You want to help.
The school needs your help.
Let’s team up to support teachers and expand the education of our students!
This year, the Grove Parent Council has been working on revitalizing and organizing parent engagement at the Grove.
In past, parents and teachers have come together at broadly focused planning meetings three times per year, but last year planning meetings were not well attended. As a result, teachers lacked an efficient means to request help from parents, and parents lacked an organized way to contribute their time, energy and knowledge to the school.
To solve these problems, parents Jason Bomers and Jessica Greenberg were assigned the task of creating a plan for parent engagement in 2015-16. Recently, they came to Parent Council to describe the plan.
Parent Engagement Plan
We know our families want to contribute to the Grove Community. We know our teachers need help. So we hope to inspire each Grove family to contribute 2-5 hours per month by matching them with volunteer roles to play in the school’s cultural life. We know parents are busy, so we aim to find ways for parents to interact with the school in whatever way works for their schedules, interests and skills.
During the school’s early years, committees were the school’s way of engaging parents, but in recent years, our committees have lacked energy. “Entropy happens,” in the words of Grove parent Martha Wheaton. It wasn’t clear to new families how they could get involved with the school.
In reorganizing and renaming the committees into teams, and by attempting to clearly define and communicate each team’s responsibilities, Parent Council aims to connect the school’s specific needs for volunteer hours with families who have time, energy and knowledge to offer.
Also, it’s fun! We know parents want ways to interact socially with their kids’ friends’ families. We hope volunteering will help strengthen the social bonds that make this school so special.
The Grove especially needs help with annual events. We have several, and each requires volunteer energy from the parent community. To help organize parent energy and to create repeatable templates that can be followed from year to year, each team will be responsible for planning and executing certain annual events.
Big job. Small job. It doesn’t matter! Parents who can’t come during the day to the school can be matched with ongoing or occasional jobs that can be done online or in the evenings.
There will be 9 teams.
TEAM AMAZING EATS
TEAM SAFE SCHOOLS
*SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE
(Please see full team descriptions below.)
Everyone is welcome on at our Parent Engagement Potluck on Nov. 26 from 5:30 – 7:30pm.
Team Leaders will provide an overview of the team’s responsibilities and volunteer opportunities. Parents will have a chance to sign up for a team of their choice.
Then, the first meeting of the year! We will break into small groups and get down to business. Childcare will be provided.
Teams and meetings are meant to be an opportunity for our parents, not an obligation. If you can’t make the Potluck meeting, choose a team that interests you from the list below, and click its title to sign up using “Sign Up Genius”
The Grove was built by parents, teachers, administrators and students on pillars of Environment, Social Justice and Community Activism. Together, we can continue strengthening the pillars. Let’s team up!
Team Leaders: Jason Bomers, Daphne Gordon
Responsibilities: Social life and communications, including signing parents up for the families email list, writing and approving emails to the community, compiling weekly newsletter, updating website, organizing Open House (Jan-Feb), organizing Wild Rumpus (mid October – McCormick), organizing one Winter Fun Day (Winter – Dufferin Grove), organizing whole-school, end-of-year Potluck (June-McCormick), preparing welcome packages for incoming parents.
Team leaders: Shawn Vanderheyden/Claire Ward (Solstice) /Max Wallace
Responsibilities: Fall Fair, Summer Solstice, Wildflower Stomp, garden, playground issues, energy conservation issues, Earth Day, links to AMG.
Teacher-led projects that need help:
Eco-Schools Themes – The TDSB has an eco-schools initiative. We currently hold a gold status. We would want to meet once in the fall to discuss all three of the themes listed below. Our goal is to weave these into the fabric of our year through circle, assemblies, and simple lessons that teachers can do in their classrooms such as tracking waste and energy use. We want to minimize extra work for the teachers.
Waste Reduction (fall)
Energy Conservation (winter)
Water Conservation (spring)
Spring Eco events
We would also like to meet once in the early spring to discuss these events:
Earth Day /Schoolyard Clean-up (April 22)
We gather both schools in the schoolyard to pick up garbage. We would also like to consider other ways to celebrate Earth Day, perhaps at circle.
School Grounds Greening (spring)
Up to now, this has centred around the beautiful garden! We would also like to consider the possibility of mulching and other ways that we can green the school grounds this year and in future years. The eco schools guide and the people at the eco schools department are there to support us.
Earth Festival (June)
Traditionally held at Dufferin Grove Park, the kids rotate through different arts-based centres. In the past, we’ve had drumming workshops, story telling, paper mâché, painting, mapping, a drum circle, stories around the fire, soup, singing, and more!
Team leader: Patti Leake.
Responsibilities: Abundance project, Gender Splendor, Peace Week, International Day Against Racial Discrimination, other social justice issues such as aboriginal issues, refugee crisis.
The teachers need help with the following projects:
Abundance/Spare Change (December)
In December, each class works to support one family. These are families who are part of the TDSB and have asked for support through the social work department. In our classes, we talk about the difference between things that we want and things that we need. We balance this with our spare change curriculum where we look, in age appropriate ways at systemic factors that can contribute to poverty.
IDERD (March 21)
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an important event at AMG and The Grove. Last year, for the first time, we recognized IDERT together. Each class does their own anti-racism work. In the past, we have shared this with each other through assemblies and displays. In the past, people have learned Black History through music, have learned about skin colour, Aboriginal culture, and we have learned about South Asian Dance. This year’s IDERD will likely have a strong Aboriginal component.
Gender Splendour (April)
We celebrate all things gender for a week in April. The kids work in multi-age groupings and attend workshops. In the past, we have offered workshops about breaking gender stereotypes, different gender expressions, queer families, queer activism, and celebrating their own fabulousness.
Team Leaders: Sunny Horvath and Julia Aplin
Responsibilities: Play or Winter concert, Art show, Winter sing-along, arts volunteers for other events or within the classroom, proposals for bringing artists into the school or the purchase of musical instruments.
Teacher-led projects that need help:
Art Show (May)
In the past, we’ve held the art show at the Gladstone Hotel. All of the kids produce a work of art that is displayed and prints are available for sale. We are considering having music performances by the students at the art show this year.
Team Leader: Kayla McGee
Responsibilities: Pouch collection, communicating with other teams about finances for events, other fundraising initiatives.
Team leader: Elaina MacIntyre, Stefanie Mendoza
Responsibilities: Helping students achieve academic excellence, evaluation, technology, teacher resources (alternative learning strategies), literacy and numeracy, EQAO, awards for teachers and students.
Team Leader: Andrea Menzies
This is a new group to assist Shannon with sports days and events.
Teacher-led events that need help:
Cross Country (October)
A long distance running event, kids build community and endurance as they run as a team. This sport culminates in a Cross Country Meet which will require volunteer drivers to be coordinated.
Skating Party (February)
We all meet at the McCormick arena to skate together for a morning. It’s a fun way to come together and to promote staying active in the winter. We need lots of help tying skates!
Track and Field (May/June)
An event that will be held in May or June. Kids practice running various distances, jumping, and cheering for one another. We have fun get active, and support each other.
Jump Rope for Heart (May/June)
An event that we run together with AMG. Kids practice all different kinds of skipping with jump ropes. Last year the event was run by Junior students!
Ordering T-shirts (September/October)
Team leader: Nadya Bloom
Responsibilities: Snack, hot lunch. Other food related issues. Team with Enviro-Connect in regards to waste reduction at the school.
Team Leader: Tuval Nafshi-Dinner
Responsibilities: This is a new team proposed by Tuval to address the safe schools strategy of the Ontario Ministry of Education. Each school must have in place a safe and accepting schools team responsible for fostering a safe, inclusive, and accepting school climate that should include at least one student and must include at least one parent, one teacher, one non-teaching staff member, and the principal. The chair of the team must be a staff member. In the TDSB this team also includes the school’s positive space representative and school equity representative. Each TDSB school has a Caring and Safe Schools Committee that works together to ensure a positive and peaceful school. The Committee also creates a Safe Schools Plan that includes prevention strategies and peaceful problem solving. Schools work with community partners to attract students into positive activities. We support police outreach through Crime Stoppers and other police-community involvement. We encourage students to help each other through programs like peer mediation, counselling, theatre performances and classroom discussions.
The social justice committee will remain as it has previously, looking into large-scale school/board injustices. While this committee reports to Parent Council, there are no teachers meeting with the committee.
This committee includes the Good Food Collective who bring Stone Soup to the students every Tuesday. Everyone Eats!
Social Justice Committee: Max Wallace
Good Food Collective: Sarah Latha