Thursday, 27 August 2015

A look back....and forward too....

As the summer nears an end I want to re-connect and review some highlights from June as well as look forward to a new school year (only a couple of weeks away!!!).

JUNE 2015

Our last school year officially ended with a wonderful Commencement evening on June 26th.  It was an exciting night for Grads, Parents, and staff alike and the gym was packed.  Thank you to the staff members who organized and planned for our celebration.  The gym looked great and all of the preparation beforehand made for a smooth and well-run event.

Special thanks to Ms. Brooks, Ms. Vathy, Ms. Savoie, Ms. Holbrook, and Ms. Barns for their work organizing the diplomas, awards, program, and overall 'work' involved.  To Ms. Collett, Ms. and all of their staff team thank you for the preparation and organization of the gym - everything looked fantastic!

To our Grads - best wishes as you embark on the next phase of your educational path.  Whether you're moving away from home or staying close by I wish you all the best as you embark on new adventures.

2015-2016 School Year

Labour Update

As you may have read there has been a recent settlement between OSSTF and the Province around issues pertaining to 'large' province-wide issues.  Local bargaining has not yet been completed however we're optimistic that this will soon be complete.  Stay tuned to the Board website for any and all common messages around any Labout news.

What's that mean for my child?

School will begin with staff participating in co-curriculars and working with students outside of class.  
Board materials and other administrative materials will be coordinated through the main office and not via classroom teachers.  This may be as slight inconvenience over the first week or two however we'll work through them as well as possible and I do not believe that any significant challenges will present themselves.

Classes will commence and runs as scheduled - no disruption to classes.


Congratulations to our Grade 10 Civics Classes for their work on the Civic Mirror activity last year.  Yesterday I received notice that one of OTHS's class groups was chosen as the TOP GROUP IN CANADA !!!!!
Mr. Fraser's Blackrock group scored the highest rating of all groups in the country!  Way to go!

Follow this link to read more:  Civic Mirror
(there is an additional link on the attachment that will lead to a more extensive/detailed article)

Message to Parents

With the school year about to begin I'd like to share a few updates from the summer:

- we've been able to re-face a number of lockers (on-going plan to replace all over the next few years)
- new carpet in the theatre
- landscaping work.  We've had a company in to trim the hedges and to remove a number of plants that have either died, or become overgrown, at the front of the school.  The 'garden' area at the south end of the parking lot has also been refreshed.
- a number of modifications have been made to classrooms in order to improve accessibility for all students (doors widened, cabinets, etc. adjusted for accessibility)
- we're continuing to work to replace outdated furniture and equipment (the boring tables and chairs stuff !!!)
- new security cameras have been installed and we now have tremendous coverage across the entire school

Our Parking Lot Challenges

If you drive your child to school you are well aware of our challenges at the beginning of the day and at the end of the school day.  I'd like to ask our parent community to consider the following:

1.  Please encourage your child to walk to school IF you live within a reasonable walking distance.
- not only is this positive for their individual health and fitness, but countless studies support the fact that exercise improves brain function - and by extension student achievement.

2.  If you must drop off your child please make every effort to drive to the second door (closer to back of school) to drop your student.
- by driving further along the roadway you help alleviate the back-up that develops at the entrance along Devon Rd.

3.  The greatest congestion occurs between 8:00 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. each morning.  I know it's tough when you're running behind, but if you are able to drop off your child by 7:45 there is virtually NO line-up.
- thanks for taking care moving through the parking lot.  The students are not always the most observant early in the morning and our care and diligence is really important.

School Start Up news

Athletics - look for announcements for all Fall Sports Teams starting right away!
Photo Day - Friday, September 11th
Club Fair - OT is hosting a Club Fair Thursday, September 17th

Further September key dates will be shared asap....

See you soon......

J. Phillips

The final stretch......

A message to our seniors...

.....while we're all enjoying the nice weather....the semester is far from over !!!  Please continue to press on with your great work this semester.  It is always disheartening to see a student's grade drop significantly over the final six weeks of school. and college acceptances are always 'conditional'.  It would be a real shame to see any student lose a spot as a result of 'shutting it down' too early.

According to some of our Grade 12 Teachers many students appear to be hitting the cruise button on their work habits.  Thanks for reminding your sons/daughters that we still have a month of important summative and exam work ahead.

Relay for Life

With only 1 day remaining in our R4L preparations students at school are both excited about the event tomorrow and about the early success of our fundraising.  Students, friends, and families have contributed over $85,000.00 toward our goal.  While we're still a long way from the goal of raising $155,000.00 the efforts of all our students (and families) have been excellent.
Thank you to Ms. Hanley and Ms. Logan (among a host of other staff) for their leadership of our Relay Group this year.  The student leaders have also done a fantastic job and deserve our thanks and appreciation.
Good luck tomorrow night!!!!

NOTE:  Our final tally for R4L was OVER $177,500.00 !!!!!!   Once again OT is the Top Fundraising School in Canada !!!  Way to go OT  !!!

Spring Success!!!

Congratulations to a number of our Spring sports teams on a great season.

The Junior Girls Tennis Team of Hana Badawy, Tessa Bray, Kate Medd, and Nicole Paldino and the Junior Boys Tennis Team have emerged as Halton Champions (once again).  Congratulations to both teams.  Members of the Junior Boys team are Andrew Aling, Jeffrey Smith, Joshua Hill, and Alex Wilson.

OT's Rugby domination continues as all four of our Rugby teams have won Halton Championships.  This morning our Junior Boys and Junior Girls teams both emerged victorious in their championship games.

The Senior Girls team is off to OFSAA following their GHAC title last week.  OFSAA is taking place in Brampton early next week and our girls are considered a medal threat.  Congratulations girls and good luck next week.

The Senior Boys are hosting the GHAC championship this afternoon here at OT.  In dominating fashion the boys crushed Abbey Park and will be moving on to OFSAA next week (Thursday-Saturday) in Stoney Creek (Saltfleet HS are the hosts).  Good luck guys.

Thank you very much to all of our Spring Coaches for their time and commitment to OT Athletics, and to our students.

An issue that returns every year.....

Much like snow in February.....appropriate student dress surfaces as an issue of concern once the thermometer jumps over 25 degrees!  OTHS is not immune to challenges around student dress and I wanted to share some recent news articles that highlight the challenge school staff face when considering an appropriate response to what is perceived as inappropriate clothing at school.

My personal view is that OT is, first and foremost, a place of work and that all students (and staff/support personnel, etc.) should be dressed in an appropriate manner for a place of work.  Defining appropriate is an interesting challenge, and - as a child of the 60's - I typically give wide latitude to students around this issue.

What I caution students about is this, "OT is not a beach club, a dance club, or the host of a pool party.  As a result we expect you to dress in a manner that coincides with the dress code outlined in our student handbook (online) - and with OT as a place of work.  Please refrain from wearing clothing that would conflict with this expectation.  We expect that boxers and lingerie would remain out of sight and that any shirts promoting beer, liquor, or drugs of any kind please be kept at home for your personal time."

Now the appearance of boxers or the sight of a bra strap is not going to draw any attention however recently (much like in the 70's) short shorts have made a comeback.  As a parent of 2 girls (18 and 21) I've lived the parental challenge of clothing choices and 'fights' over what is being worn by our kids.  Thank you for helping us deal with this era-defying challenge..

Shorts - if there is an inseam - all ok.  If not, please keep those for the weekend.

For the most part the tops worn by guys and by girls are not an issue, however our policy around visible lingerie and liquor and drug promotion tend to be the things that draw our involvement.

At OT we will always do our best to be as respectful and polite as possible when addressing issues of inappropriate dress.  If we feel that this is a concern we may: a) provide a t-shirt, or shorts, for the student to wear for the balance of the day; b) allow student to contact home re: change of clothes; or c) use this as an opportunity for better understanding of the school's dress code expectations.

Here are a few articles that have made the paper recently.  I'd be interested in our communities point of view.

big sister article

Etobicoke School of the Arts

Grad comment

Two of these articles are from the U.S. and one from just down the road.  They all raise interesting questions about what many would see as a fairly straight forward issue.  Happy reading.


Some key dates as we roll into June

June 17     Final Day of Classes
June 18     Exams begin
June 25     Exam Review Day
June 25     Commencement