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May 31
Allergy Reminder -- We Need Your Help.

Hello families and caregivers,

Re. Nut allergies and Nut products
 
This is a request for your help here at school.  We have some students who have severe allergies to nuts.  This means that if they are in the vicinity of any type of nuts they can become very sick and it may even be life-threatening.
 
As we know, children love to play and we encourage them to have fun together and be inclusive of all their peers in play and learning as well as those special times when both occur.  Children come into contact with each other, share toys, sports and playground equipment.  Every time this happens substances can travel from one child to another.
 
Please do not send any food to school that may contain nuts.  This includes peanut butter, many granola bars, some restaurant foods that have been cooked in peanut oil, and cookies, etc..  Some allergic reactions can take place even when the substance is in the air.
 
Please help us make our school an inclusive place where all children are welcome and safe and please leave the nut products at home.
 
Warmly,
 
Jonathan Weresch
Principal
January 13
Week of January 15-19

Hello Community,

 

It seems like the Vancouver Deep Freeze may finally be over next week.  I know that for those of us who have roots in the prairies or up north this may not be all that cold, but for Vancouver this has been an exceptional winter.  One of the things that was truly exceptional was the way our children played creatively and joyfully in the snow and ice.  I watched students create games, practice safety, and respectfully take turns while sliding down the school “lump” (it is not quite a hill).  We have a great group of kids at this school.  Minor injuries were kept to a minimum and thanks to the supervision aides, staff, and Elizabeth (who does First Aid) kids were quick to get back to play.  Perhaps we should have cold winters more often?

Here is our week ahead

Tuesday

Lunch                    Student Council

 

Wednesday

a.m.                       Div. 1 Visit from VPD Constable

Lunch                    Dot Art Club (all invited)

Div 4                      Salmon Eggs Arrive!! (for the hatching program)

 

Thursday

a.m.                       Div. 1 Field Trip to Britannia Library

 

This coming week Div. 2 is learning about family and community values.  If your son or daughter is in Ms. Brenda’s class you can expect some conversation at home about what is important to you and your family.

Also this coming week Div. 3 is learning about weather.  For those of you with young ones in Ms. Smith’s class please feel free to ask questions about weather when you find the time.

 

Some items coming up on the calendar:

 

Today                    Reconciliation in Action – event at Hastings Community Centre 2:30-6:30 (all welcome, for more info please see our facebook page)

January 30           Professional Development Day (No School for students)

February 3-4        Hobiyee Festival at PNE (see http://www.tsamiks.com/ )

 

Have a great week,

 

Jonathan​

September 15
Welcome Back

September 15, 2016

 

Hello Parents,
 
Once again I would like to thank you for choosing the Aboriginal Focus School as the place where you would like your children to learn.  We are very proud of this place and our unique way helping children grow.  Please remember that at this school parents’ voice is welcome and we want to respond to the needs of community.
Here are some notices:
n  Peanut and Other Nut Allergies.  At this school there are some students with severe and life-threatening nut allergies.  In order for these children to be able to learn and play without fear we ask that no peanuts or other nuts be included in snacks and lunches.  If we find these we will take them away to keep everyone safe.
n  Electronics.  Please do not send your child to school with electronic equipment.  An important part of growing up is learning to play with others and imaginative play (making up games, deciding on common rules).  During recess and lunch children need to play with each other and this is best without electronics.
n  Valuables and money. As a school we can not be responsible for the safe-keeping of money or student valuables.  When valuables go missing there is often hurt feelings, heartache and sometimes even blame.  Once again we very much like to promote cooperative and imaginative play where children make up games, agree on rules, and learn to get along.
n  Corn Roast September 28 4-6 pm.  Please join us for our Community Corn Roast on Wednesday Sept. 28.  There will be corn, hot dogs, and an open mic for singing and stories.  This was a great event last year and it is an excellent time to meet the staff at the school and share some food.
n  Pro-D Day September 30 (NO SCHOOL).  On Friday Sep. 30 there will be no school for students as the staff are engaging in professional development (learning about new ideas in education).
n  PAC (Parent Advisory Committee).  All parents are welcome to be a part of the PAC.  We meet once a month and discuss activities and concerns at our school.  Every month we will send out an invitation and if you are able to come we would be happy to have you join.  Please keep an eye out for an invitation in the next few weeks for a meeting.
n  Monday Morning Meetings.  Every Monday at 9:15 am we have a school wide assembly.  All parents are welcome to attend.  These meetings are usually 20-30 minutes long and the intention is that the school starts off the week together and on a positive note.  If you are in the school at the time, please join us, all are welcome!
Thank you once again for being part of the Aboriginal Focus School Community
 
Jonathan Weresch
Principal
June 12
Week of June 13 - 17
Hello Community,
This week Tuesday will be a special event at our school.  The Aboriginal Focus School is very rich in community and our students’ learning is enriched by the many volunteers that come around.  This Tuesday is going to be our Hay chxw q'a celebration.  If you, as a parent or as a friend of the school, have helped our school in any way, big or small, we would like to express our gratitude towards you.  The celebration will take place from 2 – 3 pm in the gym and we will have some refreshments for you.  Please join us and let us thank you for the work you have done.
 
Here is our week ahead
Monday
9:15      Monday Morning Meeting (Assembly) – all welcome
all day   Last day of Badminton
Tuesday
2 pm     Hay chxw q'a Celebration
Wednesday
5-7 pm  VUM Tutoring Family Celebration
Friday
All day  Div. 2 Field Trip to New Brighton Park
 
Now to a link:
At the moment we are going through an exciting and historical time in our school’s history.  The Aboriginal Focus School is looking for a new name and we want your input!  You can follow this link and let us know what you think our school should be named.  Please also let friends and family know about this as well
Have a great day,
 
Jonathan
May 23
Week of May 23 - 28

Hello Community,
I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend.  For many the May long weekend marks the beginning of the summer season – although not officially summer yet, it is the weekend when many of us put away our raincoats, sweaters, boots, and it is the weekend when we welcome shorts, straw hats and flip-flops.  Here at the Aboriginal Focus School we are starting to look at how far we have come this year.  Last Wednesday I had the privilege of reading a book with a young student.  When he finished the passage I asked him what he was able to read in September; his reply: “I did not know the alphabet in September.”  Please take some time with your child and celebrate how far you as a family have come in helping her or his learning this school year.
Here is what is happening at our little school this week
Monday
Holiday – No School
Tuesday
P.M.                      Div 1 & 4 butterfly presentation
Wednesday
P.M.                      Math Mania with Pacific Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Thursday
9:00                        No Choir
9:15 – 10:30        PAC Meeting (all welcome)
4-6 pm                  Welcome To Kindergarten  -- please consider coming to this event which is OPEN TO EVERYONE.  There will be singing, dancing, and food available as we welcome new families into our community.  For more info contact organizer Fiona Laporte (K Teacher). 
Now to a link.  The Vancouver School Board has a goal of becoming the greenest school district in North America by 2020.  This fits in nicely with our school’s community value of stewardship of the land and waters.  The VSB is asking for community engagement with an online survey and public forums.  Once again it would be great to have the input of the parents and caregivers at the Aboriginal Focus School.  If you have the time please have a look at the website http://www.vsb.bc.ca/vsb-green-board .
Have a great week,
 
Jonathan
May 15
Week of May 16 - 20

Hello Community,
 
On Friday we posted some pictures on social media (Facebook and twitter) of the wonderful work Ms. Smith’s gr. 1/2 class and Growing Chefs have done.  If you have the time please visit one of our pages and look at the pictures.
Now to our upcoming events.  Please note in the schedule for this week our Thursday evening Public Consultation Forum for the renaming of our school.  The first forum, organized by Jolene Andrew and Fiona LaPorte was a true community event where stories were exchanged, thoughts were shared and everyone became a little closer to each other and as a community.  Please consider coming to our second forum and have your voice be heard.
Here is our week ahead
Monday
9:15 am                Monday Morning Meeting (assembly) – everyone welcome
Wednesday       
9:30                        Division 1 artist visit
1:00 – 3:00 pm   Divisions 1&2 swimming at Templeton pool
Thursday
1:00 -- 3:00 pm Vancouver Aboriginal grade 7 graduation ceremony @ Croatian Cultural Centre
4:00 – 6:00 pm   Second Public Consultation Forum re. Naming the Aboriginal Focus School
Friday
all day                   School Closed (long weekend)
 
Now to a video link.
Every May 26th since 2008 the people of Australia commemorate “National Sorry Day.”  On this day in 2008 the prime minister of that country, Kevin Rudd, apologized on behalf of the parliament for the laws that were passed that stole Aboriginal children away from their parents creating the “Stolen Generation.”   Prime minister Rudd said this was merely the “first step” on the road to reconciliation.  Have a look at this video to learn more about another country’s struggle to come to terms with a painful past.
I hope you have a great week.
Jonathan
April 04
Week of April 4 - 8

Hello Community,
 
Welcome to another week.  Our students have come back from spring break refreshed and ready to learn and we thank all of you parents and caregivers for giving your children an enjoyable and stimulating break from school.  Children learn greatly from play and experience and the Aboriginal Focus School Macdonald are rich in both of these areas.
 
Here is our week ahead
Monday
9:15        Monday Morning Meeting (Assembly)
Wednesday
9-12       Div 1 & 2               Pure Northwest Preservation Society Workshop Presentation (Divs 1 & 2)
Thursday
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm           PAC Meeting (all welcome)
 
Now to a link.  In the last few months we have heard a lot in the news about the Vancouver School Board about enrollment, class and school sizes, and budget cuts.  When making decisions the VSB attempts to be consultative, thoughtful and thinking of long term goals.  As part of this process the district is now seeking input into formulating their long range goals.  These goals will then guide the decisions regarding budget, facilities, etc. for the future.  Your input is welcome and asked for.  Please have a look at the link on the front page of our website and get involved.
Have a great week,
 
Jonathan
February 26
Week of February 27 - March 4

Hello Community,
 
Here is what is happening around our community in the next few days.
 
Saturday February 27, 2017
1:00 pm                Memorial for Chief Henry Robertson at the Friendship Centre
Monday
9:15 am Monday Morning Meeting (Assembly) – all welcome
Friday
All day                   Curriculum Implementation Day (No School for Students)
 
n  As many of you know this week our community lost a friend.  Chief Henry Robertson not only carved our doors and the eagle above our doors, but he also advocated for the school before politicians local, provincial and federal.  Our thoughts are with the family as they celebrate his life, mourn his loss and carry on his legacy.  There will be a memorial on Saturday at 1 pm and all are welcome.
 
n  An important part of our school is the Strong Start Centre.  This is a space where parents of children ages 0-5 can come, meet and engage in structured play while connecting with likeminded parents.  On Tuesday March 8 they will be having a celebration of International Women’s Day with crafts and lunch for all parents.  If you would like to attend please RSVP to Iosefina Para at 604-254-5401 or email iosefinap@kiwassa.ca .
 
n  Now to a link.  This last week the Vancouver Sun published a positive article about the community that our studens, parents, grandparents, and staff are creating at the Aboriginal Focus School.  As we are trying to grow this school please forward this good news story to your friends and families.  We are currently taking registrations for the 2016 – 2017 school year and we would love for families to find out about their option to have their children receive an education with an Aboriginal Focus.  Here is the story in digital form:  http://www.vancouversun.com/life+lessons+beliefs+music+culture+vancouver+aboriginal+school/11739127/story.html
 
Have a restful weekend,
 
Jonathan Weresch
 
 
February 19
Week of Febraury 22 - 26

Hello Community,
 
Some of you came to the Div. 1 / UBC Science fair this week.  Our students worked very hard and had some great presentations about all kinds of space topics.  They were real “stars” (pun intended).  If you did not have the privilege of seeing it please go to our facebook page and look at the photos.
Thank you to the parents who came out to our PAC meeting.  Gina made breakfast and Curtis and Jolene led the discussion and moved the agenda along.  We are planning events for the spring as well as continually discussing how the school can better reflect the values and needs of children, parents, grandparents, and community.  There were some new faces at our meeting on Thursday; everyone is welcome at PAC.
Here are some events that are happening next week
Monday
n  9:15 am                Monday Morning Meeting
Thursday
n  Division 2 (Ms. McDonald’s Class) Field Trip to Burns Bog
Now to a school board related topic.  At our PAC meeting the question came up regarding seismic upgrading and when and how this relates to our school.  The question comes at a very good time as the Vancouver School Board is right now asking the community (all of Vancouver) for input about how schools should be used and upgraded.  There will be open houses as well as on-line forums.  This is a great opportunity for the community of the Aboriginal Focus School to be heard.  If you would like to participate please follow the link below and explore the website.
Have a wonderful weekend,
 
Jonathan
December 11
Week of December 14 - 18

Hello Families, Hello Community,

 
We hope you are doing well and getting ready for restful break, family time, and a renewal as we begin a new year.
Please note the following announcements:
 
Brackendale
 
n  Last week the entire student body travelled to Brackendale.  We saw many eagles and even a couple of seals.  One of the school’s aims is to teach stewardship of nature and this trip went a long way in connecting our students with the land.  A very big Thank You / Hay chxw q'a to our PAC for funding the bus to take us there
Cedar Basket
 
n  Jolene Andrews has been working with our students in creating cedar baskets.  Thank you to Jolene for your expertise and for the cedar as the students learned this traditional skill.  Please see our facebook and twitter pages for some photos.
Teepee
 
n  Thank you to the PAC for the funds and to Curtis Clearsky for the expertise.  The school is making its own Teepee which, when completed, we can bring out for special celebrations.  Please see our facebook or twitter pages for photos of it being made.  There will also be photos on the PAC facebook page
Class Visits
 
n  If you would like to see your child during the school day (e.g. drop of a lunch, pick up early) please check in with the teacher as you approach the classroom.  Although your child knows you, other students may get worried with unknown adults entering the room.  A friendly hello to the teacher will go a long way to make everyone feel safe and welcome.
Hampers (Tuesday / Wednesday)
 
n  We are extremely grateful to the Cause We Care Foundation who have generously provided hampers to our community.  We have one (1) hamper for every family.  If you would like a hamper please come by the following times and either Scott Vandeloo or Dee Hughes-Slade will help you. 
a.       Tuesday 8:30 – 9:30 am
b.      Tuesday 2:30 – 3:30 pm
c.       Wednesday 8:30 – 9:30 am
d.      Wednesday 2:30 – 3:30 pm
Concert
 
n  Our students will be having a little concert on Wednesday at 2 pm.  Everyone is welcome to join, listen, and maybe even sing along.  A very special thank you to Jill from St. James Music for working with our students all year long to get their voices ready for this event.
Report Cards (Wednesday p.m.)
 
n  Report Cards will be distributed to students in their classes on Wednesday afternoon.  Please read them careful and make sure to look at the areas needing growth, and, very importantly, celebrate the success and good learning of your child in the last three months.  If you have any questions regarding the report cards please feel free to talk to your teacher.  We are partners with you in your child’s education and children always benefit when parents and school communicate.
Winter Solstice Celebration (Thursday December 17 5:00-7:00 pm)
 
n  Please join us for a festive holiday meal, some local (parents/family/student) entertainment and a few celebrated guests (school board trustees, district staff, Elders) as we look forward to the winter solstice.   If you would like to contribute a song or dance or story there will be an open mic throughout the evening.  The festivities are from 5:00 – 7:00 pm in the lunchroom.
Winter Break
 
n  Our last day of classes is December 18.  The Aboriginal Focus School Macdonald Elementary will reopen on January 4th.
 
From the school staff to your homes we wish you a nice holiday and we look forward to a fantastic partnership with you and your children in 2016 at the Aboriginal Focus School Macdonald Elementary.
 
With gratitude,
 
Jonathan Weresch
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