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Showing posts from 2017


Wishing all my Westminster friends a fond farewell.  Merry everything and happy always! Love, Mrs. Joseph

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year To all!

Wishing all our Westminster families who celebrate Christmas a happy holiday! We hope everyone makes many wonderful memories with your family and friends.   To all, we want to thank you for your kind words, season greetings, yummy treats and gifts. Your kindest is much appreciated.  From all WPS, we wish everyone a happy and healthy winter break and a wonderful New Year!  May 2018 be filled with good will and compassion for all our children, families and staff. School is closed for the holidays and will reopen on January 8, 2018. With much love, Mrs. Joseph and the Westminster Staff    

Winter Break Equity Assembly

The Equity Team and Intermediate students have been working hard to prepare for this week. Friday's Winter Break Equity Assembly will mark the culmination of an inquiry task the 7/8's have been working on over the past few weeks.   Their goal was to bring awareness to the different ways people observe or celebrate around this time of year. We hope that all staff and students make a personal connection and/or see themselves represented throughout week in the different activities and presentations.  The question developed that formed their inquiry was: 'What significance do traditions and celebrations observed by people throughout the world around the winter break have on various cultures and/or religions?'  In addition to learning the factual history of more than 25 celebrations throughout the world, they were required to make judgments on the significance they have had historically and the role they play today.  They have come to some amazing conclusions - many of w

Volleyball anyone?

At Westminster students from our Junior Volleyball Team have been busy at their lunch time practices. They've been learning proper volleyball technique from their coaches Mr. Zuker and Ms Beckles as well as their Grade 7/8 student assistant coaches.  Our focus on good sportsmanship is key for all our sports activities and we're proud of our students for showing excellent sportsmanship!   All those who have come out to practices will be playing in our own house league tournaments. In January, a Junior volleyball team will be chosen to represent our school at the area tournaments.  In the meantime, everyone is having lots of fun playing the game.  We are also very excited to be hosting our annual WPS Student Vs Staff Volleyball game this Friday with the whole school watching to cheer us on....we wonder who will win?? Go Wildcats!!

A Message from our new Principal!

We welcome Westminster's new Principal, Mrs Murray. Please see her message below:  My name is Melissa Murray and I am thrilled to be joining the staff of Westminster Public School as Principal in January of 2018. I am passionate about learning and people. I’ve been an administrator in the North area of the Board for the past three years, and have enjoyed working in the WJ Watson (Keswick), Black River (Sutton) and Sutton Public School communities. Prior to entering administration, I was a Curriculum Consultant with the Board, supporting our K-12 school libraries, literacy, social studies, and modern learning.  Before that, I taught grades 4-8, Special Education and library in both York Region and Toronto. Along with being a proud educator, I’m an even prouder parent of two children, one in secondary school and one graduating this year from elementary school. My husband and I love our north Richmond Hill community, and especially appreciate how close we are to parks a

Thank you children....

This week at our Character Assembly, I had the pleasure of receiving presentations  from all my students and staff from Kindergarten to Grade 8  congratulating me for my upcoming retirement. I was touched by the lovely words and beautiful pictures that each class prepared for me which was put together in a memorable scrap book. I was also touched by the presentation from parents of our School Council. I am so very grateful for the opportunity that I have enjoyed these last few years working with this wonderful WPS community.  Thank you!   Love,  Mrs. Joseph

Happy Hanukkah!

To all our families who celebrate Hanukkah, we wish you a happy and enjoyable celebration full of light and happiness with your family and friends!

Character Assembly on Honesty and Empathy

On December 11th we will be having a double Character Assembly to remind us of two important character traits "Honesty" and "Empathy" and to honour those children who have demonstrated these traits. Ms Yang and Ms Barrett's Grade 4/5 classes are hosting this assembly and will be sharing their thoughts on how to demonstrate these traits at school and at home.  We are all reminded of the importance of continuously developing positive character traits in our children and always modelling how we hope that they will behave with others ourselves. Thank you.  honesty  / ˈ ɑːnəsti/   noun :   the quality of being fair and truthful   :   the quality of being honest "Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life - all areas of life. The really good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity."  Em·pa·thy noun: empathy                               "the ability to understand and share the feelings of

Having fun and learning at BORC!

Our Grade 7 class will be enjoying a day at BORC, Outdoor Education centre this Friday, December 8, 2017.  With hands-on artifacts and experiences, students have the opportunity to learn about the life and times of our early settlers and how they worked with the land. Last year, Mr. Kaiman got to try on an official Hudson's Bay trapper you recognize the colours?    N’wiiwijnookiimin “We learn together” When learning of Canada's history whether in the classroom or at experiential learning environments such as BORC, we start by acknowledging that we are on the traditional territories of the Wendat , the Haudenosaunee , and the Anishinaabe peoples, whose presence here continues to this day. We also would like to acknowledge that Westminster PS is located on the lands subject to the Toronto Treaty #13 and the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit . We thank them and other Indigenous peoples for sharing this land with us. We would also like to acknowledg

National Day of Observance

To mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women , flags will be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, December 6, 2017.  All YRDSB schools are asked to lower the Canadian flag to half staff at the end of the school day on Tuesday, December 5th, and then raise to full staff on Thursday, December 7th.

Our Modern Learning Club motivates collaborative learning and curiosity...

Our students are encouraged to continue their coding skills at our Modern Learning Club which meets in the library at lunch recess. At this extremely popular club our students are given the opportunity to engage in activities that they find of interest to stimulate their curiosity and problem solving skills. Those that participate quickly spread out throughout the library and pick the activity that they are most interested in doing. Our Makers Space is very popular and allow for individual student inquiry and experiementation. Some choose to build with Lego or blocks while others built communities on Minecraft on IPads or create their own code on the computers. All enjoy collaborating and sharing with their peers.   Donations of Lego, Lego kits, gears or any building games to add to our collection would be greatly appreciated! If you have any that your family is no longer using, our students would love more and will make good use of them here. Thanks!

Our Hour of Code

Westminster will be participating in our 4th  annual “Hour of Code” this week when our students learn about coding and  are instructed on how to code .   This international initiative for all grade levels K-8 is an introduction to computer science.  It is designed to demystify computer programming (coding) and show that anybody can learn the basics of computer programming. C oding provides a foundation for all students to learn fundamental skills in metacognition, problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and inquiry. They get lots of good learning while having fun! Many of our students love to play video games such as Minecraft which practices their critical thinking skills and collaboration, now they will get to learn how such games are designed and maybe design their own game!  Continue the learning at home as a family by investigating  to be a maker, creator or innovator.

Message From Our Trustee

In November, about 1,000 students, staff members and community partners came together from across the Board to form a Ring of Peace and stand together against hate, discrimination and intolerance. The student speakers at the event shared meaningful messages about the importance of feeling welcome, valued and respected. At York Region District School Board, we are committed to listening to the voices of our students and communities. We will continue working with our school communities to ensure our schools provide safe, welcoming and inclusive environments for everyone. Last month, our annual Quest conference brought together educators from across Ontario, Canada and around the world to share, learn and discuss how to foster well-being in schools. Some of the themes covered included equity and inclusivity, and safe and caring environments. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about some of the positive things happening in our own schools and other districts. In

Invitation to free parenting seminar

Glenn Gould P.S. invites all parents and caregivers to join in for a free parent presentation   A Simple Gift:  Emotional Regulation   For parents of children birth to 12 years of age    Negative emotions (e.g., anger, sadness, fear, jealousy) and the difficult behaviours that may follow (e.g. temper tantrums, whining) are normal in young children. Not learning to manage negative emotions in the early years may result in later problems.  This presentation will provide information and practical strategies to help families.     You will learn about:  What is emotional regulation  Long term implications of negative emotions  The importance of learning about your child’s unique temperament, strengths and areas of improvement  Triggers that set off emotions  The 8 principles of emotional regulation and how you can teach you child to identify and cope with their feelings       Location:   Glenn Gould P.S.   675 Vellore Park Ave., Woodbridge L4H 0G5   Date:         Wednesday

New Director of Education Announced

Dear Families,     On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Louise Sirisko as the new Director of Education of YRDSB beginning in the new year.  Louise brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from 27 years in education, most recently as Director of Special Education/Success for All Branch at the Ontario Ministry of Education.    Louise has a strong commitment to building positive relationships and working with students, families, staff and community members to advance student achievement and well-being. We look forward to welcoming her to the YRDSB and to working with her to continue creating safe, inclusive and welcoming learning and working environments for all of our students and staff.   I would also like to express our most sincere appreciation to Kathryn Wallace who supported our system over the previous six months in the Interim Director of Education role. Her leadership was outstanding during a challenging time for our Board.  

Supporting a Mentally Healthy School

To support awareness of mental health, classes from K-8 have been discussing what it is to be mentally healthy and what you can do if you are struggling and need help. We are working towards our focus to support mentally healthy students and staff. Displaying empathy towards others and caring for one another helps us create a positive and inclusive climate at our school. We have an informative display in our lobby to help our students understand what it is to be mentally healthy. It encourages us to open our channels of communication by explaining things in ways everyone can understand; What's going on? I feel angry I feel worried I feel sad I feel lonely I feel stress, panic, depression, anxiety  What to do? deep breathing go to bed on time exercise play a sport watch a comedy, laugh call a friend listen to music sing, dance or draw give a hug be kind to yourself be in nature do one thing at a time write things down practise mindfulness

Food Bank and Family Movie Night Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Remember to bring your food bank donations when you come out to our Family Movie Night on Wednesday, November 29th. Movies start at 6:30 p.m. and pizza dinners from 6:00 p.m. All non-perishable food items are welcome and help us show our empathy towards those less fortunate then us. Our food drive will continue for the first couple of weeks in December so you can keep sending food in with your children. Come out and enjoy the evening on Wednesday with your family and friends. Support our school and school community while at the same time make a donation to our food bank campaign.  What a great way to give to others, support the school and have fun too!  See you all at our Family Movie Night and thank you for your donations!   

Remember our Family Movie Night is coming...

Family Movie Night November 29th Reminder Remember to come out to our Family Movie Night November 29th. Have fun with your family and friends at this Community Outreach event brought to you by our School Council. Movies Showing: 6:30 p.m.              Captain Underpants              Spider-Man Homecoming Doors open 6:00 p.m. Pizza pre orders due November 27th Snacks for sale while supplies last   Remember to bring your food donations for our Holiday Food Bank as well. 

Looking to Volunteer?

Every year, we have a group of committed volunteers who give of their time and skills to support our school.  Volunteer duties can include working in our school library, supporting students in the classroom, listening to students read, etc. English does not need to be the volunteer‘s first Language. Volunteers make a huge difference to our students and our school even for a few hours a week.    We are looking for people willing and able to volunteer at Westminster P. S. Anyone can apply. All that is needed is a little of your time and love for children. Volunteers will need a Vulnerable Sector screening letter which  can be obtained from the police station and is a safety requirement for anyone working with children or schools. Those who are interested can obtain a letter of intent to volunteer from our office to receive discount for the Vulnerable Sector Screening letter.  If you are interested or want to find out more information, please call the school or  contact Mrs. Pora

Progress Reports go home November 21st

The purpose of the  Elementary Progress Report  is to communicate the progress your child has been making since the beginning of the school year in each subject. The progress report also indicates how well your child is demonstrating in the various learning skills and work habits and identifies areas where you may be able to support your child in achieving success this year. This report is not an evaluation or a record of achievement levels. It reflects preliminary observations of your child’s learning to date and the next steps for their continued growth and improvement as they work towards the curriculum expectations for the term. The intent behind this document is to serve as a central part of rich discussions between home and school. The Learning Skills section of the Progress Reports is an important part of your child’s progress at school. The Ministry direction stresses the significance of developing learning skills and work habits in our children. The development of learn

Our Book Fair is here!

Westminster will be having a Book Fair November 20-November 24th!  We love seeing our students excited about getting a new book to read. We hope you can encourage this excitement and support our Book Fair. All proceeds from this book fair go directly to upgrading our library and other resources for our school. Classes will be able to view our selection all week and fill out their wish lists. Parents and families are welcome to come to the Book Fair during the evening of Thursday, November 23th and morning of Friday, November 25th during our Student-Led Conferences. See you there!

Invitation to Parenting Session: Emotional Regulation

York Hill E.S.  Invites all parents and caregivers to join us for a free parent presentation   A Simple Gift:  Emotional Regulation   For parents of children birth to 12 years of age    Negative emotions (e.g., anger, sadness, fear, jealousy) and the difficult behaviours that may follow (e.g. temper tantrums, whining) are normal in young children. Not learning to manage negative emotions in the early years may result in later problems.  This presentation will provide information and practical strategies to help families.     You will learn about:  What is emotional regulation  Long term implications of negative emotions  The importance of learning about your child’s unique temperament, strengths and areas of improvement  Triggers that set off emotions  The 8 principles of emotional regulation and how you can teach you child to identify and cope with their feelings      Location:   York Hill E.S.     350 Hilda Ave.,  Thornhill L4J 5K2   Date:         Tuesday Nov

Protocol for Bus Cancellations

Although it is hard to believe that winter is coming....We do need to prepare for this inevitable change in seasons and the inclement weather that sometimes comes with it.... On occasion bus service cancellation due to inclement weather conditions may be required. To ensure all education partners (staff, parents and students) understand how they can be informed of any service cancellation. A decision to cancel school bus transportation will be region-wide meaning all buses, vans and taxis will not operate.   Parents, students and school staff are asked to access local radio and television stations after 6:00 a.m. to receive bus cancellation information.   A bus cancellation message will also be available at and 1-877-330-3001 or by following the YRDSB on Twitter. Please note that school bus charters will not operate when regular home to school service is cancelled. Student Transportation Services thanks you for your understanding and c

Youth Voice and Peace Tree Student Conferences

To further support our learning on equity, social identity and diversity, two different groups of students represented our school at the Youth Voice and Peace Tree student conferences. The Youth Voice Conference is a regional student conference to promote student voice and engagement "On November 7th 2017, five intermediate students went with Mr. Kaiman to the Youth Voice conference with a focus on mental health. At the conference we learned and listened to personal stories on struggles with mental health and coming to terms with their personal identities. One of the main ideas that was stated several times as we heard the stories was that “you live with yourself 24/7” meaning that you live your own life no matter what others think. After the speakers spoke the students went to different classes on emotions and social identities. In one of these classes the we learned about the LGBTQ+ community and the struggles that you may face when coming to terms with who you are. Another o

Celebrating Westminster's Diversity

Here at Westminster we are very proud of the many identities, cultures, languages, religions and experiences that make our school so vibrant and unique. Our students and staff are incredibly supportive and understanding of one another and we see it in many different ways throughout the day. Last year, students in Grades 5-8 were asked to respond to a School Climate survey asking many questions on their thoughts about our school environment, equity, mental health, healthy school and learning etc. As a staff we are looking at this information to help us continuously improve in these areas to make our school the best it can be. We were happy to see that a large percentage of our students indicated that they felt welcome and safe at our school but we also noted that only about half indicated that they see and talk about their social identities (i.e. language, culture, exceptionalities). Our environment of support and acceptance is important to us but so is celebrating our differences a