Tuesday, 23 September 2014

....a few weeks in...

With three weeks completed a routine has developed here at school as classes are moving along and many clubs and activities are well underway.  This week finds us getting ready for a few events that recognize academic success from the past school year: Excellence Night and our Honours Breakfast; and a school-wide assembly on Friday that kicks off our Relay for Life Campaign.

Each of these events has required a great deal of organization and involvement.  Thank you to our wonderful office staff for all of their work (Excellence Night and Honours Breakfast) and to Ms. Hanley and Ms. Logan for their work with our Relay for Life group.

Red Devil teams are competing (and winning) on the playing fields across Halton this week.  Our powerhouse field hockey teams are looking to replicate success from past seasons.  Our Senior Boys Football team opened the season with a big win over White Oaks last week while our Juniors lost their opener to Abbey Park.  Cross Country runners are competing in a number of competitions this fall and we look forward to some great success.  Volleyball kicks off this week so stay tuned for results in the weeks to come.

Thank you to the parents of our grade 9 students who came out to Parents' Night last Thursday.  I hope you enjoyed the opportunity to connect with your child's Teachers.  Please don't hesitate to contact the school should any concerns emerge over the semester.

Coming soon we will be sharing our 5th Week Reports.  These reports provide a quick snapshot of how the semester has begun for all students.  ALL Grade 9 students will receive an E-MAILED 5th Week Report from each of their child's Teachers.  For Grade 10 through 12 5th Week Reports are mandatory for any student who is struggling with the early weeks of the semester.

Reports will be sent out on October 3rd and parents (of grade 9 students especially) should be asking their sons/daughters about any reports.  Many staff will e-mail a markbook printout to all families as a method of providing an update - even if a student is not struggling.

E-mailing reports is a new process for some of our staff and so there may be some challenges.  Last year OTHS spent over $1,500.00 on postage (for these kind of reports) alone and we would prefer to re-direct those funds toward improving access for students to new technology (Chromebooks; Mounted projectors; etc.).  It is my hope that we will expand the use of e-mailing parents with interim progress reports and save the printing and posting expense for the more formal report cards at mid-term and semester end.

Post Secondary Update:
Mr. Pope and his Guidance Team will be hosting a couple of University information sessions here at OT.  On Wednesday, September 24th (6:00-9:00 p.m.) we are hosting a U.S. College information session (Library) and then on Wednesday, October 15th a Canadian College and University Fair will take place throughout the day (Atrium).

Elections:
With the Municipal election approaching OTHS is hosting an All-Candidates Night on Wednesday, October 8th at 6:00 p.m. (Cafeteria).

......until next time....

Monday, 8 September 2014

Post #2 - A great first week !!!

September 8, 2014


Last week wrapped up with a fantastic Club Fair in the Atrium during both lunch hours.  Multiple clubs set up displays and shared their enthusiasm and passion for a host of activities ranging from our fabulous Robotics Club to new clubs like the Manga Club and Sailing Club.  It was a great opportunity for our grade 9 students to see just how much opportunity exists for 'getting involved' in the club culture at Oakville Trafalgar.  Please check with your son, or daughter, and ask if they have found a club of interest.

Our Student Services department has been scrambling all week to help students set schedules that match their interest and ability level.  Thank you to Mr. Pope and the whole Student Services team for their diligence and commitment to kids.

It looks like our Athletic Teams are starting to take shape.  It was looking touch and go for a couple of days as Mr. Gruber worked the staff room to ensure that OT continued to field teams in all fall sports.  I have even signed Mr. Sampson, Ms. Cammisuli, and myself up to coordinate the Golf Team!!!  I'm hoping the players have their games in shape (to withstand our coaching!).  Competition should be getting underway in all sports by next week and we're all looking forward to another excellent season by Red Devil teams.  Thank you to our student athletes and to the staff who spend upwards of 6-10 hours per week over the course of their season working on a sport they love.

Mr. Curtis has been encouraging students to join in with the OTHS Concert Band as well as some other ensembles.  It will be great to hear our talented musicians over the course of the year.  OTHS has also been able to hire Ms. Kendra Chow to teach our full year Vocal Music class.  Ms. Chow is very well regarded across the board and together with Mr. Curtis I know that OTHS Music is in wonderful shape.

As classes begin to develop, and the weeks begin to roll together, I encourage all families (veterans and rookies alike) to continue asking your son/daughter "how was school today?"  As a parent of a teen myself I know that this is usually met by a one or two word answer however it is important to ask.  Additionally I would encourage you to not hesitate to check in on our teacher web sites as they contain a great deal of information (calenders, test dates, lesson notes, etc.) that will help every student stay on top of their school work.

For any parent interested in becoming a member of our Parent Council I would like to invite you to our Information Evening this coming Thursday at 7:00 p.m.  We will meet in the Staff Room to review last year and coordinate the process for this coming school year.

Our first formal communication home will occur at our 5th Week Reports (October 3).  All grade 9 students will receive a 5th Week Report (a very early indication of a student's progress to date).  For students in Grade 10, 11, and 12 reports are mandatory for any student who has a grade of less than 60% (other reports may be e-mailed home at the discretion of the teacher).  These early reports are a quick snapshot of the few assessments or projects that are completed in September and are meant as an early check-in.  In this way we work to proactively correct early warning signs before they become significant challenges.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Opening Week....

September 2, 2014

Welcome to a new school year!
I am very excited to be joining the OTHS community and have heard many excellent comments about the students, staff, and parent support for education from Ms. Hunt-Gibbons and from Mr. Bert O'Hearn.

The school year officially kicked off this morning with our new grade 9 students meeting their senior Link Leaders, and staff sponsors, for some fun welcome activities.  Returning students filed in to start a condensed schedule with 45 minute classes at 11:45 a.m..  Full days begin on Wednesday and we're looking forward to a smooth transition from summer holidays.

Some special thanks to our wonderful office staff who have spent the better part of the last three weeks getting ready for our opening day.  As well thank you to the Student Services department for their extra work last week as they helped with new registrations as well as with scheduling issues for returning students.

As you can imagine this week will be a busy one for your student.  Fall athletic teams have begun their tryouts and we'll soon see Clubs and Council activities pick up.  Students with a passion for the arts will begin to hear about plans for various Music and Drama ensembles and productions in the weeks to come.

The Red Devil Council has a number of events planned for this year and we encourage all students to look for a way to become involved in school activities outside of the classroom.  Following your passion (whatever that might be) is a sure fire way to increase your enjoyment of high school.

Miscellaneous:
- This year we are going to try to minimize interruptions of class time via 'all call' announcements and other regular distractions.  If you are dropping off something in the main office for your student we will endeavour to contact them as quickly as possible.  Thank you for sending them a text/bbm/etc. to let your child know that you have dropped something off for them in the office.
- Our online pre-registration process was not as successful as we hoped (less than 30%).  As a result we will likely have to send home a few reminders over the opening week(s) in order to gather all of the required student/family information needed.

Upcoming School Events:
Friday, September 5 - Photo Day
Thursday, Sept. 11 - School Council Information Meeting
Thursday, Sept. 18 - Grade 9 Program Night
Thursday, Sept. 25 - Awards Night and Newcomers Night
Friday, September 26 - Honour Roll Breakfast

Thank you for your continued support.

John