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.
The Parents of Prince Street Home and School meeting was well-attended on Thursday, May 8.
There was a surprise assembly today. The DJs from Hot 105.5 were here to cover the Enviroment-a-thon fundraiser and hype it up with new prizes.
Thanks to Pampha for translating into Nepali this evening.
Spring Fling -- Friday, June 6
Some people came specifically to talk about Spring Fling, so we started out with that topic. A parent who is a balloon-twister wanted to volunteer to entertain at Spring Fling. He will be permitted to leave business cards promoting his business on a table for parents to pick up if they wish. There was a discussion about how much space will be needed.
Dunk Tank is confirmed but requires someone with a hitch on it to deliver it. Erin is scheduled to be dunked. Others who have usually been willing to do the dunk tank include Mr. Brown. Also, Dana will call Terry McIsaac to see if he'd be willing to come back so students will have one last crack at dunking him! If he is willing to come, he might also be able to pick up the tank. If he cannot do this, Erin can pick it up.
Home and School will put up a sign-up sheet for staff to volunteer for Spring Fling.
A volunteer is needed to coordinate the silent auction, especially pick-up of donations.
Phys Ed teachers at Colonel Gray and the Rural can usually send high school students as volunteers.
There will be a bake sale table. A call will go out for donations to the table. Some commitments have already been made to donate fudge. If there is no bake sale table, this can be part of the barbecue. Heather is coordinating the barbecue. Pampha can contribute samosas. Heather will do fruit kebabs but not candy kebabs.
Dana will check supplies under the stairs to see what the inventory looks like. There will need to be more new prizes for the games. Jane is coordinating the indoor games.
Fast food restaurants have sometimes donated leftover toys. Some donations such as coupons for happy meals have been provided already. These are usually prizes for the fish pond.
We need to confirm that the mock jail is here at the school and not somewhere else.
Dana is dealing with cakes for the cake walk game. (Musical chairs with cakes as prizes.) Lori MacDonald is going to make and decorate the cakes again, even though her children have graduated from the school.
Need a person to coordinate popcorn and to learn how to operate the machine.
Face painting requires baby wipes and mirrors. Volunteers for face painting are welcome! Face painting is quick, in-and-out rather than elaborate. Chris M. knows someone who might be able to help as a face painter. Face and nail painting rooms are best separate.
Mr Brown talked about running the French Cafe again this year. The Grade 5 students all help and volunteer with the cafe as part of their unit on French.
A volunteer is needed for the Dance Dance Revolution.
We need to confirm magician or musician or any of those entertainment options.
This year, the Welcome to Kindergarten night will include parent orientation. If there's a promo of Spring Fling, it can be handed out at the parent booth during Welcome to Kindergarten on May 27.
Maps (for volunteers) and clear signage for events are both very helpful.
The silent auction needs a volunteer to put items online. The framework already exists and Peter Rukavina has offered to help make sure the framework is up and running. Heather can do some pick-ups of donations downtown.
We will need to have one more meeting prior to Spring Fling.
ELECTIONS OF EXECUTIVE FOR NEXT YEAR
We will send a notice out to parents to let them know who is offering to continue on and who isn't and to invite nominations for new executive members next year. Shelley is President, Dana is Vice-President, Heather is Treasurer, and Jane is Secretary. Shelley is stepping back. Dana's child is graduating. New people will be needed.
Erin reported on activities.
After-school activities are in full swing, and students are appreciating them.
The mural by Warren Reeson in the library (PEI 2014 Grant) is progressing really well. A date is being set for a celebration in June. Details will come out.
Staffing changes include our night custodian, Rich Lush, who moved on to a position with more hours at Parkdale. This is a huge loss for us. Sandy Harding is now filling his six-hour night position and is welcome. Kim Crosby, an EA, just started with us last week. She transferred in with a student who transferred here.
The last writing prompt will be structured a little differently and timed to feed into end-of-year report cards. This will take place at the end of May or beginning of June.
The decision about school supplies for next year is that the school will collect $35 for each child entering K to Grade 3 and teachers will purchase supplies. Students entering Grades 4 to 6 will receive a specific list, and they and their parents will be responsible to pick up the supplies on the list. Erin said thank you to the home and school for feedback at last meeting. The letter about school supplies will be translated into Nepali by Newcomers and will go home in Nepali next week.
The International Dinner was awesome. Erin loved it!
Transition meetings with Birchwood are taking place to prepare for Grade 6 students to make smooth transitions. Some of the teachers from here consult with the Birchwood teachers; there are also meetings between parents and Birchwood teachers to ensure students have what they need when they make a successful transition to Junior High School. A notice has gone home about the introduction to Burchwood night for parents of Grade 6 students. This is taking place at 7:00 on May 22nd.
The Environment-a-Thon fundraiser is taking place next Thursday. An assembly today with the DJs from Hot 105.5 came in and promoted new prizes. The assembly highlighted prizes and a notice went home as well. The winner will get to go on the radio with Hot 105.5. There are prizes for students and classes. The students were super excited. The students who participate will pick up garbage in parks and in the playground. Older students will clean up garbage up and down the street near the school.
Young Author's Night is a chance for students to show off the writing they've been doing all year. Every child showcases their writing. All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend. This is taking place on Tuesday, May 13 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The Easter Seals Ambassador came in, and students raised over $400.
A few weeks ago was Administrative Assistant's Day. A big party for Barb Irvine celebrated her 40th year at Prince Street School!
The PEI Archives received a donation of all kinds of old registers and records that had been stored here at the school but will be more accessible at the Archives. They were very happy to get these.
Early Years (EYE) Assessments for new kindergarten students saw excellent attendance.
The Welcome to Kindergarten event will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27. The new time is because the after-supper time used last year wound up at 7:00, which was late for the four-year-olds. The kindergarden orientation day is Monday, June 2. Current kindergarten students have that day off. Incoming students are here in the morning, and the kindergarten teachers spend the afternoon preparing for next year.
There's a "makeover committee" looking to give the main entrance a freshened up look. Hopefully by next year, you'll see changes there so the school looks the way it feels and the entrance expresses that spirit.
End of year trips and celebrations are in the works but still being coordinated.
The school decided not to send students to see the Charlottetown Rural musical this year due to time lost during storms. Also, the play was only recommended for Grades 5 and 6 students.
GRADE 6 CLOSING
Home and School organizes cupcakes, snacks, and juice and the like, including some awards. This takes place the last day of school (June 25th).
The meeting closed with cookies, juice, and thanks.
Reminder: The Workshop for Healthy Lunches on a Budget is now Thursday, April 10, 2014 @ 6:30 pm
Workshop on How to Support Your child in Math
Come and learn some new strategies that will assist you in supporting your child’s work in math. This presentation will provide a parent-friendly view into some of the math outcomes addressed at the Grade 3 to 6 levels.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 6:30
Child care and Nepali translation provided.
Please register by Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Parents, please provide the following information:
Math Workshop for Grades 3 to 6
My Child’s Name and Grade:
Friday June 6, 2014
The annual Spring Fling fundraiser will be on Friday June 6. This is the main event the Prince Street Home and School organizes to raise funds to purchase various items needed for school and in the classrooms. We are looking for people to volunteer for helping out in the following areas: BBQ, inside games, face painting, nail painting, bake sale, cookie decorating, set-up, and most importantly, clean-up!
We also need some people to assist with the planning as our coordinator for the last 2 years is not able to do so this year.
Please fill out the form below by April 16, 2014
Email and phone number:
Parents of Prince Street
Home and School Meeting
Thursday, April 3, 2014
PRINCIPAL' S REPORT
Erin Johnston reported on a wide range of school activities and issues.
After-school clubs are going on, with drama winding up soon and dance starting next week. Art will start soon. There is a small fee for these, and they are open Grades 4 to 6. Funding comes from local MLA Doug Currie's constituency fund. The Boys and Girls Club is going to run a free baseball club. Track will start soon. Today, the school started a chess club. Students have been asking for a chess club, but there wasn't someone to run it. It will run at lunchtime with itinerant EA and an itinerant youth worker. There will be one for K-3 and one for 4-6. Itinerant staff are employed by the Board but are available to our school for a time. The Principal advocated for itinerant support for Prince Street.
PEI 2014 funded a $2,014 project for artist Warren Reeson to do a mural in the library, showing an evolution through time of Prince Street School. The mural is now underway, and parents thought it looked pretty cool. At the end of June there will be a celebration of the completion of the mural. This will be during the school year.
Erin reported smooth transitions around staffing changes: Krista Leard is in for the rest of the school year for Kelly Wakelin; Jennifer Noonan is in for Joe Burgess; Jenna Rogerson is in for Sherry Lynn MacMillan; Donna Wigmore is in for Fay Adams. Itinerant EA Lori MacDonald is in for a short time, and an itinerant YSW will be in for four weeks in April.
Prince Street pride! The words students selected to represent P.R.I.D.E. are
* Never Give Up
Erin wants to make a big hoo-hah about that before it is announced at the school. There will be work towards a school symbol, a mascot, and a revamp of the school colours. When all is finalized it would be nice to get new t-shirts or track suits in the fall. This might appear on wish-lists for next year. If the decisions are made about colours and symbols before the end of the year, some items could be ordered over the summer and be ready to go for the fall.
The Professional Development Day at the end of January was very well-received, with excellent feedback from teachers. There was a really close examination of our reading data. The second round of reading data showed huge gains. Part of that is from the narrowed lens after seeing the data, and there were changes to how we do resource, with more of a "push-in" of resource into classrooms. In numeracy, every teacher in the building developed an individual math goal for themselves in the category of the number strand -- this, whether they are math teachers or not! Then, David Costello (who will be doing the April 22nd math workshop for Home and School) came in and met with each staff person individually to work on their own goal. There was in addition work on the writing prompt on the PD Day.
Each team of teachers looked at writing prompt results, and we're building momentum with that. A third writing prompt will come in May.
The Olympics, Prince-street style, were a ball.
On Pink Shirt Day representatives of Crimestoppers and the Islanders hockey team were in and talked with students.
The coupon book fundraiser was even more successful than last year and took in much more than we took in on the fundraiser last year.
The dental clinic has almost completed its work at the school.
There was a successful Art Blitz in February, with one to come in May.
Out of zone transfer update -- There is an updated policy from the board. If anyone wants to have a student attend a school out of their zone, the deadline to apply will be March 31st, and the answer will be provided by the end of June. Later applications might not be decided until later in the summer. The reason for this is that transfers really affect numbers, and numbers of enrolment really affect Board decisions about teachers. Last year, schools were really late to find out their enrolment numbers but this year, Erin should find out more details next week. What she finds out may be tentative numbers and might not be shareable.
In the past, Prince Street has seen about 25% of the student population turn over during the course of the year. Exact population of the school is almost impossible to keep track of, but it hovers around 270.
There was some discussion of the new policy. It was clarified that anyone accepted to an out-of-zone school doesn't have to reapply as long as they stay. If they wanted to return to their own zone, they would have to reapply. The policy is meant to make it a permanent transfer, but there will be the chance to make another application if necessary.
French week before March break was a success, with trivia and treats, announcements in French, and French music.
Recent upgrades mean that all homerooms now have an LCD projector. There will be an FM system for the gym. (Most classrooms have one now.) There was an opportunity to try one in the gym on a test basis, and it was very successful. The one being set up now will see speakers mounted in the gym, with amps and mixers also placed in the gym, so it will be possible to plug a mic into the stage. This will be great for assemblies, concerts, and events. Provincial AV services are setting up the sound system, and the FM system will plug into that new system. There is also a new FM system in KA classroom. Office furniture is also seeing some upgrades. Chairs that were in the office were old and gross. There are now new chairs that are clean and appropriate: two for the office and two for the "lobby" area. The lobby/entrance area needs a facelift and this will be discussed soon. There are six new document cameras that are like old overhead projectors but without any of the bother. They can project directly from books or sheets of paper.
Figuring out scheduling for a new school year is a puzzle that takes some time, and work will begin in earnest soon.
The School Dance happening during the Home and School meeting is supporting Easter Seals
The International dinner tentative date is April 29th, and planning is starting soon.
Erin explained how the whole-school evening invitation to the Island Storm basketball game came about. Over the year, there were lots of offers of free tickets offered by various sports teams. When Island Storm offered, Erin said that we'd like to take the whole school. The Storm said yes. In the end, about 150 kids attended a game. About 35 staff were there and about 50 parents. Adults were offered $5 tickets. The choir sang the anthem in the gym to start the game. It was a proud night for Prince Street students.
School supplies: Erin requested input on decisions about how to fund and purchase school supplies. Last year was the first year that Prince Street opted (all but two grades) to collect money from students so teachers could purchase supplies for all. Last year, there was discussion in the media about why one school asks for one amount for school supplies and another school asks for another; there were also inconsistencies in lists from school to school in schools that send lists home to parents. The School Board has been working to coordinate. Principals have been asked to provide input, and a committee has been formed. Schools can make a decision about whether to ask for a list or money. If a list, it will be a pre-approved list from the Board; if collecting money, it will be a maximum of $35.
One parent expressed preference for paying the money -- with the option to contribute more to help cover kids whose parents can't afford to pay.
There was more discussion. What were the issues in the past? Collecting the money can be a challenge and can drag out. In one class, only five children had paid. Some had supplies given to them. Some had no money or supplies. For the most part it is those who aren't able who don't pay.
It takes a while for cash payments to become expected. One parent thought that $35 is cheap. Erin said that the approved list for each grade is also reasonable. The list from the school board is inflexible.
One parent asked if there is a way students can still personalize their stuff if it is purchased by teachers.
Another question: Are there things such as scissors, rulers, and the like that can be classroom-owned? Some classrooms do keep discarded supplies. There is slippage from school transfers.
There was concern about added administrative and purchasing work for the teachers. Can this be streamlined? There are some school-purchased supplies in a supply cupboard for use by all. Erin was at a school where she had to purchase for the full school and maintain inventory. This is not manageable or sustainable for Prince Street!
It was noted that the two options mean two different kinds of work for teachers -- dealing with purchases or dealing with students who don't have supplies.
Erin said thanks for feedback and asked parents to stay tuned.
The treasurer's report is all good. The finances are roughly where we would usually be this time of year.
Resolutions will be discussed at the Provincial Home and School AGM on Saturday April 12. Shelley asked for feedback on the resolutions from Prince Street parents. There will be about 100 people there representing all the schools. Prince Street can send up to five representatives. The meeting starts at 8:30 and goes to about 1:30 with breakout sessions following until 2:30. The Education Minister and Deputy Minister and others will be there to discuss strategy for education going forward. Shelley explained the resolution process. There was then a discussion of each resolution. (Please note that summaries below just describe the topic and oversimplify complex resolutions.)
That Participation, Release, and Indemnification Forms be written in plain language to allow for legal and monetary implications to be made apparent.
Prince Street School parents passed
To include e-cigarettes in the Tobacco Product Usage Ban and to broaden the definition of "tobacco-related product" be extended to include e-cigarettes.
Prince Street School parents supported this.
To remove administrators, counsellors, and non-classroom positions from the student-teacher ratio.
There was some discussion about what this would mean if applied to Prince Street and what the pros and cons might be of this proposal.
Prince Street School parents didn't think we had enough information, and we recommended this should go back for further information and research.
To ensure that teachers are receiving relevant professional development that can be effectively and immediately introduced in the classroom to increase academic achievement.
Prince Street School parents are concerned this is not phrased in a way that is specific or likely to be easily applied. There was strong support for public education about the relevance of PD days. There was also strong support for better evaluation of PD days to capture teachers' satisfaction with how effective PD days are to increase academic achievement. There was also support for giving teachers more control and autonomy with collaborative days. Prince Street parents want effective PD days and have appreciated learning more about how PD days are being used at our school. We want to support positive approaches to PD days and don't think this particular resolution will bring about greater effectiveness. The goals are vague. The idea is nice but hard to achieve and there are concerns about who evaluates.
To create a plan for advancing technology in PEI schools and more budget for infrastructure.
This relates to three previous resolutions. There will always be challenges to keep up with technological changes, especially in terms of budget. This resolution is to push the department again to have a plan.
Prince Street parents supported this.
To acknowledge urgent problem with student achievement, declare it to be a public priority, work to national and international achievement goals, to use Home and School as an equal partner in discussion, to have an annual report to inform public and parents on the state of the PEI education system.
There was general support but also concern about pushing towards standardized testing by a different means and concern that PEITF is excluded from partnership. Shelley expects this resolution is likely to get more discussion and that tweaks and amendments will be made at the AGM.
Parents agreed that discussion needs to be continued and the core is very solid, and Prince Street parents want to see this on the agenda. Parents support this resolution.
To improve reporting on absenteeism and collaboration with home and schools to improve student attendance.
Prince Street parents would like to ensure parents are included in the collaboration.
Prince Street parents supported this resolution.
To reconsider the new policy and revert to a "no nit policy" and to encourage collaboration with health professionals.
A no nit policy requires that the student with lice misses a lot of time. It would have negative consequences for Prince Street students.
Prince Street School parents don't support this resolution.
The workshop on healthy lunches on a budget is rescheduled to
Thursday, April 10th
The Math Night (math strategies for Grades 3 to 6)
Tuesday, April 22nd
Notices will be coming.
We need an overall coordinator or co-coordinators for this event. The binder of plans that previous coordinator Laura Bird has put together from coordinating the past two years.
June 6th is the date for spring fling.
We need more volunteers this year than last year.
We have often done a silent auction that requires coordinating.
Usually someone coordinates the barbecue
Usually someone coordinates overseeing games and supplies
Heather will do the barbecue. Joanne Brown did barbecue in past years and Dana/Shelley will help her connect with Heather.
Dana will make ten cakes and coordinate the Cake Walk
Jane will coordinate indoor games.
Erin will go in the dunk tank.
Volunteers from higher grades at Birchwood and Colonel Gray are welcome. Leadership classes need to do certain amount of volunteer work and are good contacts.
In the past, there was a letter to ask for donations: Colleen might have a copy.
The call for a coordinator needs to be extended to the wider community. It will be placed in the Trinity Church bulletin, for instance.
There was a questions about whether or not it would be permitted for the Home and School to set up a Facebook Page? This would be welcome. A Prince Street School page will be set up after the new identity plans are finalized.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting date will be announced soon.
Just a reminder that with no school today due to bad weather, there will be no Home and School meeting tonight. We will set a new date for the next meeting soon.
In the meantime, there are two upcoming workshops for you to plan to attend!
A notice went home this week inviting you to sign up for a workshop on making healthy, affordable lunches. The workshop Healthy Lunches on a Budget will take place Thursday, March 27, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at Prince Street School.
The PEI Healthy Eating Alliance will present a FREE practical workshop for parents and guardians about preparing healthy lunches for our children when money is tight. We know from surveys of students that healthy eating is a challenge and this workship can help us make a difference! Free samples will be provided!
Bring your children: on-site childcare will be provided. We will have simultaneous translation into Mandarin and Nepali. The meeting will be over by 8:00 p.m. Please register by letting the school know you are attending by tomorrow, March 14.
And please reserve April 2nd for a workshop on numeracy strategies for Grades 3 to 6.