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Weekly Update – November 29 – December 3

“Advent is a journey towards Bethlehem. May we let ourselves be drawn by the light of God made man.”

~Pope Francis

Thank you to St. Gabriel Parish for organizing our Advent Mass and for our continued faith partnership

Thank you to our parents and teachers for their commitment to improved student achievement through last week’s interview process

Thank you to our Best Buddies students for running our milk program

Thank you to our Parent Council and AGF Sub-Committee for organizing our Advent Giving Fair activities and events and for canvassing local businesses for gift basket donations

Thank you to our local community partners for their generous donations to our AGF gift baskets

Thank you to Mrs. Smyth, Miss Burrows, Mr. Sloan, and Mr. Caunce for coaching our Interschool Volleyball Teams this year!

The Holy Season of Advent – Week 1 – Hope
This weekend we celebrate the arrival of the season of Advent, which also marks the beginning of the liturgical year. Advent is a season of devout and joyful expectation. Its four Sundays highlight our desire and longing for peace, justice and unity. While Advent expresses the deep longing of all humanity for God, it also celebrates the three-fold coming of the Lord by:

  • Remembering the events that surrounded the Lord’s coming long ago;
  • Celebrating his coming among us today, and;
  • Looking forward to his final coming in glory;

During the first week of Advent we reflect and pray on the theme of Hope. The hope of Advent is not hope that Jesus will come back into the world at Christmas. Jesus did come into the world, two thousand years ago—God-made-man, Word made flesh, in Bethlehem. This is a historical fact. Hope is rooted in history, but hope is also about our present, and our future. Hope is the knowledge that our lives have meaning—that each day that we live matters, and indeed, that we matter, because we are beloved by God and because he has an eternal plan for our lives.

While Advent is certainly a time of celebration and anticipation of Christ’s birth, it is more than that. It is only in the shadow of Advent that the miracle of Christmas can be fully understood and appreciated.  The promise for the church is Jesus Christ; he has come, and he will come again. This is the essence of Advent.


As you light your candle(s) for each week of Advent invite all who gather to share in this prayer:
God, Send your light into our hearts and fill us with joy,
as we prepare for the birth of your Son.
Transform our lives into images of Jesus
so that your light will shine through us.
Lord, fill the world with your peace, hope and love this Advent.

Advent Mass
Fr. Paul will celebrate a school-wide Advent Mass this Thursday, December 2nd beginning at 9:00 am. Our Grade 8 students will be in attendance and participate in the celebration of the Eucharist while K-Grade 7 classes follow the live streaming Parents are most welcome to use the link to watch our Advent Mass. We thank our Pastor Fr. Paul and Nancy Meehan – Pastoral Lay Minister for continuing to be our spiritual guides and leaders through Advent and leading up to Christmas.

Monthly STORM Awards Draw
STORM Awards are back by popular demand! At the end of each month 4 names will be drawn from all the STORM Awards accumulated during each month. Students that received awards for “Showing That Our Respect Matters” will be entered into draws to win either Indigo, Apple iTunes, Cineplex, or SportChek gift cards. This month’s draw takes place on Tuesday, November 30th. So, let’s get out there St. Gabriel and show the world that our respect matters!

International Day of Peoples with Disabilities – Friday, December 3rd
Students and staff from the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) will be celebrating International Day of People with Disabilities on Friday, December 3rd and throughout the week (November 29 – December 3, 2021). In addition to Christmas Pajama Day, we are asking all students to wear bright coloured socks to recognize this important day. For more details, please visit the school website  

COVID-19 vaccination for 5-11 year olds
First dose COVID-19 vaccination appointments for 5-11 year olds can now be booked through Halton Region’s online booking system for children five to 11 years of age (or turning five in 2021). Second doses can be booked at a date closer to the recommended eight week interval. Appointments are dependent on paediatric vaccine supply and will be added to the Region’s booking system as supply is confirmed. Please keep checking Halton’s website and booking form as more appointments are added.

Appointments are available at the Region’s new paediatric child-friendly clinics (similar to a doctor’s office) and their four existing community clinics, featuring the Halton Heroes. Appointments are also available at select pharmacies and primary care providers & paediatric offices in Halton. Parents can decide which setting is best for their child, based on age and other personal factors. Information to assist with the decision is available on

Book an appointment

Lunchbox at St. Gabriel
St. Gabriel Catholic School Council is proud to offer families an additional opportunity to purchase lunches for our students. Our provider is Lunchbox and we will be offering Subway and Boston Pizza on alternating Tuesdays. Lunchbox is connected to the SchoolCash Online system so ordering lunches for your children will be almost seamless. 

Please see the attached flyers for important information. Parents can log in to their SchoolCash Online accounts and select Lunchbox. In a few small steps, parents can select St. Gabriel and their child’s teacher to order Tuesday lunches. Lunch Delivery FAQ (Sept 2021).pdf   LBSCO Introduction – St. Gabriel CES Burlington 21-22.pdf 

Should you have questions do not hesitate to contact the main office.

Advent Giving Fair 2021 – “5 Days of Christmas Cheer” 
Our “5 Days of Christmas Cheer” begins this week. Our kick-off event will take place on Thursday, December 2nd. More details to follow in an email this week! On Friday, December 3rd we will have our first spirit day – Christmas Pajama Day. Please note that students will also be invited to wear their colourful socks to recognize “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”. In addition, students will be making Christmas cards to send to those serving in our Canadian Armed Forces. For all things AGF please visit our website:

Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) will once again be running our annual Keeping Christ in Christmas student contest! This year, the contest will be open for entries from Friday, November 5 through Friday, December 3, 2021.
Students are encouraged to submit entries that highlight the theme of the contest, and express in their own creativity how we can all do our part to Keep Christ in Christmas. We welcome entries from HCDSB students of all ages and abilities!
Students may submit entries electronically in the following four (4) categories:

  • Visual artwork (drawing, painting, photography, collage, sculpture, 3D model, etc.)
  • Original song
  • Short video (maximum length is 3 minutes)
  • Short story or poem (up to 250 words)

Submissions Accepted Online ONLY To minimize the distribution of paper and for the health and safety of our students, staff and school communities, we will be accepting submissions ONLINE ONLY this yearStudent work can be entered into the contest through an online form available on the official contest page

Student submissions will be reviewed separately by division group, as follows:

  • Primary (K-3)
  • Junior (4-6)
  • Intermediate (7-8)
  • Secondary (9-12)

Sixteen (16) student entries will move on to the finals! A prize will be awarded to the top student entry in each of the four division groups.
For more information about the contest and submission requirements, please visit the Board’s website.
Deadline for Entries:
 December 3, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

Have a Question?
If you have any questions about the contest, please feel free to email us at: or contact us on Twitter, direct message us on Instagram, or contact us through Facebook.  
We look forward to showcasing the creative talents of our HCDSB students!

Extended French Program (begins in Grade 5 at HCDSB.)
The online registration process for the 2022-2023 school year will take place in December of this year. The online registration portal will be available on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 until Friday, December 17, 2021.
A direct link to online registration will be available on the Extended French webpage, and can also be accessed on the homepage of the Board’s website ( during this time period.
About the Random Selection Process
Student enrolment in the Extended French program will be determined through a random selection (lottery) process. Please note that only one (1) registration per child will be accepted and included in the random selection process. All duplicate registrations will be CANCELLED. Visit HCDSB’s website for more information on the Extended French Program.

Attendance Matters
St. Gabriel School is dedicated to helping your child develop the spiritual, intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, social and physical capabilities to live fully and to meet the future challenges of adult roles and responsibilities.  The school can best contribute to your child’s education and development when you form a partnership with them.

As parents/guardians you have many responsibilities towards your child. One responsibility is to ensure that your child is in school every day, ready to learn. In fact, it is the law. The Provincial Education Act states that every child between the ages of 6 and 18 years is required to attend school every day from the first school day in September until the last school day in June. Success at school helps children engage in learning, while helping the child to build the routine of school attendance into their life.

How does our school respond to attendance concerns?
We recognize that the attendance profile for each child can be very unique.  However, when patterns or routines of non-attendance by a student are identified, we will proceed with the following interventions to support the student and their family:

  1. Teacher will discuss attendance with parent/guardian and student
  2. Teacher will refer attendance case to school Principal when 10 days absence has been recorded
  3. Principal will send a letter home to parent/guardian upon 15 days absent
  4. Principal will consult with school Social Worker upon 15 days of absent, and will encourage a meeting or phone conversation with parent/guardian
  5. Upon 20 days absent, Principal will send a second letter home and a habitual absence referral will be made to the school Social Worker

Our school also monitors arrival patterns of students, as it is equally important for students to arrive at school on time, ready to learn at the beginning of the day. There are numerous advantages for your child that you can support by ensuring they arrive at school on time, including:

  • A typical school day starts with announcements and introductions to new lessons and concepts. Students who show up late may miss out on important details and be unprepared for future class events or key learning concepts.
  • Students who arrive at school on time have the opportunity to settle into the classroom, prepare their materials and focus their minds on the lessons to come.
  • Arriving on time for school ensures that your child doesn’t miss out on the important learning activities that happen early in the day.
  • When students show up on time to school every day, they develop the habit of being punctual with important commitments.

We will also send notice to families when we identify patterns of habitual tardiness.

Message from Halton Transportation – Courtesy Seats
We are happy to inform you that courtesy bus seats will now be offered at a reduced capacity, beginning January 3, 2022.

In accordance with HSTS Procedure HS-1-004 – Courtesy Seats, families with children who are not otherwise eligible for school bus transportation to and from school are allowed to apply for courtesy seats on school buses.

Courtesy seats will be offered at a reduced capacity for the health and safety of our students, and to accommodate continued growth in the region of Halton. 

HSTS Courtesy Seat Application Form 
The HSTS Courtesy Seat online application form will be open for submissions at: from Monday, November 8 through Friday, November 26th, 2021 until 5:00 p.m.

Upon completion of the application review process, parents and guardians who submitted a courtesy seat application will be notified by HSTS via email by December 31, 2021. Families will be able to check on the status of their application using the BusPlannerWeb portal. 

Visit the HSTS website for more information: 

Virtual Opening Exercises
Ms. Biso’s Grade 5 class will lead our Virtual Opening Exercises this week. Each week, a different class from Grades 3 – 8 will lead the school in Opening Exercises.

Daily COVID-19 Screening
At St. Gabriel School, we review with our students each day the importance of the following:

  • Hand hygiene by using soap and water for 20 seconds, regularly during the day, before/after eating, after washroom use, and before/after outdoor play.
  • Respiratory etiquette by wearing our masks so that they fully cover our nose, mouth and are tight to our chin.
  • Maintaining physical distancing by respecting the personal space of others

Kindly ensure that you remind your child of the importance of complying with the safety measures that are in place when they are at school.

For the safety and well-being of all students and staff, parents and guardians must perform daily screening of their child(ren) for COVID-19 symptoms BEFORE leaving for school using the COVID-19 Self-Assessment.

The Government of Ontario daily self-screening tool can be accessed here:

Dressing for Winter Weather
With the arrival of winter like weather, we kindly request that parents ensure your child is dressed each day to play outside at recess. Students are able to be outside for all regular outside activities when it is warmer than -15 C. When temperatures range between -15C to -20C, students may remain outside for no longer than 20-minute intervals, once temperatures are colder than -20C students must remain inside ~thank you for your support with this!

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

How does 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 goods 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!

Promoting Well-Being – Ready for the Holidays

When your child is struggling with mental health challenges, the holidays are not always easy. With so many expectations about what the holidays should be like or who we should be spending our time with, it can be very difficult to make it all work.

With the support of our network of child and youth mental health experts, we have rounded up some tips and ideas to help your family this holiday season.

  1. Do what works for your family

The holidays can be an especially challenging time of year for many families. Expectations of the holidays can be hard on children – and, let’s face it, it’s not ‘the happiest time’ for all of us. It’s ok to prioritize mental health over holiday commitments. When you prioritize your or your child’s mental wellness, you can focus on what works for your family. As a parent, consider the things that feel realistic for you to do and then offer those choices to kids/youth to pick from. So many of us struggle with saying no over the holidays – perhaps this year, you will feel confident about not over committing your schedule and slowing things down; and that’s ok! Also, keep in mind that having time to connect with each other is important, but so, too, is having space for everyone to have their own personal time.

  • Plan early

Routines and predictability are often beneficial (within reason) for children and youth with mental health challenges. It’s a good time to start having conversations with children about what the holidays may look like so that they know what to expect. This also allows them to be a part of the new planning process. What is important to them? Is there something new they would like to try? Planning early also gives us time to let other relatives or friends know in advance to manage their expectations, too. Also, during the winter school break, consider connecting with the parents of your children’s friend so that you can help arrange days for play dates.

  • Find a quiet place in a busy space

Find a spot during a holiday activity or party where your child (or you) can go for a break. Don’t force your child to interact with other kids or adults, instead let them have that time on their own to regroup. If your child is young, bring books or a bag of special toys. If your teenager needs to decompress with a game on their phone, that’s ok. Check in periodically to see how everyone is doing, or if some quiet time is needed.

Don’t worry about other people’s judgments. People may ask insensitive questions or make comments about your child’s behaviour. Sometimes they are trying to be rude, other times, they’re just trying to understand. Have a quick sentence or two ready that explains your child’s issues. This will help you stay calm and to keep from overreacting.

  • Managing disappointment

Sometimes, the holidays don’t work out the way we expect. And for many of us, the holidays still won’t be what they may have been before the pandemic. That will be disappointing for a lot of children (and parents!) It’s important to acknowledge that disappointment, especially for children. Give kids a safe space to share their feelings and be heard. If the pandemic is impacting your plans, it’s ok to let kids know this is hard for you, too. Reminding your kids – and yourself – that this is a temporary measure in a very unusual time may make it all feel a little less daunting.  While we are all doing our part to manage the pandemic, so much of what is happening in the province – and the world – is out of our control right now. This is a good time to focus on the things that are in your control. When it comes to traditions of the holiday season, consider how you can incorporate the traditions, or at least parts of those traditions, that are most important to your family. It could be something as simple as baking or planning for a fun family movie night.

  • Supporting children through grief

The holidays can be especially hard for families who are grieving. Remembering your loved one, telling stories, and laughing about good times together are all ok to do, and can provide comfort to your child. You might work together to come up with ideas for memorializing your loved one over the holiday. Remember that it’s okay for you child/youth to feel upset as there have been a lot of different types of loss this year.

  • Take care of you

The holidays can be a stressful and anxious time for parents, too. Make sure that you are eating, sleeping and enjoying the holidays as well. Maintain healthy boundaries. Take time when you need it, don’t feel guilty saying no when you need to. Do what is best for you and your family. Consider planning a day where the family could play a game or watch a movie together. But don’t forget to have some scheduled time where kids can play games and parents or caregivers can take some time out as well.

Your kids are watching you model behaviour and your resilience is teaching them. Resilience is about bouncing back from challenges, rather than not having any challenges at all. Look back on your year. What are some of the things you and your family have done to get through this year? What is working? What doesn’t work? How have you changed as a parent? Notice what works for your family – and remember that this will look different for each family.


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Indigenous Awareness Month
Nov 1 – Nov 30 all day
First Sunday of Advent – HOPE – Purple Candle on Advent Wreath
Nov 28 all day
Monthly STORM Awards Draw
Nov 28 all day
Gr.5EF – 8 – Viewing Raffle Baskets in Library
Nov 30 all day
Lunchbox – Boston Pizza
Nov 30 all day
Monthly STORM Awards Draw
Nov 30 all day
Kindergarten – Gr. 4 – Viewing of Raffle Baskets in Library
Dec 1 all day
Pizza Day
Dec 1 all day
5 Days of Christmas Cheer Kick-Off Event – Pie in the Face!
Dec 2 all day
School Advent Mass
Dec 2 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Christmas Cards for Canadian Armed Forces
Dec 3 all day
Day 1 of 5 Days of Christmas Cheer
Dec 3 all day
Spirit Day – Christmas PJ Day
Dec 3 all day
Virtual Prayers/Opening Exercises
Dec 3 all day
Wear Brightly Coloured Socks for International Day of Peoples with Disabilities
Dec 3 all day
Second Sunday of Advent – PEACE – Purple Candle on Wreath
Dec 5 all day
FIAT 7 Day “Blitz-en” Food Drive
Dec 6 – Dec 14 all day
Lunchbox – Subway
Dec 7 all day
Christmas Door Decorating Competition
Dec 8 all day
Day 2 of 5 Days of Christmas Cheer
Dec 8 all day
Pizza Day
Dec 8 all day
Spirit Day – Dress Like an Elf Day
Dec 8 all day
Creating Christmas Ornaments
Dec 10 all day
Day 3 of 5 Days of Christmas Cheer
Dec 10 all day
Spirit Day – Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
Dec 10 all day

Tilley, ChristopherWeekly Update – November 29 – December 3