November 20th

Good morning Norseman families!

By now you will have all received the Communication of Learning: Initial Observations (JK/SK) or the Progress Report (Gr. 1-8) that went home on Tuesday.  Many of you will also have had the opportunity to speak with the teacher, either on the phone or online, regarding student progress.  This is a great time to discuss accomplishments and set goals for the rest of Term One.  We recognize the importance of the parent and school connection, and in working together, we can support our students to do their very best.

There has been a lot of talk in the media about whether schools may or may not be closing for an extended period over the holidays in December.  We have no information about this and will certainly let families know immediately if there is any new information.  We do know that the goal is to keep schools open, as long as it is safe.  Norseman students are doing a good job in following our protocols and routines, with some reminders.  Please continue to reinforce these protocols, including avoiding student get togethers and playdates with friends.  We know that students want to interact socially however, as students interact with others who are not in their cohort, they are increasing their contacts which then increases risk and exposure for many others.  We all need to do our part!

Distancing at morning drop off
There are many parents who enjoy watching their child enter the school building at the morning drop off.  Please remember that we must all distance ourselves from each other and the line ups.  Many of the class lines are long (particularly in the older grades), and at times, parents linger near bench areas which are located near these lines.  We ask that parents please move from these bench areas and instead stand on the asphalt pathway on the field to ensure proper distancing.

Holiday Gift giving
It is that time of year when we often exchange gifts.  Gifts would need to be wiped down or quarantined for 3 days.  All individuals are encouraged to practice hand hygiene before and after touching packages/gifts. Toronto Public Health has indicated that we consider gift cards or donations to charitable organizations in lieu of gifts.

Food drive
Norseman will again participate in our annual food drive.  Extra care will need to be taken in these different times.  Bins will be put in the front foyer to collect the items.  Students will bring their items brought from home and put them directly in the bin.  There will be no collection by older students from the classrooms and no counting or sorting of the items.  Again, TPH has asked that families consider monetary donations to the food bank in lieu of food items.

Spirit Days
We have determined several Spirit days over the next few months, and students can show their spirit by participating.
–November 27 – Pajama Day
-December 18 – Festive Friday – winter/holiday attire
-January 22 – Hat day

Take care and stay safe,

Carolyn Wright
Principal

November 13th

Good afternoon Norseman families,

We have again been fortunate with the weather this week however; I feel there is a change in the air coming! With the temperatures vacillating, it is wise for students to wear several layers of clothing so that they can either put on or take off items to remain comfortable. You may even wish to tuck a pair of mittens and a hat into their backpacks as it can get very cold when the wind whips across the field. It won’t be long before the snow flies and proper footwear will need to be worn as well!

Remembrance Day
On Wednesday November 11, Norseman JMS acknowledged Remembrance Day. This is a day we honour generations of Canadian men and women, from all parts of the country and diverse backgrounds, who have served our country at home and abroad.  Students in several different grades created artwork, reflected on peace and researched information to share with the whole school via a virtual assembly that each class streamed in their own classroom. Classes also spent time discussing the courage and sacrifices made, which supports students in understanding our history and how to continue our focus on peace.

Norseman Heights Park
During school hours, Norseman JMS has been given permission to use Norseman Heights Park as part of our regular playground. However, it continues to be open for community members to use. Students have been reminded to be respectful and to share the space appropriately. We are also asking students to stay away from the fences that back onto the field.

Lost and Found
We are trying NOT to allow a lost and found to accumulate. Labelling items and clothing is more important than ever. We will be taking regular photos of items that have been found and will post them on the Norseman website. If you identify something from those photos, please email (Maureen.huddleston@tdsb.on.ca) or call (416-394-7880) and we will arrange for it to be given to your child to take home.

Report cards will be sent home on Tuesday November 17th.Parent/teacher virtual interviews or phone calls are being arranged for next week, based on the individual teacher’s schedule.

Take care and stay safe,

Carolyn Wright
Principal

November 6th

Good afternoon Norseman families!

What a gift we received this week with the warm and sunny weather!  Classes spent many periods outside enjoying the opportunity for fresh air and learning.

As indicated last week in the Blast, teachers would be communicating with you this past week regarding curriculum for this school year.  Teachers chose different ways to connect with you (emails, newsletters, Google Meets, slide shows).  If you have any questions about curriculum, please contact your child’s teacher.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Report cards will be going home on November 17th.  In preparation for parent-teacher conferences set that week, we will be using https://www.schoolinterviews.ca/ again to book interview times with your child’s teacher. The system will open on November the 9th at 9 a.m. for parents to begin booking appointments. Please click on the link and type the code: v6de5 to see the available times and dates set by your child’s teacher.  The system will close on Friday November 13th at 4 p.m.  As visitors are not permitted in the school, all interviews will be done virtually or by phone.  Please connect with your child’s teacher to determine how interviews will be conducted.  A separate email about parent-teacher interviews went home today as well.

Dismissal
When students have been dismissed, the expectation is that they (and their parents) leave school property immediately.  Please do not remain on the school grounds to chat or play.  If students leave on their own, you should expect them to arrive home shortly after dismissal. This guideline comes from Toronto Public Health who recommend that we limit gatherings of any size. Remember that you are the role models for the children and they will follow your lead!

Enjoy the lovely weekend!

Carolyn Wright
Principal

October 30th

Happy Halloween!  It was a great day at Norseman, full of costumes and classroom activities!  It was even more difficult to tell students apart wearing both masks and costumes!

Daylight’s Savings time
Remember to turn your clocks back one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night to allow for our change back to Eastern Standard Time.  We are looking forward to brighter mornings for the next few weeks.

Picking up Students early
If you arrive at the front door to pick up your child early from school for an appointment, please ensure that they have checked out through the office before you leave.  Please ask your child, “Did you check out at the office and speak to someone there?”  We must ensure that students have connected with the parent who is picking them up.  Thank you.

Meet the Teacher/Curriculum night
As our start to the year was very different than other years, we did not have our usual Meet the Teacher or Curriculum Night in September.  Teachers will be communicating about curriculum with parents next week (November 2-6).  Each teacher will determine how they wish to communicate this.  It could be via a Google Meet, an email, Google Slides or a handout.  This communication will serve to address questions about what students will be learning this year in preparation for Progress Reports in November.

Permission Click/Beginning of the Year forms
We continue to be missing many permission forms from parents.  These forms are very important in allowing us to continue with regular school programming. 

Just a reminder: in saying ‘no’ to TDSB media means that your child’s picture cannot ever be taken at the school for any reason (e.g., Student recognition).

Also, if you refuse emails under the anti-spam column, we cannot send you any emails from the school ,the teacher or the School Council.  Emails of a “commercial nature” are not sent through the school.

We must have permission for students to participate in Phys. Ed. activities and any walking excursions. Beginning Monday, students without this permission will remain at the office and not participate.

Should you prefer to complete these forms on paper, please call the office (416-394-7880) and we will send you the paper forms.

Early French Immersion Application Process – SK Entry
For families interested in the Toronto District School Board's Early French Immersion Program (begins in Senior Kindergarten), there is an online process to apply. Attached please find an important information package.

To apply for the Early French Immersion Program (SK entry) for September 2021, applications must be completed online between November 2 and November 27, 2020.

An offer of placement in the program (not a specific school) is guaranteed to all on-time applicants and will be made in the weeks following the close of the application window.

Please note: Families with an older sibling currently enrolled in the same French program and who will be in attendance next year are still required to complete an online application for the new student. Please select the “sibling option” within the online application.

For more information about the Early French Immersion (SK) application process, please join a Virtual Information Session on one of the following dates:

  • November 2, 2020, 7 p.m.
  • November 12, 2020, 7 p.m.
  • November 19, 2020, 10 a.m.

For more information about French as a Second Language programs, the application process and important dates, please visit www.tdsb.on.ca/french.

Take care and stay safe,

Carolyn Wright

Principal

October 23rd

Hello Norseman families,

We’ve had another great week.  Despite some rainy days, we managed to get outside almost every recess or lunch hour!  Students really need that fresh air and a mask break.

Permission click
Both the TDSB and Norseman sent the link to the Start of Year forms to be completed online.  If you haven’t already done so, please ensure that you complete these forms (one for each student that goes to Norseman) so that we have the most up to date information.  These forms also include permission for classes to take neighbourhood walks and media release forms.  We appreciate your attention to these forms.

Halloween
Norseman will celebrate Halloween on Friday October 30th.  Students are invited to wear their costumes to school that day.

There will be no large school-wide events and no parade.  Halloween activities will be permitted to occur in the classroom with the class cohort. No candy/treats or other Halloween items will be permitted to be brought to school by students or staff due to possible contamination from wrappers.

Please note that a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask and should not be worn over a cloth mask as it may make it difficult to breathe.  Consider making the cloth mask part of the costume!  Since students are required to wear masks, it is not recommended that students wear costume make-up from below the eyes, to ensure their face coverings are not dirtied.


Toronto Public Health has created some Halloween messages with creative suggestions and alternatives for Halloween.  Please see the links below.

https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/967f-Celebrating-a-Safer-Halloween-During-Covid-19.pdf

https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/96ba-Be-Hallow-wise.pdf

https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/8f3b-Safer-Trick-or-Treating-Options.pdf

Have a wonderful weekend!

Carolyn Wright
Principal

October 2nd

Happy Friday, Norseman families!

We have now finished our second full week of school and are into the month of October!  The weather is certainly changing and we recommend that students ensure they are dressed for these changes.  Layers are always a good idea so that students can easily remain comfortable.  Windows will continue to be open throughout the year to allow for some fresh air, so students need to think about what they may need both inside and outside.  Even on those damp and rainy days, we hope that students can be outside for a mask break.  Please invest in some boots and umbrellas for those days.

Agendas

Some of our teachers ordered agendas for students to use this school year.  We have just received information that agendas may be used.  They will be for student use only to keep track of due dates and assignments.  Teachers will not be collecting them or initialling them every day, nor will they be using them to communicate with parents.  If you need to relay information to the teacher or have a question, please send the teacher an email.  If a teacher needs to contact you, they will either phone or email you.  There will be no charge for agendas this year.

COVID-19 School Decision Guide

I had hoped to share the COVID-19 School Decision Guide with you, however, the Ontario government announced yesterday that it is updating its COVID-19 school and child care screening guidance. As the TDSB takes its lead from Toronto Public Health (TPH), consultations are taking place with TPH on next steps.  Additional information will be shared once the school guidelines have been updated.

Norseman Community School Programs

Please note that Norseman Community School Programs have moved to Fairfield Seniors Centre (80 Lothian Ave) for the Fall Session.  They have adopted Covid safety precautions in their programs with disinfecting, physically distancing, and smaller group sizes where necessary.  To register you will require a family and client number. To obtain this information please contact 416-396-7378.  For information on registration including what programs will be offered please visit www.efun.toronto.ca

Coyote Sightings in the neighbourhood

We have received several recent reports of coyote sightings in the area (we have not had any sightings on or near school property).  As a result, we would like to remind students, and all members of our school community, to be aware of their surroundings, not to approach an unfamiliar animal, and walk with a buddy to and from school.

Coyotes are cautious and non-confrontational by nature, and it is not unusual to see these animals in many parts of our city.  However, it is important to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of students and staff.

If you encounter a coyote, here is some information from Animal Services that may be helpful:

  • Encourage the coyote to keep moving by shouting and gesturing aggressively.
  • There is probably a food source either in your yard or your neighbour’s yard. To stop a coyote from coming into your yard avoid feeding your pets outdoors, store garbage, recycling and organics properly, and remove dense brush and weeds to minimize hiding spots.
  • If you see someone feeding a coyote, call 311 as it is against City bylaws.
  • Coyotes are naturally timid and flee when confronted aggressively.  Never run away from a coyote.

The following actions teach coyotes to fear humans:

  • Be Big – Stand up and raise your arms in the air. Appear as large and threatening as possible
  • Be Loud – Stomp your feet, clap your hands, and yell “go away coyote” to alert people nearby.
  • Be Threatening – Throw a tennis ball or a small pebble or stick at the coyote, but only to show the coyote who is boss – not to injure!
  • Avoid turning your back, maintain eye contact and slowly back away.

Take care and stay safe.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Carolyn Wright

Principal

September 25th

Hello Norseman Families!

Important Changes to Mask Guidelines

As our procedures change, so do the procedures of the TDSB.  Many of you may have seen Ms. Kim and I out on the yard this morning reminding some parents/caregivers to wear masks.  Last night the TDSB refined their mask guidelines, which has a significant change for everyone on school property.

School visitors, including parents/guardians, are required to wear a mask/face covering when indoors and outdoors on school property, such as during pick-up and drop-off.”


For the full changes to the guidelines, please click on the link below:

Mask Guidelines Updated

As well, there are some masks that are not approved for use.  Some commercially available masks have exhalation (breathable) valves or openings that make the mask more breathable for the person wearing it. However, these masks also allow infectious respiratory droplets to spread outside the mask. Masks with exhalation valves are therefore not to be used because they do not protect others from COVID-19 and do not limit the spread of the virus.

Start of the Year forms

At the beginning of the school year, parents/caregivers are asked to complete a myriad of permission forms (walking excursion forms, medical information, Phys. Ed. Forms, etc.)  The Start of Year Forms package will be made available to parents/guardians digitally again this year. The forms will be emailed to all parents/guardians with an email on file between Monday, September 28, 2020 - Wednesday, September 30, 2020. The Start of Year Forms will be completed for all students (both in-person and virtual). These forms are associated with the student and therefore will move with the student, regardless of the learning model chosen.

Switching from or Returning to In-Person Learning

We recognize that parents/guardians and/or students may want to switch between in-person learning and Virtual School. It is important to note that, for health and safety reasons, and because of the impact switching would have on staffing, physical distancing and space allocation, it will not be possible to immediately transition between the two models. As a result, an opportunity to enter the Virtual School or to return to in-person learning will be provided at three key dates during the school year, as outlined below. 

Movement from one model to another will be requested through the Principal of the student’s home school. If a switch is required outside of the designated times, a limited number of exceptions may be made and will be reviewed by Principals on a case-by-case basis.

Opportunity to Change           Date the Change of Class             Deadline to Request Change

One month into the year            October 13, 2020                            September 

30, 2020

After the progress report            November 23, 2020                         November 6, 2020

After the First Term report          February 16, 2021                            January 29, 2021

Orange Shirt Day

On Wednesday, September 30th, we acknowledge and honour Orange Shirt Day.  It is a time to reflect on the effects of Residential Schools on First Nations and to continue our journey towards reconciliation.  We invite our students to wear an orange shirt on September 30th to support the initiative “Every Child Matters” and to create a school culture centred on anti-racism and anti-bullying for the upcoming year. Please check our Twitter account @NorsemanTweet on September 30th to see the activities students will be doing in their class.

When Students are unwell

When students complain about being unwell, we take it very seriously.  If the student shows signs of a covid symptom:

  • The student is immediately brought to our wellness room and parents are called.
  • The parent is encouraged to go for testing or to speak to their healthcare provider and should self-isolate for 14 days from the start of symptoms unless
  • They have been tested and have a negative result (see process below) or
  • They have received an alternate diagnosis from a healthcare provider

If test results are negative or they have received an alternative diagnosis from a healthcare provider,  and the individual has not had a high risk exposure to COVID-19, they may return to school 24 hours after being symptom free.  But if they are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they must remain in self isolation for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
 

If you are a close contact of a positive case:  You must self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with the positive case and monitor for symptoms  Speak to your healthcare provider and go for testing  Remain in isolation for 14 days regardless if test results come back negative for COVID-19.

If you have been called to pick up your child due to illness, please keep the main office up to date regarding your follow up process.

Absences and missed school work

Students who are at home ill, will obviously be unable to complete the in-school program and need to take the allotted time to rest and fully recover.  Typically, the greater part of a school day and most in-school lessons are based on oral discussion, shared efforts, and hands-on manipulation.  As a result, this cannot be duplicated at home and teachers will usually be unable to provide take-home work for students who are absent.  If a teacher has posted homework on a Google Classroom for the entire class, this work can always be accessed.  Otherwise, students who are at home and on the road to recovery can engage in independent reading and writing, and research of information related to other current units of study.  If the students are unaware of their units of study, teachers can provide this information, if requested.  Since teachers also need to follow the same health guidelines, supply teachers cannot be expected to provide this information for students who are at home.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!  Enjoy the lovely warm weather this weekend!

Take care and stay safe,

Carolyn Wright

Principal