News

The Latest Newsletter from the Howard Public School Council

October 16, 2020

Welcome Message from the Chair

Hi Howard Families,

I have the great honour of taking over from Erin McCaughan and David Sword as this year’s Chair of the Howard Public School Council (HPSC). I’m the mother of Levi (grade two) and Luna (JK) as well as a local realtor and passionate advocate for our school and community. I am thrilled to be  joined by an equally passionate and knowledgeable group of Howard parents on this year’s Executive team.

The 2020-21 school year has already challenged us all, but we are focused on creating the best possible learning opportunities for all Howard students! The Council works closely with the school’s administration to help identify and implement solutions as well as enhancements.

The Council’s Executive and Committees are already working hard to make the best of this challenging year, and we look forward to collaborating with the broader Howard community to support our students, teachers and staff. 

Your Executive Committee Members are:

So far, this year’s volunteer committees and their leads are:

  • Arts – Alex Dean
  • Equity – Midori Miyamoto & Haley Gaber-Kat
  • Outdoor Learning – Kate Van de Ven
  • School Yard Revitalisation – Lee Greenberg
  • Sport – Kathy Narraway

To get involved with one of these committees or to create your own, email howardschoolcouncil@gmail.com.

Monthly Council Meetings

Join us! Every month, usually on the third Wednesday at 7pm, all grownups in the Howard community are invited to attend the Council meeting. These days, that means signing on to a Zoom meeting.

Ask your questions

Whether you can attend the meeting or not, let us know your questions by filling out this anonymous form. During our next meeting, a TDSB Health Nurse, our in-house Epidemiologist, and the school’s administration will do their best to provide answers.

NEXT MEETING

Wednesday 21 October at 7pm via Zoom

Agenda

The draft agenda can be found here. If you have items you’d like added to the agenda, please email howardschoolcouncil@gmail.com

Where to Find Information & How to Reach Us

The Council maintains a website and blog. Sign up for the blog to get a notification of each new post. We use email for outreach rather than social media. Send us a message anytime at howardschoolcouncil@gmail.com. We’ve posted social media links to independently run channels like those for the School Yard Revitalization capital campaign, Fall Fete and others on our website.

The Council also assembles a class list with parent contact information for each homeroom/area. Participation in these lists is optional. Lists are assembled by the Council’s Secretary and include a point person for distribution of occasional messages; think ‘phone tree 2.0’. 

While booking playdates and sending birthday party invites out this year is unlikely, we’d still like to ensure we have your updated information so that parents may stay connected. Printed copies of the DRAFT class lists will go out next week. Please review and provide all changes by Thursday October 22nd.

COVID Countermeasures

Our community has many strengths. There are at least two epidemiologists within our parent community! One has offered to take on a new role within the Council’s Exec; Andrea Thomas is our Health & Safety adviser.

Andrea offers this advice:

Let’s ask ourselves: “What is it that we need to do?” vs. “What is it that we want to do”? 

We are all experiencing pandemic fatigue at this point. Fortunately, we felt a little bit of normalcy over the summer months, when cases hit a low point in the region and province. We enjoyed widened social bubbles, and our kids were maybe even able to forget about the pandemic for a little while. 

Now that our kids are back in school and we are watching alarming trends in the city, there has probably never been a time throughout this pandemic that our personal decisions have such potentially huge ramifications. Let’s all continue to keep this at the front of our minds with every decision we make about our daily interactions, and continually ask ourselves whether it is a ‘need’ or a ‘want’ – to visit relatives, to have a playdate, to go to an indoor public setting, to have a social visit – and lean really strongly away from the ‘wants’ for now. 

Our kids, their teachers, and the staff at Howard are working hard to lower risks of transmission in the school, but in the weeks ahead we will need to be extra vigilant in our continued efforts outside of school to keep our community, and Howard, as safe as possible.

Outdoor Learning

Thank you so much to all the families who volunteered to kickstart our outside class infrastructure during the early weeks of the school year! Your efforts have been so appreciated and Howard teachers and students have told us how much they enjoyed having opportunities to teach and learn in the fresh air. This topic has been the subject of some evolving policy discussions within the TDSB so we’ve had a few road bumps, but are working with Howard’s wonderful school administration to get as many classes back outside as often as we can. Stay tuned! Visit the Outdoor Learning Committee’s page to see what is being done right now.

How to Help

Donate to The School Yard revitalization project

We aren’t the only ones to recognize the importance and opportunities of outdoor learning. We recently learned that the TDSB has expanded the potential scope of our School Yard project. They are giving us until the end of October to raise $50,000 to remodel the “Cove” (the northwest corner of the yard).  A new Cove area will include new trees, a new mulch surface, a ‘lobster trap’ timber play structure, a storage shed, and an accessible outdoor classroom along with a raised timber stage. This opportunity to create a new functional open-air classroom couldn’t come at a better time!

To complete the final stage of our project, the TDSB will spend a significant amount of money to do all the preparatory work. As a result, Howard families will get tremendous value for every dollar we raise.

If you are able, please donate generously! http://bit.ly/HowardPS  All donations get a tax receipt.

Hat and Glove Drive for Outdoor Learning Opportunities

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. HOW to DONATE


How to Get Involved

Get involved with one of the committees or create your own. Email howardschoolcouncil@gmail.com to find out more

Sign up for the blog to get a notification of each new post

Follow one or more of the facebook, twitter or instagram channels created, not by the Council, but by others in our community. Social media links worth following

Follow COVID guidelines

Donate to revitalize the Cove http://bit.ly/HowardPS

Save up your hats and gloves to donate to Outdoor Learning. More info


Remember that we all have to wear a mask on school grounds, even if you are only there for drop off or pickup.