September 2019: Welcome back to Home and School!

Prince Street Home and School
September 24, 2019

Eight parents and staff were in attendance. Each person introduced themselves. Heather had prepared an agenda and chaired the meeting with Ms. Bromley.

1. Report from the principal

Principal Natasha Bromley introduced herself and provided the principal’s report from the first month. There is a lot of new staff in the building this year. The list is available in the handbook. We have three kindergarten classes this year. The classes are small, but it is wonderful to have three classes. Ms. Bromley outlined the staffing for each grade’s homerooms, specialist staff, and resource staff. We have academic resource support for five or six more weeks. We also have a new youth service worker.

Enrollment is down, to 230 students, but we do have an increased staffing complement. This is good news and will be helpful to the school.

Vice-principal Ms. Coady has been coordinating volunteers for the breakfast program. Volunteers are still needed, especially for Tuesdays. A new countertop and new dishwasher were installed over the summer. We also have new dishes donated from Northumberland Ferries. A parent-volunteer said that the new dishes have made a huge difference in tidiness and reduction of waste. Students are less prone to spills with real plates and cups and cutlery. The dishes are also reducing food waste because the dishes are sized for appropriate single portions. The dishwasher makes clean-up really fast. Students are learning to help with the dishes. Sobeys is continuing fruit donations. Ms. Bromley applied to the province for a grant for food programming and was successful, so that is helpful. Donors and supporters are being acknowledged on signage. Longtime volunteer, the late Shirley McGinn, is being specially acknowledged next Friday. Trinity United Church has again made about a $600 donation to breakfast club.
Major donors and supporters are being asked if they would like public recognition.

Because we don’t have plastic utensils, it is important that parents send students with cutlery for their snacks and lunches. There are no longer plastic items that can be taken from the breakfast room if students forget a spoon or fork.

The lunch program has begun. Subway has increased its prices for sandwiches. This was not the school’s choice. Because we don’t have an online ordering system and orders are processed by hand, we only offer one option for toppings on subs. We’re looking into online ordering and what the overall cost of that would be to parents and to the school. A parent asked if two options could be considered, a plain and a fancy option. Having one alternative would be wonderful for some of the students.

Parents expressed a hope that the online order system could be initiated. In the meantime, if there is a parent volunteer who would like to process hot lunch orders by hand, this would be welcome. At some schools, hot lunch orders are a fundraiser for Home and School. At our school, it has been a fundraiser for the school.

2. 2019/202 Executive
Heather introduced the discussion about our need for Home and School executive members. Heather has been treasurer for a long time. We are looking for people to chair or co-chair meetings and who can be mentored into other roles. Jane was elected secretary. She has been secretary in the past but was unable to take this role last year. Both Heather and Jane are happy to help new executive members.
Some people who expressed interest in volunteering with Home and School were not able to attend tonight’s meeting.
Heather said she would write up a blurb about what work chairing would require. This will be included in a newsletter by admin, Ms. Coady promised.

3. Fundraising
Parent-volunteer Charlene was excited to announce that we have a donation from WestJet of one round-trip flight for each of two guests, anywhere WestJet flies!
We will raffle this ticket package off, based on tickets sold throughout the year. For this raffle, we will need a raffle license. Heather will apply for this license. She will make the raffle period long so we can promote ticket sales at parent-teacher interview days, the Christmas concert, and fall or spring family fun nights, if we do those.
Heather asked: What is the fundraising goal we would like to work towards with this wonderful raffle opportunity?
Ms. Bromley said that the FM systems in classrooms are aging, and some equipment is broken. FM systems are microphones the teacher wears and that broadcast to speakers around the classroom so teachers do not need to speak loudly and students can hear more clearly. Replacing the systems is the school’s responsibility. New systems are only paid for in new schools. Some systems may be able to be refurbished rather than replaced. But if they need to be replaced, the costs are especially high.

There was some discussion of other options to fundraise towards, but the general agreement was that the FM system would benefit the most students and staff. This was decided by consensus to be the fundraising goal.

The Charlottetown Executives Association recently provided a donation of $500 for books for Prince Street. A team from the school was very excited to select new books for the school. New books are met with a lot of enthusiasm. Prince Street has many students excited about reading. The teachers were able to take advantage of teacher appreciation savings at Indigo. We are looking to get a November date for a fundraiser night at Indigo.

Regarding the Scholastic Book Fair that usually is set up during parent-teacher interviews, a parent asked that the giftware (toys) not be set out for sale. This will be considered.

4. Schedule for Home and School meetings
It was suggested last year that there be only four Home and School meetings this year, and smaller task teams of volunteers will work on special events. Participants agreed that this is a good idea.
Heather outlined that we have several main events we usually do during the year.
a) The fall family fun night - this year will be a November family movie night.
b) Christmas concert bake sale - December 10 will be the date of the concert, with a December 12 storm date. It will again be at First Baptist Church. There was general agreement we should do a bake sale again this year.
c) Winter game night - family fun for all ages, with crafts and board games, will be planned for February.
d) Staff appreciation week - in the past, we have provided snacks and treats each day, and/or we have had a lunch catered. Some other options would be gift cards to be drawn for and announced each day, or coffee deliveries. Feedback from staff was that even a simple veggie tray is a treat. Staff do like to feel like parents are thinking of them and have appreciated past efforts.
e) Spring event - Last year, we did a school community barbecue and some outdoor games instead of the larger-scale Spring Fling carnival. Everyone really liked the barbecue and would like to repeat it this year. It would be nice to continue to offer the barbecue for free if sponsorship is still available. There were donations of a few hundred dollars. All agreed we should do a family barbecue. If there are other parents who want to start up Spring Fling again, they are welcome to put together a task team.
f) Grade 6 graduation: Home and School coordinates a grade six graduation reception.
g) Parent engagement: Last year we had a parent-engagement grant and hosted several literacy and numeracy events. This year, we have offers leadership for a literacy-themed night that wouldn’t require any grant. Admin will ask Student Well-being team for a mental health-themed night. We will set a goal of achieving these two parent engagement activities this year.

5. Budget
The Home and School has $2,492 in the bank.

In the past, we have provided a grant for school and classroom needs. Administrators said that each teacher’s classroom budget for this year has been cut back for the current year due to shortfalls last year.

Home and School would like to offer $600 towards school and classroom needs. First priority would be to invest in something that would benefit the most students. If there is not one larger purchase, the funds could be distributed equitably across classrooms.

We discussed the efforts to purchase a set of ukuleles to add to the number the school currently has so there are enough for a full class and for ukulele ensemble. Students are very excited about ukuleles and miss the set of extra ukes that were borrowed from another school last year. We discussed some possible funding sources for ukuleles.

6. PEI Home and School Federation semi-annual meeting.

The PEI Home and School Federation semi-annual meeting is October 8, 2019, at Gulf Shore Consolidated School. Heather plans to attend. If anyone else would like to attend, our Prince Street Home and School will provide the registration fee. There is usually a business meeting and a workshop. It is a great opportunity for sharing information and good practices.

7. Other topics

Returning to the topic of the raffle for WestJet tickets, we discussed using raffle tickets as incentives for parent engagement. Home and School will purchase some incentive tickets for meetings and events to encourage engagement. For example, we could give a parent a ticket for attending a meeting or for making a contribution to staff appreciation week, and so on.
Ms. Coady noted that at events where there are ticket sales, it is best to have one staff member and one parent to promote sales. Administration is working on having a promotional poster in the school. Heather will try to line up a graphic that can be used on social media.

Ms. Bromley noted the Terry Fox Run is moved to next week. Ask your student about the fundraising challenge for Terry Fox Run! (Hint: It involves extra recess and administration members dyeing their hair pink.)

After-school programming will begin when the new youth services worker is settled in and oriented.

Heather will be added to the school Facebook page as an administrator to post Home and School notices.

Ms. Bromley said UPEI athletes Reading with Pride program will be coming to the school: student athletes from a variety of sports and different genders coming to the school, reading with students, and promoting literacy. They will participate in some events and at assemblies, so it’s a great partnership.

October 22nd, 6:30 p.m.

OTHER MEETINGS, Date to be decided for January and March