St. Daniel School Angel Tree

Dear Thunderbird Families,

This year our Advent focus will be our St. Daniel Angel Tree. We wish to share the spirit of generosity that is part of the true meaning of the Christmas season.

The Angel Tree will be the primary symbol of our outreach activities during Advent. Due to the restrictions around COVID-19 we have had to move away from our traditional gift approach. In lieu of a gift, we will be accepting Cash Online Angel Tree donations. The denominations range from $5.00 to $100. 

If you would like to make a donation please see your child’s Cash Online Account.

For instructions on how to access your child’s COL account please see the link: COL Instructions Link

Our Thunderbird Angel Tree will run from Monday, November 23rd until Wednesday, December 9th. The money raised will be given to St. Vincent de Paul Society, where they will purchase gift cards for those in need in our community.

Thank you so much for your support and generosity!



Update from the Director of Education

 November 19th, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community:

We certainly hope that you are doing well in every way. We have almost made it to the end of November and while the community is definitely continuing to battle our COVID reality, our schools remain safe and learning is flourishing. When we began this school year, we could scarcely know what it would hold but I am so pleased to report that our schools are places where staff and students are thriving. Learning is unfolding and connections are being further forged. St Isidore is also a place where our virtual learners are able to continue their education. All of these points are worthy of celebration and I hope you will join me in thanking our staff for all they are doing to make these accomplishments a reality.

We are seeing some COVID cases in our schools but they are a reflection of our broader community and we have seen very strong evidence that all our protocols are working. We urge you to remain vigilant in reminding students about the importance of our protocols and to ensure you and all your family are adhering to Waterloo Region Public Health advice and that you are also completing the self screening every day before sending your children to school.

At the beginning of the month we invited you to participate in our ThoughtExchange about the experience of school re-opening. We had a variety of stakeholders who in total provided 2,776 thoughts and 67,900 ratings. There were 2,388 participants who shared 1,175 thoughts. It was exceptionally gratifying to see that the number one theme identified by elementary parents was “great job”. The next most common theme for all parents was connected to mental health and wellbeing. The most common themes across all groups had to do with 1) Health and Safety, 2) Learning Design and 3) Connections, Culture and Socialization. We are using all of our stakeholder results to help us in our action plan forward.

Building on our ThoughtExchange results, we know that Mental Health and Well Being remains a significant topic for all, and so let us take this opportunity to remind you that our mental health leads have designed a flyer to equip parents to have conversations with their kids/ teens about mental health, and how they can access support. This was provided to principals and shared with all families via School Messenger. I would also draw your attention to our WCDSB website where we have a number of resources. You may find this video helpful in finding those resources: Parent Video

I wanted to take this opportunity to speak to you about two other important topics: Inclement weather days when buses are cancelled and the Christmas Break. As you know – there are sometimes days in the winter when we have to cancel bussing due to the weather and unsafe driving conditions for our buses. In the past, if roads were still passable, we would leave schools open. On those days however, we often pooled classes based on the number of staff who fully attended and the number of students. This year that is not possible due to our covid cohort- related restrictions. In consultation with the public board, with whom we share bussing, when we cancel buses, we will close schools and have a remote learning day. Your teacher will communicate with you in advance so you know where to look for school work for the day and protocols on such days, but in broad terms, the teachers will post work in the morning, no later than 10 a.m. and students will work on their own timing in their home. It will allow all students to access some learning and we will be continuing to keep one and all safe. We realize it may not be a perfect solution and learning day, but bus snow days rarely were.

There has been a great deal of discussion about the Christmas Break. I wanted to share that the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, has indicated that there will be no adjustment to the school year calendar extending the break or adding remote learning days. Therefore, school will resume on January 4th. It will be critical to the health of our broader community, and certainly to the health of our schools, that all families observe Public Health guidelines during the Christmas season. It will certainly be challenging not to observe some of our usual traditions but we do have to remember that we are “In this together” and what one of us does, affects all of us.

Once again, I want to share that it is perhaps inevitable that when the provincial and regional numbers rise, we too will see some cases. I realize that if you get a letter saying there has been a case of COVID in your school that it is most unsettling. If we ask a cohort to quarantine it is to ensure that they remain safe and that the rest of our school community remains safe. Our safety protocols are working. I know how much we all value reading that statement so I cannot state strongly enough the importance of following our WCDSB operational guidelines, of wearing masks as warranted, good hygiene practices and most of all, strong daily implementation of the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool and a reminder that no staff should come to school without completing the adult self-assessment: The process of self screening each day is a vital step in ensuring the continued safety of all our schools, so sincere thanks to all for remaining faithful to this and to all our required protocols.

We have transitioned to Year 2 of our Pastoral Plan – Gathered to Become. On Monday our staff will have their Spiritual Development Day centered on this theme. Follow us on Twitter to see our @wcdsbnewswire Butterfly – our symbol for Year 2 of our Pastoral Plan – and its journey through our system. It feels so important to continue to find ways to foster community. Let’s look forward to the Advent Season and the transformation that happens when we let Jesus into our lives.

We sincerely thank you for journeying with us. Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community. #WCDSBTogether #WeGotThis


Loretta Notten

Reminder: PA Day on Monday

Hello Thunderbird Families:

Just a friendly reminder that there is a PA Day on Monday. This means there is no school for students. Extended day is also closed on Monday.

Thanks so much!

COVID-19 Positive Case at St. Daniel

November 16, 2020 

Dear Parents / Guardians:

A case of COVID-19 has been identified at St. Daniel CES.  Public Health has identified one classroom as high-risk contacts. 

All high-risk students and staff are required to self-isolate at home. Public Health will contact all high-risk contacts by end of the business day tomorrow, and will provide individual guidance.

 At this point in time, all other students and staff can continue to attend school and are advised to self-monitor for symptoms and seek testing if symptoms develop. 

 Please know that St. Daniel CES staff – as well as staff at our school board head office – are working with Region of Waterloo Public Health to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in students, staff and the community.

 A Note About School Cleaning Processes

 Upon confirmation from Public Health that one or more individuals at a school site have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, Facility Services will be notified as soon as reasonably possible.  Members from the Facilities team will make arrangements to disinfect school spaces as deemed necessary.  This is typically done after school ends for the day and before school begins the next day.  However, in some cases, depending on the timing of notification and size of the school, disinfection may occur at the beginning of the school day.

 Disinfection involves the use of standard cleaning products available in your school, plus one or more high speed disinfection units.  A disinfection unit is used to ‘mist’ surfaces with a chemical called Clorox Total 360.  The product needs to sit on a surface and air dry for it to be fully effective.  It has been reviewed by our staff and has been deemed safe when used as directed. 

 Custodial and maintenance staff who apply the mist will be wearing full PPE including masks, goggles, and gloves.  Classroom spaces are safe to occupy after the chemical has been applied.

 A video of product application can be found here:

 What does this mean for students at the school?

  •         Public Health will work with the school to identify high risk student and staff contacts of the confirmed case. 
  •         Parents/guardians of students who have been identified as high risk contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly by Region of Waterloo Public Health and provided specific directions related to the need for the student to self-isolate and get tested

o   Students who develop symptoms should continue to self-isolate at home and get tested at an Assessment Centre

  •         Parents/guardians of students who have been identified as low risk contacts of a confirmed case will not be contacted directly by Public Health and are not required to self-isolate. The school will provide general information for these students and families.

o   Students and families who have been identified as low risk contacts of the case should self-monitor for symptoms

o   Students who develop symptoms should self-isolate at home and get tested at an Assessment Centre

  •         In the event a cohort must self-isolate or the school must close, you will be notified by the school. The school will keep you informed about any plans regarding return to school.

o   The term cohort includes students and staff in the same class, students involved in group activities or who have been in shared spaces during school, students that ride the same bus, attend before/after school care, or participate in extracurricular programming together.

  •         Continue to monitor and screen your child for symptoms of COVID-19 daily.


What is COVID-19?

·         COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans

  •         COVID-19 symptoms include, but are not limited to fever, cough, trouble breathing, sore throat or nasal congestion.  A list of symptoms, including atypical signs and symptoms, can be also be found in the ‘COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms’ on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 website
  •         People may be able to pass COVID-19 to others from 48 hours before symptoms begin to 14 days after the start of symptoms

Additional COVID-19 resources can be found on Region of Waterloo Public Health’s COVID-19 webpage at


Again, thank you for your diligence in completing the COVID Screening every morning and for keeping your children at home when they are feeling sick.  We appreciate everything you are doing to keep our Thunderbird students safe and healthy!

Mrs. Giglio Chiasson                              Ms. Weber
Principal                                                          Vice Principal



Progress Report Update

Dear Thunderbird Families:

Students in K-8 will receive their progress report card on Friday, November 20th, 2020. Parent/teacher/student conferences (via phone) will be on Tuesday, November 24th – 26th from 4:00 – 7:00pm.

At St. Daniel school it is our wish that every student has a parent/guardian meet with their child’s teacher in the fall and where appropriate the student attends the conference as well. Whether your child has attended face to face, or virtually, every student will receive a Progress Report.  If your child experienced both learning platforms, there will be comments reflected from both classroom teachers. In order to keep everyone safe and to honour the challenges many families have accessing technology, Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences will be scheduled as a phone interview between November 24th – 26th

Your phone interview time slot will come home in your child’s Progress Report envelope and is on a yellow slip of paper. If the time you are assigned does not work please contact your child’s teacher as indicated on the yellow slip of paper. Families with multiple siblings may have phone interviews on different days, please refer to the slip of paper with your child’s Progress Report. 

It is important that you answer any calls from Private Number or Blocked Number during your indicated time slot as classroom teachers may be calling from their own mobile devices. Please be sure to pick up these calls. 

The purpose of the Progress Report is:

“To show a student’s development of the learning skills and work habits during the fall, as well as a student’s general progress in working towards the achievement of the curriculum expectations in all subjects.” (Growing Success, 2010 Ministry Document. p. 50.).

The Elementary Progress Report Card is intended to become a central part of the discussion with students and their parents in the context of proactive conferences with teachers that will allow students and parents to gain a better understanding of student’s learning skills and work habits as well as learning goals.

Thank you for your assistance,

Mrs. Giglio Chiasson                              Ms. Weber
Principal                                                          Vice Principal 




Wellness Message

Hello Thunderbird Families:

Your child/teen’s mental health is important to us, just like it is to you.  There are proactive things we can do to promote wellness in spite of the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic. We hope you can use the links below as a starting point to talk to your child/teen(s) about where to go for help if they are struggling. You can learn more how to promote wellbeing and a wide range of supports and resources at the WCDSB Mental Health and Wellness webpage at:

Not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry alone. (1)

~ Nurturing ~ Encouraging ~ Successful ~ Thunderbirds ~

Picture Day Update

Hello Thunderbird Families:

We have some good news to share about School Picture Day. Our School Picture Day will be on Tuesday December 8th. Individual photos will be taken on this day with enhanced safety protocols put in place to keep everyone safe. If you would like to learn more about the safety protocols that Lifetouch will be using, please click on the link below:

Safety Protocols for Lifetouch

Group Pictures are on hold for the time being. When the date gets closer we will provide you with a Lifetouch ID via Newswire, this where you can order your pictures.




November News

Hello Thunderbird Families:

Phew! Where did October go!? We hope this finds you and your family well. At the beginning of each month, we will send out a large community Thunderbird Update. In these updates there will be several items for you to read and respond when appropriate. Throughout the month we will send out additional updates that cannot wait for the large monthly communication. So you are in the loop, we hope you take some time to read our communications. As always, thanks so much for all you do to support our Thunderbird Community!

Be sure to Check Out:
On our website be sure to check out our “About Us” section. Under that tab you will find another section called “School Policies and Student Expectations”. There you will find all sorts of tidbits about our policies and procedures.

A Peek Inside the Thunderbird Nest:
This video includes a special message from Mrs. GC and Ms. Weber and staff introductions. Please watch and enjoy!

Before your Child Comes to School:
Self-Assessment: All students need to complete a self-assessment each day prior to attending school

Cash Online Forms:
Have you filled out all of the Cash-online forms? Below is the list of forms that need to be read and completed by you ASAP:

  • Catholic School Advisory Council (CSAC), Nomination of Parent Candidate
  • Concussion Code of Conduct – Parent/Guardian
  • Concussion Code of Conduct – Student-Athlete
  • Critical Medical Alert
  • Emergency Dismissal
  • Walks Around the Neighbourhood-Education Excursion Consent 
  • Lunch Arrangement
  • Responsible Use of Technology & Electronic Data Access, Students Grades JK to 3
  • Responsible Use of Technology & Electronic Data Access, Students Grades 4 to 8 Consent
  • Student Image, Video or Voice Recording Including Media Use – Consent
  • Student Personal Information, Collection/Use/Disclosure Notice (Read Only)
  • Violence Threat Risk Assessment (Read Only)

Contact Information:
Is your contact information up to date? If you have a new cell/phone number, if your address has changed or if you have new emergency contact information please call the office to update all of your contact information, 519-893-8801.

It is super important that you call the school when your children will be away. When calling the school, 519-893-8801, speak clearly, and loudly, identifying your child’s first and last name, teacher’s name and the reason for the absence. If your child is sick, please list the symptoms your child is having and follow the COVID protocols as outlined below. Thanks!

COVID Update:
We have been advised by Public Health that healthy siblings are no longer required to be sent home to self-isolate , but are being asked to self-monitor.

In a school setting, we have designed our environment to allow students and staff to safely self-monitor by providing adequate physical distance, hand hygiene routines and the wearing of masks. 

Children experiencing symptoms where there is not a known alternative diagnosis (allergies etc.) will still be asked to stay home and go through the options outlined previously:

  1.     See a healthcare professional and return 24hrs after symptoms resolve.
  2.     Get a COVID-19 test with negative results and return 24hrs after symptoms resolve.
  3.     Self-Isolate for 14 Days and return 24hrs after symptoms resolve.

Healthy individuals in your household do not need to be tested unless directed to by Waterloo Region Public Health or your healthcare provider.

Please see this link with further details:

Link to Public Health Guidelines:

Bus Students:
Families please remember to call the school before 3:00 or notify the teacher if your child will not be taking the bus home at the end of the day. We have a responsibility to put your child on the bus. Please contact the school if your child will not be taking the bus after school.

Also, be sure to sign up for the STSWR subscription service which allows users to receive notices about delays and cancellations to their email address or via SMS text. (scroll to bottom of page for subscription service link) 

School Advisory Council:
We are very fortunate to have an active School Advisory Council. This is a group of dedicated parents, staff, and community members that meet virtually throughout the school year. Our goal is to work with the administration team to ensure student success and wellbeing for all of our Thunderbirds! Some things you may recognize our School Advisory Council for is their amazing fundraiser and involvement in our community (e.g., Turkey Lunch, Dance-A-Thon, Big Box, Pepperettes etc.). 

The monies raised from our fundraisers go directly back to the students in our community. Some amazing things our council has raised monies for are:

  • School Yard Activity Painting
  • Assist in busing of students for extracurricular activities
  • French library books
  • Purchase of outdoor play equipment (balls, skipping ropes etc.)
  • Support for the marginalized and local families in need
  • Classroom support funds
  • Support guest speakers
  • Grade 8 graduation, support for trophies, plaques, medallions, engraving and yearbook
  • Subsidy for student agendas
  • Support costs for Gr. 8 retreat (busing etc.).
  • Technology (Tech. Tubs for Chromebooks)
  • School Yard Improvements
  • Bussing for Athletic Activities

St. Daniel Catholic School Council Members:

  • Are people of good will who have a special commitment to the faith formation and education of our students.
  • Place the overall interest of the students and St. Daniel school first.
  • Have a vested interest in preserving the tradition and reputation of St. Daniel Catholic School and the preservation of the teaching of Catholic education in our publicly funded schools
  • Participate in School Council meetings and school initiatives and programs.
  • Seek to reach a consensus in the decision-making processes of the Council.

This year, due to the complexities associated with COVID-19 we will have to take a different approach to fundraising. Our goal is to continue to raise monies to support our Thunderbird Community, but it will look a little different. We recognize the financial strain on many of our families has been incredibly difficult. With this in mid we will not have our first fundraiser event until the spring.

Cell Phones at School:
For safety reasons, parents/guardians may choose to send a cell phone or other communication device to school with their child. It is understood in these cases that these devices must be turned off while they are in class and outside of the class or on the bus. In the instance of misuse, the device will be turned off and confiscated using protective equipment and returned to the student at the end of the day. In some serious cases, you the parent/guardian will be asked to pick it up at the office and the student will not be able to bring the device to school. The school is not responsible for lost or stolen personal technology devices.

Umbrella Project:
Welcome to November at the Umbrella Project!!  Last month we dove into building a sense of Gratitude and this month we are shifting our focus to a skill that helps us persevere in the face of challenges, Grit!  

Grit is the skill that stops us from quitting on the bad days and gives us courage to persevere towards our goals and passions.  With the cold weather approaching we could all use a bit of extra grit to get through those chilly winter challenges.

What will grit do for my child?

Excellence in anything we do requires commitment, hard work and failures along the way. Grit helps us continue to practice the things we would like to improve instead of giving up. Having grit can help us overcome obstacles even on the toughest days. In every type of work or school subject, grit can be as important to our success as talent or intelligence. It allows us to rise to the challenge of difficult goals and run the last mile.

Make working on weak spots a game:

Even in the face of abundant strengths, our weaknesses will often lead us to give up.  As often as you can, find the game in working on your child’s weaknesses.  Practicing anything can be intense and span many years to get to a level of excellence.  Try to help your child find the fun in the tough spots instead of feeling like they aren’t good enough.  

Here’s an example: 

When my daughter was struggling with how quickly she could do mental math, we found ways to make it a fun challenge by engaging her in games designed specifically to increase processing speed.  By adding some fun to this otherwise frustrating task, she was able to quickly improve and move on with renewed confidence.  

In addition, remember that fun and laughter also improves cognitive flexibility and can help our children think of new ways to solve the problems they are facing.  

Here’s this week’s short video from Dr. Jen

Tip 2:

Don’t just ponder on what you are passionate about… get out there and try as many things as you can!

Grit isn’t just about perseverance.  Passion for your goals goes a long way in helping you stick with something long term.  The guru of grit, Angela Duckworth, has found that introspection isn’t going to give your kids the passion they need for developing grit.  They can’t just sit around thinking about what they care about.  To truly follow the path of passion and purpose they need to get out there and try lots of different stuff.  This will allow them to really understand what motivates them, what gets them out of bed in the morning and down the road, this is one of the most important bits of sustained grit.  We’ve all had the experience of thinking we would love a sport, subject or job much to our dismay when we actually get a chance to try it and find it’s not what we thought it would be. 

When you see an opportunity for your child to try something new, jump on it.  Let action be their guide in finding that longer term goal, job or pursuit they can really get behind.  Take time to debrief with them after new experiences so you can support them in doing more of what they are passionate about.

You can watch this week’s short video here. (And hear me sing!)

Tip 3

Think of small and meaningful ways you can connect day to day work with a higher sense of purpose.  

Some very interesting research on grit showed that when students reflect on purpose, they worked harder on tedious math problems when given the option to watch entertaining videos instead. This doubled the amount of time they spent studying for exams. 

It seems that living a life that reflects a bigger purpose also cultivates our ability to persevere towards our goals – our grit!  Help your children continue to think of small ways they can make school align with their core values and how the work they are doing is building towards something bigger.  

So start with the “Why”. Many students work hard but report having no idea “why”, no bigger vision for their education. We can do a lot to build grit just by helping our children understand why they are learning what they are learning. Without this, school can feel boring or meaningless and won’t help our children sustain effort throughout their education.

Tip 4

Develop your child’s capacity to practice

The ability to practice is one the most important pieces in persevering towards complex and long term goals.  Without the ability to sustain effort and practice over time,  many big dreams go unrealized.  Here are a few tips when it comes to making practice effective and sustainable for your child:

  1. Schedule practice and rest time to avoid burnout. To perform at our best we need breaks, and teaching children this early on will really help them do their best.  Determine how long your child can hold focus for and then set a timer for that amount of time while working or practicing something.  Take short breaks between practice sessions to get some fresh air, run around, snack and recover for the next focused practice session.  For example, you could do 15 minutes of practice, take a 5 minute break and then 15 more minutes of practice. Repeat this for the duration of their working time.  Timed intervals will help your child stay on task and practice well.
  1. Find tasks that help your child work at the right level for their pre-existing ability. This will help them achieve a state of engagement and concentration when practicing (otherwise known as a state of flow).  To achieve this state of flow, think about what we often refer to as the Goldilocks effect.  Tasks should be not too hard… not too easy… just right!  Tasks that are too difficult tend to create anxiety and those that are too easy lead to boredom.  Both those states are detrimental to our capacity to practice something. When practicing, tasks should be challenging enough to require your child to recruit many skills to accomplish the task but not so hard that they can’t succeed.  

A few thoughts in this week’s video about the Finnish concept of ‘Sisu’

Additional Resources 

Interested in learning more? Here are a few more short and sweet videos about Grit from Dr. Jen. 

Finding joy in overcoming challenges 

Ask this question: What is the hard part? 

Connecting Grit to Gratitude 

Using conscientiousness as a tool to build grit 


~ Nurturing ~ Encouraging ~ Successful ~ Thunderbirds ~

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