Students raise over $3,000 to help the Philippines after the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan
By Amanda McAlpine
Students at Mentor College in Port Credit have bravely stepped up and taken action to raise money for disaster relief after Typhoon Haiyan. Students in grades two, three and four have spent countless hours making bracelets with the colours of the Philippines flag and selling them for two dollars each. The total raised and donated to the Red Cross of Canada was $3,600.
Typhoon Haiyan has been the deadliest Pacific Ocean typhoon on record, hitting most of Southeast Asia in early November. The typhoon killed 5,235 people and is categorized as the strongest storm ever. The Red Cross of Canada has been doing everything to help, and Mentor College students realized that they had the opportunity in their hands to make a difference.
"The idea for a fundraiser evolved after a class discussion," said Shamiez Nasser, a grade four teacher at Mentor College. "Students in my class had brought in newspaper articles showing the destruction caused by the storm and we collectively realized that we could and should help."
Over 300 bracelets were made and all donations from their efforts went directly to the Red Cross of Canada. 66 students participated in total, most giving up their recesses and weekends to make the bracelets.
"I was very fortunate to work with driven students and talented teachers," said Nasser. "Everyone put a lot of energy into making this a very successful fundraiser and learning experience."
The primary students' initial goal was to raise $1,000 in five days, however they surprised themselves by quickly surpassing their target. Older students at Mentor College also did their share, as grade eight students rallied their classmates to donate a loonie or toonie to the cause.
"[The students] focused on helping those in times of need," said Jason Fournie, a grade eight teacher at Mentor College. "And how that ought to be a priority, given the level of safety and security we enjoy here [in Canada]."
Media portrayal of the typhoon was discussed in classrooms; "we did a few mini lessons on media," said Rebecca Meyer, a grade two teacher at Mentor College. "How it can entertain, inform and persuade the reader. We made posters with the intent to inform and gently persuade [students to buy the bracelets]. The students really took a lot away from the fundraiser, including the meaning of empathy, compassion and teamwork."
Some Mentor students were indirectly affected by the shock of the typhoon, having nannies from the Philippines whose friends weren't found.
"The benefits [of this fundraiser] are much more than a textbook could offer," Meyer said. "It creates a team atmosphere with real purpose. It connects the students to the real world on an attainable level, and it gives all of us something to strive for as one unit."
The students' fundraising project was a great success with many lessons learned about the media, how to work as a team and how to help those who are hurting in a different country, right here at home in Mississauga.
Port Credit calls on all Peel schools to join annual SOAR campaign in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation
Staff, students and volunteers from Port Credit Secondary School challenge all schools in the Peel District School Board to join S.O.A.R. (Students Helping Orphans in Africa with Relief) to help children affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. Schools are invited to register and take part in any aspect of the campaign-One Ribbon, One Day for World Aids Day on Dec. 1, 2011, Students S.O.A.R. Day on Feb. 23, 2012, or create their own activity. All funds raised will go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
"As educators, we strive for our students to develop empathy, leadership skills and global mindsets," says Wendy Lautamus, principal at Port Credit. "Supporting the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation through S.O.A.R. is a meaningful way for students to make a difference."
Schools that run a One Ribbon, One Day event are encouraged to raise awareness and funds by selling red ribbons. Schools that participate in Student S.O.A.R. Day are encouraged to conduct a fundraising event of their choice. Participating schools will receive promotional and educational posters, red ribbons and pins in order to facilitate fundraising for their events, as well as a letter from Stephen Lewis in recognition of their participation. Students can also receive volunteer hours for participating in the campaign.
"S.O.A.R. is an annual campaign. We want students in Peel to have a chance to make an impact on the lives of their peers in other countries," says Diane Hamilton, Peel board parent volunteer and co-founder of S.O.A.R. "We added One Ribbon, One Day this year to highlight how one person and one dollar can make a difference for orphans affected by the HIV/AIDs pandemic in Africa."
S.O.A.R. has raised $50,000 since 2008. S.O.A.R. is an initiative started by Peel board parent volunteers. Its focus is to raise funds and awareness for the Stephen Lewis Foundation-100 per cent of funds raised are provided to the foundation.
The Stephen Lewis Foundation supports grassroots organizations that are turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa by providing care and support to women, grandmothers, orphans and people living with HIV and AIDS.
Schools interested in registering for the S.O.A.R campaign can contact Wendy Lautamus, principal, Port Credit Secondary School at 905-278-3382 ext.401.
Results from the spring 2011 administration of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) primary division and junior division assessments of reading, writing and mathematics, and the Grade 9 assessment of mathematics demonstrated remarkable results for Dufferin-Peel. Examination of all eight EQAO assessments has indicated that the proportion of Dufferin-Peel students achieving the provincial standard in Grades 3, 6 and 9 continues to meet or exceed provincial averages, with gains of 6% and 10% over last year's results in some areas.
The achievement gains in Grade 9 academic and applied mathematics were 2% and 10%, respectively, while primary and junior reading and writing demonstrated 1-year gains between 2% and 6%. Overall, the primary and junior assessment results for mathematics were each relatively consistent with last year, with slight decreases of 2% and 1%, respectively.
Results in Grade 9 applied mathematics demonstrated an outstanding increase of 10% over last year, which represents five times the growth of the province in this area. In addition, Dufferin-Peel experienced twice the growth of the province in the areas of primary reading, junior reading, and Grade 9 academic mathematics. This year's performance continues to demonstrate the high levels of achievement of Dufferin-Peel students over the last five years of EQAO testing.
"The latest EQAO results highlight the efforts of all learners in the system", said Ralph Borrelli, Associate Director of Instructional Services. "Through a continued collaborative approach involving the school, family and parish, these successes can continue. The board remains committed to improving student learning, achievement and well-being among all learners".
The EQAO assessments provide an indication of each student's achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. The spring 2011 assessment results report on three groups of students: Grade 3 students in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics; Grade 6 students in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics and Grade 9 students in academic and applied mathematics.
10th annual free conference provides practical ways parents can boost learning at home
Parents will become students for a day at the 10th annual Make a difference in literacy and beyond parent conference on April 2 at Fletcher's Meadow Secondary School in Brampton. This free learning event is presented by the Peel District School Board. The event features a keynote presentation by parenting expert and author Alyson Schafer, and more than 50 workshops designed to provide parents with tips and resources to help their children succeed in school.
"The parent conference provides something for everyone, whether your child is starting kindergarten, needs support developing study skills in middle school, or considering their post-secondary options," says Tony Pontes, director of education.
Four parent positions available, apply by April 22
The Peel District School Board's Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) will select four new parent members to serve two-year terms that start September 2011 to August 2013. The PIC meets regularly throughout the school year to review the board's plans for parent involvement as they relate to parent, family and community engagement, and to make suggestions to schools, councils and the board regarding additional parent outreach.
"The Parent Involvement Committee provides us with a direct link to parents," says Tony Pontes, director of education. "Committee members provide feedback on a variety of topics and make suggestions on how we can enhance meaningful parent involvement in the Peel board-the committee is a valuable resource to the board."
As mandated by the Ministry of Education, the purpose of Peel board's PIC is to:
support, encourage, and enhance meaningful parental involvement within schools and across the district, including, outreach to parents who find involvement more challenging
work collaboratively with the school board to support student success
seek out the advice and ideas of school councils, and other parents and partners as they plan and implement strategies to involve more parents at the regional level
develop strategies for enhancing parental engagement and outreach
The committee is now inviting parents to apply for four positions on the committee. In early May, a selection sub-committee that consists of current parent and trustee members will review all parent applications and select representatives using the following criteria as a guide:
reflects the diversity of the community
understands the importance of parent, family and community engagement
has experience working with newcomers to Canada, Ontario or Peel
has volunteer experience - including experience on school council
has previous experience in Peel board parent involvement activities
demonstrates advocacy and community development skills
has a present level of involvement in the education system
demonstrates a keen interest in public education
Interested parents can find out more about the committee and download an application package at www.peelschools.org. Under the ‘Parents Boost Learning' menu, select ‘Get Involved' and ‘Parent Involvement Committee'. The deadline to apply is April 22, 2011.