Dear Junior School Parents,
Thank you to the more than 60 families who recently participated in our 3 parent coffee mornings. We hope they provided an opportunity for you to share feedback as we, together, move forward to improve the Junior School experience for your children and our community.
Below is a summary of the feedback from the 3 meetings through the lens of our Compass Points learning engagement. As well, we will be scheduling 2 parent meetings (after conferences) where we will do our very best to answer questions, respond to concerns, offer next steps and celebrate our partnership in your children’s learning journey. Stay tuned for the meeting dates.
Valerie and Struan
NORTH: What info do you Need to know?
- Parents have expressed the desire to know more about personal/human resources issues (eg. extended absences, departing faculty)
- The plan for the current Junior School Leadership team and direction of the school
- What are students learning on a daily basis?
- Want to know more about the Athletics, PSE (Personal Social Education) and PYP programs in the Junior School
- Discipline Policy and Code of Conduct
SOUTH: What Support do you need? From whom?
- Desire for workshops on bullying, the discipline policy/practices, social media and other relevant topics to schools and parenting
- Desire for more social worker support in the Junior School and clarification about the role of the counselor/PSE teacher
- Clear, consistent communication and a clarification of the role of the FLASH, weekly emails from teachers and class parents
EAST: What Excites you about the Junior School?
- Overwhelmingly, parents are very excited about the amazing teachers and staff
- Kids love the school and feel very “at home”
- Excellent support/resources for learning
- International, multicultural and inclusive community
- A very engaged parent community
- Lots of extracurricular activities and athletics
WEST: What are you Worried about?
- Student behaviour - lack of clarity regarding discipline policy, confusion about the role of Think Sheets, inconsistent parent communication, fair and equitable application, are there incidents of bullying in the Junior School?
- Communication - too much or not enough, timely, many sources?
- Parent feedback - would like more opportunities for face time with leadership team
- Are we celebrating our international cultures and traditions? eg. Harmony Concert
- Class size - is the formula meeting the learning needs of students?
- The transition from Junior School to Middle School - are the students ready?
This week was an exciting one! In math, we continued our inquiry into multiplication by exploring patterns in the multiplication chart. We also worked on a “wardrobe problem” to find all the possible combinations for outfits if you have 2 pairs of shorts and 3 T-shirts.
Our focus in guided reading continued to be on features of a non-fiction text, spelling and research of students’ chosen structure. Students also worked hard to transfer their research into a presentation using Google Slides.
Our most exciting day of the week was Friday! All week long, the Grade 3s had worked on designing a stable and strong structure with mixed materials (paper plates, straws, cups, etc.) with the goal of holding a minimum of a 2 kg load. They were all given the same amount of materials to design and build with. They spent the morning building their structures and testing them to see if they could hold the load they were designed for. See here for photos and stay tuned for their building reflections to be shared during Student-centred conferences.
Next Friday, February 9th, the Junior School will participate in our 3rd annual Mindful Morning. From 8:40 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Grades 1-5 will participate in four different mindful activities. Students will rotate through the stations with their house groups. Students should dress in York School athletic wear for the day.
Valentine’s Day is in a few weeks. We will be celebrating this day with a Valentine’s Day exchange and popcorn party. If your child would like to bring Valentine’s Day cards, we’ve asked that they bring one for each member of their class, not just a few friends. It is their choice to make cards for the other Grade 3 class. We will send them home with class lists so that they have everyone’s name.
Grade 3-5 Cross Country Ski Trip to Horseshoe Valley
Students in Grades 3-5 will be going to Horseshoe Valley on Thursday, February 15th to cross-country ski.
There are two permission forms that parents will need to submit.
1. The York School Venturing Out Form
You will be sent the VO form that can be accessed on YorkNet. Please be sure to sign into your YorkNet accounts to submit the permission form online.
2. Horseshoe Valley Parental Consent Form
Please read, sign and return this form to your child's homeroom teacher by Monday, February 5th.
We are also looking for a few parent volunteers from each class. We would very much appreciate your time to come and join us for the day! Please inform your child's homeroom teacher if you would like to volunteer.
On the day of the trip please make sure that your child has appropriate winter clothing. It is often quite cold and it is strongly encouraged for the kids to bring extra warm clothing.
Students who are on the school's lunch programme will be provided with a bagged lunch. All other students and parent volunteers will need to bring their own nut-free lunch and snacks. There is a small cafeteria where students can purchase snacks, but they are strongly encouraged to bring extra snacks and water.
On February 7th or 13th, students in Grade 1 to 5 will be participating in Student-centred conferences. A Student-centred conference, differs from the traditional Parent-Teacher interview as the student is present at and is an active participant. The focus of the conference is on student goal setting in order to support learning. During the Student-centred conference, each participant - teacher, student, parent - have a specific role. The teacher facilitates the discussion and the student and parent are encouraged to contribute. A Student-centred conference should focus on recognising and celebrating the progress that a student has made in his/her learning, and to identify the next steps that need to be taken, within a supportive environment. Parents should be aware that the priority of Student-centred conferences is to focus on discussing student’s progress in ways which motivate and encourage the child in his/her future learning. Finally, a Student-centred conference is not intended to be a rehearsed ‘performance’ by the student, but a genuine conversation that encourages objective and realistic discussion of the student’s learning progress.
A reminder that students in Grades 1 to 5 need to present with parents at all conferences with homeroom and specialist teachers.
Circulation Policy for Junior School Students
India - Global Pathways School Donation Drive
This week we will be kick starting our India donation drive (clothes and toys). Bins will be placed by fireplace in the Gathering Place for donation drop off. Please take a look at our "wish list" link below. This list will also be posted in each classroom and communicated in the FLASH for the next few weeks.
Junior School Pancake Breakfast - REGISTER NOW!
We are thrilled to host a Pancake Breakfast, hosted by The York School Parents’ Association (YPA) on February 22nd and 23rd.
Students are invited to bring a family member or friend to join them for a pancake breakfast at the school. Please RSVP to one of the four seatings below.
February 22 - 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
February 23 - 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
- September 2019
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