Grade 4 - February 2 / 2018

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?


We have started a Math Club for any Grade 4 students who wish to participate. It is every Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. sharp. We will play fun games to strengthen our mental math.

Our second novel study began today. Students each have a novel and a group. The genre is realistic fiction, and all have a Canadian connection. Students will be responsible for reading the weekly assigned section at home and completing a literature circle role before next Friday. We spent time today reviewing the expectations and organizing the groups and roles. Students are reminded to use time management skills and complete a little bit each night, rather than wait until Thursday evening to prepare. The novel study will take approximately 4 weeks.

We excitedly began a unit under the transdisciplinary theme, Where We Are In Place and Time:

Central idea: Our way of life today has been greatly influenced by past civilizations.

An inquiry into:

  • Ancient civilizations' innovations (form)
  • Key characteristics of selected early societies (function)
  • Early societies influence on current Canadian society (reflection)

A reminder that students need to bring in a hard copy of ‘Appendix 1b - Special Winter Excursion Form/Parental Consent’ in order to participate in the Ski day on February 15th. The online VO form should be completed no later than Monday, February 5th.

On February 14th, students will have the opportunity to exchange Valentines with their peers. Students do not have to participate in the exchange; however, if they do, we ask that they make a Valentine for all members of their class or grade.

With the ever-changing weather, we recommend that students bring an extra pair of socks and we encourage them to change when needed. We have also noticed that many of our students need some reminders when tying shoelaces. The winter uniform requires black dress shoes and often these have laces. We ask that you practice tying laces at home and we will work on it here as well.

All students should have headphones/earbuds in the classroom. They are necessary for many of the programmes that we use in Homeroom, as well as in Music and French. Headphones or earbuds do not need to be high end.

Mindful Morning

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.

Looking Ahead

Please see the separate email about filming the French plays. Filming will take place on Monday, February 12. Please email Mme. Beatty ( if your child is NOT available during French that day.

Junior Choir Participants - The Conference of Independent Schools Music Festival (CISMF) is on Sunday, April 8th at Roy Thomson Hall. All Grade 4 students participating in the Wednesday co-curricular programme are welcome to be part of the Junior Choir. It is usually a four hundred voice choir on average and it is a wonderful opportunity for students to sing with a large number of fellow CIS students. There are two rehearsal days off-site at Havergal College on Tuesday, February 6th and Friday, April 6th. Students who would like to participate in the concert on April 8th must participate in both rehearsals. We will travel together there and back on a school bus and will return in plenty of time for regular dismissal on both days. All other rehearsals will be during regular junior choir practices on Wednesday mornings. We have already started to learn one of the songs - Africa by Toto. If you would like your child to be part of this exciting opportunity, please email me -, as I need to submit our numbers in advance of the first rehearsal on February 6th.  Trip Form Link

Circulation Policy for Junior School Students

York School Online Catalogue

York Digital Library

Some parents had asked how to download items from SeeSaw. At the bottom-right of each SeeSaw item, there is a box with three dots. Click it, and click download item. Parents can also download a whole archive of their entire child’s collection. Here’s the link!

Student-centred conferences

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.

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.

RSVP here!  

RSVP here!  

Important Dates

Please make sure to check The York School’s full school calendar regularly for updates, locations and times.

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