September School Council Minutes

Posted October 6, 2020

School Council Meeting Minutes

FA Hamilton School Council

Meeting Agenda

September 24, 2020 – 6:30 pm

Google Meet

Attendance: Liz Martineau, Veronica, Steph deWaard, Jill Mills, Tanya Hiller, Katrina and John Watson, Joyce Poulin, Caroline Folkman, Laura Kelly, Christine Labelle, Nathan Adams

Welcome and introductions

Attendees introduced themselves.  Christine Labelle was welcomed as the new principal. Nathan Adams was welcomed as the teacher representative.

Principal’s Update:

  • School year start – It has been a lovely start to the year, although different than other years.
  • Staggered entry – The staggered entry was helpful to establish routines. Students are very resilient (e.g., mask wearing).  Students generally keep masks on at break and are creative with their games outside.  Clear routines have been established and practiced in classrooms.  There are procedures for washroom and water fill station breaks, entering and exiting the school, using the stairwells, hand sanitizing, etc.
  • Google Classroom – Teachers are using Google classroom as a way to communicate with families.
  • Video surveillance – The yearly reminder was shared of the purpose to ensure student and staff safety and to reduce vandalism.  Please see Policy 203 online at the Board website.
  • Busing – There is a separate bus cohort than the classroom cohort.  Our students line up in bus attendance order which facilitates boarding and exiting the bus within cohorts.
  • Pavement painting – Creative Playgrounds will paint games and learning stations on the pavement area.  This is being funded by School Council
  • School yard – The school yard has been sectioned off into eight areas that can be booked for use by classes.  Staff spend a lot of time learning outdoors with students.
  • Singing in school – Staff and students may sing together outdoors while remaining physically distanced.
  • Student belongings – Students keep their backpacks and coats with them at their desk area.   Staff will be working on a protocol for indoor shoes.  This information will be shared with families.
  • Sharing of school news will be done via Google Classroom, Twitter, UG Connect and/or the school website.  Please note that the school’s Twitter feed can be viewed from the FAH homepage (i.e., you don’t have to have a Twitter account).
  • School activities – Activities and routines will look different this year, for example, with the Halloween dance.  At this time, only essential visitors may enter the school.  While we cannot partner with School Council for the Halloween Dance, M. Adams and Mme Labelle are working on a plan for a Halloween activity.  
  • Staff are creatively building community.  Announcements are being done through Google Meet. We have started morning music which may be instrumental or themed.  For example, this past week, we have been featuring a variety of Franco-Ontarian songs in preparation for Journée Franco-Ontarien which takes place on September 25th.
  • Virtual assemblies – We are planning virtual assemblies as well.  Last week, we had a welcome slideshow.  Our Terry Fox assembly will also be virtual.  These virtual assemblies take place after morning announcements.
  • Spirit days – Every Friday in October will be a Spirit Day.  Students in our Grades 5/6 classes are collaborating to select the Spirit Day themes, for example: crazy mask day.
  • Remote school and FAH – Approximately 40 students opted for remote learning this Fall.  Five staff members are working with the Remote School. Staff working at, and students enrolled in, the remote school are still members of FAH.  The first possible switchover date will be sometime in November, around the Progress Report reporting period.
  • DanceEd is tentatively booked for the first two weeks of January, 2021.

Update from M. Adams:

  • Music – We have wrapped paint sticks with masking tape.  Students have been working on rhythm and are chair drumming.  Students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 are spending time outdoors so that we can sing together in a physically distanced way.
  • Math – The Math curriculum was revised for students in Grades 1-8.  There is a new social-emotional strand in the curriculum.    Financial Literacy is another new strand in the curriculum.  Coding has also been added.  Coding is helpful for teaching students the importance of sequential steps in Math and of showing your work.  A fun activity to do with students is the “programmable teacher” where they write simple tasks and quickly learn the importance of precision.  Memorization of math facts, for example times tables, is also included in the revised curriculum.
  • Sequencing of Strands – This year, all teachers will be following the same teaching of stands sequence for each subject.  If students move between remote and conventional models of schooling throughout the year, they won’t be missing any strands in the various subjects.  

Questions:

  • Are there empty desks in the classroom for the students learning remotely?
    • Extra desks and furniture have been removed from classrooms and are stored in the school.  This was done to provide greater space for physical distancing.
  • What will happen if 20 students come back from remote school?
    • There is a possibility of reorganization at the November switchover time.  It’s hard to predict what will happen.  Families from remote may opt to come back to the brick and mortar school.  Families of students currently at FA, may opt for remote school.
  • Do we have any extra classrooms?
    • We have one decommissioned classroom this year which is being used to store extra furniture.  Two other classrooms do not currently have classes in them.  They are, however, being used for other purposes.
  • Are there opportunities for outdoor play?
    • There are many opportunities for outdoor play.  At recess, students play with their class cohort in a designated area.  Teachers book various areas of the yard, including the “forest area” for Daily Physical Activity Time, Phys. Ed. and other learning opportunities.
    • The soon to be painted blacktop areas are not available to all students at break due to designated play areas.  All classes however, may access the painted games and learning stations during the teaching blocks, including during Phys. Ed. and Daily Physical Activity times by using a sign out system.
  • How is it working for the library?
    • M. Adams is delivering books to classrooms.  The books are selected by students and remain in their desks.  Books are not currently going home.  Students return the books to a closed bucket in the classroom which is collected on Fridays in order to provide each class with new books the following week.
  • Are students using agendas?
    • Yes, students are using agendas as an organizational tool.  Teachers are not communicating with families via the agenda this year.  Teachers are communicated online (e.g., email, Google Classroom) or by telephone.
    • Agendas may go home each day.  Agendas are not collected in the classroom and remain in each student’s desk or backpack.
  • Are students able to use balls at recess?
    • At this time, students are not using balls or other play equipment at recess in order to maintain physical distancing and follow cohort protocols.
  • What happens if a family keeps children signed up for “in person” but decide to homeschool if cases increase?
    • If a student is absent for 15 consecutive days, they are removed from the register.  They could be added back to the roster, providing there is still space in our French immersion classes that are impacted by the class cap.
  • What about the level of French if a student is away for a significant period of time.
    • Students would need to be competent and comfortable in French.
  • How are absences reported for Covid purposes?
    • Beyond our regular safe arrival process, all absences are tracked and reported on a daily basis to the Ministry.  
  • What happens if a sibling is sent home with potential Covid symptoms?  Do the other siblings also have to go home?
    • If a student is feeling well and passes the daily self screen, they can attend school. The Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health website has many resources that pertain to schools.  The information changes very quickly so it’s best to bookmark the page rather than print it out. 
  • What do students do with masks at recess or when they are eating?
    • Families have provided students with lanyards, necklaces and clips, but most students wear their masks.  Students need to wear their masks when entering and exiting the building.  When outside, many students continue to wear their masks in order to play closer with their friends.  When eating, all classes have established a routine, for example, placing masks in a paper bag.

Parent Feedback:

  • Logging in to the School Council Meeting was difficult for some as they needed to access their child’s UGCloud account.  This was unclear in the agenda.

2020/2021 School Council function and meetings:

  • Because we are unable to plan and host regular events, meetings will primarily be for information purposes only.  
  • Parents prefer monthly meetings.
  • Possible speakers for information talks throughout the year
    • Board’s Equity Lead, School Trustee, Teacher Theresa McMillan

Financial update:

  • Balance, June 30, 2020 = $9,964 (includes $500 from Playground Repair Fund)
  • Commitments = Creative Playgrounds ($2,000), DanceEd ($2,000)
  • Is there a need for more tech in the school?  We have an obligation to use money collected by/from families that may be leaving the school. Not sure what we are allowed to roll over.
    • ACTION:  Christine will follow up with staff in regards to the needs in the school and possible support from the School Council.
  • Question: If a class/school has to isolate, is the board obligated to provide tech to families?
    • Technology in the school is prioritized for students learning remotely.
  • Question: Can students bring their own devices? 
    • Yes, students may bring their own chromebooks, but they must be charged at home.  The school would not be responsible if the chromebook was lost, stolen or damaged.  The chromebook would be brought home each night and wiped down with school provided cleaner in the morning.

School Council Executive Selection:

  • The following parents volunteered for a position on the School Council Executive:
    • Co-Chairs: Caroline Folkman and pending
    • Secretary: Liz Martineau
    • Treasurer: Steph deWaard
    • Communications: pending
  • Laura Kelly can stay on in a supporting role as Co-Chair if required.
  • The two open positions are Co-Chair and Communications.
  • Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering

Fundraising:

  • Schools have been asked not to fundraise due to the impacts of the Covid-19 on many families.  
  • Question: Without fundraising, are there any other needs that we can support in some way (e.g., masks)? 
    • We do have some masks for when a child needs one; these were donated by the Village by the Arboretum, Caroline Juneman, and the Guelph Gryphons Football team.
  • Can School Council support an emergency food program (e.g., apples were available in previous years). 
    • Any food needs to be in a sealed package; there has not been a need yet this year.
    • ACTION: Identify areas of support at October meeting.

Adjourn meeting

Next meeting: October 15, 2020, 6:30pm 8:00pm, Google Meet.

Note: to be able to connect to the Meet, please sign into your child’s ugcloud account.

Categories: School Council Minutes