Thursday, December 27, 2012

December PAC meeting minutes

Another lively PAC meeting was held this month. Here are the minutes so we can all stay up to date.

Victoria West Elementary School Parent Advisory Committee
December 12th 2012
General Meeting Minutes

1. Introductions: (if any new members present)
2. Acceptance of the agenda
3. Kate Longpre‐ Vic West Community Centre
4. Principal’s Report
5. Executive Reports
    a. Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn)
    b. President report (Coral‐ on behalf of Mercedes)
    c. VCPAC report (Amy)
6. Business/Action items arising from previous minutes:
    a. Entertainment Book Fundraiser – update on final amount fundraised    amount (Jaime)
    b. Scholastic Book Fair review (Jana)
    c. Earthquake Kit‐ review? (Jana/Conan)
    d. Ball Wall update/ Rain Garden Update (Aaren)
7. New business
    a. Executive Meeting Schedule (Coral)
    b. Christmas Concert‐ PAC taking donations (Mercedes)
    c. Thank you for Noreen Nash (for her donations for Holiday Sale)

Item 1: Introductions (if any new members present)
• 10 members present including Diane McNally – School Trustee

Item 2: Acceptance of the agenda
• Diane McNally added after Executive Reports
• Joe and Kate will deliver their information together
Agenda accepted

Item3: Kate Longpre & Joe Cardle ‐ Manager, Victoria West Community Center & Principal, Vic West Elementary
New Anti‐Bullying initiative by the District (see here:
• Important to define what bullying is and is not.
• Grant money has been made available and so our school is partnering with the community center with some anti‐bullying activities to educate people about sharing, caring and building a safe community. Hoping to include businesses, First Nations, politicians, police, etc.
• Tentatively scheduled for late February (Feb. 27th is Anti‐Bullying Day)
• Pink shirts for a week (1000 pink shirts and window decals will be ordered) Demonstrates that we are a “community of kindness." Shirts will be sold for $1.00 which will go towards a rally at the community center.
• Parent volunteers will be needed
PAC committed to help
• Kim Thorson, owner of Ross Bay preschool is collecting hampers for our school, which will be distributed by the Administration. Coverage by Chek TV.

Action items:

  • Joe will bring the topic up at January’s PAC meeting once he knows better what support he needs.
  • Amy should feature Kim Thorson on our blog (also Thank You card?).

Item 4: Executive Reports
    a. Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn’s email read by Amy Bronee in Carolyn’s absence)
• $7287.14 in General Account (the cheque for the entertainment books has not yet been cashed ‐ $1700)
• $237.59 in Gaming Account
• Still not received the quote for the message board. I will follow that up this week.
• Emailed the TD bank manager requesting a meeting in January for corporate fundraising ideas.

Action item:

  • Carolyn will update PAC once she hears back re: message board and corporate fundraising.

    b. President’s Report (Mercedes' note read by Coral Forbes in Mercedes’ absence)
• BCTF presentations have been booked. Anti‐bullying workshop will be Feb 7th, 2013. Raising Confident Boys and Girls will be April 11, 2013. Both workshops are being provided, free of charge, by the BCTF. The presenter is Benula Larsen. Each workshop is approximately one hour long.
• Monthly Exec Meetings‐ It was agreed by the exec that regular monthly executive meetings would be helpful. Proposal to have them the week before (on the Wednesday) the regular PAC meeting. Thoughts? Vote?
Outcome: Yes! Wednesday January 2nd…where?
• Louise Alvarez ‐ I spoke with Louise about her request for scrapbook money and informed her that we have a policy that her consumables are spent before she asks for more money. She was agreeable to this and will request again in the spring.
• Patti Parkhouse had asked the PAC and the school if we were interested in providing a letter of support for the Banfield Orchard. Approved by exec‐ letter was written (thank you Carolyn!) and provided to Patti. Joe also wrote a letter of support. Patti very appreciative of the school and PAC’s support.
• Media Contact List has been created and distributed to the PAC exec (but available to anyone who wants it) for promotion of PAC events/request etc.
• VCPAC Conference in Feb 2013 ‐ it has been confirmed that our PAC will receive two free tickets to the VCPAC conference in Feb. If there are more than two of us who want to go, we should consider sponsoring the others, as parent education is important. Please note: I (Mercedes!) want to go!!
• Bulletin Board ‐ I started the Bulletin Board take over (Shelley made up the PAC sign and I covered it in blue). I haven’t been able to make it look more fun/fancy yet, but that is coming and I am open to (and welcome) help/suggestions etc!
• Christmas Concert‐ need help with collecting cans of food and donations for Mustard Seed (maybe a couple of people to be there before concert starts‐ 5:45 or so?). We will also need some big (but not too big that we can’t carry if they are full of cans) boxes, gift wrapped to look nice for the concert.
• Met with Lisa Helps re: 4 way stop in front of the school. Lisa is talking with the city traffic people.

Action items:

  • Margaret will wrap up boxes for Mustard Seed collection and talk to Shelley to clarify the rules of the sale (4 items per child).
  • Amy will call BBBS to see if they will pick up the left over items if George Jay doesn’t want them.

    c. VCPAC Report & Communications (Amy Bronee)
• VCPAC meeting was on Nov. 27th at Braefoot Elem.
• Conference happening on Feb. 23rd at Spectrum and will cost $70 before Feb. 1st and $90 after.
• Colquitz Middle School wants an increase to the playground budget and will be sending a letter to the District. Cloverdale to follow. The letter will be arriving shortly for us to review and then possibly send in support.
• Wifi research is continuing and then will be sent off for an “internal process” in Jan. & Feb.
• The French Advisory Committee is recruiting (would like to include parents from the English stream)—anyone interested?
• Talked about self‐regulation and how it links with Restitution (and Aaren’s labyrinth idea)
• The PAC webpage has had 738 page views (2300 since inception) with the most popular posts being about Constable Matt and the student’s art.
• Please let Amy know if you have any ideas for blog posts.

Action items:

  • PAC members that would like to attend the VCPAC Conference should let Mercedes know ASAP
  • Mercedes review and possibly send letter in support of increased budget for playground equipment
  • Amy to feature the Arbutus Singers on the blog (choir)
  • Next year, have Christmas Sale sooner (not so close to concert)—request from Jana

Item 5: Diane McNally
• Thinks that self regulation will help with the “screen time” that is being promoted by the District
• Jan. 7th is the Tolmie Board Office Meeting – everyone is welcome (Mercedes has the 2013/2014 budget meeting schedule, so please see her for more information)
• On Feb. 1st there will be a provincial funding announcement – will be asking for school boards to pay for 1.3% of the teachers’ pensions. Meeting on Feb. 6th to discuss.

Item 6: Business/Action items arising from previous minutes:
    a. Entertainment Book Fundraiser – update on final amount fundraised amount (Jaime)
• $1000 made
• Jaime will lead the campaign again next year. Thinks that it is worthwhile. Would appreciate parent help.
    b. Scholastic Book Fair review (Jana)
• Went well. Chooses products rather than funds. Examples: novel sets for library, carpets and books for teachers, etc.
    c. Earthquake Kit‐ review? (Jana/Conan)
• Health and Safety Committee is on hold while 3 members are away

Action item: 

  • Conan and Mercedes need to talk to the Executive about the next steps with regards to the classroom earthquake Kits Required Replacement Inventory given to us by Joe (see attached pdf).

    d. Ball Wall update/ Rain Garden Update (Aaren)
• Andrew Dick and Jackie Kosh will work with the grade fours and fives to paint the wall so that it is colorful and functional
• General Paints will provide paint and a deal on supplies
• Erin McTaggart, a Student Teacher in the Grade 3 class, will teach a lesson on plant growth in the rain garden in February.

Action item: 

  • Aaren to post our need for tools and gloves on Used Victoria, Leadership Victoria. Approach Dockside Green and Van City for sponsorship? Aaren also to ask Jana for Brenda Cook’s contact information as she was very supportive of the Rain Garden and may be available to help (previous Admin Assistant at the school)

Item 7: New business
    a. Executive Meeting Schedule (Coral) – done (see President’s Report b.)
    b. Christmas Concert‐ PAC taking donations (Mercedes) – done (see above)
    c. Thank you for Noreen Nash (for her donations for Holiday Sale)

Action item: 

  • Mercedes and Margaret will thank Noreen Nash.

Next PAC Meeting…Wednesday, January 9th at 6:30pm

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ross Bay Preschool Christmas Hampers

Our PAC wants to extend a heartfelt thank you to Kim Thorsen and Ross Bay Preschool for recently providing 120 hampers for families at our school.

As the owner and operator of Ross Bay Preschool, Kim first organized a hamper drive with her friends and associates to benefit our school community last year. This year she again connected with our school principal, Joe Cardle, to provide another 120 food hampers to help families have an especially wonderful Christmas. What generosity! 

Thank you, Kim! Thank you for thinking of us. Thank you for modeling such caring community spirit for our children. Your efforts will make this Christmas extra special for many.

Kim Thorsen (second from left) donating 120 food hampers for families of Victoria West Elementary School.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas sale success!

Our annual PAC Christmas sale was a huge success! Our main goal with this event was to provide children and their families with an opportunity to shop for inexpensive pre-loved items to give as gifts. It was a pure delight to see so many school children in the gym dithering over their selections in order to bring home the perfect gifts for their loved ones. The spirit of giving is alive and thriving at Vic West Elementary School! Our secondary goal with the sale was to raise some funds that ultimately go back into our school. Success was achieved on that front too as the final total raised was just under $881!


So, a big festive high five and thank you to:
  • Parent and PAC volunteer, Margaret Newell, for organizing the event;
  • the many parent (and grandparent) volunteers who lifted and sorted, packed and unpacked donations, and helped students shop;
  • members of our school community who donated items for sale;
  • teachers and other school staff who took time out of their routines to bring students to the gym;
  • Noreen Nash for donating MANY boxes of pre-loved items from her church bazaar and thrift shop;
  • Wendy Torris who donated dozens and dozens of handmade jewelry items to our sale (those gorgeous necklaces are going to be seen all over Vic West!);
  • and anyone else who, in big ways or small, made a contribution of time, treasure or talent to our Christmas sale.

Time, Treasure and Talent came together in a big way!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Meet Shelley!

A warm, welcoming smile is often the first thing people find when coming into the office at Vic West Elementary. Administrative Assistant, Shelley Baird, loves her job and is a valued friend of the Parent Advisory Council. Whether it's getting the word out to parents about school events, taking parent phone calls when our kids have a sick day, or designing our lovely new bookmarks (pop into the office to get one!), Shelley plays an important role for families at the school. Shelley kindly took some time to tell us a bit more about what she does and why she loves it.

1. What is your favourite thing about your role at our school? 

Well this is my third year here at Vic West and I would have to say the obvious answer: THE KIDS!!  I get to be a part of their day and they get to equally be a part of mine (not that everyone is out of class all day long lol).  The feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and hear 16-20 kids yelling your name makes everything worthwhile.  For me, I get to be a part of every community we have here in the school; the staff, the parents and the students.  I get to come to a job everyday where I am a part of something and it makes me feel really good.

2. How do you hope parents and students feel when they come into the office?  

I hope that everyone that enters the office from the staff to the parents to the students feels warm and welcome.  I have 2 children of my own that attend school and it is important to me that they feel supported and welcome at their own schools.  For me, it’s an automatic piece of the job…I know what it’s like for parents to be away from their children all day and vice versa, and I think it’s really important that both the parents and the children feel good about where they are spending their day.

3. What is the first thing you do in the morning when you arrive at the school? 

The first things that I do in the morning when I get to school are to check the phones and see who will be absent or late for both the staff and the students.  Then I am at my desk taking all of the phone calls about mostly the same thing and fielding any questions that people may pop in and ask.  The morning is the time that I sit and make sure that we know what the day is going to look like and we can anticipate any surprises before they happen.

4. What's the last thing you do before you leave? 

After the students are all gone home for the day, this is the time I spend working on projects that I don’t necessarily have time to get to during the regular parts of my day.  Things like the Vic West monthly newsletter or the website.  The last thing that I do at the end of my day is to check in with the supervisors to make sure that all students have gone home safely.  Then I spend some time getting things ready for the next day and tidying up my desk so that when I get to the school in the morning it will be ready for me to begin my day organized. 

5. When do you feel the most proud of Vic West Elementary School?  

That is such a hard question to answer because the truth is I am always proud of Vic West!  My favorite thing is when people ask me where I work because I get to tell them all about the wonderful place I get to come to everyday.  I’m very passionate about the school and I feel so privileged that I have ended up with a job that I love to come to.  The Vic West community of staff, students and parents are an amazing group of people who inspire and encourage me every day.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Magazine subscriptions still available

Magazine subscription are still available through our PAC fundraiser. Choose from over 500 publications through the Canadian Community Reading Plan and a portion of your purchase comes back to enhance your child's educational experience at Vic West Elementary School. You can order in 4 easy steps:
  1. Go to
  2. Click on 'order magazines'
  3. Enter our school campaign code - BC 2075
  4. Shop!
A passion for reading starts at home. And magazines totally count, if you ask us!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bikes looking for new homes!

Here's an exciting opportunity for families of Vic West Elementary School! Trek Victoria Pro City and Central Middle School are doing a drive to match kids in Greater Victoria, from toddlers to teens, with FREE gently used bicycles in time for Christmas!

If you have a child without a suitable bicycle, you are invited to submit the following information for the drive:

  • Your child's name
  • Your child's gender
  • Your child's age
  • A parent contact number

Please submit the above information to our school's Youth and Family Counsellor, Emily Stark at or by phone at 250 382-9131.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our much-loved Christmas Sale is coming!

Our school Christmas sale is an opportunity for students to buy inexpensive (everything under a dollar) gifts for their family. Each class will visit the sale in the gym on December 14th to choose their items. Donations of items that are in good condition for children to buy are now being accepted. If you have items around your home that you'd like to donate, please drop them off at the school, 750 Front Street, in the bin outside the office until December 13th.
Please no clothing items (although scarves and mitts are welcome). 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

General PAC meeting minutes - November 2012

Victoria West Elementary School Parent Advisory Committee
November 14th 2012
General Meeting Minutes

1. Introductions: (if any new members present)
2. Acceptance of the agenda
3. Kate Longpre‐ Manager, Victoria West Community Association
4. Vicki White, Executive Director‐ Victoria Confederation of VCPAC
5. Principal’s Report
6. Nomination of Communication Director
7. Executive Reports
  a. Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn, Jen and Tracey)
  b. President report (Mercedes)
      i. Facilities walk through update
      ii. BCTF ‐ free presentations
      iii. School Planning Council Budget doc
      iv. New VWPAC logo
      v. Executive meeting schedule
      vi. Lock box and new PAC bin in office
  c. VCPAC report (Amy)
8. Business/Action items arising from previous minutes:
  a. Entertainment Book Fundraiser (Jaime)
  b. Recycling Update (Coral and Aaren)
      i. Delivering flyers to the community notifying neighbors of an upcoming        Bottle Drive.
      ii. Rachel‐ needing parent help?
  c. Movie night review (Mercedes)
  d. Scholastic Book Fair review
  e. Magazine Subscriptions review (Debbie)
  f. Earthquake Kits (Mercedes/Joe)
  g. Thrifty Foods update
  h. PAC contribution to Halloween Howl and VWCC Halloween Event‐ review‐ thanks to Shelley and Mrs Kosh
9. New business
  a. How to recognise parent volunteers/staff for their contributions‐ (Mercedes)
  b. Policy re: teacher request for extra funds for special events/situations
  c. Holiday Sale‐ donations, where surplus after sale should be donated
  d. Schedule next Visioning Meeting‐ to continue work on PAC Vision Statement (Debbie)

Item 1: Introductions (if any new members present)
• 10 members present including Vicki White – VC PAC President

Item 2: Acceptance of the agenda
• Parent asks for an issue to be added
• Agenda accepted

Item3: Kate Longpre‐ Manager, Victoria West Community Association
• Breakfast with Santa from 9:00 – 11:00 am on Dec. 16th
• FREE Music Explorers class for 8‐10 year olds on January 23rd (only space for 10, so register early!)
• Community Association Annual General Meeting on November 27th

Item 4: Vicki White, Executive Director‐ Victoria Confederation of VCPAC
• Welcomes parent to attend the VCPAC Meeting on the 4th Tuesday of the month
• Upcoming issues: Wi‐Fi moratorium in Elementary Schools may be lifted. Would like parent input once the research was been presented. will have all the information.
• PAC Congress this Tuesday at 6pm at SJ Willis. Great for networking as well as discussing the following topics: Self‐Regulation (teaching student to modify their behaviour), PAC Operations, School Culture, Bullying, and Ask the Superintendant. Info:
• Saturday, Feb. 23rd is the Vancouver Island Parent Conference from 8:30‐4:30 pm. $70 includes breakfast and lunch as well as 2 keynote speakers and many others. Each PAC receives two free tickets. Register by Feb. 1st. See

Item 5: Principal’s Report
• Thanks to parents who attended the Remembrance Day Ceremony
• The Christmas Celebration will likely be on the Thursday of the last week of classes with Tuesday for dress rehearsals.
• Reports cards will be sent home on Dec. 6th. Parents should feel free to meet with Teachers to discuss.
• The Earthquake Preparedness Plan is near completion and will be available on the school’s website.
• On November 30th Joe and Jana would like help from parents to take inventory of the earthquake kits from 9:15‐11:30. Those that are available should gather in the office at 9:15 am.

Action items:
Joe will ensure that the Emergency Preparedness Plan is shared with Parents.
PAC will discuss replacing the food and water in the kits once an inventory has been established.

Item 6: Nomination of Communication Director
• Mercedes Calvert nominated Amy Bronee as the PAC Communications Director in charge of our website, attending VC PAC Meetings and generally encouraging better communication between the PAC and Parents.
Seconded by Coral Forbes and all voted in favor

Item 7: Executive Reports
a. Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn, Jen and Tracey)
• Entertainment Books doing well
• General account has $6929.27 (invoice for Entertainment books still needs to be paid)
• Gaming account balance: $181.04
• TD Bank was contacted and Carolyn will email the Manager regarding monetary
donations towards PAC initiatives
• Can Lit books for the library will cost $1000 – approved at the beginning of the year
• We have also committed $1000 for two Arts & Culture Events

Action item:
Carolyn will organize an Executive Budget Meeting by the end of the year to go over 2013/2014 Budget Priorities.

b. President report (Mercedes)
i. Facilities walk through update – see Carolyn’s notes in Appendix 1
ii. BCTF ‐ free presentations

Action items:
Mercedes will look into booking a Thursday evening in the gym for a free presentation for parents (and the wider community?)

iii. School Planning Council Budget doc ‐ Done
iv. New VWPAC logo‐ Approved (LOVED!) by PAC. Huge thank you to Shelley for the great bookmarks.
v. Executive meeting schedule‐ Monthly before the General PAC Meeting.

Action item:
Debbie will organize a Visioning Meeting in December possibly in conjunction with or in lieu of the Executive Meeting

vi. Lock box and new PAC bin in office ‐ Approved by PAC ($45)

c. VCPAC report (Amy)
• At Willows Elementary on October 23rd.
• Colquitz Middle School would like playground equipment purchased by the District and is considering sending a letter to the Premier. FYI: Installation costs are the same as the cost of the playground equipment.
• Also discussed the No Zero policy: issuing a zero to a student does not encourage the child to work harder. More important to secure the self esteem of the student and support them in improving their grades.

8. Business/Action items arising from previous minutes:
a. Entertainment Book Fundraiser (Jaime)‐ absent

b. Recycling Update (Coral and Aaren)
i. Delivering flyers to the community notifying neighbors of an upcoming Bottle
Drive. – Aaren absent
ii. Rachel‐ needing parent help? ‐ Not anymore. Seems to be going well.

c. Movie night review (Mercedes) – Made ~$100. Will do it again but we request that an Administrator is present to calm the children. Talked about holding the Movie Night in the Library to prevent the running around, but decided that the space was too small to accommodate all of the kids.

d. Scholastic Book Fair review – Jana absent

e. Magazine Subscriptions review (Debbie) ‐ Magazines can still be ordered online until January. Subscriptions are down but we still made $700 overall (~$275 to PAC)

Action item:
Debbie will confirm that the account is still open.

f. Earthquake Kits (Mercedes/Joe)‐ discussed during Principal’s Report and Executive Meeting

g. Thrifty Foods update (Conan) – Poster up and cards available at the Community Center. $90 made in October and $100 so far this school year. Money is dedicated to the two Arts & Culture events that we have committed to.

Action item:
Amy will advertise online and put a box of cards in the staff room with a note reminding staff that it is an easy way to support the PAC (which supports the Teachers!) and the cards make great Christmas gifts!

h. PAC contribution to Halloween Howl and VWCC Halloween Event‐ review‐ thanks to Shelley and Mrs Kosh

9. New business
a. How to recognize parent volunteers/staff for their contributions‐ (Mercedes)‐ skipped due to lack of time, will be on next agenda

b. Policy re: teacher request for extra funds for special events/situations‐ we would prefer that teachers come to the PAC meeting to request extra funds or at least send a written request to the PAC email.
c. Holiday Sale‐ December 14 all day. Parents are invited to help with set up on Thursday, Dec. 13 that dismissal. It is also helpful if you wait to bring in donations until that day. Plastic bags are also needed.

Action item:
Mercedes will let us know if George Jay would like the leftover items and then at that time we will discuss an alternative (Big Brothers Big Sisters? WIN?) if needed.

d. Schedule next Visioning Meeting‐ to continue work on PAC Vision Statement (Debbie)

Action item:
Debbie will find the best date for the Visioning Meeting

e. New concern: Parent raised concerns over bullying behavior in school. Parent referred to VCPAC for advocacy and support.

Next meeting… Wednesday, December 12th, 6:30 ‐ 8:15 pm

Notes from School Walk through with Facilities and School representatives
October 17, 2012

Glen Miller, title, Facilities Manager SD61 Victoria School Board
Steve Crowell, Head Foreman SD61 Victoria School Board
Joe Cardle, Principal of Victoria West Elementary
Mercedes Calvert, Victoria West PAC President
Carolyn Morris, Victoria West PAC Treasurer

To identify deficiencies in the Victoria West Elementary School external infrastructure, and prioritize what would get attention. The group walked around the school, paying special attention to the lower field area.

• Rain Garden is not under the routine maintenance of the School Board. PAC needs to organize this.
• School had been painted not that long ago. (I think Steve said that outside painting rotation (hopscotch lines, basketball court lines, etc) is every 3 years. Ours was done 2 years ago.)
• Murals at front need to be replaced/repaired
• Baseball chain link is rusted and ripped‐ Steve stated that this happens periodically‐ it will get repaired on a regular maintenance "cycle"
• concrete around the ball wall needs to be replaced; this is a significant investment and will require longterm fundraising ‐ School District is not prepared to take this on
• both basketball court stands nearest to the ball wall were not being used due to poor cement ‐ it was felt that because VW is now a K‐5 school, two full basketball courts were not necessary‐ two backboards were replaced, two were removed
• wooden playground infrastructure in the lower field was deemed fine for continued use‐ the School District "grandfathered" these types of play structures (i.e. did not remove them) but because of the use of chemically treated wood, they will not replace any pieces that become damaged or broken

• Board to repair broken wooden border around the wooden playground infrastructure in the lower field
• Board agreed to "weed" the cracked concrete within the basketball court
• Board agreed that the supports for the chain link around the basketball area could be sprayed to look like new (on one side only)
• Board to repair the chain link around the basketball area; Board agreed that they would take a section at a time (on one side only)
• PAC would like to see a message board put on the front of the school. District approves in principle, and suggested the PAC call around for prices (Glen Miller suggested a company called "Houston’s"), and then get Board’s approval afterwards (Carolyn)
• PAC would like to see a sign on Craigflower Rd, indicating where the school is located. District suggested contacting the City of Victoria as they are responsible for the "no left turn" onto Russell Street.
• New basketball nets? (Joe)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Attention Families with children in Choir!  
If you didn't get a form today, please get one from the office.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Meet Constable Matt!

Parents coming and going from school grounds will often see Victoria Police Constable Matt McNichol's face in the crowd. As our School Liaison Officer, Constable Matt plays an important roll in our school community, teaching in-class sessions for students on bullying (the WITS program), Halloween safety, bike rodeos, police work, making healthy friend choices, peer pressure, personal safety, and internet safety.

Constable Matt was kind enough to answer some questions for parents about his time spent at our school:

What is your role at Vic West Elementary School?
School Liaison Officers are responsible for police services directed toward youth and schools within the City of Victoria and Township of Esquimalt. The role is to provide a positive role model, and assist with any education training (WITS anti-bullying talks, safety talks, bike rodeos, etc.), and be a resource for the school.

What do you want parents to know about school safety?
Here are 5 things for parents to do: set the example, be informed, support the school, make the rules, and get involved.

What is your favourite thing about Vic West Elementary School?
Amazing kids, exceptional staff, an excellent school!

Thanks, Constable Matt! 

Below is further helpful information from Victoria Police about talking to our kids about safety.

Personal Safety Tips to Teach Your Kids

- The single most important thing to remember when teaching your kids about personal safety is to instill confidence, rather than fear.

- One way to give kids confidence is to talk to them about personal safety so that they know what to do if they ever encounter such a situation where they feel uneasy and/or threatened.

- A stranger or even a person known to the child who has the intention of harming them will most often try to engage in dialogue that is intended gain rapport with the child. Remind your child that when they start to feel uneasy about a situation or a person, it is their natural instinct kicking in telling them to be cautious or suspicious. This is also referred to as our gut feeling, inner sixth sense, or intuition.

- Techniques used to break down a child’s intuition are called “lures”. Some “lures” are:

  • a plea to a child’s sense of pleasing or helping (eg. asking for directions, asking for assistance finding a lost puppy, needing help carrying items from a car).
  • offering something tempting (eg. candy, money, job opportunity such as modeling).
  • a stranger may say they know their parents and provide names to convince kids they are safe.
  • a stranger may impersonate a person in authority such as a police officer to gain their trust.

- Teaching our kids what to do can be done through Q & A. Ask them situational type questions such as:

  • “What would you do if a car pulled up beside you and asked you if you would like a ride?” Answer: “No thanks” Action: Go tell a parent or trusted adult.
  • “What would you do if someone came up to you while you were outside playing and asked you to help look for a lost puppy?”. Answer: “I will go get my parents and they can help you”. Action step: Go tell a parent or trusted adult.
  • “What if someone came to you at the school ground and told you that your parents asked them to pick you up?”. Answer: “Say No thanks”. Discuss that you would never make those arrangements without going through the school first. Action step: Go tell a teacher.

- Discuss appropriate responses. Praise your kids for correct answers. Teach kids to not to engage further and walk or run if away if necessary to tell an adult. Go to a safe place or approach someone for help.

- Make observations of: vehicles, drivers and license plates. Report suspicious vehicles or persons to an adult immediately. Call Police if necessary.

- Children should know that it is ok to say “NO” to a stranger or even an adult known to them if they are in a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable.

***REMEMBER ….trust your gut feeling/intuition/sixth sense. This is a gift we all have to protect us.***

- NEVER get in a vehicle with someone you don’t know or trust. Keep your distance from a vehicle if someone is trying to persuade you to get closer and you feel uncomfortable.

- Teach your kids to walk with confidence and to always be aware of their surroundings. Walking and listening to music with ear buds is not recommended (leaving one ear bud out is a better option).

- It is best to use a walking route that is well travelled rather than a quiet and remote one. Walk to and from school with parents and/or friends. The route should have “safe places” identified in case a child needs to seek help. These could be neighbor’s house or a business where a clerk could offer assistance.

Talking to our children, encouraging them to trust their instincts and practicing the safety rules will instill confidence in children and help keep them safe.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

All parents are welcome to attend this conference.  
Check out the website for more information.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thrifty Foods Smile Card Fundraising Program

Did you know you can raise money for our PAC just by grocery shopping? True! Simply pick up a Thrifty Foods Smile Card from the school office or at PAC events and put money on it before your next grocery shop, and five per cent of the value of your purchases will automatically go toward supporting performing arts activities at our school. It's that easy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

New PAC logo artwork

You'll notice our website has a wonderful new header! These beautiful hand-drawn children were created by local wildlife artist and children's illustrator, Lissa Calvert, who happens to be the mother of our PAC President, Mercedes Calvert. In addition to being used in the header here on our website, these drawings will be used on our letterhead and on other PAC materials such as our new bookmarks. 

Lissa beautifully captured the diversity and friendly spirit that we so cherish about Vic West Elementary School. We want to thank Lissa for donating her Time and her Talent to create this unique Treasure!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Just a thought! 
(Borrowed from the BCCPAC "Our Voice" magazine.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A great BIG Halloween thank you to Save-On-Foods for the donation of 25 beautiful pumpkins on Hallowe'en Day. After the grade five class helped to unload all of the pumpkins, we decorated the gym with them, for the school's Halloween Howl (an afternoon of fun and games). After school, families who needed a pumpkin were invited to take one home, to carve before embarking on their night of Trick'r'Treating! Thank you to Ted Pigeon (Store Manager) and the staff at Save-On-Foods, for supporting your local community school!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Connecting with our community

The PAC is always exploring new ways to connect with Vic West families and promote a positive image of our school in the community. So when we were invited to be a part of Halloween Fun Fest at the Victoria West Community Centre this past weekend, we jumped on it! Our parent volunteers set up a fishing booth for the kids and handed out treats and bookmarks to all the boys and ghouls (and their parents) who visited our table.

An extra big PAC thanks to:
- Victoria West Community Centre Manager, Kate Longpre, for extending the invitation for our PAC to be a part of this incredible community-building event.
- School Administrative Assistant, Shelley Baird, for designing our very popular school/PAC bookmarks.
- The parent volunteers who supervised our booth and entertained the masses in fabulous Halloween style!

Friday, October 26, 2012

is coming! 
Wednesday October 31st
 1-2 pm in the school gym

There will be :
**a Giant Eye ball roll
**Ghoulish musical chairs
**drop the broomstick in the cauldron
**the teacher mummy roll up 

Mrs.Kosh has asked for PARENT HELPERS for the following:

*decorating the gym on Tuesday after school or Wednesday morning 
*someone to control the music during games like musical chairs

*people to help with the set up of cones, props, chairs, etc.,  in between relays

*set up/clean up (meet in the gym at 12:30 and stay until 2:30 if possible)

Please send us an email at (or go to the Facebook page: Vic West Elementary PAC) to let us know when you can HELP the HOWL!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall in the hall

The hallways of Vic West Elementary are full of wonderful student artwork celebrating the fall season! Take a look below at all the student and teacher creativity that makes our school beautiful. Maybe even sit down with your child(ren) to see if you can spot their own hard work.

And how do you know it's fall at Vic West Elementary?

Well done, everyone!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Movie Night TONIGHT! "Monsters Vs Aliens"

Book fair next week

The book fair posters are up! Here's a chance to stock up on books at great prices and help the school raise important funds at the same time!

The school's book fair runs the week of Monday, October 22nd to Friday, October 26th in the school's music room. That's the same week as parent teacher interviews, so you can pop in and have a look at some titles during your visit to the school.

Books make great gifts! They're especially handy to have on hand for last-minute birthday party presents when you forgot to go shopping. Not that we do that stuff or anything...

"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." 
- Maya Angelou 

"Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness."
- Helen Keller

"There is no friend as loyal as a book." 
- Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

From our October PAC meeting

Victoria West Elementary School Parent Advisory Council
October 10th 2012
General Meeting Minutes

1: Introductions: (if any new members present)
2: Elections: Members at Large‐ Aaren Madden
3: Acceptance of the agenda
4: Principal’s Report
5: Executive Reports
         1. Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn, Jen and Tracey)
         2. Visioning Meeting‐ review (Mercedes and Coral)
6: Business/Action items arising from previous minutes:
         1. Ball wall painting and Sutton Group visitation (Jaime)
         2. Growth Plan sign off (Mercedes, Coral and Aaren)
         3. PAC manual (Mercedes)
         4. Entertainment Books (Jaime)
         5. Fun Run review (Coral)
         6. Recycling (Coral and Aaren)
         7. Basketball Court repaving (Joe)
         8. Refuse Program (Mercedes on behalf of Rachel)
7: New business:
         1. Movie Night (Mercedes)
         2. Scholastic Book Fair? (Mercedes)
         3. Magazine Subscriptions (Debbie)
         4. Halloween Event‐ teacher led? (Jana/Joe)
         5. Communication/Branding (Mercedes)
         6. VCPAC meetings – schedule and volunteer to attend meetings
         7. New fundraisers/info from PAC email (Mercedes)

Item 1: Introductions
• 7 members present

Item 2: Elections:
• Aaren nominated as Members at Large by Mercedes Calvert
All in favor

Item 3: Acceptance of the agenda
• Mercedes will speak for the absent Vice‐Presidents, Debbie and Conan
• Treasurer’s Report will happen at the next meeting‐Carolyn and Tracey absent
Item 4: Principal Report
• The new Custodian will be notified of evening meetings to ensure the doors are unlocked
• Extracurricular activities are beginning next week:
‐ Knitting group
‐ Soccer: There will be a Jamboree at View Royal, organized by Caleb Kennedy, Daryl and Rachel Cooper
‐ Choir: with Mrs. D
‐ Cross country running: Amy Taggart will coordinate with Sir James Douglas at Topaz Park
• Jackie Kosh and the Leadership students will organize the Halloween fun in the gym (date TBD);
could use parent volunteers (email for more information)
• On Wednesday, October 31st the students can wear their costumes to class
• Parent Teacher conferences are happening on the 24th and 25th; it is important to remember that the children’s’ performance is compared to the curriculum not their peers. Parents should ask for concrete examples of ways that their child can improve so that they can help at home.
• Mr. Cardle looked into replacing the basketball court‐will cost $20‐30K. Possibility of making it a joint project with the City of Victoria. However, Joe believes the lower playground is a more urgent issue. In the meantime, Joe and Mercedes will see about having maintenance done so that it is not such a tripping hazard and eye sore.
• The school is conducting fire drills (duck & cover) as well as earthquake drills and then (later in the year) Lock Down drills.
Action items:
Once everything has been confirmed with the staff, Joe will send a notice to parents outlining the school’s emergency procedure.
PAC needs to go through the emergency supplies and replace food and water. Joe to coordinate this with PAC.

Item 5: Executive Reports
Visioning Meeting‐ review (Mercedes and Coral)
• 6 PAC members walked around the school and noted areas that needed improvement such as the murals, rain garden, basketball court and back playground.
• Possible initiatives: a Labyrinth, organizing a movie night in the basketball court and possible to put aside 10% of money brought in over the next 3 years to put towards playground. In addition, the PAC would like to partner more with the community centre and bring areas of concern to the attention of Joe Cardle and Facilities.
• We brainstormed ideas for a PAC set of values as well as project ideas that support these values.
Action item:
Once we have another Visioning Meeting, and clarify our mandate, then the Executive will open up the discussion to the broader school community (on the blog, fb, etc.) so that all of the parents’ opinions are considered.

Item 6: Business/Action items arising from previous minutes
Ball wall painting and Sutton Group visitation (Jaime)
• Hopes to paint the wall as soon as he has time.
Growth Plan sign off (Mercedes, Coral and Aaren)
PAC manual (Mercedes)
• Happening
Entertainment Books (Jaime)
• There will be a notice going home with the students. We only need to sell 24 more books to raise $1000 ($10/book).
Fun Run review (Coral)
A success! 26 children registered and had fun running for their school. Worth doing again next year.
Recycling (Coral and Aaren)
• Bottle drives will occur on November 16, January 11, March 22 (may be changed depending on Spring Break and holidays) and May 31st. We are trying to accumulate six bags so that Encorp will pick up from the school.
• Aaren and Heather have raised over $300 already this year by taking in scrap metal to Steel Pacific. The Pioneer Co‐op donated all of their metal.
Action items:
Coral and Aaren will consider delivering flyers to the community notifying neighbors of an upcoming Bottle Drive. People can then email the PAC to let us know if they need bottles picked up.
Aaren will ask Kate at the community center to advertise that we are accepting scrap metal at Steel Pacific to raise money.
Basketball Court repaving (Joe)
• Spoke on during Principal’s Report
Refuse Program (Mercedes on behalf of Rachel)
• Teachers need help educating students on the proper use of the recycling bins (remembering to wash out their containers, etc.)

Item 7: New business
Movie Night (Mercedes)
• Thursday, October 18th
• Need to have a District Employee present (Joe and Jana unavailable)
Movie Night Action items:
Jaime volunteered to attend (and bring his DVD player)
Mercedes will pick up the popcorn from Kernels
Coral will buy the juice boxes (~50)
Scholastic Book Fair (Mercedes on behalf of Crystal and Brianna)
• Running during Parent Teacher interviews
• Brianna Perry and Crystal will organize this year
Action item:
Coral will post the volunteer signup sheet on facebook
Magazine Subscriptions (Debbie)
• Debbie will update us at the next meeting
Halloween Event‐ teacher led? (Jana/Joe)
• Joe spoke on during Principal’s Report
• The Community Center offered us space to put on an activity during their Halloween Event on October 28th (1:00‐3:00 pm) for kids 9 years and under.
Action items:
Coral will organize and lead the event. Open to ideas!
Mercedes will talk to Shelley about preparing bookmarks to hand out to the kids from the school.
Communication/Branding (Mercedes)
• Would like to have a “PAC Corner” in every newsletter
• Also looking into a bulletin board outside or a letter board for the school to promote communication with parents.
• Making the most of facebook and the new PAC website to minimize printed handouts.
VCPAC meetings – schedule and volunteer to attend meetings
• Important for collaborating with other school and PACs as well as sharing fundraising ideas
Action item:
Amy Bronee offered to attend
New fundraisers/info from PAC email (Mercedes)
• PAC members went over items sent to the PAC email and disregarded them all.

Next meeting… Wednesday, November 14th, 6:30 ‐ 8:15pm.