Welcome, Ms. Mena!

As you know, Ms. Ana Mena will be taking over the helm of DGH in September.  While I have never worked in the same building as Ms. Mena, she has been a colleague for 15 years (yes, we have been around that long!).  So, I can confidently say that DGH is in great hands!  As I have said to a number of parents I have spoken to in the last week, Ms. Mena is a perfect fit for the building.  She brings a great deal of experience, a high degree of ability and a passion for supporting students in all ways.  

I have no doubt that the proud Huskies’ tradition will continue.  For those who have older kids in the building, you know that DGH’s staff has undergone significant change in the past few years with a number of school staff heading into retirement.  Change can be tough but is a reality in any school (and organization).  That change is always what keeps schools “fresh”.  You simply cannot replace the experience that older staff bring to a building; however, as with all things in life, new people bring new ideas.  The cross-pollination of older and newer staff is a great thing.  Ms. Mena will more than ably continue this cross-pollination!       

I am ecstatic that Ms. Mena will be a Husky come September!

Thank You, DGH Community

Good Morning DGH Community,

The day that I inevitably knew would come has arrived.  Today marks my last day as the principal of Dr. George Hall Public School with our students in the building (or, in this case, in remote learning).  It is a 15tough day for me to be sure.

I feel more than a bit sad that I will not be able to see the kids off on the buses for that final day of school as they excitedly head home for the summer.  I feel even sadder that I have missed the kids physically being in school for the last 2.5 months of the school year.  The personal connection with students is hands-down the best aspect of education and one that you do not realize how much you miss until they are not in the building!

I have seen kids begin their school journey in Kindergarten and who are now in grade 5.  I have watched 7 years of grade 8s graduate.   And I have seen kids in all grades in between growing up.  As I get older and more reflective, the privilege and responsibility of this reality is ever more apparent.     

DGH is a wonderful place to be.  The sense of community, I think, is what defines the building.  Although a medium to large-sized elementary school  for the TLDSB, DGH manages to maintain its small town feel (and thus its community feel).  The students are where this begins.  Enthusiastic and engaged would be two words I would use to describe our students.  The level of involvement in almost any school activity is incredible!  Spirit Days were the most visible embodiment of this; however, events like Jump Rope for Heart or the Olympics equally showed our students’ enthusiasm.  I loved watching the kids get off the buses to see to what extreme students would be dressed up for Spirit Days – our kids never failed to disappoint!  The number of students who wear school branded clothing says it all, really.  School staff equally contribute to the school’s personality.  They are a talented and diverse lot.  The energy they bring to the job is impressive.  Yes, curriculum is the core of our business, but it is so often the other things that make the school experience.  The number of sports, events, activities, and opportunities offered to students over the course of the year is amazing.  And I would round out the sense of community with our parent group.  Obviously over the course of 7 years there are going to be times where situations result in disagreements happening – ours is a people business, after all.  That being said, I have always felt that the vast majority of situations were resolved in a way that kept (or even further built) our school-home relationship.  For that, I am eternally appreciative.  And the enthusiasm your kids show for school clearly begins with…you.  Kids do not sign up for before/school activities, involve themselves in other opportunities during the day and do things like deck themselves out for Spirit Days without your help and encouragement.  Keep that Huskies’ spirit going!  Do not discount the importance of your Parent Council.  DGH has an extremely active Parent Council who chafed for the last 1.5 years because there was little they could do.  Over the length of the school’s existence they have done so much and I am sure will continue to do so.  

It has been a wonderful experience for me here.  To be honest, DGH feels like home.  While I will be moving onto another school in September, the memories here will certainly not be forgotten.  Whether that is the several times a year truly “outside of the box” math lessons that Mrs. Burns and Ms. McColl would concoct for their classes, Mrs. Alexander referring to her students as “friends” with the biggest of smiles on her face, Ms. Graham taking her students down to a Primary class to be their “buddies”, Ms. Arscott’s and Ms. Horton’s apple experiments in the classroom, or Ms. Starr and Mrs. Taylor dressing up as Star Wars Jedi (to name just a few of the many thousand) – these are memories to last a lifetime.     

Thank you for letting me into your kids’ lives over these years.  I wish your children and your families all the best.

Congratulations To Our Grade 8 Graduates

On behalf of the DGH staff, I would like to extend our congratulations to this year’s Grade 8 Graduates.  Yours is the only group that I can ever remember who did not graduate in person; however, I prefer to take the perspective that this experience makes you unique.  For those who do not know, we had to go with a virtual ceremony this year.  We loved the photos our families sent to us for use in the ceremony!  Yes, traditional grad portraits are timeless.  However, the photos sent in so often captured what we (staff) think of our graduates.  And, as always, one of the highlights of the night is the “Babies to Grads” slideshow where we try to guess who the babies were (which is often impossible!).  

You ARE part of the DGH legacy, graduates.  We know you are ready for high school and will have amazing experiences there.  There may have been tears on Friday morning when you came by to pick up your certificates and awards; however, these will soon be replaced by excitement (and a little nervousness) as the start of high school draws ever closer.

Grads – it was great to see you on Friday morning.  You were missed these last 2.5 months.  The staff on the Graduation Committee were so happy to be able to see you and send you off for the summer.  The idea that Ms. Graham and Mrs. Ridgway would not see you was simply not going to happen! 

We wish you all the best in high school!

Report Cards Go Out On Friday, June 25

This email is intended for families who had children in “in-person learning” at DGH prior to the April Break.  Report cards will be sent out electronically again this term.  Each time we do this the process seems to be just that little bit smoother so I anticipate that this will again go smoothly for the vast majority of our families.  Report cards will be timed to start going out at about 6:00 pm on Friday, June 25.  I would expect that many schools will be sending out report cards on the same day so the email may arrive after 6:00 pm.  I believe that some people’s emails may have been an hour or more after the official start time (please be patient).  If the report card email does not arrive later on in the evening, please let your child’s homeroom teacher know and we can look at resending for individual students.

The report card file will be encrypted.  You must use your child’s dath of birth in the format of mm/dd/yyyy (include any “0s” and the “/”).  A birth date of May 8, 2013 would be 05/08/2013.

Opening these types of files seems to be a bit unpredictable on phones or tablets.  If it is opening, try using a computer if possible.

Tech Drop Off On Thursday, June 24 and Monday, June 28

Good Morning DGH Families,

This email is intended for any of our families who have borrowed technology (a Chromebook, a laptop, or an iPad) from the school at any point during the school year.

Note: 1:1 Chromebooks (formerly known as Edwin Chromebooks) DO NOT have to be returned to the school (unless your child will no longer be in the TLDSB in September 2021; if that is the case for your child you WOULD return the device following the instructions below).  1:1 Chromebooks/Edwin Chromebooks were given out to students in Ms. Pearson’s grade 6/7 class, Mrs. Ridgway’s grade 7/8 class, and Ms. Graham’s grade 7/8 class.

Some of our families have had technology since the very beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.  Others borrowed technology as the year progressed and especially since remote learning began again in mid-April.

All of this technology needs to be returned to DGH by the school year’s end.  We need to account for all of our technology, determine if any repairs need to be made, and perform system updates.

The process for the return of technology is below.

Dates to Return Technology: either Thursday, June 24 or Monday, June 28

Time: between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm

1. We are not setting a specific time for each family to return tech.  Based on experiences last year and this year, we feel that our families can physically distance from one another if multiple families arrive at the same time to drop off technology.

2. Simply come to the school at one of the dates above and during the offered times.  If another person is returning tech, please wait more than 6 feet away until DGH staff are finished with that person.

3. We put the student’s name on much of the tech that we handed out this year to make it easier to track when returned (usually with a label, covered with clear tape).  If the technology does not have your child’s name on it, it would be appreciated if you would put a sticky note on it and tape it down so it will not come off.

4. We will wipe the tech down with a disinfectant wipe.

As always, your help in the above is appreciated. The return of tech after remote learning in January went quite smoothly and we expect the same to be true this time!

Pick Up Of Students’ Personal Items On Thursday, June 24 and Monday, June 28

This email is intended for families who have students who need to pick up personal items from the school.  This would include items such as shoes, clothing and things like pencil cases.  The number of students with items to pick up will likely be pretty small as staff had students take home everything possible prior to the April Break.  However, there were a few students off on that Friday prior to the Break and there will always be a few things missed here and there.  

Pick Up Date: Thursday, June 24 or Monday, June 28

Time: between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm

We scheduled this time to match the tech drop-off dates and times.  Given the relatively few number of people who will need to pick up their child(ren)’s items from the school, we did not feel it necessary to schedule specific times as we did last year.  Items will be bagged in advance so there will not be any need for families to enter the school.  

1. Staff will bag your child’s items ahead of time and the bags will be brought down to the front of the school in preparation for June 24 and 28. 

2. Simply come to the school on these dates and times.  A staff member will be out front and can get the bag with your child’s items and bring it out to you.

3. If there is already someone there dropping off tech or waiting for the bag of their child’s items, please physically distance (6 feet or more) and wait until a staff member can help you.

4. If you think your child has items at school, it would be helpful to reach out to your child’s homeroom teacher.  Your child’s homeroom teacher might have already reached out to you to let you know that there are items bagged up and ready for pick up on June 24 or 28.

As always, your continued flexibility is appreciated in this year of on-going twists and turns!

DGH Nature Photo Contest Winners and Runner Ups

Great job, DGH! Mrs. Whiteway had a large number of nature photos submitted for the contest. There is no question that we have a large number of Huskies who are photographers in the making – there is some serious skill in our students! Congratulations to JS for his winning photo (directly below). The runner up photos by LW and LR are below too. It was not easy to choose from all of the submissions!

JS’s Photo
LW’s Photo
LR’s Photo

Friday, June 4 Is A PA Day

This Friday, June 4 is a PA Day for our students. Staff will be working on report cards while our students enjoy a long weekend. Let’s hope that the weather holds out for Friday so that many of our students can take a break from their screens and get outside to enjoy the outside (many parents tell me that a break from screen time will be a great thing for their kids!).