Welcome to a New Home and School Year at Prince Street!

Prince Street Home and School
September 20, 2018

There were 11 people in attendance at the meeting.

Kirsty called the meeting to order. She introduced the roles of the home and school executive. She described the help we provide the school with fundraising, including the school carnival Spring Fling, and volunteer work with breakfast programs and lunch orders. Home and School also tries to be a voice for families. Sometimes, a parent does not feel comfortable raising a concern with a teacher or administrator and the Home and School can help with communications between the school and families.

As we were discussing Spring Fling, we found out there are lots of new directives for student safety. These were announced at a recent principals’ meeting. For example, schools can no longer have inflatable bouncy castles! Principal Natasha is looking into the details.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

Natasha provided a verbal report.

Donations: The PEI Home and School Federation has donated $108 for the breakfast program at Prince Street. BioVectra’s social committee raised $810 for back-to-school supplies, including items such as sneakers to make sure all students are well-equipped. There was another anonymous donation of about 20 pairs of socks for students. This donor called and asked what kinds of things were needed. Invesco also made a recent donation: a box of backpacks with a package of supplies. Ordinarily, we get students to do thank-you cards for donors.

For future donations, please let people know that socks and small-sized underwear are really good to have a stash of.

Staff: Lots of new staff and new faces. We have a full-time EAL teacher, same teacher (Ms. MacAulay) back as last year. Enrolment is 232 right now. It has fluctuated since school started, but mostly between 230 and 232.

Hot Lunches: We started hot lunches this week, with a few hiccups (a few missing lunches, a pasta dish that was cold). There was really good feedback about the soup. There are lots of options we could try. Parents and teachers checked out a sample and think the food looks fantastic.

Website: Barb is updating the website with the list of new staff and email addresses to make sure parents can reach all the teachers. There’s also a Google calendar on the website Ms. Coady has been updating. When we determine Home and School meeting dates, these can be added.

Breakfast Program: This is up and running. There’s a need for many volunteers to update their police record checks, and Barb is doing up letters the volunteers take to the police to sponsor them so they can receive the check at no charge.

Student Well-Being Team: Representatives from the student well-being team attended Meet the Teacher night to connect with the school community. Chad White is our representative for the School Well-Being Team, and he would like to help with the Breakfast Program. Natasha will put him in touch with Kristy.

PEITF Convention: Please note this is in November this year, on November 8 and 9.

T-Shirt Orders: Order forms for Prince Street t-shirts have gone home. Orders are going well. We started out with just ordering t-shirts but later in the year might order long-sleeve t’s and sweatshirts if it’s possible to have the ordering coincide with parent-teacher interviews and if they can be guaranteed to arrive by Christmas. Maybe at our October meeting we can talk about options.

PROVINCIAL HOME AND SCHOOL FEDERATION NEWS
There’s volunteer training for anyone who does any volunteering through the school Thursday, Sept. 27, from 7:00 to 8:30 and Heather and Kristy are attending. Kirsty will put a notice on Facebook about this training in case others are interested.

FAMILY FUN NIGHT
Typically, we have done a family fun night in October on an evening before a PD day. Kids attend with their families, and there are board games, dance activities, crafts, and a bake sale with chips and juice boxes. It may be possible to get Let’s Talk Science for demos this year. It’s a really simple fundraiser. It’s a pay-as-you-can event, sometimes with a suggested donation. It usually has a fall theme. It will take place on October 18 from 6:00-7:30. Students can bring Pokemon cards or Bey Blades. It’s mostly K–3 who are keenest to come. Jane has run a craft table in the past but will be out of town on the date selected for this year.

Natasha and Aletha will look for a staff member to set up and run
- a dance activity room and
- a craft table.
Otherwise, staff are welcome to help out on the evening of.

FUNDRAISING OPTIONS
Heather would really like to aim to work towards a legacy contribution to Prince Street. One goal she would love to fundraise for would be to have a full Orff orchestra before the end of next year. Heather would like Home and School to contribute over two years.

As it happens, the Public Schools Branch has bought a stock of instruments for every school: drums, guitars, and ukuleles. We don’t know how these will be used by the new music teacher or if they will be used after Sonya, our regular music teacher who is on parental leave, gets back after Christmas. There are more instruments to come soon.

This led to another possibility: Could we do an after school program with the organizers of the Rock Camp? Heather is going to look into this.

Kirsty asked, Are there any big items the school wants? The school has money put aside for smart boards and possibly may have access to at least one from a used source at a discount.

Another piece of play equipment for the kindergarten playground would be welcome - past research revealed the highest expense is the gravel rather than just the play structure.

We haven’t done a larger scale fundraiser for a while and are ready to take something on towards the right goal to benefit the students. :)

WISH LISTS
In the past, the Home and School has done wish lists from teachers, but the last two years we have given a lump sum of money towards specific requests to benefit the whole school. Past contributions have allowed for purchase of outdoor play gear, or tools for gross motor development.

This year, we can offer $1,000. Natasha and Aletha will discuss with staff to figure out what would be the best use of this contribution.

Do we want to do other fundraisers as Home and School or in coordination with the school? A parent who works at the Preserve Company offered  a basket for a raffle. We have in the past done a raffle for Christmas and have sold tickets at Family Fun Night and the Farmer’s Market in the lead-up to the Winter Concert. Kirsty will get a raffle number.

The general feeling about commercial fundraising, such as selling chocolate, is not a good feeling from either staff or parents.

Natasha noted that she is learning her role and learning the school and hoping to work with Home and School over a longer term to make a plan together. Working and planning together will be very welcome.

DATES FOR HOME AND SCHOOL
Participants decided meetings will take place on 3rd Thursdays of each month
- October 18 will be Family Fun Night (no meeting, just fun)
- November 15
- December - no meeting
- January 17
- February 21
- March - no meeting
- April 18
- May 16
- June 7 - Spring Fling

QUESTIONS
Water fountains:
Is there any way we could get one of the nice water fountains that lets you fill a water bottle? The admin is going to look into options. If there aren’t options for subsidy, this may be something the Home and School could help fundraise for. We would want eventually to have one on each floor.

School Supplies:
Would it be possible to have a school-supply fee for the whole school rather just for K-3? One parent noted the Grade 4 list from the Public Schools Branch is particularly bonkers. Another told the story of meeting a parent in a school supply aisle in tears because of the expense of supplies from the list. Natasha noted that Prince Street took a number of items off the Branch lists that were already in supply at the school or that aren’t actually used.

Alternatively, if we don’t move to a flat fee for bulk buying for grades 4, 5, and 6, we could move to one standard list of school supplies for 4 to 6 based on minimum requirements.

It was noted that it is hard for parents to get some very specific items, such as duo-tangs in specific colours. Teachers really like colour-coded duo-tangs, but it can be impossible to get the colours requested.

School dances:
Will there be school dances this year? There were none last year. This hasn’t been decided. There may be an in-school Halloween dance activity during school.

ELECTIONS
Kirsty and Ramona were co-chairs last year. Ramona has stepped down. Kirsty would like to have a co-chair or vice-chair or best friend. Joanne Clarke volunteered and was elected as co-chair.

Heather is going to continue as treasurer.

Jane would like to step back from being secretary or to mentor someone into the role of secretary. Stephanie McKenna would be happy to take this on. She and Jane will sort out a plan for November.
Stephanie was elected secretary.

Congratulations to the new executive!