Minutes from the April 2018 meeting

Prince Street Home and School
April 24, 2018

Nine people participated in the meeting. Ramona had drafted an agenda in advance, and Anna had printed it for us. This was the first meeting attended by Natasha Bromley, our new vice-principal, so we welcomed her warmly. Kristy called the meeting to order and invited a round of introductions.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

Anna shared her news: she has been offered a position as principal of Souris school in the fall of next year. There were about eight postings for administrator jobs: there will be a lot of movement in schools next year. Anna was torn – she really has found Prince Street to be a beautiful, beautiful school. Anna will stay through staffing and work for the school’s best interest and then begin at Souris school in the fall. Our Prince Street principal position was posted today and applications will be due by Friday.

Richard MacEwen has volunteered to serve as Prince Street’s District Advisory Council rep. We are very grateful. The next DAC meeting for the Colonel Gray district has not yet been set.

Last meeting, we talked about bulk orders for school supplies. It was too late to make adjustments for this fall, so Anna and staff have put it on the radar for next year and Home and School members will plan to have a discussion earlier in the year in September or October with the new principal so it can be considered earlier.

The Book Fair was another hit and sold $2,500 worth of books. This will result in free books for our school.

The annual pancake breakfast at Trinity Clifton United Church raised about $1,400 and was another wonderful event.

The Bikes for Books project was launched. Students earn ballots for all the reading they do. The ballots will be drawn on May 18, so students have a bit more time for reading. Each classroom will get one girls’ model and on boys’ model bicycle and helmets. Parents said this fantastic project has created a lot of incentive for reading.

Anna forgot to mention but asked us to add to the minutes that Prince Street had a great visit with the Easter Seals Ambassador, Brayden White.

Yesterday was a school assembly, and staff went through a review of the history of PRINCE Street values and the school song. Ms. Courtney and Ms. Read did a lot of the legwork. Students spoke very well at the assembly. It was a brief but effective assembly.

After-school Programs: Game Force is wrapping up. There was very positive feedback about it. Attendance was consistently very good. Students very much enjoyed it. Programming is a great spark for that age group. There were also generous take-aways for the student participants. That program is sponsored through the provincial government.

Yesterday, we started first of four nights of a Chemistry Club, which is another Bricks 4 Kids initiative. Again, it is educational. The cost is $20 per student, subsidized by the school. They will run four Mondays, one hour after school. They do chemistry experiments. There are spaces available if anyone missed the first week.

Ms. Ghiz has a drama club that has started meeting after school. This is for grades 4-6. They met for the first time this evening, and they just got their scripts tonight. There will be some lunchtime meetings as well.

Ms. Donna our youth worker will be running another after-school program for K-3 grades, mostly games and activities in the gym.

Jaime Griffin from Women’s Network PEI has called Anna about a program called “Girls at Bat.” With access to national funding from the Blue Jays Foundation to cover the costs of trained facilitators and equipment, the “Girls at Bat” program will offer baseball skills and running alongside programming for girls for assertiveness, goal-setting, and other positive traits. Parents at the meeting noted that they knew some of the facilitators and that they are excellent.

The Our School Parent Survey will be going out this week. It is only available online. A letter will go home tomorrow in students’ bags. Parents and caregivers can complete the survey online. It is quite broad. We had flexibility to add questions, and Prince Street did add a few questions about the best communication methods to reach people and a question about rezoning and what that experience was like if it affected you. The link for Prince Street School is https://www.ourschool.net/pdqnc
Next week, students and staff will also have the opportunity to respond to the Our School survey.

Parents asked if there were useful results from last year’s Our School survey. Last year was the first year for this survey and roll-out was a bit rushed so it didn’t provide good school-level data from parents – the sample wasn’t large enough to be representative. The student survey results were good because everyone participated. One example was that there was a question about whether students had a spot where they do their homework at home, and it led to interesting conversations about the routine of homework.

Are we anticipating more rezoning in future with more and more immigrants coming? The school review process calls for regular school review and potential rezoning within five years. The Charlottetown high schools will be rezoned in the coming five years.

At Prince Street, current enrollment is 252; the projected enrollment for the fall is 233. The school is fairly confident that the kindergarten incoming students are all registered. When we last met, there were registrations that hadn’t come in yet.

REPORT CARD MODELS

We talked about report cards in the fall. Anna asked parents how satisfied they are with the report card model that we’re using currently. One parent noted that parents (and students) may need more clarification figuring out if students are placed or promoted in the next year. Parents are still looking for a clear and easy to read statement about placement or promotion, which has not been done recently since we are doing progress monitoring. Staff have been looking at ways the current report card model matches or doesn’t match progress monitoring.

Not all schools look the same in their report cards. Currently, the whole Public Schools Branch in English has about 16 report card models (different models at 5 different grade ranges, then progress monitoring report cards which are called “learning reports,” plus French Immersion models). Anna and Natasha have worked in schools that use progress monitoring in the past, and the progress monitoring model is a better match for what teachers are doing in the classroom.

Home and School would love to look at the  “learning report” model with administration at our next meeting. The current report card is not an easy form for educators to fill out or for parents and students to interpret. It isn’t clear on current report cards what each number means for a particular teacher.

Anna would like to pursue this discussion a little bit more. If we went to a change in report cards, would we change before the end of this year, or would we put it off to November’s first report cards? Parents suggested that changing mid-year may be stressful for some students who are tracking their own progress and looking for established benchmarks for this year.

Anna noted there may be technical issues to sort out with software and templates. Anna will need to look into that part. Anna said the process for change would include parents with an information night and a review of technical changes. Parents suggested the introduction of a new report card model if in the fall could be a good way to attract some parents who don’t come to meet the staff night in September.

HOME AND SCHOOL AGM

Kristy, Jane, and Joanne attended the provincial Home and School Annual General Meeting on April 14, 2018. Prince Street was involved with three resolutions this year. Two passed: one related to school closures for deaths in the school community and another related to communication protocols in the case of emergencies during off-school days.

One co-sponsored with Colonel Gray and related to permission for mental health days being made more explicit in policy received support but did not pass. There was encouragement to work on this resolution for reintroduction next year.

Joanne reported that the food was lovely. There were really useful roundtables on a number of topics. Joanne and Kristy sat with Parker Grimmer and the Lieutenant Governor and the principal from Belfast, among others, at a table looking at communications. Lots of valuable ideas came up. One topic was the value of Teachers’ Federation “little blue cards” with teachers’ email address. Some teachers choose to have the little blue cards and others don’t. Kristy was grateful that Anna this year posted the homeroom teachers’ email addresses on the Prince Street School website. Jane sat at a table discussing school dress codes, because this is a topic her workplace has done some research on.

Kristy noted that the facilitators at the round tables were really awesome.

SPRING FLING

Spring Fling is our annual FUN-raising school carnival. The 2018 date is set for Friday, June 1. The event will be held from 5:30 to 7:30.

Kirstin did a review of what has happened in past years. Students and some teachers have helped with set-up on the afternoon of the Spring Fling day. Much of the activity is outside, unless it rains. Last year, we blocked off the upstairs and that saved a lot of cleaning. There was some discussion of the dunk tank! Kristy outlined some of the main activities: Barbecue, bouncy castle, carnival games in the gym, face painters (already hired), nail painting, cake walk, book sale and bake sale. Heather noted that this year, the karate club will probably do something special.Price of tickets: $0.50. There is usually a roll of tickets given away for free. Ticket sellers need to be less generous giving away additional tickets at the event this year – it is important for us to be able to break even. ☺

The project requires 30 to 40 volunteers. Last year, we put out about $1,200 and brought in about $2,100, for a profit of about $900. We do 50/50 tickets and could do a raffle basket as we did at Christmas. We will need to get lottery licenses.

Home and School will put out a post in the next week with a save-the-date and a heads-up about what we’ll be looking for in donations: books, donations for a raffle basket, think ahead to the bake sale… And volunteer bodies!

OTHER BUSINESS

Heather has been looking at restaurant equipment for her work and thinking also of Prince Street’s needs – she has been looking for a used free or cheap-lease industrial dishwasher.

We’d have to go through the school board to have it installed. It would be prudent to get the specs on something free or something cheap and then find out the specifications for installation and costs. All agreed: this is worth looking into. It may take some time, but it would certainly reduce waste.

The meeting adjourned with thanks to all.

The May meeting will take place May 22, 2018, at 6:30 p.m.