Thursday, 14 May 2015

News from the Office - May 2015


We are almost into mid-May and our school is still in full swing with our extra-curriculars and end of the year activities. We have a calendar in our main office and there is very little white space left.  Our staff continues to provide our students with enriching and engaging experiences in and outside of the classroom.

Our staffing model for the 2015-2016 school year has been approved by our Superintendent. The staffing model is based on projected enrolment for our school.  The numbers are sometimes accurate and sometimes way off! This year, our projections came in slightly lower than last year’s projections. As a result, we are in a surplus situation and losing a teacher on the English side. We never know how things may play out by the end of the year; however, in some situations we are able to recall a surplus teacher. Even though our enrolment is slightly lower than last year, we still have a space situation.  We are taking over one final day care space (Rm. 10) to accommodate our current number of students and the Ministry caps of 20 students per class in the grades 1-3 primary classrooms.
This year, the French Immersion Department has added more children to our Senior Kindergarten Early Immersion classes which will bring our total Kindergarten French Immersion student total to 52. This will create two SK French Immersion classes of 26 students in each class. All Kindergarten classes will be on the first floor including one grade one class as of September 2015.

April and May were quite eventful months at Brown P.S. Our volleyball, badminton and soccer teams made it into the finals and city championships. Our Track and Field Team and Water Polo Team have a number of events coming up. Our Spring Concert and drama performances were outstanding and our Junior Choir performing at Massey Hall as part of the TDSB’s, 129th Spring Festival Concert was a highlight for all those who performed and attended. We are very proud of our staff and students for their continued outstanding contributions to our school in athletics and the arts.

Events and Activities for the remainder of May and the month of June
May 18 - Victoria Day  no school
June 3 - Song Sung Brown (evening performance)
June 5 - PA Day no school
June 16 - Kindergarten Tours
                Available times for tours 9:30AM  or 1:00PM
                New parents are asked to kindly R.S.V.P at 416 393-1560
June 10-12 - Grade 6 Graduation Trip
June 18 - Grade 6 Graduation  1:15 start in the gym
June 22 - Drama Presentation by Rm.38
June 23 - Play Day for Grades 1-4
June 25 - Report Cards are handed out/last day of school
June 26 - PD Day

Bike to School Week: May 25-29 2015
With TDSB’s EcoSchools office installing hundreds of school bike racks this spring, more and more students are choosing bicycling for short commutes. May 25 to 29 is Bike to School Week in the TDSB so let’s get rolling.

Scooter Parking at Brown P.S.
Many of our students ride their scooters to school each day and park them in front of our main office. Until we find a better space for scooter parking, we will continue to allow students to park the scooters in front of our office. We ask that parents ensure that the scooters and helmets are labelled with their child’s full name. We have had a number of incidents in which scooters were accidentally taken as they looked identical to someone else’s.

2014-2015 School Year Calendar
TDSB's school year calendars are on Google Calendar (add to yours!).
Elementary: + Secondary:
Victoria Day   May 18, 2015
Elementary School PA Day   June 5, 2015
Secondary School PA Day   June 24*, 25, 2015
Board-wide PA Day June 26, 2015
* High School Semester Change: The first day of second semester is 30 January 2015. The seven days noted for secondary school include a PA day only for semestered schools on 29 January 2015 and a PA Day for full-year schools only on 24 June 2015.
Before scheduling events, please check the TDSB Days of Significance Calendar
2014 - 2015 Days of Significance

2015-2016 School Year 
Dates to Remember - School Year Holidays (as per Ministry of Education)
Labour Day: September 7, 2015
First Day of School: September 8, 2015
Thanksgiving: October 12, 2015
Christmas Break: December 21, 2015 – January 1, 2016
Family Day: February 15, 2016
Mid-Winter Break: March 14-18, 2016
Good Friday: March 25, 2016
Easter Monday: March 28, 2016
Victoria Day: May 23, 2016
Last Day: June 29, 2016 (Elementary) June 27

Issues on Poplar Plains and Avenue Rd. driveway continue
Police and parking authority presence in the area will continue as we have parking issues in the morning and after school. The Avenue Road driveway continues to be an issue with unauthorized cars parking in this narrow driveway which is only for Board personnel. I would like to stress once again that the parking areas, particularly the staff parking lot and the Avenue Road parking lot are off limits except for authorized personnel.  Cars will be tagged and towed.  While I would like to thank parents for their co-operation regarding the Avenue Road driveway and the Staff Parking lot, we still have a few parents that may not be aware of our policies and remind them to please stay out of the Avenue Road driveway and staff parking lot area.  This includes our Day Care parents. A number of students were being dropped off in the staff parking lot and left to walk alone through the parking lot.  Other parents have been dropping their children off on Avenue Road holding up traffic. Others have been using the Avenue Road driveway which is off limits. These are all unsafe practices and must STOP.  We are fortunate to have a Kiss’N Ride Program here at Brown P.S. and encourage parents to take advantage of this program. Our school buses pick up and drop off students on Poplar Plains Road and we ask parents to be aware of the bus loading zone area. Parking is allowed on Lynwood Ave.

Dress Code
We continue to encourage our students to wear appropriate clothing to school based on the weather forecast. As the nicer weather approaches, we ask students to have their shoes on when outside in the school yard to prevent any accidents or infections. We have discussed appropriate lengths of shorts, skirts and shirts with students during our monthly assemblies. These guidelines are for boys and girls.
Grade 6 Graduation Trip   June 10-12    Niagara
Our grade 6 students are preparing for their trip to Niagara. Brightspark Tours will be visiting our school to discuss the trip in more detail with our grade 6 students at the end of May. Room assignments will be organized shortly thereafter. Teachers attending this year’s trip include Angie Cosentino, Victor Daigneau, Arianna Silecky and Dino Stamatopoulos. In the event of escalated labour unrest, we have already made alternate arrangements for supervision to ensure the Grad trip is not cancelled.  

Fall Fling Principal and Vice-Principal for half a day Winners
A number of parents won the opportunity for their child to be Principal or Vice-Principal for half a day at our Fall Fling silent auction.  Christine and I will be honouring these silent auction winners during the month of May. We will begin as soon as next week. If you won this prize for your child, please contact Christine and myself and we will create a schedule. We will send out a note to parents before the scheduled date in case parents would like a photo opportunity with their child in our offices.

If you are moving before September, please let the main office know as soon as possible.  As we start planning for school organization for next year, we need to have enrolment data that is as accurate as possible since it affects staffing and class organization.

As mentioned, our staffing model for 2015-2016 has been approved by the Board.  The next few weeks will involve teachers being placed into teaching positions for next year and teachers accepting other opportunities through the Board’s vacancy process. We have a number of teachers returning from leaves and a number of teachers who will be leaving us as the other teachers return back to Brown.  There will be many changes once again next year and we look forward to the exciting opportunities that our staffing model and staffing will bring.

Our teachers are currently working on classroom placements for next year. A lot of time and effort is made to ensure classes are made up according to our criteria.

Criteria for class placements:
> Gender balance
> Learning style of the child
> Social compatibilities/dynamics that may affect learning
> Academic abilities
> Sibling/Twin requests for separation or not
> Strengths and needs of the child

We spend several hours building our classrooms each year. Our teachers are professionals who spend a great deal of time with our students. They work together collaboratively to make the proper decisions based on the criteria above. All teaching assignments and placements will remain confidential until the end of June once all the collective agreement procedures regarding postings are completed.

Parents who are not clear about the process or criteria are asked to contact the office and speak to the Principal or Vice-Principal. Our teachers are asked to remain professional and not disclose this information to parents until the end of the process.

Room numbers for September 2015 will appear on your child’s report card at the end of the school year.  Teachers’ names will not appear on the report card due to possible personnel changes over the summer.

Graduation will take place on Thursday June 18, 2015 at 1:15 PM in the gym.  This year will include sibling photos once again.  More information will follow as we get closer to the date.

Heads-Up: EQAO Assessments for Grades 3 & 6
May 25 to June 5, 2015 on hold until further notice

The Ministry of Education conducts a province-wide assessment of all students in Grade 3 and Grade 6. Students are assessed in the areas of math, reading and writing. Please note that grade 3 French Immersion students only do the math portion of the EQAO testing. The assessments will most likely not take place due to labour unrest.  We will keep parents informed should there be any changes to this. In the event that the EQAO assessment does take place, please make every effort not to book appointments for your children in these grades during the testing days. Many of our students are still practising many strategies for taking the test and learning from past tests. Parents interested in obtaining more information may do so. EQAO provides educators, parents and students with an abundance of easily accessible quality resources. The tools, guides and sample tests are free and can be obtained online by visiting

May’s Character Education Trait is: INTEGRITY 
What is Integrity?
“Have the courage to say no.  Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys for living your life with integrity.”
~ W. Clement Stone

A person of Integrity…..
-  is respectful
-  is responsible
-  is trustworthy
-  is dependable
-  is someone you can count on

When we talk about what integrity looks like at school,  we are talking about students who follow the school rules.  Students who obey the school code of conduct demonstrate integrity at school.
Integrity at home means:
- being a good role model to your siblings
- telling the truth
- doing your chores when your suppose to

Integrity means doing things with your family and for your family.
Personal Integrity means doing the right thing for yourself, not for anyone else.
It’s about standing up for what you believe in, even if it is not supported by all of your friends; or if you are the only one who is taking that position.
A person of integrity tells the truth and keeps their word.
Doing the right thing and standing up for what you believe in ~ even if it’s not popular.
Keeping your promises to family, friends, teachers and others.
Personal Integrity is... The ability to restrain or stop yourself from doing things even in tempting situations.  If you have personal integrity, it means you do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do!

Parent/Caregiver Corner 
Helping your Child Handle Cliques and Navigate the Social Jungle

Being “in” is every child’s dream, but being excluded is painful. There is nothing worse than eating lunch alone and not getting invited to parties and sleepovers. Cliques rule. Trying to get out of a clique can be just as difficult as trying to get in.

Unfortunately, as a parent you cannot assure your child that he/she will be included in the next exclusive gathering, nor can you save him/her from being snubbed. However, there are some things that you can say and do to help your child learn to navigate the social jungle, bounce back from rejection and learn to fit in.
* Be empathetic. “I know how tough it must be to be excluded. Let’s figure out some things that we can do about it.”
* Provide a balanced view. “Everyone does not hate you. What about your friend Sandra?” “You and Kevin were playing soccer at lunch – he’s a good friend.”
* Don’t press too hard. “This is a tough topic. I’m here when you need me.” It can be humiliating for your child to confess this kind of rejection. Being available and supportive is a good first step. Your child may open up later.
* Don’t knock the other kids. Yes, they are excluding and shunning your child, but criticizing them won’t help. Your child wants their friendship so don’t say: “Those kids are mean and stupid.” “Why would you want to be their friend anyway?”
* Talk to teachers. The teacher is with your child all day and will have some insights that will be able to help you.
* Start with one ally. One friend can be your child’s social entry card. Your child can start a one to one relationship with a child who is already in the group.
* Help your child blend in. If this is truly a group of friends that your child wants to be with, superficial as it may seem to you, take a look at the group and then make a few suggestions to your child about how he/she can blend in.
* Point him/her in a different direction. If one group rebuffs him/her, encourage him/her to make new friends that may be more appropriate.
* Encourage special strengths. Help your child identify what is special and unique about him/her. This can increase his/her self-esteem and confidence making him/her more resilient to be able to handle the pressures of social jungle.
* Help manage frustrations. This kind of rejection can be very traumatic so offer your child healthy outlets and strategies for coping – keep a journal, indulge in activities that can positively channel this frustration - sports, music, drama, creative writing.
* Watch for downslide.  If you think that your child is having a hard time, be available. Schedule time together. Look for red flags such as poor grades, changes in eating habits, mood swings, anger or withdrawal.
* Use the school as an ally. Speak to the administration or the guidance counsellor. If you are very worried, seek help from the school social worker.