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Welcome back, JICS Fall Newsletter, Re-enrolment, and more!

Topics covered in this post:

Nursery students share from the Family Book
Nursery students share from the Family Book


1. Welcome Back and JICS Fall Edition Newsletter

It was beautiful to see the children back this week. They arrived excited, happy, and eager to reconnect with friends and teachers, filled with stories to share.

At JICS, when it comes to our partnership with parents, we feel the more information, the better! Hence, we provide weekly or biweekly teacher class-specific summary emails, Thursday's Parent Information Posts, individual report cards, parent-teacher interviews/meetings, etc.

The JICS Newsletter is an opportunity to "peek into" the rest of the school and learn about experiences you may not know about. We thank Krista for her work in publishing it! We designed it to be shared between parents and children. We strongly encourage you to review the stunning Newsletter with your child/ren. Use the password provided in the Parent Information Post email to access the Fall Newsletter.


2. Re-enrolment for 2023-2024

Re-enrolment information and forms were emailed on December 8 for the 2023-2024 school year. The form and the non-refundable $5000 deposit (payable to The University of Toronto) are due in the office by Wednesday, January 18, 2023. The University sets the deadline, and fills unclaimed spots beginning January 19. Please take the time to review the JICS values, philosophy, and mission before making your decision to re-enrol.


3. Staffing Update

The JICS Lab School has been enriched by teacher, Marcia Bumbury for four years. Seconded from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Marcia has been an exemplary JK teacher. She has shared her vast knowledge and experience with MA CSE teacher candidates, researchers, and Lab School faculty. This year marks the end of her secondment at the JICS Lab School. Marcia will return to the TDSB to share her JICS learnings and experiences, helping to fulfill our public purpose. We plan to maintain strong ties with Marcia and hope she will continue to be involved in our research and mentor future MA CSE teacher candidates.

Our mandate at the JICS Lab School is to provide an exemplary education to our students, and we know that our teachers are our greatest asset. JICS teachers are highly skilled and experienced and are experts in child development and pedagogy. Lab School teachers are a mix of University of Toronto employees and seconded teachers from various boards of education in Ontario. More information about secondments and staffing can be found in the Parent Handbook.

A secondment ad will be placed for a new teacher (1-4 year secondment), and a hiring committee will be established with representation from the PA Exec, the MA CSE program, school administration, and teaching faculty. We have a long and successful history of seconding teachers. These teachers bring their unique ideas, a diversity of experience, and best practices to JICS, influencing and inspiring our development as a faculty.


4. Lunar New Year – Year of the Rabbit

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Sunday, January 22, is Lunar New Year, the joyous festival celebrated in many Asian countries. Marking the end of Winter, the Spring Festival (known as Chinese Chunjie, Vietnamese Tet, Korean Solnal, and Tibetan Losar) begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, 15 days later. Each culture celebrates in its own way. For some, New Year’s eve and New Year's day are reserved for family celebrations, including ceremonies honouring ancestors and family members receiving red envelopes (lai see). Dances and fireworks are prevalent throughout the holidays, culminating in the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the last day of the New Year’s celebrations. On this night, colourful lanterns light up the houses and traditional foods such as yuanxiao (sticky rice balls that symbolize family unity), fagao (prosperity cake), and yusheng (raw fish and vegetable salad) are served.

At the JICS Lab School, we are so fortunate to have families from diverse backgrounds. If you celebrate Lunar New Year, please enrich our learning by sharing your culture. Don't hesitate to get in touch with your child's teachers.


5. New Dean of OISE – Dr. Erica N. Walker

We are delighted to announce the appointment of the new Dean of OISE, Dr. Erica N. Walker, an award-winning researcher, educator and professor of mathematics education from Columbia University’s Teachers College. A 2022 American Education Research Association Fellow, Erica Walker, started her new role on January 1, 2023, for a five-year term. She joins the OISE faculty as a full professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning (CTL).

Headshot of Erica N. Walker
(Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

We at the JICS Lab School are very excited to work with Erica Walker. We look forward to supporting her commitment to dynamic research, improving educational practice, and connecting creatively to the community – all in service of realizing more equitable education.

The following is her introductory message to the community:

Happy New Year to all OISE faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends:

I am delighted to be joining OISE as your new Dean, and I very much hope each of you had a joyous and fulfilling holiday season to reconnect with those closest to you.

The start of 2023 for me is, as a recent OISE newsletter put it, a “bright beginning.” Over the past several months, I have been excitedly preparing for the move from my home and professional life in New York City to Toronto, and I have been gratified by the warm welcome and well wishes I've received from so many at the Institute and the broader University of Toronto community. I want to especially acknowledge Professor Normand Labrie for his stewardship of OISE during this transition and for staying on as Associate Dean Programs at OISE in the coming months.

I am very excited to be here and to have begun the process of settling in to this new role and my new home. A few decades ago, I first came to Canada as a high school senior, visiting from my school in Atlanta, Georgia for several weeks as part of an international outreach program. I have many fond memories of that visit – it was my very first trip outside of the United States – and it was the start of many friendships and collaborations across cultural and geographical lines.

As a researcher in mathematics education and former public high school mathematics teacher, I’ve continued to cross boundaries in my work – taking a very interdisciplinary approach to how we think about the learning and teaching of mathematics while ensuring deep understanding of the subject matter – and further, exploring the breadth and depth of spaces for mathematics education beyond school walls.

As OISE Dean, I hope to inspire our community to build upon OISE’s unique history and tradition while together developing new ideas and deepening our commitment to equitable education, opportunity, and wellbeing across the lifespan.

In this 21st century, we are living in an amazing, challenging, and, dare I say, hopeful time. I am reminded that across history significant pandemics often have been followed by a rich flowering of ideas, innovations, and progress across fields and disciplines, with worldwide impact and influence. As a New Yorker, art and music lover, and avid museum goer, I see echoes of the Harlem Renaissance (which followed the 1918 flu pandemic) everywhere. As a newcomer to OISE and Canada, I look forward to our exploring new possibilities for engagement and learning, and reflecting what we’ve learned over the last several years in order to advance generations of teachers, learners, researchers and professionals.

We are doing the most critical work: helping people learn, teach, thrive and create; and that work we do is the foundation for much of what goes on in this world.

As I see them, my primary responsibilities as Dean and Professor (as in my previous roles as a senior faculty member and administrator) are to support, facilitate, and disseminate the good work of our faculty, students, and staff. That good work, and how we emerge from these challenging times, depends on a strong institution.

Thus, in looking ahead to my first weeks and months as Dean, I will be using a few different approaches to learn more from you about OISE, its strengths, and your dreams for its future to develop a shared vision and mission. I will also be moving forward with a number of critical faculty and leadership search processes that are already underway. These positions are key to our ability to keep innovating within our research and graduate programs and so ensure OISE’s continued strong reputation and stature as a top-ranked graduate education institution in the world. I will look forward to working with many of our faculty, staff and students on these search committees to continue helping to recruit the very best to OISE.

It is thrilling to me that after more than three decades since that high school visit, I am back in Canada to live and to lead such a dynamic institution. With many new responsibilities, I appreciate your understanding and patience as I learn all about OISE (and wait for my sadly delayed moving truck to arrive from the U.S.!). I can’t wait to meet all of you and begin this journey together – please stay tuned for an upcoming meet-and-greet, happening in a couple of months. To everyone, and especially to fellow newcomers, welcome to a bright 2023. I share all best wishes for a wonderful and productive start to the term.


Erica N. Walker

Professor and Dean

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

University of Toronto


6. Parent Education – Lunch and Learn with Ellie

The Pursuit of Perfect: ​When Perfectionism Has a Hold on Your Child

Tuesday, January 31, 2023​ from 12:30 – 1:30pm

The pursuit of perfect: when perfectionism has a hold on your child

Lunch & Learn Series with JICS Social Worker Ellie Lathrop

Striving for excellence is celebrated and adaptive, but what happens when it is never good enough? Join us for our ongoing Parent Lunch and Learn session on Jan 31. We will consider the facets of perfectionism and how as a parent you can support your child (and possibly yourself). We will have a 30 min talk (recorded), followed by 30 min of discussion and questions (unrecorded).​


7. Before-School Daycare New Start Time

Morning Daycare will now be open 7:45am instead of 8:00am with no additional cost. Parents will need to register with the Daycare at The program takes place in Room 120, next to the reception.


8. JICS Skate Swap

The JICS Skate Swap is accepting donations for the 2023 Winter Skating Season.

The JICS Phys Ed teacher, Mike Martins, has arranged skating times for our students in SK (Tuesday mornings) and Grades 1 to 6 (see dates section below) at Bill Bolton Arena this Winter. Students must have properly fitted skates (there are no rentals available at the arena) and a CSA-approved helmet to participate and safely enjoy this experience.

In the past, we have helped families to equip their children with skates and helmets by setting up a skate swap at the school. If you have skates or helmets to donate, please bring them to the reception area of the Lab School. Likewise, parents looking to borrow may bring their children to try on donated items in the reception area.


9. Used Christmas Trees

If you live near the school and celebrate Christmas with a real tree, we invite you to bring your discarded ornament-free tree and “toss it” into the JICS playground for the children to use as a great-smelling, natural building material for their outdoor play.


10. Photos of the Week at JICS

a. Festivals of Lights – JICS Holiday Sing-along

Thank you to all the parents who attended the Holiday Sing-along on the last day of the Winter Term. This annual tradition allows us to unite as a community before the holidays to sing songs of the diverse festivals of light. Thank you, Music Teachers Suzanne and Russell, for your leadership.


b. Other Photos


11. Upcoming January Events

Mon 16 – School-wide lice check (Thank you, JICS PA!)

Wed 18 – Re-enrolment form and non-refundable deposit due for 2023-2024

Wed 18 – Information Session for invited Nursery applicants

Sun 22 – Lunar New Year – Year of the Rabbit

Tues 24 – Meeting for Parents of BIPOC Children at JICS (registration info coming soon)

Wed 25 – Skating Grades 4-6

Thur 26 – Skating Grades 1-3

Fri 27 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Tues 31 – Parent Education Lunch and Learn with Ellie: The Pursuit of Perfect. RSVP here.


12. Upcoming February Events

Black History Month

Wed 1 – Skating Grades 1-3

Thur 2 – Skating Grades 4-6

Tues 14 – Valentine’s Day

Wed 15 – Parent Education “Hold on Tight – One Mother’s Journey, Two Exceptional Children” The Mabin School (50 Popular Plains Rd.) 6:30-9:00pm RSVP here

Fri 17 – Mid-Term Holiday (School closed, Daycare open)

Mon 20 – Family Day Holiday (School & Daycare closed)




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