2012-2013 Blog Posts

There is lots of information in the Blog Posts which occur before, during, or after PAC Meetings.

These are the highlights of discussion for 2012-2013 and a good place to get comfortable with what has happened or already been discussed at past meetings.

in progress… 

JUNE2013

Teens Trained to Spot Drama Before it Turns Dangerous: Emanuella Grinberg, June 25, 2013, CNN.com

  • violence in teen relationships
  • training bystanders

We got a lot accomplished at the last meeting of the school year! It was a great tie-up of another successful PAC year!

Mike Keenan-NEW PRINCIPAL for 2013-2014- was the guest speaker

  • Excited to be coming back to PMSS, where he was VicePrincipal for two years.  Likes the community feel of the school, which is unique in SD42.
  • Describes himself as an ‘Innovative Traditionalist’, no room for mediocrity in system, for students, or professionals. Issues such as attendance and being on time will be addressed, work hard while in school, but enjoy the time while here.
  • Education is evolving quickly, beyond technology, need to engage students, think outside the box.
  • Likes to be outside of office, engaging those in the building, talking to kids, will encourage staff to do the same, get into classrooms & hallways, be a hands on presence.
  • Has high standards, but tries to be fair & supportive of students.
  • Recognizes that he gets very good vacation time, and is not bothered by being contacted any time by parents/students.
  • Two Major Goals:
  1. Teaching and Learning: how to stay current as professionals and how kids learn, not to spend too much time managing, need to be leading.
  2. School culture, beyond spirit days, everyone in the building – enthusiasm, engaging classrooms, …. You are here for 5 years, when you look back realize that you learned something and had fun!
  • Door is always open, CONTACT ME ANYTIME!! – Keenan

Dennis Dickson:

  • Portal starting in September.  Parents will receive a letter before school starts.  Set up an account. All school fees, field trip forms, payment will be done via this account.  All staff will be trained.
  • School Events
  1. Music Department Concert- so many seniors graduating, has watched them all the way through.
  2. Grad Dinner and Dance, DryGrad- went very well, first time not dealing with any discipline problem.  There was a secondary function of adults at MeadowGardens that was heavily using alcohol and coming downstairs to use washroom.
  3. Grade 7 Day – Mr. Levesque- highlighted Fine Arts Department, spent time with teachers, into the gym to sign up for activities, hamburger lunch, back to teachers, then Multi-Purpose Room for Choir, singing, dancing.
  4. Speak Now – very well received, lots of talent @ PITT.
  5. 30 kids to Canada Skills Competition – gold medal winner in hairdressing.
  6. Track & Field – several top placings, but not showcasing these kids enough.
  7. Grad Ceremony on 23rd- pushing some 12’s to finish, 5/175 are not going to finish.
  8. Continuous Learning Week June 19-21-Invitation only, parents will be autodialled if student should attend.
  • Classes end on Tuesday, June 18.  Math10 is a paper test @ PITT.
  • Report Card pickup is June 27.  See school website for schedule.
  • Losing many staff members on temporary placements and two others on redeployment.
  • Very tight in scheduling, as enrollment is trending lower for a couple years.  i.e.. 35 kids signed up for Calculus12, but class may only accept 30.

Other

  • Will be refurbishing the sign at front of school ASAP, as per quote to PAC.
  • Elections: Connie Gibson stepped up for President, Yolanda Dixon and Janice Hudon will carry on as Secretary & Treasurer. 
  • PAC Meeting schedule is on this site.  Meetings are mostly 1st Monday of month.
  • School Planning Council Tania Nevison & Laurie Briggs will continue, still more spots if you are interested!
  • Question about PC or Mac – either, working towards students bring own device, using in class.  Must lock up devices, not share locker combinations.
  • Learning Commons is coming, won’t lose books, will open room, bring in barstools, couches, etc.

Thank you to Dennis Dickson and Leanne Louie for all of their dedication to the PAC and PMSS over the past several years.  You will both be missed!!

MAY2013

Ottawa Student dies after head injury during rugby match….on ARTICLES page, under PROVINCE.  Much interest is paid to injuries in Football and Hockey; but any head injury, whether in sport, at work, or anytime, is a concern.

Students Increasingly Turning to Black Market for Adderall as a ‘Study Drug‘, Sam Cooper, May 12, The Province – references Pitt Meadows

PARTY site – International Program, not in LowerMainland

From SD42: Help Keep Your Graduates Safe

CNN: How to get Teachers to Teach and Students to Learn 

This is typically the most exciting meeting of the year!

We have EXPLOSIONS courtesy of the Science Department and Executive Elections!!!!

WE ARE IN THE CAFETERIA THIS MONTH, starting @ 6:30 p.m. for a special presentation from the Vice-Principals

  • We will have a presentation by Teachers on their collaboration time, otherwise known as ‘Late-Start Fridays’
  • Mr. Manning said Teachers took the responsibility of Late-Start Friday’s very seriously, attendance was taken.  He reviewed how the concept came about, all reported by Dennis at previous PAC meetings.  Mr. Manning says that he has 181 students, and spends most lunch breaks helping students, which does not leave time to interact with other Teachers.  There is a Friday Department lunch meeting, but that is for department & English curriculum issues.
  • Mr. Manning describes what he has achieved in 3/4 Collaboration Days as Wonderful!! He attended the Lit Circles discussion with Ms. Thompson and will spend part of his summer working towards including LitCircles in his classroom.  He has always seen them in action in Ms. Thompson’s classroom, but not known how to implement them.
  • There has been a Day for Guided Inquiry, which works off the premise of not teaching students what they already know  Projects are currently hanging outside the Library.
  • When ProD’s happen, they are informative, such as Leyton Shellard from OK U, who will be discussing English Curriculum, but this does not give opportunities for what happens on Collaboration Days.
  • Mr. Lemmon was excited by the concept of Collaboration Time, as he does not consider himself and educational leader in the District, due to his age/years of teaching experience.  He loves that Collaboration Days are not passive and there is conversation with peers that continues on after the meeting.
  • Mr. Lemmon finds the topics of Collaboration Days more diverse than what is available at ProD Days.  Mr. Lemmon has presented a topic and been impressed with the results and confident enough to present amongst the small group of peers.  He has invited students to attend.
  • There is a great cross-section of teachers who attend different presentations that makes for connections within the school that were never possible before Collaboration Days.
  • Eleanor Palis was so impressed with the presentation of Mr. Manning and Mr. Lemmon she asked them to please present to the District.  She will be working towards bringing this conversation to that level.
  • Parents expressed concern that this Collaboration Time might not be happening next year, as it appears to be so valuable for learning, teaching and inter-school relations.
  • Mr. Perrugia is coming with his vast arsenal of explosions!!
  • We went to Mr. Perrugia’s classroom this time, for a big display of chemical reactions of all sorts, all ones that the students enjoy: Screaming Gummy Bear, propelling the container into the hallway (luckily the custodians had already walked by), …
  • Mr. Dickson will be there with all the latest news!
  • Mr. Dickson was at SRT to introduce himself as their 2013-2014 Principal.  Mr. Keenan will be attending the June PAC meeting.
  • Mr. Levesque and Ms. Furhman provided updates.  There have been numerous activites in the past month @PITT along with many coming up in May.
  • With the new Media Centre in the Cafeteria, we viewed a highlight video of the Talent Show.  A second opportunity comes up on May 31st with the Speak Now event @ PITT.
  • We reviewed the School Improvement Plan for the next school year.  (I will try to get an online copy HERE) Talked about Friendship Totem that will be installed in the fall, how in engage Grade 9’s, transitioning students from year to year, etc.
  • Next years PITT Calendar was handed out.  Copies will be online shortly. Note school starts on Tuesday Sept 3rd @ 9:00 a.m. for HomeRoom only; along with Lockers, Fees, etc.  Wednesday, Sept 4th will feature all 8 Blocks in one day.  There are ProD’s on Sept 23/24-with the first a District event, then follow up within the school on the Tuesday.
  • Staffing for next year and retirement was discussed.
  • The next ProD will have Portal Training for the online payment and form distribution system that will be starting in SD42 in September.
  • On Grade 7 Days Mr. Dickson and Mr. Keenan will switch schools.
  • We will be going over the Tech Refresh that has been happening with PAC funding
  • Money from Van City account and and Grad2011 Donation will be used to purchase a smart board.
  • Elections for next school years Executive will take place.  (Scroll down, it isn’t a big commitment, can be shared with a friend, we don’t fundraise, and the meetings are typically civil and informative)
  • No election took place.  Information will be sent out for June meeting.
  • Leanne Louie – Chairperson
  • PITT 100 is creating a Memory Band to frame the garden at the Museum. Looking for words or short phrases to add to the fence, i.e. Marauders, PITT Pride, … things synonymous with our school and Pitt Meadows.  A White paper will be hung for student input this month.
  • Staff Appreciation Luncheon is on June 11.  Leanne will send out info.
  • Discussion time: Bring your questions!!
  • Question about menu at cafeteria and how much food is available, as it often runs out.  Would be good to have week menu available, to pick day.  Would be nice to have preorder to guarantee food for kids who don’t have lunch.

How could you miss out on all this excitement!!!!!!!!!!   See You There!!

APRIL2013

All PAC meetings are Monday @ 6:30 p.m. in the Library, 2nd Floor.  

Guest Speaker: Dawne Taylor – Student Mental Health Guided Inquiry tie-in with Psych 11/12 @ PITT & Community Drug Forum @ PITT.

  • Dawn Taylor and Karen Thompson (Psych 11/12 with Ms. Kesler)
  1. Fast Fact: Dawn and Karen set this event tie-in up while at their son’s hockey practices!!!
  2. April 23 day/night & April 24 day: Gallery Walk @ PMSS related to issues from Psychology classes (drugs, alcohol, stress, mob mentality, depression, dementia, etc, etc….) Open to Grades 6-7, PMSS students, community at large
  3. April 23 @ PMSS 6-8:30 p.m. including free pizza/pop dinner… The 4th Annual Community Drug Forum. (being held @ PITT for 2nd year to tie into Gallery Walk…drugs are an equal problem throughout School District 42) Parent’s Only, includes latest, current drug info AND group discussions with teenaged recovering addicts.  This is a MUST SEE presentation, that updates annually.  We are LUCKY to have it back @ PITT for another year!
  4. Tuesday and Wednesday Guest Speakers include Christina/District Psychologist, UBC Speaker/Autism, Cst Kara Thompson/RCMP Liaison/Mental Health, PJ Louis/Child&Youth Mental Health-Anxiety, Megan MacMillan/Mental Health-Peer Pressure, Karen Smart-Yoga & Diet& Nutrition, Rob Hadley-Hypnosis
  5. Mrs. Thompson also talked about Battle of The Books, going to SRT on April 18 with 12 PMSS students participating in book reading, contests, prizes, FREE FOOD, and much more.  If you missed it this year, get involved next year.
  6. Following the Battle, the books are going into Lit Circles and Literacy Bins, right here @ PITT, so more teens can benefit from them!
  • One of the goals of School Planning Council was to bring more opportunities for Meaningful Activity into the school, but outside the classroom.  Battle of the Books is a great example, though it has been going on for years!
  • Dennis Dickson
  1. Report Cards out – Grade 9’s are still having difficulties as a whole.
  2. Course selection verification letters were attached and need to be returned.
  3. Grad letter accompanied Grade 12’s: always 15-20 at risk, 3 or 4 seriously. All have met with Administration and have plans involving study and after school sessions to complete to graduate, they just have to do them.  Some teens panic in Grade 12, not knowing what to do after they are done.  The school as counsellors who can help find solutions for kids.
  4. Vice Principal’s have identified other kids at risk, in other grades, and set them up  with solutions for success.
  5. Also following up on top offenders in Absenteeism.
  6. Working on next years calendar, staffing, scheduling.
  7. Two 2013-14 presentations: Steve Hawkins/Anti-Bullying, and Safe Teen, both for about $5000.00.
  8. Parents still do not understand the concept of S-Trips, and Grad Trips, and how they are not affiliated with the school.  These are trips run by private companies to profit from getting teens to tropical locations, or other locations, where they participate in unsafe events.  These trips can not be advertised or tickets purchased in the school, but it is done on social media.  Groups such as the makers of ‘Girls Gone Wild’ love recording what happens at S-Trips! One kid sent home from Mexico for fighting.
  9. Need for students to stay focussed through to the end of June, as activities increase with warm weather and graduation.
  10. Sound system and video system installed in Multi-purpose Room
  11. Announcement system available, need someone to operate, to run announcements on screens during day.
  12. Gym floor re-do is a regular, scheduled maintenance event.
  13. Decision to spend several thousand $$$ on technology for individual classrooms or laptops for students.
  • Next Meeting Monday May 13th: Starring Tony Perrugia and Jennifer Howard with their explosive science experiments!! AND some of our Teachers are coming by to discuss what they have accomplished on the Late-Start Fridays!
  • Link to BCTF Teacher Magazine, which is often passed around @ PAC meetings, but no one has time to read!

The School District’s 4th Annual Drug Forum  is being held @ PMSS on Tuesday, April 23rd

6-8:30 p.m. All parents welcome, see details below!! Dinner included!

  • Even if you think your kids don’t do drugs, they could start at any time.  Or, their friends, might be.  PLUS, you are living in a community and district where teens are doing drugs!  All kinds of them!
  • Learn what is current in in Teen Drug Culture, something that evolves each year.
  • This year the Drug Forum is repeating @ PMSS to tie into the Psych 11/12 Mental Health Symposium.  There will be an exhibit on the stage area of the Multi-Purpose Room.
  • Seating is Limited to the first 200 people, so be sure to RSVP.

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  • Check the FAQ page for an overview of a past Forum, to see the incredible amount of information available to parents in 2.5 hours.
  • The highlight is always talking to Teens in Transition, those who have been heavily involved in drugs but are now working their way out.  It will make you change your mind about who ‘teen drug addicts’ really are.

MARCH2013

Our next meeting is on Monday, March 11th @ 6:30 p.m. in the Library, Second Floor.

Anyone may attend.

There will be a Languages presentation by Ms. Lani Vetter & something from Mr. Bruno Chu.

What you missed:

Lani Vetter, Languages

  1. French Immersion students accessing more interactive learning, and participating in new learning opportunities that have them using language more.
  2. Some classrooms exemplifying current learning and assessment trends that are motivational for students.
  3. Strengthening FI community through interactions with elementary school FI Program @ PME.  Will be twinning 10’s & 11’s next year with elementary students.
  4. Elective choices are increasing for next year with Planning10, and inclusion of some non-FI kids in PE10
  5. 19/23 PME FI students are enrolled @ PMSS for next year.
  6. Increasing use of French Language in all French courses next year, as is required.

Bruno Chu – PITT Football (Kris Little & Matt Todd)

  1. Discussed program and annual expenses.  
  2. Varsity (Senior) football program uses 12-16 community volunteer coaches: people with no kids in our school.  WOW!!!
  3. School Sport Rules: Can only play games for 2 weeks in spring and 2 weeks before first game in fall.  PITT’s first game for next school year is on the first day of school.  This requires coordination outside of school calendar for the players and coaches. Currently 57 boys signed up for next year. Approximate cost is $400/student.
  4. Run several fundraisers each year to bring down program costs which are upwards of $30,000 annually.  Trivia Night, Poker Night, Pub Night, Concession, Manure, all Basketball fundraisers (chicken, poinsettias, cookies/pies, Purdy’s…)
  5. Helmet regulations: after 5 years-recertify, after 10 years-destroy. Cost of helmets @ Kris Little’s reduced rate are $250 each.  Trying to replace some each year, this year 25 helmets = $6300.00  Our program has 80 helmets.
  6. Shoulder pads, replace some as required: 10 x $150 = $1500
  7. Headsets: $2500 for 3-4/set.  Football requires coaches in different locations on large field, such as the spotter in an elevated position to see the plays and positions of players.
  8. New this year: Team Camp in Oregon, June 15-19 @ Linfield College (program is Div 3, 4xNational Champs, 57 consecutive winning seasons, town population is 15,000 people). The cost is $250/player.  Taking train to Portland $105 each.  University level coaches, scrimmages (teams from Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, etc), 7 0n 7 competitions each night, Dormitories&Cafeterias, etc.  Similar to what basketball program does: you need to compete at higher level to get better.  Similar camps are not available locally as everyone is going stateside.

Dennis Dickson

  1. Course Verification forms are coming home with Report Cards, April 5th. Check and resubmit if necessary.
  2. 170 students graduating and 159 coming in, perhaps will top up over summer. 
  3. Grade 10’s Assembly last week with Graduated Licensing program.
  4. Internet safety still a problem with many students being suspended or sent home for online pornography exchanges.
  5. Honour Roll criteria improving, to reflect students taking courses online or at other schools.
  6. Multi-Purpose Room turning into a Presentation Room over spring break, with electronic screen, high def, speaker for iPhone plug in, etc.  This has taken some years.
  7. Library going to go through metamorphosis to 21st Century Learning Commons before next school year, with book shelves pushed back to make room for furniture, technology lending, etc.  Students will have help with research and referencing.
  8. Two/Three Tech Rooms complete.  Perhaps set up third room as Virtual Classroom.
  9. Many cuts coming with budget shortfall.  Dennis is sitting on committee and everything is being looked at.  See the link below, to have your input. 

Other:

  • Discussion on funding football – will put some money towards helmets, as an area of great safety concern, long term use of helmets over several years. 
  • Interesting articles from BC Teacher newspaper: Self-Regulated Learning, Ownership of Learning, Mindfulness in Learning (check back for links)
  • Dawn Taylor coming to next PAC meeting to discuss mental health issues, that tie in with Psychology 11/12 curriculum (Thompson, Kesler).  
  • Discussion on possible speakers to engage parents in PITT community and how to support teen learning and behaviour.
  • Discussion on how community coaches are brought into the program, level of training, effect on students, etc.  With reliance on so many community coaches, who is monitoring them?  
  1. All community coaches must start with a teacher sponsor who is accountable for their coaching and actions.
  2. Once a comfort level is achieved, a criminal record check is done, and the teacher sponsor is not always on-site. 
  3. Have to walk the fine line of having a coach or not having a coach, which will equal having a team or not.  We should put the best interests of the students as paramount.
  4. Many school teams are competitive, and can only carry top players, but that does not make improper coaching acceptable. We can’t accept sub-par from coaches. 
  • Sports Player/Team Counselling: Who is watching out for student athletes and their mental health in dealing with issues that arise from school sports issues.  
  1. Any person can refer a student for counselling.
  2. The bigger issues were discussed, with obvious examples (the kids who get cut after many years, negative feedback vs positive feedback, coaching styles, etc), and Mr. Dickson will consider strategies for managing this, with the focus of student mental health at issue.  
  • Thanks!

FEBRUARY2013

Don’t complain once decisions are made, come to the next PAC meeting and be informed!!

Monday, February 18, 2013 6:30 p.m., in the Library

Guest Speaker: Ms. J. Fuhrmann – Course Planning

  1. The Course Selection page is on the PMSS Site.  You can flip through the booklet there.
  2. Students are pre-loaded into classes at this point of year, like everyone from Eng11 goes to Eng12.  Then they remove those taking COM12.
  3. English and Math Department Heads will be sending a letter about which class students should be in, if there is an error.  Students/Parents should consider the ramifications of which path of math they are taking, as you have to typically go back to Grade10 math to switch tracks.  With English and Math, you must know what your post-secondary school will accept.
  4. New Math started in 2010. There is a tab on the PMSS site, under Parents, but it a little out of date.  This was discussed at the meeting, so check it out, it may be updated shortly. There is also info on the PAC PITTFAQ page

Mr. Dickson:

  • Principals meet on March 4th to do Transfers.
  • Course selection, student-led conferences, grade 7 night all went well.
  1. Events such as conferences may eventually go away, as parents use electronic media and schedule their own appointments to see teachers.
  2. There are many options available to contact school teachers and staff, so make sure to use them, as frequently as you wish!
  • New Curriculum coming from BC Governement. Highlights could include:
  1. No percentage marks, competency based assessment, maybe pass/fail or met requirements/did not meet requirements.
  2. Narrowing curriculum guidelines, similar to what was discussed last month by Mrs. Burrows (check back)
  3. New Grad Requirements, at least 2 years away, maybe implemented for incoming Grade 8’s
  4. Review of course planning @ Grade 10, as it limits course selection for students (French Immersion students get only 1 option)
  5. Universities are involved in talks to determine how this will work.  Many universities do not place marks as their sole requirement any more, as high marks are not necessarily an indicator of post-secondary success, does not indicate intelligence, and low marks may represent disengagement with school.
  6. Universities are looking more at thew whole portfolio of what students do: volunteering, working, school involvement, etc.
  7. Please check the Transforming Curriculum site for more info and updates.
  8. They should be looking for feedback in March.  Check back to PAC site if there is a new link.
  • A little more discussion on Late-Start Fridays
  1. There are teachers available to help students with work, projects, etc. Please feel welcome to come to school!
  2. It would be great to come up with a way to get students engaged in collaboration discussions.
  3. To get TOC’s to cover teacher classrooms, is very expensive: approximately $400 / teacher.  So to have 10 meet would be $4000.00 out of school budget.
  • Fountain/Bottle-Filling Station WORKING for several days!!!!
  • Electronic Sign
  1. PAC decided to hold back on purchasing sign, as the location, cost, use, etc. may not meet our mandate as much as other purchases.  Resources are always needed to engage students, possibly electronics, smartboards, etc.
  2. Mr. Dickson has retrofitted 2 computer labs, a third will be decommissioned.
  3. Students need to Bring Their Own Device, as computers are not something that can be repurchased at the school level in a timely fashion, with the funding schools and PACs receive.
  • March meeting: Lani Vetter, April ?, May: Science & Elections, June: new Grade8 parents.
  • Look into getting Phil Boyte & Terry Small into school
  • Terry Small is presenting in the District…can’t find an online link…check back.
  • more coming….

Extra:

  • There is a great story about synthetic marijuana on the Reality Check page, from CNN.  Parents mistakenly think there is nothing harmful with marijuana, but what kids are consuming, isn’t as basic as what was consumed back in the day…and this type of thing is available around the community.

Who Brings Their Mom To A Job Interview, Misty Harris, Postmedia News, January 13, 2013, The Province

Proposed School Calendar 2013-2014 – Feedback welcome!!

MARCH 4 @ Thomas Haney – 7:00-8:30 Meeting on Special Education for students transitioning to high school

sped

JANUARY2013

If your New Year’s Resolution is to attend a PAC Meeting… Come to the PMSS School Library

@ 6:30 p.m. Monday, January 14th

for TWO Guest Speakers

Ms. Holly Burrows, Social Studies

Ms. Wendy Browne, Applied Skills and Fine Arts

Wendy Browne discussed Fine Arts and Applied Arts

  • includes 12 teachers 1000 student class hours per week, and 170 grade 8’s
  • important option for non academic classes
  • Finlayson (visual arts, studio arts, graphic arts, photography, ceramics, etc)
  • Kraus (grade 8 art)
  •  (Gr 9-12 film studies, grade 8 explorations)
  • Gilmour (concert band, choir, grade 8 guitar, elementary band)
  • Browne (9-12 textiles, grade 8 explorations, 3 food blocks)
  • Cook (10-12 foods)
  • Three other Grade 9 food blocks
  • Girard (Business ed, accounting)
  • Mikes (woodworking, carpentry, joinery)
  • Daoust (metal fabrication, stain glass, jewellery, Gr 8’s)
  • Ablett (auto tech)
  • At PMSS, we keep Grade 9’s separate for classes, most schools do 9/10 classes.
  • Watched a presentation on what happens in these classes, asked for this to go online.

Holly Burrows, Socials (includes: Socials, geography, law, psychology, humanities, global studies,), though Mrs. Burrows also teaches English!

  • Mr. Dilley, Ms Fruen just completed Gallery Walk, combining social studies and geography.
  • Expanding laptop classes to 9/10.  Anyone can bring own device.
  • Provincial Government is reducing Grade 11 requirements from 200 points to 75, for 2013-2014 year.
  • Classes get speakers in or go on field trips to increase relevance.
  • Getting a new Geography textbook was a highlight, new photos of current cards, devices, media, which is really important for relevance.
  • Teachers are changing courses as they go to get kids interested. Looking at some different global studies classes for next year, combining comparative civilizations and foods (Cook, Fruen)
  • All students learn about indiginous issues at end of Grade 11 curriculum, when they get to 1960’s.

Dennis Dickson

  • Teachers working on vision statement (believe in collaboration, student engagement through meaningful connections, meaningful innovative teaching)
  • Counsellors taking workshops on ERASE Bullying, Critical Incidents.  [note new website on right column of this page]
  • Late Start Friday is about collaboration, Teachers must be in attendance, involved in discussion, there will be minutes and attendance taken.  There will be a place for students to come in early (4 SEA’s, Walker/Mithdal (English, Socials), Girard (Science, Math) to be in announcements.  Teachers are requested to try a strategy and provide feedback at end of year.  This is the same system in place at Garibaldi and Ridge, and SRT is working on it.

Other:

  • BCTF issued directed to not volunteer, however if it is an expectation of the principal there is insurance coverage for all teachers and staff involved in our school and district.  
  • Timetable Review – Looking at length of classes, our school will stay linear, information has been sent to District, no change anticipated for next school year.
  • Water Fountain will be looked into again!
  • AIM – late request for funding
  • Electronic Sign, quote received ($27,985) = $160 for advertising line (for our use, or future use)       

Next Meeting is February 18 with speakers on Course Planning.

DECEMBER2012

Meetings now start @ 6:30 p.m. In the Library

Guest Speaker: Gerri Willms

 

Rude vs Mean vs Bullying: Defining the Differences, Huffington Post article by Signe Whitson, November 26, 2012.

Emergency Procedures @ PITT (from FAQs page)

December Highlights

Ms. Willms

  • Gerri had 9 days left until retirement, but still had lots going on with planning well into the future for our kids!!  Thanks for everything you have given our school Gerri!!
  • We had an overview of who teaches the different blocks of Planning10 and GradTrans12, Computer resources in the Counselling Centre and Career Centre and where PAC donations have been used.
  • Through clicks on ChatterHigh, PMSS won the Douglas College sponsored prize of $1750.00, which will be put into three years of scholarships, licensing for Career programs, and payback for top point getters.  The program still operates and daily usage adds up to money for our school, we are currently at $200.  Parents are welcome to click on a habitual basis to earn money for school.  Making it a routine adds up for our kids benefit! Ms. Willms has had many conversations with the WebMaster of the site, and determined site advertising is minimal related to money earned for school.  Tune it out and click!!
  • Ms. Willms provided a handout of 6 government job/career websites.  They will be listed shortly on the FAQ page.
  • Scholarship package should be out before Christmas.  Most are due by Spring Break.
  • Grade 10 Interview Fair is March 5th.  Ms. Willms will be one of the Guest Interviewers.
  • Students should check the Ministry’s External Credits for additional grad credits related to extra-curricular activities.

Mr. Dickson

  • It would appear the best location for an electronic sign would be the current location.  This is a multi-year funding project. There are many other areas that require funding, such as our outdated computers, which the District will not repair next year.
  • District / School review of Timetable to search for ideas to reduce 80 minute classes.  Students and Teachers are finding the length of classes too long.  District requires, on this topic, that all schools must have the same start/end time, coordinate schedules, include a 2 week spring break.  PMSS will stick with a Linear calendar, some schools may use Semesters.
  • RCMP initiated Lockdown last Wednesday, went very well.  Visiting basketball teams were locked into change rooms.
  • Very little vandalism at this time, which is a wonderful savings for educations dollars.
  • Currently have 168-9 students wishing to graduate in June.  Mr. Dickson will be sending out letters to about 20-30 students at risk of not graduating.  He will be coordinating after school study blocks for homework catch-up and requesting attendance at school as a primary way to improve performance.
  • If you check out Mr. Dickson’s Blog, you will find he is bring us some very interesting news 

Other:

  1. We have 3 computer labs that need replacement, they computers are too old to service.  Cost is $30,000 to replace a complete lab, $6000 to partially update some computers.  This is money that is very limited in the school budget.  Shelf-life for computers is about 3-5 years, so this is an ongoing budget factor, which schools can not afford.  At Thomas Haney, 600-700 students bring laptops to school each day.  Students need to ensure their laptop is locked up or with the student at all times.  Do not share your locker combo with friends, to ensure security.
  2. Awards Criteria, parents had asked how school award winners are determined.  Not every department had criteria, but in general, students names are brought forward and discussed and a vote taken.  Looking for criteria is something that will be addressed further, and the possibility of secret ballots, to preserve the integrity of the vote.  In Athletics, the criteria is that student be in good standing at school, possibility of more than one sport, and a good representative of the school with strong moral character.  There are to be names brought to a meeting, discussions and a vote.  This did not happen last year.  Mr. Dickson does have a veto.  The parents present appreciate this feedback and hope for a fair and transparent process in the future.
  3. The concept of Late Start Friday’s is back for the rest of the school year.  Parent’s, please check the school website and newsletters for information, as it becomes available.  This is following on the implementation of this program at Garibaldi and Maple Ridge schools.  This time is being used by teachers for ‘specific and structured time for collaborative discussion’.  This means, that teachers will discuss issues that will benefit the learning and evaluation of students, for immediate implementation.  Students will be welcome to come to school during this time, and there will be teachers and staff available for their support or to assist with school work.  To validate the 4 sessions that will occur within this school year, attendance and minutes will be taken.  PAC would appreciate an overview of the benefits and shortcomings of the program at the June 2013 meeting & the provision of an environment where students feel welcome and encouraged to attend school early on the late start mornings.  There is no make-up time in this program for lost instructional time.
  • Teacher Appreciation: Tuesday, December 11th.  Parents please bring donations of desserts and light savoury snacks to the school for the PAC meeting or on Tuesday.  This event is being organized by Yolanda Dixon (hygrade@telus.net) for information or donations.  Thank you. 

NOVEMBER2012

  • Lockdown and Other Emergencies:  It is important to refer to reliable resources when you hear about an emergency event at the school.  The School Website or local RCMP Twitter are two quick and up-to-date ones!

CBC DocZone: Sex’t Up Kids – refers to PMSS around 38 min mark. [PLEASE NOTE: we were told at the first PAC meeting following ‘the rave’ that none of the main people, were students at PMSS]

Lots of current stories and info on Reality Check page.

Please plan to attend our next PAC meeting

on Monday, November 5th

@

6:30 p.m.

in the Library, 2nd Floor

  • Guest Speaker: Mr. John Rocca or Mr. Dueck, Math Department Head
  • New Math curriculum is now completely in use, with the final year, Math 12, now implemented.  At a recent Math Conference, there was talk of changing it again.
  • Three streams:
  1. Apprenticeship & Workplace: for BCIT, Trades, struggling students
  2. Foundations: can be used for Arts students, an applied math
  3. Pre-Calculus: University Calculus
  • Homework Club (daily), SPED after school club, – making no excuse to not have work done.  Trying to track attendance at Math Clubs.
  • There are 29 Tutorial times for Math @ PITT
  • We got Mr. Dueck rambling a little! 🙂  He talked about his vision of how Math should be introduced in Elementary school and a bit about our number systems (naming) compared to math-dominant countries.  
  • We also took the opportunity to thank Mr. Dueck, profusely, for being one of those teachers who really goes the extra mile in helping students and communicating with parents.  In traditional Mr. Dueck fashion, he deflected all praise and supported his peers.  
  • Link to Mr. Dueck Microsoft interview.
  • Administration will present information and answer questions
  • Lockdown went very well.  Based on RCMP instigation, related to an off-site incident.
  1. A note for parents: do not phone the school, do not come to the school.  This is a police incident and is not subject to any changes.  If information is available, it will be on the PMSS website, RCMP Twitterfeed, or communicated by traditional systems (phone-out) to parents.  Make sure all of your info is current at the school
  2. Why can’t you come to school?  Because everyone must be locked in a secure room.  No one can unlock a door or help you. People are typically not answering the phone, and all that ringing is not helping with their concentration and ability to act in the best interest of the students and adults in the building. There could be an armed individual(s) who could hurt you.  No one may open a door, so no matter how important you think your situation is, there are no options available to you.
  3. It is important that students not use social media to alert the world from inside the school, as it heightens danger and incoming speculation.
  4. Lockdown drills happen three times each year along with several other emergency drills.
  5. Info is on Mr. Dickson’s website and will be posted on the FAQ page.
  • Discussion on divvying up the Casino funds
  • We are working towards automated signage (replacement of outdated communication sign) outside PMSS to better communicate with the parents and community.  We are really looking towards something unobtrusive, elevated, and flush with the building face.  (A brief tour took place after the meeting) Final costing will be worked out this month.
  • Functioning signage will have a positive communication impact on all aspects of our school and parent communities.
  • Therefore, all applications will receive funding, but to a lesser degree, from PAC. This funding was voted through for immediate use. PITT Reads, Counselling, GradTrans, Social Justice, Special Ed, Science, Metal Art, Multi-Purpose Room Sound System, etc.
  • New business
  • Remembrance Ceremony will be celebrated in two rotations on Thursday Morning.  The first one is at 10:00 a.m., the second one will follow.
  • Parents and students would like to know the criteria for awards in the school, that are not solely based on academic standing.  Mr. Dickson will provide insight after confirmation.
  • AGENDA

OCTOBER2012

  • Prior to meeting some parent’s said they couldn’t access Daily Announcements.  On the PMSS page, in the upper left corner, click on the RSS Feed icon.  This will take to to our Posterous page.  It has had a few issues this year, but when working properly, the announcement page will show, and you can click on ‘FullScreen’ to read it easily.  If nothing is showing, go just below that day’s announcements and click on ‘Download’, a file will show, and click that.

Meeting Hot Topics:

  • Guest Speaker: Mr. Kim Manning, English Department Head.
  1.  See information on  presentations on the FAQs Page.
  2. PMSS has highest average Provincial Exam Results in District and beats Provincial average in Eng10, Eng12, Com12
  3. The Pitt Reads program provides current, interesting, literature to PMSS teens.  In September 70% of students signed out a book, highest per capital book usage in District.  Based on educational research, students who read regularly, demonstrate higher levels of skill and learning in all areas.
  4. There is a real push towards the basics of writing (writing conventions), that attribute positively to exam writing, as well as applying for post-secondary, employment, and life.  Students need to know the basics: write with blue or black pen, not pencil; dot “i’s”, cross “t’s”; cursive writing or neat printing with upper and lower-case letters, …
  5. English Department teachers mark each other’s work to ensure similar standards within department.
  6. English Honours and regular English classes have the exact same criteria, marking, book selection, homework expectations, etc.  The main difference is that English Honours classes have students who have A & B grading levels, whereas regular English can have students at any academic ability.
  • Principal’s Report:
  1. Members for School Planning Council now in place.
  2. Parent/Teacher/Student meetings on October 18th.
  3. Bill 22 now in place, with 6 exceptions related to French Immersion classrooms.
  4. Safe Teen presentation was very well received.  SafeTeen link.  Dennis Dickson’s Blog post on SafeTeen (Mrs Umlah)
  5. PAC Meetings will now start @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Spending wishlists from Teachers/Staff are due October 31st, parent group thinking about updating sign outside school, going to be asking all students for input.
  • Guest Speakers are listed on Meeting page.

For Grade 12 Parents: Meeting is Monday, October 1st @ 6:00 p.m. in MultiPurpose Room.  PAC meeting follows @ 7:00 p.m.

Grad Updates are posted on GRAD page of PMSS website.  It is parent’s responsibility to check this page regularly for updates. Students may or may not bring home information.  You can click on lower right of any district webpage to receive an email when that page is updated.  

SEPTEMBER2012

Failing Our Kids: Is B.C.’s Public Education System Broken

  • CBC News Radio: 690 AM or 88.1 FM
  • Wednesday, September 12th 4-6 p.m.

Lots Happening @ PMSS:

Mr. Dickson spoke on many different things:

  • We met and heard from the new VicePrincipal, Tom Levesque. He has an interesting background and lots of experience to bring to our school.
  • Mrs Fuhrman updated us on what she is working on in the school, including class composition and timetable issues.
  • Bill 22 replaces the old Bill 33 on how classrooms are organized.  The focus is not so much on how many special needs students are in a class, as how can a class work, while maintaining the students enrolled. (Teacher experience, support for student, make resources available, etc)
  • We currently only have 14 classes over 30 students/teacher, these issues must be resolved by next week.  Extra funding for issues comes from within our school budget.
  • We have 180-185 Grade 12’s this year, which is a good number for Red Robinson seating @ Grad.  They are expanding their venue for the following year.  Grad Parent Meeting will be happening shortly. Grade 12’s have their pancake breakfast and assembly this week.
  • School start up started well this year, with opportunity to pay student fees the week before school starts.  There is also an online payment option available for parents who haven’t paid fees yet (this program will expand in October)
  • Positive staff culture, committees are forming, ProD’s being planned. September 24th ProD: ‘Our Community, Our Kids’ – staff will work on addressing needs of all students in the building, from gifted to those needing support. 
  • There will be a Pep Rally before the Terry Fox Run this year.
  • New Auto-Dialer is working really well and will expand to include more than one home number (cell phone, email, twitter, etc)  Messages can be sent to multiple numbers.  Currently phoning out for first block absences and day absences.
  • Study Blocks – a letter will be coming home shortly to identify the criteria of the study block and attendance expectations.
  • For the purpose of Fire Drills, if a student has left building, there is no criteria to account for them.  Two physical sweeps are done.  Students on Support Blocks must sign out at office. There are 6 required Fire Drills each year.
  • Mr. Dickson will look into guest speakers at Department Head meeting this week.  

In Other Businesss: 

Teachers will be asked to submit application for PAC funding from Gaming Account.  Gaming money will be identified on September 30th by Provincial Government.

  • Very little vandalism over the summer @ PMSS
  • Grade 8’s in Cafeteria: Anyone is welcome, though seats fill early.  You can take your food to other locations to eat.  

SUMMER2012

New This Year: fee collection is happening over a series of days, before the start of the school year.  Check for information here.

Grade 8 @ PITT Survival Guide: for Grade 8’s, New Students to PMSS, and Parents new to PMSS.

Emergency Info BC – information on Evacuation Orders, etc.

BC NewsRoom – dozens of links to BC Government

Athletes’ Deaths in Workouts Prompt Recommendations for Better Oversight Prevention: [During Pre-Season Conditioning], Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press, June 27, 2012, The Province

JUNE2012

Here is what you missed…

  • We had new Grade 8 parents in the house!!!!  Thanks for coming!!
  1. We will be making a Grade 8 Survival Guide website, check back for details.
  2. The Grade 8 Day for the 2012-2013 School Year is Wednesday, August 29th.  New Grade 8’s, watch your mail for details.
  3. Questions Asked: Getting to Class, What to bring on first day, Could there be a discussion forum/question&answer aspect to webpage, Who will be in my child’s pod?????
  • The leaving Grade 12 parents had a time to offer insight into ‘why they went to PAC meetings all these years:
  1. Built relationships between parents, teachers and administration.  
  2. Got up to date, relevant information, knew what was going on before kids – helps to keep lines of communication open with teens and to know about their school life.
  • This is the last week of formal classes, students are expected to attend all classes this week.  Students at risk of not completing will be asked back to school next week too.  
  • Summer Learning Opportunities are in Daily Announcements and School Website.  Grade 8,9, & 10 classes for remedial work must be organized through a teacher, and limited to specific amounts for each school.  Grade 10,11 & 12 classes are for anyone wishing to complete the course, please see a counsellor to sign up.
  • Provincial Exam dates changed from the original publication, when some exams were discontinued.  The official dates are on the school website and Daily Announcements.
  • We will have a new Auto-Dialer next  year!!!  Typically it takes 4-5 hours to dial out for the days absences.  This dialler will complete this work in 15-20 minutes, with potential to dial out for every class missed. It will work with emails, Twitter, groups, multiple lines, etc.  
  • The school opens two weeks prior to the first day of school, with Office and Administration at the school.  Counsellors start work one week prior to the first day of school.  Anyone may contact the school at this time. 
  • Grade 8’s and 9’s attended an RCMP assembly on ‘sexting’.
  • Information on Study Blocks will be posted on the FAQ page.
  • PAC Elections took place, the same parents will remain in place for the next year.
  • We had a recap of the Police observations and detentions from Pitt Meadows Day
  • Did you know???  If a student writes a swear word or inappropriate word on a Provincial Exam, it will not be marked.

Special Invitation for Next Year’s GRADE 8 Parents

The last meeting of the 2011-2012 PAC year

7:00 p.m.

The Library, 2nd floor, PMSS

Monday, June 11, 2012




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