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.
Parents of Prince Street Home and School Meeting
February 11, 2015
The Nepali translator was not available this evening. We don't need Mandarin or Spanish translation right now. If parents need particular assistance with interpretation, please let us know.
Ms. Poirier described the Book Fair and Book Sale. Parent volunteers are needed March 5th from 2:30 to 7:00 p.m. and the morning of March 6th, 8:00 a.m. until noon.
Students are trained to help and can help customers and do sales, but it is good to have an adult in the room to help them if they have any problems. You can sign up for a time with Laura Bird, or leave a note with contact information if you'd like to help but are unsure of the times you would be available.
Helping with the book fair is a lot of fun.
GRADE SIX HOODIES
We are trying to order hoodies earlier than usual, as soon as possible after the March break. Fundraising by grade sixes goes towards hoodies but also the end-of-year activities. Last year, the vast majority of students paid for year-end efforts through fundraising rather than private payment, so the focus and timing need to fit with the fundraising.
Last meeting, we had discussed ordering more nutritious hot dogs. Getting more nutritious buns is simple and is just a matter of placing the order. Some of the more nutritious hot dogs are being tested with student eaters right now to see if they are popular. The hot dogs are all beef. There was a question about whether or not there are students in the school who do not eat beef, since there are students who do not eat pork. The answer was unknown.
The more nutritious wieners are more expensive. The hope is to keep the cost as low as possible.
A few years ago, the Home and School looked at the maximum that could be charged for anything in a lunch program. At that time, it was determined that $2 was the most that could ever be charged for an item at Prince Street to keep it within family budgets.
This year, Prince Street students won't be taking part in the Heritage Fair. It used to happen every second year in rotation with the Science Fair.
It is a lot of work for teachers and staff, but Shelley Muzika would really like students to have an opportunity to work on heritage fair projects. Is there something parents could do to support the effort? There's opportunity to move on to the provincial fair, and projects can be a source of great pride and learning. It is also very good preliminary work for future independent research projects.
Ms. Johnston responded that there is value and importance in Heritage Fairs and Science Fairs both, but staff requested a break from science and heritage fairs. It doesn't fit nicely in curriculum and has to be fit in creatively. It takes a lot of time and hard work, which translates into a huge amount of input from staff. Erin is going to honour the request for a break for now. The International Dinner this year will incorporate aspects of culture and heritage that will in some ways cover similar territory.
If people want to voluntarily submit, they can do that on their own. Shelley asked that this possibility be made known to students so they have the choice to do independent projects in time for the deadline. Erin said she would find out the regulations for independent submissions to the province-wide competition.
Erin will put together a newsletter blurb for March about opportunities to enter the Heritage Fair, with some step by step instructions. Home and School can help with supplies for students who wish to do a project, so Laura's name can be included as a contact.
Do children in grades five or six do an independent research project in those grades? It depends on the teacher, and there is no specific curriculum outcome that says students must do an independent research project, but the answer is generally yes.
Spring Fling will take place Friday, June 5th. The event takes place through the whole school and outside. It is like a school carnival. The event usually goes from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and there is a barbecue.
One component has been a silent auction. Do we want to do a silent auction this year? Yes. This is such an important fundraiser! Laura asked Erin for the "ask" letter. Past letters can just be updated. All the money raised at Spring Fling is spent the next year on supplies for the school and other school events.
We will go after some big asks, but we accept anything, small or big.
There are lots of Spring Fling volunteers. Volunteers wear yellow t-shirts, and we have 200 yellow shirts.
Heather will order tables and garbage containers provided by the City of Charlottetown.
Can we add anything new or different or exciting this year? Erin said bouncy castle rentals are very reasonable. The price includes a handler and insurance. If it rains, it can be set up in the gym. One thing we decided not to set up in the gym this year is the mock jail, since it is not stored at the school and is worryingly rickety. Laura will look into booking a bouncy castle as soon as possible.
Erin circulated a written report with updates on recent items.
Kindergarten registration remains slow. We still have only 29 kindergarten students registered, which is only two classes, not three. Anyone who knows someone who should register their child for kindergarten, please have them call the school right away, or it will have a huge affect on staffing.
Erin reviewed staffing changes: Calvin MacPhail moved to a guidance position at Central Queens, and administration hired Samantha Laughlin to work in the behaviour resource position. Karla Wildey is on a deferred leave for the rest of the year, and Kara Risely Champion is filling that leave. Kara was a substitute here almost every day already. School Counsellor Marti Pendleton will finish on February 27 as Sherry Lynn MacMillan returns from parental leave. A third tutor, Christina Waugh, will begin work with kindergarten classes next week.
Family Literacy Day was supposed to be Tuesday last week but was rescheduled to Wednesday due to storms. This was a big success, with parents invited to classrooms for games and literacy activities. As part of the Family Literacy Day, the school developed a partnership with Scholastic, and each child has $4.99 to spend on a free book from Scholastic. All students will come home with a free book. Students will choose the book they want at school, and the school will handle the orders.
The school is in the middle of doing our second writing prompt, and moderated marking will take place on Friday with the literacy coach.
Primary Math Assessment reports will go home with Grade 4 students tomorrow.
The school's second lockdown drill happened today without a hitch.
The school is working through the process to create a "literacy room" with all the literacy and numeracy supplies together where they can be stored and accessible. The room will become a collaborative space. It will include data on literacy and numeracy and so will be only open to teachers. The School Board does not provide funding for literacy rooms, per se; however, when they saw the literacy focus of planned year-end purchases from the board's allocation to Prince Street, they offered help and support. Erin is exploring the options with them.
The large purchases they notices were 13 guided reading tables with whiteboard tops and adjustable legs (at a cost of about $6,500). There will now be one in every classroom now, plus one in resource and one extra.
There will also be purchase of a school camera and video camera. This is not a security camera. We do have three security cameras to deal with three specific problems. These did not catch recent graffiti; this area/problem is not covered. Graffiti is a common problem in the neighbourhood.
Upcoming fundraising will include a second round of the coupon book fundraiser and the Environment-a-thon, which will have very exciting top prizes! As soon as Environment-a-thon is complete, the Grade Six fundraising will begin. They won't overlap.
The school won a $3,000 gratin from Multizone, the Play Exchange Active at School Challenge. This will fund outdoor play equipment for classrooms and healthy snacks for homerooms. Students are selecting what equipment to purchase. The first healthy snacks were giant fruit trays that were very popular!
Parents asked what events are coming up between now and March break and beyond.
Parent-teacher interviews and Report Cards are coming up in early March. Kindergarten Garden Buddies are still on the go.
Some upcoming highlights will be a Science celebration day in April, a Young Authors Night in May. The International celebration will look different this year and will be coming up end of April early May. Track and field comes up at the end of the year.
ART SMARTS UPDATE
Liam Corcoran is actually in the classes teaching the final version of the song. Tomorrow, through partnership with Holland College School of Performing Arts, Alan Dowling and Shawn Ferris and two students will be coming in to help put together the rhythm parts of the song. The song's final release will be scheduled in late March, and the date is to be decided. Every class has had input in the making of the song, and every class will learn to sing the song.
Next phases of the Prince Street Pride project will get completed alongside the song, as a big package, though work will be ongoing after students choose a mascot to then create graphics and carry on next phases. The process won't be rushed, to make sure it's as inclusive as possible. The school colours are maroon and gold.
Resolutions suggested by local Home and School groups go forward to the Provincial Home and School, and those that are approved go forward to governments and school boards.
Prince Street School worked on two resolutions to put forward. The full text is available from Laura. What we are asking, in summary:
1) English Language School Board to hasten policies and procedures for animals in schools and have them in place as soon as possible.
2) English Language School Board to include home and school groups and community organizations in discussions when a program gets suspended, significantly changed, or cancelled in a way that has school-wide effects.
Laura gave some background on the Home and School meeting with the superintendent about the Puppy Project suspension and our hopes for better and more inclusive communications and more open processes.
We have put these two resolutions forward; many other schools will put their ideas forward as well. They will be voted on at the Provincial Home and School meeting on Saturday, April 11th. We can send five voting members to the meeting at the Charlottetown Rodd Hotel. Prince Street Home and School pays the day for voting participants.
Next meeting, we will review all the resolutions from all the other schools and decide whether or not to support them and any discussion we would add.
Shelley is treasurer of the provincial home and school.
Next meeting date: Wednesday, March 25, at 6:30.
Erin said thanks to the Home and School for the Teacher Appreciation Week snacks! They have been much appreciated.
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.