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Spring Term, COVID Update, Parent Ed

Topics covered in this post:

children building tower


1. Spring Term

The children returned following the Break with contagious energy and engagement. We are looking forward to the first in-person Spring Term since 2019! Stay tuned for announcements about annual student and community events that typically take place during this time of year.


2. Lunch & Learn TODAY with Denia Anderson

March 31, 2022 | 12:30-1:30pm

Pathways to Positive Masculinity - Raising Boys with a Healthy Understanding of Masculinity

Event poster - Lunch & Learn with Denia Anderson, MSW Candidate. Pathways to Positive Masculinity. Raising Boys with a Healthy Understanding of Masculinity. March 31, 2022 at 12:30-1:30pm. A virtual event. RSVP at

Hello JICS families!

I am pleased to run a “lunch and learn” focusing on fostering positive masculinity. It can be difficult navigating the many messages that boys receive from their environments of what it means to be a “man”. In this talk, I will share with you some of the literature on the impact of toxic forms of masculinity on children and their friendships, as well as provide some information and resources on what could be helpful for your children in developing healthier understanding of their masculinity. I will present for 30 mins and then open the space up to discussion and questions for the remaining 30 minutes.

Denia Anderson

Denia Anderson is a Master of Social Work student at the University of Toronto; specializing in children and their families. This year, she completed her MSW placement at the JICS Lab School, under the supervision of Ellie. Prior to this year, Denia worked with many caregivers on strategies to manage behaviour and mental health concerns they have had for their children; primarily using CBT and narrative therapy. She is a strong advocate for using play therapy with children as it facilitates exploration of complex emotions, and allows for greater engagement in difficult conversations.


3. Ramadan Kareem!

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon on April 2 and May 1. Islamic tradition states that it was during Ramadan, on the “Night of Power” that God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the Qurʾān, Islam’s holy book, as a guidance for the people. For Muslims, Ramadan is a period of introspection, communal prayer in the mosque, and reading of the Qurʾān. God forgives the past sins of those who observe the holy month with fasting, prayer, and faithful intention. Wishing you all the blessings of the holy month.


4. COVID Update

a) Rapid Testing Program

New Rapid Antigen Test kits were distributed this week that should last until close to the end of the school year. We will continue the weekly testing program (Sundays and Wednesdays). While we are no longer able to upload results onto Thrive (last day is March 31), we ask that parents inform us of positive test results by emailing the school office.

b) Positive COVID-19 Cases at JICS

Since the start of the March Break to today, at least 13 positive cases in our student and staff community have been detected through the rapid screening program or PCR tests, and reported to the school. We thank each JICS student, teacher and staff member for your support and participation in this added layer of protection.

c) Masks

NEW: The University of Toronto requires that all students, faculty and staff, including the JICS school community, continue to wear masks until April 30, 2022.

d) Vaccination Update for eligible students (182 students)

We currently have no information about the vaccination status of 75 eligible children and we will be contacting their families. All eligible JICS Lab School children must be fully vaccinated for the 2022-2023 school year and provide proof of vaccination.

Current JICS data:

Not yet vaccinated 1.1%

One Dose 6.6%

Two Doses 51.1%

Unknown 41.2%

If you have not updated your child’s vaccination status, log in to your SFO account to update the school on your child’s status. At the end of the form, you will find a link to upload the vaccination certificate as well. Please be sure to submit the SFO form.

On Thursday April 7, TPH School Mobile Vaccination Clinic for children ages 5 to 11 is open at Ogden Junior Public School (33 Phoebe St, Toronto, ON M5T 1A8) from 3:30pm- 8:30pm. Walk-ins are welcome or book your appointment at (Access Code: city2022). Please note that masks are required at TPH Vaccine Clinics.

e) Changing COVID-19 Protocols

In accordance to the University, on April 30 we will evaluate the JICS COVID-19 protocols based on our school community data, The Ministry and Government announcements, and The University of Toronto’s policies and we will communicate any changes to the community. Thank you for your continued support as we make decisions that best serve our community, keep the teaching consistent, and keep everyone safe.


5. Meeting Space for Parents of JICS BIPOC Children

April 6, 2022 | 7:00-8:30pm

Last year, a group of parents of racialised children at JICS came together to discuss shared experiences at school and beyond. At that time, many of us were reeling from the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on our communities and the proliferation of incidents of anti-Black, anti-Asian and anti-Indigenous racism. We met in order to create a safe space for discussing the issues impacting our children, and as a means to collect and convey our observations, our needs as racialised families, and any advice to the school around equity and inclusion.

We would like to meet again, to continue where we left off. The next zoom meeting of the group is scheduled for April 6, 7 - 8:30 pm, where we hope to have a discussion about our experiences as JICS parents of BIPOC children and how and what other purposes the group might serve. If you would like to join, please RSVP here by Thursday March 31. A zoom address will be emailed to registered participants.


6. Parents’ Association Contributions to the Lab School

Your donation to the PA supports the school in many ways. The PA funds our lice check (today), parent education events, socials (more info coming soon), and equipment to enrich our programming. We are grateful for your support! Here is an example of your donations at work:

Junior Grades

Funds from the Parents’ Association were used to purchase print resources that will increase the diversity in the Grade 5 classroom library. Four sets of novels written by a diverse group of authors will be used for novel study, where a group of children and a teacher read and discuss a novel over several weeks.

photo of books

Nonfiction resources about Black history and the Civil Rights Movement will be used throughout the year, and especially during Black History Month.

Collections of biographies about Black scientists, leaders, heroes will allow children to learn about important and inspiring individuals.

Other resources purchased will support learning about race and identity.

photo of books


7. JICS Read-a-thon

The amount of reading the children did this month is staggering. Thank you all for your support of our annual read-a-thon. Your donations will be used to replace lost and broken books, purchasing new books, and supporting authors, illustrators and storytellers to visit with students.

Donations of $25 or more will be rewarded with a personalized book plate placed in a new library book.

Additional information for parents:


8. JICS Basketball Club

The Grade 5 and Grade 6 Basketball Clubs have been practicing weekly, November to March. Each cohort had nearly twenty participants, bringing much enthusiasm and energy to the early morning meets. Practices consisted of a mix of fitness exercises, skill development, in-game strategy, and game play. Students practiced their dribbling, shooting passing, and learned how to position themselves on the court for both offense and defense.

Due to public health restrictions, we were unable to compete against other schools this year. In response, the JICS coaches and staff challenged both teams to a game to end the season. The following is a recap of the games.

Grade 5s VS The Staff - Tuesday, March 8

After an intense series of contract negotiations, Staff General Manager Walker Kitchens had assembled the Staff Dream Team. This incredible squad of Tara, Mike, Marcia, David, Walker and Adrian (Gr 4 Student Teacher) appeared unbeatable. Some were saying that this was the most talent to share the court since the USA Dream Team played together in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

While the teachers had the advantage of being tall, the Grade 5s had an advantage of having more cardio and substitutes. Could the team of 18 students take down the adults?

The game was a back and forth affair with both teams holding leads throughout the game. With a minute to go, the teachers took a 20-19 lead. All hope seemed lost for the students, until Roshan drained a layup with 10 seconds left to go ahead 21-20. As the teachers searched for a miracle, George stole the ball from Mike as time expired extinguishing any hope the teachers had.

As the students celebrated, the teachers were already making plans for revenge against the Grade 6s.

Grade 6s VS The Staff - Thursday, March 10.

Realizing that they were in need of reinforcements, the staff upgraded their team adding Krista and Sumaiya (Gr 6 Intern). Surely this team could not be beat. However, the Grade 6s had other plans.

The Grade 6s came out on fire and raced to a 10-0 lead. The students’ rebounding and smart passing were too much for the teachers to handle early. As the students cheered on each other loudly, they awoke a long lost competitive fire in the staff. The staff would not go away quietly. They stormed back and nearly took the lead on multiple occasions. The Grade 6s remained composed and continued to score clutch baskets. When the final buzzer had sounded, the teachers again had come up heart-breakingly short. The Grade 6s were champs, the score was 16-14.

The future looks bright for both the Grade 5 and 6 Basketball Squads. Meanwhile, the staff are left icing their sore joints and spending the offseason contemplating what went wrong for their Dream Team.


9. Conferences

Tara attended the National Art Education Association (NAEA) National Convention, New York, March 3 to 5. Tara will present her new learning to the JICS staff.

Chriss and Richard will be attending the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) Conference at the University of North Alabama “Harmonious Collaborations: Celebration of Lab Schools Bridging Sound Research to Best Practices” April 6 to 8. They look forward to presenting and learning alongside representatives from other lab schools around the world.


10. March Break Daycare Camp

Thirty lucky students participated in the Daycare March Break Camp (March 14 – 25). The Daycare will be providing a June Camp (June 20 – 30). Details coming.


11. Black History Month

Enjoy these stunning larger-than-life portraits, completed by our Grade 6 students of lesser-known but inspiring African-Canadians and African-Americans. More information about this activity can be found in the March 3 Parent Information Post.

Plus one more portrait coming soon from Frances and Noa!


12. School Crossing Guard Appreciation

school crossing guard

Please join us in thanking our crossing guard Allyson (Walmer Rd and Kendal Ave) for making the commute to and from school safe! On March 23, School Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, we presented her with a small token of our appreciation. This week, students created thank you notes for Allyson.


13. Upcoming March Eventss

Read-a-thon Month

Thurs 31 – School-wide lice check.


14. Upcoming April Events

Sun 3 – Ramadan begins (until May 1)

Wed 6 to Fri 8 – International Association of Laboratory Schools 2022 Conference, North Alabama

Wed 13 – Parent Teacher Interviews (details coming soon)

Fri 15 – Passover begins at sunset (until April 23)

Fri 15 – Good Friday. School & Daycare closed.

Sun 17 – Easter

Mon 18 – Easter Monday. School & Daycare closed.

Wed 20 – 2nd Tuition Installment due date (see Fees Information page)

Wed 20 – Parent Teacher Interviews (details coming soon)

Fri 22 – Earth Day

Fri 22 – Orthodox Good Friday

Sun 24 – Orthodox Easter


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