home and School.
Jane can continue as secretary and Heather can continue as treasurer. Laura will continue to do some lobbying for two potential co-chairs. Jane and Heather are happy to help.
One parent expressed shock that there are not more parents who attend Home and School meetings, but others confirmed that Prince Street has very good attendance and participation compared to other years and other schools.
Long-time members offered great suggestions for flourishing home and school.
Having a regular, set time for meetings rather than a fluctuating time can be really helpful and make the planning a lot easier for co-chairs.
Meet the Teacher Night and Welcome to Kindergarten are great events for inviting parents to be involved in Home and School.
The Provincial Home and School has training nights in the fall as well for Home and School parents.
Another really good idea would be to take a set topic for discussion (transportation, for example) and let people know that the meeting would be on that theme.
Home and School also funds special projects for Parent Engagement. There’s usually a deadline in October and in January. We can talk to Shirley Jay or Jean Davies about ideas that come up. Notices will come out
Family Fun Night was a big success in November and people have been asking to have this again. There could be a connection with Parent Engagement.
The reports from others schools in the provincial AGM report includes lots of great ideas that have been tried and proved successful elsewhere.
Some other final notes for this year:
Jane is going to look into a 6 or 8 week “world explorers” anthropology club for after school in the fall or winter. Heather is going to look into sponsorship for Bricks 4 Kids. The LEGO Robotics Kits that Home and School has should be booked for sometime next year, since it books in advance. If it could be booked for a Family Fun Night in November, that would be ideal.
When the Province puts wifi in the school, we will stop having to pay for wifi. :)
The School Board has posted its policy for school changes. Conversations are going to have happen about rezoning and school changes, and our hope is that the conversations can be in families of schools.
Thanks from the administration to Shelley and Laura for their commitment as President and Past-President! Congratulations to their children who are graduating from Prince Street.
See you all in the autumn.
Erin gave a brief report on upcoming events before she and Kelly headed to the PEITF Leaders’ Debate on Education.
The Environment-a-thon coming up again. Last year raised over $8,000, far beyond expectations. There will be a kick-off next Friday. A list of prizes and important dates will also go out next Friday. There will be certain dedicated collection days for pledges, so that dribs and drabs of money don’t have to be dealt with every day. This year’s prizes are great.
Grade Six fundraising is underway. The students have been selling tickets and other swag for their year-end.
School-wide planning for year-end field trips has been decided. Only the logistics remain to sort out.
The second installment for Grade 6 HPV needles is complete.
A literacy program that supports literacy learning for students “on the fence” starts tomorrow. An itinerant teacher will do some assessment of Grade 2 students.
Next week is Music Monday. The school trip to see the Colonel Gray production of Shrek is next Wednesday. Primary learning assessments are coming up soon. The school’s final writing prompt for the year is coming at the end of May.
Some May dates to remember include these:
* Young Authors’ Night is May 14.
* Welcome to Kindergarten is May 20 from 4-6 in the afternoon.
* May 29 iskindergarten orientation (current kindergarten students stay home).
School supply money is being collected now and ongoing for next year’s supplies for grades K to 3. Grades 4 to 6 will receive lists..
Decisions about the school symbol are coming up. Erin pointed out some design options on the board. The logo for the Prince Street Power will probably include a blue and green globe and yellow lightning. Erin worked on the mockups. Kids have had input, and some kids have been asked to draw their ideas. When the decision is made, we’ll check in with a parent who does graphic design. Home and School members thought the mockups look great!
Erin noted that renovations will take place over the summer. Some of the renovations will be to create our “literacy room,” a staff-only, resource room where literacy and numeracy and shared resources for core curriculum will be stored. This is a “high-yield strategy.” The literacy room will be where the current breakfast room is. The current photocopy room will become a food-only room, including for the breakfast program. There will be some renovations for that room and that purpose too.
Shelley asked if the new logo will be ready to be used on Grade six shirts? Timelines might not make it possible. Shelley might look into what the possibilities and deadlines are if she gets a chance.
Everyone was still excited about the launch of the school song, “A Family Like No Other,” and people asked if there are still CDs to be sold. There are still quite a few. There will be some on sale for Young Authors’ Night, at book fairs next year, and so on. They don’t have to be sold all at once. After the break-even point, any proceeds will go into a pot for use by the school.
Wrap-up of Environment-a-thon will be the same day as the Spring Fling. There will probably be an assembly in the morning.
We thanked Erin for her report.
Since we last met, four of us attended the Home and School annual meeting. We all voted the way we discussed in our previous meeting. Our discussion at our local school meeting contributed to the discussion at the Annual General Meeting and was well-reflected in the discussion from the floor. All the resolutions passed.
Laura shared a card of thanks from Barb for roses and chocolate for Administrative Assistants Day.
SPRING FLING: FRIDAY, JUNE 5th
There are many opportunities to volunteer for Spring Fling! There will be a barbecue and snacks, indoor games and an outdoor dunk tank, face painting, crafts and activities, and a bouncy castle! It will be a bouncy castle obstacle course! We received advice on this one as the one that will get the most kids through the most often. Rental is $170 plus HST for 2 hours and includes a supervisor.
The rest of the meeting was taken up with making plans and signing up to help with events and activities. The detailed notes about who volunteered to do what are with Laura Bird rather than being listed here. Laura is the overall coordinator.
There are opportunities to help out in the days and weeks before the event, at the Spring Fling, and afterwards for clean-up.
Watch for notes home to ask for your help. There will also be a sign-up sheet at the Young Authors’ Night.
In the meantime, some things that everyone can help with are these:
* Donations suitable for the silent auction, including services or unique surprises.
* Donations of small, gently used toys suitable for the fish pond.
* Spread the word about the Spring Fling with family, friends, and neighbours! It’s a huge social event.
* If you haven’t already done so, “LIKE” the Prince Street School Facebook page, and invite family to “like” it too. There will be updates and promos on the Facebook page in the month leading up to the event! https://www.facebook.com/princestreetschool
Next Parents of Prince Street meeting:
May 20, 6:30 p.m., after the Welcome to Kindergarten event!
Prince Street Home and School
April 1, 2015
There was a round of introductions. Prince Street welcomed a Parents of Prince Street alumnus as a guest. Peter Rukavina is a past president of our school's Home and School and is currently the president of the provincial Home and School Federation.
There was a translator for Arabic, and she took notes to share with Arabic-speaking families. There was no Nepali translator available tonight.
Tonight, we have one main agenda item: to review resolutions (ideas) being brought forward at the provincial Home and School Federation. Our role is to provide feedback to the representatives of Prince Street who will be asked to give feedback and to vote on the resolutions at the Annual General Meeting.
There are nine resolutions. Two of the resolutions are ours, so we have seven to review.
Erin Johnston shared key dates coming up.
* Tomorrow (April 2) is Autism Awareness Day, and the school will be wearing blue head-to-toe.
* On April 16, the School Song launch will take place. There will be a celebration at 1:00 p.m., and parents will be invited.
* Next week, the dental clinic begins.
* April 22 is Earth Day, our Easter Seals visit, Administrative Professionals Day… and it will also be Prince Street Diversity Day. This will be an all-day event with activities to celebrate all cultures and all forms of diversity. This replaces the International Dinner that used to take place and responds to feedback from the school community. Parents will be invited in engaged in those activities as well -- expect a notice in a couple of weeks.
* Thursday, May 14 will be Young Authors Night, and towards May the school will be into all the assessments that take place.
* Staffing processes are well underway and information will be shared when possible.
* May 20 will be Welcome to Kindergarten. Pre-Kindergarten EYE assessments are done and data is back.
* Kindergarten Orientation Day will be Friday, May 29 (a day off for current kindergarten students)
* It has been decided that next year (like this year) K-3 will pay a $35 flat fee for all school supplies, while grades 4-6 will get a list of school supplies to purchase independently. Last year was the first year we formalized this system, with a hope to make it predictable year to year. The decision was made in conjunction with the teachers. An equal number of parents/students seem to want one model vs. the other.
* June 6 will be the Spring Fling.
One thing noticed at Birchwood and other intermediate schools: low turn-out at home and school meetings. How to carry ball forward? Joint meetings for families of schools are an idea being looked at. Lots of feedback on this.
The French Immersion night had excellent turnout and that might be a good opportunity for the Home and School to recruit.
Enrollment at Birchwood is decreasing: initiative to encourage out-of-zone transfers. Particularly good option for families that want small schools and school that has lots of experience and a good reputation for helping students with diverse needs.
Process for out-of-zone transfers is to apply to the Board (written application) and then it goes to the principals.
REVIEW OF RESOLUTIONS
Shelley read the resolutions out loud. Everyone reviewed the background information in print.
STUDENT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
Submitted by Three Oaks Senior High Parent Council
Some context on school effectiveness plans in schools: These are what the school determines as goals to work on through the school year. Each school requires one literacy-based school goal and has options for goals with other focuses.
This resolution relates to the kind of non-academic goals that could be added in to school effectiveness as an addition.
A parent asked if the French Language School Board has used particular programs for character development already. Is this similar to a program Sr. Norma Gallant was offering in French-language schools a few years ago?
A parent thought this was a worthy goal but questioned if it was of highest priority
Another person liked that it is presented in the context of school effectiveness -- but wondered is it a little vague? The resolution seems to be asking that schools make it mandatory for schools to have a school effectiveness goal related to character development. Should it be part of the school effectiveness plan mandated by the Department or not? To what extent would schools have freedom to choose their goal as a school?
As a school, it is very hard to have umpteen goals. There are large obligations for planning and reporting (accountability) for goals.
It is clear that Three Oaks who proposed this resolution had a wonderful experience they would like to share to other schools.
Is character development something that is naturally part of the learning that happens in our schools? Is this resolution highlighting something schools do anyway?
School effectiveness has moved towards academic achievement. Many people find this to be a positive trend, though it was challenging to make the shift from less academic goals.
There were questions about financial implications (benefits one way or another if it came in or not?). There is nothing in the resolution related to funding except a recommendation there be funding.
The majority said no to making character development goals mandatory part of the school effectiveness plan, yes to promoting the goals and values of this resolution, with thanks to the movers for sharing the results of positive programs for character development in their school.
Submitted by West Kent Home and School
How would this resolution make a difference? The implication from the resolution seems to be that the people making the decisions are ill-informed and insufficiently trained. We don't necessarily believe that. The resolution was proposed before recent storms: the general consensus was that the decisions made in February and March were generally good and were appropriately focused on student safety.
There are some flaws in the "whereases" and there are biases we don't share. To the extent we are in favour: we agree this is a communication issue. People will fill in the gaps with conjecture when there is an information vacuum.
We do not accept this resolution but would value a community–school board conversation with good communications about shared solutions during storm closures. A review of good practices from other jurisdictions would be welcome.
SAFE STUDENT TRANSPORTATION WITH RELATED COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES
Submitted by M.E. Callaghan Home and School
Last week was the first time the communications from the schools seemed to default to "check the Internet" as an instruction to parents and students -- and not everyone has the Internet at home. Now that there is plan in place and it has been tested, it may be easier in the future -- and maybe future messages could be communicated through different means.
One parent said she would also like to see the results of the all-encompassing resolution on communications (ours, #7) discussed ahead of this resolution. According to the order laid out now, this one (#2) will be presented first. It could end up being meshed together with the later one. Or, we could request that our resolution be dealt with first.
Most are in favour of this resolution, with not a lot of changes.
REQUEST FOR OFFSITE ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION CLASSES
Submitted Montague High School Parent Council
Some background: At Montague, the Alt Ed site has been off the school site, and some of the other Alt Ed sites are also offsite. There's been a request in Montague to move the Alt Ed program back into the school, mostly as a way to save money.
Alt Ed happens at all levels: elementary, junior high, and high school. It involves small-group settings, with a higher ratio of teachers and support educators to students. Challenges are usually behaviour-related. Alt Ed is designed for students who can't function in the boxes we call "school" but some programs run inside school buildings. (A+ was housed here, for instance, but is now at St. Jean, and has seven students from variety of local schools.)
There is an academic focus along with a behaviour-changing, life-skills focus. The small groups have varied academic needs as well.
A parent commented that sometimes the reason students don't fit in the school "box" could include bullying or other situations that mean students can't be in the school. The needs are very different among students in Alt Ed.
A parent spoke in favour of offsite Alt Ed -- and pointed out that communication is another major theme in this resolution, as in many others.
A parent who works with people with intellectual disabilities says no to this resolution. This resolution is counter to goal of inclusion. It would segregate people (very likely including people with intellectual disabilities), and segregation has been worked against for a long time.
From the elementary school perspective, Alt Ed is usually a short-term stint to reintegrate a student back into the school environment. It is meant to go in blocks. A "pro" of being in the school is reintegration. There is a need for facilities that are appropriate to support reintegration, too.
One parent observed that it almost seems like for children at the younger age, it is more beneficial to have the students in the school building. Others suggested there are pros and cons to each model.
The resolution makes it exclusive: one thing or the other, Alt Ed offsite or Alt Ed onsite. The Prince Street Home and School emphasized that students' needs are the key thing to consider.
With one strong nay, the general agreement was that we would support the resolution ONLY with an amendment that there be an "option" to have offsite Alt Ed, and the proviso that decisions one way or the other should be based on educational needs, not on real estate or financial considerations.
Submitted by West Royalty Elementary Home and School
In a nutshell: We have interventions for students who are struggling, and we want interventions for students who are bored in elementary and junior high school and would benefit from enrichment.
Strong objections: One parent said teachers and staff have enough to deal with with students who are struggling. It is easier to give students who are bored individualized enrichment materials and choices when they are unchallenged. (That is, hand them a book.)
A parent commented that it is generally privileged parents advocating for enrichment. She thought the best enrichment would be investment in enriching programs that are suffering: teacher-librarians and core programs for libraries, gym, music, drama, and art as well as literacy and math.
There is a question of resources not addressed in the motion. We would need it to say that right now for students struggling academically, the Board provides lots of resources, so there would need to be equivalent resources (especially human resources) for students requiring enrichment.
Trying to get students to successfully leave grade twelve with the appropriate level of learning is the goal.
We generally support this resolution -- with an acknowledgement of privilege and of resource issues.
Some individualized instruction requires more resources than other kinds. It is possible for a parent to ask for a modified or adapted program for a child for ANY reason, including need for enrichment. We want all children with all needs to be supported to learn.
PROMPT ESTABLISHMENT OF ANIMALS IN SCHOOLS POLICY AND PROCEDURES
Submitted by Prince Street Home and School
Update: A parent who has a service animal reported that the service animal is being accommodated at his child's school, and the School Board was spurred by the human rights issue to develop a draft policy ONLY related to service animals. This is good progress but leaves other issues in our resolution unaddressed.
The resolution may need to specify live animals. There is a dissection policy at the School Board already.
We support this resolution.
ENHANCING SCHOOL BOARD COMMUNICATIONS WITH LOCAL HOME AND SCHOOL ORGANIZATIONS
Submitted by Prince Street Home and School
This one is not as clearly worded or direct, and we're not sure it will pass, but we hope the core message will be clearly communicated that the School Board needs to communicate better with home and school organizations.
Conclusion: We support this resolution.
Peter Rukavina said from a Provincial Home and School perspective, he would like to thank us for taking a local issue and abstracting it into provincially applicable policy resolutions.
ESTABLISH AND SUBSIDIZE A PROVINCIAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM FOR ALL CHILDREN IN ISLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Montague Consolidated and Montague Regional High School
The next resolution that will be presented at the AGM is revised slightly from the photocopied version most parents were looking at.
Are they asking for a free lunch for every student? Yes. It is acknowledged that this is a big ask.
There exists a patchwork of breakfast and lunch programs across the province: breakfast programs with variety of levels of funding, some schools with none; lunch programs run by schools, home and schools, with big corporate caterers or not, etc.
Key question: What's the best way to ensure adequate nutrition?
One parent would prefer an optional lunch program run on the same principles as the breakfast program. This parent did not think taxpayers should pay for a lunch she could afford to pay for for her children.
One parent talked about better progress on lunch programs in other provinces compared to PEI. She noted there is also a difference between French and English Language School Boards, even within PEI.
More than one parent expressed a preference for voluntary over mandatory lunch programs. One parent raised a concern about food waste -- this should be added to the considerations.
Some children who have not been introduced to healthy food will be resistant to new foods and may not eat what is offered.
Someone clarified the resolution does not say "free" lunch, but subsidized.
Someone commented on the difficulty of accommodating dietary needs.
Unequal facilities in various schools are an implementation and resource problem.
We can see this from both sides. We worry this would take accountability off parents to provide healthy lunches. At the same time, we want to support children to have enough nutrition to learn, and some parents like the relief of school-provided lunches on days those are available.
One parent reflected on an experience teaching in a program with mandatory breakfast and lunch (staff included) in a program where students were selected from neighbourhoods with prevalence of low income (not necessarily kids with low income families). The experience of shared meals among students and staff was very beneficial. In theory, this parent would value the shared meal idea.
The main message of the resolution is that a child's basic need of food is directly related to academic performance. On Maslow's hierarchy of needs, food is first.
We support for the resolution and have items from above to add to the discussion. (Addition of avoiding food waste and discussion of pros and cons of voluntary/mandatory programs)
ACTIVATION OF AND ACCESS TO THE STUDENTS ACHIEVE SYSTEM BY PARENTS AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LEVEL
PEI Home and School Federation
There was some discussion of the Students Achieve System. It is used at all schools for attendance. In upper grades, grades for assignments and tests are communicated through the system as well. SAS can be a communication tool used for other messages as well (closures, mass email messages, etc.) Parents and guardians can set notification levels through email.
A teacher noted that for the kindergarten level, SAS could only record attendance and behaviour, which already would be communicated. Academic outcomes are not on SAS for kindergarten.
Someone noted not all parents have access to Internet -- such a low number of parents in classroom could access SAS. Her experience with a classroom website was that the vast majority of parents could not use it.
SAS is already required as a communication tool at the Junior High and High School level. The intent of resolution is that we need to increase communication between home and school, through whatever tools are available.
Assessment looks different at the elementary school level than at the upper grade levels. SAS may not line up well as a tool with the elementary school assessments or how we handle student achievement. For teachers, the hours beyond 8-4 required to input SAS data would be staggering. It would have to be a lot more smooth system.
However, it still would be useful to have access to what's already in the SAS system -- and still would be a great opportunity for communications to grow and develop. There could be a different tool, or it could be less level of detail than at upper levels.
With one strong nay, there was general agreement to support the resolution.
Who wants to come to the annual general meeting on April 11? Details at http://peihsf.ca/. The meeting may be extended to go all day -- organizers are working to include a leaders' forum.
Let Laura know. There is still subsidized space.
Peter Rukavina offered thanks on behalf of the Provincial Home and School for the welcome to attend as a guest and for the engaged discussion on the resolutions.
April 22, 6:30 p.m.
May 13, 6:30 p.m.