October Home and School Meeting Minutes

Prince Street Home and School
October 24, 2017

There were 18 participants and 2 translators in attendance. Ramona called the meeting to order and invited people to introduce themselves around the table. There were several newcomers to the school – and several newcomers to Canada. Welcome to all!

BUS DRIVER INFORMATION
Karla shared information on behalf of her husband, a bus driver in Stratford, who was not able to attend. He is chairing a health and safety campaign about stopping when bus lights are flashing, and he has information to share, including a ten-minute presentation that he would like to present at a future opportunity. Karla shared a brochure that has been developed about stopping when buses are flashing their red lights.

Every year they bring out a new fleet of buses and new buses have more red lights and safety features to signal when they are about to stop. Every year, they try to do more to improve visibility and safety, but people still pass buses more often than you would think.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT
Principal Anna MacKenzie gave a verbal report.

School Activities: Younger grades have gone apple picking, and Grade 3A is planning visits to the seniors’ residence Geneva Villa. Bricks 4 Kids got off the ground with an after school program, with the first of four Wednesday sessions for Grades 1 to 3. They had hoped for 20 registrations but got 14. Their next session will be for Grades 4 to 6. Youth Services Worker Donna MacDonald will start an afterschool activity soon for Grades 4 to 6, so all grades will have had a chance for at least one afterschool activity this term. Dance Club is starting up on Thursday mornings and is being coordinated by Grade 5 teacher Amanda Killorn. This club helps students round out their day, get some exercise, and enhance social skills.

Academics: Math and reading goals for our school are in the process of being updated. Rezoning happened after June assessments of math and reading, so the June to September data has changed. The school is just in the process of getting reshuffled data for the current school population.

Book Fair: A book fair is scheduled for during parent/teacher interviews November 17 to 18. The school will likely get some advertising out soon. We will probably need some parent volunteers to support the book fair. Please let the school know. Heather can do Thursday evening; Jane will check with her mom about Friday. Volunteers can let Anna know.

Wish List: Principal Anna thanked the Home and School for its contribution of $800 towards “wish list” items to support the school. The school has started to do some shopping for behaviour resource materials and outdoor activities equipment, the priority items selected. The staff voted on resources that would benefit the most students. If you know people with woodworking skills with routers or sanders the school would appreciate some help with some outdoor equipment. Kristy will check with a parent. Ramona has a big log in her yard!

Questions: Could the afterschool and morning activities be posted to the Facebook page, please, because students don’t always get messages home to parents.

SEEDLINGS
Updates on the Seedlings program are a standing agenda item this year. There was no update from Marilyn Carey this month since she wasn’t available, but the program is getting great reviews – “It’s amazing!” said one of the kindergarten participants.

FINANCIAL REPORT
Heather gave the financial report. The current balance is $876. There are fundraisers coming up – the family fun night and Christmas fundraisers.
We spent some money on food treats to welcome new teachers and a new principal at the beginning of the year. (These were very welcome.)
Home and School Federation dues have increased this year from $100 to $200 based on our school’s size, but we only paid $100. We will pay the higher dues when this becomes financially possible for us. We had let the Home and School know at the Annual General Meeting that we could not meet the fee increase this year.

DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCILS (DACs)
Jane has been the Prince Street representative on the District Advisory Council for the past eighteen months, since the Councils were established, but she cannot continue this year. She described the work of the Council. Our district, the Colonel Gray family of schools, was working towards a project to do some research and assessment around appropriate amounts and kinds of homework for students in primary. The DAC also discussed other themes and topics. The Department of Education has hired a new coordinator for the DACs who began work last week. She will be assisting DACs to get going for the new year. The time commitment is three meetings a year. The DAC’s role is to advise government. Jane is happy to share information from last year’s work with a new Prince Street representative.

Vinay Upreti volunteered. He is a recent newcomer to PEI from Turkey and has experience with teaching and education systems in other parts of the world. Jane said that the contributions of people with experience from other countries was very valuable on the DAC last year.

LEARN DAY GRANTS
The deadline is November 9 for small grants, $500 to $1,000, that support lifelong learning. Heather presented an idea – Nellie with Bricks4Kids is an engaging educator with a strong background in math who has done many presentations to students and adults about math. She does one presentation about what some call the “new math” to take away parents’ apprehension about the way math is currently being taught. Heather proposes a two-part application, for a parent engagement grant and a learn grant, to bring Nellie in for a presentation to parents and an additional presentation. Heather will develop a proposal and Jane will help edit.

ACTIVE ROUTES TO SCHOOL PROJECT
Ramona talked about Recreation PEI’s offer to pilot their active routes to school project with our school and Sherwood School. They will provide resources to the school to encourage more kids to walk and bike to school. The coordinator Jamie Gosbee met with Anna, Kristy, and Ramona. The pilot project would begin with an assessment of how many students are bussing or being driven to school who could be walking or biking. Ramona noted that for safety reasons, walking is the better option for our city streets rather than biking.

To determine how many students are bussing that could potentially walk, the possible first step would be a survey in classrooms and/or a survey to families. Next they would come to the school in the mornings and afternoons to look at the traffic patterns and make observations. Results of the survey plus observations then would be presented to parents and the school to set goals. They would have some practical suggestions and resources to encourage active routes to school. The project would then assess at the end of the project if there had been any change in students using active transportation. Ramona and Kristy thought the project seemed worthwhile.

Anna also thought the proposal was very interesting – there are a number of Prince Street students bussing or being driven to school. Is there potential to change that behaviour to walking? She wondered, besides health benefits, does that also work to relieve congestion in the immediate area of the school and offer a safer area around the school? She saw potential health, safety, and environmental benefits. Of cours,e maybe we will find out we have a lot of walkers already.

A parent asked if they would assess students’ habits in more than one season. The factors affecting active routes are very different in winter than in fall or spring. Yes, the pilot would assess students’ routes in multiple seasons and weather.

Anna would like a few weeks to get a response from staff before a final decision about participating in the pilot. Home and School has positive feedback and will support participation if staff agrees it is a good idea.

FOOD PROGRAMS
Checking in about breakfast programs and hot lunch is a standing item on the agenda this year. Feedback about school food programs was positive.

There was a request from a parent that the menu on the order form specify what kind of meat is in “meatballs.” Kristy confirmed the meatballs are beef, but the group acknowledged that “meat” is unclear and could cause confusion for families that do not eat some kinds of meat. The meal order form can be updated to specify “beef meatballs.”

FAMILY FUN NIGHT
Family fun night is scheduled for Thursday, November 2, from 6:00 to 7:30 in the school. Families are welcome – parents, grandparents, guardians, and children. Admission is by donation.

The family fun will include a bake sale, board games in the gym, and a craft table. Can anyone volunteer to have a room for Just Dance? Kristy or Heather will check with Ms. Killorn.

A Pokemon tournament was very popular last year. Is there someone who could coordinate this?

The youth services worker formerly set up particularly popular games. Can the new youth services worker access these same games?

A teacher passed on a student’s request for a Beyblade Battle.

Anyone who is able is welcome to donate baking – please make sure that all baking is free of the allergens that are banned at the school this year. Drop-off for baked goods is welcome before the end of the school day or when you arrive for family fun night. Kristy will also get chips and juice boxes.

RAFFLE BASKET
Karla’s goal is to have the raffle basket done up for Family Fun Night on November 2 so that people can see what’s in the basket. It can be on display as well at the book fair and then the winter concert. Tickets will be $2 each or 3 for $5 – and the draw date will be the December 18th in the last week of school. Kristy and Heather will get the lottery license number. Ms. Coady will help manage the tickets.

Items so far include crafts, toys, and services. If there are late items to the basket, these can be accommodated.

A parent noted that Grade 6 students like to have a role in selling tickets or other tasks at events!

ANY OTHER ITEMS?
When is the Christmas concert? The concert will be held December 12th at 6:30 p.m. for all grades. The concert will again take place at First Baptist Church, where it was held very successfully last year. The church has been very welcoming and kind.

A parent asked about the evacuation location for Prince Street School in case of an evacuation of school grounds like the one that happened last year. Our evacuation location is also at First Baptist Church. One benefit of having the concert there is that it creates a safe and positive experience of that space for the students.

Anna shared a poster about an upcoming presentation to learn about ways to create a healthy community. “Ensuring the future health of our children & grandchildren… it takes a village” will take place at 7:00 p.m. on November 2 at the Irish Cultural Centre (BIS Hall). This is unfortunately at the same time as our Family Fun Night.

Teachers who participated in the meeting reflected that Prince Street got off to a great start this year despite all the changes to school zones and the student population – as well as staff. There has been a really good transition for new students into the school. It “feels like they have always been here,” the teachers agreed.

NEXT MEETING DATES

November 28 (note: this is the corrected date)
December - no meeting
January 23
February 27
March - no meeting
April 24
May 22