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New School Year Information

Dear Jackman ICS Families,

Happy summer greetings from all of us at Jackman ICS. We are looking forward to seeing you before long and to hearing all about your holiday experiences. Below is some information that we hope you will find useful.


School opens for 2017/2018 on Wednesday, September 6 at 8:45am. The first day is a half-day for everyone (ending at noon). Please find attached, a copy of the first week’s schedule. The ICS Daycare will be open for before-school and after-school care on September 6.


  • In order to accommodate enhanced physical education and health programming, we are extending the school day for JK to Grade 6 to 3:30 pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. We will continue to dismiss at noon on Wednesdays and for those who attend Wednesday Afternoon Program, the dismissal time will remain at 3:00 pm.

  • We have been working on redesigning and improving the school schedule to provide larger blocks of uninterrupted “integrated inquiry” while preserving our valuably intimate “half group” learning times with specialty subjects (Visual Arts, French, Library, Mathematics, etc.).

  • We have also made the decision to move Grade 3 into the Primary Division (from the Junior Division). This will mean that the Grade 3 children will go out to recess and eat lunch with the Grade 1 and 2 children, creating a more equitable division of students during outdoor recess.


We are delighted to announce that Tania Debss will be the new Primary French teacher (JK to Grade 2). Tania comes to us from The Giles School where she was the SK French homeroom teacher since 2011. She taught Core French at the Dubai International School in Dubai for 8 1Ž2 years and prior to that was the French teacher at the Lycee Franco-Libanais Tripoli, Mission Laique Francaise School in Lebanon. Tania is eager to incorporate song and visual arts into the Primary French program. The hiring committee was very impressed with her French language skill, understanding of child development, and the importance of building positive relationships between students and teachers. As chair of the hiring committee, I want to thank the members: Christel Durand (Junior French), Carol Stephenson (SK), Zoe Donoahue (Gr 1), Chriss Bogert (VP) and Grant McCutcheon (Past President of JICS Parents’ Association) for their contribution.


The JICS administration staff has been working all summer to create an online system for most of our school forms. Next week, you will receive an email with information on how to create an account to log-in and register for the 17/18 school year (including Wednesday Program). This is a new system for us and we are happy to have our forms online for you to register. We are also very excited about a new parent website that we will be launching next week. Stay tuned!


It has been a very exciting summer here at the Lab School. The JK class has moved to its newly renovated location on the basement level. Renovations have proceeded in the 1950s wing (the rectangular prism attached to the Leighton G. McCarthy House at 45 Walmer Road). Extensive demolition has created opportunity for enlarged and remodeled classrooms on each floor along with new washrooms. On the second floor, we will have the Grade 3 and 4 classrooms; the Nursery classroom, Day Care Office and Special Ed rooms are located on the first floor; and the SK classroom and multipurpose room in the basement have been completely renovated. We have been documenting the progress on Twitter.


We eagerly await the completion in November 2017 of the new structure connecting 45 Walmer Road (McCarthy House) to 58 Spadina Ave (Margaret and Wallace McCain Pavilion) that will feature a large, multi-purpose auditorium/gymnasium (named in honour of world-renowned advocate of the importance of early childhood development, Fraser Mustard), modern classrooms for Grades 4, 5, and 6 and our stunning new lunch/music/drama room. Until then, some of the classes will be housed in temporary spaces:

  • Grade 2 will be located in the Library (Room 103)

  • The Library will be located in Room 111 (formerly the school office)

  • The School Office will be located in Room 110 (formerly the VP office)

  • The VP office will be located in Room 222 (2nd floor)

  • The Junior French room will be in Room 228 (2nd floor)

Each of the other grades will remain in their current spaces.


Mark your calendars. The children in Grades 2 to 6 will travel to Stratford Festival to watch the production of “Twelfth Night” on October 19. At Jackman ICS, we have a long history of introducing young students to the bard and “getting Shakespeare into their bones”. We let “Shakespeare teach Shakespeare” by encouraging the children to get close to the play through reading: choral, small group readings, “readers’ theatre” and so on. More information will be sent in September. In the meantime, there is a production of “Twelfth Night” this summer (Dream in High Park by Canadian Stage). Here is some info for those who are interested:


Many teachers have been involved in professional development over the summer, reading new books on education, taking additional qualification courses, and attending workshops.

  • This summer, every JICS teacher is reading the text of our soon to be published 2nd edition of Natural Curiosity – A Resource for Educators: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry. The original edition of this JICS book was published in 2011 with the goal to disseminate our inquiry-based approach to environmental education. Since its initial launch, Natural Curiosity has gained widespread implementation in schools, school boards, faculties of education, and ministries of education across the country and internationally. In addition to high rates of electronic downloads of both French and English versions, more than 19,500 paper copies of the book have been printed and sold to date. Here is a link:

  • The driving motivation for a second edition was the need, in the wake of strong recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015), to bring Indigenous perspectives into the heart of Canadian educational settings and curricula, most notably in connection with environmental issues. Momentum gathered as points of convergence (as well as discontinuities) between JICS’s teaching approaches and certain Indigenous perspectives were identified. JICS parent, Doug Anderson, who has thought long and deeply about such matters, agreed to articulate these perspectives in this edition. Former JICS teacher, Julie Comay interviewed Lab School teachers and found just the right way to express our evolving pedagogy and enduring philosophy of education.

  • This edition represents only one small part of our journey. The next step is up to all of us, creators and readers of this second edition, to respond to the challenges revealed by the Indigenous framework and actively bring Indigenous perspectives into our classrooms. Sharing our stories is essential to this process. We will share more information about the book launch with you shortly. If you wish to pre-order a copy for yourself, here is a link:

For now, I send you the very best of wishes. Enjoy the last days of summer.




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