Minutes from the November 2015 Meeting

PARENTS OF PRINCE STREEET

About a dozen parents and teachers and staff attended the meeting. There was interpretation into Nepali.

WELCOME

Catherine circulated an agenda and welcomed the participants. There was a round of introductions.

Wendy Poirier sent a notice to the meeting calling for volunteers for the book fair during parent-teacher interviews. Several parents present volunteered for shifts. Erin noted names and times with thanks.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

Erin Johnston gave an oral report of recent happenings.

Staffing: A new guidance counsellor has been hired for Sheri-Lynn’s maternity leave. His name is Greg Anderson and he will join Prince Street in January. During the time between the beginning of Sheri-Lynn’s leave and Greg’s contract, Kelly and Erin will cover guidance responsibilities.

Hot lunches: Subway sandwiches have been added to the hot lunch options and have been very popular. There was a question about whether there is an option on whole wheat buns.

Leadership: The Leadership team from Grade 6 planned and orchestrated the whole Halloween dance. They have also been planning and leading games with the K-2 students during recess. This is a very cool thing to see. They are setting up a “Lunch Buddies” program for older students to eat with younger students to model good manners and positive eating behaviours.

School Values Themes: October was “Respect” month and activities were modelled after the “Kid President” videos, with a Prince Street video made and shown for the October assembly. November
and December will focus on “I” for “Inclusive” and the planning is happening. Each theme month includes going into classrooms with lessons on the school value for each month, as a proactive teaching piece. The school also focuses on creating some kind of visual or other engaging product to bring the theme to life.

Halloween: Halloween Fun Day was on Friday, October 30th, and was a lot of fun. Older classes were paired with younger students. Teachers dressed as superheroes.

Report Cards: We’re at the end of Term 1 and this is one of the busiest times of the year, with report cards and planning, testing and assessments, and parent-teacher interviews. Everyone is working very hard this time of year.

School Pictures: Retakes happened this week as well. Most of the picture orders from picture day have come in. Picture orders should be distributed soon.

T-Shirts: School t-shirts came in and were distributed last week. There have been lots of students wearing them around the school. There are a few spares of the various sizes so if one is comically large or small, it might be possible to check with Erin and make an exchange.

Casual Days: Staff will be doing an extra casual day through the week most weeks, with a theme to add to fun and excitement and build morale. It gives students something to notice and talk about. For example, there was a pink day for breast cancer awareness and staff wore black to offset their poppies for Remembrance Day.

Kindergarten Registration: The official week for Kindergarten registration is next week, and the earlier we can get the registrations the better. This has a very large impact on staffing levels. If you know of a child who will be attending Kindergarten at Prince Street next year, please have them sign up as soon as possible.

Christmas Theatre Show: Aladdin is the Christmas pantomime show at the Confederation Centre. The whole school will be going. The cost is $10 per student, but the school will be charging $5 and all children will be going regardless. Parents will be asked to chip in for an additional child if they are able. Is there any option for parent chaperones for events like this? The number of seats is very limited, so it isn’t possible to have parents help.

Turkey: The turkey dinner with Trinity United Church is happening again this year, the last full week of classes.

Art Blitz: The first art blitz of the year is coming up. All activities stop and all students work on artwork that meets art curriculum outcomes. There are three art blitzes each year.

Christmas Concerts: The Christmas Concert is not a simple K-3, 4-6 split because of the 3/4 classes that were combined for gym and music. It is only grades 3 and 4 that are divided in a complicated way. Grade sK, 1, and 2 and Grades 5 and 6 are as usual. For families with students in Grades 3 and 4, a more detailed note will go home outlining which classes and which children are in which concert!

PARENT LEADERSHIP GRANT

Catherine said we can apply for up to $1,000 a year to help engage parents for any kind of learning activity with their child.

Heather said that a common question was what are the school’s expectations about homework? What are parents supposed to do? How much are we supposed to help? Do we correct their spellings or let their errors stand? How much are we to help them with reading? What are the strategies that will best support the learning and teaching in the classroom?

Are there options that families can use that are alternatives to the assigned homework, such as other forms of reading or board games that could help with math skills?

Resource teachers have asked for another subscription to Razz Kids, and we could buy a subscription from Home and School for the school, as an eligible expense under the Home and School grant as long as it is a part of the parent engagement activities around homework.

Catherine and Heather attended the recent introduction seminar to Triple P Positive Parenting. Triple P also has a module around homework and behaviour. At a next meeting, we will have more details.

Erin thought it sounded like a great idea and will check back with the school team to help figure out how best to deliver a workshop or workshops about homework and how best to meet parents’ needs. There is no school-wide or board-wide policy on homework, and it varies from teacher to teacher. But there should be good agreement about basic good practices for homework.

WISH LIST UPDATE

Heather and Erin went over the teachers’ wish list requests to help plan and priorize. Catherine, Heather, and Jane as representatives of the executive went through the wish list to meet classroom needs, and we were able to commit just over $1,300 to purchases the teachers requested. Heather provided the school with a spreadsheet of approved wishes. Teachers have been asked to place their orders before Christmas so that book-keeping is easier.

WELLNESS GRANT

The Department of Health has given the provincial Home and School Federation a wellness grant for sessions on youth mental health. They circulated a list of types of topics that could be a focus for presentations or workshops. The Home and School Federation wanted ideas for topics that school communities might need, so Catherine asked if there are other topics that would be of benefit to Prince Street School on the theme of mental wellness. There were no additional ideas. The list from the Home and School Federation sounded great .Catherine doesn’t know yet how this program will be delivered. When she finds out more, she will let people know.

POTENTIAL MOVIE NIGHT

We’ve had movie nights before but had to stop doing them when licensing for viewing rights changed. We’ve looked at the numbers, and if we have several movie nights in the course of a year, we would be able to break even on purchasing a license. We are looking at possibly having a movie night in January.

The movie needs to be a new and very engaging movie so that students enjoy watching it and don’t just talk and run around. It might be better to have age-focused movie picks. At one school, they had a movie for K-2 kids right after school and then a later movie for older students. That’s a model to consider.

Another option we talked about was another family fun night in the dead of winter, with a sports focus, such as a ball hockey tournament or other kind of activity. The family fun night in October brought in about $200.

We’re going to keep a close eye out for a new/used popcorn maker!

CHRISTMAS CONCERTS

We’ve been talking about videotaping the Christmas concert and burning and selling DVDs for a reasonable price. The school has a video camera and tripod. Catherine is volunteering to record both concerts.

Burning the DVDs will be the challenge. Catherine will check into services (Staples maybe, or the musicians who burned the school song CDs) and prices.

Another option discussed was to upload it to a secure server. This would not make it as accessible to families this year but is worth keeping in mind as an option.

When Erin sends out the notice about Christmas concerts, she will include a blurb about the videotaping and a request that people not take videos of their own if their cameras block other people’s view. Erin will draft a notice on this topic and check in with Home and School executive about whether the notice meets needs.

We had also talked about selling “priority seating” or a raffle in advance of the concert for a draw on a VIP seating. The reserved seating will take some managing! Kirsty will manage the raffle money. Erin will include information about the raffle in the notice she concocts about the concerts.

The VIP seating scheme will have to take into consideration people with mobility challenges or special needs who will also require priority seating. Our VIP seating arrangement should not create barriers for people.

There will be a bake sale for each concert. Food can be dropped off on the day of each concert. Catherine will do a notice about the bake sale. We have had a raffle basket in the past as well. We decided not to raffle off a gift basket this year, but to try the VIP seating raffle instead.

Volunteers will be needed for the bake sale as well. The notice will include a note about this.

POLICY RESOLUTIONS

Policy resolutions are due January 21st. Catherine is open to suggestions about possible resolutions for Prince Street School to put forward.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE SCHOOL BOARD

The Annual meeting of the English Language School Board is on November 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Stratford Town Hall. This will be the final meeting of the School Board, since the Board is being absorbed into the Department of Education. Catherine plans to attend on behalf of Prince Street. Anyone else who is interested is also welcome to take part. There is a great deal of change happening in the education system at present, and the meeting is likely to include a lot of discussion.

TRIPLE P POSITIVE PARENTING PROGRAM

The Triple P Positive Parenting Program is a new program to Prince Edward Island but has been a success for about 30 years in other parts of the world. The program’s purpose is to help foster healthy families. The first evening seminar was an introduction to what they do. Online there are modules for different topics and strategies for parents for positive parenting: http://www.triplep-parenting.net/pei-en/home/. You will hear more about this.

DISCUSSION/ROUND TABLE

Kelly noted that last year we got yoga mats and hula hoops and this year we applied to get a crazy big omnikin ball that requires teamwork for a variety of games and we also applied for and got a circus kit! We have also requested to be put on the list for the Go!PEI travelling trailer.

Heather coordinated access to the Home and School LEGO robotics kit and there is a teacher keen to incorporate it.

A parent asked if there has been any discussion about coding at this school? There is some incorporated in the we-do kit. If it is something there is interest in, Heather has some connections. We will be looking for another eight-week after-school activity and if coding is a possibility, it would be a neat one.

DECISION: Kirsty Phillips Is approved as a signing officer of the Prince Street Home and School.

Reserve these upcoming meeting dates:

- [no December meeting]
- January 14
- February 11
- [no March meeting]
- April 14
- May 12