Prince Street Home and School - February Minutes

Prince Street Home and School February Meeting Minutes
February 27, 2018

There were 8 participants in the meeting. Kirsty chaired.

DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCIL UPDATE

Vinay Upreti gave an update on the work of the Colonel Gray DAC. His family has moved out of zone and he has to give up his place as Prince Street representative. We will try to find a replacement DAC representative through an open call to all parents for volunteers or nominations. If there are multiple volunteers or nominations, it should go to a vote. We may use information from the Public Schools Branch to help promote this opportunity. Anna will request the DAC pamphlet from Ghislaine O’Hanley to include in an email to parents.

Vinery reported that things are moving in the right direction with the Colonel Gray DAC. In addition to issues raised in the minutes (circulated) mental health remains a significant topic of discussion and concern. There is no homework policy for the Province, and the Colonel Gray DAC has asked for a committee to be struck to examine homework policy and give some direction. The DAC has a diversity of opinions about what a policy should include.

Quality of teaching remains another topic and there are varied views on ways to provide feedback to teachers for performance development. This topic has no action points at the moment. School review, class size, and class composition have also been topics of discussion.

The next DAC meeting is not yet scheduled. The commitment for Prince Street’s representative is to attend at least three meetings a year. Terms are two years.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

Anna gave the Principal’s report.

We’ve received a lot of new resources lately - including 3 Class Comp awards to the school, which allows staff to work with literacy and numeracy coaches on targeted instruction on language arts and math. This also gives us time for more teacher-led assessment, especially for students who are new to the school and whom we are still getting to know. We also had an itinerant EA assigned to our school 6 hours a day until mid-April. We received an EAL EA, 4 hours a day until the end of the school year.

After-school programming has so far included Grades 3-4 and 5-6 in programming, and now we are running a K-1 and a 2-3 group with Ms. Donna, the youth worker. Game Force is running currently for Grades 5 and 6, through Innovation PEI. Kids work on laptops to learn programming and video game programming. Game Force runs a very popular summer camp.

We recently had students involved in a gymnastics meet with tremendous participation and results. More than two dozen Prince Street students participated.

Book Fair is on this week. We are still looking for parent and grandparent volunteers to help with book fair.

Report cards went home with students today. One of the things we got from report cards was attendance data. There was a high number of students with perfect attendance, even in cold and flu season.

School lunches need some menu refreshment. Orders of wraps have decreased and will be replaced with lasagna and a roll from Green Isle Catering. Anna thanked Kristy for the tremendous job she does every week with lunch orders. It takes at least two hours a week, and staff and parents appreciate it very much that Kristy does this work.

Active schools - Families had participated in a first-round survey about active transportation to school. Anna attended a meeting that narrated, with slides, the area around the school and the surrounding streets. Two city police officers, Active Living, and City reps attended. It was a good discussion and people there were interested and able to take information from the discussion back to their groups. Between meetings, conversations are taking place. A couple of survey responses noted challenges with signage about parking, and it was possible to get updates and additional information. Police and City officials are looking into issues that came up on surveys.

Kindergarten numbers: Province is saying there are a lot of students not yet registered across the province, and they estimate based on their data that Prince Street is missing nine or ten registrations. The school will do a Facebook post with reminders about registration. We’re still at just barely two classes (21 registrations). If other students are out there, we really need their numbers. Students entering kindergarten will have EYEs will be April 27th and 30th and the save-the-date information will be in the March newsletter.

After March Break, Aletha Coady will be finished her time as vice-principal and Natasha Bromley will arrive at the school to take up her post. Natasha is excited about coming to Prince Street. Home and School members expressed appreciation for Aletha’s great work as interimg vice-principal.

HOME AND SCHOOL AGM

This year’s provincial Home and School Federation is April 14. We need to register by the end of March and can send up to five voting delegates. Prince Street has put forward a number of resolutions for discussion.

SPRING FLING

We have typically done Spring Fling, our spring carnival fun-raiser, on the first Friday in June, which this year would be June 1st. Kirsty gave Anna an overview of the event. Home and School wlll ask staff to volunteer - their participation last year was excellent.
Heather can coordinate the barbecue.
Joanne can run the indoor games room.
We will request O’Connor Glass to sponsor the cotton candy.
We will request Cox and Palmer to sponsor the bouncy castle.
We talked about hiring Becka Viau to do face paint. We are hoping that will be affordable.

The Cake Walk has always been a popular event, and it was coordinated by Dana for a dozen years.  We will need a new coordinator in her honour.

OTHER BUSINESS

A karate club will be starting here in April. A parent asked if it could run through the summer, but it is not possible at this school. It is mostly students from the school in the club.

BIKES FOR BOOKS

The Masonic Lodge from Wheatley River has sponsored three or four schools a year for the Bikes for Books project, and this year, Prince Street is one of the lucky schools to participate. Each homeroom will have two bikes and helmets to be drawn for in a raffle. Students get ballots based on the books they read to give them a chance to win. There is a spaghetti dinner to support this initiative on March 12. Details in the March newsletter.

PANCAKE BREAKFAST IN SUPPORT OF PRINCE STREET SCHOOL

Trinity United Church’s wonderful annual pancake breakfast in support for Prince Street will take place March 17 at Trinity. This is a great breakfast and a great event.

HONOURING DANA DOYLE

We had talked at the time of Dana’s funeral about recognition and celebration of her contribution. We may also be doing a spaghetti supper in support of Dana’s son, and some of the proceeds could go towards an award in her name.

We could do a plaque with her name on it and present it to the volunteer of the year (an adult who volunteers at the school) at the final assembly of the year. If this were a school award, it could be maintained year to year with a plaque within the school.

SCHOOL SUPPLY FEES

Currently, the school policy on school supplies is that Grades K-3 pay a fee for school supplies, which are bulk ordered, and students purchase their own supplies from a Board-approved list in Grades 4-6. A parent asked: Is there an option to extend the fee for classroom supplies for K-3 to include 4-6? A bulk order would need to be made very soon if this change were being made. An advantage of bulk order is that the teacher can plan for colour coding or consistent supplies. There is a maximum list of supplies that can be ordered put out by the Board, but there is still a lot of variation school to school. Staff in the past have discussed the pros and cons. If you choose to order for everyone, if you then have seven students in one class that don’t pay the fee, it affects the teacher, the classroom, and the school. When there’s a list, very few students come with nothing. They often have enough supplies to get through the year. It was agreed that the current policy is worth revisiting. Parents could be asked to pay their supplies with an option to contribute an additional $10 to the school’s communal pot.

School field trips are coming up in not too long. There was some discussion of destinations. It remains the school’s policy that there are no parent volunteer chaperones.

NEXT MEETING

There is no March meeting. The April meeting is scheduled for APRIL 24.

The meeting adjourned with thanks.

Proposed Resolutions for the Provincial AGM

Our January Prince Street Home and School meeting was stormed out! One of the important items on the agenda was to review and agree on resolutions to submit to the provincial Home and School Federation from our school. Resolutions have to be submitted to the provincial board by the end of January. This year, three proposed resolutions came forward from the school community. They are pasted below. The Prince Street home and school executive would value your feedback at princestreethomeandschool@gmail.com. Unless we hear otherwise from you or receive suggestions for changes to the resolutions, we'll submit these three resolutions to be considered and voted on at the provincial AGM. Thank you! 

Please also watch the school Facebook page or contact home and school executive for opportunities to participate in Staff Appreciation Week, February 12-16.

Next meeting, weather permitting, will be February 27. See you then!

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTION 1:
School Closure for Deaths in the School Community

WHEREAS the people in our schools and on school grounds have a variety of employers (for example, the Public Schools Branch; the French-Language School Board; the Department of Education, Early Learning, and Culture; municipalities) and that students and volunteers on school sites are not there as employees; and

WHEREAS "school communities" should be understood as a network made up of students, teachers, staff, administrators, crossing guards, on-site volunteers, and parents and guardians who all play a role in students' safety and learning; and

WHEREAS some members of school communities have significant and regular interactions with a wide range of students and school staff; and

WHEREAS the death of such members of school communities is an exceptional circumstance; and

WHEREAS a death may be untimely or occur under tragic circumstances; and

WHEREAS it is valuable and important learning for students to understand and have the opportunity to participate in traditions and rituals that accompany death and grieving in the cultural traditions that make up Prince Edward Island;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Prince Edward Island Home and School Federation request that the Public Schools Branch develop a policy for school closure/early dismissal that includes support for closure or dismissal for the wake or funeral of a member of the school community who has had significant and regular interaction with a wide range of students and school staff and/or whose death is untimely or in tragic circumstances, regardless of this person's employment.

PROPOSED RESOLUTION 2:
Communication Protocols in Urgent Situations

WHEREAS urgent issues may arise outside school hours and on weekends and holidays that require quick decisions or timely resolution that may affect students, their families, and school staff; and

WHEREAS each school's Home and School leaders have a role to play in providing valuable input into these decisions and helping to plan for the effects on students, their families, and school staff; and

WHEREAS Home and School members do not have access to clear processes to reach school and/or education decision-makers outside school hours and on weekends and holidays; and

WHEREAS Home and School members wish to respect the privacy and personal time of school and/or education decision-makers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the PEI Home and School Federation request that the Public Schools Branch establish a clear protocol for communicating with school and education decision-makers when urgent situations arise outside school hours and require timely resolution.

PROPOSED RESOLUTION 3: Mental Health Days

WHEREAS the current attendance policy of the Public Schools Branch states "that regular and punctual attendance at school is imperative for educational success. Students are expected to be in school each day unless ill or unable to attend due to an unavoidable circumstance," and

WHEREAS procedures to address absences include calls to parents and letters of notification that get sent out after five, ten, fifteen and twenty days of missed class, with reporting to child protection triggered by higher rates of school absence, and

WHEREAS this policy limits parental discretion to keep their children home for reasons they consider valid, including students' mental health, which may not be an illness or an unavoidable circumstance, and

WHEREAS mental health issues are prevalent in Prince Edward Island, and

WHEREAS numerous mental health initiatives have been implemented in schools and communities to assist youth and their families, and

WHEREAS taking an occasional "mental health day" for self-care is becoming increasingly acceptable among workplace absenteeism policies, and

WHEREAS many school attendance policies omit or do not expressly refer to absenteeism due to student mental health issues, and

WHEREAS openly talking about mental health helps to reduce mental health stigma,

BE IT RESOLVED that Island schools be encouraged to revise student absentee policies [to better support parents' discretion about their children's best interests and] to expressly include mental health days.‎

 

 

Minutes of the November Prince Street Home and School Meeting

November 28, 2017

Co-chair Ramona called the meeting to order and invited those present to introduce themselves. Again this month, there was a recent newcomer to Canada we were pleased to welcome. There were 11 participants at the meeting, including one language interpreter. Ramona circulated the agenda.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT
Acting vice-principal Aletha Coady made the principal’s report for Anna, who was not available.

Book Fair: The book fair raised $2,200+. Thanks to teacher Shannan Young for organizing and to volunteers and students who helped.

Wraparound School Goals: At the September meeting we talked about the wraparound school model that Prince Street is part of but had not set the goals for this year yet because our data no longer matched the actual students in the building, as a result school rezoning. Now that the data is updated, the new goals will be set in the coming week by the wraparound team.

Heritage Fair and Science Fair: Parents had asked for staff to discuss Prince Street participation in Heritage and Science Fairs. Staff had a discussion about it, and teachers do not want to go back to running heritage fair or science fair projects in the classroom. It takes too much time away from the regular curriculum and distracts from school goals. Philip Brown plans to do something with his group of students. Parents expressed that they would really like to know the registration dates in case their students want to do an independent project. Can the school send information home to parents about registration dates? Aretha said they will put registration details in the newsletters.

Staff update: The school hired a new grade five math teacher last Thursday, and she has 18 students from the three grade five classes, and she will also teach humanities to Ms. Joudrey’s class. Her name is Katie Hicken. She taught in Saskatchewan last year but has roots on PEI.

Andrea Read has started as music teacher and is busy, busy, busy preparing for Christmas concert. She has a background in music but is not a “music teacher.” At the concert this year, each class will sing a song. There won’t be a play or theme that ties everything together, but lots of songs and carols are ringing through the halls.
School Festivities: Staff will decide on a school classroom contest for the holiday season - last year, classes decorated their classroom doors.
The Christmas Concert on December 12 will include all classes and all students from grades K-6. Every classroom participates, but if a parent does not want a student to participate they can let the school know. Parents clarified that the concert is more of a holiday concert than a religious concert.
Chip the Elf on the Shelf will come out of hiding in December. Gifts for students from Chip have been purchased.
The date for the turkey dinner offered by Trinity United Church is December 14, but that is the Christmas concert storm date. School administration will talk to Trinity to see if it’s possible to switch to a different date.
There will be a Christmas assembly with special recognitions, and there will be a special guest at the school at some point before the holidays.

Questions: A parent asked about donations of coats, snow pants, and boots. These are welcome at the school at any time. The school needs spares on hand for when outdoor clothing gets wet or dirty, as well as items for students in need to take home as their own. A parent asked about donations of toys or Christmas gifts. There are lots of community groups or businesses that want to support a family at Christmas, and Ms. McMillan matches groups and families with needs whenever possible. If there are money donations to the school, the money funds grocery story gift cards that would go towards a family.

FINANCIAL REPORT
Family fun night brought in about $300. We have $1,000 in the bank and in reserve.
About $60 in raffle tickets sold at Family Fun Night. 
ADL will be making a donation of coupons and discounts for their products for the breakfast program.
The school (not the Home and School) recently received $2,200 from Trinity for the breakfast program, and another $1,000 came from CIBC.

A parent asked the current school population. Prince Street has 248 students.

DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCIL
Jane provided Vinay Upreti’s name and contact information to the coordinator of the District Advisory Councils and sent Vinay minutes and documents from last spring’s meetings.

FROM THE PEI HOME AND SCHOOL FEDERATION
Ramona and Kristy noted some upcoming dates:
- Resolutions for the provincial home and school annual general meeting are due January 31
- Staff appreciation week will take place February 12 to 16
- The deadline for the Extra Mile Award is January 12 and Volunteer of the Year is March 9

Regarding resolutions, Jane noted that her work, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women, has been researching best practices on school dress codes, and that the Council might ask the provincial board to consider a resolution coming out of their research, or they might see if a local school would be interested in putting a resolution forward, in which case Jane might bring it forward with Prince Street in January. Members said they’d be happy to hear about the research in January either way.

ACTIVE ROUTES TO SCHOOL
Shannan Young (a grade 1-2 teacher) has agreed to sit on the committee as the teacher representative. Jamie Gosbee, the Active Routes project coordinator, was looking for a teacher rep but also looking for confirmation that it would be okay to do some classroom surveys. Aletha said staff discussed this and it was okay. There will also be an online survey for parents and community that Home and School will take the lead on. The Active Routes project would get back to the school to discuss results and make plans to increase active transportation. Home and School members considered it an advantage, not a disadvantage, that the Active Routes consultation would happen in winter.

GARDEN BUDDIES
Charlene Rogers-Bourdon provided an update. Volunteers were in today to prepare for a Thursday morning cooking day with kindergarten classes. Everyone thought this sounded wonderful. Ramona noted that Spring Park is doing a community support agriculture (CSA) fundraiser - veggie boxes as the school fundraiser. This is being run by one of the garden buddies, Jenn Whitaker.

SCHOOL LUNCHES, BREAKFAST PROGRAM
The menu will be changing in December! Spaghetti has been waning as a preference, so the school will swap it out, and go with Green Isle catering for a lunch box special for $5 (a wrap with real, not processed meat, two cookies, veggies and dip, and a juice box. They will try a couple of weeks to see how it goes. Another option from Green Isle was a pizza sub, which we may try in the future.

AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS
Youth services worker Dawna is running a multisport program. There have been a couple of cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances. Next week is the last week.

The 4-6 after school program has been too many kids, so will probably need to be divided into grades 3-4 and 5-6. The school will have to reevaluate after Christmas.

A parent volunteer for the recent Bricks4Kids noted that if there is a child who usually has extra help who signs up for an after school program that it could be discussed with organizers in advance so coordinators and volunteers can make a plan to meet the child’s needs.

What options would people like to explore for after school programs in the new year?
- Bricks 4 Kids for older kids would be great.
- Cooking class would be popular again.
- Arduino might be a great option for older grades (or just grade 6).

Ramona will follow up on those three options and get back to school admin.

CHRISTMAS CONCERT
Aretha said the school needs help with videotaping the concert and taking pictures.
Lori has offered to take pictures with the school camera, so now we only need help with video.
Last year it was recorded by Marlene Harding, who is a parishioner of the church. The school has a video camera. We could ask the church if they have someone on stand-by who helps with video recording? We could also ask Holland College photography students as part of their program.

We are not planning to copy or distribute a DVD.

Will we raffle off VIP seating again? Yes, this is a simple and fun raffle. Someone will need to scout out the church to determine the number and placement of the VIP seats. Two seats will need to be reserved for Lori as the photographer as well.

Home and School will run a bake sale again. We will also need a spare table for the raffle basket. There will not be room among the baked goods!

The raffle basket looks amazing and has a $450 value. Karla did a terrific job gathering donations for the basket. Many thanks to her!

“Concert best” is the dress expected at the concert. Any props or costumes that the students require will be provided at the school.

OTHER BUSINESS
We will need to set a spring fling date at the January meeting.
2018 meetings will continue to be the last Tuesday of the month.

December - no meeting
January 23
February 27
March - no meeting
April 24
May 22

Oops! Meeting Dates Correction!

Sorry, friends! We listed the date of the November Home and School meeting incorrectly. The fourth Tuesday of November is November 28, not November 21 as stated at the last meeting.

We will meet on Tuesday, November 28, at 6:30 p.m.

Here's the corrected list of future Home and School meeting dates scheduled for the rest of the year:

November 28

December - no meeting
January 23
February 27
March - no meeting
April 24
May 22

Past minutes have been corrected retroactively.

 - Jane

 

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

Welcome to the New School Year!

PRINCE STREET HOME AND SCHOOL
September 26, 2017

Ramona called the meeting to order and introduced herself and Kristy as co-chairs.
Ramona had drafted an agenda, which the new principal Anna distributed.
About 16 members of the school community and 1 translator attended.
There was a roundtable of introductions of all participants. 

This year's executive:

- Ramona Doyle and Kristy Phillips - Co-Chairs

- Heather MacEwen - Treasurer

- Jane Ledwell - Secretary

START WITH A SEEDLING

Marilyn talked to the Home and School about the Start with a Seedling program, which is back this year for Kindergarten. She shared a handout about the program. It began in 2014 as a research project and was very successful. Last year, there was a lack of funding and volunteers, but it’s exciting that it has been able to return this year.

The program includes field trips to the Farm Centre and Legacy Garden, to connect kindergarten children to intergenerational mentors and also to hands-on learning about food production. The program goal is to increase food literacy. A grant from the Seniors’ Secretariat has helped ensure the program could run this year.

There is a hope among organizers that this project will grow. Is there a possibility that Prince Street could be a site where this could scale up? Home and School members were hopeful that it could.

Last year, there was an after school cooking program that was quite successful. Chris Sallie, who organized it, has moved away from Charlottetown, but the nutritionist who worked with him on the program is interested in continuing these after school classes.

Marilyn explained that scaling the program up could include a component for grade three as well as kindergarten and the after school cooking.

Anna MacKenzie reported that the kindergarten teachers are really excited about the program. It meets many curriculum outcomes. Grade Three has an agriculture curriculum outcome and would be the best fit from teachers’ perspective. Current Grade Three students were part of the first group that participated in the Start with a Seedling program when they were in Kindergarten.

Parents spoke very favourably about the program. They were disappointed it didn’t continue up from kindergarten to higher grades. Parents also spoke highly of the after school cooking program.

There is still room for more volunteers for Start with a Seedling!
Please share the call for volunteers, if you can. Please contact startwithaseedling@gmail.com. The call for volunteers can be found on Facebook or here it is in the e-newsletter from Jane’s work: http://mailchi.mp/60d678a514f4/pei-status-of-women-enews-sept-14?e=36104...

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

Staffing: Anna MacKenzie is the new principal this year. (Home and School was very pleased to meet her!) The school lost Kelly Gillis as vice-principal but gained her as literacy coach. Aletha Coady is acting as vice-principal and has been a great support in the transition, with great knowledge of the school and of student academics. Natasha Bromley will arrive at the school as vice-principal after she finishes a parental leave. She comes from a background of a school with progress-monitoring and other programs familiar to Prince Street. Ms. Wadden-Hughes, the music/library teacher will be beginning a maternity and parental leave soon. Anna hopes to have someone hired to fill her leave in the next two to three weeks.

School Goals: School goals have been mapped out from 2016 to 2019. They are goals that are very specific. The whole province is working on reading as a goal, and every school also has a 4-6 writing goal and a 4-6 math goal. Results of assessments from May and June of last year will be available and will go public in October. These will help us see how well we are doing towards our goals.

Prince Street School’s School Effectiveness Goals 2016-2019
1. K-3 Reading - Increase students meeting expectations in reading in 2016-2017 from 65% to 72%.
2. 4-6 Writing - Increase students meeting expectations in writing in 2016-2017 from 58% to 65%.
3. 4-6 Math - Increase students meeting expectations in math in 2016-2017 from 65% to 72%
4. Public confidence - Increase in the development of partnerships with parents to support academic student success.
5. Well-being - Increase in students’ ability to persevere and “never give up.”

So, updates will be forthcoming on academic goals. From what Anna has seen, the non-academic goals are in good standing. Programs such as breakfast program and lunch have volunteers. This and other parental support has been very good this year so far. Anna observes that students use “never give up” in their language.

In other learning goals, the workshop model, learning plans, and coaching support to staff are all continuing for language arts and math goals. We are also still part of the wraparound program which offers many resources.

A parent asked for more information about the “wrap” school model. Anna explained that 5 to 6 schools in the province, including Prince Street, receive additional resources (more than other schools) to bring student achievement up: for example, more/longer access to math and literacy coaches. Research says a model with an embedded coach really increases results — it is good for teachers and for students to have more access to resource people to help them get past hurdles or beyond plateaus with new strategies.

PD Day: The Professional Development Day on October 6 will be focused on refining work on school goals with literacy, numeracy, and administrative coaches.

Literacy Materials: Anna drew attention to new literacy materials. “Lucy Calkins kits” are a resource for teachers that is a highly reputable, research-based program for teaching reading and writing. There is a set of K-3 reading resources in the school already, and a 4-6 writing set to come. The Lucy Calkins kits are so much in demand that there is a three-week waiting list to access the kits at the Public Schools Branch, and we have our own set.

Allergies: There are Prince Street students with allergies to tuna, peanuts, nuts, and shellfish that are considered life-threatening allergies. Please help avoid these in student lunches. Anna clarified that fish other than tuna and shellfish are okay.

Breakfast Program: The program is up and running on school mornings from 8:00 to 8:20. Kristy provided an update from Tanya. Volunteers are in place, but it would be helpful to have two more, specifically on Mondays and Thursdays. (Since the additional volunteers would be a third person helping those morning, it might be possible for them to start at 7:30.) Donations of food or money are always welcome. The program has lots of jam. Gift cards to Superstore would be helpful; most gift cards are for Sobey’s, and this lets the program access only half the sale items. Always welcome: quick-cooking oatmeal; popular dry cereals without too much sugar, such as Shreddies, or Mini-Wheats.

Hot Lunch: The hot lunch program is up and running. The Executive of Home and School met with Anna before the school year and this was one topic of discussion. A new item was available today: Taco Tuesday from Green Isle Catering. Kirsty said it was the biggest lunch order she has ever put through. The only challenge was that the gluten-free taco shells were not labelled for the child’s name. One child with celiac disease didn’t get lunch today. People did not seem put off by the $5 price this week.

Bussing Support: Some issues have come up with students out of seats and talking too loudly. Parents, please reinforce with children who take the bus that it is important to sit in seats and using indoor voices. One bus was overcrowded; this required some shifts in buses, and now the buses are evened out but both are very full.

Students Achieve: The Students Achieve system is the system Prince Street uses to collect attendance and keep records. There is an option to use mass email to parents to send messages. Anna would like to try this this winter. It would not be overused or overwhelm people’s inboxes. Parents were supportive of this idea.

Website: Anna would like to update the school’s official website http://www.edu.pe.ca/princestreet/ but has not yet had the chance. She asked for patience — and for feedback about what people would like to see. A parent noted that the link to “Enter the website” requires scrolling down too far. Could this please be fixed? Parents expressed a wish to have a listing of staff email addresses. Is there a way to include this on the website?

The Terry Fox Walk is coming up on Friday.

Orange Shirt Day is also coming up on Friday. This is a movement to recognize the legacy of residential schools. Parents wanted to know more. Could Ms R-B or someone from the school please post an explanation on the Facebook page? Parents commented that this topic requires a lot of sensitivity. Parents would like to know how to support students on this topic.

After-school Programs: Anna and Aletha would like to know Home and School priorities for after school programming. We discussed a list of options before discussing priorities.
- Recreation PEI would like to implement a cycling project. The project coordinator would like to sit down with the phys-ed teacher, the Principal, and home and school representatives to see what it would mean.
- Blue Jays Camp - Baseball, traditionally held in the spring. Students enjoy this.
- Bricks for Kids Lego program could run any time of year, but it comes at a cost. It costs $50 per student for 4 weeks, 1 night a week. At a past school, Home and School was able to subsidize. Kids love it. There is a cap on enrolment. It would be worth exploring some options for funding so that it could be kept at a $20 registration. This program may be an option that includes students from K-6.
- Red Cross Home alone program is a one-evening course for 10 and up.
- Game Force is a one-week free program, usually two hours. The project coordinator brings in laptops loaded with software and students learn animation. Grade 6 might be a good fit for this.
- Cooking Skills courses ran last year November-December for Grade 5 and after Christmas for Grade 4. The hope is that the expanded funding for the Seedling program will expand this program as well. Marilyn will be the parent-liaison for this program.
- Traditionally, the youth service worker did soccer, dodgeball, and other sports activities after school. The new youth service worker is working on getting programming planned.
- Might there be interest in a Chess Club this year? We’ve sent students to competitions (12 last year) but they have not had the benefit of a club to learn tournament etiquette. Heather and Richard are willing to run an evening a week.
- There has been art program sometimes in the past, in some years with Ruth Lacey. Parents with experience at other schools also recommended Maurice Bernard as a resource person for this.
- Students who took part in dance club are missing this. It was run by Kelly Gillis, who cannot run it this year because she is not always at Prince Street first thing in the morning. Someone will check in with Dance Virtuoso about possibilities of an experienced teacher or even a well-trained high school student who could come and gain volunteer hours while working with the children.

Parents noted it is nice to have something as inclusive as possible for as many grades and as many kids as possible.

PRIORITIES
The group set priorities for after school programming:
- Ramona and Kristy will check in with Recreation PEI about the bikes program.
- Bricks for Kids is likely to be a hit if it can be subsidized.
- Something sport-related with the youth service worker (some kind of organized game to learn the rules but also get a chance to play) - A parent noted Rugby PEI is doing outreach and could be enticed to run a program. Heather will check into this.

FINANCIAL UPDATE
Heather is treasurer and shared a report on how much money came in and how much we spent last year. We will probably bring in another $1,000 or so between Christmas concert bake sale, raffle of best seats at the Christmas concert, and a family fun night.

Usually we do a “wish list” for teachers to supplement classroom supplies. This year we will work with the principal to decide on one purchase (about $800) that will benefit a wide range of students or the whole school. Anna and Aletha will bring this to the next staff meeting to start selecting a purchase.

DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCIL
Jane has been Prince Street’s representative on the District Advisory Council since its inception, but she has new volunteer commitments this fall and won’t be able to continue. She would like parents to think about taking on this role and selecting a District Advisory Council representative will be on next month’s agenda.

Jane told parents about Learn Day, coming up this Saturday, to discuss and create a vision for education in PEI. Jane is not able to attend because she is travelling for her work this weekend.

FALL FAMILY FUN NIGHT
Parents explained that Spring Fling is our biggest annual fundraiser - a barbecue in June with carnival-style games. Family Fun Nights are smaller and simpler but lots of fun.

Last year, the fall family fun night was very successful. The event is easy to run and tends to be well-attended and well-enjoyed. The “fun” typically includes board games, a craft table, just dance and/or karaoke, and a bake sale table. Parents come with their children. Entry is by donation at the door, with a suggested donation of $2 person or $5 a family.

Parents who are new to Prince Street were asked for ideas for events that have worked at other schools or that they would like to see. One parent offered that at her child’s previous school, a math games night with different math games in different classes was a great success.

Kirsty shared an idea from CHANCES program ”Activate Your Family” with Gord McNeilly. He is very dynamic and fun — and he is willing to do fitness/activity sessions with schools. This could be a really fun night with parents and kids. Could this be a program to apply for a parent engagement grant? Heather will see what the price would be and look into a grant. We will try to line up an Active Fun night with Gord in October. As a fundraiser, we could sell milk or chocolate milk and apples. Perhaps we could get apples donated.

It was decided that a Family Fun Night will be planned for November. The date will be determined.

Raffle Basket: It was decided that we will assemble a raffle basket in time to display it at November events, such as parent-teacher interviews/book fair, and family fun night. We will sell tickets on the basket until the Christmas concert. Carla will coordinate. Tickets will be $2 each or 3 for $5. Kristy and Heather will help line up the raffle license. Several parents offered items for the basket. Donations welcome!

OTHER CONCERNS
Candy rewards continue to be a concern for parents. Last year the treats were greatly reduced. Could this be addressed again? Anna and Aletha took note of concerns. Aletha provided some historical background about this problem to Anna and new parents.

A parent also expressed a concern about helping students to prepare for quizzes, but never seeing the quiz results, so we don’t know about progress. Anna encouraged parents to have conversations with their children’s teachers directly. Sometimes teachers are creating a portfolio for parent-teacher interviews. Progress monitoring is great for the teacher — but it would be great to have more information to parents. Feedback from teachers confirms that progress monitoring is not parent-friendly.

REGULAR MEETING NIGHT
The regular meeting was set for the 4th Tuesday of each month except December and March. Meetings will take place at 6:30 at the school, with childcare and translation.
2017-2018 meetings:
October 24
November 28 (Note: meeting date corrected)
December - no meeting
January 23
February 27
March - no meeting
April 24
May 22

The meeting adjourned with thanks to all.

Minutes of Our March SPRING FLING Planning Meeting

Prince Street Home and School
March 2, 2017
MINUTES

* Many apologies that we forgot to post these in March! *

The March meeting was a special meeting dedicated to advance planning for the Spring Fling.

PRINCIPAL AND VICE-PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

There was a question about recyclables and whether the school is able to collect bottles and cans for return. Before retiring, Mr. MacFarlane ran the program to collect and return recyclables. There are some challenges to the collection and retention, including smell. For things to be recycled, it would require someone to coordinate the program. It could be very time consuming.

Staff appreciation week was very short because of storms but very much appreciated. Staff enjoyed prep time and catch-up time during February storms, but they are glad to be back with the kids and back into a routine.

Book fair is open during interviews next week, and if you’d like to volunteer that would be very welcome.

Art Blitz was postponed during storm days and rescheduled to “winter carnival” time.

Math manipulatives have been ordered to support school goals and new books to support independent reading and mentor texts. The Home and School will be adding money to this effort. Wraparound team and curriculum resources also contributed to the new resources.

Math reading and writing professional development with coaches  — additional half days and full days in classrooms in wraparound school = lots of extra PD.

After school groups will begin after the break with new youth worker Barry O’Brien.

For the Love of Family Fundraiser was very successful — over a thousand dollars.

Never Give Up school goal — 2 behaviour resources teachers, lessons on zones of regulation. to help all students have a frame for problem-solving. That is with all classes, all grades.

Snowboarding program in the school is a big hit.

HOME AND SCHOOL AGM

This is coming up in April - Prince Street can send up to 5 voting delegates.

FAMILY FUN NIGHT
Is now planned for April 6th

SPRING FLING

Date: Friday, June 2nd

Last year Spring Fling brought in $800.
Family Fun Night in the fall brought in $300+ ($150 after cash expenses).

Spring Fling is a community event. Meeting participants took some time to evaluate spring fling components. Please note that where “someone” volunteered efforts below, Jane has notes about who signed up for what but didn’t want to post names on the Internet in case people’s ability to volunteer changes.

Dunk tank: the most popular event. Someone will look into getting this again.

Indoor Games: Have 6 to 8 games, fix them up. Someone will review the games a few weeks before.

The Sucker Pull is popular and will be available.

Fish Pond: Relied on McDonald’s toys and may need to be retired for the year.

Pokemon tournament: Successful part of family fun nights, but maybe too static for Spring Fling and too high a risk of losing cards.

Bake sale: Very popular.

Popcorn: Also popular. Will be made on the stovetop again. Last year 5 pounds popcorn and 1 pound butter yielded 130 bags sold at bake sale table.

Cake walk: Already has a volunteer!

Barbecue: Someone offered to look after that.

Fruit Kebabs: Sell well. No volunteer attached yet.

Candy Kebabs: Net loss on cash return, but they make the kids happy. Someone volunteered to do this again.

Inflatables: Pros and cons. If we could get a local company to sponsor the dunk tank or the inflatables, that would be ideal. Someone volunteered to scout prices and sponsorships — and also ask about cotton candy.

Outdoor Games: It would be good to have at least one this year. Ideas included 3-on-3 Hockey. Basketball challenge. Football through a tarp. Three-legged race or potato sack race. Tug of war. Jump rope - new skipping ropes are coming - someone to teach skipping rhymes. Hula hoops if run by someone who knows what they’re doing and can teach hoop tricks. Garden game? Someone offered to check with the Wild Child program of the Sierra Club.

Bingo: Would require a lottery license, even if there were small prizes.

Seed Table: Not enough people participated. Perhaps do an outdoor game.

Soccer or other sport team: Get a recognized player to run a challenge.

French Cafe: Run by Grade 5s with Mr. Brown but not part of the new curriculum. Not sure this will continue.

Book Sale: Could be in a corner of the gym. Also the bake sale. Leftovers were reviewed for library or passed along. Leftovers could go to PEI Literacy Alliance for distribution at food banks.

Selfie Station/Photo Booth: Went well last year. Could maybe be in the fish pond space. Very helpful to have a staff support.

Fortune Teller: Someone offered to ask Wendy Poirier to come back as a fortune teller.

Face Painting: Bought stuff for it last year, but it didn’t happen.

Tattoo a Teacher: Tickets to choose which teacher would get tattooed. No recollection of if it got followed through on!

Guess how many (jellybeans or other small items) in a jar: Pay a ticket and guess? Expensive to fill a jar.

Balloons: Heather will check with Erin about this.

Craft table: Not enough people chose to do this when we tried it two years ago.

Remember that cost-neutral things are still expensive in time and effort sometimes!

Many kids love to have a task. Amy MacKinnon will be back and doing leadership and we could connect with her about student volunteers.

PARENT ENGAGEMENT

Proposal went in since the last meeting!

NEXT MEETING
April 20, 2017 - see you then!

Minutes of Our April Meeting

Prince Street

April 20, 2017

Heather called the meeting to order and chaired. Our co-chairs were unable to attend (Ramona) or had to arrive late due to other commitments (Kristy). There were 14 people including 1 translator in attendance.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

Erin gave a verbal report.

Staffing Changes: Michelle Rioux’s last day is tomorrow. She was doing a maternity leave for Amy MacKinnon, who will return next week. New EA Jasmine Gehry to support one student. Lori MacDonald who was here as an itinerant will finish next week. Barry O’Brien, our youth worker who has been filling in for Kenny Stanley, is a wonderful fit with the school.

Easter Seals: The ambassador visited yesterday, Cameron. This year was a record year for Prince Street fundraising, over $300, organized by our Power Plus group, one of the groups formed at the start of school to build skills. They did a “pupcake” fundraiser and a raffle for Easter Seals. The top fundraising class (Ms. Kiley’s 5/6 class) played a basketball game against the staff. The staff won! And a pizza party will be the prize for the class and for the staff.

Environmentathon: This annual fundraiser is coming up. The students seek sponsorship to clean up the neighbourhood. Each year, we have raised more than $8,000, and it is a great community event. There are prizes galore. The money stays within the school for things needed in the school — for classroom needs or in the instructional category or experience-for-kids category.

Afterschool Program: Youth Worker Barry is leading an afterschool program for grades 4, 5, 6. It is sports-based, rotating different sports that are important in different countries and why. Chris Sallie is going to do another cooking class, this time for Grade 4s. It will be a six-week program and is funded by a grant.

Recent PD Day: Prince Street had an in-house PD with the school goals team, focused on the workshop model in reading, writing, and math, with additional time in our literacy room (staff-only literacy resource room) looking at new resources. We had $5,000 from the Dept of Education for new resources that we had to decide how to use and distribute to use really well throughout the school.

School Supplies: The memo about next year’s school supplies should have gone home today to K-3 students. If your child will be in K-3, you will pay a $40 fee for supplies. If your child is in Grade 4, 5, or 6 you will receive a list of items to purchase. This will be sent home in the end-of-year report card.

French Week: We are one of the only schools left that celebrates French Week. There are lots of French-language activities, and a highlight is croissants for students.

Trinity Church Pancake Breakfast: This was again a big success. Rev. Greg Davies from Trinity dropped off a cheque for over $1,500 for our breakfast program.

Island Storm: Recently, the Principal and Vice-Principal brought Grade 6 students to a Storm game as a group activity. They had a ball.

Art Blitz: The next art blitz (an afternoon spent on art in all classes throughout the school) will take place in a few weeks.

Administrative Professionals Day: April 26, next Wednesday, is admin professional day. Kristy will take care of this on behalf of Home and School.

Incoming Kindergarten Dates: EYE Assessments - for incoming kindergarten students are coming up May 3. The Welcome to Kindergarten event will be May 11. Kindergarten orientation half-day at the school will be May 26. The go-for-a-ride-in-the-schoolbus opportunity will be at the end of kindergarten half-day orientation.

Assessments: Grade 3 and 6 math and literacy assessments will be coming up soon as well, and parents of students in these grades will hear more about them. Parents will get results from these assessment in September. There will be a program assessment for Grade 6 core French this year. This will look like a test and is an assessment — but it is not an assessment of the students, but rather of the program. This program assessment is new this year.

EFFECTS OF SCHOOL CHANGES AT PRINCE STREET

Rezoning decisions by government and Public Schools Branch will have an impact at Prince Street, but a much smaller impact than many of other schools — and maybe less impact than earlier recommendations.

There are three ways we will be affected initially:

1) Students leaving here in Grade 6 will not automatically go to Birchwood anymore. About 2/3 will be zoned for Birchwood and about 1/3 will be zoned for Stonepark. Where students will go is based on where they live. Intermediate-school zones have changed. Students who will be graduating from Prince Street this year have already started to do visits to the junior high schools they will be attending.

2) Although we won’t see it or feel it, any student who currently lives in the Prince Street zone and wants to go to French Immersion will now go to West Kent, rather than Spring Park. When they complete Grade 6, French immersion students from the Prince Street zone will go from West Kent to rejoin their neighbourhood peers from Prince Street at Birchwood (rather than going on to Queen Charlotte).

3) The most significant way we will be affected, because we are part of the schools affected by rezoning, is that all school zones are reset. This means that if you are attending school out of zone, you have to go back to the school you are zoned for. There are 51 kids attending Prince Street who will next year go to the schools they are zoned for and leave Prince Street. Even if granted an out of zone transfer previously, they will start from scratch at the school they are zoned for. This applies to all affected schools.

We will also recapture students who are attending other schools currently but who are zoned for Prince Street School. It’s a similar number, plus or minus ten, including students who started Spring Park for French Immersion but at some point transferred to the English-language program. (About a half-dozen students are in that position.)

Right now, principals of affected schools have been given a file of addresses and students affected. Many addresses we had on file were not up to date. The biggest challenge right now is getting address up to date. Erin has spent a lot of time talking to people, trying to get addresses as up to date as possible, to avoid as much emotional turmoil as possible. The database system is now as updated as we can get it to this point.

Erin is part of a transition team with the Public Schools Branch planning how to make this all work. On Tuesday of next week, all children in all affected schools will receive a letter that will say their child’s name and their address, and a listing of the school your child is properly zoned for. The second page will be a form to return with either a confirmation or correction of address. The Public Schools Branch will need all of these form filled out and returned ASAP. Erin will contact Newcomers to help newcomer families.

Once Prince Street receives any changes back, they will make updates in our system and let some people know what zone they are meant to be in.

In some cases, people may have to provide proof of address. There are many dual-home families that provide particular cases.

In the long run, the Public Schools Branch wants students to go where they are meant to go, to avoid the mess of overfilled and underfilled schools that resulted in the current turmoil.

There will be an out of zone transfer process. There is an application process to apply to go to an out of zone school. The process to this point has been an application to and decision by the PSB in consultation with the Principal; this process will be further tightened. There will be very little leeway. 

From now on, in order to be considered for a transfer, there will very strict criteria. “Student Transfer Policy.” The new policy and procedure is detailed here: http://www.gov.pe.ca/edu/psb/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/401.1_student_transfer_request.pdf.

For a request to be accepted, there will need to exceptional circumstance around the request. Most requests will need to fulfill the following criteriaL
- The request has to be supported by a PSB consultant for academic, social, health, safety or other exceptional reasons.
- There has to be space at the school and in the class the student would be transferring to.
- The receiving school has to have the capacity to meet the needs of a transferring student.
- The parent(s) must provide transportation to the receiving school.

There may also be exceptions to address capacity issues (for families requesting a transfer from an overcapacity school). This will be a consideration.

There are no application deadlines for the out of zone transfers.

Erin said the anxiety some families are feeling is the same anxiety that the schools are feeling and the same anxiety that the PSB is feeling. Everyone is trying to do their best in a difficult situation. Students can get a really good education and have a good experience at any school. Erin said this school will provide the best possible transition we can provide — and receiving schools will do the same in reverse for us. Erin is trying to call every affected family by phone before they get the letter from the PSB next week.

The go-to jump for most families Erin has talked to is “I’m going to apply for an out of zone transfer,” and anyone is welcome to do this, but families should know that very few will be granted.

Erin asked Home and School members for their support to help calm anxieties and to share the message that this process will work out okay.

Erin noted there are some parent reps on transition team with principals, from the most-affected schools (Spring Park and West Kent).

Prince Street will be welcoming between 50 and 70 students to our school next fall. Between now and then, we’d like to have an open house, potentially an information night, and Home and School can help. The administration would love to have ideas and help and home and school membership at those events to provide a welcome. One idea would be to distribute some free tickets to Spring Fling to incoming students, for example. It would be really great to have a home and school rep to help with planning. There were volunteers immediately. Erin will reach out for parent help after meeting some immediate deadlines.

RESPONSE TO GUARDIAN ARTICLES

A recent special issue of The Guardian focused on poverty, and it dedicated two articles to Prince Street School, with extensive quotations from interviews with Erin and Aletha Coady.

The response from the community has been overwhelming: emails, letters, phone calls, drop-ins. There have been donations of all kinds, including fresh rolls from the community of Buddhist monks who have a mission to help provide good food to Island communities. The monks’ donation may be repeated or become a regular donation.

Heather noted that she saw a lot of response to the article, and that it was important to her to reach out to her networks with the message that poverty does not only exist at Prince Street school. It is Island-wide, and if you want to help, please talk to your community’s school to find out what their needs are. Erin agreed, it’s a systemic issue, not just a Prince Street issue.

At the same time, everyone also agreed that while the need is everywhere, Prince Street is very willing to accept people’s offerings, when they are effective. One parent said the need may be everywhere — but seeing it and reading the article really hit home. Family members from away wanted to to send money or know ways they could help. Those who are connected to Prince Street families and students who want to provide help — we should definitely capitalize on this.

There was a question whether donations to the school can be tagged to specific line items. Yes, they can be (including the pot of money for the breakfast program and including the pot of money for purchasing lunch for students). Trinity also provides stacks of gift cards for grocery stores for purchases for the breakfast program or for the snack cupboard. Sometimes the school uses money to buy fruit or vegetables for a whole class. 

Does the school provided lunches when needed? The school retains a pot of money for lunches. It is from the same put our hot lunch program goes through. There are a number of regular donors. Those students the school identifies as needing a hot lunch receive a code to put at the bottom of their lunch order form so no money has to go in and the children will receive a hot lunch order for free. Staff also 
make lunches on a daily basis for students who don’t have a lunch on a given day. Staff members make them a jam sandwich, toast, or whatever is available. That comes out of the breakfast program fund. After the newspaper article, there were offers of, for example, ten bagged lunches a day. Unfortunately, this is not a practical donation to accept and administer. It is unpredictable how many lunches will be needed on a given day. Cash or grocery store gift cards are a really usable, efficient way to contribute.

There were offers after the article to sponsor a family. This poses its own challenges with confidentiality. Sometimes it’s possible to make a match and for it to work really well. But it’s not easy.

Donations of clothes, boots, and sneakers are also very efficient and very welcome. Clothing store/general store gift cards are also welcome for specific purchases to meet needs.

The key is finding ways to use people’s support in an effective, efficient way. Donations are not effective when they make more work for staff.

A parent asked if we do Friday backpacks? Friday backpacks are filled with food for the children for the weekend - a pasta, some fresh veggies, depending on the family, sometimes frozen meat. Trinity Church might be able to help with that. There’s a model at the Summerside Boys and Girls Club.

A model from another school is to accept coat and boot donations in the spring and then in the next season have a low-cost coat and boot sale ($3 per item), with proceeds into the breakfast program. We are essentially doing a program like this now, but with no cost rather than low cost.

There had been discussion of offers of bulk fresh veggies from the monks or others at harvest time. If a donation like this is ever offered, Robin committed to help organize veggie distribution so that we could accept the donation.

PROVINCIAL HOME AND SCHOOL FEDERATION AGM

On April 8th, four of us from Prince Street went to PEI Home and School Federation AGM. Motions that were passed were mostly in support of the provincial initiative to establish a free hot lunch program in all schools. Recently, government said it will start pilot projects in the fall at three schools, but Prince Street will need to explore if we could have a pilot project with the infrastructure we have here. They are still in the process of picking the schools for the pilot. Ramona is looking into whether or not we would meet the criteria. If we meet criteria, Ramona will put our school in for consideration.

Surprisingly, there was no discussion about rezoning as part of the AGM.

FAMILY FUN NIGHT

We raised $178 on a bright, nice evening. In the fall, it’s dark when we hold family fun night, which probably boosts participation. What was wonderful in April was seeing families there doing things together. it probably would be more well attended in February than April.

FINANCIAL UPDATE

After cheques, we will have $420 in bank and cash on hand for little items as they come up, including rolled coins, which we will keep on hand for Spring Fling. Heather usually floats between $500 and $1,000 for expenses in advance of Spring Fling. These are recouped during the event.

Home and School had committed to support a Bricks4Kids program with one of the grades this week. The Architects’ Association is helping support Bricks 4 Kids programming that fits with curriculum; Heather is approaching the engineering association to pitch a similar contribution.

SPRING FLING
June 2nd is the date selected for Spring Fling.

We are looking for a better price on inflatables. We have a firm that may possibly sponsor the inflatables!

Heather is taking care of the barbecue. Sobeys loans us the barbecue. We’ll have to make sure we have propane tanks.

Erin will help with trucking and deliveries.

There will be a dunk tank!

Other details and decisions were in the March minutes, which Jane will post (without names attached, though she has notes about possible volunteers).

OTHER BUSINESS
There was no other business. Heather adjourned the meeting with thanks.

NEXT MEETING
May 18th - see you there!

Tremendous News!

Wonderful news! Erin Johnston, Prince Street School's principal, has been honoured as one of Canada's best principals by The Learning Partnership. We already knew we had one of the best principals in Canada, but it's awesome that word is spreading.

Here's the CBC PEI story:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/erin-johnston-outstanding-principal-the-learning-partnership-1.3958134

And the Guardian story:

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/2017/1/31/prince-street-elementary-has-one-of-canadas-outstanding-principa.html

My kids say Erin is also famous today.

Three more updates:

  • We have to change the date of the Family Fun Night! It's not possible to host this event on February 9th as planned. :( Sorry for the inconvenience! Please save the date of April 6th and we'll try again.
  • Staff Appreciation Week is coming up on February 13-17 and Prince Street Home & School want to show how much we appreciate the work that our school staff do! We are looking for small items that could be used for a prize draw for teachers and staff. Things like $5 Tim's cards and other small gifts. If you have something to donate, drop it off at the school by February 9th. We are also looking for parents that can prepare snacks for one of the days that week for staff to be able to enjoy in the staff room (P.S. We think Ms. J likes chocolate). If you can bring snacks one day please sign up at the Facebook page or email princestreethomeandschool at gmail dot com. Let's show our support for Prince Street's wonderful staff!
  • Don't forget the next public meeting for the School Review process is taking place at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 1, at Colonel Gray High School.

 

Minutes from Our January 2017 Meeting

Prince Street Elementary Home and School Meeting

January 19, 2017 Minutes

Ramona Doyle chaired and invited a round of introductions. About 14 Home and School members attended, plus one translator. Ramona circulated the agenda and Erin Johnston circulated the Principal’s Report.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

Staffing: Kenny Stanley will be accepting a new challenge at Charlottetown Rural from February 1. Sherry Lynn MacMillan returned from maternity leave; Kathy Kiley returned from education leave.

Behaviour resource teachers will be doing whole-class lessons on the Zones of Regulation (coping strategies), leading to “Never Give Up” themes and lessons throughout the school, creating common language. This will lead up to a “Never Give Up”–themed assembly. One of the non-academic school goals is around perseverance and problem-solving.

Family Literacy Day is coming up Friday, January 27 and plans for the day will come home with students early next week.

The Dental Clinic is here at the school for January.

The school is getting ready for the next kindergarten intake. EYE assessments will take place May 3, the Welcome to Kindergartn session will be May 11, and the Kindergarten Orientation day will be May 26.

There will be meetings about Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) during the week of January 30.

There is a professional development day taking place on February 1. The focus for Prince Street staff will be the school goals – academic goals, wellbeing goal, and public confidence goal.

Erin invited feedback on Christmas Concert, held for the first time at First Baptist Church. Parents’ feedback as overwhelmingly positive. The church holds 500 and was packed to overflowing. The sound was wonderful. People could see and hear clearly as well, which minimized audience movement and chatter. The alcove area for the bake sale was helpful. Departure and student pick-up was difficult: this will need to be streamlined.

Afterschool programs have not yet started because the gym is set up for gymnastics and we don’t want to begin something just before Mr. Stanley leaves.

Grade 4 is enjoying a knitting club at lunch, doing finger-knitting.

There have been a number of recent visitors from the Public Schools Branch (PSB). Anne Hall, PSB Leader spent two days visiting Prince Street in December; David Costello, math leader, spent two days visiting in January; Parker Grimmer, Director of PSB, visited this week.

Before the end of January, there will be information going home about a fundraiser call “For the love of family.” It will consist of a raffle of a $100 bill with tickets $2 each, with a draw on Valentine’s Day. There will be prizes for those who choose to sell tickets. There will be a winner of a $25 gift card. This fundraiser replaces coupon books. There will still probably be an Environment-a-thon in the spring as an additional fundraiser.

SCHOOL CHANGE REPORT

The school change report has been tabled with data and recommendations. What might it mean for Prince Street?

Erin explained that one recommendation is for the Charlottetown Rural and Colonel Gray families of schools to combine to make one Charlottetown family including all the schools currently in the two families. In our area, some schools are being recommended to change programs (for example, adding French immersion). One school, St. Jean, is recommended to close. There is a great deal of rezoning proposed.

For Prince Street, the proposed changes would mean a lot of rezoning. Erin reminded families that the details are not final; they are just recommendations at this point. What the proposed changes could mean is that a large portion of the Hillsborough Park population would no longer come here to Prince Street. A portion of the current St. Jean’s school would come here, and a portion of the Parkdale population as well. There would be a lot of change to school boundaries.

It is hard to know the rationale for every change. The maps in the original report were unreadable. The Public Schools Branch is working hard to release better maps that make more sense, though there are still a lot of detailed questions about the precise location of boundaries.

If these recommendations go through as is, Erin reports Prince Street School despite being labelled as “under-filled” before this study, would actually end up with fewer students than we have now, or that’s what it looks like currently. An initial estimate would put the school population 30 students lower than now. Fewer students would result in less staff as well.

Erin said staff members have many questions, and that these have been submitted and responded to. Change is messy no matter what. Staff’s biggest concern: change is coming, but these are our kids. We have to make sure our kids and the information that needs to go with them goes to their next school with them. That’s the most important question for the staff. How will we make sure our kids are good to go wherever they end up?

We’ve had many phone calls, ranging from “my child is not leaving Prince Street” to “my child is not going to Prince Street.” No matter what school students are zoned into, there will be loving and welcoming teachers and staff ready for them.

Change is hard. We have to accept there will be changes, so how can we make sure the transition is supported as well as possible?

The public meeting for Charlottetown-area schools will take place at Colonel Gray on February 1. This is only one venue. People can provide feedback through the website or can meet with Bob Andrews.

Jane had compiled information about Prince Street for earlier consultations. She asked if we wanted to request a meeting with Bob Andrews for an in-person meeting. Home and School members decided to compile questions and decide based on the questions and concerns whether to request responses in writing or to request an in-person meeting. Ramona will put out the call for questions on the Home and School Facebook. Emails are welcome to the Home and School email, princestreethomeandschool@gmail.com

PARENT LEADERSHIP GRANT
There is a deadline of January 27th for applications for a grant up to $1,000 for parent engagement. This aligns with one of our school goals.

Parents commented on the excellent parent workshops at Chances – what about a partnership to put on a couple of parenting workshops? Themes that would be welcome would include resilience or perseverance in children, or anything related to mental health and stress or anxiety management. One parent reported that Chances’ “Nobody’s Perfect: program was a recent one that was really helpful. It was a three-part program.

It would be helpful to apply for funding to allow for food and childcare to help maximize participation.

Ramona will set up a meeting with Chances next week. Heather will attend, and Joanne will as well. A partnership may be possible to set up with or without the parent engagement grant.

PRESIDENT’S ANNUAL REPORT
Each Home and School sends in a report on activities for the annual report of the provincial Home and School. Ramona has last year’s model. Jane has samples from past years as well.

STAFF APPRECIATION
Home and School will again coordinate two parents per day to bring in munchies for staff. Staff consists of 40 people When possible, we’ve done a lunch on Friday as well, but this has become too expensive to continue. We used to offer to take over schoolyard duty but this is not feasible: the teachers who know the kids and their needs have to be there regardless.

Past successful ideas have been you “Mento so much to me” messages on mints. An “appreciation apple” poster made up of words the students used to describe their teachers was really well received last year.

This year, Home and School will use the Facebook page as another means to ask volunteers to sign up. Ramona will lead this.

Other examples from other schools: take up a collection of small gift cards that could be drawn for as staff prizes. The Facebook post would have to be specific about examples for gift card donations.

Kristy then started speaking in code so we can surprise staff! Heather will work with her on the idea she put forward.

Rather than a full meal, another possibility would be a yogurt parfait bar on the Friday.

Look for the Facebook posts!

FAMILY FUN NIGHT

We had tentatively picked February 9 as the date for Family Fun Night, to be held from 6:00 to 7:30. Last fall’s Family Fun Night included games, crafts, karaoke, dance, Lego, Pokemon, a bake sale, and more. Admission was by donation. Everyone agreed we should plan for February 9.

Heather offered to coordinate a chess room. Finger knitting could be an activity – some of the grade four kids could be leaders on that. Kelly will lead Just Dance. Jane will lead a Valentine’s Day craft. Kristy will arrange for chips – these were popular and easy last time! Board games will be on hand – ones from the school and ones that people bring in. Erin will put up a request for staff. Keri will bring in the karaoke machine.

Can we make a link with staff appreciation night? A table with blank hearts with a prompt – “I appreciate ¬¬[blank] because [blank].” Filled-in hearts could then be taped up in the staff room.

Erin noted that there will be a dance on February 17th.

We will need to get family fun night details in the newsletter. Ramona will do the Facebook promos. Kirsty will send home the notice about the date and time and the bake sale need for donations.

SPRING FLING
In September, we started talking about how to keep the carnival-style event fun and friendly without burning out volunteers. Home and School members acknowledge it’s a lot of work for what we get income, but there are other reasons than money behind why we do it.

Budget update: We have about $750 to work with; we may bring in about $300 on February 9 at Family Fun Night; this will balance staff appreciation costs, which we expect to be about $300.

All agreed that at the next meeting, we need to look at the Spring Fling event by event or room by room to assess the costs and benefits of each activity and to decide what is worth the effort to include. We definitely want to do an event in the spring, and it will likely be a carnival-like Spring Fling, with a certain number of changes to make the event better for everyone (volunteers included).

Next meeting: JUST Spring Fling focus.

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS FOR PROVINCIAL AGM
The deadline for proposing resolutions for the provincial AGM is January 31st

Jane asked if Prince Street Home and School would support a resolution related to libraries and teacher-librarians, a concern at many schools across the province and a theme that came up strongly in our school’s survey.

Jane will draft something with help and advice from her mom (a retired teacher-librarian) and will circulate it by email.

SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM
Next week will be the last week for baked potatoes. The company is not going to be providing them any more. Spaghetti has been a big hit so far. Heather will ask if the spaghetti guy does other things. Grilled cheese sandwiches would be a big hit here. What about checking with local restaurants or caterers about samosas or other food from other parts of the world?

Ramona noted that downtown, they are adding kitchen facilities at the Teen Zone and expanding who would have access to the Teen Zone as well to boost numbers. Chris Salley mentioned he may be doing a survey about what people would like out of that facility. He will send Erin the survey to bring to Home and School for input. Teen Zone user age is typically 12 to 17.

Ramona thanked participants. 

NEXT MEETING DATES

  • February 16
  • March - no meeting
  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June - no meeting
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