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Weekly Update September 3, 2018

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow Me”, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:18-19


The first day of school is Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 for students in Grades 1 – 8. Students can arrive at school between 8:35 and 8:50, their teachers will be waiting to greet them on the playground. For this first day only, parents are welcome on the playground. Once the children have entered the school building, parents are asked to depart. Don’t worry, tears are normal, and our experienced staff are experts at supporting our little ones. You will be called if there are any concerns.

Please ensure our Primary teachers (grades 1 – 3) know your plan for dismissal on the first day (walking, bus, YMCA).

In the event of bad weather, Grade 1 – 5 will be in the gymnasium and grades 6 – 8 will be in the Forum. (Please pray for sunshine!)

Consider taking First Day Selfies using the hashtags #CatchTheSpirit and #HCDSBselfie to tweet!


All students who are registered for the bus will be called down to the gym on the afternoon of the first day of school to be instructed on where to line up for their appropriate bus. Students in grades 1 – 3 will have a colour-coded bus tag to help them remember which bus they are to take and to ensure staff can support them in getting on the correct bus.


Kindergarten interviews for Year 1 (JK) students and Year 2 (SK) students new to St. Andrew, will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 4th and 5th, 2018. All Year 2 students will begin school on Thursday, September 6th while our Year 1 students will have a staggered entry on Thursday, September 6th and Friday, September 7th.


 We are pleased to welcome all of our new teachers and support staff and know that their experiences and caring will greatly contribute to the growth of your children and enhance the learning environment here at St. Andrew! Please see the “CONTACT” page of our school website for a full list of our current staff members.

Please do not hesitate to contact our staff through the main office if you have any questions, concerns or compliments!


St. Andrew School has earned the reputation as a certified Gold Eco-School with the Province of Ontario. In our continued effort to produce less need for paper and to think deeply about our resources, the majority of our parent communication will be done electronically through email and via our school website.

As the 21st Century marches forward, we will be phasing out the school newsletter and moving to Weekly Updates found on our school website.

We encourage families to visit our school website regularly and to subscribe to our School Calendar so that you can be sure to never miss an event! If you are not receiving school communication through your e-mail, please contact the office.


If you have a concern with your child’s class placement we are happy to discuss it with you, however, we will not be able to address changes to class placements until after the first week of school. The volume of calls during the first week of school is extremely high, and as I am sure you can appreciate, our number one priority is ensuring the safety of our students and supporting them in settling into their new classroom environment. One of the goals of education is to develop resilient children who are able to adapt to change and cooperate with disparate groups of people. While our parental instincts are often to stick to what is familiar, as educators, we often find that the children who achieve best are those who can make new friends easily and find common ground with others. Children thrive with lots of friends and our teachers are experts in helping little ones develop their friendship skills. Often a tearful child on the first day of school is excited to share with parents the names of their new friends in a few short days. Sometimes waiting out the tears is the best support we can provide for our children.


Catholic Schools in the Halton Catholic District School Board have traditionally been blessed to have very strong relationships with their neighbourhood parishes. St. Andrew is very fortunate to be part of the Mary Mother of God Parish family and we would like to thank Fr. John Van Hees for his gracious welcome into this Catholic community.

Fr. John Van Hees is the Pastor of Mary Mother of God Parish and together with his Deacon, Mr. James Whittaker, he will be supporting us with our liturgies throughout the year and by celebrating mass together as a school community. We look forward to deepening our relationship as a community with Fr. John and Deacon James together with Mrs. Marisa Patskou, the Sacramental and Catechetics Coordinator and Debbie Frey, the parish’s new Coordinator of Youth Ministry.

The parish has an active Youth Ministry and will be celebrating their next Youth-Led Family Mass on Saturday, September 15th at the 5 pm Mass.

If you have questions regarding the reception of the sacraments and/or accompanying requirements, please contact the school (905-257-7102) or Mary Mother of God Parish. (905 337 2184).


On Thursday, September 13 at 10:00 am we will be celebrating Mass together at Mary Mother of God Parish to mark the beginning of the school year. All are welcome to attend.


 The Halton Catholic District School Board does not provide accident insurance coverage for student injuries that occur on school premises or during school activities. Since accidents can happen, and some injuries result in medical, dental or other expenses that are not covered by provincial health care or employer group plans, as a parent, you may wish to consider purchasing student accident insurance.

Student accident insurance can provide you with financial peace of mind against the possible expenses that can be incurred if a child is injured at school.

The Board makes available an Accident and Life Insurance Program for students exclusively through Old Republic Canada Life Insurance (formerly Reliable Life Insurance Company). Participation is voluntary and the costs for the program are paid by the parent or guardian. The program offers a variety of plans and benefits, which can be tailored to suit your needs.

The insurance agreement is between the parent or guardian and Old Republic Canada Insurance Company. If you wish to subscribe or for more information, please visit: or call 1-800-463-KIDS (5437).


You will have a chance to meet our staff and visit your child’s classroom at our Curriculum Night which will be held on Wednesday, September 19th at 6:30 pm. We will gather first in the gymnasium at 6:30 pm and then parents will visit their children’s classroom for presentations at 6:50 pm and 7:10 pm.


In order to ensure the safe arrival and departure of our students, we are asking your cooperation in teaching them the importance of following the directives of our Crossing Guard.  We are also asking our students to enter and leave the schoolyard by remaining on the sidewalk at all times.

Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our students safe.


We would like to inform all parents that we have many children in our school with severe life-threatening food allergies to peanuts and nuts (anaphylaxis).  This is a medical condition that causes a severe reaction to specific foods and can result in death.  Although this may or may not affect your child’s class directly, we request that you choose to send foods with your child to school that are free from peanuts or nut products.  The children are informed not to share their snacks with other children.  An information letter has been sent home to all families requesting that no snacks or lunches be brought in with those products. This includes WowButter, Almond Butter, Pea-butter, Cashew-butter etc… 


Research shows that a concussion can have very serious implications on a child`s cognitive and physical abilities. Parents and guardians are reminded that a comprehensive protocol, based on current research and best practices, has been developed to help parents, students, and staff prevent, recognize, and respond to a concussion. More information, including a Parent Fact Sheet  can be found on the Board`s website at:


We cannot dispense medication of any kind without authorization by the parent or guardian.  The medication must be stored in a properly labeled container.  The office has special forms that must be completed prior to the administration of any medication by school personnel, these forms can also be downloaded and printed from our school website   Also, if your child has a medical condition, or a life-threatening allergy, please contact the office as soon as possible if you have not previously done so.


 Though we love our four-legged friends, some of our children have severe allergies and are frightened by an encounter with a dog. Our school board prohibits dogs on school property for the protection of your children as well as for the protection of your pet.

Please be advised that from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm our students may be out and about with the YMCA and after-school activities in the yard so we ask your cooperation in not walking your dog through the property during these hours.


It is expected that students, especially in the Junior and Intermediate divisions, dress appropriately. Appropriate attire does not include: halter tops, shirts that do not cover the shoulder, back or midriff, and clothing with inappropriate pictures, logos, or sayings. Also, shorts should provide coverage and be comfortable to move in. Safe footwear is also encouraged, such as running shoes and sandals that are securely strapped.


Articles found are stored until the end of each term and then are displayed for the children to claim.  All unclaimed articles are sent to local charities. Please consider labeling your children’s clothing as it is very difficult for the children to determine which articles belong to them when they look the same.


Recess breaks serve a special purpose in the school routine and, except in unusual cases, students should not be excused from going outside.  Students who have the flu, heavy coughs or colds should be kept home as they are too contagious with the cold germ to be sitting in the classroom with the other students.  Please understand that all our staff members have assigned duties during recesses and lunch hour so there is no supervision available for those unable to be outside.


For the safety of your children please note that supervision begins at 8:35 a.m.  

Though you may see children in the playground with adults before this time, these children and their supervisors are part of the YMCA Program. The ‘Y’ operates as a separate organization and they are responsible only for those children whose parents have paid to have their child attend.

Our staff will be visible in their orange vests from 8:35 am and will then be ready to receive your children.


Our school entry bell rings at 8:50.

Within the school day, our first recess, for all grade 1 – 8 students, is from 10:20 am – 10:35 am at which time our students enjoy fresh air and play. The lunch hour takes place from 11:55-12:55. Our final break in the day takes place from 2:15 pm – 2:30 pm for all grade 1 – 8 students.  Dismissal is at 3:20 pm. If your child requires after-school care, you must make arrangements. We cannot supervise students at the office after 3:20 pm.

OUTDOOR PLAY EQUIPMENT ~ soft foam balls only

Please be aware that we have medically fragile students who need our assistance and protection. As we have in the past, we ask that the only balls brought to school are very soft ones.  Regulation soccer and volleyballs are not permitted on the school field at recess or in the morning before the start of school. Basketballs will be permitted if used appropriately around the hoops only. If in doubt, please see the classroom teacher before purchasing a ball to be used in the playground.

Together we can encourage vigorous play while keeping students and staff from unnecessary injury.


As we continue to move toward greater awareness of healthy eating choices, allergies and compliance with ministry regulations, we are reminding our parents that baked goods cannot be brought into the school to be shared with classes. The combination of food allergies among both students and staff and our responsibility to encourage healthy eating in schools makes it important to provide alternative treats when sharing among a class of children. In the past, parents have avoided these concerns by providing the class with a cheese or fruit tray, vegetable platter or selection of pens and pencils. Thank you so much for your cooperation.


In accordance with Ministry regulations, all schools are outfitted with security cameras at the front doors.  Therefore, it will be necessary to buzz the office in order to gain admission to the school.  We appreciate your patience as we have only one Mrs. Walters and only one Mrs. Dunn and though they can do a lot of things at once, they may not be able to answer the buzzer immediately. Depending on the nature of the secretarial duties moment to moment, delays can be expected when buzzing to gain entry to the school. All visitors to the school must report to the main office and are not permitted to proceed directly to the classrooms.  Please share this information with grandparents, aunts and uncles and all those who may assist you with your children throughout the school day.


Please help us keep interruptions to a minimum by ensuring whenever possible, that lunches come to school with the children in the morning.  When young ones are focused on waiting for their snacks and lunches to arrive, it is difficult for them to concentrate on their classroom tasks. Organizing lunches, homework and backpacks the night before helps our students become independent, responsible, life-long learners.


Calling all volunteers!  To enhance our programs, parent volunteers are necessary and we are very fortunate to have so many parents requesting volunteer materials. We will hold a short information and registration session for all St. Andrew volunteers on Friday, September 14th at 9:30 in the Forum.  Please come and join us!


The doors of St. Andrew school are always open to parents who wish to visit or confer with staff; however, an appointment is necessary. The classroom teachers’ first responsibility is the teaching of the children during the regular school hours. Please leave a voice mail message for your child’s teacher and they will return your call in a timely manner ~ within 48 hours.

If you have a concern regarding your child, the first call needs to be directed to the classroom teacher. All our teachers have come to St. Andrew highly recommended and when it comes to your children, they are the ones best suited to listen to your concerns and determine the appropriate next steps. Please do them the courtesy of a phone call and/or meeting should a concern arise.


St. Andrew Catholic School Council nomination forms are available for you to pick up in person from the main office. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, September 14th at 9:00 am. Please note that no further nominations will be considered after this date and time.

Should a vote be necessary, the community will be invited to do so during our Curriculum Night on Wednesday, September 19, 2018.

Our Catholic School Council plays an active role at St. Andrew by determining school priorities and budgeting. We meet approximately one evening per month and it is important to know that we need committed members able to attend meetings.

If this is not possible for you, there will be many other opportunities and committees through which you can assist the school. If you are unable to come to all the council meetings, please consider coming to volunteer at our school instead.

Our first Catholic School Council meeting will be Tuesday, October 2nd at 6:30 p.m. in the Library. The first meeting is an inaugural one to determine roles, meeting dates and priorities.


At St. Andrew Catholic School we encourage our students to be on their best behaviour ~ always and everywhere. To this end, there is a Code of Conduct that appears in the front pages of each school agenda. Mrs. Boulos and Mrs. Kotulak will be visiting classes during the first weeks of school in order to familiarize them with the expectations in the Code of Conduct. All adults and students are expected to abide by the Code of Conduct when on school property and in the school building. Please take a moment to discuss the Code of Conduct with your children and sign where indicated at the end of the document.


Very shortly we will be sending home information regarding our school milk and pizza lunch programs. As you can imagine, we are in need of parents to run these programs and oversee their delivery. If you are able to lend a hand please call the office.


The school provides students with the materials necessary to accomplish the task at hand.  Textbooks are extremely costly.  Please stress with your children the importance of caring for all school materials as well as the school building itself. Students will be expected to replace any texts that are damaged or lost.


One of the greatest indicators of student success is regular attendance at school. When students are absent for long periods of time or are frequently removed from school, the resulting anxiety and lack of seamless instruction can leave serious gaps in their learning and create social difficulties. For your children’s success and well-being, please make school attendance and arriving on time a priority in your home.

As with all schools in the Halton Catholic District School Board, we use the Safe Arrival Program at St.

Andrew.  The purpose of this program is to ensure that your child has arrived safely at school.

Please contact the school at 905-257-7102 if your child is going to be late or absent due to appointments, illness, etc., before 9:00 a.m. each and every day of your child’s absence.

Please be sure to leave a message on the attendance line and not on the teachers’ voicemail as they are not always able to check their messages in the morning before school.

If a child is absent and the office has not been notified, you will be called at home, if there is no answer we will call you at work and if there is still no answer we are required by law to call the police.  

Remember, safety is our main concern and we thank you in advance for your continued cooperation.

The school has an automatic attendance line which is available 24 hours a day, therefore you may leave a message at any time during the day regarding your child’s absence.


For safety reasons… all students who arrive late for class must report to the office for a late slip.  Any student who is absent in the a.m. and returns to class in the p.m. must also report to the office for a late slip.  As a community, we try to set an example and teach our children the importance of being prompt.  When a child is habitually late it causes them undue stress and they begin their day behind their classmates. Please make every attempt to have them in school early. This gives them a chance to socialize and collect themselves before they meet the demands of the day.


You are asked to please send a note to the teacher stating the time your child is to meet you in the front office area.  For the removal of your child that has not been previously planned, i.e. an emergency, please call the school so that we can get your child ready.  Please be aware that no child will be allowed to leave the school without parental permission.


For the personal safety of your child/ren, we urge you to ensure that:

  • your child/ren knows bicycle safety rules
  • your child/ren’s bicycle is road worthy
  • your child/ren are wearing a C.S.A. approved bicycle helmet
  • your child/ren has a lock for his/her bicycle
  • your child/ren do not ride bikes on school property
  • all bikes are locked on the bicycle racks


The Board’s policy states that “Large objects which could cause injury to other students are not allowed on buses.”  Therefore, no skateboards or scooters are allowed to be transported on the buses.  Under Board Policy No. IV-5C, Playground Safety, skateboards & scooters are prohibited for use during the instructional day.  Students are permitted to ride their skateboards and/or scooters to school as they would a bicycle, however, the same rules apply. They are not allowed during recess breaks. “Wheelies”, shoes with wheels ~ are not allowed at school.


During the 1979-80 school year, a law was passed requiring all teachers and other professionals to report any reasonable suspicion that a child has been abused at home or elsewhere.  Teachers and/or principals face substantial fines if they do not comply.  While some observations may cause suspicion, it is everyone’s duty to pay close attention to such a situation.  It is the role of the Children’s Aid Society, to whom we report, to investigate such a report.

If your child is bruised or marked from an accident, you may wish to let the teacher know the circumstances.  Should a report be made to the Children’s Aid Society, you should understand that we are complying with the law and have the best interests of your child in mind.


Follow us on Twitter @St_Andrew145 to see all of the wonderful things happening at St. Andrew School!


On behalf of the St. Andrew Catholic School staff we wish you every blessing for a wonderful school year filled with new discoveries and the joy of praying, learning and serving one another in Jesus’ name.

Weekly Update September 3, 2018

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