Welcome Back Message – August 2019

Hello Churchill Families!

Here’s hoping that you have had a relaxing and fun-filled summer with loved ones! We are gearing up to head back to another enriching and exciting school year.

For those of you new to Churchill Alternative, my name is Erin Paynter, and I have the privilege of being the Principal of this wonderful school. This will be my fourth year at Churchill, and I look forward to continuing to learn alongside this great community of staff, students, and families.

Here is some start-up information that you should find useful:

Staffing updates:

It is with mixed emotions that we say farewell to Heather Sommerville, who accepted a position with an Autism Program class at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School. Heather has been such a valued member of our Educational Assistant team, and her absence will be deeply felt. On the bright side, we welcome back Jennifer Spears who will re-join us in the mornings. We are currently looking to fill the half-time vacancy on our EA team, but for now, Carlos will return to support some of our kiddos.

We are also happy to share that Ashley Fisher will be returning to her Core French position until at least the end of December. This is great news as Ashley has been a fantastic member of the Churchill family, and has really helped foster a love of second-language learning in students.

We announced in June that Kelsey Salmond would be joining our Early Childhood Education team, but for personal reasons, she is now not able to accept the position. We will be looking to hire a PM ECE ASAP in September.

Our school office will re-open on Monday, August 26th at 8:30am. At that time, we will be available to answer any questions you may have, or facilitate any registrations. Please note that the first morning is always very busy, and our office staff will be attempting to return messages and serve families as promptly as possible.

We are not holding an Open House this year, but we are aiming to post class lists for grades 1-6 on Friday, August 30th from 12:00pm-2:00pm. They will be posted by the side doors in the upper side yard. Please note that these lists will be tentative so even if you are aware of which class(es) your child(ren) may be in at that time, it is best to double-check when you arrive on the first day of school. Staff will be available with lists, and lists will again be posted on the Tuesday morning.

Transportation information can be found at the Ottawa School Bus Transportation Authority (OSTA) website at www.ottawaschoolbus.ca. There is a Parent Portal button at the top left where you may access bus stop information. If your child was on an Empty Seat last year, it does not roll over to the next September. Families will need to re-apply/apply with OSTA. Schools do not arrange for empty seats anymore. Empty seats are not allocated until after October 1st, so please be prepared to get your child(ren) to school for September if you are hoping to get an Empty Seat.

Purchasing school supplies is completely optional as the school will be providing everything necessary for your child to learn. Traditionally, we collect a voluntary fee in order to purchase common supplies for the classrooms. If there are any unique items particular to a specific learning activity, your child’s teacher will communicate that to you. More information about voluntary fees and supplies will come home during the first week of school.

Our school is fortunate to work alongside an amazing School Council team. The Churchill Alternative School Council, or CASC, is a team of parents who meet once a month to discuss and provide input on a variety of school issues, such as learning goals, assessment and evaluation, technology integration, anti-bullying and other equity issues, and in our particular case, the alternative tenets. CASC is in the middle of an ambitious fundraising initiative to rejuvenate our school yard, and we are well on our way thanks to a strong partnership between staff, parents and our community at large. There are many ways in which parents can get involved -as little or as much as you want or can – and more information will come home at the beginning of September. We hope to see new and returning families!

Our school communicates to families in a variety of ways. Teachers may use phone calls, emails, blogs, or Facebook pages to share the learning that is happening in the classroom. Your child’s teacher will share their communication plan with you at the beginning of the year. The school has an OCDSB website at www.churchillalternative.ocdsb.ca where you can find general school and board information, events, and updates, this blog, as well as a Twitter account (@churchillalt) and a Facebook page. We encourage you to subscribe and follow on these platforms. We also send emails through the School Messenger platform combined with CASC information. CASC has also started a Facebook group for our community.  Needless to say, there are many ways to stay connected to the school. Media permission forms will be available to families the first week of school.

The first day of school for students in grades 1-6 is Tuesday, September 3rd. Yard supervision begins at 7:45am. Please do not leave your child unattended on the yard before this time. Please note that there is no access to Ravenhill Drive between 7:45am-8:15am, and again at 2:15pm-2:45pm as it becomes a bus loading area. There will be staff directing traffic, and Ottawa By-law and Ottawa Police do enforce this periodically with fines and tickets. We encourage students to walk, or wheel to school as much as possible. If you must drive, please use Edison, or other nearby streets to drop your child off. The staff parking lots (off Ravenhill and off Churchill) are NOT to be used for pick-up or drop-off as this increases the risk to families and students who are walking by on the sidewalk. Please do not bring dogs onto the school yard, or inside the school – they are to remain on their leashes and supervised on the sidewalks. Bikes, skateboards, and scooters must be walked on the sidewalk in front of the school as this area gets very congested before and after school.

For students in kindergarten, the entry process will be as follows (please note that Year 1 refers to what was previously known as JK, and Year 2 refers to SK):

Two Year 50/50 Bilingual Kindergarten Intake Process 2019

Day 1 – Sept. 3, 2019

In-take Interviews/Welcome for Year One and first time parents and students

Day 2 – Sept. 4,  2019

In-take Interviews/Welcome for Year One and first time parents and students

Day 3 – Sept. 5, 2019

All Year One kindergarten students attend

PLUS the portion of Year 2 students who have registered for EDP.

All students registered for EDP attend both the core day and EDP on Day 3.

Day 4 – Sept. 6, 2019

All Year One and Year Two students attend

Kindergarten families with students entering Year One would have received a letter with their intake times in June. If you are not sure of your intake time, please contact the school.

Our school day is 8:00am to 2:30pm. Regular and punctual attendance is fundamental to school success, and families are key to helping set the right habits for school attendance. From your child’s first day of schooling, the family can set the expectation that school attendance matters, and model being on time on a daily basis. We understand that from time-to-time your child will be sick, or something will happen in your morning routine that results in your child being late, but chronic absenteeism and lateness can impact on student performance, and we appreciate you ensuring that students arrive on time for school. If you are facing tough challenges that are impeding this, the school can help. Please reach out to us so that we can support you and your child.

Please feel free to contact the school should you have any questions. I can be reached via email at erin.paynter@ocdsb.ca. We are excited to welcome everyone on September 3rd! Here’s to a great year of learning!

Take good care,
Erin

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