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!