Monday, June 12, 2017

Save the date! 10th Annual Parent Engagement Conference - October 14th




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

An exciting opportunity to hear from a community member!

One of our parents, Scott Kress is doing a free keynote presentation at Iroquois Ridge High School on Wednesday May 24th from 10:00am - 11:00am in the main gym. It is called Achieve the Outrageous. Scott will talk about setting and achieving goals woven around the story of his climb and summit of Mt. Everest. It is being put on by Amy Kress as part of her gym leadership class. Teachers at IRHS are also being invited to bring their classes. If you are interested or require any further information or to RSVP please email irhsparents@gmail.com

Monday, April 24, 2017

White Oaks SS parent presentation...all are invited to attend


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

School Advisory Council Meeting Minutes February 2017

Minutes of a Meeting of
IRHS School Advisory Council
Held February 7, 2017 at 6 PM
In the School Library


Mark Yukich, School Advisory Council Chair, opened the meeting, welcoming all attendees.


Mark indicated that the School Advisory Council annually applies to the Halton District School Board for the Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grant. This years application which will be submitted by the end of March, will be based on an initiative to support wellness.   Last year’s grant was used to fund a well-attended talk by Dr. Karyn Gordon at IRHS this fall.


Student Council Update
4 student representatives from School Council advised the School Advisory Council of some recent activities they had held, including Fall Fest, Scary Movie Night, Halloween dance, winter holiday spirit week, and visits by the local Dog Guides to the Ridge school library to help relieve student stress.  They indicated that the School Council is planning the annual semi-formal dance for Thursday, Feb. 23, at Otello’s Banquet & Convention Centre. The theme will be “James Bond”.


Parent Engagement Program (PEP) Update (Kim Smith)
Kim indicated that many new parents have joined the PEP team, and that next year will have a strong team.  Many activities have taken place already this year: Pink Football Game BBQ (over $600 raised for breast cancer research), Holiday Marketplace and holiday staff appreciation luncheon.  Dr. Karyn Gordon’s talk had an excellent turnout of over 200 community members, and PEP hopes to offer a similar talk next year.
Kim spoke of the “Ridge Cares” program, which supports students who otherwise would not have very nice holidays.  Kim thanked those who have already participated, and urged others to join this effort.


The ongoing Tuesdays at 10 & 7 series (1st Tue. of every month) continues. In December, a Ridge parent who is a drug counsellor came to speak about students and substance abuse, and a second parent gave a presentation in January on students’ mental health.  Other parent experts are sought to speak on subjects of concern to the parent community.  Parents are encouraged to come for at least one topic this year.


Community Update (Natalia Lishchyna, Town Councillor, Ward 6)
Councillor Lishchyna, a parent at the Ridge, gave attendees an overview of the Town’s plans to renovate the Iroquois Ridge branch of the Oakville Public Library, located beside the high school.  The new design includes more collaborative spaces, as well as quiet working/reading spaces, and more opportunities to use up-to-date technology.  More information about this renovation is available at: http://www.opl.on.ca/blog/1990/10/iroquois-ridge-branch-to-undergo-renovations-introduce-creation-zone/
There will also be opportunities for community members to have spaces in the new library dedicated (“in memory/honour of…”, etc.); please contact the Town if interested.
Other Town initiatives underway in Ward 6 include repairing and upgrading streets, and remediating the emerald ash borer infestation.
Coun. Lishchyna encouraged the community to contact her office with their concerns.


Principal’s Update (Darlene White)
Darlene thanked the attendees for coming out, especially on a foul-weather night, including PEP leaders Kim and Susan, and Coun. Lishchyna.  She mentioned ongoing school renovation, including new cafeteria seating, and redesigning the library to be more student- and collaboration-friendly.
She indicated that the student body had just completed summative tasks, exams and exam take-up day, and that report cards would be out on Fri. Feb. 10.  She also indicated that a promotion meeting had been held, at which staff had reviewed all students’ credits, marks, attendance and volunteer hours, and that families would be contacted as needed about the results.
Darlene stressed the need for the staff to spend time together as a community, as well as to continue their own learning, and to plan how to serve students’ needs.
She stated that the new semester had begun with a Collaborative Morning with a speaker, and that the practice grade 10 literacy exam would take place on Thurs. Feb. 9.


Upcoming dates:
Semi-Formal Dance: Feb. 23 (Otello’s)
Inside Ride: Thur. Mar. 2
P.A. Day: Fri., Mar. 10
March Break: Mar. 13-17
5th week reports: week following March Break
Gr. 10 Literacy test & Interview Night: Mar. 30


School Re-visioning & the Multi-Year Plan (Darlene White)
Darlene indicated that IRHS is still working on the school vision/mission/values.  To see it, go to www.hdsb.ca, and click the link “Mission Vision and Values”.  Parents present at the meeting, who had not yet participated, were given an opportunity to contribute.  Parents can still participate at: goo.gl/qAWs1w


There being no further business, Chair Mark Yukich thanked everyone for coming and adjourned the meeting at 7:00 PM.
______________________________________________
Sue Kronenfeld, Secretary


Next School Advisory Council meeting: Tue. 4 April @ 6PM

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Do you have an anxious teen? This workshop may be for you...


IRHS SCHOOL ADVISORY COUNCIL - MEETING MINUTES - DEC 6

Minutes of a Meeting of
IRHS School Advisory Council
Held December 6, 2016 at 6 PM
In the School Library

Mark Yukich, School Advisory Council Chair, led the meeting.  He welcomed the attendees, and introduced Principal Darlene White.

Program Accommodation & Review Process
Mark and Darlene spoke about the HDSB’s Program Evaluation and Review, which had identified pressures on the school system across the region (changing demographics, etc.).  Burlington schools were identified as needing a Long-Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP).  While Oakville’s schools are expected to see an enrolment increase (+3%), Burlington is expecting -10%.

A PARC (Program Accommodation and Review Committee) will be struck in the affected area, to recommend a strategy from a list of possible outcomes.  Some school closures and/or boundary changes may occur in Burlington, and a new high school is expected to be built in Milton, which is also growing rapidly in population, and after that (~4 years), the HDSB may begin to build a new high school in northern Oakville (Neyagawa area).
IRHS Well-Being Team 
Vice Principal Trish Clark indicated the team was considering such topics as bullying prevention and remediation, and anxiety/stress reduction for students. Mike Luyks (Guidance/Phys. Ed. teacher) and Katherine Patterson (Student Success) are on the team, as well as parent members.  They are using data from the “Tell Them From Me” survey and are looking to improve on the numbers this year including, students report being victims of bullying (24%), where and when bullying occurs (halls, outside of school, during breaks and after school), how many students come forward to confront bullies, and how many feel they can report bullying incidents to school staff (50%).

Bullying prevention and awareness strategies are in place, with supports such as the Link Crew (supports gr. 9 students) and the “Ridge United” Crew (supports other new students).  They are promoting a list of people students can talk to, and silent messaging strategies.  Mutual respect is promoted among students and between students and staff (there is a Ridge Respect website to report bullying incidents), and there are restorative measures in place, bringing together, where possible, the bully, the victim and others impacted by the incident.







Form for Future Agenda Items  
Mark indicated there will be a new form that parents can use to request an item be added to the School Advisory Council agenda for future meetings. The electronic form will be sent out in advance of the meeting via Synermail and will require the item you would like to discuss and a short rationale as to how this item interests our community.

Principal’s Update
Darlene White spoke to recent events including the Junior football team championship victory and student support, the Annual Craft Sale including how proceeds are used and the Remembrance Day Assembly.

She then talked about student activities including DECA, student performances such as One-Act plays, and charity work including toy and clothing drives, and the Hack-a-Thon.

Darlene then summarized the exam schedule and conclusion of the 1st Semester.



School Re-visioning & the Multi-Year Plan
Darlene indicated the Halton District School Board (HDSB) recently published their multi-year plan for the next 3-5 years.  To see it, go to www.hdsb.ca, and click the link “Mission Vision and Values”.

IRHS is also refreshing its school vision.   The process started last year and included a survey of parents, students and staff.   A plan has been developed and now mission and vision statements are being crafted.  

Parents present voted on the characteristics of values and mission statements that appealed most to them, including suggesting new ones of their own.  To participate, go to: goo.gl/qAWs1w

There being no further business, Chair Mark Yukich thanked everyone for coming and adjourned the meeting at 7:00 PM.
The next School Advisory Council meeting is scheduled for Tue. 4 April @ 6PM.
Sue Kronenfeld, Secretary

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

School Advisory Council - Meeting Minutes - October 4/16

Minutes of a Meeting of
IRHS School Advisory Council
Held October 4, 2016 at 6 PM
In the School Library

Darlene White, Principal of the School, acted as chair.

Darlene indicated other meetings of the Council for this year are scheduled to occur before the monthly PEP Tuesdays at 7 meetings, on the following dates: 6 Dec., 7 Feb., 4 April.

Darlene introduced the new Chair of the School Advisory Council (Mark Yukich; Sue Kronenfeld has since volunteered to act as Secretary), and indicated we may also require a Treasurer, unless the Council is firmly deciding for this year not to raise and spend funds.

In the recent past, Council has only applied for PIC (Parent Involvement Committee) and PRO (Parents Reaching Out) grants, which are spent immediately on initiatives to promote parent involvement in the school community.  Our PIC representative has been Heather Clark Smith.  Our PRO grant money is being used to engage a speaker (Dr. Karyn Gordon) on a topic related to parenting teens (topic still TBD).

What’s going on at The Ridge:
We’re very busy!  Link Crew is working with gr. 9 students.  We had a locker shortage problem, solved by several students either opting out of a locker or offering to share.
We deliberately placed all the gr. 9 students’ lockers in the desirable 2nd floor location, and placed their Link Crew leaders near them, to help them feel connected.  Their feedback at the gr. 9 dance was that they love this.  The other lockers were deliberately randomized, to encourage established students to mingle.

Parent question: Why were gr. 9 students not asked to share, instead of older students?
Darlene indicated this was because the youngest, most vulnerable students should be made to feel special.  The administration team does not believe in hierarchy, and this solution encourages the culture of sharing that we are building at The Ridge.

Our new “Ridge United” program (similar to Link Crew, but for transfer students in older grades), or the “RU Crew” is going well.  They also (mostly) got their lockers together, with their Crew leaders.

We just had Program Night/Club day in “the Street” (i.e. main corridor on the ground floor).  There is a complete list of clubs under the “Students” tab, including where and when they meet, and who the staff advisers are.  This can be a resource for helping your students to connect.  There are *lots* of clubs and teams, each of which sends a rep to the Ridge Council.  Ridge Council members work together on plans, sometimes with different groups collaborating on a project, such as a food drive.

Thurs. 6 Oct. is Pink Day.  Synermail came home about this today with the modified class schedule.  The academic day stops at noon, and the students and staff run organized activities, and a BBQ is hosted by the PEP team.  The Family Studies classes bake cupcakes, and parents and the community are invited to participate.  Gr. 8 classes from catchment schools were invited (3 schools are participating this year).

5th week reports are coming out 14 Oct.  All gr. 9s receive them and gr. 10-12 students with a grade of 60 or lower, or another cause for concern.

Thurs. 20 Oct. will be Interview Night.  Parents can arrange a formal appointment with teachers (10 mins.), and there is an informal meet-up in “the Street”, with teachers arranged in alphabetical order, prior to the interview times.  If you can’t make this evening, or can’t get an interview time, you can also contact your child’s teacher at any time to arrange another meeting time (e-mail is preferred).

Fri. 7 Oct. is a PA day.  The teachers are leaving the school building in the morning to go out and familiarize themselves with the community on a scavenger hunt created by the staff learning team.  They will return in the afternoon for more traditional continued learning.

Thurs. 20 Oct. will be a Collaborative Morning and all gr. 10 students will be taking the online EQAO literacy test.  Ontario is trying the online version as a pilot (plans unknown for next year); all of Halton is participating and 60% of the whole province.  A message from the school board will be coming home about the exam.

This is how the day will change: Subject clinics will only operate for Math, Science, English.  Many normal Internet services will be blocked that day to decrease the bandwidth use (e.g., Netflix, Facebook, YouTube).  Seniors: no regular classes. Gr. 9 students will have Link Crew in the morning, and regular classes in the afternoon.  Half the test-takers will be starting in the afternoon.  IEP and ELL students will start in the morning, and receive any accommodations they would usually have.  The test results will be available before the traditional literacy test in March, and students who pass in October won’t have to retake it.

There is an app available to practice taking the literacy test.  Go to www.eqao.com and look for the Sample Online OSSLT.  You can try the practice tests (there are 2) and get immediate feedback, and learn to use all the helpful tools (assistive tech, word count, highlight, flag questions to go back to, etc.)

The test will be administered using  school-provided tech devices, as opposed to student devices.  They will be loaded with the EQAO app; staff is now learning how to use it.  The students are being trained to use the app in their last-period classes from 12-14 Oct.

Increased internet traffic demand will be managed by terminating wifi access to high demand social media sites such as Facebook for that day.  If unsuccessful, we will simply rely exclusively on the March tests as we have in the past.

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) has just published their multi-year plan for the next 3-5 years.  To see it, go to www.hdsb.ca, and click the link “Mission Vision and Values”.

IRHS is also refreshing its school vision (last major revision was 23 years ago).  We started last year, surveying parents, students and staff about ideas, visions.  Now we’re in the middle of revising the vision (a team is working on it).  We’re not looking for it to be the exact same as HDSB’s, but aligned with it; eventually ours will be published as well, and we’ll be looking for student art to set forth our vision.

Parent question: Why are students allowed to use cell phones and access social media sites in class?  

Andrew Bigham, Vice Principal, indicated that teachers have autonomy in allowing this.  We’re trying to teach “digital responsibility”: how to use technology for the right purpose, at the right place and time.  This technology offers many invaluable teaching and learning tools; we can often accomplish much more and faster with a small, handheld device than we could on a school computer.  From gr. 6 down, there is some filtering but HDSB has chosen not to filter high schools, and students are allowed to view these media on their breaks.  If you ever feel there is an issue, please come speak with us, and we can have a conversation.
Darlene White added we’re teaching the right/wrong use of these items; we’re not texting friends in class, but using educational apps, camera for a slideshow as part of a project, etc.  There is a lot of teaching power available in a phone.

Andrew: We are trying to provide equal access for everyone; Chromebooks are available for sign-out from the library.

Parent question: Is there any prospect of making MS Office 365, etc. available to students?

Andrew indicated, No, we’re a Google shop.  Some time ago, a decision had to be made as to which provider/software to use, and Halton opted to go with Google.  (Google programs are available, but not Microsoft.)

Parent question: There are some concerns around changes to the gr. 12 prom.

Darlene: We already have the date on the calendar: 12 May.  IRHS is unique, which is great, but we have also been the only school with prom squeezed in between the last exam and graduation.  Moving up the date of prom should decrease the time pressure.  Three staff members are working on the prom; the venue is booked, and the student prom committee is meeting.

There being no further business, the meeting was terminated at 7:00 PM.


______________________________________________
Sue Kronenfeld, Secretary

Next School Advisory Council meeting: Tue. 6 Dec. @ 6PM


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