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Toronto Catholic District School Board

Principal's Message 

Click for Principal News from past months

March 2010
 

Each Month look for the principal's messages here on this forum.

Principal's News

Principal News for November
 
Despite the rain and poor weather, our Family Night in early October was a great success. Many thanks to the undaunted staff and students who assisted with our BBQ despite the rain and wind. A special thanks to Mr. Lloyd who manned the BBQ throughout the evening.
 
November is a very busy month for staff, polishing our school learning plan for the year, aligning curriculum units, and preparing Progress Reports for students. Students will be receiving their first Progress Report on Tuesday, November 16. The Progress report is different from the Report Card in several ways: first, it has a specific focus on learning skills, and, secondly, provides a checklist for identifying student performance in each of the curricular areas. On the evening of November 18th and the morning of November 19th, you will have the opportunity to discuss the Progress Report with your child’s teacher. Please ensure that you return the Parent-Teacher interview form as quickly as possible to receive your preferred interview time. 
 
Finally, I would like to introduce our Catholic School Advisory Council for the 2010-2011 School Year: Our next meeting is this coming Thursday, November 4th at 7:00 pm in the school library. Thank you to all those parents listed above who have volunteered to serve on our Council this year. All parents are welcome to join us for our meetings. Please RSVP your attendance to the school office.
 
 
Principal News for October
 
It certainly has been busy month for students, teachers, and parents. Our new uniform policy has been working quite well despite the difficulties with some orders, especially some of our older students. Parents still have some questions regarding appropriate dress and we will continue to address your concerns as the year progresses. For you information, we have enclosed a short version of the dress code (with the most important details in this newsletter.
 
Teachers have been very busy setting up their classrooms and cooperatively planning assessment pieces for common grades. Our School Improvement Team (SIT) is also putting the final touches on our School Improvement Plan for the coming year. More will be shared in our November Newsletter and on the school website. We are currently in the process of setting up our email distribution lists for the coming year in order to keep you as up-to-date as we can.
 
Last year, we commenced weekly assemblies for students and staff. The Kindergarten to Grade 4 assembly is at 12:30 p.m. on Mondays followed by the Grade 4/5 to Grade 8 assembly at 1:00 p.m. Each week, we share a short prayer and/or liturgy, followed by weekly awards, announcements and presentations. Parents are invited to attend. Please take some time to say hello in the office first.
 
A key focus for us in October is getting out the 3 R’s of our school discipline policy. The 3 R’s are “Responsibility, Respectfulness, and Reliability” Each “R” has a corresponding “You” statement attached — Responsible: “You CAN trust me!”; Respectful: “You ARE Important to me!” ; and Reliable: “You CAN count on me!”. Our weekly assembly awards will focus on real works that students have done to exemplify one or more of the 3 R’s.
 
Below, you can see our School Mission Statement. You may have noticed in other school correspondence. This statement expresses our commitment to you and your child or children. Working together, I know we can do great things! Please feel free to send us an email or phone call concerning any matter at the school. 
 
The big news over the past few days has been the results of our vote for a new school dress code. Well over 70% of our families responded with their ballots and, of these, over 88% offered support for the new school dress code. Beginning in September 2010, the new dress code will be part of school life at our school. The code in a simple chart form of “what” and “what-not” to wear is included with this newsletter. We are now in the process of setting up a “Uniform Day” for parents to visit the school, size their child, and select items for the new school year. More information will follow soon. Finally, if you are not currently on our email list, please call the school and provide your email address. You’ll get all the school news more quickly and on-time.
 
 
Principal News for May
 
It has indeed been a very busy month with Easter celebrations, Cross Country running, and a whole score of committee meetings for fundraising as well as a possible new dress code for our school in the coming year. 
 
I hope that your Easter was a blessed and relaxing family time. Over the past few weeks, a number of students and their families have celebrated First Communion at St. Martin de Porres Church. A number of our Grade 8 students and their sponsors have been attending Confirmation preparation courses at the church. 
 
You will note in the newsletter that a significant number of our students have participated in Cross Country running competitions over the past few weeks. Over 90 students began their competitions on April 21st at Morningside Park and will end this coming Wednesday, May 5th, when a number of our elite runners compete in the City championships at Earl Bales Park 
 
Two new committees of our Catholic School Advisory Council (CSAC) have been meeting over the past weeks to organize fundraising for the remainder of the school year and review our dress code for the coming school year. The Fundraising Committee has decided on a substantial fundraiser, the Lots O’ Laps (or LOL) Fundraiser, to take place at the end of May. A good deal of information is provided in this newsletter concerning this new initiative. Likewise, the Uniform Dress Code committee has been meeting to discuss the implementation of a unique St. Martin de Porres dress code beginning in September of this year. More information is included in the newsletter as well this important issue.
 
The attendance at our Parent Evening in February was magnificent. We are inviting parents to meet with one another and school staff again in mid-May to discuss several important issues, including the uniform dress code, fundraising, and bullying prevention programs for the coming school year. The parent community will also be surveyed on what they see as most important for their school as the School Learning and Improvement Plan is begun for the 2010-2011 school year.
 
May 14th, teachers and staff at the school are having a special day to discuss their “vision” for the school over the next 4 years and beyond. Visioning allows school staff to clearly identify what they want their school to be and how they might work together to bring that vision into clearer focus. The school vision will focus our efforts as a learning community as we move on to plan specific goals for the coming school year. By the end of May, we hope to provide the community with a clear notion of what we want for our Catholic school and the students and parents we serve. You will see our “vision” clearly displayed on correspondence, our website, our classrooms, and throughout our school in the coming weeks, months, and years. 
 
Although we are moving towards the end of the school year, there is still much to be accomplished. We certainly look forward to welcoming parents again for a Parent Evening on Thursday, May 20th. More information will follow through “Email Updates” and calls in the coming weeks. 
 
 
Principal News for April
 
Significant changes continue to happen in the physical look of the school. Over the March/Mid-Winter Break, all the hallways and doors in the corridors were painted by a Board contractor. Cork bulletin boards have been placed outside all the classrooms and a hard working group of Grade 7 students — Joshua, JR, Alanna, Rachel, Bernard, and Julien —- painted the boards in bright primary colours. Well done! The school is certainly looking much more bright and clean. 
 
Behind the scenes, teachers and staff are working on developing term plans in Mathematics and English. In divisional and grade level teams, teachers are ensuring that common strands in mathematics are being covered in term 3 and being assessed in similar ways among the same grade level classes and between grades. Similar aligning of programs is happening in Reading and Writing. The goal is to ensure that teachers, students, and parents are fully aware of the expectations and achievement levels in all grades.
 
Additionally, over the next few months teachers and staff will be working on developing a clear vision for St. Martin de Porres School from the point of view of educators. We all know that having a precise vision and goals allows us to more accurately address what is most important in our lives; so it is with schools. We will continue to update the community on this process through the school newsletter, website, and at meetings of our Catholic School Advisory Council (or CSAC).
 
On Wednesday, March 31, a number of parents and members of our CSAC met to form to very important committees: a fundraising committee and School Uniform Committee. The Fundraising Committee will be meeting over the next month to plan a very special event for our school in May. More details will be available after Easter. The Uniform Committee will be discussing the coming implementation of the Board’s new appropriate dress code. At St. Martin de Porres, we are working to have a dress code in place for September 2010. More information is available inside this newsletter. 
 
In April, we will be holding another Parent Evening for our community. Keep your eyes open for information on our website — www.tcdsb.org/stmartindeporres — through parent emails, and written communication for the day and time.
 
 
Principal News for  March 
 
It is hard to believe that we are already two weeks into Lent and Easter is just around the corner. Perhaps more important for student and staff right now is the upcoming Mid-Winter Break from March 15 to 19. I hope that this is a time for all of us to find some special family time and rejuvenate for the beginning of the final school term. 
 
I was very impressed with the attendance at our latest CSAC/Parent Evening. The conversation was rich and impassioned. Please note that we are planning another “big” CSAC meeting towards the end of April. I hope as many of our parents as possible will be able to attend. 
 
In the very near future, you will be able to access the school newsletter and many other resources on our school website. The site is available at www.tcdsb.org/stmartindeporres. In this newsletter package you will also see a coloured form for you to complete for email notices. The school will keep a confidential email list and share vital information with you when it is necessary. You will get notices of newsletters posted to our website, essential school updates, and other information as necessary. Simply complete the form with your email address and return it to your child’s teacher 
 
Please do not hesitate to contact me at the school and set up an appointment if you have any ideas or concerns you would like to discuss.
 
 
Principal News for February
 
When St. Paul tells the Corinthians that “everyone is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good” he is attempting to draw together the many talents that existed within that early Christian community. Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to visit with your child in their classroom, many teachers, and parents and I have discovered the many talents and the many ways that the spirit is manifested at St. Martin de Porres. I look forward over the next months and years to working with you in allowing all our strengths to come to the fore.
 
As part of a process to allow all to share in the building of our community, I invite parents and staff to attend our upcoming Catholic School Advisory Council meeting on Wednesday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. here at the school. I’ve enclosed a further note in this newsletter outlining some of the important issues we will be discussing at this meeting. I would like to thank all those parents who have dropped by the office in January to introduce themselves and offer me a warm welcome to St. Martin de Porres. I look forward to meeting all of you through the coming weeks and months