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Staff PD & Dissemination, COVID Updates, Parent Teacher Interviews

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

Topics covered in this post:

JK student with a poppy

1. Remembrance Day

Thank you to the Grade 5 students and Zoe for organizing a beautiful assembly. We honour the courage, valour, and sacrifice of the heroes who have served and continue to serve our country.


2. Staff Professional Development Day

Friday, November 12

On Friday, November 12, the JICS teachers and staff will engage in a full day of professional development. The school is closed, and the daycare is open for current students.

In the morning, we will attend a workshop entitled: Stories Can Change the World: Using Stories to Counter Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate by Equity Consultant, Rabia Khokar.

Working to counter Islamophobia in our practice as educators is one of the ways we can work towards educational equity for all students because all systems of oppression are interconnected. Stories shape who and what we know and often reflect the sociopolitical context locally and globally. Stories can help us affirm identities, experiences and build a strong sense of self. They can also expand who and what we know and foster respect for others. JICS teachers will explore questions like, if stories are a key tool used in the classrooms, then what role can they play to help students become critical thinkers and counter and disrupt Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim hate? Are there single stories that stereotype and represent Muslims as a monolithic group? What impact do these stories have? Are there specific tropes and issues of representation or misrepresentation? What role do counter stories play? We look forward to learning how to critically analyze and select stories that show the intersectionality and diversity of Muslims and their experiences by looking closely at a critical content analysis toolkit and framework. This workshop will help us to learn how to use our positional power to share stories that center and restore Muslims’ humanity and dignity. The PD morning is part of a series of professional learning sessions to support our efforts to disrupt and dismantle racism within our own spheres of influence while building knowledge and collaborating as a learning community.

In the afternoon, Laura Grier will be leading us in a print workshop. Laura is a Délı̨nę First Nations artist and printmaker, born in Somba ké (Yellowknife), and based out of Alberta. Using traditional print mediums, they instrumentalize the power of the handmade to reflect political sociology, culture, environmentalism, and Indigeneity. We will also be continuing our reflection on the book “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

This evening, we are looking forward to a workshop with Ellie Lathrop, JICS Social Worker, answering the question: What do we need to do to help students achieve social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies? We will review SEL competencies: Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Responsible Decision Making, Self-Management and Relationship Skills and teaching strategies – explicit lessons, general teaching practices, integration of skill instruction and practices, policies and organizational structures. We will identify priorities, needs, challenges for the children we work with at different stages of development and identify teaching strategies and interventions that we are employing.


3. Midterm Holiday

Monday, November 15

We hope everyone enjoys our Midterm Holiday on Monday, November 15. The Lab School is closed, and the Daycare is open for current daycare students. Please contact Anne Marie.


4. COVID Updates

Recess Yard, Clubs, International Travel

At the JICS Lab School, we are constantly reviewing practices and policies to ensure we are doing our best to create a healthy and natural learning environment for the children. We have decided that the barrier in the recess yard, dividing the yard into two halves, will be removed beginning Tuesday, November 16. The same two grade cohorts will continue to use the yard daily and now the children will have access to more spaces. (In a typical year, 3 grades shared the yard at recess.) The cherished Special Friends Program (JK to Grade 6) in which grade cohorts are paired for the year has resumed and we are beginning to organize clubs. Here are some that have started:

  • Art Club (Grade 4, 5, 6)

  • Book Club (Grade 3&4, Gr 5&6)

  • GSA Gender & Sexuality Alliance (Gr 6)

  • Basketball Club (Gr 5, 6)

  • Social Justice Club (Gr 5, 6)

If you are planning to travel with your child during the winter holidays, please note that Public Health’s policy remains the same: any unvaccinated child who travels outside the country cannot attend school for 14 days upon return.

TPH screening (updated Oct 5, 2021):

If the child/student travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days:

  • The child/student must follow federal guidelines for quarantine and testing after returning from international travel.

  • If the child/student is fully vaccinated they may be exempt from federal quarantine. If the child/student is not fully vaccinated, they are not to attend school/child care for 14 days, even if they traveled with a vaccinated companion.

We cannot provide hybrid learning for children while they are away due to travel. We thank you for your understanding.


5. Parent Teacher Interviews

November 17, November 24

Below are the links to sign up for your Fall interview with your child’s/children’s teachers.

Junior Kindergarten:

Senior Kindergarten:


6. Parent Education Events

Rabia Khokar

November 23 | 7:00-8:30pm (Zoom)

Building Inclusive and Equitable 'Bookshelves' with Rabia Khokar

Join teacher, Education and Equity Consultant and PhD student, Rabia Khokar for an interactive presentation entitled Building Inclusive and Equitable ‘Bookshelves’. RSVP here


November 24 | 8:00pm (Zoom)

COVID Vaccines for Kids

Our friends at The Mabin School are inviting us to join Sick Kids Hospital panelists to discuss: COVID Vaccines for Kids. Sign up here to receive the Zoom link.

Poster for What I Need From You: Emotion Coaching Through a Developmental Lens workshop

December 2 | 12:30-1:30pm (Zoom)

Lunch & Learn with Ellie

Join Lab School Social Worker Ellie Lathrop for another Lunch and Learn workshop: What I need from you: emotion coaching through a developmental lens. Learn what children of all ages find helpful and supportive as a parental response when they are dealing with difficult emotions. RSVP here


7. Siblings on JICS Lab School Waitlist

We are delighted to have 5 siblings of current JICS students attending Nursery next year. The balance of the Nursery spots will be filled from the application waitlist as will spots up the grades that become available after the re-enrolment deadline in January 2022. If you have a child you would like to attend JICS, please confirm with Shama that we have their information in the database.


8. Serving our Public Purpose

Since the school’s inception in 1925, we have made a noted contribution to understanding of strong educational practices in elementary schools and teacher education throughout the world. The following are some examples of our dissemination.

  • Tara Rousseau, JICS Art Teacher, is in the first year of a two-year term as Co-President of the National Art Education Association (NAEA) LGBTQ+ Special Interest Group. The group is busy planning for the March 2022 NAEA conference. Tara will be presenting on ways to maintain a safe and welcoming classroom environment for all students within the LGBTQ+ spectrum, one of many presentations LGBTQ+ members will offer to the wider association membership. She is also representing the interest group in the planning committee for the NAEA National Leadership Conference, which will take place July 2022.

  • Marcia Bumbury, JICS JK teacher, presented at York University Faculty of Education Course: Content into Practice on October 28th about "Play is Learning, Learning is Play: Play Based Learning in Kindergarten.” Marcia presented at OISE in the Course: Play, Drama and the Arts on November 2 about "Play is Learning, Learning is Play: Play Based Learning in Kindergarten."

  • David Osorio, JICS Grade 2 teacher, who is currently completing his Doctorate of Education in Child Study and Education at OISE (investigating the role of Canadian Indigenous children’s literature in land-based inquiry) has recently shared his work in OISE Professor Angela Nardozi’s Teacher Education course. He has presented at The Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication Conference and presented twice at the International Association of Laboratory Schools 2021.

  • The Natural Curiosity Program provides transformative professional learning and resources to public school educators across Turtle Island (North America) in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation.

    • Zoe Donoahue, JICS Grade 5 teacher, and Michael Martins, JICS Grade 3 teacher, co-presentated at a Natural Curiosity Back-to-School workshop, “Planning for Inquiry” on August 25th. Their session was sold out with 60+ public school educators in attendance.

    • Krista Spence, JICS Teacher/Librarian, worked with Natural Curiosity team to create a resource shared as part of “Take Me Outside Day”, October 30, 2021, titled From Acknowledgement To Action: Connecting to the Land through Natural Curiosity. This 1-page resource is an invitation for educators to explore learning in relationship to the land through the four branches of Natural Curiosity. The reflective prompts embedded in each branch allow for reflection of past, present, and future, and encourage educators to really listen to the students and learn alongside them, from the land. Over 8,900 educators and 400,000 learners across the country took part in this day.

    • David Osorio, JICS Grade 2 teacher, and Doug Anderson, former JICS Parent, presented at Natural Curiosity's 2021 #EmbracingTheShift webinar series, Embracing the Shift: Sharing Our Pandemic Stories of Connecting to Land and Children’s Natural Curiosity. David and Doug shared about their yearlong collaboration of connecting students to local nature, through story, inquiry, and other heart-centred approaches to education that bridge Indigenous and Western ways of knowing.

    • Natural Curiosity created a 5-part instructional video series featuring Lab School educators and partners in Indigenous and environmental education for use across Rainy River District School Board.

    • In the 2021 school year (Sept-Nov) alone, the Natural Curiosity team presented at 9 national educational conferences (i.e. Indspire, Association of Experiential Education), and facilitated 10 customized workshops for school boards, Universities, and organizations (i.e. Durham DSB, Burnaby SD, Living Sky SD, Lakehead University, Lambton-Kent DDSB, Rainy River DSB, Prince's Trust, Bank of Canada, Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association), directly impacting 800+ educators.

    • 11,600+ copies of Natural Curiosity's leading resource have been sold since its publication in 2018.

  • The Robertson Program for Inquiry-based Teaching in Mathematics and Science creates, demonstrates, and disseminates inquiry-based teaching models for mathematics and science by focusing on teacher and student inquiry.

    • Carol Stephenson, JICS SK teacher, presented on Towers, Traps, Bridges and More: Structures in the Early Years, Inspiring STEM and Narrative Enrichment (a 2-PART ONLINE WORKSHOP – September 16 & 23, 2021) exploring how to embed, support and assess a rigorous structures programme that connects all the benefits of hands-on building with children’s natural tendency to create rich, narrative play scenarios.

    • Carol Stephenson, JICS SK teacher, Norah L’Esperance, JICS Nursery teacher, and Marcia Bumbury, JICS JK teacher, have been interviewed for blog post: Assessing Mathematical Understanding in the Early Years. Carol and Michael Martins, JICS Grade 3 teacher, were interviewed for the blog post: Math Manipulatives: How do they aid student learning? These articles would be of interest to parents!

    • Ben Peebles, JICS Grade 6 teacher, has been featured in a series of videos from the Robertson Program. Published to social media, each video addresses aspects of the inquiry process, taking as an example our current Inquiry into Flight and Aerodynamics at the Grade 6 level.

    • Zoe Donoahue, JICS Grade 5 teacher, taught a two part online workshop for the Robertson Program: “The Daily Math Discussion in Primary Grades: A New Approach to the Calendar Routine” on October 7th and 14th.


9. Upcoming November Events

Hindu Heritage Month

Thurs 11 – Remembrance Day

Fri 12 – PD Day. School closed. Daycare open for current daycare students.

Mon 15 – Midterm Holiday. School closed. Daycare open for current daycare students.

Wed 17 – Parent Teacher Interviews

Tues 23 – Parent Education Event | 7:00-8:30pm | Building Inclusive and Equitable 'Bookshelves' (RSVP)

Wed 24 – Parent Teacher Interviews

Wed 24 – Parent Education Event | 8:00pm | Covid Vaccines for Kids (Sign up here)

Tues 30 – Giving Tuesday


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