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First Day of School, Letter from the PA, and JICS Updates

Topics covered in this post:


1. First Day of School – Tuesday, September 6

We are only “a few sleeps away” from the start of the school year and there is a palpable energy and excitement in the air (purified!) as we prepare to welcome the children. Today we had a visit of some of the new children (JK to Gr 6) who are joining our school this year. We thank the wonderful JICS Parent Community and Class Reps for connecting with the new families.


2. Letter from Francois, President of the JICS Parents’ Association

Dear JICS parents,

I hope this finds you well and that you have all had a rejuvenating summer. My name is François Tanguay-Renaud—I am Yohan’s father and, for the second year, president of the JICS Parents’ Association (PA). I am writing to you today on behalf of the PA to welcome you (or welcome you back!) to JICS for the 2022-2023 academic year. After more than two years of pandemic disruptions, it feels wonderful to know that our children will be starting school in person on Tuesday, September 6 (except for some of our nursery kids), and that teachers and staff are ready and excited to receive them. On behalf of the parent community, allow me to thank them for all the work they have invested over the summer to make this possible. At the PA, we have also been working hard to ensure that the upcoming year is a successful one. Our main objective for the year is to help support—and, where the pandemic stood in its way, rekindle—the sense of community that is so central to the ethos of the school. To this end, we are planning a series of events aimed at bringing parents together.

JICS Parent Social Poster

After a two-year hiatus, we are pleased to announce that our traditional Fall in-person

Parents Social is making a comeback on September 15, 6-8pm (along with all the food, wine, smiles and laughter). Please make sure to follow this link in the school’s communication about it to RSVP (babysitting will be available). We very much hope to see you there. This event will be followed by our first of three all-parents PA meetings for the year to be held, virtually, in the second half of October (date TBD). You will also be invited to participate in a variety of parents education events, which will investigate themes related to child development, education, parenting, as well as equity, diversity, and inclusion. During the Fall, your class reps will be entrusted with the task of organizing, with your help, class-specific breakfasts and socials for parents. And then there will be many opportunities for you to volunteer in school activities (watch this space in the coming weeks and months for related announcements). To be sure, parents’ involvement at the school is key to nurturing its sense of community and unique family feel. Thus, I encourage you to raise your hand and join in the fun whenever you get a chance. Please note that the PA Executive is still looking for one other Volunteers Coordinator, to join the wonderful Sanaz Mazinani. Volunteers Coordinators are full members of our dynamic PA Executive team, and help with organizing parental involvement in school activities. If you are interested, please contact me at In addition to Sanaz and myself, other members of the PA Executive team for this year include: Megan Pearson (Vice-President), Shawn Konopinsky (Treasurer), Deepta Rayner (Past President), Kerry Thompson and Julia O’Byrne (Parents Education Coordinators), Andrea Russell (Communications Officer), as well as Richard and Chriss (our fearless Principal and Vice Principal). These individuals are joined by two class representatives per grade, who act as links between the Executive and the wider parent community. We are still looking for one class rep for the nursery class, and two class reps for the Grade 6 class--again, if you are interested, please contact me at the email above. In addition to organizing social and educational activities, the PA acts as a sounding board for the school administration on a variety of issues. It also assists the school with fundraising, and contributes to financing initiatives that could not see the light of day without its support. For this and the rest of its endeavours, the PA relies on our annual fees and donations. This year, more specifically, your contributions will help fund many important services for our children, including:

  • A dream list created by the teachers and curated by the PA Executive for items that would enhance our kids' learning experience and exceed the school budget;

  • Continuation of our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) action plan for the parents' community and in support of the school's educational mandate;

  • Topical speakers and panels for the parent community, arranged by the Parent Education Committee;

  • Lice checks;

  • Social events!

As in previous years, we are asking all parents to pay a $25 PA membership fee, and encouraging you to make an additional suggested donation of $150. We would greatly appreciate it if you could take a moment to make your contributions in the coming week. While the amounts listed are those we deem necessary to carry out our mandate adequately, we do recognize that not all families are similarly situated. Thus, for those who, for whatever reason, do not feel comfortable with the suggested donation amount, you can opt to pay the $25 fee, and specify any donation amount that you feel comfortable in contributing. All parents remain members of the PA irrespective of whether they choose to make the suggested donations or not. To make your contributions, please click on the following link: While we are still some time away from United Way season, note also that you or your organization can contribute to the PA through the United Way, by directing your donations to the St. George’s School Parents’ Association, Charitable Registration #119175537-RR0001. The PA is also a registered charity with Benevity (under the name "Jackman ICS Parents' Association"). If you wish to make a donation in such ways, please contact the PA Treasurer, Shawn Konopinsky ( Although you will hear more from me as the year progresses, and I have already taken enough of your time today, let me conclude by mentioning that under the leadership of Allen Yi (JK class rep), the PA is currently developing a new line of clothing (swag) for the school in collaboration with a local artist. We hope to have something to present to you on that front before long. In the meantime, you will have seen via the school blog that we are selling whatever remaining items we have in stock from the old clothing line (on a pay-what-you-want basis). I encourage you to support us by getting hold of whatever remaining items suit your fancy in the school lobby. On this note, I wish you and your families the very best for next week and the coming year, and I look forward to greeting you in person at drop off and/or pick up. Very best regards,

François Tanguay-Renaud


3. New JICS Director; Professor Angela Pyle

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Angela Pyle as Interim Director of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (JICS) for a one-year term beginning July 1, 2022.

New JICS Director; Professor Angela Pyle
New JICS Director; Professor Angela Pyle

Angela is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, has led several funded research projects at JICS, and is an award-winning teacher in the Child Study and Education program. Her research explores the negotiated balance between academic learning and developmentally appropriate practices in classrooms, with a focus on the role of teacher curricular stance in pedagogical decision-making, the development of critical literacy skills through play-based learning, and how teachers’ assessment practices support and extend children’s learning in play-based contexts. Angela’s interim leadership of JICS will build upon past leadership roles such as her service as MA-CSE program chair and MA-CSE curriculum lead. During Angela’s term as Interim Director, the Advisory Committee will continue its important work in selecting a Director of JICS for a term that will begin on July 1, 2023.

We are looking forward to working with Angela and we are confident that she will make valuable contributions to the JICS Lab School as Interim Director. Parents will have an opportunity to meet and congratulate Angela at the September Social on September 15. We also want to take this opportunity to thank the former JICS Director, Dr. Rhonda Martinussen for her leadership and support of the JICS Lab School, the MA CSE Teacher Education Program, and the JICS Laidlaw Research Centre during a particular challenging time in education.


4. New JICS Development Officer; Reesa Barkhouse

We are pleased to announce that Reesa Barkhouse has joined our team of advancement and communications professionals at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (JICS) Lab School in a newly created role of Senior Development Officer (SDO), Leadership Annual Giving and Planned Giving.

Reesa Barkhouse

Reesa is a passionate fundraiser with a strong background in individual giving, leadership prospecting, donor stewardship and community engagement. She also has a vocational background of philanthropy with a MA in Arts Management and Leadership from Queen’s University. She started her fundraising career at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, where she was the sole development personnel who created and implemented every aspect of the organization’s fundraising strategy. While there, she grew revenue and their donor base as well as led the Board of Directors and fundraising committee on alumni engagement events and philanthropic initiatives.

She comes to the University of Toronto from the Lung Health Foundation where she focused her efforts on donor relations, foundational giving, leadership gifts and planned givingAs the new SDO, Reesa looks forward to inspiring donors to make a significant impact, bolster our community of engaged supporters and highlight the meaningful and plentiful cases for support that the JICS Lab School has to offer. She is excited to immerse herself in a successful fundraising environment that is committed to inclusion, collaboration and most importantly its alumni, volunteers, and donors.


5. Teacher Professional Development

The JICS teachers are piloting the concept of “Heroes” as a springboard for a school-wide equity exploration. During this week’s “PD week”, the faculty and staff took part in a workshop by Rabia Khokhar analyzing this concept in the context of thinking about local/global positionalities, critically considering how we ‘frame’ stories, looking for opportunities of collaboration, and cross curriculum mapping. We are excited about this project and look forward to sharing more with you soon.

JICS parents may remember that Rabia Khokhar is a Teacher with the Toronto District School Board and a freelance education and equity consultant. Last year, she presented both to the JICS faculty (From Kindness to Anti-Racism: Centering Identity and Critical Consciousness for Critical Teaching during our August 2021 PD week and Stories Can Change the World: Using Stories to Counter Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate on the November 2021 PD Day) and to the JICS parents (Building Inclusive and Equitable 'Bookshelves' on November 23, 2021). She has presented workshops at the Ontario Libraries Association Super Conference, TVO Power Hour, KidLit4BlackLives Canadian Event and various Teacher Education Programs. Rabia Khokhar is the recipient of the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario’s 2021 Anti-Racist and Equity Activism Award. She shares her teaching and learning on her twitter platform @Rabia_Khokhar1 and her website

Rabia’s workshop focused on unpacking the “Hero” concept, as:

  • Having an intersectional and diverse identities

  • Creating change and change makers

  • Loud, quiet, present, or less present

  • Having a plan, being intentional

  • Being an ally

  • Having awareness of the occurring issues

  • Working to dismantle unfair structures

  • Being hopeful and action-oriented

  • Not being limited to “one action” but rather continued and sustained actions

  • Caring about specific causes, social justice citizenship, democratic society

  • Being an active citizen

  • Having empathy.

We explored how to bring equity theory to practice in every grade and specialty class. We benefitted tremendously from Rabia Khokhar’s experience as an elementary school teacher as she provided many tangible and relevant examples to inspire us. At the JICS Lab School, we believe that one of the main goals of schools is to help students become critically conscious members of their communities. We invite parents to suggest ways to help us create an inclusive environment in which all feel they equally belong.

Teachers learning with Rabia
Teachers learning with Rabia

6. Parent Education: Is the Pandemic Over in Ontario?

As we all prepare for a healthy return to school, we highly recommend that parents view TVO’s The Agenda interview with Dr. Fahad Razak, the scientific director of the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, internist and epidemiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital, and professor at University of Toronto. In the August 26 interview, Dr. Razak states that we “must double down on simple public health measures” by doing 3 major things:

  1. Keep vaccinations up to date to reduce virus threat

  2. Reduce exposure risk by using high quality masks

  3. Improve air quality.

At JICS, we feel confident that our mandatory vaccination policy, our strong recommendation for masking indoors, and the AERA MAX Professional air purifiers (four-stage, true HEPA filtration system) will help to keep our community safe and our doors open.


7. Daycare Information REGISTRATION FOR 2022/2023

The Daycare requires complete registration prior to the use of any daycare services, including Flex care, PD Day Camps, or June camp. Therefore, we recommend you register now even if you only intend to use the Daycare on an occasional basis. If your family has never registered for the Daycare before, please complete the New Family Registration form at the following link: New Family Registration 2022-2023 If your family was registered with the Daycare this past year, please complete the Returning Family Registration form at the following link: Returning Family Registration 2022-2023 If your family was registered with the Daycare this past year but has new students to register, you can easily add additional children to your existing profile at the link above.

You will find all Daycare information for the 2022-2023 school year on the Daycare webpage on the JICSFamily site: You are welcome to contact the Daycare Supervisor at


8. Wednesday Afternoon Program (Gr 1-6)

For those who have registered, please note that cheques (payable to The University of Toronto. cheque memo: Wed Afternoon Program) are due to Shama, School Office Administrator, before Friday, September 9 to complete registration.


9. Water Testing

Each year, Ontario schools and daycares are required to test their water for lead particles. Standing and flushed water samples from faucets throughout the Lab School were taken on August 23rd, 2022. The results we received from the labs at SGS Canada Inc. indicate that the drinking water in our school is completely safe to drink. We also follow Ontario Ministry regulations by flushing our plumbing on a regular basis.


10. Upcoming September Events

Mon 5 – Labour Day

Tues 6 – First Day of School and Daycare Mon 12 – Hot Lunch Program begins for registered students Wed 14 – Wednesday Afternoon Program (Gr 1-6) begins for registered students Thur 15 – School-wide lice check.(Thanks to your donations to the Parents’ Association!) Thur 15 – September Parent Social by the PA. 6:00-8:00pm. School gym. (Register here) Mon 19 – Photo Day Tues 20 – Terry Fox Run (JK to Gr 6). More details coming soon. Wed 21 to Fri 23 – Grade 6 Trip to Camp Olympia Sun 25 to Tues 27 – Rosh Hashanah Tues 27 - Meeting Space for Parents of JICS BIPOC Children, 7:00pm. More info soon. Wed 28 – Rowen’s Day (Concussion Safety) Fri 30 – Orange Shirt Day. More details coming soon.


We wish everyone a relaxing Labour Day weekend!




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