121 Royal Orchard Drive (905) 454 - 4458 Principal Vice Principal Superintendent Trustee S. Mifsud A. Reilly G. Prajza L. Zanella Brampton, Ontario L6X 4K9 FAX (905) 454 - 0360 Secretary Parish Pastor Associate Pastor N. Eisan St. Anne Church Fr. D. Ali Fr. K. D’Souza CHILDREN ARE OUR FOCUS. THEIR GOOD IS AT THE CENTRE OF ALL THAT WE DO PARENT NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2011 Principal’s Message Welcome Back to All St. Maria Goretti Community Members We hope you enjoyed a wonderful, fun and relaxing summer. A new school year begins!! We would like to extend a very warm welcome to all the new families in our school community and to welcome all those returning to St. Maria Goretti Catholic School. A special greeting is also extended to our Junior Kindergarten children who are starting school for the first time. In partnership, our staff, parents, and students will endeavour to make this a very special year – one that follows Catholic philosophy, passes along our rich faith story, and provides children with high standards and expectations in educational excellence. The Teachers have been working hard over the last couple of weeks planning for the opening of school. Thank you to all of the teachers who have diligently organized and prepared their classrooms. A special thank you to our custodial team led by Mrs. K. Bradbury and to our head secretary, Mrs. Eisan for all of her work over the last week. We would like to welcome Mr. Conflitti; who will be teaching a grade 7/8 class, Mrs. Martin; who will be teaching some subjects in the Primary grades, Mrs. Lewis, who will be our school Educational Resource Worker and a welcome back to Mrs. Mandaric, who will be covering a teacher on leave. We hope to see all of you at our Open House night on Thursday, September 29 rd from 7:00 – 8:00 pm. Please mark this date on your calendars. We are all excited about working with you and your children to provide a highly rewarding year - spiritually, academically, emotionally and physically . . . We hope the 2011/2012 school year will be the best one yet for everyone. May God bless us as we journey together. S. Mifsud Principal A. Reilly Vice Principal Welcome Back – Two Way Communication! Close, ongoing communication between the home and school is in the best interest of your child. Should you have any concerns about your child, praise, or comments, please do not hesitate to share them with us. Early and ongoing information sharing can help to clarify and often alleviate concerns quickly. Begin by contacting the classroom teacher who is usually the one most able to deal effectively with your child‟s learning and behaviour. A time should be scheduled for you to speak to the teacher, either by telephone, or at a meeting. This newsletter is the first of a number of communications that will give us an opportunity to let you know what is happening here at school. One newsletter per family will be sent home each month with each youngest or only child. Our school secretary will also be able to help you with many of your requests. School Organization During the first few weeks of school, the school's enrolment, which was based on a projected total, undergoes changes and fluctuations. Therefore, as we start the year, all class lists and staffing are tentative until numbers are sent to our school board. Each year St. Maria Goretti has faced some sort of reorganization of classes to accommodate for changes due to growth and/or transfers. If necessary, reorganization of classes will take place on Monday, September 19, 2011. If your child‟s class placement changes, you will be notified in writing on Monday, September 19th. Any changes required will be made with the best interest of your children in our minds. Staff spends many hours in discussion, reflection, revision and consideration of alternatives, to arrive at the best organization for each class. Parish News When you choose to send your child to a Dufferin-Peel school, we assure you a holistic Catholic education. We do this through . . . Teaching Religious & Family Life education in each grade, living our faith daily through prayer, celebration and liturgy, building community and “retreat”, active involvement in charity and initiatives of social justice from a Catholic context, everything we do . . . is imbedded with Catholic values and content, and assisting the St. Anne‟s Parish team with the preparation of students for the sacraments. Our school is part of the parish of St. Anne‟s Church located on Vodden Street. We consider our Pastor, Father Ali and Father K. D‟Souza, the Associate Pastor, to be integral members of our school community. Weekend masses are celebrated on Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. and Sundays at 8:15 a.m., 10:00a.m., and 12:00 p.m. Our Pastoral newsletter. Plan will be available in a future School Times 8:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. (students should not Arrive before 8:15 am) 8:30 a.m. - Entry 10:10 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. Nutrition Break 1 11:00 a.m. - Morning Kindergarten dismissal 12:30 p.m. - Afternoon Kindergarten begins 12:30 p.m. - 1:20 p.m. Nutrition Break 2 3:00 p.m. - Dismissal PD DAY Friday, September 16, 2011 Children do not attend school. Catholic School Council Nomination forms for membership in the St. Maria Goretti Catholic School Council were sent home with your child last week. Please consider joining us this year. September 16th – Nomination forms due by 3:30 pm. September 21st – Elections at the school: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm. October 4th – Catholic School Council meeting at 6:00 pm. Our Catholic School Trustee We continue to work together with our area trustee, Linda Zanella, a member of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. Mrs. Zanella is always willing to discuss issues, and receive input from community members. Sacramental Preparations The school works together with the parish and parents to prepare students for the sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation. Parents of Grade 2 and Grade 8 students have received some very important letters from St. Anne‟s Parish Team regarding the sacraments of First Holy Communion/First Reconciliation and Confirmation. These letters contained significant dates of parent information meetings for your child to receive the sacrament this year. If you have misplaced this information, please contact the church. Open House Night Please join us for our Open House on Thursday, September 29th, from 7:00 – 8:00 pm. The evening will be an opportunity for you to meet your child‟s teacher. This will not be an opportunity to discuss your child‟s academic progress . . . this will occur at a later date when your child‟s teacher will have had a greater length of time to get to know your child. Homework policy Please be advised that teachers at St. Maria Goretti will adhere to the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board policy on Homework – Kindergarten to Grade 12. In particular, the policy states that homework shall not be assigned to students in kindergarten. Homework in the early grades (Grades 1-3) shall more often take the form of reading, playing, discussing, listening, viewing, and interactive activities such as building and cooking with the family. In later grades (Grades 4 to 6) homework may take the form of independent work, with a maximum of 40 minutes per day, and a maximum of 60 minutes per day on average for intermediate students. A summary of the policy can be found in your child‟s agenda (Grades 1 to 8). We continue to ask for your support as we promote good work habits at home for our students and ask that you help in the following ways: monitoring daily homework and ensuring that your child(ren) complete all tasks to the best of their ability; providing a consistent time and location for daily homework; Please use your child‟s agenda as one form of communication with the classroom teacher. It is a valuable tool. Crossing Guard A crossing guard will be available in front of the school at the following times: 8:00 a.m. - 8:35 a.m. 12:30 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. 1:00 p.m. - 1:20 p.m. 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Please note that the guard will not be available between 12:45 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. All students who must cross Royal Orchard Drive are instructed to cross while the crossing guard is on duty. Medications It is crucial that you notify the office of any serious health concerns. If this applies to your child you are asked to provide us with treatment procedures in written format. There is a Board policy on the storage and administration of medication. Where a student is required to take medication at school, medication forms must be completed by you and your physician prior to the storage and administration of any prescribed medication by the school. Any medication brought to school must be stored in the office. The storage and administration of an Epi-Pen requires additional forms to be completed by physicians. The forms are available from the school. To ensure the safety of all our children, please do not send medication to school unless you have made arrangements with the school in advance. Information regarding Anaphylaxis, and protocol regarding safe and unsafe food at school was sent home in your child‟s initial correspondence package from the school. Please sign and return the pink form to indicate that you have received and reviewed this information. Hepatitis B/Meningitis/HPV Vaccinations Initial vaccinations by the Region of Peel Health Department are scheduled for Thursday, September 29th. Parents of students in grade 7, and female students in grade 8 must complete the consent forms that have been sent home, and return them to their child‟s teacher, if they would like their child to receive the vaccination. School Insurance - Highly Encouraged You have received an application for school insurance for school aged children. If you require more than one, please stop by the office to pick up additional applications. As required by the Education Act and the Ministry of Education, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board annually provides parents with information about cost-effective student accident insurance coverage via student courier. Although enrolment is voluntary, the board encourages parents to take advantage of the inexpensive insurance coverage, especially if their child/children participate in sports, excursions/field trips, or, if parents do not have dental insurance coverage. Parents alone have the right to insure their children. Enrolment is required in writing so there are two options for enrolment: Complete the traditional form and mail it directly to the company, or Photocopy the form and fax it to Reliable Life at 1905-522-7211 or 1-800-463-KIDS (5437). Code of Conduct & Bill 212 The Catholic Code of Conduct is on the Board Website. St. Maria Goretti policies and procedures for student behaviour and discipline have been included in the students‟ agenda. Please review these with your child. School Visitors For safety reasons and the protection of all children in our care, you are reminded that by law all visitors (including parents) must report to the office, sign in and receive an identification badge. Please remember, to your child, you are the parent, but to other students you are most likely a stranger. All staff will stop and question an unidentified person in the school or in the school yard. If you are dropping something off for your child, please do so in the main office. NEW SECURITY SYSTEM In alignment with Safe Schools Initiatives, St. Maria Goretti has purchased and installed a security system at the front doors of the school. Beginning on Monday, September 12th, the front doors of the school will remain locked. Anyone arriving at the school must ring the buzzer. Staff in the office will have both visual and auditory access to any person seeking to enter the school. Office staff will unlock the door, once we have established that the person‟s presence at the school is legitimate. "Safe Arrivals" Program - Attendance Verification The Safe Arrival Program is designed to ensure that your children arrive safely at school each day. We appreciate your cooperation in calling the school to let us know that your child will not be attending. To help facilitate this process, we ask that parents call the school at 905-454-4458 between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. These times are for your convenience, but they also help to alleviate a heavy influx of calls on the main telephone line each morning. When reporting an absence please state the child’s name the child’s grade the child’s teacher, and the reason for absence. Students may not call and leave messages for you as we require your voice/authorization. If we haven't heard from you, and your child is not in school, we will attempt to contact you. Transportation For information or concerns regarding bussing, call 905 – 890 - 0614 or visit: http://businfo.stopr.ca Dress Code Medic Alert - No Child Without We ask for your support for our dress code. Students are expected to be dressed in a clean, neat, and appropriate manner conducive to the school environment. Clothing must be free from offensive or questionable language and pictures. Hats/caps must be removed in the school building. Appropriate footwear must be worn at all times. Appropriate clothing must be worn for physical education classes (i.e. running shoes, shorts, t-shirts). St. Maria Goretti continues to support The Medic Alert - No Child Without. This program provides free Medic Alert Membership for students requiring medical alert bracelets. For more information, please visit: www.nochildwithout.ca. Family Literacy Program: talk.read.play.sing! Kiss and Ride/Parking/Safety Thank you to the many parents who continue to follow the safety guidelines for the drop off and pick up of children. These guidelines are in place to keep all children safe. Free workshops for families offered by the Region of Peel At St. Maria Goretti Catholic Elementary School The following reviews the school protocol: The Family Literacy Program is for families with children aged 0 – 6 years. Families come together for story times, snack, and activities. Research from the University of Toronto has shown this program makes an impact to a child‟s Early Literacy skills along with their family‟s support. TRAFFIC SAFETY The KISS and RIDE LANE is designed to be a quick and convenient method to drop off children at school, without the need to park or leave your vehicle. The program will be held in the Library on Tuesday nights, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. for nine weeks, starting October 4 and ending November 29. We welcome all families with children under 6 years, as well as older children in your family. Please register by calling 905 791 1585 x 7222 or visit our website at www.peelregion.ca and click on Child Care. We hope to see you there. Parking in the Kiss and Ride Lane is prohibited. Illegally parked vehicles pose a danger to students and pedestrians. Parking in the school driveway is prohibited. After dropping children at Kiss and Ride, parents are to use the front driveway as a drive through. There is no parking. If you wish to walk your child to school, please park in a designated parking spot or park on Royal Orchard Drive. Please be advised, that the City of Brampton, Parking Enforcement will be present to heighten safety awareness during peak drop off and pick up times. Students are not to be dropped off at the front of the school. DPCDSB Adult and Continuing Education offers: International Languages classes for elementary aged children A variety of programs for Secondary students and adults For details, refer to Fall 2011 Adult and Continuing Education Flyer posted on: www.dpcdsb.org/cec/cne Nutritional Breaks Students are encouraged to bring healthy food for these two nutrition breaks. Please do not send any foods containing nuts or nut products as a snack or lunch. Forms have been sent home with students indicating whether your child will be either staying for lunch every day or going home for lunch every day. For safety reasons, students who stay for lunch every day will not be permitted to leave the school grounds unless accompanied by a parent/guardian and signed out at the office. Volunteers Make a Difference If you have some time to give to our school as a volunteer, please consider sharing your talents, energy, and time as a volunteer. A volunteer form was sent home with the initial documentation package. The volunteer will require a criminal reference check. These checks are FREE for volunteers. Scent Sensitivity Awareness DPCDSB has a scent sensitivity awareness campaign that provides information regarding allergies to scented products. At St. Maria Goretti, one of our staff members is severely allergic to scented products. Therefore, we ask that staff, students, parents, and visitors to the school refrain from wearing perfumes, colognes and scented creams. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. For more information about scent sensitivity, please visit: www.dpcdsb.org and click on ACCESS Duffer Late Arrivals, Early Leavers, Interruptions Staff members work diligently to ensure that time is not wasted, and that all students are involved in all possible ways every moment of the day. : Please make sure your children leave home so that they arrive at the bus stop or on the school grounds on time. Our entry bell rings at 8:30 a.m. Whenever possible and appropriate, please schedule out of school appointments and activities for weekends, or before or after school hours . . . that way children will not miss out on any aspect of the program we are attempting to provide for them. If it is necessary that your children leave school early, make sure they know this in advance, and send in a written note for their teacher. Staff will then try to ensure that your children are at the office, ready to go when you arrive to pick them up. In this way we won‟t be asked to disrupt the learning of an entire class by calling your child down to meet you. Student are discouraged from using our school phones to make arrangements to go home with friends, staying for sporting events or other activities. Head Injuries It is a requirement that should your child receive any type of head injury during the school day, the office staff will contact you and inform you of the injury. Pediculosis Pediculosis, or head lice are a common occurrence in schools. Head lice are parasites which have been common among human beings for centuries. They are not connected with dirt and neglect. Anyone can be infested with them. If even one case is found in the school, we will inform all parents in a letter. Please check your children frequently and if you find them infested, we would ask that you let us know so we can advise you on the proper treatment. If a child does become infested, we will ask you to keep your child out of school until he/she has been treated with the correct medicated shampoo and his/her hair is entirely clear of both lice and nits (eggs). When the child returns to school, the child needs to come to the office to be checked before going to class. If we all cooperate in these procedures we can address these occurrences in a sensitive manner. We may not entirely escape outbreaks, but we will be able to bring them under control quickly. Opening Mass Our Opening Mass is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. in the school gym. Please join us. Book Fair Thursday, September 29, 2011 Friday, September 30, 2011 Details to follow. FACT SHEET FOR PARENTS OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN Custody of Children On rare occasions, we are faced with difficult situations in which non-custodial parents arrive at school asking to visit their child or to take their child home after school. We are best able to serve and protect students when we are made aware of legal custody arrangements, visitation rights and other special instructions. If legal custody matters affect your family, please ensure that our office and classroom teachers are aware of any custodial arrangements that may affect your child during school hours. Important Dates: Sept 16 – PD Day Sept 16 – CSC nomination forms due Sept 21 – CSC Elections Sept 21 – Mass at 1:30 pm. Sept 22 – Photo Day Sept 28 – Terry Fox Run Sept 29 – Immunization Clinic Sept 29 – Book Fair Sept 29 – Open House: 7:00 pm. Sept 30 – Book Fair Sept 30 – Virtue Assembly @ 9:00 am. Oct 4 – Student Vote Oct 4 – CSC Meeting @ 6:00 pm. Oct 4 – Family Literacy Program begins. Oct 25 – Progress Reports go home. Why is it important for my child to be in school every day? Your child‟s school is dedicated to helping your son or daughter develop the spiritual, intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, social and physical capabilities to live fully and to meet the future challenges of adult roles and responsibilities. o Is this what you want for your child? Most parents would emphatically answer, “Yes!” The school can best contribute to your child‟s education and development when you form a partnership with them. As parents you have many responsibilities towards your child. One responsibility is to ensure that your child is in school every day, ready to learn. In fact, it is the law. The Provincial Education Act states that every child between the ages of 6 and 18 is required to attend school every day from the first school day in September until the last school day in June. Parents and schools can work together to keep kids in school. One of the most important first steps is for parents to become aware of the dangers that school absenteeism poses to a child‟s success in school and later in life. When students miss school, they fall behind. When your child comes home from school after an absence and tells you that he didn‟t miss anything when he was away yesterday, remember: He was away. He cannot begin to know what he missed during the hours the class was together. Each school day a teacher presents new material that builds on the work given the previous day. When students return after an absence, they Please read the following information regarding the importance of your child‟s attendance and punctuality. must catch up. For students who are not strong, independent workers, this can be difficult. Even strong students will find it progressively more difficult to do their best as the gaps in their knowledge and the need to catch up increases with every absence. Arriving at school on time does make a difference. Your children learn the importance of punctuality from the example you set. Insist that the kids leave the house in time to arrive at school at least five or ten minutes before the bell. The time spent in the school yard before school is a transition time that allows your child to reconnect with classmates and to refocus on school issues. Lining up to enter the school with the rest of the class allows your child to become part of the group and to ease into the routines of school. The first few minutes in the classroom are critical. During these minutes the teacher deals with the many issues that individual students share – just like The habit of non-attendance established in elementary school typically continues into secondary school. By the time your child is in high school, he or she will have more independence and you will have less influence. Begin now to set the standard that every school day is compulsory, even on days when your child has a headache, is not ready for a test, or is tired because everyone stayed up late for a family function. Consider too, the messages you send about your own attitudes toward missing work or using sick days. While some children may feign illness or beg to stay home because they feel that they do not fit in with their classmates, other children are gradually excluded by their peers as their irregular attendance makes them increasingly marginal to the social group. the busy excitement of a group of relatives getting together for a visit. And the teacher eases the students into the business of learning with a number of routine opening activities. When your child arrives even five minutes late, it is like arriving at a family gathering when everyone else is already seated at the table. You would have missed some important information and you might feel a little „outside‟ the group. If you are thinking of taking your child out of school for a week or more, reconsider. Most children cannot afford to miss a week or more of class work. Success at school helps children engage in learning. Children who miss school and then fall behind tend to miss more school. These children risk becoming frustrated and „giving up on school‟. In fact, the process of dropping out of school begins very early in the lives of some children. It can start when a child misses school days without sufficient reason and then develops the idea that attendance is optional. At the same time, the student becomes discouraged with his or her poor academic achievement and feels even less like going to class. Would you feel like going to work if you were graded every day on how well you did your job, and many days you received a disappointing grade? Set your child up for success by insisting that he or she attend school daily, and on time. Virtue for September: Faith A faithful person believes that we are created, guided by and destined to be reunited with God. A faithful person believes that God helps us to create a safe and caring school. A Faithful person… prays whenever they can learns from Scripture stories assumes that there is good in everyone knows that we are all loved by God Our Daily Prayer for September Let us now pray …for the grace and strength to be people of faith-people who can truly believe that God’s plan for us includes the right to be safe at school. AMEN The Staff of St. Maria Goretti look forward to a most successful year working with you and your children. God Bless.