Prince Street School and the School Review

The Public Schools Branch (PEI government) is doing a review of schools in our area, including Prince Street Elementary School.

At present, there is NO reason to think Prince Street Elementary School will close. However, our school and other schools connected to it WILL be affected by school changes. Government says the changes will be in place by September 2017.

As members of the Prince Street Elementary School community, we have some say in these changes if we speak up now!


Why is Prince Street Elementary School part of the school review?
Prince Street School is considered “under-utilized.” This means there are fewer students than the school can comfortably hold. The school is not as full as it could be. And it is expected to get less full, not more full, in the next few years.
Having fewer students means higher costs for running the building, but being under-filled affects students’ education, not just cost.

Why? Having fewer students means having fewer staff members. It also affects what programs can be offered. A school that is too empty has fewer staff people and fewer resources for programs.

Here is an example. Kindergarten enrolment at our school has gotten less over the last few years. We went from having three kindergarten classes to just two. The whole Prince Street School has been affected by the loss of a kindergarten class.

It is harder for a school that is under-filled to adapt to change. For example, if three families move to Prince Street School with three kindergarten-aged children, it is harder to absorb three children into two kindergarten classes than into three. It could result in a kindergarten class with more students than recommended, so the teacher has less time for each student.

There is lots of change in the Prince Street School population each year. Families move to Prince Street School. Families move away. We have a lot of diversity in our school community. This means diversity in how people gain their income and how much income they have. It means diversity in cultures or countries of origin. It means diversity in language and diversity of ability. Students have a diversity of needs.

Colonel Gray Family of Schools: A mix of under-filled and over-crowded schools

Prince Street School is under-filled. Some other schools nearby in Charlottetown and Stratford have more students than fit in their buildings. Over-crowded schools are stressful for students and staff. Over-crowded schools also cause problems for offering the programs and services that help students learn. 

Birchwood Intermediate School, where most Prince Street students go after grade six, is very seriously under-filled, and that is creating very serious challenges. The Birchwood community (families, staff, and others) talk about challenges such as keeping high-quality programs, retaining good staff, and keeping a positive spirit in a school that is too empty.

Colonel Gray High School, where most Prince Street students go after grade nine, will be uncomfortably over-crowded by the time this year’s grade six students graduate from high school.


  • Changes to school zone boundaries. Every school area has “borders.” Some of these borders could change. For example, this could mean that a street where students now go to Prince Street Elementary could become a street where students go to Parkdale Elementary or vice versa.
  • Changes to what programs are or are not available at schools. For example, French Immersion is an example of a program that is available in some schools and not others. It is now available at Spring Park but not Prince Street. School changes could result in changes to which schools have this program.
  • Changes to what grade levels a school includes. For example, an under-filled K-3 school could become a K-6 school.
  • Changes could include closing some schools, but in general the goal is to better use school buildings that already exist and to balance schools that are under-filled with schools that are over-crowded.

School changes are connected to education goals. We want to influence changes that meet our hopes for children to learn well and thrive in positive, hopeful school environments.

You can have your say about school changes directly to government at and by taking part in public hearings and consultations. Government is looking for your ideas about these sorts of things:

  • The factors to consider and the values behind any school changes
  • Ideas for school changes that are realistic and solve problems
  • Thoughts about how school changes would affect the school community in good and bad ways.

You can also share ideas to be included in a report that Prince Street Home and School will submit to government. This report will focus on the factors to consider and the values behind any school changes that could affect our school.

You can participate in this report in several ways:

  • Complete our survey about what is important to you at Prince Street School: online at or on paper from the school office.
  • Put completed surveys or other comments or suggestions in a suggestion box in the office at the school.
  • Submit comments in the language of your choice to (Note: We will use Google translate to read comments in languages other than English and French.)

The deadline for your comments to be included in a consultation report from the Prince Street Home and School is November 18.
Information about the Prince Street School report will be available here, at

Minutes from Our October 2016 Meeting

Co-chair Ramona called the meeting to order and circulated the agenda. A dozen people attended the meeting. The agenda was very full, so some reports were prepared in writing.

The principal’s report was circulated in writing. Erin provided brief updates:

  • Change in daily schedule – time frames were sent home in a notice
  • Hoping to start an after school cooking class – looking at gr’s 5 and 6 (this is now confirmed)
  • Lock-down drill completed and went well
  • Provincial assessment results sent home Wed Oct 19
  • Halloween dance Fri Oct 21 – notice sent home – gr 4-6
  • Halloween activity day on Mon Oct 31
  • Evacuation procedures meeting Wed Oct 19 – Principals gathered to discuss procedures
  • Cross country running – Bella Quinn advanced to provincials

Erin invited questions on her list. There was a question about evacuation procedures. The principals from all schools met to go through step by step procedures for evacuation to safe sites. There are very few differences between what we did here at Prince Street and the updated procedures for all schools. We have to add a few things to the classroom “go-packs” and create a “go-pack” for the office. The other thing that is new is that in the event of an off-site evacuation, the first step will be to go to the on-site locations assigned to each classroom for a fire drill. This will allow for a few more minutes to gain information, to evaluate the situation, and to assess the need to move to the off-site location.

Erin reported that she followed up with staff about parents’ concern about candy as a reward in the classroom. She asked staff to reflect on their use of candy as a first step. It has led to some good noticing and good discussions.

There was a question about Home and School responding to teacher wish list requests. We are very limited on funds this year and it might be most useful to have one or two big wishes for the school, but if staff prefers it can be put it out to the teachers to make their requests. Erin said that today, there was a meeting about budgetary requests to government to support academic initiatives. Some items would have a direct impact but are not fundable because they are not directly related to the school goals. Erin will get back to the Home and School about whether or not there is a school-wide fundable item.

There has been one inquiry from a teacher already: one grade three teacher won a draw for a Bricks for Kids session — the other grade three teacher has requested support for the same so that both grade three classes have the benefit of a session. The Home and School supports funding the second grade three classroom to receive funding for a session.

Prince Street School Goals 2016-2017

Erin was mandated to present the Prince Street School Goals. She noted that the non-academic goals around wellbeing and public confidence will be discussed at the next meeting.

Reading at Grades K-3: Every school with grades K-3 will have to have a reading goal. There are specific percentages associated with current levels and levels of increase for Prince Street School. The levels of increase are dictated by a formula. The current and target percentages were shared at the meeting but can’t be included in the public minutes due to an embargo. The data is available from Erin.

1. The 2019 Provincial Assessment and school based data results will demonstrate an increase in the percentage of students in grades kindergarten to grade three meeting expectations in reading from [the current percentage] to [a specified target percentage] as measured on the Primary Literacy Assessment. 

Collaborative Inquiry Question:
How can our students become more proficient readers through the implementation of learning goals (FLs), success criteria and descriptive feedback (the Big 3) as part of the reader’s workshop model?

2. The 2019 Provincial Assessment and school based data results will demonstrate an increase in the percentage of students in grades four to grade six meeting expectations in writing from [the current percentage] to [a specified target percentage] as measured on the Elementary Literacy Assessment.

Collaborative Inquiry Question:
How can our students become more proficient writers through the implementation of learning goals (FLs), success criteria and descriptive feedback (the Big 3) as part of the writer’s workshop model?

3. The 2019 Provincial Assessment and school based data results will demonstrate an increase in the percentage of students in grades four to grade six meeting expectations in math from [the current percentage] to [a specified target percentage] as measured on the Elementary Math Assessment. 

Collaborative Inquiry Question:
How can our students become more proficient in math through the implementation of learning goals (FLs), success criteria and descriptive feedback (the Big 3) as part of the math workshop model?

Rather than look specifically at reading comprehension, reading fluency, or other specific components of literacy, other goals have been left broad, to encourage development of actions and strategies that lead to overall improvements and overall increases in student reading achievement.

Collaborative Inquiry questions help staff to guide how the goal will be implemented and what strategies will be used in the classroom.

Prince Street has been working with workshop models — Reading, Writing and Math workshops. The workshop model uses the amount of instruction time allocated for those activities in a specific way. The “workshop” begins with a mini-lesson (8-15 minutes) on a specific topic. Then students move into larger piece (18-25 minutes) of independent practice. They are not left entirely on their own to do this, usually. The teacher might be conferencing with a student, or might work with a specific group on a specific skill while others use independent time. There is then a consolidation piece with the whole group or small groups. Implementation of the workshop model in classrooms will be crucial to fill in gaps that turn up in progress monitoring with students. Staff are learning right now about “high-yield strategies.”

The focus of the September Professional Development (PD) day was creating success criteria for students in classrooms.

There was a question about whether Prince Street students have been meeting assessment levels in increasing or decreasing numbers. 

  • Grade 6 math has seen a steady increase
  • Grade 3 writing has seen a steady decrease
  • Grade 3 reading has been fairly stable — plateaued
  • Grade 6 reading has seen a decrease as well

These results are one of the reasons we have been made eligible for the wraparound program we are in this year. The list of wraparound supports available is incredible. Access to literacy coaches and math coaches has been limited in the past: under the wraparound program, they are going to dedicate literacy coaches to our school for whole blocks of time.

What are some of the factors that have led to increase in Grade 6 math numbers, and are these transferrable? There has been a very serious amount of PD for grade six math teachers. Recently, for example, they have introduced a “pacing guide” — this outlines the order in which to teach skills to get the biggest yield. There are many check-ins and assessments and there is time to learn to use tools. It’s intense professional development.

There was a concern that the focus on Grade 6 teachers was driven by assessments without building from earlier grades towards higher levels of achievement in Grade 6. It is not the administration’s sense that the professional development is “teaching to the test.” They also said that Grade six teachers who receive extra PD are asked to share the knowledge to teacher in the earlier grades.

The premise of intense professional development is that is making teachers smarter makes students smarter.


The 2016 Semi-Annual Meeting: Building Healthy Communities around the School is scheduled for Tuesday, October 25, 2016, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Gulf Shore Consolidated School. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m.

The focus of the semi-annual meeting is food and the resolution about supporting school lunches. Kirsty is attending but would love for another parent to go as well.


After the last meeting, there was a public meeting to outline the consultation process that will lead to school review and school changes. The school review could result in school closures or in rezoning, or in reconfiguration of grades in a school or shifting of programs at schools, or any combination of options. The process is being led by Bob Andrews at the Public Schools Branch. He is very much in control of the data.

Some Prince Street representatives who were skeptical about the consultation process before the meeting left the meeting very confident that the process is open and the leadership is ready to listen and hear from the public. The Public Schools Branch is really interested in hearing reasonable, viable options for change. The status quo is not an option — the Minister of Education has been very clear about this.

The consultation process is open to

  • Input on factors,
  • Reasonable options for change, and
  • Implications of proposed changes that people bring forward.

The Public Schools Branch is gathering information in a number of ways.

Parents asked, is there a way we can do a very short plain language explanation of what has been discussed to this point? This would help reduce fears and misunderstandings.

Jane circulated a proposed consultation plan for the Prince Street school community.

Proposal for Prince Street Home and School Consultation about school review/school change

October 20 (tonight): In-person Home and School meeting: introduce and invite feedback on consultation plan

Following October 20: Gather opinions, ideas, and suggestions

  • A paper and on-line survey about opinions, issues, concerns. Jane is willing to design and administer this, with feedback and help.
  • A comment/suggestion box at the school (for people to drop off paper surveys or add their own comments). This would work best with encouragement and support for people to add comments to the suggestion box (asking people to jot down ideas and questions but also jotting down overheard questions and suggestions)
  • A shared Google form as another way to submit comments
  • Consultation options would be posted on Facebook and promoted other ways.

October 24: Time has been set aside for individuals, small groups and organizations to make presentations directly to Bob Andrews in Charlottetown. This is too soon to coordinate something on behalf of our whole Home and School, but individuals or other small groups are welcome to present.

November 3 Colonel Gray family of schools consultation meeting: encouragement to attend, assistance to coordinate a Prince Street contingent (car-pooling, etc.) - On behalf of Prince Street Home and School, Jane has requested that there be childcare provided at the meeting.

Following November 3: Work on drafting a written submission on behalf of the Prince Street community (parents and guardians), to be presented at the Home and School meeting in November for feedback

November 18: Deadline for surveys and comments.

November 24: Draft of Prince Street School written submission to be shared for in-person feedback at the Home and School meeting

End of November: Submission of the written notes from Prince Street School community

What we would do as a coordinated effort or a Home and School would complement and not replace input from individuals in the community, school staff (individually and collectively), and the principal. The link to submit opinions is here:

The Home and School approved the consultation plan -- some changes and comments are incorporated above, with thanks.

There was a really good conversation about how challenging it is to come up with specific recommendations. It is easier to talk about input and implications than viable options.


We’ll collect a donation at the door (at the bake sale table). People come with their families - the event is most popular with K-3 families

Activities planned:

  • Lunchroom tables in the gym set up with board games
  • Bake sale table (Ramona to lead)
  • Dance room (Kelly to lead )
  • Karaoke room (Ramona will check with Keri about the karaoke machine)
  • Craft table (Jane to lead)
  • Let’s Talk Science demos (Heather will check if this is possible)
  • Pokemon tournament - table in the gym (not sure who said they would lead this??)
  • Heather will see if she can borrow giant Connect 4 and giant Jenga
  • Chart paper and markers and pastels and kids can come and draw (a teacher to lead?)

One more parent at each table would be great.

Note: The popcorn machine is blitzed.

We need the notice to go out tomorrow. Ramona will send it to Erin for copying, and Heather will cut it up in the morning. See everyone next Wednesday!

Ramona adjourned with thanks to all!

Consultation Plan for the Colonel Gray Family of Schools

In the coming weeks, Prince Street School and all schools in the Colonel Gray Family of Schools will be part of a school review by the Public Schools Branch. You can learn more about the school review at the Public Schools Branch website Better Learning for All

Our school community will be part of important consultations that will lead to school changes in our district. There are challenges and opportunities ahead. Here is the report with data to explain why our school is part of this review.

From the report, some of the data from Prince Street School:

  • Enrollment is trending down: it is 243 at present and forecast to be 192 by 2022.
  • The population of elementary-school-aged children in our zone is also decreasing and expected to decrease further by 2022.
  • Prince Street School's current capacity is 348 and current enrollment is 243. The Public Schools Branch reports we are using 70% of the school's capacity. The school is categorized as "under-utilized" and is "projected to continue to be under-utilized." The school is projected to be using 55% of the school's capacity by 2022. 
  • The cost per student of running Prince Street School is said to be $414.02.
  • The cost per square foot of running Prince Street School is said to be $2.91.
  • These costs are reported to be higher than average for elementary schools in the province.

The consultation plan for the Colonel Gray family of schools is an ugly PDF, but here are some highlights:

Five Step Process
1. Data collection and board direction; (This phase is in progress and almost complete.)
2. Public consultations to identify viable options; (This phase is beginning and will continue to the end of November 2016.)
3. Board recommendations;
4. 60 days of public input on the recommendations; and
5. Final decision. (This is expected by March 2017.)
Consultation Process with Key Stakeholders
1. Present Review of Schools and Consultation Process to Principals, DACs, and public. (This presentation took place last week)
2. Stakeholders identify and present:
a. Input on any School Review Factors,

b. Reasonable viable “options for change”, and/or

c. Implications “options for change” may have on the school community. (This is what is needed in the public consultation process to the end of November.)

The Public Schools Branch policy on School Change is here. Most important to the consultation process are the school review factors:

Where consideration is being given to making a Category I or Category II Change to a school, the impact of the proposed change on each school and those who will likely be directly affected by any such change should be reviewed, having regard to all relevant factors and information that is reasonably available to the Public Schools Branch. The factors to be taken into account will differ in every case; however, the educational interests of the students will always be a key consideration. The following is an illustrative, non-exhaustive, list of factors that may be considered:
1. School’s ability to deliver the provincial school curriculum, programs, and services, including specialized services, and to accommodate any changes expected in those programs or services over the next 5 years;
2. Impact of the proposed change on students’ educational achievement and opportunities;
3. The grade levels currently served by a school, and whether a grade reconfiguration would be appropriate;
4. Uniqueness of a school’s educational program.
5. Enrollment patterns over the last 5 to 10 years and projected enrollment trends over the next 5 years;
6. Population patterns over the past 5 to 10 years and projected population trends over the next 5 years;
7. Number of students enrolled in a school who live outside the school’s attendance zone.
8. School building’s age, site, location, conditions, including:
(a) accessibility to students with disabilities;
(b) any health or safety concerns;
(c) energy efficiency and environmental sustainability; and
(d) the cost and funding of any renovations that are, or will be needed, in the next 5 years.
9. Number and type of rooms needed in order to deliver required school programs and services;
10. Any Board long-term capital plan;
11. Proximity of other schools and the availability of appropriate accommodation in those schools;
12. Availability and use of appropriate technology;
13. Current and potential uses of surplus space in a school for Public Schools Branch-related purposes.
14. Funding provided by the Department of Education.
15. Efficient use and distribution of resources available to the Public Schools Branch, including school administrative, teaching and other staff;
16. School operating costs, including school’s cost per student compared to the average;
17. An analysis of the projected cost savings or increases associated with change.
18. Distance and time students spend, and will spend, in transit; 19. Traffic flow in and around a school;
20. Any increase or decrease in transportation costs.
21. Parental and community involvement in, and support of, school;
22. Impact of proposed change on parents, including parent engagement;
23. Development projects planned for the affected community which are likely to come to fruition within the next 5 to 10 years;
24. Existing community uses of school facilities;
25. Possible alternative uses of school facilities, or surplus school space, by the community;
26. Other facilities in the community available for use by the community;
27. Information submitted to the Public Schools Branch about:
(a) the economic impact of a change on the community; and (b) the economic contribution the school makes to community.

Prince Street's District Advisory Council representative is Jane Ledwell. You can reach her at janeledwell at gmail dot com. Heather MacEwen is our alternate when Jane is not available. You will be able to make suggestions online when the Public Schools Branch opens up that process, or you can share ideas with Jane.

1st Public Consultation for Colonel Gray Family of Schools

An update since our meeting minutes! The PEI Home and School Federation sent out the note below about an upcoming consultation. Prince Street School is part of the Colonel Gray Family of Schools. This is one of six families of schools under review by the Public Schools Branch for reconfiguration of schools and students.

Public Schools Branch holding public meetings
The Public Schools Branch announced its school review process and public consultations to include three sets of public meetings. The purpose of the initial meetings is to present the data to the public and ensure they have opportunities to understand the data, the issues and the school review process.  Dates, times and locations are posted on the Public Schools Branch website at:

The consultation for the Prince Street community and others in the Colonel Gray family of schools is taking place Wednesday, October 5, at 7:30 p.m. The Public Schools Branch notes:

A second set of public meetings will be held in November to provide an opportunity for the public  to provide input on viable options for change.

A third set of meetings will be held once the recommendations are developed, in accordance with the School Change Policy which requires 60 days of public input on the recommendations.

The public will also have opportunities to provide input online, in person and through written submissions. More information will be shared as the full consultation process is developed.


Minutes from our September 2016 meeting

Our first Prince Street Home and School meeting for the 2016-2017 school year took place September 29, 2016.

Kirsty Phillips chaired the meeting and invited participants to introduce themselves around the table. There were a dozen participants in the meeting, plus one interpreter.


Principal Erin Johnston gave the principal’s report. She reports the school season is off to a good start.

STAFFING: Erin gave a rundown of new staff. Amy MacKinnon is on maternity leave though is now permanent in our school and will be returning in April sometime. Filling her leave is Michelle Rioux, with a very mixed assignment of teaching duties, including library. Cavelle Murphy is filling in for Kathy Kiley, who is on an education leave and will return in December to teach a Grade 5/6 class. Greg Anderson is counsellor, filling Sherri-Lynn MacMillan’s maternity leave until December. Alison Read was here last year as behaviour resource and she is now a permanent Prince Street employee, rather than on one-year contracts. Shelley MacAulay is our EAL itinerant teacher, here for mornings for EAL students. We have 7 full-time EAs this year, which is down from last year. Of the 7 that we have, 4 are out on leave for various reasons, and so we have had 4 subs in the building for EAs, but we’ve been very lucky to have excellent people. Erin invited questions about staffing.

NEW DAILY SCHEDULE: We’ve been trying a new daily schedule at Prince Street, with little recess in the afternoon and big recess leading up to lunch, with lunch at the end of the long play period. School administrators have wanted to give the new schedule some time before evaluating. The reason to make the change was to make more instructional time in the morning and give a break in the afternoon rather than the morning. There will be some changes/tweaks in the coming weeks. There was some discussion about ensuring children have enough time to eat lunch. Some parents said their children are hungrier now that they are eating after recess and that they are eating more of their lunches. Whatever changes are incorporated from the current feedback will be the final changes. Schedules are built around priorities, and moving one block can lead to requiring many small changes to accommodate the needs and goals of the students and the school.

NEW SCHOOL GOALS FORMAT: In past years, we have talked about school “development” goals, then school “effectiveness” goals — now we’re just calling them “school goals.” The whole province is moving to a model with 5 goals for each school. The three academic goals have been assigned by the Province and will be K-3 reading, 4-6 writing, and 4-6 math. Those are decided based on overall provincial assessment data. The other two goals are not in the academic category but have to be created with a link to the academics. Wellbeing and public confidence are the themes for Prince Steet. Both of those have to have a direct link to the academic component. The finer details are being decided.

WRAP-AROUND: School goals link to something else very important: Prince Street is one of five schools in the province identified as a “wrap-around school.” This means services will be wrapped around the school by the Public Schools Branch to support student achievement. Schools were chosen based on a number of factors. So far, the wrap-around team has had a number of meetings and put a lot of time in. Erin outlined the team members — school team, school branch consultants, inclusive ed consultants, and Anne Hall as the “school leader” for the team. To have all this team at the table is a wonderful thing and will make a huge difference. They are working with provincewide assessment data as well as schoolwide data, including data from progress monitoring. School data is helping to inform choice of school goals. Next week the full team meets to tease apart the actions and strategies to support the movement of these goals. It’s going to be a lot of work, which Erin is hoping will fall mostly to administration rather than other staff, but it is very exciting and there is great promise for a positive impact on student achievement. This is a three-year project, and the goals Prince Street sets this year will extend over a three-year period, including actions and strategies. The team will remain in place over that time as well.

At the next Home and School meeting, Erin is mandated to present the selected school goals and the rationale behind them. Anne Hall may attend the meeting as well.

A parent asked if “wrap-around” services will extend beyond student achievement to the major other factors that affect school achievement in our school — like social assistance and safety from violence, mental health help, support after trauma, and having enough to eat. Erin said the wrap-around team is not mandated to connect us with services, but there’s a recognition that there are barriers to achievement that are non-academic. Erin is making sure the team is aware of and reviews the demographic data connected to school and said the non-academic school goals (well being and public confidence) will have some reach into other factors that affect students lives and achievement.

Within the school, there’s no ability to control what happens outside the school, but the school staff is committed to doing everything possible to provide graduates with the most skills possible and the tools that will let them build successful lives. The goal every day is to make the students stronger smarter and better.

In sum, the wrap-around program and the team will mean a lot of supports for our school and for staff’s job of teaching kids.

MEET THE STAFF: The school tried something as a little different, including making it a meet-the-“staff,” not meet-the-“teachers” night, to be more inclusive. Erin noted we struggle with parent engagement here. We had a meet-the-staff barbecue and the feedback was positive, and the numbers were way up. It seemed for the most part to meet people’s needs and seemed to improve meeting the school staff’s needs. Feedback is welcome! Parents at the meeting liked the outdoor event so students could play in the playground. Apparently a few school alumni came by for hotdogs!

BREAKFAST PROGRAM: Tanya has taken over as breakfast program volunteer coordinator, and she is doing a great job. Many thanks from Home and School!

SCHOOL PICTURES are coming October 20.

HPV NEEDLES: Round one of HPV needles for Grade Six is done.

TECHNOLOGY: The school now officially has wifi provided by the Department of Education. The former TeacherNet, which was provided to the school as a project of Home and School, is being taken down —its work is complete. All the teaching staff has a laptop and there are computers in other locations around the school. There are also two full carts of Chromebooks plus 17 others to deploy as needed. Staff has been trained on the Chromebooks now. They are all web-based and memory is in the cloud. Work begun at school can be accessed at home and worked on from the home. Each student will have their own cloud account and sign-in. When people learn how to use it, it will be quite powerful.

HOT LUNCH CHANGES: This was the first week of the hot lunch program. There will no longer be hot dogs available as an option. They don’t fit in the healthy eating plan. Old favourites such as sub sandwiches and pizza are still on the menu. This week, we tried out chicken soup and a biscuit Wednesday and a baked potato option on Thursday, and these were received with good feedback.Tomorrow there will be smoothies coming with the pizza. Erin has negotiated hard to keep prices reasonable. The same foods will be available on the same weekdays every week and will not shift even when there are holidays or PD Days. Initial feedback from parents was very positive, especially for the new options.

TERRY FOX RUN is tomorrow, with an assembly and a run. The weather is supposed to be good.

CROSS-COUNTRY RUNNING is happening and there is a meet next week.

AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMMING: There is a commitment from government to support after-school programs again this year. Art, drama, karate, coding, yoga, and other programs have happened over the past several years. Erin needs suggestions and needs some help. Suggestions and contacts are both needed. (After-school activities that Mr. Stanley runs are totally separate.) Heather has been talking with Bricks 4 Kids and will follow up for more information. Heather will follow up with Becka Viau about art programs as well. As long as the person coming in to run the program is independent enough to manage with minimal support, they are welcome.

EVACUATION: There was a province wide evacuation last week, and things went very smoothly at Prince Street for the most part, and there has been feedback to the Public Schools Branch. There is going to be a protocol/checklist developed for the province that will be helpful.

COUPON BOOKS: We are not doing coupon book fundraisers this year because the person who had been doing this is not doing it this year. The school is deciding on fundraising plans. Stay tuned for further information.

LIBRARY TIME: Our library time is reduced this year, so it’s going to look different. We have only a 20% assignment to the library, compared to 40% last year. Grades K to 2 or 3 will have regularly scheduled visita to the library. Others will schedule that in as needed. We’ve been having some discussion about how to more creatively use the library within the course of the day.

LEADERSHIP: The leadership program will be up and running soon. There have been many things to settle first, but we’re looking forward to this program starting.

DRILLS: Fire and lockdown drills and bus evacuation practices have been going well.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: The attendance policy is the same as last year, but some of the letters have changed. The checkpoints are 5 days - after which parents and guardians will get a phone call about absences. There are letters that go home at 10 days, 15 days, and 20 days, and this year there is more variation in the letters that are available for staff to choose among based on reason for absence. They are still absences and represent missed instructional time and are still taken seriously.

Erin invited questions.
A parent asked if there is any way that activities that happen throughout the school can be advertised on the Facebook page in advance to help parents know what’s going on and help their children arrive at the school prepared. Erin and the school will do their best.


Kirsty is currently vice-president, Heather is treasurer, and Jane is secretary, but no one is able to take on the role of chairperson for the full year. There was some discussion of the role of the chair and of the possibility of having rotating chairs if no one person was able to be chair through the whole year.

The biggest barrier to taking on the role of president turned out to be concern about having to coordinate the Spring Fling. It was clarified that running the Spring Fling hasn’t always been the responsibility of the President. After some discussion, Ramona and Kristy agreed to be co-chairs.

MOTION: To elect Ramona Doyle and Kristy Phillips to be co-chairs of the Prince Street Home and School for the 2016-2017 school year.
Moved by Heather  and seconded by Joanne. Carried by a unanimous vote, with many thanks.

Meeting participants clarified that Ramona and Kristy are taking on the role of co-chair without responsibility for being Spring Fling/fundraising coordinator. All agreed that we must identify a Spring Fling coordinator by the January meeting or reconsider the event.


Our regular meeting time will be the 3rd Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m., with a few exceptions. The meeting schedule for 2016-2017 will be as follows:

October 20
November 24 (note that this is the 4th Thursday of the month)
December - no meeting
January 19
February 16
March - no meeting
April 20
May 18
June - no meeting


Jane Ledwell was the representative for Prince Street last year and was recently told it was meant to be a two-year term. We have been asked to name an alternate in case Jane can’t make a meeting. There are only about three meetings per year, and Jane hopes to be able to make all of them.

MOTION: To appoint Heather MacEwen as the alternate for Prince Street School to the Colonel Gray Family of Schools District Advisory Council.
Moved by Jane, seconded by Kristy.

Jane invited comments or questions the Prince Street community would like her to raise. Jane signalled her first question at the District Advisory Council meeting will be to ask whether the planning process for reconfiguring schools is well-served by locking consultations to the families of schools. Some of the zoning problems cross between two families of schools, and if we treat each family of schools in isolation, we may miss ideas and solutions that would serve students and school communities well. For example, under-filled Birchwood and over-packed Stone Park are in different families of schools.

A parent noted that zoning may be part of the challenge of parent engagement at Prince Street. It makes a difference to a parent or guardian’s ability to engage when you can walk compared to when you have to drive or rely on public transit.

The Home and School raised some ideas for parent engagement in Hillsborough Park. That’s the biggest zoning question in Prince Street community at the moment, since all Hillsborough Park students need to be bussed to Prince Street. Again, this zoning question is affected by families of schools, since L.M. Montgomery, the closest school geographically to this community, is in the Charlottetown Rural family.


One parent said that candy being used as a reward at the school is a major concern for her. This turned out to be a concern for more than one parent. Parents get it that consumables are a really good motivator for some students to help them reach their goals, and candy is both inexpensive and a good motivator for some students. Erin said that candy isn’t the only motivator used in the school, but she will follow up with staff.

The Parks and Recreation guidebook came from the City recently and Heather noticed that Parks and Rec staffs a multi-sport fun night program in schools! It can run for up to ten weeks free. Heather will put them in touch with Erin.


Do we want to do this again? Consensus was yes.
Spring Fling is a lot of work for very small return. The games night and bake sales and raffles are better fundraisers and are often more fun for less effort.
Family fun night this fall will take place
October 26th
6:00 to 7:30
Some initial planning will take place over email so we can present a plan at the October 20th meeting.

Minutes from Our Meeting - May 2016

May 26, 2016

Tonight was our last meeting of the 2015-2016 school year. Catherine called the meeting to order. There were 15 people in attendance, including two Leadership students who came to make a presentation. There was no translator available due to a last-minute cancellation. We apologized for this problem.

Grade Six students Jacob and Tristan made a presentation about two major projects for Prince Street School. The Leadership team successfully applied for funding for a Health and Wellness project to install Buddy Benches in the schoolyard. If a student feels lonely, sad, or left out, they will be able to sit on the Buddy Bench and a member of the Leadership team will come to spend time with them. They have the benches built now (by students at Bluefield School) and will paint them next week. There will be one bench in the front and one in back. The other big project is that there was a visit from Atlantic Circus School, and next year, there will be a circus club at Prince Street! One of the Grade Five students who learned circus skills submitted a written report about their learning and their plan for next year. Jacob and Tristan read her report. The Home and School members congratulated Jacob and Tristan for the tremendous accomplishments of the leadership team.


Spring Fling, our annual neighbourhood festival, will take place next Friday, June 3rd, from 5:30 to 7:30. There will be set-up happening all afternoon, and anyone who is able to come is welcome to come as early as possible at the end of the school day. We are still really lacking for volunteers – neighbours, friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles are all welcome. There will be a volunteer check-in table on the evening of the event with a volunteer coordinator to direct traffic!

There will be a set-up meeting on Thursday evening, June 2nd, at 6:30 p.m. for those who can make it.

Catherine listed some of the games, foods, and events that are confirmed for the evening.

Donations welcome for 1) the bake sale; 2) the book sale – children’s books only, please; and 3) small toys for the fish pond.
Donations accepted in the office up to a half-hour before the event.

There will also be need of help for clean-up after 7:30.

Catherine handed out cake mixes for people to make a couple of cakes for the Cake Walk game.

Principal Erin will need a list of room requests and needs and she and staff will help ensure rooms are set up. Catherine will provide tickets to Erin for distribution by Mr. Stanley for students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to take part.

There are two volunteers with a truck who will help with the truck-reliant set-up.

Catherine is looking into the cost for totes for storing Spring Fling stuff in a more organized way. She is also looking into costs for signs to put on the street corners and for a banner to replace the one that work out last year..

Erin noted that if the Environment-a-thon is moved to the rain date (Friday, the same day as the Spring Fling), set-up can be earlier because the school will be empty in the afternoon.

There is a new email address for getting in touch with Home and School about Spring Fling or other ideas or issues:
This email address will carry over to next year.


There are President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer roles, though there are other roles that help support the Home and School in many ways.

Ramona Doyle has offered to continue as Vice-President. Catherine called for nominations. There being none, she moved nomination of Ramona. Heather seconded. Carried.

Jane Ledwell has offered to continue as Secretary. Catherine called for nominations. Catherine called for nominations. There being none, she moved nomination of Jane. Kristy seconded. Carried.

Heather MacEwen offered to continue as Treasurer. Catherine called for nominations. Catherine called for nominations. There being none, she moved nomination of Heather. Joanne seconded. Carried.

Kristy Bishop will continue to be a signing officer for the Home and School bank account and considered a member of the executive (at large). Catherine moved this and Heather seconded. Carried.

There were no volunteers to be President or Co-Presidents. Catherine offered to attend the first meeting in the fall and to help mentor the incoming President. Over the summer, we’ll look for a President or Co-Presidents – or, failing that, we’ll ask people to take responsibility to lead specific tasks, such as organizing a family fun night or coordinating Spring Fling. This is a model that has worked at other schools when they had trouble getting volunteers.


Heather said that she was very proud to go to a tournament with the Prince Street Chess Club. There is great potential to build on what has begun with the Chess Club! A few of the newcomer parents would be interested in coaching. Heather and her partner Richard will help coordinate next steps in the fall with support from Erin and the school.

Vice-Principal Kelly reiterated that the visit from the Atlantic Circus School was very, very fun learning, and that next year they might launch the year with Grade Fours.

Erin reported that the Environment-a-thon fundraiser is going on right now. There are lots of wonderful prizes. If the $5,000 fundraising goal is reached, Mr. Brown will be Principal for the Day and has special events and ice cream planned. If the school raises $8,000 he also gets to throw a pie in Erin’s face, too.

End of year trips are similar to past years and are now confirmed. Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 are going to Shining Waters on Tuesday, June 21, with a rain date of the 22nd. Grades 1 and 2 are going to Rustico Beach on June 22, with a rain date of 24th. Kindergarten classes are going for a picnic day in a city park on June 23, with a rain date of the 24th.

The school’s Sports Day is June 17th, rain date of the 20th. Intramural banquet (kids only) is June 24th.

Volunteer appreciation day/week will be different this year. Rather than have an assembly that many volunteers can’t make it to, kids will deliver the recognition to them personally when they are volunteering in the school.

Home and School offers an award at year-end for a staff member. Heather will follow up with Laura Bird about what happened last year and what needs to happen for this year.

Home and School offers four dozen cupcakes for Grade Six graduation, along with  juice boxes. The Home and School had instituted an award in the name of Terry MacIsaac when he finished his time at Prince Street. This $100 award would best be given to the Leadership Team for their use, now that there is a Leadership team doing humanitarian projects.

Jane asked Kelly how the Grade 5s are feeling about their amazing video project. Kelly said they are very proud and excited. They presented the video at the ArtsSmarts exhibition at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery – and since then they have had emails about what a great job the presenters did. Jane attended the exhibit opening and said it was wonderful and the presenters did an excellent job representing Prince Street. Here's the video link:

Erin said staffing allocation for next year arrived just this afternoon, and it can’t be reported on yet but is in hand for Erin and Kelly to make decisions for the coming season.

Track and field events took place recently and jerseys look terrific!

Home and School members thanked Catherine Nicholson very much for all her work over the year as President! Congratulations to her son Thomas for graduating from Grade Six this year.

Minutes from Our Meeting - April 2016

Prince Street Home and School
April 14, 2016

There were 16 people present at the meeting. Catherine called the meeting to order at 6:30. The main item on the agenda was planning for the Spring Fling. Student Prabin provided translation into Nepali. Parent Dima provided translation into Arabic.

Chairperson Catherine Nicholson started us off with a welcome and round table of introductions.


Principal Erin Johnston gave a verbal report.

The school has been celebrating each of the words in the school motto. April is “C” month: Caring is the theme, and there will be a “caring” themed assembly on the diversity celebration day next week.

Next Friday, April 22nd, we will celebrate Diversity Day at Prince Street with food, activities, music, dance, and an assembly. (This event replaces the International Dinner that used to take place in years past.)

There will be a spring concert in May for choir, recorder, and other musical performances. It will take place during the day. Parents of students who are involved will be invited.

Coming soon will be the Environment-a-thon community cleanup fundraiser. The dates will be set for late in May. In past years, this has raised $8,000 or more, and had great prizes for students. It is also a great community event. And last year, Erin kissed a goat. The Grade One class challenged Erin that if the school raised $8,000, she would kiss a goat. And she did.

We’ve had some staffing changes in the last while. Ms. MacKinnon in Grade Five has gone on a maternity leave and her replacement has begun. Steve Connor has joined us as a new EA to help support new students with special needs who have joined the school. Ms. MacFarlane is on medical leave for a period of time, and her replacement while she is on leave is Megan Grant.

Erin and Kelly have made their proposal for staffing for next year and hope to have the staffing allocation confirmed by the end of this month to begin planning for next year.

Last week, there was a pyjama day to raise funds for Easter Seals, and yesterday the Easter Seals Ambassador visited the school for a lovely assembly.

Tomorrow, there is no school for students. It is a school effectiveness day, where there is professional development within the school, based on the priorities set by the school. Prince Street will be working with a literacy coach to develop and learn about the writing workshop model and how that can be used more effectively in classrooms.

Every school in the province is getting wireless (wifi). Planning for how it will be installed in our school has taken place, and Kelly and Erin will meet to consult about devices, since there will be brand-new devices in the entire school. Every teacher will have a new laptop computer and the computer lab will be completely stripped of old computers. Chromebooks will be available on carts so there is a travelling computer lab, with the devices taken to where the students need them rather than students going to the lab. The hope is for all the plans to be completed by the end of June, then the intention is to have everything in place for the beginning of school in September.

The ArtsSmarts project Kelly Gillis applied for and that is being led by Grade Five is almost complete. The project was to create a video about the Prince Street values, and the final product is getting ready to be unveiled next week! The goal is for the day of the assembly for it to be launched on YouTube and shared on Facebook. One of the pieces the Grade Fives who are coordinating this are working on is learning about using social media and generating hits. This is part of their learning about persuasive writing. Look for the video on social media and YouTube on April 22.

It has been a great year for the Leadership group in Grade Six. They have begun mentoring Grade Fives into the program. They took part in the Play Academy, a leadership training program, for a day and were extremely proud. The group applied for a grant themselves around healthy lifestyles, and they are going to prepare a presentation for the Home and School and gain some feedback from us. Their plan is to present to us in May. They were one of five schools in the province to get the grant.

Prince Street tee-shirts were such a big hit that there will be sweatshirts available and long-sleeve tee-shirts. An order form will go out next week. The sweaters are pricier, but there were lots of requests for sweatshirts. There is no obligation to buy shirts.

The dental check-up clinic was here this month. A parent noted that her child was treated before she gave consent. Erin will look into that.

Kevin Atkins, long-time bus driver, retired recently. He has been part of this school community a long time.

The week before March break we celebrated French Week in the school. Mr. Brown led the school-wide activities throughout the week.

During the March break, Trinity Clifton United Church held its annual pancake breakfast to support the school breakfast program, and the church donated a significant cheque. They are great ongoing supporters!

We have 32 students registered for kindergarten for next year, which is two classes. There will be an Early Years Evaluation assessment in the school, then Welcome to Kindergarten on May 12, then Friday, May 27 will be the day the incoming kindergarten class comes into the school. (Current kindergarten students will have no school that day.)


Kathy Kiley who is a Grade Six teacher is the coordinator of the breakfast program at the school. There are many tasks related to coordinating this program. She will be on leave from September to December next year. In order for our breakfast program to continue next year, we will need a volunteer to coordinate. The coordinator can be either a staff member or volunteer.

This is a very important program for our school community. In some schools, the Home and School coordinates this program, so Erin wanted to let us know what was coming up. Coordinating is a big job but not a hard job. If there’s someone interested, please let Erin know. This will need to be decided soon so that we can ensure the continuation of the program.

There are adequate numbers of committed volunteers who turn up on a regular basis. More volunteers and new volunteers are always welcome! There were questions about the timing and flow of volunteer tasks for the breakfast program, answered by school staff and volunteers.


There are two awards from the Home and School Federation this year: one for a crossing guard and one for a bus driver.

The group decided to prepare Prince Street nominations for each of these awards. Catherine took notes about who to approach for letters of support for our nominations.

The deadlines are coming up May 13.

There was a suggestion of someone from the Prince Street community to nominate for a future Volunteer of the Year Award.


We will need to have another meeting just about the Spring Fling in the coming two weeks. The Spring Fling will take place on June 3rd this year, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It is like a carnival for the school and the neighbourhood.

Based on last year’s activities and numbers, we will need many volunteers.

Catherine explained we will need at least one adult to be the volunteer responsible for each activity for the evening. Some of the past activities have been:

• Cake Walk (musical chairs game which requires a dozen cakes as prizes)
• Dunk Tank
• Face Painting (might be possible to hire someone)
• Nail Painting
• Barbecue & Snacks
• Popcorn
• Bake Sale
• Craft
• Fish Pond
• Indoor Games (sucker pull, plinko, ring toss, and so on)
• Bouncy Castle

Catherine asked each person at the meeting tonight to recruit one or two additional volunteers.

There will be a notice going home to invite parents to volunteer. It will list jobs that could be options for people.

It’s hard to make Spring Fling happen unless we have enough people. The more volunteers, the less work for each volunteer and the more people can participate in the activities instead of just working at them.

Catherine is also looking for support on communications tasks for Spring Fling.

Catherine is looking into
• Balloon Animals
• French Cafe
• Cotton Candy
• Selling Tulips or Potted Plants
• Fortune-Telling
• Magic Tricks
• Costume Room (costumes and props and take a picture)

In the past we’ve done a silent auction, which is a huge amount of work and which we will take a break from this year. The silent auction works best when there is a particular fundraising project or goal (such as getting funding for playground equipment).

Date for a Spring Fling meeting: Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. Spring Fling will be the only topic.

Catherine had to leave early. She thanked everyone for attending and asked others to report on the final items on the agenda.


Heather reported on the annual meeting.

Catherine, Heather, and Jane represented Prince Street at the provincial annual meeting of the Home and School Federation last week. This was very well attended and was an excellent event. We had not had a Parents of Prince Street meeting in March, so we did not get a chance to discuss the resolutions in person, but there were opportunities to comment on them on Facebook.

Heather said that at the annual meeting, four of the five resolutions passed, a few with small amendments. One was tabled until the fall, pending further research. This was the resolution to have a Teachers’ Professions Act for PEI. There was a lot of interesting discussion on each of the motions, and Heather shared some of what was said.

The Department of Education and/or any other groups that receive the resolutions are responsible to follow up on each of the resolutions put forward by the Home and School Federation.

As part of the day’s events, Catherine and Heather went for a tour of the Fab Lab at UPEI in the new school of sustainable design engineering. This was very rewarding. Jane participated in a workshop led by Gerry Hopkirk to imagine different models of education. The workshop gave participants space to imagine education from the ground up, to imagine an education system as different or similar to the current system as they wished. It was inspiring and it will be interesting to see what ideas and themes came out of the workshop.


Jane represents Prince Street on the Colonel Gray family of schools District Advisory Council. The next meeting is April 21. Jane would be happy to raise any questions or comments that the Prince Street community has.

The summary of the discussion at the first Colonel Gray District Advisory Council meeting is here:

The highlights from all the District Advisory Councils’ first meetings are here:


Ramona reported on this item. There is a grant program through Toyota for schools that want to implement a nature-based learning area for students. The grant would provide $3,500 towards a project. This can be an outdoor classroom area or play area or other project to “green” the yard.

We are planning to put together an application for the September deadline. Ramona has met with the school administration about this. The school has been very supportive and the School Board has said it would also be supportive if they like the site plan.

Ramona said the next step is to meet with landscape architects to see if they would be willing to help and make plans and recommendations from their expertise.


Jane explained that there had been some discussion about progress monitoring at the District Advisory Council, and she knew that Prince Street was using this model but didn’t know much about it. She had asked Catherine to request some more information from Erin to help parents understand this progress monitoring process.

Erin was happy to explain. She said we’re in our first year of progress monitoring at Prince Street. The pilot schools are in year four of applying this process in their schools. Erin said it is excellent and provided an overview of the principles.

There is a provincial curriculum for every subject in every grade. The curriculum lists many outcomes that teachers are expected to cover in every grade. The list of outcomes can be overwhelming for teachers and for students. However, it is clear that some outcomes are more important than others, especially outcomes that get carried to the next grade level and built on for future learning.

Progress monitoring is a way of tracking skills students need to carry from grade to grade in order to achieve success on future outcomes. For each grade level in literacy and math, the progress monitoring process identifies seven to twelve “foundational learnings.” These are the skills that a student needs as a foundation for next-level learning, to be able to build their learning year to year.

While teachers are still required to teach and assess all the outcomes for the curriculum, the progress monitoring process acknowledges that the foundational learnings are the most important.

Progress monitoring changes the way the teachers and the school think about “grades.” The new approach considers the K-9 school journey, and what learning students need to complete and achieve by the end of that journey. Progress monitoring keeps track of students’ progress on the foundational learnings along that journey so that it is possible for each student to look back and identify gaps in foundational learnings and then fill them in.

There is structure and support laid over top of assessment. This creates a shift in mindset for teachers and students and how we identify who needs what specific help. Progress monitoring is focused on how to identify the most important gaps and create a plan to fill in those gaps to get individual students to where they need to be.

Erin used the analogy of learning a skill in hockey. A hockey player in a Midget league may be trying to learn to do a slapshot, and may be struggling. Rather than getting the hockey player to keep trying to make a slapshot again and again using the same approach, a progress monitoring approach would get the coach asking why the hockey player was having trouble by looking at gaps in the foundational skills. Do they know how to hold their stick? Do they know where their feet are supposed to be? Do they know how to skate? Is the stick too long? The player struggling with the snapshot would still stay in Midget level hockey, but coaching would work on filling in the gaps in skills that create barriers to making a slapshot.

Translated into a school environment, what would that mean for a Grade Six student struggling with Grade Six math outcomes? A progress monitoring approach would require the teacher to go back and figure out which foundational learnings the student still needs to meet. Is the problem with a foundational learning from Grade Five? from Grade Four? or even from Grade Three? When the foundational learning gap is identified, the teacher can work with the student to fill in the gap.

Part of what progress monitoring relies on, then, is a continuous record of each student’s foundational learnings that teachers can look back to. Prince Street is in the first year of progress monitoring, so that means we are beginning the start of this record. As each year goes on, the record for each student will grow, and it will be easier to look back. This process is called creating a continuum profile for each student that shows exactly what skills each student has completed for foundational learnings and what gaps they have.

Erin said that in addition to helping students fill gaps when they are not at grade level, there will be opportunities for students who have completed the foundational learnings for their grade level to go beyond and/or to go deeper.

The assessment and record of an individual student’s foundational learnings will be for teachers; it won’t come back to parents directly. However, next year, there will be a new report card format based on progress monitoring that will share information with parents in a new way. The progress monitoring process will also change some of the understandings around “promotion” and “placement” (related to meeting grade level expectations), but that will not be in place next year. Under progress monitoring, students stay with their age-level peers for the most part, but progress monitoring will be in place to allow them to fill in gaps in foundational learnings.

The resources and PD available related to progress monitoring are tremendous. Applying this new mindset is challenging and new, but the results are amazing. It has been a huge learning curve for the school but is well worth it.

A parent asked if cuts to administration positions with the integration of the School Board and Department of Education put progress monitoring in jeopardy. It is not yet know what changes to curriculum delivery within the Department of Education will mean for this process, but there have not been cuts that affect progress monitoring yet. Parents agreed it is a program worth fighting for!

Minutes of the February 2016 Meeting

Prince Street Home and School Meeting
February 11, 2016
6:30 p.m.


Catherine welcomed everyone to the meeting. There were 10 people in attendance, including a family that is new to Canada and new to Prince Street School. We offered them a special welcome. Grade Six student Prabin again translated into Nepali.

Erin gave a report on events from the past month.

Gymnastics club is going very well, and there is a competitive gymnastics meet at St. Jean’s school tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the second art blitz of the year. All afternoon, other subjects are suspended and all students will do art. The theme will be Valentine’s Day.

The after-school technology group for Grades Five and Six started today with 18 students. The focus is on computer coding. It will run for six weeks and is being facilitated by teacher volunteers from the community.

Ms. MacKinnon will be leaving soon for a maternity leave. The posting for a teacher to fill that leave will be out soon and hiring will follow.

On February 25 for the “Never Give Up”–themed school assembly, the Island Storm Basketball team will come to the school. The basketball team loves the school, and the school loves them.

Report cards will go out to parents on March 8, and parent-teacher interviews are in the evening on March 10 and in the morning onMarch 11.

An afterschool baseball program run by the Boys and Girls Club and called “spring training” will begin later in the month, after school on Mondays until 4:00 p.m. This is open to Grades Three to Six. Today was the first day for permission slips. Students who wish to sign up can get a permission slip from the office.

The coupon book fundraiser is underway. The order forms have gone home and all parents should have seen them by now. This fundraiser brings in a few thousand dollars each year for classroom needs.

The new Prince Street Power jerseys for the athletics program are ordered, and it is hoped they will be here for the track and field season. They are very fancy.

The Arts Smarts program to make a school video will begin next week. Kelly Gillis and others involved have been planning, planning, planning. A parent asked if the video will be sold on DVDs like the school song was sold on CDs last year. Brian Sharpe, the artist involved, will help teach the students involved to upload the video to YouTube or another free platform and to learn about media literacy at the same time as they learn the technical parts of this. There are ideas about how to promote the video as well.

In the next few weeks, there will be some university students here doing internships and learning in our school.

There are four new iPads in the school that are attached to new programs in Core French, but there may be other opportunities to use the new iPads in other programs as well.

Erin recently attended a meeting about the province-wide wireless program to put wireless in all schools. There is wireless available in the school already. The TeacherNet we have in place is an independent project. It will be replaced by the system that is the same as the system that will be installed in all other schools across PEI. We’ll be wired into the new system this summer, and all teachers will have a laptop. A parent asked how students will be prevented from being on the wireless. It will be password protected (as is the current system), and there will be firewalls.

The last Professional Development day on February 2 was focused on progress monitoring in our school, and it was an excellent day. Charlene Matthews and Erin led it. The school is in its first year of progress monitoring, and people are really running with it.

Erin invited questions. A parent offered a reminder that since last year’s afterschool special programs were almost all for Grades Four to Six, and the art program this year was for Grade Two and Three and the computer programming is for Grades Five and Six, the group that is in Grade Four this year has missed out on most opportunities.

A parent asked for more details about track and field. Competitive track and field is typically for Grades Five and Six and usually starts in May. It would begin as an intramural club and students with a particular interest and ability would have the chance to develop more skills and compete with other schools.


Jane described how the District Advisory Council fits into the new structure for the education system. Prince Street School has a seat on the Colonel Gray family of schools district council. Jane Ledwell is sitting on that committee for Prince Street. The first meeting is on February 18. Jane asked if anyone had issues they wanted raised at the first meeting or put on the agenda for future meetings. Meeting participants did not have suggestions, since the advisory council’s mandate and scope are not well known yet. Everyone is looking forward to learning more after the District Advisory Council’s first meeting.


Staff appreciation week is next week. There is no school on Monday, but we will make plans for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to show appreciation for staff.

Catherine said we are encouraging parents to sit down with their child with a form we will send home to fill out to say something they really appreciate about a teacher or staff person in their life. The form will include the prompt, “I really appreciate __________________ because...” Forms will go home with students tomorrow (Friday, February 12).

Please also encourage children, parents and guardians, and volunteers to express their appreciation with a few kind words or a card or whatever feels like the best.

If you are able to contribute a snack for staff on one of the days during staff appreciation week, please let Catherine know.


At the end of the year, we have a community party and barbecue in the school and schoolyard with lots of activities. It is like a school carnival. This is the Spring Fling.

Our next meeting is April 14 and will need to focus on Spring Fling.

There was some discussion about the pros and cons of having Spring Fling on the same day as the Environment-a-thon. They were the same date last year. This year, the most likely date for the Spring Fling (June 3) is the rain date for the Environment-a-thon. The group decided it was a good idea or not a problem to have the two events on the same day.

The group confirmed that Spring Fling will be on Friday, June 3, 2016. It normally takes place from 5:30 to 7:30. At the April 14 meeting, we will spend the majority of the time planning for the Spring Fling. Since many volunteers will be needed, we’ll work hard to get a good turnout for the April 14 meeting.

Booking a bouncy castle might need to happen right away, and we will have to make sure that it has a supervisor. We may have more options of which castle to choose from. Catherine will try to get the details.

Spring Park and Prince Street schools are together organizing a mental health and wellness presentation next Tuesday, February 16, at 6:30 p.m. at Spring Park School. This presentation will focus on helping parents with children 0 to 12 support their children to develop coping skills for dealing with anxiety or stress. The presentation will be led by the Triple P Positive Parenting Program. The event will be in Spring Park School. Parents can go in the front doors, and there will be signs directing you where to go.

There will not be childcare or translators available for this event.


For any parents of students in Grade Six who are considering late French immersion in Grade Seven, the meeting about Birchwood French Immersion is 7:00 p.m. on February 17.

We had talked about licensing movies and planning a movie night. Did this prove workable? Catherine and Heather are looking at ways to make a movie night part of parent engagement for next year. There will not be a movie night this winter, but we will look into this again in September. Licensing rights are expensive. Catherine and Heather have been working on parent engagement grant proposals for this year and next year.

The next school dance will take place on Thursday, February 25, for students from Grades Four to Six. There is sometimes a sock hop during lunchtime recess for younger grades. It is a great source of fun, mayhem, and exercise.

The last round of Christmas concert DVDs has been ordered and will be ready to distribute when they arrive.

Catherine thanked everyone for participating and invited people to stay after the meeting if they had any questions. There is no March meeting, so we will see everyone on Monday, April 14!

Minutes of the January 2016 Meeting

Parents of Prince Street Home and School Meeting
January 14, 2016

Catherine welcomed everyone to the meeting. Just over a dozen people attended the meeting on a cold Thursday night.

The Nepali translator was not able to attend at the last minute, so Grade 6 student Prabin translated. He did a great job!

Erin reported on many school goings-on.

We are ordering sports jerseys for team sports for when they participate in competitions. It will have the Prince Street logo on it.

It’s cold outside, so parents and neighbours and friends are to encourage each other to help make sure students are wearing enough warm outdoor clothing.

There used to be a police anti-drug program for Grade Six called DARE that has been replaced with a new program called “Healthy Me.” This program looks good and will be delivered to students by police in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, January 27, will be Prince Street Literacy Day with activities all day to promote literacy at home and at school.

This is “Never Give Up” theme month (following “Pride,” Respect,” and “Inclusive” themes from the school motto). The school is figuring out what that will be involved, but the theme will feature a visit from the Island Storm basketball team in February.

The CDs from the Christmas concerts should have arrived today but were delayed by the storm. This has been a very popular project. There have been a lot of late orders and we might want to do a second call for orders to make sure everyone who wants one gets one.

Kindergarten registration is still open and decisions are being made right now about staffing for each school, so it is very, very important that children who will be entering kindergarten get registered right away.

Ms. MacMillan in Guidance has had her baby and is now on parental leave, and Mr. Greg Anderson has started in her place and will be with us to the end of the year. He is fitting in marvellously.

Many, many Prince Street families got supported by donations at Christmas — gifts, grocery cards, and holiday food baskets all helped support families the school, thanks to lots of generosity and collaboration.

The school’s Turkey Dinner is one of the best days of the year. It was wonderful. This is sponsored by Trinity Clifton United Church.

Chip the Elf on the Shelf was joined by Magic the Reindeer this year. Students love this holiday-time tradition. Chip gave a book of their choice to every student in the school, and every child went home as well with a Prince Street Power yellow backpack bag.

Vice-principal Kelly Gillis applied for another ArtsSmarts grant like the one that funded the school song. We were accepted for a new project this year. This will provide funding and access to artists to make a school video.

Ms. J has been working with Home and School member Heather MacEwan to set up an after-school program on computer coding. They are working out the final details.

There are two tutors in place in the school, tutoring students from different grades at different times during the school day.


Erin circulated data about how Prince Street students are doing in reading, writing, and math. The school collects school-wide data about student achievement in writing and reading. The Province collects data about Grade Three and Grade Six achievement in reading, writing, and math. Last year’s data from the school and from the Province has helped inform this year’s school achievement goals.

Erin walked the Home and School attendees through the data report.

Reading data: Erin talked about the indicator of how many students are showing improvement from the beginning to the end of the year. Whether they were meeting grade-level expectations or not, all students showed improvement from the beginning of the year to the end of the year — a huge accomplishment. There was a small group of 14 students who did not show reading growth from the middle of the year to the end of the year. (They reached their highest level of achievement before March and retained that level but did not progress.)

Writing data: There are a lot fewer students meeting expectations in the writing goals compared to reading goals. For this reason, writing is one of the school main focuses for this year. Students are assessed on three writing traits (ideas, organization, and convention) and to meet the provincial grade-level expectations, students have to meet expectations in all three of these traits. When the data is broken down by writing traits, it is clear that the number of students meeting expectations in each trait is higher than the number meeting expectations across all three traits. The biggest drop in achievement from 2014 to 2015 was in the “ideas” trait, so there is a focus this year on developing ideas in writing in particular.

Math data: We have no school-wide way of measuring math achievement but will develop this in the next few years. Erin noted that incredible professional development for Grade Six teachers has helped boost Grade Six achievement in math across the province, including at Prince Street. The data show declingin numbers in Grade Three achievement, but there will be a similar focus on working with Grade Three teachers to improve the math achievement at that level.

Erin clarified that students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are exempt from the school’s testing and the province-wide testing, since they are working to achieve individually set goals, not the standard grade-level outcomes. In the school-wide data, all other students participate in the assessments if they are present that day. For province-wide assessments, there are very strict guidelines about who is exempt and also the time window in which they need to complete the assessment. If a student is absent one day, they still complete the assessment.

What percentage of students are on IEP? Probably 15 to 20 students (at a rough guess). How many students are EAL? There are 40 to 50 kids with an EAL designation, most of whom would write this assessment. EAL students are only exempt from provincial data in very specific circumstances, if it would interfere with learning goals.


Catherine said we were thinking of getting movie rights to be able to show a movie and have a movie night. We need to pay some of the bills from the wish lists first. If the budget allows, we’ll host a movie night in the next month or two.


Late last year, government announced major changes to the Education system, abolishing the English Language schools board, rolling its duties into the Department of Education, and setting up district advisory councils, a principals advisory council, and a learning partners advisory council to shape education policy for the future.

Each Home and School association has the chance to put a nominee forward for the district advisory councils. A notice went home to see if any parents were interested in serving on this council for Prince Street. Jane Ledwell volunteered, but also offered that if anyone else was interested in trying out this role, she would step aside and help support the new volunteer. Catherine explained the deadline was tight to put our nominee forward, and we registered a concern that the process was undemocratic, since we had to put a name forward before a meeting and a vote. Catherine put Jane’s name forward on the understanding that we would vote tonight and if someone else wanted to represent the school, we’d submit the new name. Catherine asked people at the meeting if anyone else wanted to represent the school. No one did.

MOTION: To nominate Jane Ledwell to represent Prince Street School at the new district advisory council. Catherine moved the nomination. Ramona seconded. There was a unanimous vote in favour of the motion. Carried.


The week of February 16 to 19 is Staff Appreciation Week. It is a four-day week this year because Monday is Islander Day. The Home and School usually plans treats and supports for staff.

Last year, we did treats each day, had a lunch catered on Thursday, and offered school-ground coverage at lunchtime on the day of the lunch. Erin said the challenge with covering the playground is that it is not possible to only have parents out on duty. Some staff have to go outside even if parents are there, for safety/liability and to meet students’ special needs. The parental help is still welcome, but it is help but not replacement. Some parents really enjoy this. 

The treats are very much appreciated. A thank you note in mailboxes to each of the staff would be very welcome. Last year, notes from the principal and vice-principal during staff appreciation week were thought to be from Home and School. Two years ago, the Home and School coordinated a thank-you to staff.

Catherine will follow up with Erin about appreciation notes this year. Could the Grade Six leadership group be involved in soliciting notes from students?

Catherine will send a notice to parents to see what treats or volunteer time they can offer and on what day. Erin hinted a number of times that she would like chocolate cake. There are about 40 staff, so this is the right number of cookies or pieces of chocolate cake. ;)

There were a few questions about Staff Appreciation Week. Nepalese food welcome! All food treats are welcome, but no peanuts are permitted in the school, and one teacher is allergic to curry.


Each year, the provincial home and school federation welcomes policy resolutions to be discussed at the annual general meeting. If we wanted to submit a policy resolution, it would be due in January. Catherine and Ramona reviewed possible policy resolutions but concluded there wasn’t an issue we wanted to address this year.

Others agreed this was a good decision this year with all the changes in the education system. We will want to see how policy decisions are being handled before making resolutions to add into the discussion.


All parents in the Colonel Gray family of schools will be invited to presentation about helping youth (under 12) dealing with anxiety and developing coping skills. This will take place on Tuesday, February 16, at Spring Park. Details will be in the February school newsletter and perhaps in a stand-alone notice that will go home as well.

Who is delivering this session? Representatives from the Triple P Positive Parenting Program.
Will there be child care? At this point no, but Catherine will look into it.
Would there be any interpretation? Catherine will ask this as well. Even if any of the handout material could be translated this would help EAL parents.


Catherine and Heather are working on a grant application for a parent leadership grant. These grants let the Home and School put on learning activities for parents.

Past presentations at our school and other schools would be presentations on healthy eating or the new ways of teaching math. Catherine and Heather are proposing a presentation to parents on homework, to help parents help their children better with homework. They are working with Erin on the application and thinking of ways to make it interesting enough to entice parents to attend.

Any questions? Thanks to Catherine and Heather for working on the application. Erin has started conversations with the resource team about it. Homework is not uniform from class to class or from teacher to teacher, so the focus might have to be very general.

It was suggested a resource we could create as part of the parent leadership grant could be a checklist of questions to ask individual teachers about homework. The workshop could even be used to generate the list of frequently asked questions. The presentation could also include general information about good homework habits and practices.


Does the school still have stationary bikes and under-table pedals? Are these being used? The stationary bike gets used every day by students who need to burn off extra energy. The under-table bike pedals were ordered for Ms. Gillis’s class. They are also being used well. They are challenging for the students to use. The machines were inching forward and needed to be secured with cinder blocks.

In Grade Six, is there any presentation from post-secondary programs to begin students thinking about post-secondary education? No, there are not presentations from university or college. Junior Achievement comes in during Grade Three. There is a career component in the health curriculum.

Does the school or the school board order sanitary items such as toilet paper and hand soap? There have been reports from a number of parents of chafed, sore bums from low-quality scratchy toilet paper and chapped hands from harsh soap. These items are not ordered at the school level. They are delivered to the school in bulk. The items are probably tendered through the school board and probably the cheapest tender wins. It just gets delivered to school. Students can bring in their own soap pumps as long as the soap is scent-free. Several children with skin conditions use their own special soap.

The next meeting is scheduled for February 11 at 6:30. Catherine asked if it might be possible to move to another night than Thursday to accommodate members who are not free Thursday. There was not a better night, so the previously decided date was retained for February. We will return to this discussion at the next meeting to consider alternating nights of the week or changing the March meeting date.

Catherine thanked everyone for attending and especially thanked Prabin for translating.

Minutes from the November 2015 Meeting


About a dozen parents and teachers and staff attended the meeting. There was interpretation into Nepali.


Catherine circulated an agenda and welcomed the participants. There was a round of introductions.

Wendy Poirier sent a notice to the meeting calling for volunteers for the book fair during parent-teacher interviews. Several parents present volunteered for shifts. Erin noted names and times with thanks.


Erin Johnston gave an oral report of recent happenings.

Staffing: A new guidance counsellor has been hired for Sheri-Lynn’s maternity leave. His name is Greg Anderson and he will join Prince Street in January. During the time between the beginning of Sheri-Lynn’s leave and Greg’s contract, Kelly and Erin will cover guidance responsibilities.

Hot lunches: Subway sandwiches have been added to the hot lunch options and have been very popular. There was a question about whether there is an option on whole wheat buns.

Leadership: The Leadership team from Grade 6 planned and orchestrated the whole Halloween dance. They have also been planning and leading games with the K-2 students during recess. This is a very cool thing to see. They are setting up a “Lunch Buddies” program for older students to eat with younger students to model good manners and positive eating behaviours.

School Values Themes: October was “Respect” month and activities were modelled after the “Kid President” videos, with a Prince Street video made and shown for the October assembly. November
and December will focus on “I” for “Inclusive” and the planning is happening. Each theme month includes going into classrooms with lessons on the school value for each month, as a proactive teaching piece. The school also focuses on creating some kind of visual or other engaging product to bring the theme to life.

Halloween: Halloween Fun Day was on Friday, October 30th, and was a lot of fun. Older classes were paired with younger students. Teachers dressed as superheroes.

Report Cards: We’re at the end of Term 1 and this is one of the busiest times of the year, with report cards and planning, testing and assessments, and parent-teacher interviews. Everyone is working very hard this time of year.

School Pictures: Retakes happened this week as well. Most of the picture orders from picture day have come in. Picture orders should be distributed soon.

T-Shirts: School t-shirts came in and were distributed last week. There have been lots of students wearing them around the school. There are a few spares of the various sizes so if one is comically large or small, it might be possible to check with Erin and make an exchange.

Casual Days: Staff will be doing an extra casual day through the week most weeks, with a theme to add to fun and excitement and build morale. It gives students something to notice and talk about. For example, there was a pink day for breast cancer awareness and staff wore black to offset their poppies for Remembrance Day.

Kindergarten Registration: The official week for Kindergarten registration is next week, and the earlier we can get the registrations the better. This has a very large impact on staffing levels. If you know of a child who will be attending Kindergarten at Prince Street next year, please have them sign up as soon as possible.

Christmas Theatre Show: Aladdin is the Christmas pantomime show at the Confederation Centre. The whole school will be going. The cost is $10 per student, but the school will be charging $5 and all children will be going regardless. Parents will be asked to chip in for an additional child if they are able. Is there any option for parent chaperones for events like this? The number of seats is very limited, so it isn’t possible to have parents help.

Turkey: The turkey dinner with Trinity United Church is happening again this year, the last full week of classes.

Art Blitz: The first art blitz of the year is coming up. All activities stop and all students work on artwork that meets art curriculum outcomes. There are three art blitzes each year.

Christmas Concerts: The Christmas Concert is not a simple K-3, 4-6 split because of the 3/4 classes that were combined for gym and music. It is only grades 3 and 4 that are divided in a complicated way. Grade sK, 1, and 2 and Grades 5 and 6 are as usual. For families with students in Grades 3 and 4, a more detailed note will go home outlining which classes and which children are in which concert!


Catherine said we can apply for up to $1,000 a year to help engage parents for any kind of learning activity with their child.

Heather said that a common question was what are the school’s expectations about homework? What are parents supposed to do? How much are we supposed to help? Do we correct their spellings or let their errors stand? How much are we to help them with reading? What are the strategies that will best support the learning and teaching in the classroom?

Are there options that families can use that are alternatives to the assigned homework, such as other forms of reading or board games that could help with math skills?

Resource teachers have asked for another subscription to Razz Kids, and we could buy a subscription from Home and School for the school, as an eligible expense under the Home and School grant as long as it is a part of the parent engagement activities around homework.

Catherine and Heather attended the recent introduction seminar to Triple P Positive Parenting. Triple P also has a module around homework and behaviour. At a next meeting, we will have more details.

Erin thought it sounded like a great idea and will check back with the school team to help figure out how best to deliver a workshop or workshops about homework and how best to meet parents’ needs. There is no school-wide or board-wide policy on homework, and it varies from teacher to teacher. But there should be good agreement about basic good practices for homework.


Heather and Erin went over the teachers’ wish list requests to help plan and priorize. Catherine, Heather, and Jane as representatives of the executive went through the wish list to meet classroom needs, and we were able to commit just over $1,300 to purchases the teachers requested. Heather provided the school with a spreadsheet of approved wishes. Teachers have been asked to place their orders before Christmas so that book-keeping is easier.


The Department of Health has given the provincial Home and School Federation a wellness grant for sessions on youth mental health. They circulated a list of types of topics that could be a focus for presentations or workshops. The Home and School Federation wanted ideas for topics that school communities might need, so Catherine asked if there are other topics that would be of benefit to Prince Street School on the theme of mental wellness. There were no additional ideas. The list from the Home and School Federation sounded great .Catherine doesn’t know yet how this program will be delivered. When she finds out more, she will let people know.


We’ve had movie nights before but had to stop doing them when licensing for viewing rights changed. We’ve looked at the numbers, and if we have several movie nights in the course of a year, we would be able to break even on purchasing a license. We are looking at possibly having a movie night in January.

The movie needs to be a new and very engaging movie so that students enjoy watching it and don’t just talk and run around. It might be better to have age-focused movie picks. At one school, they had a movie for K-2 kids right after school and then a later movie for older students. That’s a model to consider.

Another option we talked about was another family fun night in the dead of winter, with a sports focus, such as a ball hockey tournament or other kind of activity. The family fun night in October brought in about $200.

We’re going to keep a close eye out for a new/used popcorn maker!


We’ve been talking about videotaping the Christmas concert and burning and selling DVDs for a reasonable price. The school has a video camera and tripod. Catherine is volunteering to record both concerts.

Burning the DVDs will be the challenge. Catherine will check into services (Staples maybe, or the musicians who burned the school song CDs) and prices.

Another option discussed was to upload it to a secure server. This would not make it as accessible to families this year but is worth keeping in mind as an option.

When Erin sends out the notice about Christmas concerts, she will include a blurb about the videotaping and a request that people not take videos of their own if their cameras block other people’s view. Erin will draft a notice on this topic and check in with Home and School executive about whether the notice meets needs.

We had also talked about selling “priority seating” or a raffle in advance of the concert for a draw on a VIP seating. The reserved seating will take some managing! Kirsty will manage the raffle money. Erin will include information about the raffle in the notice she concocts about the concerts.

The VIP seating scheme will have to take into consideration people with mobility challenges or special needs who will also require priority seating. Our VIP seating arrangement should not create barriers for people.

There will be a bake sale for each concert. Food can be dropped off on the day of each concert. Catherine will do a notice about the bake sale. We have had a raffle basket in the past as well. We decided not to raffle off a gift basket this year, but to try the VIP seating raffle instead.

Volunteers will be needed for the bake sale as well. The notice will include a note about this.


Policy resolutions are due January 21st. Catherine is open to suggestions about possible resolutions for Prince Street School to put forward.


The Annual meeting of the English Language School Board is on November 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Stratford Town Hall. This will be the final meeting of the School Board, since the Board is being absorbed into the Department of Education. Catherine plans to attend on behalf of Prince Street. Anyone else who is interested is also welcome to take part. There is a great deal of change happening in the education system at present, and the meeting is likely to include a lot of discussion.


The Triple P Positive Parenting Program is a new program to Prince Edward Island but has been a success for about 30 years in other parts of the world. The program’s purpose is to help foster healthy families. The first evening seminar was an introduction to what they do. Online there are modules for different topics and strategies for parents for positive parenting: You will hear more about this.


Kelly noted that last year we got yoga mats and hula hoops and this year we applied to get a crazy big omnikin ball that requires teamwork for a variety of games and we also applied for and got a circus kit! We have also requested to be put on the list for the Go!PEI travelling trailer.

Heather coordinated access to the Home and School LEGO robotics kit and there is a teacher keen to incorporate it.

A parent asked if there has been any discussion about coding at this school? There is some incorporated in the we-do kit. If it is something there is interest in, Heather has some connections. We will be looking for another eight-week after-school activity and if coding is a possibility, it would be a neat one.

DECISION: Kirsty Phillips Is approved as a signing officer of the Prince Street Home and School.

Reserve these upcoming meeting dates:

- [no December meeting]
- January 14
- February 11
- [no March meeting]
- April 14
- May 12