We Day, November 23/11

Congratulations to all the students who are attending the We Day celebrations at MTS Center tomorrow.  This will be a great opportunity to learn more about philanthropy and pat themselves on the back for a job well done.  In the spirit of We Day and at the encouragement of a friend of ours we are preparing shoe boxes for the Operation Christmas Child whose national collection week is Nov. 21 -27th.  This project is run by Samaritan’s Purse Charity who sends these Christmas Boxes to countries where the children would otherwise receive nothing at Christmas.  We are so fortunate here in Canada that it is nice to remind our children how good it feels to give to others.  You can pick these boxes up at the food court in St. Vital Mall from now until Sat.  You return them there on Sat. filled with the necessary items ( a list is provided when you pick up the box), you provide the shipping costs as well and the box is sent to a child in need.  I have been told that the children who receive them only get one per lifetime so it is pretty special.  You are also encouraged to enclose a personal note for the child who receives your box.  In the Spirit of Giving I encourage everyone to check out this great opportunity.

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Portfolio Week in LRSD

This week in LRSD, the student portfolios are being reviewed.  This is time set aside by the LRSD in communication with local school administrators and teachers to have the parents attend the schools and review the student’s work so far this school year.  It is meant to be an opportunity to see what your child has been working on in the school and to facilitate communication with home about what topics have been covered.  When parents have specific issues to discuss with the teachers they are encouraged to arrange a one-on-one time with the teacher at a time separate from the portfolio.  Each school has set aside different days and times that they are holding the portfolios so consult your child’s school website to see when they are happening.  If a sign up sheet hasn’t come home, call the school directly to arrange a time to see your child’s portfolio.  When the portfolio experience is led by the student it is a great opportunity for the child and family to connect about what has been happening at school.  Most children enjoy a chance to be the “expert” about school and show their family members what they have been working on.

Meet Nancy Cooke at St. Vital Mall

I believe that consultation with the community is a key component of Public Service and Public School systems.  As a candidate for School Trustee in the upcoming by election, I would like to  meet as many people as possible and answer any questions or discuss any issues they may have. I will be at St. Vital Mall this Thursday, November 17th, 2011 at the Community Booth outside of Sears.  I will be there during mall hours, please stop by and say Hello!  I look forward to meeting you.

National Anti-Bullying Week 2011

Across Canada, schools and school boards are planning activities and events around this year’s theme for National Anti-Bullying Week, Novemeber 13 – 19, 2011.  The theme is “Stand Up! (to Bullying)”.  This is directed at the bystander and helping them to fully understand and appreciate the significance of the role they play in bullying and victimization.  I am pleased to see this issue being addressed as not only do our students need to better understand how to stand up to someone and for someone, but the person they tell must also know how to respond appropriately.  We need to educate everyone that coming forward in defense of themselves or someone else is essential to breaking the cycle of bullying.  We also need to ensure that when they do have the courage to come forward, there is follow through and a meaningful outcome.  The stigma of “tattle tale” still exists and there needs to be education about removing this idea.  Once the behaviors are identified then they can be addressed and the causes can be identified and dealt with.

For more information about this visit the Manitoba School Board Association website at  www.mbschoolboards.ca

Safety for Children in School Zones

In the news this week there was mention of the city reviewing the issue of safety for children in school zones.  This is not a new issue, I recall doing a presentation to our school board about 5 years ago.  As Chairperson of our Parent Association and a parent dropping children off at the school, it became apparent that there were many risk factors in our school zones.  Despite annual parent and guardian education by the school in the form of  a letter about procedures for student drop off and pick up, there were daily mistakes made that placed the students at risk.  Children would be dropped off on the wrong side of the street and allowed to cross into oncoming traffic, other drivers would speed past cars letting students out.  Vehicles who were driving through the school zone with no regard for the fact that students were out crossing streets before or after school.  We presented a few possible solutions such as designated one-way street signs during school hours as well as the possibility of using existing vacant land to establish a school drop off zone adjacent to the school which would not be on the residential street but would run one-way along the side of the school.  Unfortunately, the School Board does not have jurisdiction as some of the land and the traffic signage is under the control of the City of Winnipeg.   On behalf of the Parent Association I then met with the City Councilor in our area who acknowledged that this was an issue everywhere, but there was no plan at that time to create new road ways or change traffic patterns. I was informed at that time that they would increase the size of the sign indicating a school zone was there.  I hope that the City is ready to take some serious measures to review and implement changes in school zones to ensure that our children are able to go to and from school safely. These changes may include reduces speed zones and fines to deter speeding as well as surveying the local residents re:traffic patterns in front of school zones to determine possible changes which may increase safety for all.

The people of Louis Riel School Division

I had another busy day of meeting some of the residents of the Louis Riel School Division, Ward 2.  Everyday brings me new and interesting people, all of whom are touched by our Public School system in some way.  I met a resident who remembers the days of the one room schools in rural Manitoba.  I also met a parent of a family who recently arrived in Canada and she expressed her pleasure with the experience they have had entering this country and this school system.

I received some very kind words of support from a friend recently who gave me permission to share them.  I thank everyone for all their support and encouragement during my campaign to become  a School Trustee in the Louis Riel School Division.

“I’m so pleased to know that Nancy Cooke is running for School Trustee.  She has exuberance coupled with a “get things done” attitude.   Nancy is a listener and will represent the best interests for a quality education.”      Darlene Derksen, Resident Louis Riel School Division, Ward 2

School Board Activities

In my experience with the Louis Riel School Division since my oldest began attending school in 2000, the board has always encouraged community input in all the decisions they make.  I have had the opportunity to attend many of these consultation nights and I always left with two overwhelming thoughts.  First, I always felt like I was heard.  The board members may not have ended up going in a direction that was completely in agreement with all in attendance but I always felt they took all the feedback received into consideration in their decision making.  The second thought was how few community members took the opportunity to provide their input and be a part of the decision making process.  The School Board plans a variety of  these consultations throughout the year.   I hope that interested community members will attend and provide their feedback.  You can check out the website for Louis Riel and look under governance for upcoming meetings and consultation evenings. I really believe that the success of our Public Schools lies in the public taking an active interest in what is going on in the school system.