Welcome Back to the 2018/2019 School Year

Dear Parents and Guardians of da Vinci School,

On behalf of the entire staff at our school I want to wish everyone from our community a warm and sincere welcome back to school! I am very excited to be the new Principal at the two schools and am committed to making student success a top priority where achievement, wellbeing and equity are focused in everything we do. It is important that this is a caring school with caring adults inside and that it is a safe place to learn. Along with my Vice Principal, David Gilmore, we will be leading an incredible staff and there are number of new staff to welcome to our school community. We will be sharing an updated staff list shortly on the school blog. We have already had an assembly with all the Kindergarten classes and then another one with our grades 1-6 students in both schools. Students met the staff and we discussed expectations around safety, behaviour and how we all need to work together to making the school a successful place to learn, work and play.

Our school hallways and classes look immaculate, after a busy summer of hard work by our caretaking staff, Sheraz, Elizabeth and Dave and outgoing staff, Louie. The school revitalization is well under way. We are working through the window replacement project with the Robert St. windows replaced and almost complete and work has begun on the octagon one curtain wall at a time. The pylons are almost all repainted and the school is beginning to look refreshed. While there might be some disruption to the classrooms, all the work will be done with the proper precautions in place and measures taken to ensure everyone’s safety. I am working closely with the contractor, caretaker and project supervisor to facilitate the work as smoothly as possible.

Please make sure to check the school blog for upcoming events and information. Please note the Lord Lansdowne instructional day is 30 minutes longer than da Vinci, due to the integrated International Languages program. Entry and dismissal times of the two schools differ by 15 minutes at the beginning and end of the school day. However, the two schools have recess and lunch times in common.

ENTRY: da Vinci entry bell for all students rings at 8:50 am for an 8:55 start to the instructional day. All students in grades 1-6 will meet their teacher in and around Crocodile Island and Kindergarten students will meet at Three Tree Island. Da Vinci students will use the da Vinci doors Exit #2 and the Kindergarten class will enter using Exit #3. Parents are asked not to enter the school and accompany their child during entry time in order to ensure student safety. If your child is late after the students have entered please take/send your child to the main doors Exit #1 where they can proceed to the da Vinci office to receive a late slip and then go to class. We believe this will allow for a calmer, safer entry in to the school and result in a more focussed start to the learning day.

DISMISSAL: da Vinci dismissal for all students is at 3:15 pm using the same doors as for entry. We have asked other daycares (there are currently six!) to identify a meeting spot in the yard and to provide a clear sign so they can pick up their students. We continue to have before- and after childcare through St. Stephen’s Childcare, which has permits for several of the classrooms on our first floor. We also have permits for Makom after school program using classrooms on the second floor. Both on-site programs have increased enrollment for the 2018/19 school year. The permitted classroom spaces are shared with classroom teachers and International Languages programs.

More information will be coming to you shortly about our Curriculum Night which will be held in early October.

Extracurricular sports are starting this week and traditionally both schools are included in participation. Our Cross Country Team grades 1-6 will be practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays meeting on the field at 7:50 am for an 8:00 am start. First practice is tomorrow Thursday September 13. If your child is interested they should have already received forms from their classroom teacher. If you have not signed up yet for your child to participate, please bring a pen to tomorrow’s practice and Ms. Spekkens will have some extra forms. The Area Qualifier is on Tuesday October 2 so there are only a short number of practices before the first meet. We will also have a Junior Boys Volleyball team and a Junior Girls Basketball team. More information will come from the coaches through the classroom teachers. We are also hoping to have clubs operating throughout the year as well as outside program providers. Once we have further information we will post this here on the school blog.

Our school snack program will be starting shortly and we are looking for parent volunteers to assist the program coordinator with providing a healthy nutritional snack to all our students every day. If you are interested in assisting, please speak to me or Mr. Gilmore. We are also looking to find a roster of supply Lunchroom Supervisors. This is a 1 hour and 15 minute paid position and you would be learning great skills while working in a school environment. If interested or you know of someone who may be interested please contact me or Mr. Gilmore as there is paperwork involved.

You should have received a number of important forms last week, including data verification forms. TDSB permission forms have been streamlined and several required forms are on the same page. We ask that you complete and return them to your child’s homeroom teacher by Friday September 14 and you ensure that the information is updated including phone numbers and email addresses.

We are committed to improving regular communication between home and school this year. You should have already received information through our School Messenger system and this will be a way that we reduce the amount of paper that we consume through photocopying. The office and the administration will be sending important information using this system which can send both emails and phone calls to you using our Student Information System database. We will also look to improve the type of information that we provide to you through this school blog. Stay tuned for more information from your School Council regarding our upcoming meetings.

If you have any questions or concerns please call the school office am at 416 393 8204 and pm at 416 393 1350 or email us at janos.szonyi@tdsb.on.ca or david.gilmore@tdsb.on.ca

Yours in partnership,

Eric Szonyi
Principal

David Gilmore
Vice Principal

Families First: free parent education workshops

SickKids CCMH offers a variety of different topics relevant to community parents and focuses on concerns that children and youth may be dealing with. These parent education workshops are free to attend, and offered at both location sites, Sheppard and Maitland.  Presently, they occur monthly, and registration is required. 

Child care is available. Select titles below for more information on the workshop and on how to register.

Helping your child cope with worries
Introductory workshop for parents of children with mild to moderate anxiety

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018
6 to 8 p.m.
114 Maitland Street, Toronto
SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health

 

How to validate so your teen will talk
Building trusting relationships with your teen to help reduce their anxiety, manage stress and develop more meaningful communication

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
6 to 7:30 p.m.
1645 Sheppard Avenue West, Toronto
SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health

Immunization Information

Thank you for your assistance in updating immunization requirements for your children!  Improving immunization coverage reduces the spread of diseases and keeps our students and staff healthy.

Updates for the 2017-18 school year

Toronto Public Health is assessing the immunization records of students in Grades 2, 3, and 4. The varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is mandatory for all children born in 2010 or later. If your child does not have all the needed vaccines, please contact your health care provider.

Avoid student suspension:

Parents, please make sure to update your child’s vaccinations:

  • Online at www.toronto.ca/immunization
  • Call the Immunization Information Line at 416-392-1250

Reducing barriers

For children without access to health care services, please contact your community health centre or Toronto Public Health. They provide the following free services:

  • vaccination clinics, by appointment at www.tphbookings.ca
  • translation of foreign immunization records
  • language interpreter services on our phone line

Thank you for helping to keep our children healthy.

Halloween Celebrations at da Vinci

On Tuesday, October 31 at 1:30 pm –     We will have our Traditional Halloween parade around the block with both schools.

  • Parents are welcome to join us for the parade – it’s always fun to be part of the excitement.
  • Please meet your child’s class outside in the schoolyard at 1:30.
  • If it rains, the parade will be a mini-march inside the schools and around the gym.

Classroom celebrations will focus on the fun and fantasy associated with this traditional festival.  Children are welcome to dress up, if they wish.

We know that there is a powerful use of the imagination when children take on a new identity through wearing a costume.  We suggest that students wear costumes that reflect the Waldorf inspiration of the school, so their borrowed identity reflects a character worthy of emulation – perhaps characters from traditional tales and rhymes, noble beings (animal or person), heroes from myths and legends, creators (farmers, builders, crafters, artists).  

Please check that your child can safely walk around and climb stairs in their costume.

Please help us celebrate in the spirit of Waldorf:

  • No violent, sexualized or commercially-focussed costumes.
  • No masks to be worn during school, for safety’s sake.
  • No weapons or replica weapons at all. Please save those for home use.

Food

Food is usually part of each class’s celebration, but we ask that you send only healthy and natural foods – no sugary or salty snacks. Your child’s teacher will send information home about the specific kinds of food they wish to have as part of their classroom activities.

After Halloween, please do not send candy to school. We have many children with life-threatening allergies, and often treats handed out at the door may contain contaminants or allergens such as nuts or nut oil.

 

If you do not wish your child to take part in Halloween celebrations, for religious reasons, please let your child’s teacher know so we can make alternate arrangements for their supervision.

Thank you

The Faculty

Jodi Smith, Bernadette Pugh, Ticia Heibein, Jolan Canrinus, Elizabeth Pasternak, Peyton Leung, Kasia Kania, Stephanie Guy

Beth Mills, Carol Shea, Co-Principals                                

Hallowe’en Safety Tips
Hallowe’en provides an opportunity for parents and children to spend time together creating costumes, carving pumpkins, planning trick or treat activities and participating in family parties. Hallowe’en is a big event at schools and provides opportunities for parties, creative activities, art programs and impromptu history lessons. Hallowe’en is also a time for students, parents, and schools to take extra care to ensure safety and security.

 

TRICK OR TREAT SAFETY (from the TDSB)
If you are concerned about trick or treating, here are some basic safety rules to follow:

• Children should NEVER eat any treats until parents have had a chance to go through them and inspect them. Parents should look for tampering of packages and discard any they believe to be unsafe or unknown.
• Have your child carry a flashlight.
• NEVER go into a stranger’s house.
• NEVER trick or treat with people you do not know.
• Trick or treat only at homes you know.
• Children should always stay in groups if no parent is present.
• Younger children should ALWAYS be accompanied by an older person.
• Accompany your child when trick or treating.
• If you cannot accompany your child, then know the route your child will take.
• Flame resistant (retardant) costumes are in order. Keep costumes short and remind children to stay away from pumpkins with candles in them.
• Remind children to stay away from pets they do not know.
• Remind children of road safety rules. Cross only at corners. Do not criss-cross the road. Go up one side of the road and down the other side. Never cross between parked cars. Walk facing on-coming traffic if there is no sidewalk
• If adults are driving their children, drive slowly, with lights on and be cautious when pulling to the side of the road.
• Children should wear their own shoes when trick or treating. Wearing costume shoes/boots can be dangerous and uncomfortable.
• Remind children that not everyone celebrates Hallowe’en, and to avoid any homes that have no lights on. Also remind children not to run through neighbours yards or gardens.
• With older children, be sure to know what other events (such as parties) they plan on attending.
• Set time limits when children should return home.

Lockdowns and Firedrills

The safety of students and staff is a top priority at our school. Though no one ever wants to see an emergency happen at a school, it’s important for school staff to be equipped to deal with those situations, should these occur.

The TDSB has taken steps to ensure your child’s safety while in school. Each school has developed emergency preparedness plans that include steps staff will take in the event of an emergency, how staff will get students away from possible dangers, and how students’ families will be contacted.

One aspect of emergency preparedness is the lockdown and fire drill. Lord Lansdowne and da Vinci have completed the first of six mandated fire drills and our first lockdown drill.

All schools are required to conduct a minimum of two lockdown drills and six fire drills each school year. Lockdown drills, like fire drills, are an essential component to ensuring student and staff safety. It is important that all staff and students are prepared and know how to respond in cases of emergencies. The drills last approximately 5 minutes. They ensure that our plans are effective and can also help us identify any safety concerns.

Communication is also very important in any emergency situation. The emergency contact information kept on file is important in helping this happen. It lists the people who can pick up a student from the school. If you have not yet provided this information to the office or have updates to the information on file, please make sure our office staff have that information as soon as possible.

OPAL Play Day Monday June 26, 2017

On Monday June 26, 2017, da Vinci and Lord Lansdowne will be having an OPAL Play Day.

Students will be going outside to play according to a schedule being created by the OPAL Lead Team. We are asking that parents ensure students are prepared for outdoor play that day (e.g. hat, sunscreen, bottle of water etc.), including having a change of clothes, as there will be water play.

Annual Walk and Roll to School event on Tuesday, June 13

The daVinci and Lord Lansdowne Eco-Team is organizing our annual Walk and Roll to School event on Tuesday, June 13 from 8-8:45 AM. The event ties in with Bike Month in Toronto, which celebrates active and sustainable modes of transportation on this day and every day.

Activities will include refreshments, information about road safety from our Community Officer, bike safety checks by Bike Chain and Riders, a bicycle obstacle course, as well as a raffle for students.

Please note, students must be supervised by an adult until 8:30 AM, as teachers will not be on duty until then.

If you can volunteer, please contact Sarah Warden at: wardenwinky@gmail.com