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SFO, 2019-2020 Reflection, Resources for: Anti-Black Racism, PRIDE, Indigenous History Month

Topics covered in this post:

  1. School Forms & Summer Communication

  2. Reflecting on 2019-2020

  3. Class of 2020

  4. SickKids Recommendation for Schools

  5. Anti-Black Racism: Call to share stories, Resources & Teacher PD

  6. PRIDE Resources

  7. National Indigenous Month Resources

  8. Report Cards

  9. Summer Well-Being

  10. Pick Up of Student Material/Belongings

  11. JICS Library Books

  12. JICS Garden Help

  13. Goodbye to Naomi

  14. The JICS Nature Photography Challenge

  15. Upcoming June Events


1. School Forms & Summer Communications

This post marks the end of the 2019-2020 weekly website posts. Updates will be emailed to JICS parents throughout the summer.

You will soon be receiving an email request to complete the first portion of the online school forms (SFO) for the 2020-2021 school year. In August, we will send you the final portion of online school forms along with notices from the Parents’ Association and more.

Nursery teacher, Norah L'Esperance, will write to all Nursery families inviting an update on their child's summer and informing each family of their staggered start date. Other teachers will be in touch in a range of ways. Please don't hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions at all.

Richard and Chriss will host another Parent Information Evening in July and/or early August as they await essential information from the Ministry of Education and Ontario Public Health. They invite parent emails with questions throughout the summer.


2. Reflecting Back on the Highlights of the 2019-2020 School Year at JICS

In this past year, we faced unprecedented challenges during these extraordinary times. We also accomplished a tremendous amount as a community both prior to March Break and throughout this last term of remote learning. We wanted to take a moment to reflect back upon the year, and share with everyone here a list of the incredible highlights since September 2019:

  • We were extremely lucky to have new staff members: Marcia (JK), Nadia (Phys Ed), Erika (Nursery) and Ellie (Social Worker) join us this year and enrich the learning for all.

  • A new lunch program started that had children actually eating.

  • Our playground had a new philosophy and 3 questions: Is it safe? Is it kind? Is it inclusive? We added new loose parts to make the play more engaging and played outdoors in all weather conditions, including climbing the trees on the yard!

  • We improved our recognition of Orange Shirt Day with the help of many thoughtful staff and members of our community.

  • We participated in our own Climate Strike March.

  • Our courtyard began to be transformed in the Fall and we tapped trees in the school yard in the Spring!

  • The school transformed into Hogwarts on Harry Potter Day.

  • Families generously donated to the Gr 6 UNICEF campaign and the Gr 5 Food Bank drive.

  • We celebrated Diwali in a beautiful way thanks to wonderful parent leadership.

  • Christel (French & Wellness) and Laura (Social Worker) presented valuable information to parents about student wellness in the Fall and in the Spring, Ellie ran her own Parent Education event on Responsive Parenting During Stormy Times.

  • We explained our Math program to parents at an open house and then danced with you 90s style to raise funds for the Arts at JICS.

  • We had moving assemblies throughout the year such as Terry Fox Day (organized by Gr 3) and Remembrance Day (Grade 5).

  • Our athletes experienced many successes, especially the cross-country teams and the girls’ basketball team.

  • The JICS Library Book Fair had the extra-special inspirational guests of “Two-Sisters on a Mission” and we surpassed last year’s fundraising totals.

  • The Trash Team helped us be more conscious of our habits and encouraged recycling in new ways (Terracyle Program).

  • Grandparents sang-along with us in the Festivals of Light.

  • Parents helped us celebrate Lunar New Year in delicious ways!

  • We celebrated PRIDE with guest Robin Stevenson and Black History Month with storyteller Sandra Whiting. Giant Black History portraits made by the Gr 6 students and displayed throughout the school educated and inspired.

  • Our Phys Ed program was enriched with Variety Village wheel-chair basketball, curling, kickboxing…

  • We got our pottery kiln working again!

  • We faced the challenge of school closure with incredible commitment, collaboration, and parental support, successfully produced engaging lessons with hundreds of videos and countless zoom meetings.

  • We need to give “medals of thanks” to Nick, Krista, and Tory for their behind-the-scenes technology support during the school closure!

  • We maintained communication with weekly website posts, emails, video-taped messages, a Parent Information Night and Coffee and Conversation mornings.

  • We loaned technology to students and supplied them with skipping ropes or scoops, and paint sets.

  • Carol and Marcia took part in the OISE Stay At Home Twitter sessions that highlighted the expertise of the lab school.

  • JICS teachers disseminated through the Robertson Program Instagram, the JICS Instagram, and in the OISE article about distance education. Chriss’ video on the outdoor spaces of the Lab School was featured in Natural Curiosity’s Newsletter.

  • In case anyone ever doubted it, we proved that: JICS Has Talent!

  • We had to cancel many cherished events such as the Gr 5 and Gr 6 Ottawa trip and Hot Dog Night but, with determination, skill, and great leadership we had the Gr 6 Social Justice Club meetings, an amazing Zoom-bilee, a fun “Games Day” and an unforgettable Graduation ceremony and play/movie!

  • The JICS Alumni Newsletter was published with articles on Cindy and our outdoor spaces (a hard copy will be included in report card mailing).

  • We said goodbye and thank you to Laura (social worker) and Naomi (Nursery) and said hello to babies Rosalie (Nick) and Jaxen (Anne Marie) and Blake (Laura).

Thank you, JICS parents, for your support and contributions to a great year. Although we do not know what September will bring, we will ensure that we will have another fabulous year!

Wishing everyone a healthy and fun summer!


3. Class of 2020

Thank you, JICS families, for attending last week’s Grade 6 Graduation Ceremony. To our graduates - we are so proud of you and we miss you already. Learn more about this amazing group of students from their yearbook profiles. The password will be emailed to JICS families again soon.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the parents of our graduating class for your years of support and trust. At graduation we were delighted to announce your legacy gift: two permanent basketball hoops! We thank you and the leadership of Nathalie. We will think of this cohort of families each time a basket is made! These new hoops will be part of the redesign of the playground which is the next renovation project. In the meantime, we look forward to consulting with JICS children, staff and parents to create an exemplary play space.


4. SickKids Recommendations for Schools

Current evidence and experience support the concept that children can return to school in September in a manner that maximizes children’s health and minimizes risks from a Public Health perspective. This encouraging June 17, 2020 SickKids and UofT document provides support and general guidance for school reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the COVID-19 and Kids SickKids media webinar here.


5. Anti-Black Racism – Call to share stories

Thank you to parents and teachers who have been in touch to inform us of their lived experiences and their child’s experience at JICS. Sharing perspectives and most importantly, building compassion and empathy through open and honest discourse, are important stepping stones toward taking action and effecting change within JICS and beyond. We want to encourage others to do the same. Please choose to contact any member of the admin team or teacher/staff team to share your feedback, critique, and suggestions. We want to create safe spaces to ensure all voices are heard, valued, and respected.

Anti-Black Racism Resources

  • Join the International Literacy Association (ILA) and poet/author Kwame Alexander along with a panel of educators, authors, and activists for a town hall discussion on how teachers and families can educate and empower kids to imagine and create a more just world. When: Today, June 18 AT 7:00pm Where: Facebook Live @INTERNATIONALLITERACYASSOCIATION

  • KidLit4BlackLivesCanada: A Rally for Black Lives with Black-Canadian authors, illustrators, and allies When: Friday, June 19 7:00-7:45 (Kids); 7:45-8:15 (Teens); 8:15-9:00 (Parents/Educators) Where: on Facebook Live @A Different Booklist Cultural Centre Register here: Zoom

  • Explore the NFB’s free collection of films by award-winning Black filmmakers, creators, and allies of the Black community, detailing a rich history to better understand the present.

  • The Brown Bookshelf hosted the KidLit4BlackLives Rally on June 4. Led by Kwame Alexander, Jacqueline Woodson, and Jason Reynolds, the Rally featured inspiring words, music, and numerous calls to action in support of equity and justice. It can be viewed here.

  • Anti-Racist Resources for Children, Families, and Educators by The Brown Bookshelf. Use their site to find some of the incredible number of stories by Black creators from all across the Diaspora. The Brown Bookshelf feature picture book, middle grade, and young adult titles in all genres. Share the many different creator stories, titles, and multimedia resources in their 28 Days Later archives.

Anti-Black Racism – Teacher PD

This summer, every JICS teacher will be reading or rereading Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist and other resources to ensure we have a shared vocabulary for the courageous conversations that will happen on staff and for the critical work we need to do with the community. We are committed to working towards change and we will hold each other accountable for taking a stand against individual and systemic acts of anti-Black racism. We will work together with parents to make a difference and fight against all forms of racism and hate as we strive to change the future in the lives of our community and beyond.


6. Canadian Books to read for PRIDE

Last week, we shared PRIDE resources for children and this week we want to share resources for adults. The CBC has produced a list of 16 books by LGBTQIA2S Canadian creators. We want to highlight this list for anyone who might be interested in learning more about the intersectional queer experience, which is addressed in most of these recommended picks.


7. Books to read for National Indigenous Month

June is National Indigenous History Month. Celebrate by reading one of these books by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors. Please refer to last week's post on June 11th for additional resources and more information about the JICS approach to Indigenous education.


8. Report Cards

Report cards for each child (Nursery to Grade 6) will be mailed at the end of June.


9. Summer Well-Being: Let’s Stay Active JICS!

This summer, JICS has partnered with Sworkit Youth Initiative, an online program that promotes healthy active living for kids of all ages. Their mission is to make a positive and long-lasting impact on children’s exercise and nutrition habits.

To get started, simply follow the instructions outlined below.

Sworkit Account Creation Instructions:

  • Step 1: From your web browser (not your mobile app), go to:

  • Step 2: Select “Sign in with email” — input school email, name and create your account password

  • Step 3: Your code will automatically be entered. If not automatically applied, press “Apply” to continue. Your Sworkit membership is valid for one year. A new code will be provided next year through your school point of contact.

  • Step 4: Once the account has been created, then download the mobile app on any mobile device or tablet for more flexibility with use. When signing into the mobile app, use the same email and password that were used to create the account on the web browser.

  • Step 5: Explore the app — there are a lot of workouts to choose from and you can select any workout for any amount of time. Sworkit should be used with adult supervision.

More Summer Well-Being

Taking care of our well-being is important during this time of social-distancing and we want to provide resources to help families do that. The article A Summer of Well-Being describes five things you can do this summer to improve your well-being including:

  • exploring new foods,

  • exercising outdoors,

  • getting better rest,

  • catching up with loved ones,

  • and easing stress with mindfulness.

This 6-part series on 'The Summer of Wellbeing' designed by the University of Minnesota is a helpful resource that outlines ways you can stay healthy and active.


10. Pick Up of Student Material/Belongings

Your child’s personal material will be ready for pick up on June 22 or June 23, between 9am and 4pm.

Here are the safety protocols for entering the building:

  • Please enter the school through the front door, walk through reception, and go directly to your child’s cubby to collect his/her belongings. Please do not go anywhere else in the building.

  • Please exit the building either through the front doors at 45 Walmer or the back doors 56 Spadina. Please do not exit through the playground doors as the gate is locked.

  • We ask that only one adult from each family come into the building. Please do not come to the school if you have been exposed to someone with symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms yourself.

  • Everyone is asked to please wear a mask, and to practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet if encountering anyone else in the building.

  • Please note that children are not allowed in the school building at this time.


11. JICS Library Books

Please look around your home to find any JICS library books and kindly return during your visit to pick up your child’s material on June 22 or 23. Books can be left on the yellow bench outside the library. Thank you!


12. JICS Garden Help

We have a vegetable and herb garden in raised planters that is in the driveway located south of 56 Spadina (entry from Spadina only). If you or your family would like to take a turn this summer watering and enjoying the bounty of the gardens, please contact Krista at We welcome any level of commitment and will work with you to find times that work for your family!


13. Good-bye to Naomi

This June, we say good-bye to Naomi-Ruth Weerasooriya, one of our exemplary Nursery Teachers, who is leaving JICS to continue her academic studies. A reflective practitioner, Naomi brought a great deal of knowledge and experience in the field of Early Childhood to her role as Nursery teacher. The children benefitted from her consistent care, sensitive attention, and her creative playdough recipes! Naomi immersed herself deeply in the culture and community of the school, taking responsibility for tasks beyond the Nursery classroom. She is both conscientious and compassionate and we were fortunate to have her as part of the team. We wish her well on her next adventures and hope she will keep in touch.


14. The JICS Nature Photography Challenge

The JICS Social Justice and Climate Change Club suggested this Spring that the school register with the Roberta Bondar Foundation Photography Challenge Competition. They felt that inviting JICS students to take photos of nature would be a nice way to spend time outside, looking at the natural world with an artist’s eye, whether they wanted to enter the competition or not. Tara took this idea up and created an art lesson for everyone in the school. The resulting art activity was a way to help students engage with and take a closer look at nature. While a few Junior Grade students submitted a photo for the contest (and we congratulate them on the accomplishment of entering), many students engaged in this activity and shared their photography with Tara. Please enjoy these wonderful photographs taken on balconies, in backyards, or on outdoor walks, that demonstrate these exceptional JICS student photographers carefully observing and appreciating the natural world around them. If your child has nature photography that was not shared here, or takes more photographs throughout the summer, please send them to our Art Teacher, Tara Rousseau and we will add to our gallery collection!


15. Upcoming June Events

Mon 22 & Tues 23 – Parent Pick-Up of Student Material/Belongings

Wed 24 – Coffee and Conversation with Richard and Chriss for NEW JICS FAMILIES

Tues 30 – Report Cards mailed home




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