Minutes of the February 11, 2015, Meeting

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.

BOOK SALE

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.

HOT DOGS

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.

HERITAGE FAIR

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

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.

PRINCIPAL'S REPORT

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!

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

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.