First Aid/ CPR Course May 23

Looking to learn how to administer lifesaving care during medical emergencies?

Secord Elementary School is hoping a First Aid/CPR level 4 course May 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Read more details here –> CPR flyer May 23

And you can register here.


ISO donations for Blake’s Dream Baskets

Each class at Blake has been asked to create a Dream Basket that will be raffled off at this year’s Fun Fair.

Families that are able to contribute are asked to donate a new item that fits with their child’s class basket theme. For example, if your child’s class theme is “Arts and Crafts”, then you could donate a small sketchbook or a set of pencil crayons.

All of these items will be placed into a big basket, wrapped up and put on display inside the school during the Fun Fair. You will then be able to purchase raffle tickets for the basket(s) that you wish to win.

Obviously, the key to having a super fun raffle is getting the donations, so please send them in as soon as possible. Please send the item(s) to school with your child to give to their teacher. We ask that all donations be received by Friday, June 8th, 2018.

Here are the themes for each class and some suggestions. Please feel free to be creative!

Ms. Church (rm 101) and Mr. Nicolaou (rm 308): STUFFIES AND TOYS
• Stuffed animals, dolls, LEGO and other building toys, cars and vehicles, board games, slime, gift cards ….

Mr. Tsai (rm 208) and Mme. Molder (rm 104): ARTS AND CRAFTS
• Markers, crayons, pencils, paint, colouring books, craft paper, glue, scissors, clay, scrapbooking material, gift cards….


Mme. Wald (rm 205) and Ms. Arthur (rm 206) PERFECTLY PURPLE! As long as its purple, anything goes!

Ms. Barr (rm 207) and Mme. Burke (rm 202): GARDEN / BACKYARD PARTY
• Candles, outdoor dishes, garden decorations, seed kits, gardening tools, bubbles, water balloons, outdoor games, gift cards …..

Mme. Clarke (rm 106) and Mme. O’Sullivan (rm 107): SUPER HEROES
• Comic books, picture books, graphic novels, DVD’s, costumes, toys, colouring books, pencils and erasers, mugs, pencil cases, gift cards……

Mme. Morton (rm 105) and Mr. Richman (rm 310): THE GREAT OUTDOORS
• Gardening tools, camping supplies, bug keeper kits, bike accessories, water bottles, Smores Kit, bird feeder/seed, travel games, sidewalk chalk, gift cards……

Ms. Whiteside (rm 100) and Mr. Lowe (rm 204): SPORTS
• Frisbees, tennis balls, skipping ropes, badminton set, soccer balls, super balls, pro-sports gear (key chains, mugs etc.), gift cards….

Mr. Fowler (rm 102) and Mme. Dorcin (rm 108): BEACH BONANZA
• Water toys, sand toys, towels, water blasters, sunglasses, sun protection, flip flops, beach balls, gift cards …..

Thank you for supporting our school!

Your comments, our responses – part 3

Thanks for your ongoing participation in our School Council Engagement Survey. This survey will remain open until the end of the year, so feel free to add your voice whenever you have a chance.

One participant commented:

“Please create an orientation/overview for members to understand what council is about and how to participate.”

As our school grows, word of mouth sharing of information about council is no longer sufficient. to spread the word about the great work we do and how you can participate, we are planning to have an information sheet about council for the Welcome Back BBQ in September. This list will include a summary of the new council format (see the bylaws post from last month) as well as a list of activities we create and support and volunteer opportunities at the school (in class as well as council-related)  If you have suggestions on what we should include, please let us know in person or by email.

Check out Blake’s new garden fence and the artists behind it

panting panels2

Mr. Fowler’s class was hard at work Thursday morning designing and painting their own fence posts, which will eventually surround the school’s front garden.

Over the next couple of weeks, Inner City Angels artist Allycia Uccello is leading the painting project at Blake. Each student from kindergarten to Grade 6 will take part in a reading of the Curious Gardener, and then work with Allycia to design their own panel.

Allycia could still use some parent volunteers to help out—especially with the Grades 1 and 2 classes. If you have time to come into the school and help, please get in touch with your child’s teacher.

painting panels

Your comments, our response: School Council Engagement Survey

Participation in the School Council Engagement Survey continues, and with that, we’d like to address a few other comments we have received.

Interestingly, some participants feel that they have “put in their time” and that “new parents are not getting involved” and “[need] to start shouldering more of the load.”

Our school council is made up of a variety of parents and caregivers, with children in different grades and language streams. But we do in fact see a lot of parents whose children are new to the Blake stepping up to take part.

For example, Lanrick Bennett Jr (Grade 1) stepped into the role of Co-Chair with both feet. Even when he changed jobs mid-year, he has still contributed his community expertise every month.

Our new Co-treasurer, Dean Kotwal (SK) has been a great addition to the executive team, and his eagle eyes were a terrific help as we worked on the Bylaws.

Many thanks also to Sarah Lawson (JK, Grade 2) for being the only person who actually volunteered to be on the Bylaws Committee! We appreciated her insights as well as her hospitality.

Finally, thanks to Bryanna Hines (SK) for stepping into the Team Lead role on the Grant Writing Committee. We look forward to her putting her thesis-writing skills to work on our grant applications.

These are only a few of the examples of “new” parents who have made an impact on our already amazing school council. While it’s easy for those of us who have participated for a few years to feel burnt out, it’s important to acknowledge that there are always new members on the council, and this participation brings strength and diversity to our ranks.

How to talk to our kids about tragic events

Torontonians are reeling over Monday’s deadly van attack along Yonge St. As parents and caregivers, we may feel unsure about if and how to approach this subject with our children.

The school board’s Support Services offers some tips below on how to talk to children about tragic events. If you have any specific concerns, please bring them to the school’s main office.

Sadly, when tragic events happen here in Toronto or around the world, we know that some students may experience a wide range of reactions and emotions. TDSB Professional Support Services staff have prepared the following tips that may be helpful for parents whose children are experiencing difficulties:

  • Bring up the topic at a time and place where a discussion can occur. If there are distractions, a shortage of time or if either you or your child are too tired or busy, it is likely the conversation will be interrupted.
  • Begin by listening. Let your child tell you what they believe they know, how they learned it and how they are feeling. Don’t rush to correct or reassure. Allow them to finish their thoughts. Open-ended questions are better than specific ones. It is better to ask, “How are you feeling about what happened?” than “Are you scared because of what happened?” You can be a bit more specific if general questions fail.
  • Respond to what your child tells you. Their concerns may be specific or general, concrete or abstract, closely related to the events or related very little. Address what they are concerned about. Don’t overload children with information or solutions. Talk to them with ideas they can handle at their age. If you help them with their concerns today they will likely share more in the future.
  • It is normal for people to try to make sense of things when a serious loss occurs. Allow your child to share his or her ideas and speculations. Help them to separate what they know from what they are guessing about.
  • Limit exposure to media coverage as it can become overwhelming.
  • Be aware that new stresses may open old wounds. When a child is confronted with a crisis, losses and upsets from the past may be remembered. The child may or may not wish to talk about these old issues.
  • Talk about specific things you can do to make your child feel secure.
  • While tragic events can be extremely upsetting, it can be helpful to remind children that this type of event is very rare.
  • Children deal with stress in many different ways and at different paces. While children may not wish to talk today, they may wish to talk in weeks or days to come. Follow up discussions may be helpful.

Parents, students and staff are encouraged to contact their school principal for more information about additional supports through our Professional Support Services department.

Modification to student outing subsidy: vote passes

*April 30 update: This motion was passed with 96.7% support.

Thanks to all those who took a moment to vote. While we prefer to make decisions face-to-face, it’s great to know that the community is willing to voice its opinion this way.

Cross country october 2017

At the end of last year, Blake Street Jr. PS School Council approved a motion to support school outings for all students by funding a $5-per student subsidy for each school year. This is a one-time per year subsidy that can be applied to offset the cost of any class trip.

Unfortunately because this was passed late in the year, some teachers did not get notification and have completed their school trips for this year. The school has requested that if a teacher is not doing a field trip in the last two months and has not used the $5/student subsidy, the teacher be allowed to use the funds to subsidize an in-class activity.

The School Council Executive support this change, but since this is a modification of the original proposal, we would like to make sure that a majority of parents support this change to the policy for the remainder of this school year.

This vote will be concluded by April 26th and will be passed with a majority in favour. You can vote here.