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Weekly Update November 22, 2021

“Remind each other of God’s goodness and be thankful” EPHESIANS 5:4

Interviews and Progress Reports

“We know that parents have an important role to play in supporting student learning. Studies show that students perform better in school if their parents or guardians are involved in their education. This is the basis for the principle that students and parents should be kept fully informed about the student’s progress.” ~ Growing Success, page 8.

Progress Reports will be sent home electronically by the HCDS Board Office on Wednesday, November 24th. Please look for future communication via Board Email with instructions on how to access them.

The interview booking information was sent out to you by email. Interviews will be taking place virtually this year: Thursday, November 25th from 3:50 – 8:00 PM and Friday, November 26th from 9:00 am – 3:00 PM. We are looking forward to connecting with you around your child’s progress.

Lunch Reminder

We would like to appeal to all of our families to do your very best to remember to send your kids to school with their own water bottles and cutlery to eat their lunches with. We are giving out dozens of spoons, forks, and cups a day. Aside from this being very, very bad for the environment, it is also expensive, and we would rather see these funds go to programming and events for our students. If you order The Lunch Lady for your children on Wednesdays, please remember that The Lunch Lady does not provide cutlery. Also, all of our water fountains are closed, so students require a cup if they are thirsty and want water. A water bottle saves greatly on this expense.

St. Matthew Catholic Parish News

This weekend we begin celebrating First Reconciliation with Grade 2 students in our parish, and thanks to an amazing (and growing) team of volunteers, our preparation meetings last week went off without a hitch. Children and their parents glued cotton onto sheep-shaped nametags they decorated, and they also got a chance to learn about God’s love by way of the story of Cecil, the Lost Sheep. It was one of the most “normal” things to happen in our church since the beginning of the pandemic. A little bit loud, a little bit messy, a little bit chaotic, but beautiful throughout. Though we were all masked and (mostly) distant, the excitement was palpable. We know the Christian faith is struggling to keep people engaged in an increasingly distracted and distracting world. Many worry about the future of Christian communities. It’s important to focus on and be thankful for signs of life where we see them. For our parish, that often means considering the experiences of faith being had by our young people, of which we have many. God’s Spirit is hard at work in all of them!

~ Father Allen Varlaki

Follow St. Matthew Catholic Church on Social Media and keep up to date with all that is happening in our parish! There are four ways to connect to the parish:

Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education

OAPCE WEBINARS PRESENTS… “Rebuilding our Resiliency as Parents”

Parents who can cope with the stresses of everyday life, have the flexibility and inner strength to bounce back when things are not going well.  Adapting to new changes, bullying, and the uncertainties in this complex world we live in, are challenges which arise from the skills of resilience. Aligning with our theme,” Rebuilding our Resiliency as Parents”, join us on November 20th, as OAPCE presents two live webinars that will engage parents across the province and seek out good outcomes where problems were to be expected.  Parents can register at –

COVID-19 Safety Measures

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:

Coming Soon ~ Student Census 2022

In February 2022, HCDSB will be collecting identity-based student data through a board-wide Student Census. This census will help our school board better understand and support our students and their experiences in school and will help promote equitable and inclusive learning environments.

NOTE: Parents of students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 will be invited to complete the online survey on behalf of their child. For more information about the Student Census, please visit the HCDSB website:

Courtesy Bus 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: 
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work with HSTS to reintroduce courtesy bus seats for our students.

Human Rights and Equity Advisory Council

Our HCDSB schools are committed to creating safe, inclusive and welcoming learning environments that support student achievement and well-being in our Catholic schools. Human Rights and Equity are guiding values that are consistent both with Catholic Social Teaching, reaffirming the dignity of every individual, as well as the Ontario Human Rights Code, which safeguards students and staff from discrimination based on the protected grounds. 

The Board’s Equity and Inclusive Education Steering Committee is in the process of forming a Human Rights and Equity Advisory Council (HREAC) to engage community stakeholders including parents, students and community organizations. 

The purpose of the HREAC is to assist in identifying community needs and to provide advice and guidance on addressing systemic barriers and supporting historically underserved members of the 2SLGBTQ+, racialized and Black communities in the HCDSB. 

Parents/guardians and students in Grades 7-12 interested in serving on the HREAC are invited to submit an application online through the HREAC Membership Application Form

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.

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!

Promoting Well-Being – Pedestrian Safety for Children

By SickKids staff

Find out how to help make walking to school (or anywhere else) a safe routine for your child.

Key points

  • Before allowing your child to walk outside without you, teach them about walking only on the sidewalk, holding hands and never running into the road, even for a favourite toy.
  • With older children, use situations such as changing weather or planning a route to teach more about pedestrian safety.
  • Remind your child to pay attention to other road users and not text or listen to loud music while walking.

Make sure your child can choose and use a safe crossing route, accurately estimate a vehicle’s speed and judge safe gaps in traffic before allowing them to walk alone.

As your child settles into the school year, one item that might be missing from their checklist is a discussion about getting to school safely.

According to Parachute, the national organization dedicated to preventing injuries, an average of 16 child pedestrians are killed and 1,300 are seriously injured on Canada’s roads every year.

Pedestrian safety facts

  • Children aged 10 to 14 are the most likely age group to suffer pedestrian-related injuries. Even more startling, children aged five to 14 years are most likely to be killed by a vehicle.
  • Child pedestrians are most often hurt in September and October, followed by May and June.
  • Most child pedestrians are hit by a vehicle in towns and cities with heavy traffic, many parked cars and few play spaces.
  • An accident on a rural road is more likely to be fatal because of faster vehicle speeds.

These numbers serve as a reminder about the power of talking about prevention with your child. Teens and adults, especially drivers, also play a big role in street safety.

School road safety tips

The Parachute Elementary Road Safety program has a number of tips that can help make trips to and from school, or anywhere else, safe.

Teach your child

Long before a child will be allowed to roam the streets alone, parents should teach them some basic safety tips. These include walking only on the sidewalk, holding hands and never running into the road, even for a favourite toy.

As your child gets older, you can use events that you see together as opportunities to teach more about pedestrian safety. For example, you might use situations such as changing weather conditions, someone jaywalking or picking the best route to get from one place to another.

Another key point is to be a role model by walking with your child and demonstrating safe pedestrian practices.

Think, look and listen

Teach your child to stop at the curb, look left, right and left again, and listen for oncoming traffic. Your child should consider alleys and driveways as “mini-roads” and treat them with the same level of caution.

Children should not be allowed to wear ear buds or talk on the phone while walking down the street. Talking on the phone, texting and listening to music can all be distracting. Both adults and children need to pay attention to what is going on around them.

Also, note that our alertness fades throughout the day. Most incidents happen between 3pm and 6pm, when drivers are coming from work and children may be walking from school.

Children should know that their hearing is very important for safety. You can play games to encourage your child to listen for traffic. For example, when you hear a vehicle behind you coming down the street, try to guess what it is with your child.

Wait to let your child walk alone

According to Parachute, children need to develop three important skills before they can walk alone. They need to be able to:

  • choose and use a safe crossing route
  • accurately assess a vehicle’s speed
  • judge safe gaps in traffic

Many children do not develop these skills until they are aged nine to 11. Until you are confident that your child can be a safe pedestrian, make sure they are supervised.
Cascone-Brown, KellyWeekly Update November 22, 2021