January 2015 Minutes, Prince Street Home and School

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Next meeting: February 11, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.

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Parents of Prince Street
Regular Home and School Meeting
January 14, 2015

Laura called the meeting to order. There was a round of introductions.

PRINCIPAL'S REPORT

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.

FUNDRAISING REPORT

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.