May Newsletter

Withrow Fun Fair

Withrow fun fair

As you may already know, this year’s Fun Fair is on Saturday May 28th 11am-3pm

Only two weeks to go….

We know what you’re thinking:

Two weeks until the Fun Fair?  How can that be?

Let us just say we are firing on all cylinders and this is going to be one of the best Fun Fairs that Withrow has ever seen. The map is out – you will be able to view it at the website and print off the PDF early next week! There are so many wonderful things to do, you’re going to be disappointed you only have four hours to enjoy the whole thing – trust us. Rides, face painting, henna, great food, a book sale, a cake walk, ice cream, obstacle courses, games…something for everyone.

Two weeks away – here is what we need from you:

We need you to volunteer: We can’t stress this enough. You can sign up to volunteer here. All you need to do is a two-hour shift, and there are plenty of things to choose from – artistic souls would be welcome for Face Painting and Henna! If you’re a foodie, why not man the Erica Stark Bake Sale table or help out with the pulled pork. If you have little ones you might want to hang out in Kiddie Canyon for a few hours. There are lots of choices. Right now 31% of our volunteer spots are full: it would be wonderful to double that number (or fill them all!) by next week. Come on Withrow Parents! Parents, please include your children’s classroom number when you sign up to volunteer. Kids can win an ice cream party if their parents sign up to volunteer. A great incentive for you – and that means you don’t have to stop at Luke’s on Friday afternoon. Win-Win!!

We Want Your Books: All the proceeds of the Book Sale go to Books With No Bounds, a great GTA organization that provides children and teens living in remote native communities throughout Canada and the World with books.

Books With No Bounds organizes, catalogues, packs, and sends appropriate books, education resources and electronics to disadvantaged children worldwide. Books With No Bounds believes that every child deserves the opportunity to read and should have access to an enormous supply of books.” – Books with No Bounds.

Erica Stark Bake Sale: All the proceeds from the Bake Sale will go to Camp Erin, a weekend-long bereavement camp in Muskoka. Get your bake on and raise money for a great cause.

Wristbands: Did you know that wristbands are on sale now? They will only be on sale until Thursday May 26th so hurry up. Your kids are going to want them so you might as well buy them now. It’s easy. It’s $25. Why are you waiting? Buy them here.

This is one of the best events of the year. We know you are going to have a wonderful day!

Withrow Silent Auction

Wow, Withrow! Last year’s silent auction was our  best ever … until this year!  The 2016 auction, held on April 1, was no April Fool’s joke.  It was our best turn out ever and a great social event (evidenced by the fact we ran out of beer and wine).

SA2016a

Better yet – we surpassed last year’s receipts by $4,000, raising a whopping $31,000 for the school. That money will be used to support the Withrow Home & School Association’s initiatives – from upgrades to our school yard, to new computers and technology, to special science and arts programs for the kids.

So a round of applause for the tireless efforts of the auction committee, and the administration, staff and teachers who help make this event happen. And a huge thank you to all the local businesses and parents who ensured we had hundreds of awesome items to bid on. Finally, thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the night. See you next year!

Jennifer Bol and Signe Silver, 2016 Auction Co-Chairs

Last School Council Meeting of the Year: June 2nd

Those of you who are old hands at Withrow know that the last meeting of the year is for budget discussion. This is where we get to decide how to spend all that money we’ve worked so hard to raise; how to best benefit our kids at school.

This year, in a move to try to increase engagement from a broader parent group, we are asking individuals, or groups interested in Withrow Home & School funding to fill in a budget proposal. There is approximately $50,000 to allocate amongst various funding requests, including putting some aside for longer-term projects. This budget proposal form is available from today until May 19th. On May 20th, the submissions will be opened up to the school community for their feedback and input. The last Home & School meeting, which will be held on June 2nd, is only to debate the range of money requested, provided that a majority of parents indicate that they are supportive of the funding proposal under discussion.

Funding proposals that are similar in nature, will be grouped together, before voting opens. For instance, someone making a computer funding request, will be grouped with other technology requests.

Budget proposals requests can be made by anyone in the Withrow community, but should directly relate to the Withrow school community.  Please follow the link to access the budget proposal form.

http://goo.gl/forms/VryDApk3x0

We are all new to the process so please bear with us if there are any bugs to sort out.

Staff Appreciation Lunch

At this time of year, it may be not just your children who are wondering when school ends… Think about those poor exhausted teachers!  Luckily there is this totally awesome Withrow tradition in which the parents give a fancy luncheon to the staff of the school. There is music, good cutlery, white linens, the works. And best of all—and this is where we need all of you to help—delicious food.

Is there a casserole people go crazy for every time you serve it? A salad that has everyone begging for the recipe? A dessert no one can refuse a second helping of?

Well, here’s your chance to serve it to a very deserving crowd. Share the best of your culinary talents to give the staff and teachers a day where there are no sorry leftovers to be eaten cold in an empty classroom. No soggy sandwiches with questionable cold cuts.

The luncheon is Friday, June 3rd. You can drop off your contribution anytime that morning in time for lunch to be served at 11:45. There will be a table set up for contributions in the main lobby. We’ll return the cleaned dishes to the same spot in time for pick-up at 3:30.

Not much of a cook? No problem! How about contributing some sparkling water, cordial or other non-alcoholic beverage? A variety of bread, crackers or cheese? Flowers, even?

Want to do more? We need a few people Thursday after school to start cleaning up and setting the tables in the staff lounge. And we need people anytime on the day of the event to help set up, serve, and clean up. Let us know if you can help for an hour or two by emailing Susanne at susanne.truelsen@gmail.com.

Field Work Update

We have received word that the TDSB crews are finishing up the winter projects and are gearing up to start their spring projects. This means us! So this should be our last year of having a dusty Fun Fair (she types in, hopefully, with fingers crossed)!

We have also started the discussion of putting in the climber in the Tree Island (just south of the Kindergarten extension). We are in the midst of doing a Viability Review, per TDSB procedure and will update you on our progress as we go.

Meeting Summary from March 24th

The school administration have run this a few years now: classroom allocations. We learned that we have roughly the same amount of students but lose one teacher. The parents learned of other board-mandated restrictions and broke up into smaller groups to figure out the puzzle that is how we get our classroom distributions. Please see the last Withrow Bulletin for a more detailed write-up and the final results.

Elections

Elections for the H&S executive will be held at the next meeting. Our model is to have to have two co-chairs: one standing and one incoming. And the previous year’s standing co-chair stays on as Advisory Chair so that we have experience and institutional memory. At the end of the school year for 2016, Susanne Truelsen will be retiring from her Advisory Chair position and Josette Chen will take her place. Standing co-chair will be Lisa Pedersen.

So we are looking for a new incoming co-chair. Anyone can stand for election, all that’s asked is that you’re willing to put in a couple of hours a week on average for the school (sometimes even less than that!). We organize and chair the meetings, we write this newsletter and manage this blog, we liase with the administration, and we oversee the committees that organize the various events and activities at the school. And we take all the credit. No, just kidding of course! There are lots of dedicated parents who are always busy making Withrow a better place for the kids and the community, and the co-chairs just get fancy titles in addition.

This kind of position is perfect for someone who may want a little something during an extended parental leave. You learn about organization, management, communication, diplomacy and it looks great on the resume. Heck, some go on to become Members of Parliament! Feel like stepping up? Or know of someone who fits the bill? Please contact withrowhands@gmail.com to nominate someone or to self-nominate.

Withrow Native Garden

Please note that the native garden beside the Friendship is off bounds for spring growth. It has a lock on it but there are still kids playing in there outside of school hours. It’s imperative that the children remain outside so that the new growth is not trampled upon. We appreciate your cooperation and assistance.

Community News

Withrow Park Safety

(Message from Councillor Paula Fletcher) This year the annual 55 Division Police Week Celebration will be held in Withrow Park this Saturday, May 14 from 11 am to 4 pm.

After last year’s muggings of teens in the park, 55 Division wanted to come out strong at the start of the nice weather and hold the annual event in Withrow. Meet the local officers and leadership. Fun and games along with crime prevention tips.

The Kids’ Run for Nature

The Kids’ Run for Nature is a 1K and 5K non-competitive “Fun Run” designed to raise funds for the World Wildlife Fund Canada in support of endangered animals in Canada.  It was created by two 10-year old girls from Frankland Public School, who wanted to get kids and their families involved in our great natural community by supporting the environment and all the amazing species it holds, while getting their bodies active and healthy.  They would love to see some Withrow friends and families come out for this exciting and important neighbourhood event. The run is at 9:00 am on Sunday, June 12, 2016 at Withrow Park (runner kit pick up begins at 8:00am near the tennis courts). It is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature while exercising and raising money for animals and the environment.  WHERE DOES FEE GO? 100% of the registration fee will go directly to World Wildlife Fund Canada. WHEN YOU REGISTER YOU RECEIVE: A cool Kids’ Run for Nature T-shirt, Love Nature backpack, running bib, participation ribbon, Clif bar and more! If you would like to learn more about the event, and to register, you can visit: http://www.kidsrunfornature.ca.

Hope to see you there!