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Weekly Update – October 26 – 30

Each one of us is called to be an artisan of peace, by uniting and not dividing, by extinguishing hatred and not holding on to it, by opening paths to dialogue and not by constructing new walls. – Pope Francis

St. Gabriel CES Virtual Curriculum Night
It is an ongoing tradition to host a Curriculum Night each fall at St. Gabriel CES. It saddens us greatly that we cannot invite parents/guardians into the school this year to show them all the wonderful things happening in our classrooms. For that reason, we have decided to provide families with a Virtual Curriculum Night to take place on Thursday, October 29th, 2020 between 6:00 – 700pm.

Staff members will be creating presentations for parents/guardians to showcase their classrooms, while also sharing information about their learning routines and student programming. The evening will begin with a live Administrator’s Message and prayer at 6:00pm. Teachers/DECE’s will be posting their Curriculum Night presentations on their D2L sites for parents to access and view following the address.

Parents are encouraged to email their child/ren’s teachers with any follow up questions related to curriculum after viewing the presentations. Some individual staff have elected to go live to answer questions. Information on how to access the live portions of the evening will be communicated to parents via email this week.    

Why Should Parents/Guardians Attend Virtual Curriculum Night?
-Get a glimpse of the timetable, routine and curriculum breakdown
-Understand health and safety protocols and classroom routines
-Understand homework expectations and assessment/evaluation practices
-Learn about the teacher’s communication preferences
-To partner with the school, and your child, to work together regarding their academic, social and spiritual development

Halloween Boogie-a-thon Fundraiser
The date is nearly upon us and the excitement continues grow for our Halloween Boogie-a-thon taking place this Friday, October 30th! St. Gabriel Staff will be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast for this Friday to determine if our event will take place indoors or outdoors. A reminder to families that all funds raised will be put directly back to the school in the purchase of more technology for students. As of last Friday, October 23rd the total funds raised was $394.00. For more information on the Boogie-a-thon, please see the link below.

Halloween Candy & Treats
Although we encourage our students to celebrate the spirit of Halloween, we cannot accept any food or candy items at school. Students with food-related allergies and the restrictions surrounding sharing food during the COVID-19 pandemic are the reasons for this measure. Thank you for your understanding.

COVID-19 Public Health Guidelines
Halton residents are strongly encouraged to follow the recommendations listed below to protect themselves and each other from COVID-19. For more information visit or call 311.

1. Stay home if you are feeling unwell or are self-isolating
2. Travel around your neighbourhood with members of your own household only – do not travel in large groups
3. Limit the number of houses you visit
4. Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from those outside of your household
5. Wait for others to leave a house before approaching it
6. Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when physical distancing is a challenge. A traditional Halloween mask is not a replacement
7. Carry hand sanitizer and use it often
8. Avoid touching your face, and cover coughs and sneezes with a bent elbow or tissue
9. Be respectful of households that are not handing out treats this year
10. Follow the regular safety measures when going trick-or-treating, such as wearing reflective materials, watching for traffic and using crosswalks

St. Gabriel Tips
Halloween is a celebration of all things spooky, and it’s surrounded by a few traditions like trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving. Here are a few interesting facts about the unique holiday. For more fun facts visit

  • “Jack o’lantern” comes from the Irish legend of Stingy Jack
  • Black and orange are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death
  • Trick-or-treating comes from “souling”. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes
  • Halloween originated from an ancient Celtic festival
  • The first Jack O’Lanterns were actually made from turnips
  • The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night
  • The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die
  • The Guinness World Record for Heaviest Pumpkin is held by Mathias Willemijns from Belgium and his 2,624.6-pound pumpkin

Equity & Inclusive Education: Halloween Costume Selection
Halloween is a great time to dress up and have fun with costumes. There are endless possibilities for what children (and adults) can be for Halloween. A shark, a wizard, a clown, a crime-fighting cartoon puppy, a banana, a giant hot dog, a Minecraft character, even a velociraptor!  However, another person’s culture should never be our costume.

St. Gabriel CES is a place where students not only learn about diversity but also experience it. We strive to ensure that our students see themselves and their classmates reflected in their studies. Our students and families should expect their interactions within our school community to leave them feeling accepted for who they are.

As you select a Halloween costume, we encourage everyone to reflect critically, be mindful of cultural appropriation and create welcoming school environments for all. For more information, please visit the following link:

Grade 3 First Communion – Update
Parents/Guardians are asked to access the Inscription Promise document below. All Grade 3 students making their First Communion on Saturday, November 14th are asked to attend mass at St. Gabriel Church over the next two weekends to hand in their completed Inscription Promise. The dates are provided in the attachment and the Mass times are listed below.

English: Saturday – 5:00 pm; Sunday – 8:00 am, 11:00 am.

Polish: Sunday – 9:30 am, 12:30 pm

Minds Up Update – Grades 1-3
Students in Grades 1-3 have learned that their brains can produce a well-thought out reaction by way of the reflective prefrontal cortex or trigger a thoughtless one through the reflexive amygdala.   This week the students will further explore the contrasting styles of response, using the terms mindful and unmindful to sort out important thoughts and actions in their own lives.

Friday Virtual Opening Exercises
Beginning October 30th, Prayers, O Canada, and Announcements will be delivered each Friday in a virtual format. Each week a class from Grade 3 – 8 will be responsible for sharing Opening Exercises with the entire school in a virtual format. This coming Friday, Mr. Sloan’s Grade 8 class will lead us in our opening routines via Microsoft TEAMS.

Remembrance Day Liturgy
On Wednesday, November 11th, 2020, St. Gabriel CES will be hosting a virtual Remembrance Day Liturgy & Ceremony beginning at 10:30am. More information to follow.

COBS Bread – Raise Some Dough Fundraiser
Throughout the school year families at St. Gabriel CES will have the chance to raise funds which will be donated directly back to school.

How will it work?

  • Each time the families of St. Gabriel CES purchase a product at COBS Bread Maple Mews and they mention they’re raising dough for St. Gabriel, our staff will process a 10% donation of the total sale back to your school.
  • The donations to the school will be presented at an agreed upon time. Running totals can be provided after each school term to let families know how much has been raised.

Families are asked to participate in this fundraiser by purchasing items at the Maple Mews COBS location situated at 1235 Fairview St, Burlington, ON L7S 2K9. Upon purchasing baked good at this COBS location, kindly mention St. Gabriel and 10% of your purchase will be donated to our school!

We look forward to this continued local community partnership!

Grade 7 & 8 Online Safety Presentations
On Wednesday, October 28th, Officer Dawn Freeland – Halton Regional Police Elementary School Liaison Officer will be speaking to all Intermediate Classes about safe, proper, and responsible online safety and etiquette. Officer Dawn will be working with Ms. Carey and Mr. Tilley to deliver this important message in a virtual format so all students in Grades 7 and 8 receive the messaging. Officer Dawn’s presentations are part of ensuring St. Gabriel remains a safe, welcoming, and inclusive Catholic school community.

School Immunization Program Update from Public Health
Planning for school-based vaccine clinics for the 2020 – 2021 school year continues. This will include current Grade 7 students, as well as current Grade 8 students that missed their Hepatitis B and HPV vaccines due to cancellations in the spring of 2020. Families can continue to view or submit immunization records or regularly visit to receive updates or learn about immunization.

Keeping Each Other Safe
We appreciate your support in helping our students understand the reasons for our new rules and procedures, and encourage you to continue to remind them about the importance of hand hygiene, mask wearing, and keeping a safe distance from one another whenever possible. Reminding your children to follow these practices both inside and outside of school will help to keep our whole community safe.

We know that it is frustrating that you can’t drop off items that your child forgot to bring to school, such as their lunch, textbooks or water bottles. We are reluctant to call students to the office because we need to limit the number of students in the hallway, thus preventing cohorts from mixing. We are also trying hard not to handle the belongings of others and we are not permitting children to share items. We have a Board protocol for handling all shared materials that includes sanitizing and/or quarantining items that have been touched by others. These protocols were created based on the guidelines provided by the Halton Public Health Department.

Dropping Off Items at School
We appreciate your patience with our new routines and procedures. Please remember that students should come to school with the items that they need for the day as we should be limiting our daily contacts with visitors.

Outdoor Wear
With the fall weather upon us and our windy playground, please remember that it is that time of year when our weather changes drastically throughout the day. Layering is a great solution for our students to ensure that they have the proper wear.

From the ESL Desk 
Students’ first languages are a critical foundation, not only for language learning, but for all learning (Many Roots, Many Voices: Ministry Document).  Research shows that a strong foundation in the first language helps students transfer these skills to learning English. Therefore, it is important that students continue to use their first language at home. 

Benefits of maintaining a first language: 

  • Ease integration into a Canadian classroom and community 
  • Support sense of identity, family and cultural background 
  • Increased self-confidence 
  • Promote positive attitudes toward learning 
  • Expand career opportunities 

Useful websites for ESL students: 

On-Line Books:
An on-line library of books in English and many other languages including: Spanish, Tagalog, Portuguese, and Arabic.

A great website for primary students to practice letters sounds, rhyming words, and reading.

Use of Technology at School
When relevant to curriculum and instruction, teachers may permit the use of any board owned or personal electronic device in a manner that meets the current policy as a classroom learning device, and to develop competency with the following learning strategies:

  • Becoming a Digital Citizen
  • Understand Technology Operations and Concepts
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making

We kindly ask that parents/guardians refrain from attempting to contact their child during the day through their child’s cell phone. In the event of a family emergency, the appropriate method to contact your child during the school day is through the school Main Office.

Daily Screening & Symptoms Protocol
Parents/guardians are reminded to monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in your children and to complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool for Schools each morning before sending your children to school.

What to Do If Your Child Has COVID-19 Like Symptoms?
When a child is sick with new or worsening COVID-19 like symptoms, parents/guardians must follow one of the following three options:

Have your child tested for COVID-19 and keep them home to self-isolate until the test results are revealed; test results will indicate the next steps.


If your child has an alternative diagnosis provided by a health care provider, they may return to school once it has been at least 24 hours since their symptoms have started improving.


Keep your child home to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. They may return to school after the 14-day period once it has been at least 24 hours since their symptoms have started improving.

The updated screening tool offers a more comprehensive checklist of the type and number of symptoms needed for a child to stay home for a period of time and seek medical advice.

Please note that the COVID-19 School Screening Tool is not to be used as a clinical assessment or intended to take the place of medical advice; a diagnosis or treatment.

The online COVID-19 Screening Tool will be updated soon to include these new revisions.

In the meantime, you are asked to keep screening your children for COVID-19 each day using the updated guidelines in the link below:

October 1st Update – COVID-19 Screening Tool for Children

Safe Arrival Student Absence Reporting

The safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority. Please use the automated student attendance management system SafeArrival to report your child’s absence.

The SafeArrival system is available 24/7, allowing you to report your child’s absence in one of three ways:

  1. using the SchoolMessenger® mobile app
  2. by logging into the SchoolMessenger® web site
  3. by calling into an interactive toll-free phone line

SafeArrival enhances our existing student attendance procedure, making it more convenient for parents to report a child’s absence, and more efficient for our school office staff to follow up sooner on unexplained absences.

Student Corner – National Days

Hello everyone, this the last week of October and its Halloween this week!

The National Days for this week are…

October 25th: National Greasy Food Day & National Mother-in-Law Day

October 26th: National Pumpkin Day & National Mincemeat Day

October 27th: National Black Cat Day

October 28th: National Chocolate Day

October 29th: National Cat Day & National Oatmeal Day

October 30th: National Candy Corn Day, National Breadstick Day & National Frankenstein Friday Day

October 31stHalloween! National Caramel Apple Day & National Knock Knock Jokes Day

Have a fun spooky week everyone and be safe!

PROMOTING WELL-BEING – Free Ways to Enhance Your Well-Being

The good news is health and wellness doesn’t discriminate and is available for all levels of income. The following suggestions are for anyone interested in strengthening one’s wellbeing—without weakening the wallet… we will highlight one of 12 ways in our updates:

Meditation – No time to exercise? Can’t be bothered to write your feelings down? Mediation may be what the doctor ordered, and the benefits may be seen in a mere 5 minutes! The good news is that meditation is free; the bad news is it takes some time to hone the skill. This is especially true if we can’t stop thinking about our “To Do” list or picking up the kids from school.

Once we are able to focus on the present, focus only our breathing, and calm our minds, we will benefit from the emotional and physical health effects of this ancient practice. From reducing negative emotions and gaining a most positive perspective to managing chronic anxiety, pain, and sleep problems, meditation may be the panacea of good health.

For more information, please visit the following link:

General Information
We will continue to share information and updates with parents directly through email.

Updates will also be posted on the Return to School Plan website and through the Board’s social media channels:   

You can also review our FAQs online for more information about the return to school.

Social Media

Follow us on Instagram st.gabrielhcdsb

Follow us on Twitter @stgabrielhcdsb

Grade 3 First Communion – Inscription Promise Weekends
Oct 24 all day
Grade 3 First Communion – Inscription Promise Weekends
Oct 25 all day
Virtual Curriculum Night
Oct 29 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Halloween Boogie-a-thon
Oct 30 all day
Virtual Prayers, Opening Exercises, Announcements
Oct 30 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Grade 3 First Communion – Inscription Promise Weekends
Oct 31 all day
Oct 31 all day
All Saints Day
Nov 1 all day
Grade 3 First Communion – Inscription Promise Weekends
Nov 1 all day
All Souls Day
Nov 2 all day
Grade 8 Parent Information Night – Notre Dame CSS
Nov 4 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Virtual Prayers, Opening Exercises, Announcements
Nov 6 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Remembrance Day Liturgy and Ceremony
Nov 11 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
CSC Meeting #2
Nov 12 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Graduation Hoodie Orders Due
Nov 13 all day

Tilley, ChristopherWeekly Update – October 26 – 30