January Newsletter 2024
Posted on 01/12/2024

Dear Connaught Families,


Happy New Year! I hope that everyone was able to enjoy a safe and restful holiday. 


It is great to be back and to see everyone’s smiles. 


The start of a new year is a good time to review the procedures for student drop off and pick up. Parents are not permitted on the yard. Please note that staff meet the students at the front gate and are supervising on the yard to ensure students enter the building safely and efficiently from 8:50-9:05. There is no supervision on the yard before 8:50 am. If you are dropping your child off from a vehicle and would like to walk your child to the front gate, please be sure to park in designated parking spaces and walk your child to the gate. Please do not park in the “drop and go” section – this is the area for dropping off students that can exit the car independently.  Please do not get out of your car if you are using our “drop and go” section. Thank you for keeping our parking lot and our school yard safe. 


Thank you for coming out to celebrate our first ever Music and Art Showcase! It was an absolutely beautiful evening. And, thank you, as well, for your generous donations and bids for our themed basket silent auction items. We raised $2900.00 to go toward offsetting the cost of extracurricular activities. A huge shout out to School Council – for helping to create messaging, helping to wrap these baskets, organizing the tables and bid boxes and creating an on-line bidding book. We very much support your initiative.


We are looking forward to more inclusive and fun initiatives for a safe and successful 2024! 



Sara Jo Ottewell 


Important Dates: 

January 8 - Back to School

January 10 - Grade 8 Night at CCI – 6:00 to 7:30 PM Snow Date: January 11th

January 25 - Parent Info Night - Re: new Wasaga Beach school

January 21 - Lincoln Alexander Day

January 24 - International Day of Education

January 24 - World Day for African and Afrodescendant Culture

January 25 - Bell Let's Talk

January 26 – PA Day

January 27 - Family Literacy Day

January 27 - International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of

        the Holocaust

January 29 - National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack

        and Action Against Islamophobia

January 30 -Parent/Guardian Information Night 6:00PM (Mr. Ball, Mr. Lintern & Mrs. McIntyre’s grade 7 & 8 Trip to Mansfield)

February 5 & 6 - Dental Screening - All grades


January PA Day
Please note that Friday, Jan. 26 is a PA Day for elementary SCDSB students. Please refer to the 2023-24 School Year Calendar on the SCDSB website for more information: www.scdsb.on.ca/elementary/planning_for_school/school_year_calendar.


Below is a summary of the activities planned for the Jan. 26 PA Day:


Length: Full day

Topic: Evaluation and reporting

Host: Simcoe County District School Board 

Presenter(s)/facilitator(s): Not applicable


Educators will be working to complete the first provincial report card which will reflect students’ achievement of curriculum expectations introduced and developed from September to January/February of the school year, as well as students’ development of the learning skills and work habits during that period. This process includes both evaluation and reporting.


Elementary report cards will go home to parents/guardians on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024.

Inclement weather and bus cancellation information reminder

All information regarding cancelled buses in Simcoe County is posted on the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium (SCSTC)’s bus information website at www.simcoecountyschoolbus.ca. Our school is in the West zone. When buses are cancelled, schools remain open for student learning, unless otherwise noted. School staff are expected to plan for such emergencies in order to transition students who are unable to attend due to inclement weather, to their online platforms (Google Classroom and/or SCDSBhub [Brightspace by D2L]) and continue with academic programming. It is always a family decision whether or not it is safe for their child(ren) to leave for school under severe weather conditions.


The Consortium and bus operators try to make the decision to cancel school buses before 6 a.m. and make every effort to post announcements before 7 a.m. Inclement weather cancellations are effective for the whole day and buses cancelled in the morning will not run at the end of the day. You can follow the Consortium on Twitter @SCSTC_SchoolBus for bus cancellations and other information. You can also subscribe to receive bus delay notifications here: https://scstc.ca/Subscriptions/Login.aspx.


High school information events for Grade 8 students
Is your child starting Grade 9 next year? High school information events will take place in person this winter! Student leaders and staff at the school will give an overview of what’s new and what to expect. Learn about courses offered, as well as information about teams and clubs. Please visit the SCDSB website at www.scdsb.on.ca/secondary/planning_for_high_school to find details on your high school’s info night, and contact the school directly for more information.  CCI Grade 8 Information Night – Jan. 10th at 6:00 PM. Inclement weather date: Jan. 11th.

Kindergarten registration for September 2024 is open!
Kindergarten is the beginning of a wonderful journey of learning, and we want your child to begin their journey in a SCDSB school! Do you have a child who is turning four in 2024? If so, we invite you to register your child for Kindergarten. To register online or for more information visit:
www.scdsb.on.ca/ kindergarten. 

Parents’ Guide to Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting

Learn to navigate the world of assessment, evaluation, and reporting with this new guide for parents/guardians. Created to support parents’/guardians’ understanding of assessment, this guide was designed to effectively empower you to actively engage in your child's educational journey. The guide has been posted to the Simcoe County District School Board’s website and can be accessed at https://cdnsm5-ss14.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_210898/File/Secondary/Parents-Guide-to-Assessment.pdf.

Subscribe to Kindergarten Connections!
Will your child be turning four in 2024? If so, the SCDSB invites you to Kindergarten Connections! This is a monthly enewsletter informing families of everything they need to know about preparing their child for school, as well as registering them for Kindergarten in the SCDSB. To learn more and subscribe, visit the Kindergarten page on the SCDSB website: www.scdsb.on.ca/elementary/planning_for_school/kindergarten.

EarlyON Child and Family Centres

The foundation for lifelong learning and health is built in the early years. EarlyON Child and Family Centres across Simcoe County offer programs for children prenatal to six years of age and their parents/guardians and caregivers. They offer access to play- and inquiry-based learning supported by How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s pedagogy for the early years, information on child development and developmental screening including Early Referral Identification Kits (ERIKs), parent/guardian education, referrals to community resources, nutrition information, and post-natal resources. Check with your local EarlyON provider: https://linktr.ee/earlyonsimcoe.  

School playground structures are closed for the winter
Every winter, school playground structures are closed. Students are made aware of this during school hours through announcements and staff reminders during breaks. This may not be well known throughout the community, despite signs indicating that playground structures are a winter hazard and are closed. The Canadian Standards Association regulations make recommendations for the depth of ground cover required to minimize injuries (e.g., sand, pea gravel or wood chips). These surfaces cannot be maintained when the ground freezes. Injuries from falling would be more significant on frozen ground. We strongly recommend that you do not allow your children to play on any structures while the ground is frozen.
Standards of behaviour and consequences for student action related to racism, bias or hate
At the SCDSB, we are committed to maintaining safe, inviting, and supportive school environments, and recognize that all students have the right to be safe, and feel safe, in our schools. With this right comes the responsibility to contribute to a positive school climate.

We want you to know that any incident of racism, bias, or hate will not be tolerated. Any such incident is treated very seriously with immediate action and consequences in accordance with the requirements of the Education Act, and consistent with our values and obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code.


Students who engage in acts of racism, bias, or hate will face severe consequences as a result of their actions. Please take a moment to review the SCDSB Code of Conduct with your child(ren). The Code of Conduct sets clear standards of behaviour and specifies consequences for student actions that do not comply with these standards. Visit www.scdsb.on.ca/elementary/safe_schools to learn more.


The SCDSB’s Human Rights and Equity Office (HREO) has an advisory titled Prohibiting the Use of the N-word. Please take a moment to review this advisory with your child(ren) by visiting the HREO page on the SCDSB website https://tinyurl.com/3jsvhan6.


We are dedicated to educating our students and staff about the injustice and impact of systemic racism. We continue to work with students, staff, parents/guardians and community partners to ensure that our schools are the safe places they are intended to be for all students.

Games to support your child’s math learning @Home
Thursday, April 4, 2024, 7 to 8 p.m.
This session is for parents, caregivers, and their children. Playing games at home is a great way to support child(ren)’s math development. In this session, several games will be explored, and participants will have the opportunity to try the games with their children during the session. The guided portion of the session will be 45 minutes in length followed by 15 additional minutes for further game play or to ask questions of our math facilitators. Bring your child(ren) and your math kit to this session! 

Participants must pre-register for the sessions they wish to attend. Registered participants will receive a kit of hands-on resources that will be sent to the school indicated on the registration form. Use this link to register: https://bit.ly/24MathAtHome

Interested in learning more about the ways that the SCDSB supports students with special education needs and their families? Join us for a virtual special education information series
During the 2023-24 school year, the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) is hosting virtual special education outreach sessions to assist parents/guardians in learning more about programs, supports, and ways that we work together to support students with special education needs. 

Transition planning
Feb. 13
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Reading strategies
March 19
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
April 16
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Every day mental health strategies
May 14
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Participants are asked to register in advance. Information to access the sessions will be shared via email with individuals who have pre-registered. Learn more about each session and how to register on the SCDSB website: www.scdsb.on.ca/elementary/special_education/special_education_outreach_sessions.  

Join us! A learning series for parents/guardians with Pine River Institute
Mental health and well-being continues to be a key strategic priority within the SCDSB. We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Centre for Family Initiatives at Pine River Institute (CFI@PRI) to provide several curated learning sessions focused on student mental health and well-being to SCDSB families.

There are eight webinars specifically planned for parents/guardians and other caregivers during this school year. The remaining webinars are:

Jan. 11, 2024        Sleep hygiene     

Feb. 8, 2024          Self regulation for kids
Feb. 22, 2024       
Self regulation for teens
March 28, 2024    
Building parents' resiliency
April 18, 2024       
Vaping, weed, and alcohol 


We hope you save these dates in your calendar and join us for these learning opportunities. For more information and to register, please visit the SCDSB website: https://bit.ly/3jGaC74.


Pine River Institute is a live-in treatment centre and outdoor leadership experience for youth aged 13 to 19 struggling with addictive behaviours and often other mental health issues. Combining therapy with a fully-accredited education program, PRI reinforces the healthy life skills required for a successful future. CFI@PRI extends PRI’s knowledge, experience and evidence-informed treatment approach to families and care providers in the community to support youth mental wellness and prevent the need for more intensive interventions.  Learn more about PRI by visiting their website at www.pineriverinstitute.com.

Reporting achievement in language 
Student achievement in language will be reported as one overall grade or mark on the term one report card. The mark will reflect a student’s integrated learning across the four strands: 

  • Strand A - Literacy Connections and Applications
  • Strand B - Foundations of Language
  • Strand C - Comprehension; Understanding and Responding to Texts
  • Strand D - Composition; Expressing Ideas and Creating Texts

The grade will be accompanied by supporting comments that will indicate the student’s strengths, describe growth in learning, and identify next steps for improvement. 

For more information regarding the revised Language curriculum, visit www.dcp.edu.gov.on.ca/en/key-changes-language to view a guide for parents/guardians on the Ministry of Education website.

Mental health promotion strategy of the month - 2 x 10 Connecting
Well-being is a strategic priority in the Simcoe County District School Board, and our mental health and well-being department provides monthly strategies to support student and family well-being.

This month’s strategy is 2 x 10 Connecting. This practice helps to build rapport and the relationship between a caring adult and student, and to let the student see they are genuinely cared about as a person.


To practice 2x10 Connecting at home, find a consistent time each day to spend two minutes talking to your child about anything they would like to talk about for a period of 10 days. If you have more than one child, switch who spends that time talking with you every 10 days or find different times in the day to spend 2 minutes with each child.


Find more information to support your child's mental health here: https://smho-smso.ca/parents-and-caregivers/.

2x10 Connecting resources:
Elementary - https://smho-smso.ca/emhc/self-awareness-and-sense-of-identity/mattering/2-x-10/
Secondary - https://smho-smso.ca/emhcsecondary/healthy-relationship-skills/being-a-good-friend/connecting/

Follow the Mental Health and Well-being social media accounts (@SCDSB_MHWB) to see how well-being is being supported in our schools.

Keeping your information private
As parents/guardians, we work to support our children’s well-being and to protect them from harm. At a time when internet use can pose risk to our children, how can we support them in keeping their information private and secure when using social media, games, and/or other digital apps? Each month we will highlight one cyber awareness topic to support parents/guardians with the information and tools they need to navigate these topics with their children.

January's theme is Keeping your information private. For helpful tips related to managing your child’s privacy and security settings on mobile devices, read through the info sheet from the Educational Collaborative Network of Ontario (ECNO) by visiting https://ecno.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/ECNO-CAM-Calendar-23-Aug3023_KeepInformationPrivate.pdf. For additional activities and information, please refer to the Digital Citizenship resources for parents/guardians that are available on the SCDSB website https://www.scdsb.on.ca/elementary/safe_schools (see button for Mental Health & Well-being in Online Environments). 

Stay healthy this school year

COVID and other respiratory infections can spread easily from person to person. These germs can spread quickly when someone coughs or sneezes directly on another person, or when germs land on hard surfaces like doorknobs, desks, and keyboards and then are touched by someone else. These germs can then enter the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth.


The most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick and stop the spread of germs is wash your hands. Wash with soap and warm running water for at least 15 seconds (or try singing Happy Birthday twice). If your hands are not visibly dirty you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for 15 seconds. Also, make sure you are up to date with your immunizations, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home if you are sick. Teach your kids to do the same!

For more tips to keep you and your family healthy this school year, contact Health Connection at 1-877-721-7520 or visit www.simcoemuskokahealth.org.

Information provided by The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Parent/guardian self-care
As parents and caregivers, it is important that we take time to check in with ourselves. When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take time for yourself, even if it is just a few minutes. Working through your own feelings will make it easier for you to support and reassure your child.

Self-care does not need to be complicated. Take a few minutes to do something you enjoy, connect with a friend, or move your body. It is not selfish, it is self-preservation.

For more information, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 or visit www.simcoemuskokahealth.org

Information provided by The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.