January Newsletter

Annual Giving Campaign

We have had a very successful Annual Giving Campaign, raising just over $14,000 to date. Thank you very much to all for your very generous donations! As a reference, last year we grossed just over $11,000. If you would like to see this number grow even more and have yet to donate, please go to the Annual Giving page by today, Friday, January 16th. This is the last chance to donate to receive a 2014 tax receipt.

Fundraising with Everyday Purchases

Parents have asked for it and now it is here! If you are thinking of buying reusable lunch items or labels, please consider buying through the following vendors as they have agreed to donate part of their proceeds to Withrow Home and School. We appreciate the partnerships with these companies but please do note, we do not officially endorse them or their products. Thanks to parent, Shannon Curry, for doing all the legwork to set this up.

Silent Auction

Only 10 weeks to go! The Withrow Silent Auction is Friday, March 27th. Come out to see your child’s class art, have a glass of wine with other parents and bid for your kids. Help us raise money for The great Withrow schoolyard revitalization project.

Donations are rolling in and they’re awesome! To check out what you can bid on see our catalog at www.charityauctionorganizer.com/auction/WithrowSilentAuction2015

Can you help with a donation – Tickets? A product from your employer? Lessons or advice?  Email us at withrowauction@gmail.com.

Lost and Found Clearout!

Lost and found is full again! Come and check out the closet inside the main doors. All remaining items will be cleared for donation Thursday, January 22nd.

Next Home & School Meeting

The next H&S meeting will be Thursday, February 5th at 7pm. The agenda will be
– Middle School transition: a panel consisting of Grade 7 students and parents to discuss this important transition
– Navigating Relationships: by Jay Wallace from Gender-Based Violence Prevention of the TDSB
– Silent Auction update
– Fun Fair update
– Morning drop-off solutions (see below)

Morning Drop-off

Ahh, that old chestnut. A problem that continues to stymy our community, creating dangerous situations for our kids, causing traffic congestion and generally setting everyone up for a foul mood at 8:45 in the morning.

What can we do to alleviate this problem? First and foremost, consider walking! Research has shown that an active journey to school, i .e. walking, actually sets the kids up for better learning throughout the day. Much in the same way that the physical activity during recess or gym class has positive effects on their learning, so does walking to school. By age 8 or 9 many children feel confident enough to walk by themselves or with a friend. And some children as young as 6 are fine to walk to school with an older sibling. That way, if you have to drive you can avoid the congestion around the school and help make the morning traffic safer and healthier for everyone.

Informal “walking school buses” are also a fantastic option. Check with you neighbours to see if you can get the kids to posse together for the walk with or without a parent or caregiver.

Finally, if your situation is such that you have to drop off your child by car, please take the responsibility to not endanger other children by driving up and parking on the sidewalk. Simply stop the car, have your child hop out of the car by themselves, and continue on your way. This way you do not have to block off pedestrians and strollers on the sidewalk, or worse, risk hurting someone with a car door swinging open. The Home & School is investigating the possibility of having parent volunteers to help with the this sort of drop-off. If you’re interested in helping out with this, please let us know by emailing us at withrowhands@gmail.com.

Middle School Open Houses

It’s that time of year when our 6th graders and their parents are thinking about middle school.  Lots of middle school’s in the TSBD are running opening houses in January. We’ve been working to keep the Withrow calendar up to date with all the open houses being offered by these middle schools. Please check the calendar, or keep an eye on this sites homepage’s right side bar for upcoming dates. Withrow school’s twitter account has been sharing the open house information as well.

Ward Council Meetings

We have a new School Board Trustee member, Jennifer Story. She will be holding her first Ward Council meeting on Tuesday, February 10 from 7:00-9:00 pm at Frankland Community School in the library (816 Logan Ave).
Childcare will be available.

These meetings are open to all though we should send one or two parents specifically as parent reps. Please email withrowhands@gmail.com if you would like to be a parent rep.

The following is an agenda of the meeting from Jennifer Story:

At the February 10 meeting we’ll have a conversation about ways to build a supportive and successful school community in Toronto-Danforth.

I’ll be seeking your input on the following questions:

·         What do we want to accomplish with our Ward Council meetings
·         Which guest speakers/workshops/topics would we like to consider
·         What issues (TDSB, general education or community based) would we like to learn more about

These discussions will help us determine how to best use our time for the remainder of the school year.

At the first meeting we’ll also be electing a Ward Council Chair, as well as our Ward’s representatives to the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC), and the French as a Second Language Advisory Committee (FSLAC). We will be electing one representative and one alternate for each committee. If you would like any more information regarding what each of these roles entails, please feel free to contact me by email at Jennifer.Story@tdsb.on.ca .

Please also let us know if you will need child minding or translation services, by sending an email to my Constituency Assistant, Maxeen.Paabo@tdsb.on.ca

The remainder of the meetings will be held on the following dates (you can always check our Withrow calendar for important dates):

– Monday March 23 from 7:00-9:00 pm at Greenwood Secondary School in the library (24 Mountjoy Ave)
– Thursday April 23 from 7:00-9:00 pm — location TBA
– Tuesday May 19 from 7:00-9:00 pm — location TBA
– Monday June 22 from 7:00-9:00 pm — end-of-school meeting and social; location TBA

TD Friends of the Environment Grant

In case you missed it, Withrow H&S received a grant for $8,250 from TD Friends of the Environment for our tree island. Read all about it here.

Withrow Park Skating Party

Always a great event, please come out to the Withrow Park Skating Park on Friday, February 6th from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Music, hot chocolate and cookies! Please visit this page for more info.

Traffic in Riverdale

This information is from the Riverdale Traffic Working Group:

Your neighbours on the The Riverdale Traffic Working Group have been working toward making our streets safer through reduced traffic volumes and speed, and we are making great progress.

This group was formed by Riverdale residents, under direction from Councillor Fletcher, concerned about the volume and speed of traffic coming through our neighbourhood. Over the last two years, participants from Simpson Avenue in the south to Bain Avenue at the north have been working to identify the causes of increased traffic, evaluating potential solutions and coming up with a plan that addresses not only the safety issues of today, but of tomorrow, too.

Shortly, we will share what we have learned about the primary cause of our high traffic, what measures we recommend to reduce speed and volume, and how we can protect our neighbourhood from the recent building boom that surrounds us. The proposal will be put to a community vote organized by Councillor Fletcher.

Increasing safety on the streets surrounding Pape Avenue and Withrow Avenue Public Schools is of great importance to our community. At the Withrow Home & School Associations first meeting of the fall session, we discussed having a stop sign introduced on Withrow at Logan.

We look forward to holding a public meeting early in 2015 to present a comprehensive plan to make our streets safer for our children and ourselves.

For more information and to sign up for progress reports and the community vote date, visit http://www.myriverdale.ca.