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Mask Update, Staffing, Combined Grades

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

Topics covered in this post:


1. Hot Dog Night Planning Meeting - TONIGHT

Thursday, April 28 | 7:00pm

There is much excited chatter about Hot Dog Night amongst the children. Please RSVP here for the zoom link to tonight’s planning meeting with co-chairs, ICS Parents Katie Pearson and Mark Hendricks. Parents in Grades 1*, 2, 3 (and any in other grades) are asked to volunteer to plan and run this beloved community event. Please contact Katie to volunteer. (*The ICS tradition is for Grade 1 parents to plan and run Hot Dog Night. Our Grade 2 and 3 parent cohorts did not have this opportunity due to the pandemic.)

children and adults dancing together

2. COVID-19 Update

a) PPE

On April 26, the Vice-President and Provost announced that in light of recent provincial trends, the University will continue its requirement for all individuals to wear masks in classrooms and indoor spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained until June 30, 2022. For additional University of Toronto information, please see the Utogether site. All Lab School children, JK to Grade 6, and all teachers/staff/visitors will be required to wear masks indoors in the school until June 30, 2022.

b) Daily Screening

c) Rapid Testing

d) Vaccination Update for eligible students (182 students)

e) TPH Mobile School Vaccine Clinic


3. Goodbye, Victoria!

May 20 will be Victoria McCracken’s last day as the Lab School Administrative Assistant, In-house Supply Teacher and Communication Specialist. Victoria is a graduate of the JICS MA CSE teacher-education program and has worked at the Lab School since Summer 2018. She has accepted the position of Marketing Specialist at BigFatBrainStorm, a company that designs educational experiences specializing in Social-Emotional Learning for children (a role perfectly suited to Victoria!). She will be working on the marketing and product design for LuvBug Learning, an e-learning/gaming platform designed to empower children, and aims to offset cyberbullying at home & school, improve mental & emotional health for families, and introduce young children to technology. At the Lab School, Victoria has been nothing short of a miracle worker – anticipating and effectively responding to needs, substituting in classrooms with a moment’s notice, improving administrative systems, and designing innovative ways to improve our communication and dissemination. Our success during the pandemic would not have been possible without her impressive skills, knowledge, and dedication. We hope to remain connected to Victoria and her new work in this next exciting chapter of her career.


4. Congratulations, Erika!

Our JK assistant, Erika Stein was accepted into the JICS Masters in Child Study and Education Program beginning September 2022. Erika has been a wonderful assistant in our Junior Kindergarten classroom for the past two years, forming strong bonds with the children and supporting their learning. She began her time at JICS in 2014 as a UofT Work Study Student and was hired as an assistant in our Nursery classroom. While we will miss her many contributions to our school, we know she is not too far away (3rd floor of the JICS building) as she prepares to become a future teacher.


5. Combined-Grades returning to JICS in September 2022

Many JICS parents have heard me speak about a return to combined grades at JICS which had been a practice at the Lab School for many years (most recently, at Grade 5/6). Combined classes, which are made up of half of one grade and half of another, have many benefits that we have appreciated. Studies show that children in combined classes have more opportunities for emotional and social growth and we have seen the way these mixed-grade classes provide new opportunities for relationships, mentorship, building responsibility, and recognizing diversity. Students develop confidence and important social skills when they have opportunities to interact with peers who are not in the same grade. We are aware that we are a small school with only one cohort per grade and, while this provides many benefits including a sense of cohesion and security, it can also, at times, result in some social tension. One of the things we have valued about our combined-grade classes, when we have had them, is the opportunity they provide to shift the groupings of the children and offer them a chance to explore new social dynamics.

children holding the letters J, I, C, S

We decided to return to combined grades in September 2020 and to position the combined grade experience at Grade 4/5. Unfortunately, the pandemic necessitated the postponement of our plans. We are excited to announce that we will proceed with two combined Grade 4/5 classes in September 2022. At JICS we believe that “all ideas are improvable” and we thank you for your trust as we continuously examine what it means to provide exemplary learning experiences for your child.


6. CTBS in May

ICS students are evaluated continuously throughout the year through various formal and informal assessments. These are used to shape student goals. Reporting to parents is done in regular detailed interviews and summarized in a written report card. In addition, the school participates for research purposes in the Canadian Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) from Grade 2 to Grade 6. This is a series of standardized, normed tests in mathematics and language arts which compare both individual’s and the school’s overall performance with other students and schools. This testing tool is helpful (especially to researchers working in our school), but is not perfect. As mentioned above, this is but one of the many ways of assessing students in our school.


7. Upcoming April Events

Ramadan (until May 1)

Thurs 28 – Hot Dog Night Planning Committee Meeting. 7:00pm | RSVP


8. Upcoming May Events

Tues 3 – Eid-al-Fitr (begins at sunset on May 2)

Tues 3 – Meeting for Parents of BIPOC Children. 7:00-8:30pm | RSVP

Mon 23 – Victoria Day Holiday. School and daycare closed.





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