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Toronto Catholic District School Board

School Newsletter - March 2018


Principal’s Message
Last month consisted of a variety of activities and important dates. We celebrated Valentine’s Day as well as Ash Wednesday followed by Family Day.  All three of these important days involve Love — love of God, love of Family and ove of one another. It is no wonder that the TCDSB virtue of the month is also Love. As we continue through Lent may we be guided by this Love given to us by God. According to the “physics” of the spiritual order love is a gift from God meant to be given away—we only receive love as much as we give it away, and then you will find more of it flooding into your heart. Let us remember this and learn to love more this Lent as we reflect on Jesus’ ultimate act of love—dying for us, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8).
This month the boys basketball team won their invitational tournament, won the Regional Championship and participated well in the Divisional Championship. The girls won all their invitational tournaments, won the Regional Championship, came second in the Divisional Championship with tough competition and are moving on to the City Championship at the beginning of March. On Feb. 28th the Juniors and intermediate students attended a Toronto Marlies game organized by the Phys. Ed Dept. On the more academic side of things, St. Conrad’s won the Junior W5H Preliminary Round, Scientists in School are continuing their presentations, our Book Fair is underway and Parent-Teacher interviews were held in mid-February. In addition, we had a couple important events for student well-being. Stock Transportation presented to all grades followed by a safety bus ride. Police Constable Tony Santeramo joined us for one of our lockdown drills and later gave a presentation to our staff. Lastly, our Mental Health Team attended the yearly symposium and has booked Patrick de Belen to present in March to the students on Mental Health, an event partly funded by our CSPC.
We would like to recognize all the EA’s and our team of APT, social worker, psychologist and speech/language specialist as we celebrate Education Support Staff Appreciation Day on March 5th! We are very grateful and appreciative for all the difficult work they accomplish with such success for our students and teachers!
Well-Being Corner
During Lent we are encouraged to engage in almsgiving, fasting and prayer. Our focus this month is on prayer and it’s many benefits. God is the source of comfort, strength and love for us. Through prayer we enter into a deeper relationship with God and gain attachment to Him. Many studies have shown that individuals who pray to God (who is loving and protective) with whom they have a meaningful relationship are less likely to experience anxiety and stress. Prayer offers emotional comfort and reduces stress by:
Offering comfort and hope. When you’re faced with life challenges, prayer offers comfort. Knowing that God listens to your prayers and that you don’t have to bear your burden alone offers hope. When you feel hopeful you gain strength and are encouraged to carry on.
Creating a positive frame of mind. By giving thanks and expressing gratitude when praying it creates a positive frame of mind. When you purposefully engage in “thankful prayer” it reminds you of the many blessings you have, and as a result helps to decrease feelings of sadness.
Stress Relief. Researchers have found that when focusing on other people through prayer it contributes to a “stress-buffering effect”.  Reflecting on the welfare of others can reduce your own stress - it is in giving to others that we receive.
Increases feelings of unity and trust. Praying together with a friend, your class, or as a community is an experience that brings people closer together. Prayer can help build relationships and feelings of social connectedness.
Engaging in daily prayer with students/your children gives them the opportunity to deepen their relationship with God and their community. It also offers emotional comfort that everyone can benefit from.  The father knows what to give his children—how much more our heavenly father knows - Mother Teresa
Faith In Action
This school year, 2017-18, marks the "Year of School." It is an opportunity to celebrate our school communities and to celebrate in the lives of our students.  Catholic education is built on the partnership among our families, parishes and schools, and during the Year of the School we will truly celebrate that foundation.  During this Lenten season, and throughout the coming months, we invite our staff and our school communities to once again consider supporting the important work of ShareLife as it continues to “work wonders” in our own community and around the world. ShareLife’s mission is to “Live the Gospel by providing for those in need” This is done through their support of many diverse Catholic social service agencies here in the GTA and beyond. This year, ShareLife Week will be celebrated the week of March 18-23. At St. Conrad’s Ms. Palma is leading a few initiatives for the community. In December there was a Pajama Day to raise funds, next week there will be a staff “Soup for the Soul” and there have been Kernel’s popcorn sales  (distribution March  19 – 23), all to raise funds for ShareLife. Thank you for your contributions!
Black History Month
This past month the students at St. Conrad’s received a better understanding of Canadian African culture and history. People of African descent have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s. Black History Month is a time to learn more about these Canadian stories and the many other important contributions of Black Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada, and about the diversity of Black communities in Canada and their importance to the history of this country. Here are a few of the initiatives that took place at St. Conrad’s last month:
Downsview Library Celebrates African Canadian Month-Mrs. Iannozzi's and Mrs. Gomes' Grade 6 classes  along with Ms. Simonetta's Gifted Grade 6 students participated in Downsview's Library celebration of African Canadian Month this February. The students enjoyed a film entitled "Mighty Jerome"(2010)-a truly inspiring Canadian hero. Harry Jerome kept running through years of personal, racial and political challenges, with the strength of character as impressive as his athletic ability. The film was followed by trivia questions related to Black history and the students enjoyed competing for prizes. Ms. Vrapi and Mr. Pistili’s classes completed a project on famous black Canadians, while other classes focused on certain books such as “Amazing Grace” by Mary Hoffman. The grade 3’s completed a “Compare and Contrast” project and Romanin’s class learned about famous black inventors. One of the JK/SK classes studied the book “The Skin You Live In” by Michael J. Tyler.
Carnaval and Bonhomme @ Conrad
On February 15th there were cases of the Carnaval fever at St. Conrad’s. The French Department put on a wonderful day of festivities. They organized “Carnaval in the Gym”- Rock Concert with Roland Bibeau, Crazy Rock and Roll Hair Day, visits and photos with Bonhomme who handed out Effigies, and Fench Bingo over the P.A. There’s a long history of celebrations spanning from late January to mid-February in Quebec City. In the worldwide capital of snow, the first large-scale winter carnival took place in 1894. A population often faced with harsh winters used these festivities to warm their hearts during the cold season. Symbols include, red clothes, songs, the arrow sash, Bonhomme and his effigy. At St. Conrad’s students had lots of fun while learning about this Quebecois tradition! 
Safe & Caring Catholic School Climate Survey
A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted.  In order to promote a positive school climate, student safety issues are addressed by a Safe School Team through the cooperative efforts of the school, parents, students and community partners. In an ongoing effort to keep our Catholic schools safe and caring places in which to learn, the Toronto Catholic District School Board is collecting information from students about their feelings of safety and the general school climate.  The Safe and Caring Catholic School Climate Survey for elementary students is administered on-line to all Grade 6 and Grade 8 students. The results of the survey will allow our Safe Schools Team to assess students’ perceptions about the safety and climate of our Catholic school, and will focus our efforts to address any identified needs.  All of the information gathered will be anonymous and confidential, and only group-level results will be used to inform planning. Thank you for your support of this important initiative for the well-being of our students.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns, or if you require further information.
Coyotes in the Neighbourhood
As you are most likely aware, there have been sightings around the neighborhood of coyotes. Teachers will discuss with their classes about this concern. In order to be cautious and safe please be aware of the following: Coyotes are usually wary of humans and avoid people whenever possible. In urban areas they typically roam at night looking for food and spend the daylight hours bedded in bushy or wooded areas. Although unusual, coyotes in urban areas may search for food during the day and may prey on small dogs and other pets from yards in residential areas and from green spaces.
Important to know
Why should I not feed coyotes? Coyotes that are intentionally fed by people invariably lose some or all of their fear of humans and develop aggressive behaviour, having to be destroyed. It is crucial that the coyote in your neighbourhood is prevented from showing aggression towards people. In addition, human food does not meet the animal's seasonal nutritional needs. There is plenty of natural food around for wildlife in the city. If you suspect a neighbour is feeding coyotes, please contact 311.
What should I do if I find an injured or sick coyote, or an abandoned pup? Contact Toronto Animal Services at (416) 338-7297 or the nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre, like the Toronto Wildlife Centre (416- 631-0662) for advice. Do not attempt to handle an adult coyote.
What should I do if a coyote approaches me? If a coyote approaches, appear as large and threatening as possible. Make aggressive gestures (moving arms and legs), shout in a low voice, and throw rocks, sticks or objects. Never run; coyotes, like most canids, like to chase moving objects. Coyotes are naturally timid animals and will flee when confronted with aggression. Maintain eye contact and move slowly toward a building or area of increased activity.
How can I prepare my child for potential coyote encounters? Teach children to Be Big (stand up and raise your arms in the air), Be Mean (sound angry, stomp your feet, and throw something at the coyote), Be Loud (yelling "Go Away Coyote" so people nearby will come help), and Never Run.
Lunch-Time Supervisor Needed
St. Conrad’s has an open position for a lunch-time supervisor for indoor and outdoor supervision. The position consists of working Monday to Friday from 11:15am-12:15pm at a rate of $15/hour. Start Date: Immediately. If you are interested in helping out the school community through supervision please call the office and ask to speak with Mr. Cleary. Thank you for your consideration.
School Year Schedule for 2018-19
The TCDSB has recently approved the school calendar for the coming school year.  Please see the dates below:
Number of school days: 194
Number of Professional Activity Days: 7
The full schedule for this year and next year is available:
School Drop Off/Pick Up
We continue to monitor traffic and drop off areas both before and after school in order to ensure the safest possible environment for our students, their families and our neighbours. Unfortunately, some parents continue to use the school bus area and staff parking lot as a through fare in the morning.  A reminder that drop offs can only take place at the drop off area on Parent Avenue.  There is no parking (No Standing) in this area. You must drop off your children as quickly and as safely as possible only.  If you chose to park, you must look for those designated areas on Roding, Exbury, and Parent.  We encourage you not to park for periods of time beyond 5 to 10 minutes. After dropping off your children, please leave.
  After school, we must remind parents again not to use the bus area and staff parking lot as pick up areas for their children.  Our goal in this area is to limit the traffic to staff only during this period. Finally, please follow routines with your children’s travel arrangements to school. If they travel on school buses, pick your children up at the school bus stop. Do not send notes indicating to teachers and staff you will be picking them up at school.  These routines are important for the overall safety of all. Routines keep all safe!  Changing times and locations adds unnecessary complexities to pick up times.