As Esme and Suzy said in their Friday email, “there are many things parents, families, teachers, society can’t control during Learning From Home and this unprecedented Pandemic period. Focusing on what you can control and being flexible with the rest will keep us working as a team.”
Happy New Year! We hope that your holidays were healthy and restful and that the virtual start to the school year is going as smoothly as possible for all of your households.
Our committee wanted to express our gratitude to the endless list of people that supported the creation and maintaining of our outdoor learning infrastructure in the fall.
Parents and supporters:
secured — and hauled! — tree stumps
sourced milk crates, as well as helping to clean them, and set them up on a daily basis
loaned (and repaired!) shade covers
loaned and hauled sand bags
cleaned, prepped and painted our outdoor teacher writing walls including materials donations from both parents and High Park Paints
arranged for infrastructure including clipboards and seat cushions for students and voice amps for teachers
advocated for expanded, adaptable policies around outdoor learning within the TDSB as part of a COVID-19 response, and supported other school communities curious about our process.
Teachers and school administration:
supported outdoor learning as an essential part of keeping our community healthy
adapted their lesson plans and modelled adaptability for the students
communicated flexibly with volunteers to ensure the systems were working for everyone.
The army of volunteers can’t all be named, partly because we never even got everyone’s name, esp the kindie parents who frequently stacked crates after 2:45pm! But this wouldn’t have happened so far without dozens and dozens, so thank you all.
And we’re not done! Whenever we get back to in-person learning, the administration has confirmed they support outdoor learning resuming immediately! Please consider helping out if you are not doing so already. Not everyone who has been working so hard these past months is available going forward, and we can always use more support. As a general rule, volunteers join one of four crews, and then sign up for several shifts (set-up or take-down) one week out of every four. Here’s a sign up link: https://signup.com/go/NztHeWQ And please feel free to reach out with any questions (via katelawrie [at] gmail.com).
Thank you again, Howard. Our community’s commitment to this common-sense initiative has been extraordinary,
We hope you are all staying well. The Outside Learning Committee has been chipping away at supporting our teachers and students by creating a few functional outdoor class spaces. Hopefully you’ve seen some of the initiatives or heard from your children about classes outside. We’ve been so grateful for the community’s support in the form of both donated hours and materials such as milk crates.
The current public health reality only makes it clearer that we will want to support outside learning as much as possible in the coming weeks, including when the weather turns a little chillier. To this end and with the principals’ support, we’d like to do a community drive for hats and gloves for those days when children come underprepared or forget their own at home. We will be working out the final details of collection and starting it up shortly. In the meanwhile, please start setting aside new or gently used hats and gloves (mitts would not be as functional for holding pencils etc.) If we wind up with more than we can use, we will find a community school that could share them with their own students.
Please donate to the Parkdale Food Bank Toy Drive! Only 2 more days to donate!! Please drop off new toys to the Roncesvalles United Church during the following times: Thursday December 10th: 9.30 – 3pm + Friday December 11th: 9.30-12 noon + Sunday December 13th: 12-3pm (last day to donate toys) Support our local toy stores!
There is a tradition at Howard where the School Council allocates funds to be given to Howard families in need at this time of year. The Council purchases gift cards that families can use to purchase groceries, clothes, or gifts for their kids. These gift cards are very discreetly distributed by the Howard Principal to the families that need it most.
This process is so discreet that you probably didn’t know it happens every year!
If you would like to donate specifically to the Holiday Hamper initiative, please use School Cash Online and use the notes field to indicate your wishes.
This past Tuesday the Howard Public School Council hosted the monthly meeting and this year’s annual budget discussion. Watch a recording of the meeting if you missed it.
“Wow, what a month it has been” has become an understatement. We hope that you, your family and neighbours are getting through as best as possible. With that in mind, this month’s newsletter offers some tips and suggestions.
Shop Local to save the Roncesvalles Main Street and businesses owned by Howard families