2014 09 26 Issue #01

This the first bi-weekly newsletter of the year!

Contents:

  1. The Gordon Gazette (A message from the Principal Margaret Davidson)
  2. A PAC (Parent Advisory Council) Welcome to All Families

Gordon Gazette

2014 September 26, Newsletter #01
Click here for General Information about the School
Click here for school hours

Calendar Reminders

Monday Sept. 29 PAC Meeting at Bayview 7:00-8:00pm
Wednesday, Oct. 1 Welcome Back Tea 3:30-5:30pm
Wednesday Oct. 8 Goal Setting Conferences
Annex dismissal at 2:00pm
Main dismissal at 1:45pm
Thursday Oct. 9 Goal Setting Conferences
Annex dismissal at 2:00pm
Main dismissal at 1:45pm
Professional Day (September) TBA

Welcome to another exciting year at General Gordon. We look forward to meeting all our new students and their families. We have a couple of new staff members and welcome them to our learning community. Our Code of Conduct reflects how the Gordon community is caring, respectful and safe. Choose to be Kind! Choose to be Safe! Choose to be Fair! Gordon School has been focusing on “Critical Thinking” and “Aboriginal Culture.” Our goals this year are to teach the application of critical thinking, clear articulation of ideas, healthy choices and social responsibility in the use of technology and electronic media and to increase students’ participation in socially responsible activities around the school environment. We are also working on increasing our knowledge, acceptance, empathy, awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal histories, cultures and contributions among all students. We would like to welcome the following new staff to our school: Michelle Catlin (Grade 4/5), Francoise Raunet (Grade 6LFI), and Renee Unruh (extra-clerical staff).

SCHOOL ORGANIZATION:

I would like to thank the parents and the staff for being patient as we work on putting a school organization together that is able to meet the needs of most everyone. There are a number of factors that become important when looking at the make-up of the different classes. Some of the factors are that we are bound by a collective agreement, others are Ministry guidelines that we need to follow, and others involve individual children and looking at their learning styles, their friendships, their strengths and weaknesses. Teachers spend hours and hours of their time making the best educational decisions for grouping the students. It is difficult for us to organize our classes by the first week as families move in and out of our catchment area throughout the summer. Thank you for your input with letters and know that we try to accommodate everyone but are not always able to do this, however please know that we will always support your children so that they get the best learning experience possible.

  • Due to the restrictions of the two sites we will not be moving our students once they are placed.

COMMUNICATION:

Administration:

At General Gordon there has always been an open door policy where students and parents are able to come and speak to the administration when they have concerns about their child’s education. We found last year that with our schedules being so busy either at meetings; teaching or working with students it was difficult for parents to know when we are available. This year Margaret Davidson (Principal) will be at two different sites. She will be at “Gordon at the Annex” in the mornings and at “Gordon at the Main” in the afternoons. Nancy Bourque will be at “Gordon at the Main” every day, however her teaching load is 80% and she will be in the classrooms during that time. The best way to communicate with us is to schedule a meeting by emailing us at mdavidson@vsb.bc.ca and mbourque@vsb.bc.ca.

Teaching Staff:

Please be respectful when setting up meetings to talk to the teachers about your child’s learning. Right at the beginning of class is not the best time as teachers are prepping for the day and need that time to organize their lessons. Please speak to the teacher at the end of the day to make a convenient time for both of you. We thank you for your consideration towards and respect of our amazing staff at General Gordon.

Newsletters/Information Bulletins/Website

Regular communication is one important way that parents can be well-informed about what goes on at school. Please expect two newsletters a month that will be posted on our website www.gordonelementary.ca. Information sheets will be sent home. Please send your email to Bruce Gregg at gordon_elementary_PAC@shaw.ca The School Calendar will also be on the website.

GORDON SCHOOL AGENDA PROGRAM, PERFORMANCES & SPIRIT OF MATH

Agendas:

Student agendas are another very useful communication and teaching tool. The cost of the agenda for the Grades 1-7 students is $10.00.

Performances:

Catherine MacIntyre, our music specialist has taken the time to research and book some exciting performances to show our children and school community this year. These performances are costly and in order to maintain the variety of experiences and number of performances we are asking for $15.00 from each student. Parents and younger siblings are encouraged also to come and watch the performances. Catherine will sometimes book performances appropriate for all grades (odd and even divisions can watch) or performances that are appropriate for primary or intermediate. The school and the PAC will also be providing funds for some performances. Catherine always chooses a variety of performances for the students to enjoy. These performances will be described in the upcoming newsletters. She will book five performances and then our PAC sponsors two extra performances so that our students benefit from numerous enriching experiences. We welcome families to come and join us for these performances and times will be posted in the upcoming newsletters.

Spirit of Math:

Gordon staff have found the Spirit of Math program to be a successful way to help students with learning their math facts and working towards mastering basic math concepts. Every teacher (Gr. 1-7) will be working with this program in their classroom. PAC and the school have offered to subsidize part of the cost but we are asking parents to help out with $12.00 per student. Each booklet is $20.00. If you have any concerns about this program please don’t hesitate to contact the principal Margaret Davidson at mdavidson@vsb.bc.ca.

Intermediate students (1-7) Agenda, performances & Spirit of Math $37.00
Primary students (K) Performances $15.00

Please send cash or write a cheque made payable to General Gordon School by Friday, October 10th. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at the school if you have difficulty with finances as all our students need to benefit from the ongoing learning experiences we provide at the school.

SCHOOL FEES

Please send a cheque or money with your child to pay for school supplies. These supplies include pencils, pens, glue sticks, exercise books, duotangs, and art supplies that are shared in the classroom. Students in Grades K-7 need to pay $25.00. Please send the money by Friday, September 26th. Please be reminded that students will not be denied supplies or an opportunity to participate in school activities if paying fees is a hardship. Please speak to Ms. Davidson if this is a concern.

WRITE ONE CHEQUE- FOR SCHOOL FEES, PERFORMANCES, AGENDAS and SPIRIT OF MATH

If it is easier to write one cheque please enclose the following:

Intermediate Grade 1-7 $62.00
Kindergarten $40.00

ANAPHALAXIS (PEANUT/FISH/ BEE STINGS ALLERGY)

Important Notice re: PEANUT ALLERGY (anaphylaxis)

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction, which requires immediate treatment to prevent sudden death from suffocation or cardiac arrest. One of the life threatening allergens is peanuts. We have a few students in our school that have peanut allergies. We have a few students in the school who have peanut allergies that are life threatening. Not only is the direct ingestion of nuts life threatening, but also contact with peanuts. We are asking our school community to please AVOID snacks and luncheons containing nut products. We would like our school community to be “allergy aware” and work together to minimize the risk of exposure for the allergic child. The treatment if the child is exposed to peanuts is to call 911 immediately and use an “epipen.” The community nurse, Sarah Thorsteinson will be do a review workshop with the staff on how to use the epipen. There is an epipen in the child’s classroom and in the medical office. The Ministry of Education’s publication Life-Threatening Food Allergies in School and Child Care Settings lists great ideas for nutritious no-nut lunches and snacks, a few of which we include here:

  • String cheese or cheese & crackers, celery or bread stick wrapped in Swiss cheese
  • Raisins, dried apricots, fruit leather, salads (pasta, mixed bean, potato, bulgur wheat)
  • Noodles, carrot sticks or baby carrots; hummus or other dip with veggies, macaroni and cheese, pizza
  • Pepperoni stick or beef jerky, animal crackers, graham wafers, yoghurt drink or chocolate milk
  • The school and particularly the families of our anaphylactic students, thank all students, parents and staff for their cooperation and support.

PAC NEWS

PAC Advisory Council (PAC) Meeting - everyone welcome!

Monday, September 29, 7 – 8:30pm Bayview School Library (**note different location) 2251 Collingwood Street, between 6th and 7th Avenue Babysitters will be available & refreshments will be provided.

Gordon PAC Welcome Back Afternoon Tea

Wednesday, October 1, 3:15 – 5:30pm By the Portables at Queen Elizabeth Main School Please bring some baked goods, fruit or veggies to share. Coffee, tea and lemonade will be provided. Come and join this first gathering of the year for the whole school community!

Ongoing PAC Fundraiser:

Shop where you already shop, spend what you already spend, and raise money for Gordon PAC. Plan ahead and buy gift cards for your favourite grocer & retail stores/restaurants before you go shopping. We buy the cards at discount (from 2% - 10%). You pay face value. Gordon PAC keeps the difference. Last year we raised over $1500 with only 10 regular customers! No order is too small. Orders usually due the third Monday with pick up one week later at the PAC Meeting. This month orders are due by Monday, September 29, 2014 at the PAC meeting. There will be Safeway cards available at the once-a-month Friday Parent Coffee Mornings at the bus drop-off. Payment with cash or cheque only. $50, $100, $250. If you regularly shop at IGA or eat at White Spot I have free (empty) reloadable gift cards. Raise money for Gordon PAC every time you reload it in store. Order forms available for download. Questions? Contact parent volunteer Sheila Kirby at sheilakirby {at} gmail {dot} com or 604-739-4495 (h).

SPORT INFORMATION

K-7 CROSS COUNTRY

All boys and girls in grades K to 7 are invited to join the General Gordon Cross Country team this fall. This team will compete against other schools in our area at various venues around Vancouver. This is a tremendous opportunity for your child to experience being a member of a team, meet new friends and get some exercise!

MAIN SCHOOL PRACTICES

Practices from primary and intermediate runners at the QE Portables will be Tuesday and Thursday morning from 8:00 to 8:40 starting Sept. 30 (practices at the annex tba). We would need some parent volunteers to run with the primaries; all parents are welcome to join us on these runs. Permission forms and competition dates will be handed out Friday, Sept. 26. Any questions please contact Miles Patrick.

ANNEX SCHOOL PRACTICES

Gordon at the annex students will be practicing and running together with the QE Annex students. Our practice times will be Tuesdays from 8:10-9:00am and on Thursdays from 3:10-3:50pm. We are looking for parents volunteers to help with practices and driving to meets. Our first mini meet is at Queen Elizabeth Main school at the track on Thursday, October 9th.

GORDON BUS TRANSPORTATION:

We are trying to finalize our rosters this week so that students, staff and bus drivers can get set into their routines. We thank you for your cooperation and please read the following important notes:

  1. Bus may arrive back at old Gordon plus or minus 10 minutes from the estimated time. To make sure that your child is not left unsupervised at the old Gordon site, please be there by 14:55 if your child is on the YELLOW bus and by 15:20 if your child is on the RED bus.
  2. If you have emailed Heidi, Ms Davidson or Mme Nancy with a bus request and Mme Nancy has NOT gotten back to you by email or phone, it is because the request CANNOT be accommodated at this time. Both the 8:25 AM bus #1 and the RED bus at 15:25 are full. Please do not assume that your child can ride the bus that you have requested until you have received a confirmation email from Mme Nancy.
  3. The rosters are posted on the school website (www.gordonelementary.ca). Because we are conscious of unwanted emails, we will not email all parents again about buses so please check the website to find out which bus your child is on.
  4. For safety issues your children MUST ride on the bus that is assigned to them, otherwise we will never be able to keep track of bus attendance.
  5. If your child will not be riding on a specific day, please email Mme Nancy or call the school so that the information can be passed to staff/driver taking attendance.
  6. The logistics of organizing bus for 200+ students on two different sites, with sport practices, day care goers and some part-time riders is challenging. Therefore we cannot accommodate friend’s requests etc. for the bus. The ride is 5-10 minutes long and there is plenty of time at school to play with friends.
Margaret Davidson Nancy Bourque
mdavidson@vsb.bc.ca mbourque@vsb.bc.ca

P.A.C. Welcome to All Families! 

We would like to welcome you to the vibrant General Gordon Community.

What is PAC?

Every parent or guardian of a student enrolled in the school is automatically a member of the PAC - Parent Advisory Council. PAC meetings are held on the first Monday of the month. Meetings will be held at Bayfield School during the Seismic upgrade, everyone is welcome with babysitting provided. PAC’s functions include:

  • helping parents navigate school issues,
  • facilitating communication between the parents and staff or with outside organizations,
  • organizing school events and fund raising functions,
  • contributing funding (to supplement that provided by the School Board) to allow for as rounded education program as possible for our children.

Key PAC Activities

Direct Donation - fundraiser in October to raise funds for the annual school activities such as performances, extra equipment, library books etc. Parents are requested to support the school with a tax-deductible contribution of approx. $75 - $100 per child. Play ground Committee – Team of parents focused on fundraising to develop enriching school grounds for our children in the new school, ensuring the landscape and play equipment is green, inclusive and all season. Join this team to support many fun events over the coming years. Spring event – Key community event full of fun for all of the family. PAC supports the school throughout the year providing funding and volunteer help for events and activities such as the welcome BBQ, Winter fare, Sports day, Gardening club, School performances the Talent show, Graduation and much more. Stay informed at: www.gordonelementary.ca General Gordon is fortunate to have a very active PAC, which has a great relationship of collaboration and support with the schoolteachers. Events run, and funds raised by PAC are essential to make General Gordon both a stronger inclusive and inviting community school, and one, which is better resourced for our children. Kids thrive when they see their parents involved with many ways you can support the community, from volunteering at PAC events, to becoming a class rep, we look forward to meeting you!

Warmly,
Co-Pac Chairs Karen Wood & Jane Pike