January 2019 Newsletter

Principal’s Message

Happy New Year to all of our BCES families and welcome back!

Thank you to all of our parents and community volunteers for once again making December a memorable and enjoyable time for students and staff at BCES. The holiday dinner was amazing, and we appreciate all of the donations toward the cost of the dinner. Thank you to those who gave us additional classroom assistance this month with creating ornaments in the primary division. I’d like to give a huge shout out to the students and staff, who did a phenomenal job with our “Polar Power Quest” Holiday Concert (and we appreciated the fantastic turnout at our Concert). The staff and students work hard to put on a show that never fails to impress! Kudos to our Elvis impersonator, Cloey, and to all of the other main actors/stage hands/MCs, including Rayven, Kadance, Zach, Reagen, Natalie, Kami, Sophia, Aiden, Cole, Christiaan, and John.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank a number of families, businesses and other anonymous donors for a variety of special contributions made in the spirit of giving. We have received cash donations to our holiday dinner, to our Music Department, to the Christmas Bureau and gift certificates for families in need. I’d like to honourably mention the Zurich Lions and Adella Gascho for their generous donations to the Music Department. Adella raised over $455 in donations and the Lions gave us $600. We will be using that money to purchase 30 ukuleles in the new year. Thank you all for your tremendous generosity.

With the winter weather now here, it is important for students to come to school dressed warmly for outdoor play. Please send extra socks and mittens as sometimes they get wet when everyone is having fun playing. We will monitor the wind chill and temperature, but for the most part we will be outdoors for two 20 minute breaks each day. Also, we have asked our snow removal operator to move our snow hill so that it is more accessible on the yard at recess and away from the cars as best we can. We’ve purchased approximately 30 crazy carpets so that students can take turns by grade using the hill safely in a supervised way at recesses.

At the end of the school day, we still ask that students go home first to check in with parents before coming back to play at the school, and to go over safety rules with your children (as we do on a regular basis here, too).

As always please call or stop in at the office if you have questions or would like to share something with me. Happy Holidays to you all!

See you January 7, 2019.

Christina Van Poucke

Our School Calendar can be found at :

Temporary Staff Changes

There will be some temporary staff changes in the new year. Mrs. Schepers and Ms. MacDonald are both having surgeries that will require them to be away for at least the month of January in order to rest and recuperate. In the meantime, their jobs will be filled by substitute teachers. Once we have the details confirmed on who has been hired to each position, we will be sure to make families aware of the changes.

You are welcome to contact Mrs. Schepers and Ms. MacDonald through Class Messenger, but if you have anything specific that the substitute teacher needs to know, it would be best to write the information in your child’s planner or reach out to the substitute via their work email. We wish a quick recovery and speedy return to both teachers!


Snow is lots of fun for students. Snow can bring its own unique challenges and rules for playing safely at school, and so I’d like to mention a few of those rules here in order to help families communicate with their children.

  1. We do not allow snowball throwing or kicking of snow at other students.
  2. We do allow forts to be built, but no tunnels (due to safety concerns around collapsing).
  3. Snow forts tend to become territorial for groups of students. Please talk to your child about the fact that a lot of children live and play in the community, both during and after school hours, and that snow forts are not “owned” by any one child or group of children. If the snow is on school property, then it’s available for all to play.
  4. The snow hill near the baseball diamond on the school property will be moved to outside the Kindergarten Dismissal doors:
    a) Due to the location of this snow hill (being so close to the roads and the parking area that parents and staff use), it is highly recommended that students be supervised after hours when playing on this hill.
    b) In past, there have been a few instances where students stop to play at the end of the school day. When the dismissal bell goes, students should be checking in at home.
  5.  If your child is at home on an “snow day”, then they are not to be playing on the yard at any time during the school day or they will be invited in to class, where their peers are doing learning.

Parking at the Front of the School

Just a gentle reminder to parents and volunteers that we need to keep the parking area in front of the school clear for buses to park and load. There is a small parking lot on the East of the school that has a few spots. Otherwise, there is angle parking available out front of the school West of the sidewalk that enters into the new Kindergarten addition. Please look for the signage outside. It’s nice to have the sidewalk area clear for crossing students as it’s difficult to navigate around parked cars. Please also remember that it is never a good idea to leave your keys in the ignition of your vehicle with the vehicle idling.

School Messenger

Text “yes” to 978338

School Messenger uses short texts designed to inform our school community of school activities and events. School Messenger can also be used to quickly notify our families of any school or community emergency impacting our families. To opt in to School Messenger, simply text YES to 978338 from your mobile device.

Late Again?

In the past month, there has been a large increase in the number of students arriving to school late each morning. We understand that occasionally something interferes with arriving on time, but we have concerns when lateness becomes habitual. The entry bell rings at 8:50 a.m. each morning, and attendance is taken at that time. Immediately following attendance, there are morning announcements for the school, then each class begins its day, usually by organizing and introducing the day’s activities. This is important learning time for your child, and sets the tone for success. When your child arrives late, he/she misses out on important routines and information.

We appreciate your efforts in teaching, encouraging and setting an expectation for promptness in your child’s daily routine. In the event that your child is late (arriving after 8:55 a.m.), a phone call is required from home and he/she is expected to enter the school by the front door, report to the office for safe arrival and get an Admit Slip so the teacher knows that the student has checked in at the office. Thanks for your assistance in making learning run smoothly.

Exeter Hawks Night – Save the Date

BCES has been invited to participate in an Exeter Hawks hockey game on Friday, January 18, 2019. The game starts at 8:00 p.m. and we will be using this opportunity to raise funds for our playground equipment by raffling off a 40” RCA Flat Screen TV (approx. value of $300). Tickets will be sold at the game for $2.00 each. You must be 18 years or older in order to purchase a ticket. More information will be sent out to our families when we return in January.

Safe Arrival Calls (Especially on Snow Days)

Just a reminder that if your child(ren) are sick or absent from school, give us a call at 519-262-2833. On snow days, if your child is bussed, you don’t need to call in as we will assume they are home with you (unless you bring them to school, in which case we will change our attendance code). If you live in town, that safe arrival call is important to make on a snow day, as we assume that they will be attending school for regular school day learning.

We appreciate your help in knowing that our students are safe.

Open House

South Huron District High School is holding an Open House on Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. for students who are currently in Grade 6 and going to Grade 7 in September 2019. Please plan to attend to meet the staff, visit the school, and much more. Invitations from the high school will be sent home in the New Year to all Grade 6 students. Please remember to return the Student Registration Form if you haven’t already.

Huron County Christmas Bureau

Thank you for all your donations to the Huron County Christmas Bureau. This December, they provided gifts for approximately 120 families. Your generosity in helping them meet these needs is greatly appreciated.

“For every act of kindness, for every thoughtful and loving act of charity, for every gift be it large or small, we are sincerely grateful.”

Library Helpers

There are 20 enthusiastic library helpers, who help Ms. Wondergem in the library during first recess. Each student is assigned one recess every two weeks to assist with stamping, stickers, sorting, putting books away, etc. New grade 2 library helpers will be joining the group in January. Students are allowed to volunteer more often as well. Their assistance is greatly appreciated.

There are thirteen computer helpers, who turn the computers in the library on and off each day. These helpers were divided into morning and afternoon groups. Four helpers were assigned to a daily commitment for each month. There will be thirteen new computer helpers for 2019. Ms. Wondergem looks forward to working with the library and computer helpers again in the new year.

Silver Birch

The Silver Birch Students have enthusiastically been reading the books from the two Silver Birch programs, since our big Silver Birch Kickoff on November 29th. There are 26 Express students, and 22 Fiction students. So far the students have read 11 Fiction books, and 12 Express books. There is only one copy of each book, so the students can put the next book they would like to read on hold. Silver Birch students make sure you see Ms. Wondergem to mark the books that you have read on the Silver Birch charts in the library. Voting takes place in mid April 2019. Keep reading over the holidays!

Talk to your child about the book(s) that he/she has read from these programs. Does your child have a favourite book so far?

Blue Spruce

Students in grades JK – 3 may be participating in the Blue Spruce Reading Program. Each teacher may choose a month between January and April to conduct this program with their class. The participating teachers will be reading all ten books in this program to their students. Each student will then have the opportunity to vote in an Ontario wide student vote. They will choose their favourite book from the program. Please refer to Ms. Wondergem’s staff home page on our school’s website for the Internet link to this reading program. All votes will be sent to the Ontario Library Association in Toronto for tabulation. There is a banquet in May 2019 in Toronto to honour the winning author.

Eat and Learn

Bluewater Coast Elementary School would like to thank Tim Hortons for their generous donation to our school’s Eat & Learn program. We received approximately $800 to put toward the purchase of healthy, nutritious snacks for all our growing minds and bodies here at BCES. We’d also like to thank the Ontario Student Nutrition Program who donated an extra $400 to put towards the purchase of our industrial toaster. Students have been enjoying toast as part of their morning snack program.

Community Announcements

Public Skating at our Community Centres:

The Hensall & Zurich Community Centres have lots of available ice time for public skating over the holidays. Times have been posted to The Husky Hub  for both Centres.