Next meeting: February 11, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.
Parents of Prince Street
Regular Home and School Meeting
January 14, 2015
Laura called the meeting to order. There was a round of introductions.
Erin reviewed highlights of the written principal's report.
Kindergarten Registration: There are 28 children registered for kindergarten for next year, which is not enough to make up three classes. However, this is a similar registration number if compared to this time last year. It is really important to encourage anyone with school-age children to register their children for kindergarten for next year as soon as possible, since decisions about staffing levels get made starting now. Teressa suggested getting the notices into church bulletins. Erin will send out the notice and Laura will share the notice with the Prince Street churches.
Winter concerts: Winter concerts were a big success. Can the school record the concert and sell it afterward so that parents don't have to have conflict about people standing in front of them or blocking their view? There's a challenge with the parents who have not granted permission for photos, but this cane probably be overcome. It might even be possible to distribute digitally so copies won't have to be made manually.
Staffing: Karla Wildey (Grade 4) is on a deferred leave for 6 months. The hiring of a teacher to fill her leave will take place next week. Marti Pendleton's time as school counsellor will finish at the end of February when Sherry Lynn MacMillan returns from parental leave.
Christmas support: Elf on the Shelf: "Chip" the elf was able to give books to every class and a gift to every student in the school, thanks to community donations. Many people contributed to the school's ability to support families with sponsorship during the holidays. Trinity United again treated the whole school to a magical turkey dinner on December 20. Laura mentioned that Prince Street parent Michelle Jay wrote a letter to the editor in praise of the turkey dinner: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2014-12-20/article-3985885/Justice,-charity-can-co-exist/1
Dance: The first dance was in December and proceeds supported bottled water for the turkey dinner.
Arts Smarts Project: Prince Street receive one of only 15 Arts Smarts grants awarded across the Island through Culture PEI. The project will continue the "Prince Street Pride" project by involving the whole school in creating a school song. Liam Corcoran (previously from Two Hours Traffic) is working with the grade five classes to do songwriting workshops. They will create the bulk of the song, but then every music class in the school will get a chance to participate by providing feedback. All classes will then learn the song. The grade six students will sing and record the song in a professional studio with David Rashed (formerly of Haywire). The grade three classes will have a rhythm component in the recording. Grade four, who have sound as a component of their curriculum, will have the chance to participate in the mixing. The Dance Club will choreograph a dance to go with the song, and then all phys ed classes will learn the choreography. There will be a celebration to release of the song in March with a whole performance. The school counsellor will work on a visual arts display with students she works with, and this will feature at the release as well.
After-School Activities: After-school yoga started this week with about 13 kids to start. The teacher is a UPEI student who volunteers with the breakfast program, Morgan Palmer. She is a certified instructor
School Effectiveness: There will be more discussion of this later in the meeting when we review data from assessments. Reading comprehension is the school goal in literacy. Writing prompts continue, and work with the literacy coach. The numeracy goal continues to focus on the number strand.
Island Storm visits are a highlight. They love coming here and we love having them here. Provincial Family Literacy Day will be celebrated in the school on February 3. Island Storm players will come and read to each class.
Prince Street international students painted a snow plough blade. Our plough's route is on the bypass by the Hospital.
The whole school went to see Cinderella at Confederation Centre. This was a big treat.
The first art blitz was December 17, and there was a lot of art blitzing.
Case Management: The process called case management has long been used to help address behaviours, and it is now being used to help make action plans for students' academic achievement. The process focuses on a team meeting with an academic focus to bringing together teachers to share suggestions for instructional strategies to support a student's learning. It is now built into the structure of the day and is showing great signs of success.
Two people are doing tutoring in the school, with Kelly Joudrey focusing on grade three and Ellen MacArthur focusing on grades five and six.
The Breakfast Program is working towards meeting school nutrition policy. As a result, the program is not serving cheese whiz anymore. The program is also working with the kids to recognize portion sizes.
For those who have usually donated cheese whiz, jam is welcome is still welcome. Cream cheese is served some days. Donations of cheese and other regularly served items are welcome. The breakfast program feeds 70 to 80 kids a day and is a really good social and nutritional start to the day.
A parent has asked if we can explore the possibility of changing the kind of hot dogs we serve on hot dog days and if there is an option of a whole wheat bun. Erin has started to look into that. This is another case where we might try to better meet the nutritional policy. The home and school suggested we may have room to move to increase the cost of hot dogs to as much as $1.50 to accommodate healthier options.
Heather offered that a mom in the community, Sarah Forrester Wendt, is a macrobiotic vegan chef and has said she would be willing to talk to the school about creating healthy food options.
PRINCE STREET SCHOOL (PSS) ASSESSMENT DATA
Erin circulated and parents reviewed reports on data from provincial assessments (20% of the results) and schoolwide data we have collected in the school (80% of the results).
Prince Street benchmark data for reading show the number of students meeting expectations for a particular time of year. It includes all students, whether they are on a modified curriculum or individual education program, so it includes students who are working towards another set of outcomes than the standard outcomes for their grade.
Looking at the literacy assessments, Erin noted a difference between the provincial assessment (based on written comprehension) and the PSS assessment (based on oral comprehension). This is a partial explanation of the discrepancy between PSS and provincial data.
This year's data helpfully breaks out the students who are working to regular outcomes and those with MOD and IEP.
The "summer dip" is very notable in the data, with students having a lot of ground to make up in September after their break from school.
A third chart shows how many students are showing improvement, how many have remained the same, and how many are showing some loss. This is also very helpful data. The goal is to have all students showing improvement and to figure out the causes of any loss.
In reading comprehension. more work is needed on higher level thinking (beyond the literal level) -- abstract reasoning and understanding. School goal: increasing reading comprehension at the higher level thinking.
The provincial assessment data of grade threes from last year showed some areas of concern that are being addressed systematically with a literacy coach, etc. Writing is not the school goal this year because there is a lot of activity on writing prompts anyway. PSS and provincial data show discrepancies that are being analysed.
There will be new tools for schoolwide math assessment coming out soon, but these tools were not available last year so there is only provincial assessment data on math outcomes.
Parents asked Erin's overall sense of the data. She said you can look at it as though none of it is red flags, or all of it is red flags. There are so many factors in the lives of kids that contribute to their learning. The school's thinking is that if they can be successful with reading and writing by the time they graduate, they have tools to help themselves through difficult times.
Parents asked and Erin answered that students are aware of it when they are being assessed for the schoolwide or provincial assessments.
The Spring Fling fundraiser and fun event will take place the first Friday in June, June 5th. The February meeting will be dedicated to Spring Fling and we ask parents to come with ideas and participate in planning. The community part of the event and the social part come naturally. :) The silent auction for Spring Fling is a big fundraiser, and this year it would be good to ask for items early.
Overall, Christmas fundraising activitied raised $857.50, with the bake sale being the biggest fundraiser.
TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK
Teacher appreciation week is coming up February 9 to 13th Traditionally, what we have done is donation of snacks to the staff room, and lunch for all staff on the Friday and supervision on the playground. Five teaching staff are out during lunchtime, and EAs can't be given relief because they work with specific students. There are 45 staff (including all, custodial staff, etc). There are 3 crossing guards and 7 bus drivers.
Snack food should be delivered by recess. Lunch food should be delivered for 11:30.
Ramona will do a call-out on Facebook. Volunteers can respond in comments or send an email to Laura.
RESOLUTIONS TO THE HOME AND SCHOOL
The executive met to discussion resolutions to send to the provincial home and school meeting. Both resolutions come out of the suspension of the puppy project.
We will draft two resolutions. One will encourage the English Language School Board to reinforce the need to develop animals in the schools policy and procedure as soon as possible. The second resolution would be related to communications and encouraging the school board to have a process of communication and a policy that follows when concerns arise or decisions come about that affect the school community and/or school programs. The focus will be on two-way communication.
The draft will be on the website and people can provide feedback. It can still be amended after we submit it at the end of January.
Laura highlighted the Home and School regional meeting on January 29th. It is open to all interested parents. Laura will be attending and would love company. Laura will send the full details to Ramona for the Facebook page. Networking, discussion of issues, sharing ideas and resources. There are three taking place province-wide, but one is in the Charlottetown Area.
The Annual Meeting we can designate five voting members and the local pays for you to go. It is usually attended by the education minister and the deputy and the school board superintendent, so it is a good opportunity to get their ear with concerns.
FINAL QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS
The decision-making about a mascot continues with student engagement .The final four options are
Prince Street Power, Rocket, Predator, and Canine.
There is a hope that more people will "like" the Facebook page, since there's such good information being posted. It was suggest the home and school could offer a prize -- for example, ten free tickets at Spring Fling -- for "liking" the Facebook page.
The Grade 6 t-shirt/sweatshirt is still being done early this year. This is still on the radar. There was discussion of grade six fundraising.
There were lots of hats and mitts donated after a call-out for these. There continues to be a need for new socks and underwear, for both boys and girls and every size.
A donation of tulip bulbs in the late fall from Vesey's and the city resulted in a frenzy of planting by the kindergarten.
Next meeting: February 11, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.
Parents of Prince Street
Home and School Meeting
November 12, 2014
President Laura Bird shared an agenda and called the meeting to order.
Erin Johnston shared highlights of her report in writing. It has been a busy month!
Voting for the Prince Street mascot is at round two, and the finalists are Power, Canines, Rocket, and Predators. The classes are talking about what they like about each mascot idea, why they like it, why it has value or meaning to them, and what it might look like. Each class will offer its top reflections, then there will be an assembly and student forum on it before they have individual student votes.
So far this year, there have been two school assemblies for Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day, both with strong kid-centred activities and huge commitment by the music teacher, Ms. Wadden-Hughes.
The first school-wide writing prompt took place: every child wrote to a specific prompt. These were moderated/marked by teachers working as partners, against a provincially accepted rubric. Teachers analyzed data and reviewed it with a literacy coach, to determine next instructional steps to take to meet students’ needs. Now, they are putting the plans into place and addressing the needs towards improvement on the next writing prompt. A similar process is taking place with school-wide reading data.
An activity afternoon freed up teacher time for focus on marking. Prince Street is fortunate to have enough specialists and non-homeroom teachers to facilitate activities while classroom teachers focus on marking. The non-homeroom teachers developed and led school-wide learning activities connected to curriculum. Kids enjoyed it.
After school activities led by Mr. Stanley have been very popular. There have been flag football and chess activities and now up is basketball, which will last into December. The activity will switch up again after Christmas. There have been about 16 to 20 kids participating in each age group.
Prince Street “brought back” Halloween celebrations with an afternoon of activities. The staff “Despicable Me” theme with principal Gru and her minions was a big hit. It was so fun. Every single staff member in the building dressed up in some way – there were 27 minions. A photo is on the Facebook site. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to “like” the Facebook site. Charlene Rogers-Bourdon and Erin are updating the page at https://www.facebook.com/princestreetschool
Kindergarten’s Garden Buddies had their first visit to the Farm Centre. There was a report on CBC Radio’s Island Morning by Lindsay Carroll this morning.
If you know a family with a child who is school age and ready for kindergarten next year, please have them register for kindergarten the week of November 17, since registration is a huge factor for hiring staff for next year.
Winter Concerts: Please note there are different dates from the ones in the original handbook. The dates and weeks have changed as a result of scheduling changes. The K-3 concert will be Thursday, December 4. The 4-6 concert will be Thursday, December 11.
Next meeting, Erin will present on school effectiveness data and goals. She has now received our part of the provincial data and has the school-wide data as well. We have the general idea of the goals for this year, and as soon as the data analysis is completed, the focus will be confirmed, but the direction is looking like it will be reading comprehension in literacy and the number strand in numeracy.
Look for Prince Street Elementary to be featured this month on the ELSB Website. http://www.gov.pe.ca/edu/elsb/.
The Book Fair was a big success, and profits will allow the school to purchase some books for classrooms. Chip the “Elf on the Shelf” from last year will be back and will deliver books as gifts to the classrooms. There will be a repeat of Chip delivering some of the presents to kids who are in the adopt-a-family program.
MLA Doug Currie’s pancake breakfast was a success and 1/3 of the profits from the pancake breakfast go to our breakfast program. Min. Currie also gives afterschool programming funds and has an additional $1,000 from another source headed for the breakfast program.
For afterschool programming, drama is running now, and after Christmas we will look into martial arts or yoga. Another idea that came up at the meeting is Video Animation. Whatever the activity is, it has to be low-maintenance and need no supervision. Erin has a lead on a yoga instructor.
Practice teachers: We will have one from UPEI, a 2nd year student who will work with Eileen Higginbotham and the resource team.
FAMILY FUN NIGHT
The notice for the Family Fun Night planned for Thursday, November 20th will go home tomorrow. There is no school on Friday the 21st. Laura explained we decided to have a family fun night instead of a movie night because it is now too expensive to buy the license to show films. The cost of a license would be more than we typically take in.
Ideas for family fun night activities included karaoke, dance, board games, science activites, and a craft. There will be concessions as we would usually have for a movie night. The gym and kindergarten rooms will be the only spaces we can use.
Admission will be by suggested donation of $2 per child or $5 per family. The
event starts at 6:30 and ends at 8:00. There will be a request to teachers if there are any who would want to hang out. Their presence is always welcome: they are aware of students’ names, needs, and potential issues.
Heather said Bricks for Kids (who use Lego for STEM curriculum) will send someone for an hour or a little more to give a partial demonstration. We looked into accessing the Robotics Kit, but this is booked to May. It could be booked for a night late this year or even next year. Heather also approached “Let’s Talk Science” from the university and will confirm soon. They will need a dedicated space. Heather is coordinating Bricks for Kids and Let’s Talk Science.
Anything we need to restrict to an area can be joined every 15 minutes, with 5 minute transition time. Some activities (board games) can be more flexible. Some students will stick with one activity for the full time. There was a call for ideas for crafts – such as a tongue depressor snowperson. Laura and Jane will work on a family-oriented craft.
Parents are a little concerned about the turnout because the date for the family fun night was not in the calendar or newsletter. For supplies, we’ll plan for about 75.
Is there anyone who can coordinate the YouTube Dance or a karaoke machine? The Fergusons have a karaoke machine and will look into whether it would be possible for the home and school to borrow it. Another option is the guessing game “mafia.”
People who have board games, please loan them for the night if you can. Does the school have any games? We will ask Kenny Stanley.
Kristy may be able to pick things up for the concessions at Costco this weekend. She will be leaving Friday.
We will need to check the popcorn supplies. Heather knows how to make the popcorn with the popper we have.
For the winter concerts – we will have a bake sale table at each, and parents can drop things off on the day of the concert at the staff room. There were lots of volunteers from the meeting to set up the two bake sales.
There was a discussion about having a raffle: Should it be for a basket or a cash prize? When there was a raffle for $1,000, it raised about $1,000. But students had to do a lot of sales outside the concerts. Shelley has gotten stuff donated for past baskets from Shopper’s Drug Mart, with odds and ends picked up from other donations or purchased to the tune of $30 or $40 at Wicker Emporium or spots where she found little things on sale.
There was a discussion of the contents of the basket and whether there should be wine in it. It is an adult-focused basket; however, it is sometimes an issue for families where alcohol is an issue.
Shelley will get the raffle license.
If we want to sell raffle tickets at the Farmer’s Market, December 6th and November 29th we would need three shifts. It has never been a problem to get permission to sell tickets there. Usually, it’s a parent and a kid or a pair of older kids. There were a few volunteers to take shifts.
Raffle and bake sale proceeds usually total about $700 to $800.
There was discussion of promoting fundraisers and concerts on Facebook. Anything that we want Erin or Charlene to post on Facebook, we could send. However, we decided to request a representative from Home and School to be an admin on the Prince Street Facebook to post occasional items from the Home and School. Ramona Doyle offered to do this. She will approach Erin about it.
SCHOOL HEALTH GRANT
A Canadian Tire fund has provided the opportunity for a new school health grant with a very tight deadline. The application is due on Monday.
Erin will provide the school SHAPES data tomorrow (Thursday). This is needed for the application.
Laura and Kelly Gillis will complete the application for the Monday deadline or request an extension if it is almost but not quite complete. We’ll need to identify equipment needs and also personnel/leadership needs and will be able to build a program around it. There were some good ideas for possible programs. The application has to come from parents and school and community. The participants in the meeting were keen for this to go forward in whatever form it needs to.
Is there going to be a heritage fair this year? Kelly said they might be doing something else. The school Website will need to be updated if neither of these is happening this year.
The executive had a very polite meeting with the Superintendent, Cynthia Fleet, about the cancellation of the puppy project. The Superintendent indicated there is a news release in the works to outline the concerns behind the cancellation.
The only "ask" at the meeting was for concerns. Laura asked if Home and School members want other information. There was no immediate response.
The other focus of the meeting was policy and procedures, since the program was cancelled due to a gap in policy and procedures to support it. As the executive understands it, any policy that has to be done will be done through the School Board staff and trustees. Staff will help board develop policies; staff will work on procedures. Policy on animals in schools is not at the top of the queue. The queue is very long. Some development of policy and procedures is far behind schedule because of the challenge of integrating school boards. Beyond the puppy project, a lot of the meeting’s focus was on how schools and teachers can develop innovative programs when there are gaps in policies and procedures. It is still not clear what the hoops are to jump. There is no clear role or process for parents or schools to contribute meaningfully to the policy-making process.
Next steps: As a home and school, we could make a presentation to the trustees as a parent group to emphasize that we want this to move faster.
We can also develop resolutions to put forward at the provincial home and school. Resolutions have to be submitted in mid-January.
The executive will draft resolutions to discuss at the next meeting and will explore whether or not to present to the trustees. Meeting participants asked for contact information for the executive.
2nd Wednesday in January – January 14, 2015
Prince Street Home and School Meeting
October 1, 2014
We started the new year of home and school with a round of introductions. Laura Bird chaired. She invited nominations for the roles of President and other positions on the executive. There were no takers, so she agreed to serve as President. Shelley Muzika, last year's President, will serve as Vice-President to help with transitions. Heather MacEwan will again serve as treasurer. Jane Ledwell agreed to serve as Secretary again.
PEI HOME AND SCHOOL
Shelley is the Treasurer of the Provincial Home and School. She and Laura talked about the relationship between the local Prince Street Home and School and the provincial body. The Provincial Home and School is very active working as an intermediary between community and government. It is the umbrella organization for all the local homes and schools in the English Language School Board. They help local units if there are particular issues in their schools. They are also a great resource for providing examples of what other schools have done in facing particular questions.
The PEI Home and School Federation semi-annual meeting is coming up this month. We can send up to five representatives from Prince Street School. The Prince Street Home and School pays the fees if anyone wishes to attend. It is a good opportunity for exchanges with the Department of Early Childhood and Education.
The priority topics to be covered this year are the following:
* Student achievement
* Staffing in schools
* Health and wellness
There will be roundtable discussions on all these topics.
The semi-annual meeting this year will take place Tuesday, October 21, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Queen Elizabeth Elementary in Kensington. It might be possible to car pool from Prince Street. If you want to attend, we need to know by October 14.
Erin circulated a report and commented on the items in it.
Staff Chances: She included the full staff list because there have been so many changes. She reviewed the changes in detail. There was a question about the teacher exchange program for the Music position. The exchange will be reviewed by the teachers and administration at the end of the year to decide whether or not to swap permanently. There was a question about the Teacher-Librarian position. Liz Pendergast, who had been on sick leave after a stroke, is volunteering, working up stamina to come back to work. Wendy Poirier is continuing in the teacher-librarian position on an open-ended timeline.
The A+ Program has moved to St. Jean Elementary where there was more space for the program.
The September PD Day was a wonderful day. The day was broken into thirds: the first third focused on reading assessment data and what we do with it; the second third was devoted to reorganizing our school's data to make meaning of it; the final third was a review of Math pacing guides, a valuable resource for planning Math teaching. PD Day allowed for collaborative team approaches based on staff's interests and needs, with multi-school collaboration possible.
In past years, Homework Club took place after school, led by Mr. Stanley. This club was not used enough in the past number of years, so it was time to try new strategies. In place of homework club this year, there will be blocks of after-school activities, such as flag football and chess. They will try to change up the activities regularly to meet students' interests.
Vice-Principal Kelly Gillis is going to offer a dance club on Fridays, before school for grades 1-3 and after school for grades 4-6. Each year, we receive some money from MLA Doug Currie for after school programs in drama, dance, and art. Drama will begin soon, with Laura running it. Since there will now be a dance club option, there is an opportunity to consider an alternative to the dance lessons. One suggestion from parents for an alternative to dance is Martial Arts. There were suggestions for possible instructors.
The Breakfast Program is running school days, Monday to Friday. The program has full complement of volunteers. They have made a change in the way the program runs logistically. Students no longer have to unpack in their classrooms and pack up again after breakfast. This is working much more smoothly for students.
The Lunch Program ordering process is going to change because a lot of people are sending in money late. There will now be a final cut-off of 8:45 a.m. on the morning of hot dog day or pizza day, with no exceptions or late orders after that time. This will make sure that each class has the correct amount of pizza. This was piloted last week, and the new system is working better, especially for the smaller children.
There must be 5 fire drills completed by mid-October, and we have completed 4 drills already. These have gone very well. There will be a notice about a lock-down drill upcoming. Bus evacuations will be taking place later this week.
The open-house style Meet the Teacher Night was very successful and well attended.
Installment 1 of HPV needles took place last week for Grade 6s.
Our public health nurse for this year is Michelle Millar. She is in every Tuesday.
September is the busiest month for volunteers in the building. The number of volunteers this past month was about 40. This requires a lot of choreography, but it is awesome, and the support is great. There was a question about parents and volunteers checking in at the office and whether or not parents need a visitor tag. Whether or not they need a tag depends on what they are doing in the school. All volunteers who will be moving through the school sign in and get a visitor tag.
We've done major renovations to the school without rebuilding. A lot of junk and clutter have been removed. All the halls have been repainted. A lot of cabinets in halls have been moved around. The rationale was to make the school look as good as it feels.
A new Fabulous Board will celebrate positive stuff at school. When teachers catch students doing something wonderful, they are being recognized with a celebratory Fabulous bell and a posting on the Fabulous Board. There is dancing by the Principal. :) The Trophy Cabinet also now includes a section for student work to be featured. We are trying to bring positive energy to student achievement and positive behaviour.
The coupon book fundraiser successfully raised over $1,500. Proceeds go towards student stuff.
The Terry Fox Run raised over $130 for cancer research. There will be a hat day on Friday to raise a few more dollars, and a notice will go home tomorrow.
The snack cupboard always welcomes donations for students who forget their lunches or don't have a lunch or snack -- fruit juice boxes, granola bars, and other snacks in the nut-free and healthy category…
PRINCE Street identity project has identified words to go with each letter of PRINCE. These themes will be incorporated into the assemblies this year. We're now in the stage of picking a mascot. At the end of last year, each class made suggestions for the mascot. The ideas from last year have now been put out to the voters in the school. There are probably 15 suggestions. There will be class votes to narrow to the top 4. Then there will be an individual vote. Students did pictures of the suggestions, and these are posted on the bulletin board.
Field Trips are coming up for Grades 1, 2, 2/3, and 5. Kindergarten classes are taking part in participatory research project with UPEI for an intergenerational project to learn about plants, growing plants, gardening, and cooking. There will be a permanent light garden -- ours forever -- at the school and field trips to the Farm Centre and the like. The number of outcomes this project will cover is incredible. The UPEI researcher leading the project is Lyndsay Moffett.
The Primary Math Assessment to assess math learning from K to 3 will be written by Grade 4s soon. This year's Grade 3s will write at the end of this year.
Head lice is going around. A note will go home if a student has live lice. If there are nits, a note will not necessarily go home. Parents and guardians need to keep a careful look out for lice. Please call the school if your home-check shows lice. It has not been bad at the school so far this year.
A Joint Occupational Health and Safety committee is required for the school. A parent has to sit on the committee. She or he can be a conduit for health and safety concerns. There were questions about the meetings. They are likely to take place monthly on Thursday afternoons. Kristy Phillips volunteered.
The Triple P Parenting Program is a great opportunity to provide parenting support and improve parenting skills. Calvin MacPhail from Prince Street is one of very few people trained this year to be a facilitator of this program. Part of his training will be a practicum, working hands-on with parents.
Provincial assessment data is still under government embargo, but as soon as the embargo is lifted, Erin would like to present it to the Home and School. There is now schoolwide data to compare the provincial data to.
Playground and lunch time schedules have been changed so that there is now one play period for all students, with the playground divided geographically. Numerous intramural lunchtime activities draw students off the playground so it is not too overcrowded.
The whole school will be going to Confederation Centre to see Cinderella this later fall. The cost is $10 per child. If there is a way to subsidize, and if Home and School can help, that would be welcome. There are resources in the community to help support and subsidize students. There will not be a decision about the high-school production until we know what show is on and how age-appropriate it is. Protecting instructional time is always a consideration; however, parents value students' opportunities to see the high-school productions, since it is schools supporting schools and gives students a chance to see productions from the schools they will go to.
Book Fair -- any parents willing and able to help with that during parent-teacher meetings in early November can contact the teacher-librarian, Wendy Poirier. She will need help.
There were some questions and discussion. Shelley asked about the School Development Plan. This is now called "school effectiveness" and is a yearly plan a school makes based on data. Our plan last year was to improve results in transactional (procedural, technical non-fiction) writing. There was also a math goal developed later in the year on the number strand. Work continues on that goal this year. The Principal and the two school effectiveness representatives had meetings last week with support people from the board to lead them through the process to analyze own data. They will lead a discussion with staff to analyze the data on Monday and a literacy goal will come out of that. There will be PD for staff on reading, writing, and math.
There was a question about "ORFF" Club. This is a music club involves percussion-style, keyboard-based instruments.
The puppy project at Prince Street ended and there has been a lot of discussion in the media and in the community.
Laura called for questions or comments from the floor about the ending of the puppy project. No one has formally approached the home and school: information has been playing out in the media.
Provincial Home and School chair (and past Prince Street Chair) Peter Rukavina provided information about policy and decision-making processes and some of the questions that might be raised and next steps to take. Members of the executive had some opportunity to discuss these points over email.The focus of discussions has been communications and policy. There are many policy motions the School Board has not addressed, so policy related to the puppy project might be very far down the pipeline. We may need backing of Provincial Home and School to get policy accelerated on this.
People shared the personal observation that this issue has generated a lot of talk, and not only in this school. A lot of teachers and parents from other schools have approached Prince Street parents with concerns about how the program was dealt with. There are concerns about the personal nature of the debate.
There was a question about the lack of policy about animals in schools. There have been dogs, rats, chicks, and mourning doves used in school curriculum in Prince Street. If the Board does not have a policy and they don't feel a policy is a priority, there should be something that outlines what can and cannot happen and how concerns can be addressed.
However, there are two policy issues that need examination:
1) Presence of animals in schools
2) How to deal with innovative programs
There need to be two policy streams. There is a lot that needs to be considered. For instance, how are service dogs or working dogs addressed?
There is a protest being planned for Friday in front of the school board office. This is a concern. Emotions are running high. The Home and School is concerned to figure out how we can deal with the undercurrent and make sure it doesn't affect students, staff, or parent community.
Responding as parents: We want to support our school and our teachers, especially a program that teachers put their own time and energy into. We want to avoid personal attack on the individual who said publicly she registered a complaint. How do we support the school community and press for progress, with respect for both sides?
There was some discussion of a letter to the editor based on email exchanges among executive members. If this is to be drafted, we'll share it with school administration before sending it elsewhere. Erin said that the School Board Superintendent offered to meet the Home and School executive.
There is now an opportunity to communicate more directly with the Board and we need to treat it as an opportunity.
The Home and School would like to request the meeting with the Superintendent. There is also the Board of Trustees to consider. The Trustees also have monthly meetings, and there is also an opportunity to request a meeting with the Trustees and to present to them.
NORTH OF EUSTON COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROJECT
The neighbourhood around the school -- north of Euston, south of Allan, east of University and west of Longworth -- is doing a project to build community spirit and identity. The Home and School kindly provided a letter of support for the project proposal. Would Prince Street School like to collaborate on the project?
It was suggested an event could take place in the school. The library has a new mural highlighting the history of the school and might be a great place for a history-related event. It doesn't have space for a very big group, but this can be looked at.
Erin said that they have been finding at the school that a sense of identity is really important, there's such a diverse population of staff and students. Using the work Prince Street is doing as a spin-off into the community is a great idea.
Parents suggested we offer the same suggestion to the Birchwood community as well, to get them involved in the community engagement project. They might also be willing to foster some interest in that. We're not sure who the new chair or coacher is, but could check in with Peter Rukavina to find out.
We will try to meet 1st Wednesday of the month; when not possible, the 2nd Wednesday.
The next meeting will be Wednesday November 12th.
The Parents of Prince Street Home and School meeting was well-attended on Thursday, May 8.
There was a surprise assembly today. The DJs from Hot 105.5 were here to cover the Enviroment-a-thon fundraiser and hype it up with new prizes.
Thanks to Pampha for translating into Nepali this evening.
Spring Fling -- Friday, June 6
Some people came specifically to talk about Spring Fling, so we started out with that topic. A parent who is a balloon-twister wanted to volunteer to entertain at Spring Fling. He will be permitted to leave business cards promoting his business on a table for parents to pick up if they wish. There was a discussion about how much space will be needed.
Dunk Tank is confirmed but requires someone with a hitch on it to deliver it. Erin is scheduled to be dunked. Others who have usually been willing to do the dunk tank include Mr. Brown. Also, Dana will call Terry McIsaac to see if he'd be willing to come back so students will have one last crack at dunking him! If he is willing to come, he might also be able to pick up the tank. If he cannot do this, Erin can pick it up.
Home and School will put up a sign-up sheet for staff to volunteer for Spring Fling.
A volunteer is needed to coordinate the silent auction, especially pick-up of donations.
Phys Ed teachers at Colonel Gray and the Rural can usually send high school students as volunteers.
There will be a bake sale table. A call will go out for donations to the table. Some commitments have already been made to donate fudge. If there is no bake sale table, this can be part of the barbecue. Heather is coordinating the barbecue. Pampha can contribute samosas. Heather will do fruit kebabs but not candy kebabs.
Dana will check supplies under the stairs to see what the inventory looks like. There will need to be more new prizes for the games. Jane is coordinating the indoor games.
Fast food restaurants have sometimes donated leftover toys. Some donations such as coupons for happy meals have been provided already. These are usually prizes for the fish pond.
We need to confirm that the mock jail is here at the school and not somewhere else.
Dana is dealing with cakes for the cake walk game. (Musical chairs with cakes as prizes.) Lori MacDonald is going to make and decorate the cakes again, even though her children have graduated from the school.
Need a person to coordinate popcorn and to learn how to operate the machine.
Face painting requires baby wipes and mirrors. Volunteers for face painting are welcome! Face painting is quick, in-and-out rather than elaborate. Chris M. knows someone who might be able to help as a face painter. Face and nail painting rooms are best separate.
Mr Brown talked about running the French Cafe again this year. The Grade 5 students all help and volunteer with the cafe as part of their unit on French.
A volunteer is needed for the Dance Dance Revolution.
We need to confirm magician or musician or any of those entertainment options.
This year, the Welcome to Kindergarten night will include parent orientation. If there's a promo of Spring Fling, it can be handed out at the parent booth during Welcome to Kindergarten on May 27.
Maps (for volunteers) and clear signage for events are both very helpful.
The silent auction needs a volunteer to put items online. The framework already exists and Peter Rukavina has offered to help make sure the framework is up and running. Heather can do some pick-ups of donations downtown.
We will need to have one more meeting prior to Spring Fling.
ELECTIONS OF EXECUTIVE FOR NEXT YEAR
We will send a notice out to parents to let them know who is offering to continue on and who isn't and to invite nominations for new executive members next year. Shelley is President, Dana is Vice-President, Heather is Treasurer, and Jane is Secretary. Shelley is stepping back. Dana's child is graduating. New people will be needed.
Erin reported on activities.
After-school activities are in full swing, and students are appreciating them.
The mural by Warren Reeson in the library (PEI 2014 Grant) is progressing really well. A date is being set for a celebration in June. Details will come out.
Staffing changes include our night custodian, Rich Lush, who moved on to a position with more hours at Parkdale. This is a huge loss for us. Sandy Harding is now filling his six-hour night position and is welcome. Kim Crosby, an EA, just started with us last week. She transferred in with a student who transferred here.
The last writing prompt will be structured a little differently and timed to feed into end-of-year report cards. This will take place at the end of May or beginning of June.
The decision about school supplies for next year is that the school will collect $35 for each child entering K to Grade 3 and teachers will purchase supplies. Students entering Grades 4 to 6 will receive a specific list, and they and their parents will be responsible to pick up the supplies on the list. Erin said thank you to the home and school for feedback at last meeting. The letter about school supplies will be translated into Nepali by Newcomers and will go home in Nepali next week.
The International Dinner was awesome. Erin loved it!
Transition meetings with Birchwood are taking place to prepare for Grade 6 students to make smooth transitions. Some of the teachers from here consult with the Birchwood teachers; there are also meetings between parents and Birchwood teachers to ensure students have what they need when they make a successful transition to Junior High School. A notice has gone home about the introduction to Burchwood night for parents of Grade 6 students. This is taking place at 7:00 on May 22nd.
The Environment-a-Thon fundraiser is taking place next Thursday. An assembly today with the DJs from Hot 105.5 came in and promoted new prizes. The assembly highlighted prizes and a notice went home as well. The winner will get to go on the radio with Hot 105.5. There are prizes for students and classes. The students were super excited. The students who participate will pick up garbage in parks and in the playground. Older students will clean up garbage up and down the street near the school.
Young Author's Night is a chance for students to show off the writing they've been doing all year. Every child showcases their writing. All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend. This is taking place on Tuesday, May 13 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The Easter Seals Ambassador came in, and students raised over $400.
A few weeks ago was Administrative Assistant's Day. A big party for Barb Irvine celebrated her 40th year at Prince Street School!
The PEI Archives received a donation of all kinds of old registers and records that had been stored here at the school but will be more accessible at the Archives. They were very happy to get these.
Early Years (EYE) Assessments for new kindergarten students saw excellent attendance.
The Welcome to Kindergarten event will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27. The new time is because the after-supper time used last year wound up at 7:00, which was late for the four-year-olds. The kindergarden orientation day is Monday, June 2. Current kindergarten students have that day off. Incoming students are here in the morning, and the kindergarten teachers spend the afternoon preparing for next year.
There's a "makeover committee" looking to give the main entrance a freshened up look. Hopefully by next year, you'll see changes there so the school looks the way it feels and the entrance expresses that spirit.
End of year trips and celebrations are in the works but still being coordinated.
The school decided not to send students to see the Charlottetown Rural musical this year due to time lost during storms. Also, the play was only recommended for Grades 5 and 6 students.
GRADE 6 CLOSING
Home and School organizes cupcakes, snacks, and juice and the like, including some awards. This takes place the last day of school (June 25th).
The meeting closed with cookies, juice, and thanks.
Reminder: The Workshop for Healthy Lunches on a Budget is now Thursday, April 10, 2014 @ 6:30 pm
Workshop on How to Support Your child in Math
Come and learn some new strategies that will assist you in supporting your child’s work in math. This presentation will provide a parent-friendly view into some of the math outcomes addressed at the Grade 3 to 6 levels.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 6:30
Child care and Nepali translation provided.
Please register by Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Parents, please provide the following information:
Math Workshop for Grades 3 to 6
My Child’s Name and Grade:
Friday June 6, 2014
The annual Spring Fling fundraiser will be on Friday June 6. This is the main event the Prince Street Home and School organizes to raise funds to purchase various items needed for school and in the classrooms. We are looking for people to volunteer for helping out in the following areas: BBQ, inside games, face painting, nail painting, bake sale, cookie decorating, set-up, and most importantly, clean-up!
We also need some people to assist with the planning as our coordinator for the last 2 years is not able to do so this year.
Please fill out the form below by April 16, 2014
Email and phone number:
Parents of Prince Street
Home and School Meeting
Thursday, April 3, 2014
PRINCIPAL' S REPORT
Erin Johnston reported on a wide range of school activities and issues.
After-school clubs are going on, with drama winding up soon and dance starting next week. Art will start soon. There is a small fee for these, and they are open Grades 4 to 6. Funding comes from local MLA Doug Currie's constituency fund. The Boys and Girls Club is going to run a free baseball club. Track will start soon. Today, the school started a chess club. Students have been asking for a chess club, but there wasn't someone to run it. It will run at lunchtime with itinerant EA and an itinerant youth worker. There will be one for K-3 and one for 4-6. Itinerant staff are employed by the Board but are available to our school for a time. The Principal advocated for itinerant support for Prince Street.
PEI 2014 funded a $2,014 project for artist Warren Reeson to do a mural in the library, showing an evolution through time of Prince Street School. The mural is now underway, and parents thought it looked pretty cool. At the end of June there will be a celebration of the completion of the mural. This will be during the school year.
Erin reported smooth transitions around staffing changes: Krista Leard is in for the rest of the school year for Kelly Wakelin; Jennifer Noonan is in for Joe Burgess; Jenna Rogerson is in for Sherry Lynn MacMillan; Donna Wigmore is in for Fay Adams. Itinerant EA Lori MacDonald is in for a short time, and an itinerant YSW will be in for four weeks in April.
Prince Street pride! The words students selected to represent P.R.I.D.E. are
* Never Give Up
Erin wants to make a big hoo-hah about that before it is announced at the school. There will be work towards a school symbol, a mascot, and a revamp of the school colours. When all is finalized it would be nice to get new t-shirts or track suits in the fall. This might appear on wish-lists for next year. If the decisions are made about colours and symbols before the end of the year, some items could be ordered over the summer and be ready to go for the fall.
The Professional Development Day at the end of January was very well-received, with excellent feedback from teachers. There was a really close examination of our reading data. The second round of reading data showed huge gains. Part of that is from the narrowed lens after seeing the data, and there were changes to how we do resource, with more of a "push-in" of resource into classrooms. In numeracy, every teacher in the building developed an individual math goal for themselves in the category of the number strand -- this, whether they are math teachers or not! Then, David Costello (who will be doing the April 22nd math workshop for Home and School) came in and met with each staff person individually to work on their own goal. There was in addition work on the writing prompt on the PD Day.
Each team of teachers looked at writing prompt results, and we're building momentum with that. A third writing prompt will come in May.
The Olympics, Prince-street style, were a ball.
On Pink Shirt Day representatives of Crimestoppers and the Islanders hockey team were in and talked with students.
The coupon book fundraiser was even more successful than last year and took in much more than we took in on the fundraiser last year.
The dental clinic has almost completed its work at the school.
There was a successful Art Blitz in February, with one to come in May.
Out of zone transfer update -- There is an updated policy from the board. If anyone wants to have a student attend a school out of their zone, the deadline to apply will be March 31st, and the answer will be provided by the end of June. Later applications might not be decided until later in the summer. The reason for this is that transfers really affect numbers, and numbers of enrolment really affect Board decisions about teachers. Last year, schools were really late to find out their enrolment numbers but this year, Erin should find out more details next week. What she finds out may be tentative numbers and might not be shareable.
In the past, Prince Street has seen about 25% of the student population turn over during the course of the year. Exact population of the school is almost impossible to keep track of, but it hovers around 270.
There was some discussion of the new policy. It was clarified that anyone accepted to an out-of-zone school doesn't have to reapply as long as they stay. If they wanted to return to their own zone, they would have to reapply. The policy is meant to make it a permanent transfer, but there will be the chance to make another application if necessary.
French week before March break was a success, with trivia and treats, announcements in French, and French music.
Recent upgrades mean that all homerooms now have an LCD projector. There will be an FM system for the gym. (Most classrooms have one now.) There was an opportunity to try one in the gym on a test basis, and it was very successful. The one being set up now will see speakers mounted in the gym, with amps and mixers also placed in the gym, so it will be possible to plug a mic into the stage. This will be great for assemblies, concerts, and events. Provincial AV services are setting up the sound system, and the FM system will plug into that new system. There is also a new FM system in KA classroom. Office furniture is also seeing some upgrades. Chairs that were in the office were old and gross. There are now new chairs that are clean and appropriate: two for the office and two for the "lobby" area. The lobby/entrance area needs a facelift and this will be discussed soon. There are six new document cameras that are like old overhead projectors but without any of the bother. They can project directly from books or sheets of paper.
Figuring out scheduling for a new school year is a puzzle that takes some time, and work will begin in earnest soon.
The School Dance happening during the Home and School meeting is supporting Easter Seals
The International dinner tentative date is April 29th, and planning is starting soon.
Erin explained how the whole-school evening invitation to the Island Storm basketball game came about. Over the year, there were lots of offers of free tickets offered by various sports teams. When Island Storm offered, Erin said that we'd like to take the whole school. The Storm said yes. In the end, about 150 kids attended a game. About 35 staff were there and about 50 parents. Adults were offered $5 tickets. The choir sang the anthem in the gym to start the game. It was a proud night for Prince Street students.
School supplies: Erin requested input on decisions about how to fund and purchase school supplies. Last year was the first year that Prince Street opted (all but two grades) to collect money from students so teachers could purchase supplies for all. Last year, there was discussion in the media about why one school asks for one amount for school supplies and another school asks for another; there were also inconsistencies in lists from school to school in schools that send lists home to parents. The School Board has been working to coordinate. Principals have been asked to provide input, and a committee has been formed. Schools can make a decision about whether to ask for a list or money. If a list, it will be a pre-approved list from the Board; if collecting money, it will be a maximum of $35.
One parent expressed preference for paying the money -- with the option to contribute more to help cover kids whose parents can't afford to pay.
There was more discussion. What were the issues in the past? Collecting the money can be a challenge and can drag out. In one class, only five children had paid. Some had supplies given to them. Some had no money or supplies. For the most part it is those who aren't able who don't pay.
It takes a while for cash payments to become expected. One parent thought that $35 is cheap. Erin said that the approved list for each grade is also reasonable. The list from the school board is inflexible.
One parent asked if there is a way students can still personalize their stuff if it is purchased by teachers.
Another question: Are there things such as scissors, rulers, and the like that can be classroom-owned? Some classrooms do keep discarded supplies. There is slippage from school transfers.
There was concern about added administrative and purchasing work for the teachers. Can this be streamlined? There are some school-purchased supplies in a supply cupboard for use by all. Erin was at a school where she had to purchase for the full school and maintain inventory. This is not manageable or sustainable for Prince Street!
It was noted that the two options mean two different kinds of work for teachers -- dealing with purchases or dealing with students who don't have supplies.
Erin said thanks for feedback and asked parents to stay tuned.
The treasurer's report is all good. The finances are roughly where we would usually be this time of year.
Resolutions will be discussed at the Provincial Home and School AGM on Saturday April 12. Shelley asked for feedback on the resolutions from Prince Street parents. There will be about 100 people there representing all the schools. Prince Street can send up to five representatives. The meeting starts at 8:30 and goes to about 1:30 with breakout sessions following until 2:30. The Education Minister and Deputy Minister and others will be there to discuss strategy for education going forward. Shelley explained the resolution process. There was then a discussion of each resolution. (Please note that summaries below just describe the topic and oversimplify complex resolutions.)
That Participation, Release, and Indemnification Forms be written in plain language to allow for legal and monetary implications to be made apparent.
Prince Street School parents passed
To include e-cigarettes in the Tobacco Product Usage Ban and to broaden the definition of "tobacco-related product" be extended to include e-cigarettes.
Prince Street School parents supported this.
To remove administrators, counsellors, and non-classroom positions from the student-teacher ratio.
There was some discussion about what this would mean if applied to Prince Street and what the pros and cons might be of this proposal.
Prince Street School parents didn't think we had enough information, and we recommended this should go back for further information and research.
To ensure that teachers are receiving relevant professional development that can be effectively and immediately introduced in the classroom to increase academic achievement.
Prince Street School parents are concerned this is not phrased in a way that is specific or likely to be easily applied. There was strong support for public education about the relevance of PD days. There was also strong support for better evaluation of PD days to capture teachers' satisfaction with how effective PD days are to increase academic achievement. There was also support for giving teachers more control and autonomy with collaborative days. Prince Street parents want effective PD days and have appreciated learning more about how PD days are being used at our school. We want to support positive approaches to PD days and don't think this particular resolution will bring about greater effectiveness. The goals are vague. The idea is nice but hard to achieve and there are concerns about who evaluates.
To create a plan for advancing technology in PEI schools and more budget for infrastructure.
This relates to three previous resolutions. There will always be challenges to keep up with technological changes, especially in terms of budget. This resolution is to push the department again to have a plan.
Prince Street parents supported this.
To acknowledge urgent problem with student achievement, declare it to be a public priority, work to national and international achievement goals, to use Home and School as an equal partner in discussion, to have an annual report to inform public and parents on the state of the PEI education system.
There was general support but also concern about pushing towards standardized testing by a different means and concern that PEITF is excluded from partnership. Shelley expects this resolution is likely to get more discussion and that tweaks and amendments will be made at the AGM.
Parents agreed that discussion needs to be continued and the core is very solid, and Prince Street parents want to see this on the agenda. Parents support this resolution.
To improve reporting on absenteeism and collaboration with home and schools to improve student attendance.
Prince Street parents would like to ensure parents are included in the collaboration.
Prince Street parents supported this resolution.
To reconsider the new policy and revert to a "no nit policy" and to encourage collaboration with health professionals.
A no nit policy requires that the student with lice misses a lot of time. It would have negative consequences for Prince Street students.
Prince Street School parents don't support this resolution.
The workshop on healthy lunches on a budget is rescheduled to
Thursday, April 10th
The Math Night (math strategies for Grades 3 to 6)
Tuesday, April 22nd
Notices will be coming.
We need an overall coordinator or co-coordinators for this event. The binder of plans that previous coordinator Laura Bird has put together from coordinating the past two years.
June 6th is the date for spring fling.
We need more volunteers this year than last year.
We have often done a silent auction that requires coordinating.
Usually someone coordinates the barbecue
Usually someone coordinates overseeing games and supplies
Heather will do the barbecue. Joanne Brown did barbecue in past years and Dana/Shelley will help her connect with Heather.
Dana will make ten cakes and coordinate the Cake Walk
Jane will coordinate indoor games.
Erin will go in the dunk tank.
Volunteers from higher grades at Birchwood and Colonel Gray are welcome. Leadership classes need to do certain amount of volunteer work and are good contacts.
In the past, there was a letter to ask for donations: Colleen might have a copy.
The call for a coordinator needs to be extended to the wider community. It will be placed in the Trinity Church bulletin, for instance.
There was a questions about whether or not it would be permitted for the Home and School to set up a Facebook Page? This would be welcome. A Prince Street School page will be set up after the new identity plans are finalized.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting date will be announced soon.
Just a reminder that with no school today due to bad weather, there will be no Home and School meeting tonight. We will set a new date for the next meeting soon.
In the meantime, there are two upcoming workshops for you to plan to attend!
A notice went home this week inviting you to sign up for a workshop on making healthy, affordable lunches. The workshop Healthy Lunches on a Budget will take place Thursday, March 27, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at Prince Street School.
The PEI Healthy Eating Alliance will present a FREE practical workshop for parents and guardians about preparing healthy lunches for our children when money is tight. We know from surveys of students that healthy eating is a challenge and this workship can help us make a difference! Free samples will be provided!
Bring your children: on-site childcare will be provided. We will have simultaneous translation into Mandarin and Nepali. The meeting will be over by 8:00 p.m. Please register by letting the school know you are attending by tomorrow, March 14.
And please reserve April 2nd for a workshop on numeracy strategies for Grades 3 to 6.
Don't forget that all Prince Street parents are welcome at the next Home and School meeting on Thursday, March 13, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the school.
Parents of Prince Street
Home and School Meeting
January 26, 2014
Shelley called the meeting to order.
Principal Erin Johnston shared an update on happenings in the school since the last meeting.
The lockdown drill was rescheduled from the originally planned date, but it went extremely well. It was one of the most successful drills Erin has witnessed.
Parent Teacher interviews saw a good turnout.
The Remembrance Day assembly in November was particularly good and was well-received by students.
Literacy meetings with literacy coaches gave teachers a chance to talk about data from the last writing prompt, with an emphasis on what to do in the classroom with what was learned.
Kindergarten registration is at about 38 students and is into the three-class range. Registration now will form the basis for staffing numbers. If anyone knows any kindergarten-aged children who are not yet registered, please let them know to register as soon as possible.
Winter concerts received positive feedback. People were okay with one earlier and one later; in fact, this seemed popular. Parents expressed appreciation of the shorter length of concert for the smaller children and the way each grade sang one song together. Two new microphones were purchased with money raised during winter concerts.
PLIP: Grade two reading data was submitted to the Eastern Language School Board and Susan Lea Manning is providing additional literacy support to grade two teachers.
Grade six students received their second round of HPV needles in November.
There have been a number of staffing changes and a number are upcoming. A Grade One teacher on maternity leave decided not to return until fall. A Behaviour Resource teacher has been offered a position with the ELP program for children who cannot stay in regular classroom. His job is posted and will be filled. Our School Counsellor Sherry Lynn MacMillan is going on maternity leave, and Jenna Rogerson will replace her during her leave. Grade Three teacher Faye Adams is retiring at the end of the week. Her replacement to the end of the school year, will be Donna Wigmore, who will meet the students on Wednesday.
The school Elf on the Shelf, "Chip," was a big hit and visited each classroom. During his visit, there was a gift for each classroom (a book). The Elf on the Shelf for the school took on a larger life as community support for this school poured in over Christmas. A few families were sponsored, and many people wanted to help on a smaller scale and just bought individual gifts for students, so Chip was able to leave presents for well over fifty students. The look on some faces was unbelievable as they received gifts. Chip's antics were considered hilarious.
There was a successful Dance in December, with proceeds for water for students the turkey dinner.
An assembly with the Island Storm was another big hit.
The ArtSmart program that Ms. Caseley's and Mrs. Wildey's classes participated in resulted in a beautiful and impressive giant globe we hope to hang in the school entranceway. The artwork represents the multicultural nature of Prince Street School.
The turkey dinner sponsored by Trinity Clifton United Church was a huge success, with over 300-320 people served including staff. Pizza suppliers Dominos and Papa John's also provided free pizza for special meals before the holidays.
The Choir went carolling before holidays. The Drama club got started up.
School board liaison Ron Tweel was here in the school for a full day reconnoitre last week. He met with the School Effectiveness committee and had "walks and talks" with the Principal (observing and discussing school matters, with a focus on teaching-related things). He did the breakfast breakfast program, spent time in classes working with children, helped do announcements, participated in dog training with Eileen Higginbotham, and visited every grade level through the day.
Movie night in January was a big success.
Erin is working with students on "Prince Street School Pride" with a goal to have a school mascot or symbol. Before Christmas, students in each grade chose key words about what Prince Street means to them, choosing words for each of the letters in "PRINCE." They are now looking at the words and what they mean and voting to select the words that best suit Prince Street's sense of itself. Teachers are working with students to narrow choices to two words per letter. Then there will be a run-off vote with the top two choices for each letter. Parents were invited to vote, too. Votes were due Thursday, January 30.
The update from the School Effectiveness crew was that preparation for the second writing prompt (on persuasive writing) is coming up. There will be meetings with literacy coaches, and the school is also working with numeracy goals. Folks from department have attended staff meetings to present data from provincial assessment. It is clear Prince Street needs to look at the number strand and next to narrow down what strategies will move students forward.
Today was Family Literacy Day. There was book trivia all day. There were ballots with one student from each grade getting a book prize. There were readings in every class, and Erin read a book to the school in the morning. There was a great deal of enthusiasm.
The school board Superintendent will visit and will read to K classes next Monday.
On the PD Day this Friday, a literacy coach will be here for half the day. Grade level teams will decide what the topic will be for the persuasive writing prompt. It has to be worded properly so it is fair and unbiased. There will be reviews of al the reading data collected from all teachers to this point in the year. The principal has done some analysis of student writing results to see who is meeting goals, who isn't, and what to do about it. The last part of the PD day will focus on numeracy goals next steps: to ensure plans, follow-through, and accountability.
A school psychologist has been assigned to the school for the next while. Parents noted the shortage of school psychologists, and Erin clarified the school psychologist is not with us full-time or full-year. There is still a waiting list to see her while she is assigned to the school. The list of students needing support has been reprioritized and reviewed since last time we had access.
Because there are delays in assessments, before jumping to assessments, the psychologist may help fill in gaps, and teachers and administrators at the school will work with her to do what is possible before assessment, including looking into other interventions. The assessment process is a huge amount of work. There are years worth of waiting. There are some counselling consultant positions to bridge the gaps, but there is a lack of qualified people for psychologist positions.
There was a discussion to distinguish school counsellors and school psychologists. Guidance counsellors are trained for counselling students in the school. Psychologists are mostly focused on educational psychological assessment. They can indicate learning disabilities. A school counsellor would typically not be trained for these assessments. A Psychologist can also deal with threat situations, grief counselling, and other similar things.
Private psychologists are available but very expensive. Referrals to Richmond Centre are another possible route. A couple of times that has been possible, but students still face a wait and schools have to pull some strings. One great thing about Prince Street is the resource team: the knowledge and skill level with resource team and the way they work with the whole school are all very strong. It is still a good school to attend when someone is struggling.
If the teachers are pretty sure there's a learning disability, they will work in that direction, and oftentimes an assessment will only confirm what teachers already know and have been working with.
Little has changed in the Home and School finances. We have about $4,000 in bank account, with some teachers' wish list items still to come through. Concerts and bake sales brought in about $600 with just one week at the market with the raffle on the basket. A second week at the market usually would up the profits from the raffle.
(Meeting of Home and School Reps of Col. Gray Feeder Schools with the Superintendent)
Heather attended the meeting for Prince Street. It was interesting: many parents tried to use the meeting to indicate a level of frustration that older children (upper grades) are experiencing at school. Parents said their sons and daughters find themselves at loose ends when they complete their work. The Superintendant was unclear about the role Home and Schools fill here in PEI and did not think fundraising or filling wish lists should be the role of home and school. She pictured a more limited role supporting education, more like the structure familiar to her in Newfoundland and Labrador. In NL parent-council groups have very specific guidelines about what they can and can't do. The provincial Home and School will help the new superintendent get a sense of the history and current work of the PEI Home and School, to help change understanding.
Heather said there was no message from the meeting. If this is to be an annual meeting, a questionnaire in advance would be an improvement. There were two open-ended questions shared in advance, but questions could be more focused and effective. It would be helpful to know the school board's goal for the evening.
There may be further feedback from a Principals' meeting with the Superintendant.
Shelley handed out Parent Leadership Grants Proposal Kit.
Last year, our proposal was for 4 things: a Young Authors' Night, two numeracy workshops, and a workshop on creating healthy lunches on a budget. Young Authors and the K-2 numeracy workshop were very successful. The Healthy Lunches event didn't attract enough pre-registrations so we thought we would do it in the fall. We should try to reschedule both it and the 3-6 numeracy workshop, if we can think about some times to fit those two workshops in. Ms. J recommended David Costello as a dynamic speaker for the numeracy workshop. Shelley will check in with the Healthy Eating Alliance about who might give a workshop on healthy lunches. Through the grant program, we will get reimbursed for what we spend.
Teacher-Staff Appreciation week is coming up February 10 to 14. We normally do a number of different things for the 50 staff. Parents volunteer to bring in snacks during the week, two parents a day for the first 4 days. Friday we provide lunch and yard duty for teachers. We also give bus drivers a gift card to Tim's or something similar.
Dana will again coordinate a Compliment box: The school will send out sheet this week to have students put in a compliment. Dana can type up the submissions from students and post them outside the classroom doors of the staff who get the compliments. Kids can have as many ballots as they want. Ms. J will need the ballot template. Erin is away that week, so H&S will liaise with Colleen. We will need a few extra appreciation bags in case of extra staff in during the week. The Home and School aims to spend about $5 per gift bag.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Anyone willing to bring in snacks on a particular day, please let Shelley know. For yard duty, we need three people. (Note: Some EAs and support staff can't be replaced on yard duty.)
Book Fair: A 2nd Book Fair is happening to coordinate with Parent-Teacher Interviews in March. We are looking for parent volunteers to staff it so our librarian can participate in p-t interviews. Heather volunteers for March 6th in the evening and Jane's mom will volunteer for March 7th in the morning.
School Nutrition and Activity Report (SNAP) assessments are in but not to be distributed. Students complete a survey. Each school gets a response and analysis. Data relates to nutrition and weight. The report comes with an offer of help and support for schools.
Erin asked: Do you want SNAP to present to staff or home and school? There's a grant for SNAP people to work with a group of parents and students and staff to examine and lead to a grant. Some Grade 6 students were part of a student leadership program with Ms. Duffy and are keen to be involved in follow-up.
Nutrition and health support: Has there ever been a discussion about a lunch program? One challenge in this school is there is not enough room/space. Some programs bring delivery straight to the classrooms. In the past, the school tried spaghetti. They tried "real meals" and most got thrown in the garbage. Those who needed it couldn't afford it and/or wouldn't eat it.
Erin explained the school is now doing pizza four times a month rather than two times a month, and hot dogs twice a month. According to healthy eating guidelines, hot dogs are supposed to be once a month. Pizza is supposed to be whole wheat. (This was tried at another school and sales cut in half) There are a number of students every day who come without a lunch or without enough for lunch. We have always had a food cupboard here at Prince Street for hungry kids. In the past it was stocked by home and school, then a church group, and now it is stocked by a group of supporters/friends and Trinity United Church. One useful contribution to school nutrition is gift cards for breakfast program that can be used for other things. There are leftovers from the breakfast program that can be used for lunches. 70 kids a day come to school for the breakfast program. They love the social time as well as the toast.
Is there a Second Harvest program in PEI -- collection from grocery stores that are "off" for shelf but still edible? There is none that we know of. Prince Street has had apples donated regularly though.
School reps we are in good shape with the breakfast program and that the cupboard in the staff room is in good shape. Trinity United Church has made a huge difference in the last two years. They have a pancake breakfast fundraiser that Home and School will help promote as soon as we know the date.
Next meeting date: March 13th, 6:30 p.m.