Welcome Back! Minutes from the September 2015 Meeting

PARENTS OF PRINCE STREET
First Meeting of the 2015–2016 School Year
September 24, 2015

Catherine Nicholson circulated an agenda and said a word of welcome. She has volunteered to be President this year unless anyone else offers at election time. She invited all the parents and educators present to introduce themselves. The Chinese translator had cancelled at the last moment. This was very disappointing.

The Home and School asked Erin to help make sure parents with English as an additional language know the notes are posted online very soon after meetings. Some parents can use translation programs to read the notes. We will do our best to have a translator present any time we can.

ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM PROVINCIAL HOME AND SCHOOL

Catherine shared information about the October 1st Leadership Training Workshop hosted by Home and School to be held at Sherwood Elementary. More information is available from Catherine. She had a notice for anyone who wanted more details.

The semi-annual meeting of the provincial Home and School will take place on October 20th in Summerside. Catherine has more details about this as well, or check out the Home and School notices in the September newsletter that went home from school with students.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

Erin reported about the following:
- New staff include Bethany Morrison (EA), Amy MacKinnon (Grade 5), Allison Read (behaviour resource), and Kelly Joudrey (Grade 4). There was a smaller turnover of staff this year than last year.
- There is new EAL staff: Jo-Anne McNevin in the morning, Evelyn MacLeod in the afternoon, and Celine White for two extra afternoons per cycle. There is a new model for EAL staff for this year, to meet the changing needs of all the different schools.
- Staffing has been a whirlwind over the summer and into the fall. In the spring, 28 teacher positions had been cut; these were later restored, and our school got one position reinstated that had been cut in June. Then, this fall, we had 32 new kids join the school that we hadn’t expected. To meet the needs of a higher number of students, we received an additional 60% position. This meant the school was able to eliminate the Grade 3/Grade 4 split class and have two full Grade Three and two full Grade Four classes. This is great news. The school board listened to our needs. We now have 25.06 teachers in this school, though on the negative side we are down to two kindergarten classes from the previous norm of three.
- There is head lice in the school, though less than this time last year. Parents, please check heads regularly. Once a week is a good plan.
- The coupon book fundraiser is underway. This usually brings in about $2,000 to meet school needs. Orders are due in next week.
- The new Prince Street logo is not only on display on the wall but is also being printed on everything, including tee-shirts that will be available for $10 or less!
- Art Program – Jennifer Brown returns as an instructor for this after-school program, once a week for 7 weeks for Grades 2 and 3. One parent noted that these after-school programs had only been available to Grades 4 to 6 last year, so kids who are in Grade 4 this year and were looking forward to being eligible for programs are now not eligible again.
- Dance Club is happening again on Friday mornings, for Grades 1 to 6. Kelly Gillis is leading this activity. Last week, there was a big crew of kids – 20 or 30 kids – on the first day!
- After School Programs with Mr. Stanley – Soccer is the activity running right now, and activities are running on five-week blocks. For this, the art program, and the dance club, permission forms went home with anyone who was interested. If students were not interested, they didn’t ask for a form. Parents asked to have the sign-up options posted on the Facebook page for parents whose children don’t ask for forms.
- The Terry Fox Run next week will be connected to an assembly. The assembly themes this year will be based on the values in the P.R.I.D.E. meanings. This month is “P” for “pride.” Next will be “R” for respect.
- There are new Prince Street temporary tattoos that students and parents will soon see popping up.
- Hot Lunch and Milk ordering: There are new lunch options, with chicken bites from Dominos this week, 3” and 6” buns from Subway another week, and chicken pizza on whole-wheat crust from Dominos. The school is trying to get whole-wheat buns for hot dogs (but these are proving hard to source). Pizza is $2. Hot dogs will stay as $1. Chicken bites will be $2.50. Still working on pricing of the Subway. All parents should have received a notice today about the new options and the new ordering system. Last year at Home and School, we talked a lot about the need for more options. It is very challenging to follow the healthy eating policy for schools. Keeping the prices low is also really hard to do. We are adding different options to get closer to the healthy eating goals. The hardest part for parents to adjust to will be that the order has to be in on Monday or there will be no order.
- Breakfast Program started this week, and it is going very well. The start time has changed to 8:00 a.m. to ensure there is proper supervision on the playground when students finish eating and also to coordinate with the time the buses arrive. There is a new breakfast room that is a dedicated space for food, and the space has been renovated. There are enough volunteers for now, with lots returning and a good number on the back-up helpers list.
- Supervision of the playground now starts at 8:05 a.m.
- The School Effectiveness goal this year is around writing and meeting expectations around “ideas” while writing.
- The September PD days before school started were very effective. A focus this year on “progress monitoring” will allow us to monitor students’ progress better and more specifically over time. It will tighten up how we do things and help students learn what they need to know. It takes learning on the part of the teachers, and this will be well worthwhile.
- Literacy room: The newly renovated teacher-only literacy room will be a great asset for collaborative meetings and resources. This is a great space. These renovations plus the renovations to the breakfast room and to a new teacher photocopy room make good use of school space.
- Leadership program for Grade 6 – This is a new project, for which Grade 6 students apply, make a commitment, and then work on school projects as a group.
- Fire drills: three have taken place, and a lockdown drill will take place in October. Bus evacuation drills will take place this week.
- The Fabulous Board is back to feature and celebrate students who do something fabulous; we have student work displayed in the trophy cabinet as well.
- Picture day will be on October 15th. Coming up soon!
- HPV needles for Grade 6 students, both boys and girls, were last week, and a second needle will be given before the end of the year. There are only two needles this year, not three.
- Our public health nurse for the school is Loretta Taylor, and she is in evry Tuesday.
- There are many volunteers in the school right now, including UPEI students, nursing students, community members, and more. There are different processes for volunteers this year. Volunteers need a criminal record check and a must complete a volunteer application.
- All classes will have a technology class again this year.

Discussion:
A parent asked about Scholastic ordering online – is this option available now at Prince Street? Erin didn’t know about it previous to today but will look into it. She noted Prince Street has chosen not to go to online ordering for lunches because it requires a credit card or PayPal.

Parents noted that the home page for Prince Street School needs some updating, especially with the new time for the breakfast program. If there are other things parents notice, please send them along to Erin.

SCHOOL WISH LIST

Home and School buys some supplies for teachers from their “wish lists,” based on teacher requests and what Home and School can afford. Erin has a form the executive of Home and School developed in the past. Teachers submit this to Erin. The executive reviews them and the budget. We try our best to put one thing in each classroom or bigger items that benefit the most students possible. This year we have about $1,400 to spend.

Erin said that if Home and School can subsidize but not provide the full cost of an item, we can discuss it with her, since a subsidy might be enough to make a purchase possible.

Heather said in some cases, parent engagement money in other jurisdictions has been used to purchase new software for resource, for example. Resource often sends things home with students for parents to use with them. Heather will check with the Provincial Home and School about the eligibility of this kind of idea.

Parent Leadership grant – Catherine and Heather will check into the software option before October and before January will revisit options for the second grant.

Wish lists – Erin will invite wish lists from teachers. We asked Erin to encourage collaboration.

TREASURER’S REPORT

We have just over $2,000 in the bank, which will cover about $1,400 for wish lists, the cost of wi-fi until it gets taken over by the Province, and other commitments. Bake sales this Christmas will cover the rest of the year’s activities.

CHANGE OF POLICY – SCHOOL BOARD

Catherine shared copies of the Board Governance Policy regarding School Change. The proposed policy will basically give the school board the ability to make changes more easily to change zones, close schools, or adjust school boundaries. This is the start of a process to set overarching guidelines before changes happen. There is a deadline to provide feedback.

FALL EVENT

We have a spring event – it would be nice to have a fall event to welcome new students and parents. This mMy be just as simple as a family fun night earlier in the season – in September or October. At last year’s family fun night, games and crafts were mostly enjoyed by younger students; karaoke and dance rooms attracted older students. There were also science outreach activities and Bricks for Kids.
Snacks were popcorn and juice and granola bars.

Decision: To have another Family Fun Night as a fall event.
Date: Wednesday, October 21 
Time: 6:00 to 7:30
Suggested donation: $2/person or $5/family

Sign-up for staff has to go up really early and an invitation to help from the Home and School is really helpful.

Catherine asked for a person to coordinate/oversee each activity:
- Bake sale/food – Ramona
- Craft – Jane
- Board games – Heather
- Dance room – Kelly
- Bricks for Kids – Heather will get a quote
- 50/50 draw – ??
- Karaoke – Keri has a machine and 3 CDs
- Communications/coordination for volunteers and helpers – Catherine  (notices to students at least a week in advance, invitation to teachers to help, etc.)

Parents and staff who are able to contribute a board game for the evening, this is very welcome.

Catherine asked people to give some thought to what you can do, what we can do better or simpler. Brainstorm ideas and we’ll finalize the details on October 8 at our next meeting.

FUNDRAISING IDEAS FOR THE UPCOMING YEAR

Ideas are welcome.

A parent suggested there are good ideas from provincial Home and School annual school reports – for example, VIP seats at the winter concert, or partnering with a youth group to have a movie night without having to pay ourselves for screening licenses.

An idea that comes up every year: Videotaping of the winter concert and then selling the CDs. The school can’t take this on but if Home and School could, the school has a video camera. We will consider this at next meeting.

Heather is going to look into the toonie matinees they do at the movie theatre on Saturday or Sunday mornings at 10:00.

UPCOMING MEETING DATES

Regular meeting: 2nd Thursday a month at 6:30
Meetings for 2015–2016
- October 8
- November 12
- [no December meeting]
- January 14
- February 11
- [no March meeting]
- April 14
- May 12

There may be additional meetings as needed for special events such as Spring Fling.

PARENT ENGAGEMENT

We want to think about how to involve more parents in the Home and School. Ideas or suggestions are welcome to help fan out the work, recognizing that not all parents can get to meetings.

One comment was that parents need to see they are getting something back from their time to be truly engaged.

We could do a needs survey of parents to find out what they are interested in. Erin could generate a list of possible topics, parents could add to the list, and we could do a survey to see how interested people are. Some ideas we talked about this evening include the following:
- How to pack a healthy lunch on a budget
- How to deal with head lice
- How to help with homework
- “New math” approaches
- How to teach good sportsmanship
- How to help your child to make good friends
- Parenting support (partnering with CHANCES next door)
- Family literacy (CHANCES)
- Age-appropriate consequences  (CHANCES)
- “Daddy day” (CHANCES)
- Transitioning to the time kids will be home alone (like the babysitters) – offered in the community through Red Cross
- Kids versus parents dodge ball or other events that get kids together with their friends
- Adult-child silly Olympics
- Gym nights at the school or Orlebar Park soccer (though better to connect to the school)

We’ll look over the CHANCES brochure with their programs.

FOOD DONATIONS

Home and School members asked what food donations are needed to help ensure our students have enough to eat. The priority should be donations to the snack cupboard because the breakfast program is subsidized and really well supported by Trinity United Church.

Donations to snack cupboard needed
- granola bars (nut-free)
- juice boxes
- cheese and crackers
- applesauce and fruit cups
- other food that won’t spoil

Breakfast program no-nos –
- Cheez Whiz
- products that contain nuts

Breakfast program needs –
- bagels
- bread
- margarine
- jam
- blocks of cheese
- napkins
- paper cups

ELECTIONS

President – Catherine Nicholson
Vice-President – Ramona Doyle
Secretary – Jane Ledwell
Treasurer – Heather MacEwen

Everyone has guided reading tables, gymnastic floor mat, tablets, stage curtains.

Expect to be asked for pinnies or jerseys with new logo on it. For track and field and so on.