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Last Day of School, Festival of Lights, & Hot Lunch Program Survey

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

JICS at a Glance

We've condensed the important highlights for your convenience:

Topics covered in this post:


1. Last Day of School

The Fall Term ends Wednesday, December 20 at 12:00pm (6:00pm for registered daycare users). Wednesday Program is cancelled. Daycare and Creative Play children will eat lunch in daycare. The JICS building is closed during the holidays.


2. Happy Holidays

Hanukkah Sameach! Shabe Yalda Mobarak! Happy Winter Solstice! Merry Christmas!

Happy Kwanzaa! Happy New Year!

We wish everyone a holiday that is just the right balance between festive merriment and quiet relaxation.


We look forward to seeing everyone on Monday, January 8, 2024.


3. Festivals of Lights - JICS Holiday Sing-Along - December 20, 9:00-10:00am

Join us for a luminous celebration at the JICS Holiday Sing-along on December 20th, from 9:00 to 10:00am! As we bid farewell to the Fall Term, we're crafting a special morning where parents/caregivers are invited to join us in the school auditorium. Led by our music teachers, Suzanne and Russell, with song lyrics provided, this communal singing experience invites children, parents, and teachers alike to revel in togetherness. From Diwali and Hanukkah to Christmas, Yaldā Night, Winter Solstice, and Kwanzaa, we'll unite in song to honor the diverse festivities that brighten this season.

The commitment of JICS Lab School to equity and inclusion is unwavering. Acknowledging that we may not always get things right, we recognize the paramount importance of actively listening to our parent community. Your voices are integral in shaping our efforts towards diversity and equity. We warmly invite you to review the Sing-Along program and share your invaluable thoughts, concerns, and suggestions.

Here's an overview of what the program includes:

  • Land Acknowledgement

  • Discussion of Winter Solstice: Featuring invited guests Nichole Leveck (Wyandot) as a dancer and Izaiah Cada (Ojibway) as a singer/drummer.

  • Student Readings Covering: Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Yaldā Night, and Yule.

  • Community Sing-along Songs:

  • Winter Wonderland

  • I Have a Little Dreidel

  • Hanukkah

  • Vive Le Vent/Jingle Bells

  • Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

  • Umoja

  • Auld Lang Syne

  • Go Now in Peace

Your feedback is invaluable in ensuring that our program reflects the rich tapestry of traditions and beliefs present in our community.


4. Message from Richard, Principal

During this joyous season, it's important to remember that some members of our community are facing challenging situations that require our empathy and understanding. While we navigate through these challenging times together, I am keenly aware of the importance of open communication and support within our school community. While an email serves its purpose, it often falls short of truly fostering connections.

I want to extend a heartfelt invitation to each and every one of you. My office door stands open, not just metaphorically, but in earnest. Whether it's to discuss concerns, share worries, or address any needs you may have, I am here for you. Your thoughts and feelings matter deeply, and I am committed to making time to sit and listen, providing the support and understanding needed during these uncertain times.

Your partnership and involvement are invaluable to the success of our students and our community. Please feel free to reach out at your convenience. Your voices matter greatly, and I am dedicated to ensuring they are heard and valued.

All the best,



5. Lunch & Learn with Ellie

If you missed today’s presentation on Parenting in the Digital age - Supporting Your Relationship with Your Child and Their Tech you can view it and previous “Lunch & Learn “ workshops here.


6. Fulfilling Our Public Mission

The JICS Lab School has stood as a beacon in the realm of education since 1925, pioneering innovative practices for elementary schools and teacher education globally. A testament to our ongoing commitment was recently demonstrated by Carol Stephenson, SK teacher, and Richard Messina, principal, who represented Canada at the prestigious 5th Global Forum on the Future of Education and Skills 2030 (E2030) in Bucharest, Romania. This distinguished event, hosted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), delved into the theme of "Towards the OECD Teaching Compass in a VUCA world: Navigating through uncertainty and complexity with generative AI, post-Covid recovery & natural or human-made disasters."

The OECD, renowned for its Programme for International Student Assessment (the PISA Test), focusses on enhancing nations' educational landscapes by identifying and fostering the knowledge and skills pivotal for better jobs, lives, prosperity, and social inclusion. At the core of this educational transformation lies the OECD Teaching Compass, set to steer the evolution of international education. Carol and Richard's role at the forum revolved around contributing to the design of this compass to navigate the integration of generative AI into educational policies. The compass stands on three pillars:

  1. Teacher Agency: This pillar champions educators' autonomy and ethical decision-making, empowering them to actively shape educational environments by contributing to continuous professional development and fostering collaboration within communities.

  2. Teacher Wellbeing: Encompassing holistic health and fulfillment within the educational sphere, this pillar advocates for a balance of professional expertise, attitudes, values, and transformative competencies, fostering personal and professional growth through reflection and action.

  3. Teacher Competencies: Foundational to this pillar are essential knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values, incorporating subject expertise, global awareness, pedagogical adaptability, and a commitment to lifelong learning and ethical practices.

In the era of generative AI, understanding the transformation of these pillars is crucial. Focussing on Teacher Competencies, Richard and Carol shared insights on adapting to this new landscape in terms of:

  • Knowledge: Emphasizing the importance of pedagogical, developmental, content, technological, and contextual knowledge necessary for leveraging generative AI effectively.

  • Skills: Highlighting the evolving skill sets, including technical prowess and adaptive skills crucial for navigating the changing educational landscape facilitated by generative AI.

  • Attitudes and Values: Considering broader societal impacts and ethical considerations, addressing cultural and ethical consequences while encouraging deeper values and attitudes among educators.

An impactful moment at the Forum was OECD's Director of Education and Skills, Andreas Schleicher's discussion on the "Decline in Educational Performance." PISA 2022 highlighted significant drops in average student performance across OECD nations in reading and math, indicating pre-existing declining scores. Schleicher stressed that while technology impacted learning differently, moderate use aided performance while excessive use hindered it (data that resonates deeply with JICS teachers). Access to teacher support notably boosted math scores. The report outlines educational strengths and areas needing reform across 81 participating nations, accessible at Carol and Richard feel deeply honoured to have been invited to share the JICS philosophy and educational expertise, contributing to the collective effort to provide guidance and shape the future of education on a global scale.


7. Book Night Success

A heartfelt thank you to all the JICS families who made the return of Book Night an incredible success last week! We are thrilled to share that our Another Story book sales raised an impressive $1310. Your support will enable us to expand our collection with a rich variety of diverse books, continuing to enrich the reading experiences of our community. Thank you for making this event a resounding triumph!


8. Message from PA President, Megan Re: Hot Lunch Program

Hello JICS Families,

A friendly reminder to complete the survey regarding our Hot Lunch Program.  Answers from families who currently use, or who are considering using the program will allow us to begin to work with Tricia (the Lunch Mom) to make some changes that may better suit our community's needs. We would welcome your constructive feedback.  The survey will close by December 19th.

My very best,



9. JICS Time Capsule

This week, we buried the JICS Time Capsule in the playground for future children to discover. Some classes submitted photos, notes, or art to represent our school this 2023-2024 school year.


10. Basketball Tournament

The Grade 6 Basketball Tournament was the culmination of weeks of dedicated early morning practices led by coaches Michael Martins and Walker Kitchen. Our JICS team showcased their skills and sportsmanners in an exciting, all-inclusive tournament against Montcrest and Mabin Schools this Monday. Their hard work and determination truly shone through, making us proud of their outstanding efforts on the court.


11. Celebrating Hannukah in JK

The JKs welcomed a class parent to share about Hannukah. Later that day, the JKs made their own latkes and enjoyed them with applesauce and sour cream.


12. Curling at JICS

On Tuesday, students had the fantastic opportunity to learn curling! Thank you to our physical education teacher Mike for organizing and facilitating this exciting event.


13. Messages of Peace Through Art from Zoe's Class

Grade 4/5 students in Zoe's class made beautiful and inspiring art pieces about peace during their field trip to Harbourfront Centre.


14. Grade 6 French Play Performance

A big thank you to our Junior French teacher Christel, who guided our Grade 6 students in practicing and performing a French play. The JK students had a blast in the audience!


15. Upcoming December Events

Mon 18 to Wed 20 - Term 1 Report Card distribution (Nursery to Grade 6)

Wed 20 – Last day of Fall Term. School ends at noon. Daycare open until 6:00pm

Thur 21 – University of Toronto closed. School and Daycare closed. Winter Holidays begin.

Thur 21 – Winter Solstice, Yaldā Night

Mon 25 – Christmas Day

Tues 26 – Kwanzaa begins (Dec 26 to Jan 1)


16. Upcoming January Events

Mon 8 – Winter Term begins. Daycare opens at 7:45. School opens at 8:35.

Wed 17 – Re-enrolment form and deposit due.





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