December Newsletter 2019

Posted November 29, 2019

Message from the Office

November has been a great month of learning! Of special note, students brought home their progress reports as a significant communication of their progress. An important aspect with which you, the parents, can support is goal setting. Have a conversation with your child about what they did well and the goals and strategies they have set to improve. At home, check in with your child to ask them what how their strategies are working! When your child comes home – instead of asking “What did you do in school today?” ask them “what did you practice in math/reading/writing/social studies/music/etc.” Thank you parents for taking the time to connect with your child and child’s teachers during phone or face to face interviews! and being part of the team! 

Ken Keesmaat Alan Gouk

Principal Vice Principal

Safety and Traffic

As you are aware, to help ensure the safety of our students and community members, we do not allow vehicle access to the parking lot at dismissal time (except those with an accessibility pass or school buses and taxis). Vehicles will also not be allowed to exit the back parking lot until 3:05. Thank you for helping to keep our families and children safe!

For added safety, we do have student safety patrols at the driveway entrance, the crosswalk in the parking lot and at the Stephanie Drive crosswalk. Please support these students by standing a safe distance behind them. Teach your child to wait until they allow you to cross. We do have the privilege of having an adult crossing guard at the crosswalk on Stephanie in the morning and after school. Please teach your child to wait until the adult guard is in the crosswalk and all traffic has stopped before crossing. Thanks for helping to keep our children safe!

Cold Weather has arrived!

Cold weather has returned and with that the need to dress warmly when students are outside for recess or for outdoor learning activities!  Please support your child in dressing in warm clothing including hats, mitts and outdoor shoes/boots. Layers are suggested. Extra socks and mittens/gloves in backpacks are a good idea. Please write your child’s name in clothing. This really helps return items to their owner.


Please see the calendar on the website for upcoming events:

Holiday Assembly – December 18th, 9 am

School Council meets December 11th at 7 pm


December 10th is HUMAN RIGHTS Day!

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall

Celebrate Human Rights Day December 10th! 

Human Rights Day calls on everyone to stand up for someone’s rights. It starts with each of us. Step forward and defend the rights of someone whose voice is not being heard. Recognize that human rights include the right for everyone to have access to clean water, unpolluted air and healthy food.

Find simple yet meaningful ways for your family to celebrate the rights and responsibilities that we all share as human beings!

  • Learn about how children live in other parts of the world. 

Find out about their schools or traditional food and language.

  • Read the book: We Are All Born Free

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures by Amnesty International.

  • Read the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights

Decide if there is a cause your family wants to support or an Ecojustice action you want to take on.

  • Make a World Wishes Dove with your family.  

Cut feathers from white paper. Have everyone in the family write their wish for the world on a feather. Cut out the body of a dove and glue all the feathers on it.  

  • Start a tradition of doing a family service project on Human Rights Day. 

Find an opportunity to volunteer in your local community and make a difference.

For the bigger picture we can (and should) do what we can to fight injustice. But on a smaller scale, in the day-to-day, practising kindness can help knit a web of compassion to give humanity a boost of resilience.” by Melissa Breyer

Talking About Mental Health                                   GIVE THE GIFT OF RESILIENCY

As we head through December and towards the holidays, it is important to be aware that this can be a very exciting time of year, but for some, it is also a difficult time of year.  


  • eat well
  • get good sleep (no screens for 1 hour before)
  • don’t over schedule 
  • stay connected to family and friends
  • keep daily routines going
  • avoid over-use of technology 
  • get outside!


23 Days of Giving

Every day in December have everyone put something that they don’t use or need into a basket.  Later in the month you can go as a family and donate to a shelter or community centre

Reflection Wall

Have a wall in the house where everyone can add sticky notes of what they are grateful about from the year.  Focus on lessons learned, new skills and strategies used throughout the year

Rose, Bud, Thorn

Have everyone identify one or two things that they feel were successes from the year (rose), something that was a struggle (thorn) and what they did to overcome the struggle, and something they are looking forward to in the new year (bud).


Signs that someone is struggling 

Here are some signs that someone is struggling. 


  • not coming to school or work


    • not engaging with friends or family
    • not participating in activities that they used to enjoy


  • withdrawing


  • feeling hopeless
  • increase use of drugs or alcohol
  • changes in behaviour
  • anger/irritability



Getting help

If you, your child/youth or someone you know is struggling, it is important to know where to reach out for help.

Who would you talk to if you were distressed, overwhelmed or struggling?  Take a moment to make a list of at least 3 people or resources you would reach out to. 

Who would your child/youth talk to if they were upset, overwhelmed or struggling?  Take a moment to sit down with your child/youth and ask them who they would talk to. Put the kidshelpphone and HERE 24/7 or DCAFS number in their phones (see below).

All children and youth need caring adults in their lives to talk to about their feelings. Parents/guardians can be some of those caring adults, but it is important for the children/youth to have other caring adults in their lives such as:

  • Family members, friends of the family
  • School staff (teachers, guidance counsellors, principals, child and youth counsellors, social workers, librarian, custodial staff)
  • Coaches, instructors
  • Spiritual or religious community
  • Community members (police, family doctors, librarians, etc.)

Who you can call for mental health support:


  • Here 24/7 (for crisis and support with mental health or addiction concerns in Guelph/Wellington) 1.844.437.3247


  • Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) (for crisis and mental health supports for children/youth in Dufferin) 519 941 1530
  • Your family physician or family health team

Have a mentally healthy holiday season!

Jenny Marino is the Mental Health Lead for Upper Grand District School Board

Follow me on instagram #ugdsb_mental_health

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