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Thunderbird December News

Hello Thunderbird Families:

We cannot believe it is December already! We hope this finds you and your family well. 

As we journey through the season of Advent, may we pray for patience and for hope as we await the celebration of the birth of Christ. We continue to pray for those in our community who are ill and in need of prayers. Although Christmas may look a little different this year, we need to model the pause, contemplation and prayer in our school, families, and with our children so that they too will be reminded of the coming of baby Jesus, the true reason for the season. 

During this season of advent we encourage you as families to set aside a special time each week to gather together and light a candle on an advent wreath in your home. Use this as a time to slow things down and remind one another about the special gift that was the birth of baby Jesus. During these winter days with very little light, we are reminded that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12). This is especially important to reflect upon in what seems like, for many, times of darkness. During this very important time in our liturgical year, take the time together to be mindful of the true spirit of the season, and help our students, your children shift their focus back on the season of Advent.

Please find this Special Advent Blessing and Prayer from Fr. Tim & Sarah  from St. Anthony Daniel Parish.

Our Thunderbird family wishes to extend the warmest of Christmas wishes to you all. May God bless you and yours during this festive season and may you and yours find the Advent season a time of solace and peace. 

So you are in the loop, we hope you take some time to read our communication below. As always, thanks so much for all you do to support our Thunderbird Community!

Important! Winter Pick-up/Drop off:
As the winter weather approaches, we highly recommend you consider a new location to meet your child(ren) after school. Our experience has been that the field and path area are often very icy or muddy and not safe for you or your child(ren) to be walking on. 

In the morning, we suggest you use our kiss-n-drop area at the front of our school; the large church parking lot to park and walk to drop your child(ren) off at the front of the school, they can walk to the line on their own. After school, we suggest you make a meeting spot on the city sidewalk along the school yard fence on Midland Drive and park on Midland Drive or at the large church parking lot. 

Please Note:  the laneway, front parking lot and community centre is not open for parking. Due to hours of operations there will be times where the community centre will not have the snow/ice removed, please do not park or drop off in the community centre location, thanks.

Christmas Spirit Week at the Thunderbird Nest!
We have all sorts of fun activities planned during the week of December 14th – 18th. Our goal is to spread joy, Christmas cheer and have fun! For a list of all the awesome activities please check out the link. A special thanks to Mr. V and the Student Activities Council (SAC) for organizing our Christmas Spirit Week! Link to Christmas Spirit Week

Picture Day is December 8th:
All students will have the opportunity to have their individual photo taken on December 8th. To keep our students and staff safe, Lifetouch will be following our COVID protocols, plus their own protocols. To order online please visit: https://my.lifetouch.ca/mylifetouch/#/

NOTE: when ordering you will need the following code: QX010747Q0

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 tid-bits about our policies and procedures. 

Before your Child Comes to School: (This must be done daily)
Self-Assessment: All students need to complete a self-assessment each day prior to attending school https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

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.

Attendance:
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. 

Healthy individuals in your household do not need to be tested unless directed to by Waterloo Region Public Health or your healthcare provider. As always, please complete the daily screening tool and follow the instructions provided.

Please see this link with further details: https://www.wcdsb.ca/important-new-guidelines-for-siblings-of-ill-students/

Link to Public Health Guidelines: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JKoMYdA5u387LO5sju4Y63-o3wORNpeB/view?usp=sharing

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. https://www.stswr.ca/parents/ (scroll to bottom of page for subscription service link) 

Umbrella Project:
Last month we focused our attention on building Grit and this month we are adding the skill that will help your child to be kinder to themselves in the face of failure and difficulties, Self-compassion

What will self-compassion do for my child?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that 75% of people treat others more kindly than they treat themselves. 

Self-compassion means offering ourselves compassion when we fail, make mistakes or are at fault. Self-compassion is the opposite of self-criticism and will help your child treat themselves like they would a good friend instead of continuously judging themselves harshly.  Like a bully that is with your child all the time, self-criticism actually reduces  self-confidence (just like an external bully would), making it hard for them to succeed.  

Self-compassion helps to reduce children’s feelings of isolation and instead recognize that struggle is a normal part of being human that everyone experiences. There is a  100% chance of rain at some point in every life so it’s important that we learn to weather these storms with compassion.

Do you often catch your child saying harsh things about themselves and their abilities ?

It’s vital that we help our children avoid getting caught up in the dramatic storyline of their struggle and instead recognize this normal part of life. Imperfections, rough days, mistakes, being at fault and failures are a part of being human and the better we are at accepting this, the easier it is to preserve our wellbeing through these challenges.

Listen as Dr. Jen’s introduces this important Umbrella Skill of Self-compassion 

POST 2

Stop judging yourself as a parent so harshly!

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Children don’t come with step-by-step instructions and there is a reason that millions of parenting books exist, all with different solutions to the same problems. Just like snowflakes, each child is completely unique and therefore responds differently to the world and our attempts to guide them.  How many times has an idea worked brilliantly for one of your children and not at all for the next? Every feel like one day you have this parenting thing nailed and the next day want to give up completely? Such is the nature of raising another human with their own agenda and parents deserve to treat themselves with a high level of compassion on the tough days.

Unfortunately, research and experience show us that this is not the case. As parents, we are terrible critics of our own best efforts to raise our children and we now know that the more we judge our own parenting, the more likely it is that our child will develop symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The solution – Less self-blame and more non-judgemental acceptance of our own parenting skills. In other words, show our children what self-compassion looks like in action. None of us are perfect parents, you will make mistakes and that’s OK!  

It sounds simple but remember that most of us have a very vocal inner critic, evaluating our every move. Start by noticing your own self-judgement and then try to think of what you might say to a good friend who was in the same situation. Say these words to yourself and remember, beating yourself up in effort to be a better parent is having the opposite effect on your child’s wellbeing. Instead take ownership of your feelings and choices, recognize when you make mistakes, apologize, keep learning and move on.  You’ve got this!

POST 3

Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend.  

Children who are low in self-compassion are often very hard on themselves. They can feel isolated and alone in their struggles and have a hard time moving on from failures. From a parenting perspective, it can be very difficult to convince children with low self-compassion that people aren’t judging them as harshly as they are judging themselves.

One of the easiest ways to help your child practice their self-compassion is to start one step outside themselves. Ask them to think about how they would treat a good friend who is struggling and then reflect on whether they treat themselves with the same care. 

This exercise is beneficial for everyone and most people are quite surprised when they take a moment to listen to what they say to themselves. The phrase “we are our own worst enemy” rings true here.

Here are a few simple steps to follow when you notice your child’s self-criticism is becoming detrimental to their wellbeing:

  1. Have them bring to mind a good friend or someone they care about and imagine it is their friend, and not them, experiencing the struggle.

  2. Ask your child these questions: What would you say to your friend in this situation?  How would you treat them? What do you think would happen if you said the same things to your friend that you are saying to yourself?  Would it help them?
  1. Help your child remember that they can be a good friend to themselves. Remind your child they should offer themselves the same amount of love, compassion, forgiveness and respect as they offer everyone else.

POST 4

Watch your language

Most of us get so used to the way we criticize ourselves that we don’t even know we are doing it. However, the words we say to ourselves have power and direct our attention. Our inner critic is really a misguided attempt to help motivate and protect ourselves. The research shows that our inner critic is unlikely to have the effect we are hoping for and holds us back from our happiness and success. Our brains like to be correct, so we unconsciously pick out the information from our environments that supports our beliefs. When we tell ourselves we are stupid, for example, we can’t succeed. When we carry broken beliefs, our brains select the information in the environment that matches this belief and so we live into our thoughts.  

In addition, when we criticize ourselves in front of our kids they begin to feel we may be secretly judging them as harshly as we are judging ourselves. It’s hard to convince them we think they are beautiful just the way they are if they see us critiquing ourselves harshly in the mirror.  

The messages we give our children directly are important too. The language we use around them creates powerful self-talk that can help them or hold them back, make them feel well or hopeless. Try to be specific when you address your children instead of making generalized comments. There is a big difference between saying “you did something bad” versus “you are bad”. The first creates self talk that can help the child take responsibility and move on.  The latter doesn’t leave room for growth or change and can leave our kids feeling powerless.  

The same goes with praise.  We want our children to feel responsible for their success so when we generalize and say “you are smart” instead of “you did very well on this specific thing” or “your hard work paid off” we can accidentally make kids feel that everything is evidence that they are either smart or not and create a lot of anxiety around failure. Their self talk becomes about avoiding anything that might risk them being proved unintelligent. Instead, praise the things your child can always control like effort and their umbrella skills.

In this short 3:30min video Dr. Jen talks about this concept of watching your language.

Additional Resources 

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

Suffering is not failure

Instill the learner in your child 

All about our inner commentary

It’s not a weakness 

Be incident specific 

Tie to intentions (not outcomes) 

~ NURTURING ~ ENCOURAGING ~ SUCCESSFUL ~ THUNDERBIRDS ~

Dress Warm Today, Thunderbirds!

Hello Thunderbird Families:

We are back today!  School is open again!

We hope that you found some success in connecting to your child’s Google/D2L Classroom yesterday and completed the tasks that were there for them.  What an opportunity to learn from home!  We also hope that you found some time to get outside and enjoy the snow!  What an opportunity to celebrate winter!

Today, we are open again and looking forward to seeing you all.  Please remember to complete the COVID screening test before coming to school and when you do leave the house this morning, dress for the weather!  It is cold and snowy, and we will be outside for both recesses and the longer lunch recess.  Hats, mitts, snow pants, boots and layers will be so important today!

See you soon!

Weather Impacted Learning Day, All Buses Cancelled, All Schools Closed

Hello Thunderbird Families:

  • Due to the current weather conditions ALL SCHOOL BUSES, TAXIS AND SPECIAL EDUCATION ROUTES operated by the Waterloo Catholic District School Board and Waterloo Region District School Board are cancelled.
  • All WCDSB and WRDSB schools and sites are CLOSED and it will be a Remote Learning Day.
  • Students should visit their respective virtual classrooms or WCDSB and WRDSB Learning @ Home for resources.
  • All Extended Day Childcare Programs are CLOSED.
  • All programs and services offered by St. Louis Continuing Education and Adult and Learning Centre are cancelled.

Students will be provided with asynchronous student work by 10 am, as each classroom teacher has a Google Classroom or D2L site. Normal bell times will be followed to allow students to contact their teacher through the LMS or email.

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!

~NURTURING~ENCOURAGING~SUCCESSFUL~THUNDERBIRDS~

 

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: https://covid19checkup.ca/ 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

Sincerely,

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: https://youtu.be/BIlhdx3XQI0?t=75

 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 http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/COVID19.

 

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

 

~NURTURING~ENCOURAGING~SUCCESSFUL~THUNDERBIRDS~

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 

 

~NURTURING~ENCOURAGING~SUCCESSFUL~THUNDERBIRDS~

 

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:

https://www.wcdsb.ca/programs-and-services/mental-health-and-well-being-at-wcdsb/.

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.

Thanks!

 

 

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