Reminders and Updates!

Reminder: The Workshop for Healthy Lunches on a Budget is now Thursday, April 10, 2014 @ 6:30 pm

Workshop on How to Support Your child in Math

Come and learn some new strategies that will assist you in supporting your child’s work in math. This presentation will provide a parent-friendly view into some of the math outcomes addressed at the Grade 3 to 6 levels.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 6:30
Child care and Nepali translation provided.

Please register by Wednesday, April 16, 2014     

Parents, please provide the following information:
Math Workshop for Grades 3 to 6

My Name:                                                

My Child’s Name and Grade:      

Number attending:        


Spring Fling

Friday June 6, 2014

The annual Spring Fling fundraiser will be on Friday June 6. This is the main event the Prince Street Home and School organizes to raise funds to purchase various items needed for school and in the classrooms.  We are looking for people to volunteer for helping out in the following areas: BBQ, inside games, face painting, nail painting, bake sale, cookie decorating, set-up, and most importantly, clean-up! 

We also need some people to assist with the planning as our coordinator for the last 2 years is not able to do so this year.

Please fill out the form below by April 16, 2014     

My name:           

Email and phone number:

Minutes from the April Meeting

Parents of Prince Street
Home and School Meeting
Thursday, April 3, 2014


Erin Johnston reported on a wide range of school activities and issues.

After-school clubs are going on, with drama winding up soon and dance starting next week. Art will start soon. There is a small fee for these, and they are open Grades 4 to 6. Funding comes from local MLA Doug Currie's constituency fund. The Boys and Girls Club is going to run a free baseball club. Track will start soon. Today, the school started a chess club. Students have been asking for a chess club, but there wasn't someone to run it. It will run at lunchtime with itinerant EA and an itinerant youth worker. There will be one for K-3 and one for 4-6. Itinerant staff are employed by the Board but are available to our school for a time. The Principal advocated for itinerant support for Prince Street.

PEI 2014 funded a $2,014 project for artist Warren Reeson to do a mural in the library, showing an evolution through time of Prince Street School. The mural is now underway, and parents thought it looked pretty cool. At the end of June there will be a celebration of the completion of the mural. This will be during the school year.

Erin reported smooth transitions around staffing changes: Krista Leard is in for the rest of the school year for Kelly Wakelin; Jennifer Noonan is in for Joe Burgess; Jenna Rogerson is in for Sherry Lynn MacMillan; Donna Wigmore is in for Fay Adams. Itinerant EA Lori MacDonald is in for a short time, and an itinerant YSW will be in for four weeks in April.

Prince Street pride! The words students selected to represent P.R.I.D.E. are
* Proud
* Respect
* Inclusive
* Never Give Up
* Caring
* Empathy
Erin wants to make a big hoo-hah about that before it is announced at the school. There will be work towards a school symbol, a mascot, and a revamp of the school colours. When all is finalized it would be nice to get new t-shirts or track suits in the fall. This might appear on wish-lists for next year. If the decisions are made about colours and symbols before the end of the year, some items could be ordered over the summer and be ready to go for the fall.

The Professional Development Day at the end of January was very well-received, with excellent feedback from teachers. There was a really close examination of our reading data. The second round of reading data showed huge gains. Part of that is from the narrowed lens after seeing the data, and there were changes to how we do resource, with more of a "push-in" of resource into classrooms. In numeracy, every teacher in the building developed an individual math goal for themselves in the category of the number strand -- this, whether they are math teachers or not! Then, David Costello (who will be doing the April 22nd math workshop for Home and School) came in and met with each staff person individually to work on their own goal. There was in addition work on the writing prompt on the PD Day.

Each team of teachers looked at writing prompt results, and we're building momentum with that. A third writing prompt will come in May.

The Olympics, Prince-street style, were a ball.

On Pink Shirt Day representatives of Crimestoppers and the Islanders hockey team were in and talked with students.

The coupon book fundraiser was even more successful than last year and took in much more than we took in on the fundraiser last year.

The dental clinic has almost completed its work at the school.

There was a successful Art Blitz in February, with one to come in May.

Out of zone transfer update -- There is an updated policy from the board. If anyone wants to have a student attend a school out of their zone, the deadline to apply will be March 31st, and the answer will be provided by the end of June. Later applications might not be decided until later in the summer. The reason for this is that transfers really affect numbers, and numbers of enrolment really affect Board decisions about teachers. Last year, schools were really late to find out their enrolment numbers but this year, Erin should find out more details next week. What she finds out may be tentative numbers and might not be shareable.
In the past, Prince Street has seen about 25% of the student population turn over during the course of the year. Exact population of the school is almost impossible to keep track of, but it hovers around 270.
There was some discussion of the new policy. It was clarified that anyone accepted to an out-of-zone school doesn't have to reapply as long as they stay. If they wanted to return to their own zone, they would have to reapply. The policy is meant to make it a permanent transfer, but there will be the chance to make another application if necessary.

French week before March break was a success, with trivia and treats, announcements in French, and French music.

Recent upgrades mean that all homerooms now have an LCD projector. There will be an FM system for the gym. (Most classrooms have one now.) There was an opportunity to try one in the gym on a test basis, and it was very successful. The one being set up now will see speakers mounted in the gym, with amps and mixers also placed in the gym, so it will be possible to plug a mic into the stage. This will be great for assemblies, concerts, and events. Provincial AV services are setting up the sound system, and the FM system will plug into that new system. There is also a new FM system in KA classroom. Office furniture is also seeing some upgrades. Chairs that were in the office were old and gross. There are now new chairs that are clean and appropriate: two for the office and two for the "lobby" area. The lobby/entrance area needs a facelift and this will be discussed soon. There are six new document cameras that are like old overhead projectors but without any of the bother. They can project directly from books or sheets of paper.

Figuring out scheduling for a new school year is a puzzle that takes some time, and work will begin in earnest soon.

The School Dance happening during the Home and School meeting is supporting Easter Seals

The International dinner tentative date is April 29th, and planning is starting soon.

Erin explained how the whole-school evening invitation to the Island Storm basketball game came about. Over the year, there were lots of offers of free tickets offered by various sports teams. When Island Storm offered, Erin said that we'd like to take the whole school. The Storm said yes. In the end, about 150 kids attended a game. About 35 staff were there and about 50 parents. Adults were offered $5 tickets. The choir sang the anthem in the gym to start the game. It was a proud night for Prince Street students.

School supplies: Erin requested input on decisions about how to fund and purchase school supplies. Last year was the first year that Prince Street opted (all but two grades) to collect money from students so teachers could purchase supplies for all. Last year, there was discussion in the media about why one school asks for one amount for school supplies and another school asks for another; there were also inconsistencies in lists from school to school in schools that send lists home to parents. The School Board has been working to coordinate. Principals have been asked to provide input, and a committee has been formed. Schools can make a decision about whether to ask for a list or money. If a list, it will be a pre-approved list from the Board; if collecting money, it will be a maximum of $35.

One parent expressed preference for paying the money -- with the option to contribute more to help cover kids whose parents can't afford to pay.

There was more discussion. What were the issues in the past? Collecting the money can be a challenge and can drag out. In one class, only five children had paid. Some had supplies given to them. Some had no money or supplies. For the most part it is those who aren't able who don't pay.

It takes a while for cash payments to become expected. One parent thought that $35 is cheap. Erin said that the approved list for each grade is also reasonable. The list from the school board is inflexible.

One parent asked if there is a way students can still personalize their stuff if it is purchased by teachers.

Another question: Are there things such as scissors, rulers, and the like that can be classroom-owned? Some classrooms do keep discarded supplies. There is slippage from school transfers.

There was concern about added administrative and purchasing work for the teachers. Can this be streamlined? There are some school-purchased supplies in a supply cupboard for use by all. Erin was at a school where she had to purchase for the full school and maintain inventory. This is not manageable or sustainable for Prince Street!

It was noted that the two options mean two different kinds of work for teachers -- dealing with purchases or dealing with students who don't have supplies.

Erin said thanks for feedback and asked parents to stay tuned.



The treasurer's report is all good. The finances are roughly where we would usually be this time of year.



Resolutions will be discussed at the Provincial Home and School AGM on Saturday April 12. Shelley asked for feedback on the resolutions from Prince Street parents. There will be about 100 people there representing all the schools. Prince Street can send up to five representatives. The meeting starts at 8:30 and goes to about 1:30 with breakout sessions following until 2:30. The Education Minister and Deputy Minister and others will be there to discuss strategy for education going forward. Shelley explained the resolution process. There was then a discussion of each resolution. (Please note that summaries below just describe the topic and oversimplify complex resolutions.)

Resolution #1-2014
That Participation, Release, and Indemnification Forms be written in plain language to allow for legal and monetary implications to be made apparent.
Prince Street School parents passed

Resolution #2-2014
To include e-cigarettes in the Tobacco Product Usage Ban and to broaden the definition of "tobacco-related product" be extended to include e-cigarettes.
Prince Street School parents supported this.

Resolution #3-2014
To remove administrators, counsellors, and non-classroom positions from the student-teacher ratio.
There was some discussion about what this would mean if applied to Prince Street and what the pros and cons might be of this proposal.
Prince Street School parents didn't think we had enough information, and we recommended this should go back for further information and research.

Resolution #4-2014
To ensure that teachers are receiving relevant professional development that can be effectively and immediately introduced in the classroom to increase academic achievement.
Prince Street School parents are concerned this is not phrased in a way that is specific or likely to be easily applied. There was strong support for public education about the relevance of PD days. There was also strong support for better evaluation of PD days to capture teachers' satisfaction with how effective PD days are to increase academic achievement. There was also support for giving teachers more control and autonomy with collaborative days.  Prince Street parents want effective PD days and have appreciated learning more about how PD days are being used at our school. We want to support positive approaches to PD days and don't think this particular resolution will bring about greater effectiveness. The goals are vague. The idea is nice but hard to achieve and there are concerns about who evaluates.

Resolution #5-2014
To create a plan for advancing technology in PEI schools and more budget for infrastructure.
This relates to three previous resolutions. There will always be challenges to keep up with technological changes, especially in terms of budget. This resolution is to push the department again to have a plan.
Prince Street parents supported this.

Resolution #6-2014
To acknowledge urgent problem with student achievement, declare it to be a public priority, work to national and international achievement goals, to use Home and School as an equal partner in discussion, to have an annual report to inform public and parents on the state of the PEI education system.
There was general support but also concern about pushing towards standardized testing by a different means and concern that PEITF is excluded from partnership. Shelley expects this resolution is likely to get more discussion and that tweaks and amendments will be made at the AGM.
Parents agreed that discussion needs to be continued and the core is very solid, and Prince Street parents want to see this on the agenda. Parents support this resolution.

Resolution #7-2014
To improve reporting on absenteeism and collaboration with home and schools to improve student attendance.
Prince Street parents would like to ensure parents are included in the collaboration.
Prince Street parents supported this resolution.

Resolution #8-2014
To reconsider the new policy and revert to a "no nit policy" and to encourage collaboration with health professionals.
A no nit policy requires that the student with lice misses a lot of time. It would have negative consequences for Prince Street students.
Prince Street School parents don't support this resolution.



The workshop on healthy lunches on a budget is rescheduled to
Thursday, April 10th

The Math Night (math strategies for Grades 3 to 6)
Tuesday, April 22nd

Notices will be coming.



We need an overall coordinator or co-coordinators for this event. The binder of plans that previous coordinator Laura Bird has put together from coordinating the past two years.

June 6th is the date for spring fling.

We need more volunteers this year than last year.
We have often done a silent auction that requires coordinating.
Usually someone coordinates the barbecue
Usually someone coordinates overseeing games and supplies

Heather will do the barbecue. Joanne Brown did barbecue in past years and Dana/Shelley will help her connect with Heather.
Dana will make ten cakes and coordinate the Cake Walk
Jane will coordinate indoor games.
Erin will go in the dunk tank.

Volunteers from higher grades at Birchwood and Colonel Gray are welcome. Leadership classes need to do certain amount of volunteer work and are good contacts.

In the past, there was a letter to ask for donations: Colleen might have a copy.

The call for a coordinator needs to be extended to the wider community. It will be placed in the Trinity Church bulletin, for instance.

There was a questions about whether or not it would be permitted for the Home and School to set up a Facebook Page? This would be welcome. A Prince Street School page will be set up after the new identity plans are finalized.

The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting date will be announced soon.

Cancellation and Notices

Just a reminder that with no school today due to bad weather, there will be no Home and School meeting tonight. We will set a new date for the next meeting soon. 

In the meantime, there are two upcoming workshops for you to plan to attend!

A notice went home this week inviting you to sign up for a workshop on making healthy, affordable lunches. The workshop Healthy Lunches on a Budget will take place Thursday, March 27, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at Prince Street School.

The PEI Healthy Eating Alliance will present a FREE practical workshop for parents and guardians about preparing healthy lunches for our children when money is tight. We know from surveys of students that healthy eating is a challenge and this workship can help us make a difference! Free samples will be provided!

Bring your children: on-site childcare will be provided. We will have simultaneous translation into Mandarin and Nepali. The meeting will be over by 8:00 p.m. Please register by letting the school know you are attending by tomorrow, March 14.

And please reserve April 2nd for a workshop on numeracy strategies for Grades 3 to 6. 



Next Meeting March 13, 2014

Don't forget that all Prince Street parents are welcome at the next Home and School meeting on Thursday, March 13, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the school.

Minutes of the January 26, 2014, Meeting

Parents of Prince Street
Home and School Meeting
January 26, 2014

Shelley called the meeting to order. 


Principal Erin Johnston shared an update on happenings in the school since the last meeting.

The lockdown drill was rescheduled from the originally planned date, but it went extremely well. It was one of the most successful drills Erin has witnessed.

Parent Teacher interviews saw a good turnout.

The Remembrance Day assembly in November was particularly good and was well-received by students.

Literacy meetings with literacy coaches gave teachers a chance to talk about data from the last writing prompt, with an emphasis on what to do in the classroom with what was learned.

Kindergarten registration is at about 38 students and is into the three-class range.  Registration now will form the basis for staffing numbers. If anyone knows any kindergarten-aged children who are not yet registered, please let them know to register as soon as possible.

Winter concerts received positive feedback. People were okay with one earlier and one later; in fact, this seemed popular. Parents expressed appreciation of the shorter length of concert for the smaller children and the way each grade sang one song together. Two new microphones were purchased with money raised during winter concerts.

PLIP: Grade two reading data was submitted to the Eastern Language School Board and Susan Lea Manning is providing additional literacy support to grade two teachers.

Grade six students received their second round of HPV needles in November.

There have been a number of staffing changes and a number are upcoming. A Grade One teacher on maternity leave decided not to return until fall. A Behaviour Resource teacher has been offered a position with the ELP program for children who cannot stay in regular classroom. His job is posted and will be filled. Our School Counsellor Sherry Lynn MacMillan is going on maternity leave, and Jenna Rogerson will replace her during her leave. Grade Three teacher Faye Adams is retiring at the end of the week. Her replacement to the end of the school year, will be Donna Wigmore, who will meet the students on Wednesday.

The school Elf on the Shelf, "Chip," was a big hit and visited each classroom. During his visit, there was a gift for each classroom (a book). The Elf on the Shelf for the school took on a larger life as community support for this school poured in over Christmas. A few families were sponsored, and many people wanted to help on a smaller scale and just bought individual gifts for students, so Chip was able to leave presents for well over fifty students. The look on some faces was unbelievable as they received gifts. Chip's antics were considered hilarious.

There was a successful Dance in December, with proceeds for water for students the turkey dinner.

An assembly with the Island Storm was another big hit.

The ArtSmart program that Ms. Caseley's and Mrs. Wildey's classes participated in resulted in a beautiful and impressive giant globe we hope to hang in the school entranceway. The artwork represents the multicultural nature of Prince Street School.

The turkey dinner sponsored by Trinity Clifton United Church was a huge success, with over 300-320 people served including staff. Pizza suppliers Dominos and Papa John's also provided free pizza for special meals before the holidays.

The Choir went carolling before holidays. The Drama club got started up.

School board liaison Ron Tweel was here in the school for a full day reconnoitre last week. He met with the School Effectiveness committee and had "walks and talks" with the Principal (observing and discussing school matters, with a focus on teaching-related things). He did the breakfast breakfast program, spent time in classes working with children, helped do announcements, participated in dog training with Eileen Higginbotham, and visited every grade level through the day.

Movie night in January was a big success.

Erin is working with students on "Prince Street School Pride" with a goal to have a school mascot or symbol. Before Christmas, students in each grade chose key words about what Prince Street means to them, choosing words for each of the letters in "PRINCE." They are now looking at the words and what they mean and voting to select the words that best suit Prince Street's sense of itself. Teachers are working with students to narrow choices to two words per letter. Then there will be a run-off vote with the top two choices for each letter. Parents were invited to vote, too. Votes were due Thursday, January 30.

The update from the School Effectiveness crew was that preparation for the second writing prompt (on persuasive writing) is coming up. There will be meetings with literacy coaches, and the school is also working with numeracy goals. Folks from department have attended staff meetings to present data from provincial assessment. It is clear Prince Street needs to look at the number strand and next to narrow down what strategies will move students forward.

Today was Family Literacy Day. There was book trivia all day. There were ballots with one student from each grade getting a book prize. There were readings in every class, and Erin read a book to the school in the morning. There was a great deal of enthusiasm.

The school board Superintendent will visit and will read to K classes next Monday.

On the PD Day this Friday, a literacy coach will be here for half the day. Grade level teams will decide what the topic will be for the persuasive writing prompt. It has to be worded properly so it is fair and unbiased. There will be reviews of al the reading data collected from all teachers to this point in the year. The principal has done some analysis of student writing results to see who is meeting goals, who isn't, and what to do about it. The last part of the PD day will focus on numeracy goals next steps: to ensure plans, follow-through, and accountability.

A school psychologist has been assigned to the school for the next while. Parents noted the shortage of school psychologists, and Erin clarified the school psychologist is not with us full-time or full-year. There is still a waiting list to see her while she is assigned to the school. The list of students needing support has been reprioritized and reviewed since last time we had access.

Because there are delays in assessments, before jumping to assessments, the psychologist may help fill in gaps, and teachers and administrators at the school will work with her to do what is possible before assessment, including looking into other interventions. The assessment process is a huge amount of work. There are years worth of waiting. There are some counselling consultant positions to bridge the gaps, but there is a lack of qualified people for psychologist positions.

There was a discussion to distinguish school counsellors and school psychologists. Guidance counsellors are trained for counselling students in the school. Psychologists are mostly focused on educational psychological assessment. They can indicate learning disabilities. A school counsellor would typically not be trained for these assessments. A Psychologist can also deal with threat situations, grief counselling, and other similar things.

Private psychologists are available but very expensive. Referrals to Richmond Centre are another possible route. A couple of times that has been possible, but students still face a wait and schools have to pull some strings. One great thing about Prince Street is the resource team: the knowledge and skill level with resource team and the way they work with the whole school are all very strong. It is still a good school to attend when someone is struggling.

If the teachers are pretty sure there's a learning disability, they will work in that direction, and oftentimes an assessment will only confirm what teachers already know and have been working with.


Little has changed in the Home and School finances. We have about $4,000 in bank account, with some teachers' wish list items still to come through. Concerts and bake sales brought in about $600 with just one week at the market with the raffle on the basket. A second week at the market usually would up the profits from the raffle.

(Meeting of Home and School Reps of Col. Gray Feeder Schools with the Superintendent)

Heather attended the meeting for Prince Street. It was interesting: many parents tried to use the meeting to indicate a level of frustration that older children (upper grades) are experiencing at school. Parents said their sons and daughters find themselves at loose ends when they complete their work. The Superintendant was unclear about the role Home and Schools fill here in PEI and did not think fundraising or filling wish lists should be the role of home and school. She pictured a more limited role supporting education, more like the structure familiar to her in Newfoundland and Labrador. In NL parent-council groups have very specific guidelines about what they can and can't do. The provincial Home and School will help the new superintendent get a sense of the history and current work of the PEI Home and School, to help change understanding.

Heather said there was no message from the meeting. If this is to be an annual meeting, a questionnaire in advance would be an improvement. There were two open-ended questions shared in advance, but questions could be more focused and effective. It would be helpful to know the school board's goal for the evening.

There may be further feedback from a Principals' meeting with the Superintendant.


Shelley handed out Parent Leadership Grants Proposal Kit.

Last year, our proposal was for 4 things: a Young Authors' Night, two numeracy workshops, and a workshop on creating healthy lunches on a budget. Young Authors and the K-2 numeracy workshop were very successful. The Healthy Lunches event didn't attract enough pre-registrations so we thought we would do it in the fall. We should try to reschedule both it and the 3-6 numeracy workshop, if we can think about some times to fit those two workshops in. Ms. J recommended David Costello as a dynamic speaker for the numeracy workshop. Shelley will check in with the Healthy Eating Alliance about who might give a workshop on healthy lunches. Through the grant program, we will get reimbursed for what we spend.


Teacher-Staff Appreciation week is coming up February 10 to 14. We normally do a number of different things for the 50 staff. Parents volunteer to bring in snacks during the week, two parents a day for the first 4 days. Friday we provide lunch and yard duty for teachers. We also give bus drivers a gift card to Tim's or something similar.
Dana will again coordinate a Compliment box: The school will send out sheet this week to have students put in a compliment. Dana can type up the submissions from students and post them outside the classroom doors of the staff who get the compliments. Kids can have as many ballots as they want. Ms. J will need the ballot template. Erin is away that week, so H&S will liaise with Colleen. We will need a few extra appreciation bags in case of extra staff in during the week. The Home and School aims to spend about $5 per gift bag.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Anyone willing to bring in snacks on a particular day, please let Shelley know. For yard duty, we need three people. (Note: Some EAs and support staff can't be replaced on yard duty.)

Book Fair: A 2nd Book Fair is happening to coordinate with Parent-Teacher Interviews in March. We are looking for parent volunteers to staff it so our librarian can participate in p-t interviews. Heather volunteers for March 6th in the evening and Jane's mom will volunteer for March 7th in the morning.


School Nutrition and Activity Report (SNAP) assessments are in but not to be distributed. Students complete a survey. Each school gets a response and analysis. Data relates to nutrition and weight. The report comes with an offer of help and support for schools.

Erin asked: Do you want SNAP to present to staff or home and school? There's a grant for SNAP people to work with a group of parents and students and staff to examine and lead to a grant. Some Grade 6 students were part of a student leadership program with Ms. Duffy and are keen to be involved in follow-up.

Nutrition and health support: Has there ever been a discussion about a lunch program? One challenge in this school is there is not enough room/space. Some programs bring delivery straight to the classrooms. In the past, the school tried spaghetti. They tried "real meals" and most got thrown in the garbage. Those who needed it couldn't afford it and/or wouldn't eat it.

Erin explained the school is now doing pizza four times a month rather than two times a month, and hot dogs twice a month. According to healthy eating guidelines, hot dogs are supposed to be once a month. Pizza is supposed to be whole wheat. (This was tried at another school and sales cut in half) There are a number of students every day who come without a lunch or without enough for lunch. We have always had a food cupboard here at Prince Street for hungry kids. In the past it was stocked by home and school, then a church group, and now it is stocked by a group of supporters/friends and Trinity United Church. One useful contribution to school nutrition is gift cards for breakfast program that can be used for other things. There are leftovers from the breakfast program that can be used for lunches. 70 kids a day come to school for the breakfast program. They love the social time as well as the toast.

Is there a Second Harvest program in PEI -- collection from grocery stores that are "off" for shelf but still edible? There is none that we know of. Prince Street has had apples donated regularly though.

School reps we are in good shape with the breakfast program and that the cupboard in the staff room is in good shape. Trinity United Church has made a huge difference in the last two years. They have a pancake breakfast fundraiser that Home and School will help promote as soon as we know the date.

Next meeting date: March 13th, 6:30 p.m.

Meeting CANCELLED - Thursday, January 16

The Prince Street Home and School meeting planned for this evening (Thursday, January 16, 2014) is CANCELLED due to freezing rain warnings.

We'll post a new date here soon. 

See you tomorrow, Friday, January 17th at the school for a Movie Night!

Minutes: Parents of Prince Street Meeting, November 6, 2013

Parents of Prince Street
Home and School Meeting
November 6, 2013

Shelley called the meeting to order. There was translation into Mandarin. The only Nepali-speaker at the meeting was the parent who was translating. She will share the information she hears this evening with other Nepali-speakers.

Update on financial situation

We have just over $4,200 in our bank account, and that is the amount we have available to use this year for Grade 6 celebration, teacher appreciation, retirements or recognitions, young authors' night, dues to provincial home and school, donations, and other similar things.  The amount we raise this year will be available for us to use next year. Last year, we didn't spend our full amount so that we could build up depleted resources after expenses for the playground the year before. That means that last year, we weren't able to set aside money to fill teachers' wish lists.

This year, the Home and School executive looked at requests from all the teachers for resources, extra materials, tools teachers can use in classrooms, and gym equipment. These are items that aren't part of what the department or school board provides but are items that help improve what teachers and students can do in their classrooms. Requests were worth about $5,000, and the executive went through the list and then consulted with Principal Erin and can fund about $2,300 worth of requests. If we do additional fundraising during the year, we might be able to get some of the other items on the wish list. Other requests will have to wait until next year.

Principal's Report

Two children in the school lost their mother this morning, so it has been a very difficult day at Prince Street. A notice will go home with grades four, five, and six to let parents know what has happened.

Lockdown drill was top-notch, and there are additional improvements that can be made to make students even safer. We have to look at a new off-site evacuation location. Birchwood is our site, but it is likely that if Prince Street is under lockdown, Birchwood will be too.

The coupon book fundraiser brought in $2,700, and that was more than expected. It has allowed the school to order an FM system for a kindergarten classroom. Erin explained what the purpose of the FM system is and the benefits for students who have trouble with focus or hearing. They are very helpful. The school will work towards having them everywhere throughout the school.

There will be new LCD projectors put in the school and all homerooms will then have LCD projectors. These are provided by the Department of Education.

We're getting a new Special Education specialist at the school board for K-3.

A Prince Street Grade 4 student came 7th at the provincial cross-country meet. This is a big accomplishment, and the school is very proud.

Prince Street's attendance policy is very important, and there are some challenges here with children arriving on time and attending school regularly. There have been some tweaks to the system to ensure that there are letters and communications with parents when students are late or absent 5, 10, and 15 days. These check-ins will help track the information and help identify supports for families that need support to ensure attendance and on-time arrivals.

We have a numeracy coach working with teachers. Teachers at this school initiated a book study. About 8 teachers from this school will read this book, study its suggestions, consult with the numeracy coach, discuss it with each other, and apply what they learn in the classroom. This is a lot of additional work for the teachers and it is great that they have taken this on.

We also have a literacy coach working with all the teachers towards a writing prompt goal. At the last prompt, all students K-6 did a grade-appropriate writing project using explanatory writing (part of transactional writing). All teachers will work with the literacy coach to identify ways to help improve students' writing for the next prompt. The teachers are doing really admirable work to improve writing skills.

Our picture is on the English Language School Board website -- it's our turn to be featured. The picture is of the old school from 1922 and the students have been really interested to see it. Keep an eye on the websites to see what rotates in and to see pictures of what goes on in the school.

Halloween was fun. A Remembrance Day assembly tomorrow will showcase talent from across the school.

The Scholastic Book Fair is getting lots of enthusiasm from students and there are many sales happening. Parents are encouraged to take advantage of good prices on books during parent teacher interviews.

Minister Currie is having a pancake breakfast that will support our breakfast program and the breakfast program at a couple of other local schools. Admission by donation.

This year, we are switching sponsorship of a school from Matuto, Kenya, to a school in Madagascar where a Prince Street parent made a connection during a trip last year.

Our first art blitz is next week on November 15, and we'll see what we can concoct for that event.

"Real Talk" will be a girls group led by two Holland College students as a learning project. The conversation among the girls so far has been very rich and they are making lasting connections.

Winter Concerts are all sorted out now. The K-3 concert is coming soon -- November 19th. This will be put together by Ms. McRae who is finishes her time. The 4-6 concert will then be put together by Ms. (Rehberg) White who is returning from parental leave. The date for the 4-6 concert is December 11.

There will be a focus on winter themes because of the wonky dates. The location will be here at the school.

Parent-teacher interviews are mostly tomorrow evening and Friday morning. Report Cards will go home on December 6.

The dance, art, and drama groups that have happened here in the past will be up and running here again this year. Funding was recently confirmed. These are multi-week instructor-led after-school classes. The applications are accepted first-come, first-serve, so it is important to put in for applications as soon as possible.

The second round of HPV needles is coming up on November 25. There was a discussion of what HPV is and why the vaccination is given. Parents receive information about the vaccine and have a consent form to sign. It is their choice. The vaccine is given to both boys and girls in Grade 6.

Please keep checking heads for head lice. Students can be at school if they just have nits, but if there are live lice, they have to go home and can come back after they have been treated.

There are many wonderful volunteers working within our school. One group is Youth Service Worker students from Holland College who are working one-on-one with many students. There will be 4 practice teachers in the school from UPEI's education program. They will be starting in two weeks.

Provincial Assessment Results

Every year, schools write provincial assessments in literacy and math. The results we see this year are the results from last year. Principals receive results in September to plan their year with teachers. The results were released to the public last week. The primary math assessment is done at a different time (at the beginning of Grade 4), so the results from that assessment are not available now.

There are many things to celebrate, and there are things we need to work on. The assessments are really important for helping plan for the big picture, and they are helpful, but they are one assessment on one day, so we keep in mind that the results are a snapshot of a moment in time.

Elementary Math Results (Grade 6)

Elementary math results are from last year's Grade 6 students who have now graduated. From their results, we can see trends in what is going well at the school.  We are higher than the provincial average in every math strand. The provincial average is not high, so there is still a lot of work to do to ensure all students can achieve better. We're proud of the results and they are a building block for future improvement and development. This was the first year we had results in this area, so we don't have a comparison with previous years' results. It helps to look at assessments year-to-year for comparisons.

The Department is responding to provincial results already by providing enrichment for Grade 6 teachers for math, such as a "math boot camp" to bump up basic skills.

Birchwood gets the results from the incoming students to know what their needs are, so the students who completed this assessment last year will get the benefit of what has been learned from last year's assessments.

Many different variables affect the scores. We have a transient student population in Prince Street school. Many students who did the assessment here may not have had all or even most of their math training at this school. Another thing that makes a difference is students with Individualized Education Plans, adaptations, and so on. Students with IEPs have that noted on the assessment they complete. Students with adaptations and modifications still write the assessment but their adaptation needs may affect their scores.

There is no assessment that determines whether or not students are promoted to the next grade level. Students are very rarely "held back" or "failed" in school in the Eastern School District any more. We work hard to meet the kids where they are at. If they do not meet the outcomes for their grade level, they may be placed in the next grade level rather than promoted.

Elementary (Grade 6) Literacy Assessment

There are reading and writing assessments.

This group of last year's Grade 6s showed pleasing scores in reading. Our school's average scores are pretty good compared to the provincial scores for reading fiction and non-fiction and also different levels of questioning and evaluating information. The Grade 6s that wrote this assessment benefited from some literacy interventions that got an extra push and focus, so the results of those interventions seems positive.

The writing focus in the assessments shows that in personal and expressive writing 70% were meeting expectations and in transactional writing 74% were meeting expectations. We're putting a focus as a school on transactional writing (through writing prompts). Last year's school goal was to increase from 67-74% of students meeting expectations on transactional writing, and we met that goal. So while we are sticking with transactional writing as a focus, we will be setting a new and higher school goal. Ultimately, we want ALL students meeting expectations, not only to assessment standards but to our own high curriculum standards.

Primary Literacy Assessment (at the end of Grade 3)

The reading assessments and writing assessments are still on par with provincial scores, but we still want to continue to do work to increase the number of students achieving expectations.

Most importantly, we want to support the students who are approaching expectations and the students who are struggling to meet expectations to achieve well.

There is no easy to identify trend in results from Prince Street School, so attention to each area and each set of expectations is important.

Last year's school goal for Grade 3 transactional writing was to increase from 55% to 63% meeting expectations, but we did not meet that goal and in fact went down to 53%. The school teams have been learning what they can from this result.

The draft Literacy Goal for the school for 2013 to 2014 is to demonstrate an increase in students meeting expectations in transactional writing from 53% to 65% at the Primary (Grade 3) level and from 74% to 80% at the Elementary (Grade 6) level.

Teachers are working hard already on meeting the Literacy Goal. The literacy coach is a help in this work. The process that is already underway is intensive and powerful to identify what needs review and what students need particular support with. Teachers coordinate with each other to ensure all students are learning what they need consistently from class to class and across the school.

Consultation with the School Board Superintendent

Principals get together provincially monthly and as a family of schools every two months or so. The Superintendent would also like to meet with home and school representatives in each family of schools to talk about challenges and opportunities for student achievement. The meeting for the Colonel Gray family of schools is next Wednesday. Shelley Muzika will represent Parents of Prince Street at this meeting. They would like home and schools to offer feedback through Shelley.

What is one positive program that our school has taken on to improve student achievement?

Last year, there was a numeracy session for parents. A few years ago, a listening centre initiative made a difference.
Parents continue with their important role helping students with homework and working through issues that come home from school.
Support and communication between the home and school and teachers and administrators are important factors at PRince Street. The home and school continues to work hard to foster engagement with parents and also to support teachers with aids and equipment to help in their classrooms.

What are the challenges for our school for meeting needs for student achievement?

At Prince Street, we have challenges with transient students, students with EAL, and students with a lot of different needs. Academic human resources are what we need most for supports and interventions. We have great support for all the extras. It's people resources for academic work that will make the biggest difference.

We have more support in this school than in most. Much of that is because of the teachers we have who have been dedicated to keeping track of data and using the evidence-base to identify and get the support we need and proving what is effective.

We are looking for the action plan for improving provincial assessments for all of PEI. We want to know what the Board and Department are doing to improve assessments.

Literacy Coaches and Numeracy Coaches are an effective support and are preferable to pulling teachers out of class for professional development and plunking them back in. Embedded professional development supports -- for longer periods or more consistent periods -- would be of great benefit at Prince Street School. There are opportunities for interaction, mentoring, and really developing skills with modelling, help, and feedback.

Extra Professional Development days during the school year seem to divide parents. Prince Street parents are concerned most with quality more than quantity: quality of teaching during school days, and quality of professional development for teachers during PD days. Teachers at Prince Street have been using PD days for collaborative learning and these have been very effective.

If parents have concerns about student achievement at the school level or the provincial level, there will be annual opportunities for parents to share their feedback with the Superintendent.

Shelley will report on the consultation session at the next meeting, after Christmas.

Movie Night

We're working on having a movie night in late November or early December. Access to movies has changed, so we're looking into it. The date might be Friday, November 29th.

Next Meeting: To be decided.

September 25, 2013 - Minutes of the Home and School Meeting

Prince Street Elementary School

Home and School Meeting
Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Home and School president Shelley Muzika called the meeting to order and invited all the people present to introduce themselves. She described the way the meetings usually go. Minutes are posted on the website.

Funding Updates

Shelley shared a recent bank statement. We have about $4,500 we raised last year to support our activities this year. We will aim to raise a similar amount for activities next year.

Heather MacEwen is the new treasurer. Our main fundraiser is the Spring Fling, a school and community fun time. Fundraising is not the focus, but we do try to bring in some money through bake sales, ticket sales on a basket of donated items, and similar evnts.

Some of the uses of Home and School funds include Grade 6 closing and some awards, staff-teacher appreciation, recognitions of retiring staff, and sometimes help for families that have special fundraising needs.

Provincial Home and School

Provincial Home and School has leadership training sessions in the fall. These are free and open to help people build skills and confidence to be able to take part in their local home and schools.

The provincial Home and School semi-annual meeting will take place October 15th. We can send up to 5 people from Prince Street School as voting members, and the Prince Street home and School will cover the costs for anyone interested. The website is a good resource to see what other schools do about similar challenges. There are sub-committees doing work on some issues, and you don't have to be involved in your local home and school to be part of a sub-committee.

The provincial Home and School offers annual Parent Leadership Grants. We have benefitted from these in the past. There will be more information about grant programs later in the year.

There will be an Annual General Meeting for the Provincial home and school in April, and there will be resolutions discussed and voted on. Resolutions can be on any topic related to policy that is of interest to parents. Resolutions go to the Minister of Education or to the English School Board, and these officials are required to respond. Home and School is an important voice on questions of policy.

Principal's Report
Erin Johnston

Erin shared a written report, including the up-to-date staff list. There's one change since the Handbook: Kerri Lee Mallard is hired as the A+ teacher. Jaynie MacLean, the Youth Service Worker for this program will be going on a sick leave and someone will replace her.

There are children from Charlottetown Rural and Colonel Gray who take part in the A+ program, which serves kids with some particular needs such as behavioural needs, but it is housed here at Prince Street.

The English Additional Language teacher is Lori Johnston. The number of EAL students is lower this year: just over 30 students.

Data from assessments are in but are still confidential. In October there will be a writing prompt on explanatory writing. The school will do this kind of exercise at least twice, perhaps three times. Exercises will be appropriate to grade level.

Supervised homework support: Anyone can go as long as they get picked up at the end of the session. Last year, there were up to ten people in the Homework Club.

Breakfast Program: Amazing volunteers come in regularly and consistently to support the breakfast program. The need for volunteers usually comes about when Holland College and UPEI students aren't available -- December, May, and June.

Milk: Tomorrow is free milk day, on the Terry Fox Run. Anyone who wants it gets a free milk. The milk supplier gives one free day every year.

Feedback about Meet the Teacher Night: This year's meet the teacher was less structured and formal, and feedback was generally good. There was time to look around and chat. Cupcakes were well received (rather than blueberries and ice cream).

HPV needles were received without a lot of drama.

Our Public Health Nurse in the past was Michelle Miller, and she has been reassigned. We will have a new person assigned soon.

Volunteers: It is hard to keep up with all the volunteers!

"Donna's Den" Library Project: There was an update on "Donna's Den": A former student of Prince Street died of cancer, and her family and friends took up a collection and wanted to do something in her memory, so they created a "nook" in the library. She had worked for M&M furniture who donated washable furniture. The mural is painted by Warren Reeson -- and he added to the mural and included Donna's name. Colleen Mullen-Doyle, Liz Pendergast, and Philip Brown coordinated the project, and there was a good community gathering to unveil the space. There will be a news release.

Grant application last year for PEI 2014 -- Liz Pendergast and Warren Reeson applied. He's going to create a mural along the top of the bookshelves in the library, depicting evolution through time. Work can't start until January 2014, according to the terms of the grant. There will be an unveiling and opening for that in June 2014.

Professional Development Day, September 20: There were options for teachers to choose among, and the educators reported an excellent day.

Coupon book fundraiser: There was concern from one parent about the cash-only fundraiser and children carrying larger amounts of money on the bus on a day when people know they might be carrying a lot of money. It is really hard to deal with cheques that don't work out, and that led to the decision to deal with cash only. Some parents drop the cash off at the office rather than send it with their kids. This saves work and embarrassment. However, the safety challenge was acknowledged.

Terry Fox Run: This is a schoolwide event, scheduled for tomorrow if the weather is fine. Otherwise, it will be rescheduled until the next day.

Puppy Project: This continues. Kids take big responsibilities with the puppies. Eileen Higginbotham runs this program. She gave a session about the project at the provincial Home and School last year, and it was really amazing. She talked about the way that the dogs respond to the kids really sensitively and help them calm down and settle.

Snack Cupboard: There is a snack cupboard for kids who need something to eat, and donations are always welcome. It must be completely peanut free. Any of those peanut imitation products are also not allowed. It is too hard to distinguish them from real nut products.

ID Tags: It is an advantage that Erin doesn't know anyone, so she chases everyone down the hall and asks them to wear a tag, even if they think they are known to the school. It is very important for the safety of all the children in the school that all visitors check in at the office. 

Field Trips: There was an update on upcoming firled trips. Field trips will be combined with curriculum outcomes.

Math assessments: There's a result back in November. Assessments are based on 2 intense days, and during these days, educators learn a lot about the kids. The assessments give info to the Province about what they need to provide support for teachers on -- and also provide good school-based information as a group and as individual students to help bring students along. Sometimes our scores are not necessarily a true reflection of students' marks. EAL students are not on modifications or IEPs -- so it is not allowed to give them any extra support. This is not really fair. It's a snapshot -- one test on one day. It may be a bad day for lots of students for lots of reasons, but it provides valuable information. It is not the be-all end-all.

Welcome to Kindergarten: The school is in the process of applying for a Welcome to Kindergarten grant for $1,000 in support of last year's Welcome to Kindergarten events and process.

Christmas concerts: The regular music teacher is on parental leave and her replacement is here until 2 weeks before Christmas concert. The administration is working through a plan with the music teachers. There are two tentative dates planned (submitted last year), but we're looking at all kinds of different options. Also looking at other venues to hold the concert(s) in the future, but we probably won't go that route this year with so many other transitions. Good discussions are happening.

Joint Occupational Health and Safety is underway and does need a parent rep. Erin will check with Dana Doyle who was on the committee last year.

Wireless Pilot Project

Shelley and Peter filled in Erin on the wireless pilot project when she started as principal. Bell Aliant paid for the year. The year is up. The school asked for it to be donated again. However, this has not yet happened and disconnection could be imminent. The 1st six months came out of Bell's marketing budget, and the next 6 months out of the sales rep's marketing budget. Any first 6 months of services is at a discount ($48) and then goes up to the regular price of $75. Bell Aliant has extended us by another month so we can make a decision. Deadline: October 23rd to switch over if we're going to do so. We would get it under a new name and so would get another 6 months at the discounted rate. A parent suggested looking into the office of a free iPad if you are a new customer. This could be used in a classroom.

Without the wifi, staff accessing the main wired Internet is very cumbersome. It is slow and the network often is not working properly. They can only access computers that are hard-wired here and can't use own devices. TeacherNet is a workaround. Free internet from Bell, Peter Rukavina and a provincial Home and School rep Ken Williams donated time to install 7 modems (which are all ours) throughout the school. There is wifi in most areas it would be needed. Home & School paid about $200. This is permitted as long as there's not interconnection between Dept of Ed system and TeacherNet -- as long as there is a firewall. Teachers must have an access code to log in. This set-up is quicker. Teachers can link up information in the smartboards and LCD projectors. Some staff are using this a lot. Others not so much so.

There was a letter sent to the helpful and supportive sales rep Paul Murray, describing the need for more time to engage more staff. That is still ongoing. Students on laptops could access information on the TeacherNet, supervised by a teacher.

Benefits are tremendous. It would be a real shame not to have it for another year. We need another year to evaluate the effectiveness, including the cost effectiveness.

Service group Telephone Pioneers: Have they been approached for a donation?
Could be a fit.

Is there a lower cost through Eastlink? Do we own modems or routers or both? This needs to be confirmed. Maybe Eastlink would give us a year of free trial.

Wireless is coming, probably within 5 years, to all the schools.

Home and School would decide what we could contribute for the year. This might be done through an executive meeting, since the executive is responsible for doing a budget for the year.

Wish List and Fundraising Decisions

Is there a wish list for items for the school and for classrooms? This would also be on the agenda for the executive.

There is a family in the school in which a parent has a terminal illness. We have had a few situations like this and it has been our tradition to make a donation of between $100 and $125 to families in need. Staff did a very successful potluck fundraiser for the family today.

We need to get bank signing switched over and will then provide a cheque.

In the past, there have been a lot of needs in the school for a lot of different things. The idea with Home and School fundraising is not to buy regular things that should be provided in the classroom by the Department of Education or the school district. Last year, our fund was depleted at the beginning of the year because of a major contribution to playground equipment repairs.

Erin was asked to ask staff to compile a list of items they have on their wish list and how much they cost. Newer staff especially often don't have "stuff" accumulated. Give them 2 weeks to make a list (within reason). Rank their list, please.

Home & School executive will meet with the principal to vet the list.

Government services warehouse: A parent said that there may be equipment that is in storage and that the school could have access to at no cost. You can make appointment and go out and get material. Tressa Peters will get the information for Erin.

PEITF convention is 3 weeks away. Some people might want a budget to buy stuff at the convention. Receipts to Barb. Executive will try to meet soon.

EAs did not participate in the "wish list" in the past, but resource were included. 

Home and School has given out between $2,000 and $4,000 through this fundraising money.

It was suggested we work on annual playground fundraiser to create a slush fund for the next time playground equipment needs work and replacing, because it is too hard to raise the funds within one year. School boards and Dept of Education do not contribute to equipment or repairs. 

Next Meeting: November 6th, 6:30 p.m.

Your feedback is welcome on minutes! What do you need more information about? Contact with comments or questions. 

Minutes of May 7, 2013 Meeting

Prince Street received $800 from the PEI Home and School Federation for 2 workshops and Young Author's Night. For the two workshops, snacks will be provided and on Young Author's Night, we will cover the cost of pictures of the students and their family. In the Math Workshop, twenty people (parents and teachers) attended.

Principal's Report

The Provincial Heritage Fair will take place at the Confederation Centre on May 16th. The grade 5 and 6 winners from Prince Street will attend.

On May 15th, there will be a Healthy Eating Workshop through the Healthy Eating Alliance. Registration will go home.

On April 21st, the IsleAward was presented by Peter Rukavina to Eileen Higginbotham in Summerside.

On April 24th, Terry MacIsaac and three students went to Disney in Florida for the day. They left Halifax at 6:30 am, arrived at Disney at 10:30 am, left Disney at 8:30 pm, and arrived back in Halifax at 12:30 am. The trip was through Dreams Take Flight.

On April 26th, there was a P.D. Day. Teachers prepared lesson plans, revisited yearly time lines in writing, and planned writing assessments to pass on to next years teachers.

The school received $2500 for FM systems in the KC classroom.

May 14th is Young Author's Night.

May 14th, the school will attend Colonel Gray's production of Peter Pan. at the Confederation Centre. The cost is $5.

May 15th, there is a Healthy Eating Workshop.

May 16th is Provincial Heritage Fair.

May 21 is the Kindergarten Parent Meeting.

May 22nd is the International Dinner.

May 28th is Welcome to Kindergarten for the parents and kids at 6:30.

May 31st is the Spring Fling from 5:30 to 7:30.

June 3rd is for the incoming Kindergarten kids. they come for the morning and the present kindergarten kids have the day off. 46 kids are registered for next year ands 40 of them are assessed.

June 11th kindergarten, grade 2 and grade 3 go to Camp Seggie.

June 20th Grade 1 goes to Rustico Beach.

June 20th Grade 4 and 5 go to Shining Waters.

June 20th Grade 6 goes to Sandspit.

June 25th is the Grade 6 closing. The Home and School will provide snacks.

June 25th is the last day of school.

Election of 2013-2014 Executive

There were Home and School elections for the executive positions for the 2013-2014 school year. They are as follows:

  • President: Shelley Muzika
  • Vice President: Dana Doyle
  • Secretary: Jane Ledwell
  • Tresurer: Heather MacEwen