September 2018 Newsletter

Principal’s Message

Welcome back! It’s great to see those happy, smiling faces back to school for another exciting year of learning! Staff has been working hard to prepare for the new school year and have lots of fun and engaging learning activities planned for students. We welcome a few new students to grades 1-6 and 20 new Junior Kindergarten students to our Husky Pack. We are eager to watch and participate in the learning and growing that will occur this year.

For those of you who are new to our school, we use a few main communication platforms. The office uses Twitter (@BCESchool), School Messenger, and our School Website (Parent Council meeting minutes). We send out reminders, newsletters, inform about school closures, and share pictures of events going on at school. Most teachers currently use Class Messenger, blogging, or the SeeSaw App (Kindergarten) to communicate about homework, student progress, and school events. Please check for messages from your child’s teacher frequently. Teachers also use student planners for communicating between home and school.

Our Parent Council is very active and uses Facebook (The Husky Hub) to communicate about events, meetings, school closures, etc. Take the time to check them out as there is a lot of good information available on the Hub. Please note that the Husky Hub is run by the parents, so student inquiries should be directed to the Principal and not to the Facebook group. Know that my door is also always open and you can contact me at 519-262-2833 or christina.vanpoucke@ed.amdsb.ca.

We have had a few staff changes this year. We welcome Mr. Powers and Ms. Cornish to our staff this year. Staff placements have changed a little this year and are as follows:

Staff and School Organization

Kgn A – Mrs. C. Miller
Kgn B – Mrs. J. Shapton and Miss P. Wood
Gr 1/2 – Ms. L. Cornish / Mr. J. Powers
Gr 2/3 – Ms. S. MacDonald
Gr 4/5 – Mr. J. Power
Gr 5/6 – Mrs. K. Schepers
French and Music – Monsieur J. Powers
Resource Teacher – Mrs. J. DeBlock
Technical Resource Assistant – Ms. S. Wondergem
Educational Assistants –Mrs. J. Weigand, Ms V. Willems
Custodian – Mr. D. Peck
Secretary – Mrs. B. Regier
Principal – Mrs. C. Van Poucke

Please ensure you take a look through all the information that came home during the first week of school. Many forms will require your signature and permission. The newsletter is also full of useful information to help direct and guide you.

– Christina Van Poucke

Newsletters and Communication

“School Messenger” is the communication tool that we will use to send home monthly school newsletters and most other notices of events/information pertaining to our school. This method of communication is being promoted in all schools in the Avon Maitland District School Board. Our monthly school newsletter and calendar is also posted on our school’s website.

Confirmation of Emergency Contact and Personal Information Forms

These forms were sent home to every family. Please check the data carefully and note any changes using a colored pen (not black please). Sign and date all three areas at the bottom of the page. Please return the forms to the school by Wednesday, September 12. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

School Planners

Your child is bringing home a BCES school year planner. The school handbook is in the front pages. We hope that you will find this to be a valuable information resource as well as a tool for communication with your child(ren)’s teacher(s). Please review this together with your child, and make note that there are two places for parents and students to sign within those pages. Please make special note of the sections in the handbook pages, which concern our Nut-free Environment and our Inclement Weather Policy. We also express our appreciation to the BCES Parent Council who helped fund the cost of the school planners so that every child and family is organized and informed.

Balanced School Day

Just a reminder that we are on the balanced school day schedule, meaning students have two “lunch” breaks each day. Our first nutrition break is at 10:55-11:15 a.m. followed by a physical activity break at 11:15-11:35 a.m. Afternoon nutrition break is at 1:15-1:35 p.m. and afternoon physical activity break is 1:35-1:55 p.m. It may be helpful to keep tummies full by sending two small meals in two different containers with children for the first few weeks in order to assist children (who are new to eating on a balanced school day schedule) get used to leaving enough food for themselves at the second lunch break. Our Milk Program and Special Food Days will run at first nutrition break starting in October. We will be running our snack program daily in the mornings (typically 9:30 a.m.) from September 17 onward.

Busses

As happens each year, our Transportation Department and Murphy Bus Lines have adjusted our bus routes to improve the ride for children and drivers, and to make the routes efficient for this year’s riders. Please continue to check the bussing website to see if your time or route has been adjusted, especially during the first couple of weeks of school as new students are added and routes are adjusted.

Expect the occasional delay, as were are just learning new schedules and home some new pick up and drop off points. Being at your stop 10 minutes earlier for the first few weeks is a good idea! We appreciate the excellent work our drivers do to keep our children safe every day on the road to and from school. Thanks for keeping us informed in the office of any concerns you have about busses so that we can continue to improve the ride.

Yard Supervision

Supervision for students on the playground begins at 8:40 a.m. daily, with an entrance bell at 8:50 a.m. Students are dismissed at the 3:15 p.m. exit bell, and the crossing guard/staff supervisor is in place in front of the school until the 3:25 p.m. bell. Please note that students arriving prior to 8:40 a.m. or remaining on the yard after 3:25 p.m. are the supervision responsibility of parents or guardians. We strongly recommend that children not be unsupervised on the yard. For your child(ren)’s safety, please encourage your child(ren)’s arrival and departure within supervised times.

BCES is a Nut-Free School

Due to severe allergies in our school, BCES is a peanut, nut and nut oil safe school, meaning safe from peanuts, all nuts and all nut oils. Your child is required to bring lunch/snacks that contain no nuts or nut products. Finding nut-free snacks may be challenging, but carefully reading the product labels will tell you which products to avoid. Read the ingredient listings every time you shop. Manufacturing and packaging practices may change without any warning; a product that was once peanut-free, for example, may now contain peanuts. It is especially important to look for a warning such as, “may contain peanuts and traces of peanuts”. We would also appreciate the avoidance of foods that look and smell like peanut butter, such as some soy-butter products. Just a gentle reminder that Nutella is made of cocoa and hazelnuts and should also be avoided.

Proper hand washing with soap is important to eliminate nut oil residue from hands as contact with the slightest residue from nut products on playground equipment, door handles, gym equipment etc. can also cause a severe anaphylactic reaction in those with severe allergies. When consuming products with peanuts, nuts, or nut-oils please stress proper hand washing to your children before they depart for school.

We understand that this may be a concern or inconvenience for your family, but it is a life threatening situation for other children. We appreciate your efforts to “pack” nut-safe lunches. We will monitor lunches to assist children in making nut-free choices, and may contact you to replace items that contain nuts, as they cannot remain or be consumed in the school, for safety reasons.

Sabrina’s Law and Anaphylaxis

In January 2006, Sabrina’s Law came into effect. This Law requires school boards to have emergency procedures in place to deal with incidents of anaphylaxis and to provide training for all staff. With support from the local Health Units, school principals provide annual training to all staff in the administration of EPI-Pens to treat anaphylactic reactions. In cases where a student is anaphylactic, parents/guardians are expected to provide an EPI-Pen(s) for their child to carry with them at all times during the school day. Parents/Guardians must also work with the school to develop an Individual Medical Management Plan that outlines emergency procedures for their child.

In accordance with Sabrina’s Law, all schools have been provided with two generic EPI-Pens. These EPI-Pens are being provided to support schools in responding to a medical emergency for an anaphylactic student. Also, in accordance with Sabrina’s Law, schools must administer an EPI-Pen when a student is suspected of suffering an anaphylactic reaction even if no Individual Medical Management Plan exists. If you are aware that your child is allergic to epinephrine or if you have any concerns, it is suggested that you contact the school principal.

Managing Asthma at School

As you may be aware, Ryan’s Law was passed by the Ontario Legislature in 2015. This piece of legislation is an important step to support the well-being of students with asthma in Ontario schools. If your child has asthma, we ask that you immediately contact the main office at your school to provide information about your child’s asthma medication. With your permission, your child will be allowed to carry his/her asthma medication while at school. The Ministry of Education website has resources on asthma.

As a best practice and to support your child, please let the school know if your child has a medical condition so that the school is aware and can keep this information on file. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Medical Management Plans

If your child has a medical condition (asthma, diabetes, allergies) that is considered severe, you will be asked to fill out a Medical Management Plan. These plans will be coming home soon to families of students who have previously identified conditions to the office. The forms we used in previous years have changed, so Ms. Van Poucke will be reaching out to families in the next few weeks to those families. If your child has non-severe symptoms, it is still very helpful for the office to know should we ever need the information in case of a medical emergency. If your child is new to the school or your child has developed conditions over the course of the summer, please contact Ms. Van Poucke.

BCES Open House Evening

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend our fall Open House evening on Thursday, September 27 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. This is an opportunity to meet your child(ren)’s teacher(s) and other school staff, and to chat informally about learning and school life at BCES. Our Parent Council is an active partner in planning this event.  Stay tuned for more details!

Volunteers

At BCES we welcome volunteers! If you want to volunteer in any capacity, such as day trips, a reading helper, a food day helper, etc. you will have to fill out a Vulnerable Screening Check with the OPP. If you have had a check done in the past two years, you can sign an Offence Declaration form in our office. We require an updated check every three years. This service is free for our volunteers. If you are interested, please contact the office for forms.

Parent Council

Our first Parent Council Meeting will be held on Monday, September 17 at 6:30. Everyone is welcome to attend. One of our main goals has been to fundraise toward new playground equipment.

School Cash Online

School Cash Online is the preferred method to order and pay for almost all items for sale at BCES. By registering for School Cash Online you will receive emails when items are available to order. You will also receive reminder emails as deadlines draw near. School Cash Online is a convenient and safe method of paying for items; all you need is your child’s OEN (Ontario Education Number found on any of their report cards), your email, and a bit of banking info. If you signed up for School Cash Online last year, you do not need to re-register this year. New families and our JK students will be receiving information early in September to help get started with the registration process. We thank the many families who have signed up for School Cash Online and encourage those who haven’t, to give it a try! If you need further clarification or information, please do not hesitate to call Mrs. Regier, our secretary.

Food Day Orders

Thanks to our parent volunteers who assist in organizing and running our special lunch days. Pizza, subs and DQ lunches are examples of some of the items we offer here at BCES. Lunches are always at first nutrition break (10:55 a.m.) and usually offered on Fridays. These will start in October. Please note: to keep up with rising costs of food products, we have increased the cost of pizza to $1.75 per slice.

Milk Days

White and chocolate milk will be available for purchase each month starting in October.

Snack Program

The Ontario Student Nutrition Program grant allows us to provide healthy snacks on a daily basis to all students in the building. This is free for all students to use and access, in case they are still hungry in the morning. Having a full and satisfied tummy always leads to better performance in school and helps children to focus. We want to acknowledge and thank our volunteers who assist with this, as they do a fabulous job. Snacks are delivered by 9:30 a.m. daily and will start in the third week of September.

If you would like to volunteer with prepping, washing dishes, or putting out the snack on platters, please contact the office. If you wish to donate money to the program, you can do so through School Cash Online in a denomination of your choice.

Safe Arrival

If your child is going to be absent or late from school, please provide the reason for the absence to the school prior to the commencement of the school day. If the school has not been notified of the absence, a phone call will normally be made as soon as possible after the expected arrival time. The Safe Arrival Program is intended to ensure the whereabouts and safety of all students. For your convenience, there is an answering machine at the school. A note in your child(ren)’s planner the day ahead of the absence is also acceptable.

Before and After School

We are glad to have this program from London Bridge in our school. For more information, please contact Lynn at lwareing@londonbridge.com or call 519-236-7071.

Thank You

We recently received two very generous donations to our school. The first is from BMO Hensall, which is closing their branch. BMO donated $550 toward our playground equipment fundraiser. We also received a donation of $1000 from Farm Credit Canada toward our Snack Program. Thank you to FCC and BMO for supporting our students!

Piano Lessons at Bluewater Coast Elementary School

Kathryn Desjardine will be offering piano lessons again this year during the instructional day. Lessons will start the week of September 17. For more information check out the Kathryn’s Keys website or email her at kathryn@desjardine.ca.

Kids Plus™ Accident Insurance

Our school board is offering you the opportunity to voluntarily purchase student accident insurance through the Kids Plus™ Accident Insurance program, underwritten by Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. (iA Financial Group).

Kids Plus™ Accident Insurance provides protection against unexpected costs arising from accidental injuries. The program is especially valuable for families who:

  • do not have medical or dental plans,
  • have limited plans, as it may help supplement health and dental benefits, or
  • have active children who enjoy sports and outdoor activities.

Kids Plus™ Accident Insurance has a selection of plans to suit most budgets. Benefits include coverage for:

  • The full school year (September to September), 24 hours a day, while at home and in school;
  • Expenses that are often limited or not covered by private or group insurance plans, or Provincial Health Insurance Plans, such as ambulance, physiotherapy, private tutoring, counselling, and much more;
  • Injury-related dental treatment (including future dental treatment up to age 26);
  • Out-of-province or country emergency medical expenses.

If your address changes during the school year, your Kids Plus™ Accident Insurance plan is transferable from school to school, anywhere in Canada.

Insurance premiums for children are $14.50 or $33.50 per year, depending on the plan selected. A discount is available for families with 3 or more children. Adults age 20 to 64 can also be insured for $32.00 per year.

For more information or to apply online, please visit the Kids Plus website, or speak with a Kids Plus™ Client Service Administrator at 1-800-556-7411.

1st Zurich Scouts – Registration and First Meetings

When: Monday, September 10, 2018
Place: Zurich Mennonite Church (Beavers and Cubs)
St. Boniface School (Scouts and Venturers)
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Beavers ages 5-7)
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Cubs ages 8-10)
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Scouts ages 11-14 and Venturers ages 14-17)

Boys and girls, come join the adventure! For more information please contact Rebecca Jones at 519-236-7060.

Air Cadets

532 Maitland Air Cadet Squadron is taking registrations for the 2018-2019 school year. Maitland Squadron is funded by National Defence, the Air Cadet League, and the Goderich Legion Br. 109. This funding provides our Cadets with trained and qualified instructors, a comprehensive weekly learning program, sharp uniforms, and opportunities for flying, camping, sports, marksmanship, etc. at virtually no cost to Cadets and their parents. We also have a vast variety of summer specialty camps lasting from 2 to 7 weeks also at no extra cost.

The aims of the Air Cadets are to have fun and make friends while promoting citizenship, leadership, physical fitness and teaching about aviation. If you are turning 12 or older, we welcome boys, girls and parents to come to our information nights on Wednesday, Sept 5th and 12th at 7 p.m. (or any Wednesday thereafter) in the GDCI Cafeteria, 260 South St. in Goderich. You can also reach us at the Maitland Air Cadet Association website, 519-524-1331, or info@maitlandaircadets.ca or on Facebook.