Wednesday, 14 January 2015

News from the Office - January 2015


Happy and Healthy New Year to All! Welcome to the new families that have joined our Brown P.S. community! Our students are back and engaged in their learning and extracurricular activities. Our basketball, junior swim and hockey teams are underway. Our hockey team just finished a weekend of tournaments at Upper Canada College and our volleyball teams are practising for their upcoming games.

Graduation Trip
The Grade 6 Graduation Trip presentation to parents will be held at the beginning of February  once we receive our survey forms back.  Brightspark Tours will be here to present the itinerary and answer your questions about this year’s Graduation Trip. This year’s destination is Ottawa and Montreal.

First Term Report Cards
Our teachers are preparing for the First Term Report Cards that will be sent out on February 11 and/or February 12.  The interviews for this reporting period are based on Parent/Guardian-Teacher conference invitations in the circumstances for students who are experiencing:
* Promotion at risk;
* Significant decline in achievement;
* Placement in alternative or special education program considered;
* Parent/guardian request

For your child’s interview date and time, please contact the classroom teacher and/or rotary teacher.

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to call us. Christine and I are always happy to help and support our community.

Kindergarten Registration will take place:  FEBRUARY 23-27, 2015
Call 416 393-1560 to book your appointment with our Office Administrator, Lois Moulton.

Please note: You must live within our school boundary to register your child in our school.  As we are a “closed” school, we will not accept anyone to our school unless they are within our school boundaries. This includes registrations for school age children to Unicorn Day Care also.  

February is Kindergarten Registration Month 
Kindergarten is the first step in a lifelong journey that will see your child learn, grow, and succeed at the Toronto District School Board. At the TDSB, we know early learners learn best through doing; so our four and five year olds are introduced to math and science through play as part of k-12 STEM programming. To inspire a love for learning, kindergarten classrooms are bustling with inquiry and exploration through science activities, math games, art projects and more.

Kindergarten classrooms are bustling with inquiry and exploration through science activities, math games, art projects and more.

To attend Junior Kindergarten in September, children must turn four years old by December 31. To register for Senior Kindergarten, children must be five years old by December 31.

All of our schools now offer Full Day Kindergarten where students will attend Kindergarten for the entire school day. This includes a morning and afternoon schedule and a lunch break. Visit the Kindergarten website to learn more about this program and learn how to prepare your child for school.

The following items will be required at time of registration:
* Child’s birth certificate
* Immunization records
* Two proofs of address
* Health card
* Landed immigrant status information

Please plan to spend at least 20-30 minutes to fill out the registration forms. Tours at Brown Public School for our applicants will be planned during the month of June. Brown P.S. has been a Full Day Kindergarten school since September 2013. Full day means children will be in school the whole day, not half a day.

SK French Immersion 2015-2016
Program Application and Registration System (PARS)
The Early French Immersion Program begins in Senior Kindergarten (SK). It offers 100% French instruction in the classroom until the end of Grade 3. All subjects are taught in French. English instruction is gradually introduced beginning in Grade 4 until it becomes a half-day program from Grades 6-8.

The registration system for SK French Immersion 2015/2016 is now closed.  If anyone missed the application date in November with the December 5th deadline, you may contact the TDSB French Department and inquire about being placed on a wait list.  Note: The Principal does not determine who is placed on the waiting list or which school children are placed in.
Please visit the application site for further information.

The Brown Public School Senior Kindergarten French Immersion Information Evening took place on November 19, 2014. Anyone requiring further information is asked to kindly contact our office.

Current Brown P.S. Junior Kindergarten children who have been accepted into the SK French Immersion program do not have to register again.  Only new Senior Kindergarten French Immersion students to our school must be registered.

Applications to the Junior Extended French program are made the year your child is in Grade 3 for entry in September of Grade 4. It is an entirely online process. The extended application process opens – January 5, 2015 and closes – January 29, 2015. Note:  Registration is for entry in September 2015. Applications are done on PARS (online) – except for Grade 7 Extended which is a paper process as in the past. Information night and information is posted on the TDSB French Programs page.

Extended Grade 4 Information Evenings
* Eglinton Jr PS 223 Eglinton Ave E,  416 393-9315 January 14, 2015 7:00 pm
* Forest Hill Jr & Sr PS 78 Dunloe Rd, 416-393-9335  January 21, 2015 7:00 pm
* Rawlinson CS 231 Glenholme Ave 416-394-3080  January 26, 2015 6:30 pm

Extended Grade 7 Information Evenings
* Glenview Sr PS 401 Rosewell Ave 416-393-9390 January 27, 2015 6:30 pm
* JR Wilcox Community School 231 Ava Rd 416-394-2388 January 22, 2015 6:30 pm
* Winona Drive Sr PS 101 Winona Dr. 416-393-1680 January 15, 2015 6:00 pm

Optional Attendance (from the TDSB Website)
Students who reside within the City of Toronto have the right to attend a school which is designated to serve their residential address. The "Find Your School" section of the website identifies the designated schools for each residential address. Students also have the opportunity to access schools outside of the school that is designated to serve their residential address by applying on optional attendance. Acceptance at these schools is subject to space availability and program suitability. The procedures, conditions and timelines relating to optional attendance are described in the Optional Attendance Policy and the Optional Attendance Operational Procedure.

Each year in January, schools are classified as limited or closed to optional attendance based on the space they have available for the upcoming school year. A school classified as limited can accept students on optional attendance. A limited school is not obliged to accept all students who apply on optional attendance. Acceptance is conditional upon space being available in the appropriate grade and program. A school classified as closed cannot accept any students on optional attendance. Only students residing within the school's attendance area will be accepted. Please note that the optional attendance status is updated every January for admission in September. Please confirm if a limited school has space available by calling the school directly.

*Brown Public School is classified as a CLOSED SCHOOL.  We do not accept residents outside of our area. Our school will not register applicants unless all information is provided and information has been verified. Parents will be notified once applications have been confirmed.

SPECIAL EVENTS and PERFORMANCES coming up for our BROWN students
On January 12, we have the GROOVE 2 Dance group coming in to get everyone in the groove again with dance and fitness moves in the gym. Our students enjoy this interactive event annually.

Earth-Rangers will be visiting our school on January 22. This is a presentation that teaches our students about endangered animals and further educates students about how they can get locally involved to help animals. Earth Rangers will be selling $2-$5 buttons after the presentation to help support their four chosen, local animals this year that are endangered.

For two weeks after this presentation, our school will be involved in a Battery Blitz (proper collection and environmental disposal of used, old batteries) which the Earth Rangers will introduce to our students. Posters will be placed around the school along with drop off containers.

Black History Month
February is Black History Month.  We are currently working on presentation ideas and workshops. Students will be informed about upcoming assemblies.  These workshops and presentations engage our students in culturally relevant pedagogy which benefits them in many ways.

Throughout the year, our Parent Council helps fund many of our workshops and presentations. These special presentations entertain and educate our students about conflict resolution, assertive communication and instil in them a sense of self and purpose: tools necessary to deal with bullying. At Brown P.S., we support the arts, and feel that interactive productions that have dance, storytelling, and music help to build positive character and attitude.  

Our Family of Schools is in need of lunch time supervisors to help with lunch room and school yard supervision.  These are paid positions by the TDSB. If you know anyone who would be interested in applying for this 75-minute a day position, please speak to the Principal or Vice-Principal.

Emergency Replacement Teachers
From time to time, our occasional supply teacher lists are exhausted in the system and we cannot find any occasional teachers for our school.  As you can imagine, this creates quite a bit of a disruption to our regular teaching day when we have to ask our staff to cover absent colleagues.  The TDSB offers adults within our community to come into the school and act as an Emergency Replacement teacher on such occasions. This is an hourly wage position. I would like to offer this opportunity to our community members who are interested.  A vulnerable sector criminal background check will be required and the Board will offer training. It can be a lengthy process; however, I am hoping we can get this started for Brown Public School and have a roster of community members we can rely on from time to time and into the future.

Please contact our Vice-Principal, Christine Pouliot for further information.

Occasionally our Social Worker, Lynn Adirim, our teachers and school administration recognize the need to help children with their social development skills. This year, we are forming a Grade 3 Girls Club designed to help our students with friendships, social interactions, decision-making, and topics the students would like to explore further.  This Lunch time club is open to all Grade 3 girls and will run starting on Monday, January 19 until March Break (on Mondays only).  Permission forms to join the club will be required.  Interested students will receive the permission forms this week.

Our Brown students display great TEAMWORK all the time. What is teamwork?
  • Using the skills and strengths of all members
  • Working toward a common goal
  • Taking a small part in a large job
  • Working together
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ~Helen Adams Keller

“If you have an apple, and I have an apple, and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” ~George Bernard Shaw

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ~Archbishop Desmond Tutu

What does teamwork look like/sound like?
  • Agreeing on a common goal
  • Having each member make use of his or her strengths while working equally toward a common goal
  • Supporting each other in completing tasks and overcoming obstacles
  • Learning from, and sharing with, each other
  • Sharing feelings and taking responsibility for your own actions
  • Sharing thoughts and opinions freely and being open to the thoughts and opinions of team members
  • Not letting personality differences get in the way of the task
  • Apologizing when necessary and accepting an apology when necessary
  • Celebrating the successes of others
  • Spending some time thinking about what is working in the group and what needs to change to make the group more successful
  • Learning to work with many different personality types
Students who exemplified December’s Character Trait of Kindness and Caring received Certificates at our Character Education Assembly. We encourage our Brown students to be the best that they can be at all times by caring, sharing, being empathetic, charitable, kind and most importantly, respectful and responsible. We would like all of our students to receive a certificate by the end of the year.


School Connects Safe Arrival Program
Effective January 19, 2015
One measure of keeping students safe is ensuring students have safely arrived at school.   It is important that if your child is going to be absent or late for any reason, you contact the Student  Absence Line 416-393-1557 and report your child’s absence before school starts.

All of the TDSB schools are mandated to move to an automated call-out system for the Safe Arrival Program.  If you have not reported your child’s absence, the automated system will make numerous attempts to contact you to determine the reason for the absence and to ensure that your child is safe.  This system is being put in place so that parents will be contacted more quickly than is currently possible with a manual system.

Please ensure you read number seven under FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, as this
explains the automated call out system.  The “call out” will continue until the systems gets a response.

The system call-out will work as follows:
* Parents/guardians identified in TDSB’s Student Information Systems who has access to student records, and emergency contact with priority 1 or 2 will receive a call.

* When you receive the call, you are required to listen to the entire message and follow the prompts accordingly.

* You will be asked if you are aware or unaware of your child’s absence.
* If unaware, you will be asked to call the school immediately.
* If you are aware of the absence, you will be asked to enter the reason for your child’s absence.  The following options will be provided for you:
  1. Illness
  2. Doctor Appointment
  3. Dentist Appointment
  4. Family Matter
  5. Weather 
  6. Other 
* At the end of the message, you will have to press 2 to confirm you received the message.
* If you do not confirm receipt, you will receive a call on your mobile phone.
* If there is no response from a Priority 1 contact, this same process will be followed for Priority 2 contacts.
* If there is no contact with either Priority 1 or Priority 2, this entire process will be repeated 3 times in 10 minute intervals.

This same process will be followed for the afternoon attendance. In the evening, all parents/guardians of students who were late that day will receive a call informing them of their child’s tardiness.

With this in mind, it is important that your contact information on file at the office is up-to-date. Please let the office know immediately if your contact information changes at any time throughout the school year. We recognize that regular attendance is essential to the safety, academic success, and well-being of all students.

Thank you for your continued cooperation with keeping your child safe and accounted for. Please review the following Frequently Asked Questions below for additional information about our new automated system.


1. Why do schools have Safe Arrival Programs?
Student Safety is of utmost importance and parents need to be notified as soon as possible if their child has not arrived at school. The Safe Arrival Program complies with the Education Act and related Ministry of Education policies in respect of student attendance in order to maximize students’ academic success and well-being.

2. Why are you moving to an automated call-out system?
Automation will allow our families to be contacted in a timely manner allowing us to confirm absences much sooner than using a manual system.  This system’s reports allows us to better track student absences/lates and also help to send messages to the parents/guardians regarding their child’s attendance in a timely manner.

3. Can I opt out of the Safe Arrival Program?
No. The TDSB recognizes that regular attendance is essential to the safety, academic success, and well-being of all students.

4. Is there something I can do to prevent receiving calls from the automated system?
i. Ensure your child attends school every day on time.
ii.  Notify the school in advance when your child will be absent.

5. My child has two people listed as Priority 1.  Will both people be contacted?
Yes, IF they are both listed as Guardian and have access to Student Records.

6. If both people are contacted, will they both have to confirm receipt of the message? 
Yes, if one does not confirm receipt, the system will continue to call the other person.

7. What phone numbers will be called and in what order? 
The order of contact will be:
a) Priority 1 – Home
b) Priority 1 – Cell
c) Priority 2 – Home (unless it is the same home phone number)
d) Priority 2 – Cell
e) The system does not call business phone numbers.

8. Can I change the priority contacts? 
Yes, please call the office at 416-393-1560 and they will adjust the priority contacts in the Student Information System.

9. Can I have my child’s babysitter contacted instead of me? 
No.  Only parents/guardians listed in the Student Information System will be contacted.

10. If I don’t answer the phone, will a message be left on my voicemail? 
Yes, however the calling process will continue until a live person confirms receipt of the call.

11. What time will the callouts happen? 
a. The morning call out will occur at approximately 9:30 a.m.
b. The afternoon call out will occur at approximately 1:00 p.m.
c. The evening call out (for late students) will begin at 6:00 p.m.

12. What if I arrive at school after 9:15 a.m.? 
You will receive a safe arrival phone call.  You will also receive a phone call informing you of your child’s tardiness that evening.

13. What if my child is late for school because of the weather?
Unfortunately, the callout time is not adjustable.  Regardless of weather conditions, the calls will still begin at 9:30 a.m.  If there is a long line and you get your admit slip after 9:30 a.m., you will receive both a safe arrival call and an evening call.

14. What if my child’s bus is late dropping them off, will I still receive a call?
No, you will not receive a call.

15. What if I have a question that is not answered in the FAQ? 
You can phone the school at 416-393-1560 and ask for help.

Keeping our students safe is of paramount importance. One of the many ways we work to ensure student and staff safety during the school day is to lock our doors after 9:00am each morning. Once the doors are locked, entry into the school is to be via the front door bell system only.

We are very concerned to report that, recently, some parents and caregivers have started using the east and west stairwells to gain access to the second and third floors at the end of day. Some are gaining access to the building via the bell and then bypassing the office to go to various doors to open them for others. Some parents and caregivers are using the doors off the Primary Yard to gain access to the main floor and others are using the Emergency Exit from the south landing to gain access to the library. Door hinges have been damaged because people have wedged the doors for friends and, additionally, extra work is being created for our facilities staff as people walk through already cleaned and mopped areas with wet boots and shoes. All of these behaviours contravene the measures we have put in place to keep your children safe.

Please remember the following guidelines:
  • At pick-up time, parents and caregivers are to wait outside in the Primary and/or Junior yard for their child(ren) to be dismissed.  No one is to wait inside the building.
  • Parents/Caregivers of Kindergarten children will pick up their JK or SK child at the outside door of the classroom, as usual. For Rooms 11 and 12, parents/caregivers will come into the building via the front door.
  • If you are collecting your child early, ring the front door bell and make your way to the office. It is best to make arrangements for your child to meet you in the office at a designated time so we are not interrupting instructional time to call up to the classes.
  • When parents are volunteering in the school, or staying for an extended period of time, they are expected to sign in to the Visitors’ Log and wear a Visitor’s Badge.
  • DO NOT access the building via the Library Emergency Exit.
  • DO NOT access the second or third floors via the east or west stairwells.
  • During the day, access the building using the FRONT DOOR ONLY.
  • Please DO NOT BANG ON THE DOORS to be let in. We have spoken to the children about not opening the doors for anyone, and we appreciate your help in these efforts.
These measures are proactive as we believe in erring on the side of caution. Please help us keep our students and staff safe. Thank you for your cooperation.

Gina Christakis, Principal
Christine Pouliot, Vice-Principal