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Weekly Update – September 2-6

The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice. ~ Brian Herbert


New School, New Staff, New Year!

We hope you and your children have enjoyed a wonderful summer. The staff of St. Gabriel Elementary School is excited to welcome students this Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019. The building itself has gone through many changes with summer renovations. The result is a brighter, more vibrant, and more functional school overall. Much thanks to our custodial staff, Mr. Blankstein, Ms. Parsons, and Mr. Bomford who worked tirelessly to prepare the school in time for the first day of instruction. Special thanks to our Head Secretary Mrs. Mulligan, and our Office Assistant Mrs. Richardson for working through the challenges associated with the construction of our new office.

A new administration team will begin 2019-2020 school year at St. Gabriel CES. We welcome Mr. Anthony Ceelen, a long-time administrator within the Halton Catholic District School Board. Mr. Ceelen retired in June of 2019 after over 30 years in Catholic Education. He has agreed to return to cover the absence of Mrs. Monachino who is currently on leave. As a school community, we are extremely fortunate to have Tony’s years of experience with us.

As of September 3rd, 2019, Mr. Christopher Tilley will be the new Principal of St. Gabriel School. Mr. Tilley previously served as Vice-Principal of both Sacred Heart of Jesus CES in Burlington, and most recently, at St. Peter CES in Milton. Mr. Tilley also served as a classroom teacher at St. Gabriel some years ago. He feels extremely privileged and honoured to return home to the “Little School in the Woods”.

Staffing Update

There are some new faces on staff at St. Gabriel School. We welcome the following staff to our school community:

In our Special Education Division, we welcome Ms. Andrea Kattlus, a new Educational Assistant, and welcome back Ms. Amber Shepherd (EA) from maternity leave.

Ms. Richardson (Office Assistant) also rejoins the staff following her maternity leave. Welcome back!

Ms. Alison Ennaffati will join our Kindergarten division as a classroom teacher, and Ms. Justine Maychuk is a Long-Term Occasional teacher covering in Mrs. Olds’ absence. Welcome to both.

The Junior Division welcomes Ms. Stephanie Frisina (Gr. 5/6) covering Ms. Smits’ absence. Mr. Byrnes (Gr. 4/5), and Ms. Short (Gr. 5 EF) are both returning following leaves. We are pleased to see them back at St. Gabriel.

Welcome additions to our Intermediate division include Ms. Brittany Barclay, a Grade 7/8 teacher and Ms. Victoria Jankowski, covering Ms. Gagne as the Gr. 7/8 Extended French Teacher.

Ms. Gabriella Varas is our new Intermediate French Teacher in the afternoons, and Ms. Julia DeSantis (LTO) will be covering Miss. Drakeford’s leave as Teacher of the Arts. Welcome to St. Gabriel!

Recess Changes at St. Gabriel CES

Changes to recess procedures and times at St. Gabriel are new this year. The school will now have all 3 recesses with Gr. 1-8 outside at the same time. The division between Primary, Junior, and Intermediate students on the yard will be clearly defined in order to maximize the supervision and safety and well-being of all students. Please note the recess times below and the changes to the lunch hour:

Morning Recess – 9:50am-10:05am
Lunch Recess (Outdoors) – 11:25am-12:00pm (35 minutes)
Lunchtime (Indoors) – 12:00pm-12:25pm (25 minutes)
Afternoon Recess: 1:45pm-2:00pm

We believe the changes to the lunch hour will ensure students are in their classrooms following lunch and ready to begin afternoon instruction.

First Day Procedures – Grades 1-8 at St. Gabriel

The first day of school is Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019 for students in Grades 1 – 8. Students can arrive at school between 8:05 am and 8:15 am. All students in grades 1 – 8 can proceed to the playground. For this first day only, parents are welcome on the playground. You will notice folding chairs that display teachers, name, grade and classroom number on them. Students are welcome to begin lining up behind these chairs. This will be the location your child enters the school each day. Teachers will be waiting to greet students for 8:15 am. Several adults in orange duty vests will be in the yard to assist. Once the children proceed to their classes, 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).

Please consider taking First Day Selfies @stgabrielhcdsb and using the hashtags #CatchTheSpirit and #HCDSBselfie to tweet!

Kindergarten Entry

Kindergarten interviews for Year 1 (JK) students and Year 2 (SK) students new to St. Gabriel, will take place on Tuesday, September 3rd and Wednesday, September 4th, 2019. All Year 2 students will begin school on Thursday, September 5th while our Year 1 students will have a staggered entry on either Thursday, September 5th or Friday, September 6th.


Supervision begins at 8:05 am. For the safety of your children we request that your child NOT be on school property until a supervisor is on duty. For safety, please see that your children leave home with ample time to ensure that they are in the schoolyard when the bell rings. Encourage your children to use appropriate crosswalks and walkways. Establish routines at home that will assist your child to arrive on time. Please be aware that the volume of traffic in the parking lot increases significantly just prior to the entry bell.  Children arriving late for school must first report to the office for a late slip. We would like them to be in line with their class at 8:15 am.

Safe and Caring School Assemblies

Students from grades 1-8 will gather to review the school routines and expectations that help keep everyone safe and learning at St. Gabriel Catholic School. The Code of Conduct is in the front of the student agendas. Please review and discuss this with your children. Assemblies to review these expectations will be held Friday, September 6th as follows:

Primary: 9:00 – 9:30
Junior: 10:15 – 10:45
Intermediate – 12:30-1:00

Busing at St. Gabriel

At the end of each school day, all bus students Gr. 1-8 will meet in the gym where they will line up in their designated spot for their bus. They will then be escorted by a staff member to be loaded onto their bus.

K – 2 students must be met at the bus stop by a parent/guardian/ or caretaker. If there is no one at the bus stop to meet them, they will be driven back to the school at the end of the route. Children in grades 3 – 8 will be dropped off at their spot whether a parent/guardian or caretaker is there to greet them or not. Please see to check your child’s bus route and stop time. Aim to be there 5 minutes prior to the designated time, but keep in mind, buses are often substantially delayed the first days of school as everyone adjusts to their new routines. You can sign up for alerts on the website so you can know about any delays.

*Please note that Kindergarten students do not wait in the gym with our older students; they remain with our Kindergarten Team and are loaded onto their buses before the older children.

 Uniform Swap

This Thursday, September 5th our amazing St. Gabriel Volunteers will be holding a Uniform Swap in Gym A from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. If you have gently used clothing you wish to exchange for sizes that are a better fit, you are most welcome and encouraged to attend!

School Website

Please check our school website regularly at: for school information and updates, it is our primary form of communication. Our September calendar is posted on the website. Weekly Updates will also be found on our School Website.

PA Day – Mark Your Calendars!

Please note that Monday, September 16th is a Professional Activity Day. There is no school for students on that day.

Curriculum Night – Mark Your Calendars!

Curriculum Night takes place on Thursday, September 26th from 6:30 pm-8:00 pm at St. Gabriel School. More details to follow.

First School Mass – Mark Your Calendars!

St. Gabriel School will acknowledge the Feast Day of the Guardian Angels and of our patron saint St. Gabriel by attending a school-wide mass on Friday, September 27th at 10:00 am. Parents and guests are most welcome to attend!

St. Gabriel Parish Request – Altar Servers Needed!

St. Gabriel School has a long-standing partnership with our neighboring parish. The church needs young people to serve as altar servers in our parish community. If your child is in Grade 4 or above and they are interested in serving on the altar, please contact the parish office.

Catholic School Council – 2019-2020

St. Gabriel 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 13th at 9:00 am. Please note that no further nominations will be considered after this date and time.

Our Catholic School Council plays an active role at St. Gabriel 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 Thursday, October 3rd at 6:30 p.m. in the Library. The first meeting is an inaugural one to determine roles, meeting dates and priorities.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to an exciting first week of school.

Your Partners in Catholic Education,

Mr. C. Tilley – Principal        Mr. A. Ceelen – Vice-Principal

Labour Day – No School
Sep 2 all day
Catholic School Council Parent Nomination Packages – Available at Office
Sep 3 all day
FDK Year 1 Interviews – Day 1 of 2
Sep 3 all day
First Day of School Gr1-8
Sep 3 all day
FDK Year 1 Interviews – Day 2 of 2
Sep 4 all day
SK full start
Sep 5 all day
Uniform Swap
Sep 5 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

School Gymnasium A

Safe and Caring Schools Assemblies
Sep 6 all day

Primary: 9:00 – 9:30
Junior: 10:15 – 10:45
Intermediate – 12:30-1:00

Mass at St. Gabriel Parish (English)
Sep 7 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Masses at St. Gabriel Parish (English)
Sep 8 all day

8:00 am and 11:00 am Masses

Elementary PrincipalWeekly Update – September 2-6