School Council Meeting Minutes – April 12, 2022

Principal’s update
– Still waiting for it to feel safe to have parents back in the school (COVID)
– Lots of building/OPAL play is happening
– Kids are having a great time
– Mask wearing – is mostly in place and almost all staff are still wearing
– Absences both staff and students are up 20% of kids are away in any given day (not
necessarily COVID)
– Not allowed anymore to say – you can’t wear a mask though TDSB and Public Health –
but suggesting to continue to wear a mask

Staffing issues are constant – how do we keep the school running – staff absences are frequent.
They never have a full team – grateful for spec ed, library etc, music teachers are helping fill in

Early Literacy – DRA (Direct Reading Assessment) for Grade 1&2 – those who were struggling or
at risk New resources for primary teachers. Spring reader booster session will be done by Erin –
to help children raise reading levels.

Pandemic has really pushed learning back for kids and they are trying to close the gaps.

Have increased Indigenous Learning – had educators at staff meetings.
April 20 – grade 1, 2 and 3 – Earth Steward – will be joining to do new learning involving soil,
planting, seeds – concept that plants give us everything. Focusing on our deep connection with

Summer School – half day program in person
Summer school has been an overwhelmingly positive experience – it is not built around a formal
Outdoor activities, they bring in external providers (teachers) and the teachers bring in their
passions, hobbies and interests.
It is very creative

Garden Update: Jess Haber

Workshops with Indigenous and garden educator. $900 for Pro Grant (approved vendor)

We can coordinate a mulch/compost dump and then community members can join in – all levels
and it would be on the weekend.

Mike Layton, butterfly garden, all sorts of options.

Cristal will be added as the parent option to start emailing to get things coordinated.

Mental Health Practice: Parent Night

Approx 15 people who came – 30 people signed up

Extracurriculars being offered:
This is the outline of the extracurricular events:


Darci – spirit wear – will talk to Dan about School Cash online
Potentional – for potluck school – raffle, 50/50, ask about sponsor for the raffle – Melissa will ask
Jackie about a date.
Melissa uses bouncy castle deposit – can we use it?

Treasurer Report:

Feb 8 – 2500 – second steps
700 on classroom spending
Approx 12K in the bank
We can expect to have another 6K to come out for classroom spending
Some funds will need to be designated for next years start up costs (Typically that
means setting aside $3,000)

We had tabled 450 to spend on lost and found (need to buy that)

Approved spending:

Grad Trip – What kind of funding do we need – Andree will report back on the fundraising options
Pre approve – $500 – Lalu put forward the motion, Andree seconded it – approved
Extra Grad Photo – $250 towards grad photos (will follow up with Dan and Michelle)
Soccer Nets – $500 Lalu put forward the motion, Andree seconded it – approved

We will follow up with Dan and Michelle Follett – about ⅞ fundraising updates

Next Meeting : June 7th 6:30pm

Essex SC - Meeting Minutes - April 12
Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)

Return to School

Dear EH parents

By now, you will have received the update from Principal Fisher. As we prepare for the return to school on Jan 17th we would like to share some important updates.

We are preparing to open our school mid-pandemic surge, with a highly contagious variant. This is a new situation for all of us and we want to be open and honest with you about what to expect from the parent side of things, and how we can help and work together as a community to make this experience go as well as possible.

What to Expect

The reality is our school is operating from a significant staffing shortage. This shortage began before the Winter break. Every public school in the city and even the province is under the same staffing pressure. We can realistically expect that there will be more shortages as staff call in sick when they get COVID.

Some programming (library, some gym, music, resource) may be temporarily suspended as the prep period teachers are redeployed around the school. Keep in mind that this puts extra pressure on homeroom teachers and removes their prep time, so please be understanding!

Because of these expected shortages classes may no longer always be cohorted. You can expect that there may be times when your child’s class will be amalgamated with another class because there are not enough teachers.

How Parents Can Help

The best way you can help ensure that our school remains open is by self reporting if you or your student tests positive for Covid or has Covid symptoms. The government will no longer be tracking Covid cases at schools BUT Dan will be tracking our school and providing updates to classes if there is a positive case in a class.

The new COVID screening document is confusing and stuffed with information about isolation practices for the whole family – please make sure you spend some time reading it thoroughly. We are putting together an easy to read synopsis.

Another way you can help the school is by picking up your child and taking them home for lunch if this is possible for your family. Lunch time will be extended by 20 minutes – children will be spending 1 full hour outside. Please dress your children warmly – we are purchasing extra warm clothing like hats and mitts to have available at the school.

Please be flexible and understanding. The teachers and our administration are trying so hard to make our return to school possible. Because of the staffing shortages and the highly contagious nature of Omicron, it is important to be prepared to have your children home at some point. We know how much of a challenge this is for parents, in terms of their own commitments. Know that the administration is doing everything possible to keep our kids safe and in school.

If you choose to keep your kids at home for a few weeks at this time, teachers will be keeping google classroom updated with assignments so that students may work from home and TVO will have grade-appropriate programming. There will be no synchronous learning, however.

Note that the new masking guidance suggests either a double layer with a disposable 3-layer medical mask near the face and a well-fitting cloth mask on top, or an N95-type mask (KN95, CA-N95, KF N94 all come in child sizes). This is not required, but recommended by the Ontario Science Table.

Both Essex and Hawthorne have parent-run Facebook pages – you can join in order to receive quick updates. We will post relevant information on the facebook pages.

Essex: Essex/Hawthorne: Essex PS Parents

Hawthorne: Hawthorne II Bilingual Alternative Parents

Do you have an up-to-date police background check? Are you vaxxed and boosted? Want to help out? We could use your help for outdoor lunch time supervision. Please contact either parent council directly to inquire.

Dan will be available this weekend to answer your emails – if you have questions – please email him directly at

This is an unprecedented situation in our schools and the organization and planning is very complex. Every family will need to make their own choices about what is best for them. Let’s be kind and gentle with each other. We feel so lucky to have such a wonderful community.

Melissa, Lalu, Jackie and Tereza

Essex School Council Chair and Treasurer

Hawthorne School Council Co-chairs

Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)

Staff Appreciation Treats is Friday, Dec 17

This year, Essex and Hawthorne will be joining forces to say thanks to our teachers and staff by bringing yummy treats for them to enjoy on the last day of school before the holidays!

First of all, we need a one additional person (vaccinated and masked) to help set up the room

We need one additional person (vaccinated and masked) to help tidy up at the end of the day

Please email Laura [] if you can help!

The main event (YOUR TREATS!):

Show your appreciation for our dear teachers and staff at Essex-Hawthorne with the gift of delicious treats!

Please bring a NUT-FREE, SESAME-FREE treat.  Home-made or store-bought both welcome.  Cookies, squares, scones, savoury bites, fruit (cut up). Nothing that needs elaborate serving pieces please.  Because this is the last day before the holidays, and COVID, the logistics of getting things back to people is too complicated. Teachers will be able to take home any leftovers in the containers!

How to participate:

1. pack prepared food in a recyclable or disposable container or tray (time to use those takeaway containers!).

2. drop off your food in front of Laura Cheng’s house, 76 Garnet Ave(across the road from the playscape).  A lidded rubbermaid bin will be out for early drop-offs and a table will be out from 8:30-9am to collect the treats.

Thanks Essex and Hawthorne parents!


Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)

Essex School Council – Meeting Dec 7

The next Essex School Council meeting will be held on Zoom – December 7th at 6:30 pm.
To RSVP and receive a link to the meeting email
Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)

Essex School Council Meeting Minutes – October 12 2021

Please find minutes for the most recent Essex School Council meeting below. Click on image to download the full document (PDF).

October 12 Agenda_Minutes
Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)

Welcome to the 2021/2022 School Year at Essex!

My name is Melissa and I am the School Council Chair at Essex. I wanted to take a few minutes to say welcome back to our returning families – and big first time hello to all of you joining Essex for the first time this year!

The Essex School Council is a community of parents/guardians who volunteer their time to support the school. (More on how to join below!) We focus on supporting the students/staff/teachers/admin by raising money for projects, events, and improvements. We also serve as a community that supports the families and students in the school in a variety of ways, providing bursaries, helping problem solve, and advocating. And – fingers crossed – we also hope that this year we can get back to running fun community events to build school spirit!

The School Council meets every other month for two hours. There are some “official” responsibilities we cover, we hear a principal/vp report, and then we discuss various projects or initiatives. If you would like to learn more about school council – or join our next meeting on Dec 7th you can email me at

You can receive updates and announcements by signing up for the Essex School Council Blog updates.

Here’s to the start of a new school year!

Melissa Graham Burke

Chair of School Council

Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)

End of Year School Council Meeting

The School Council will be meeting virtually on June 15th at 6pm. 
Items for discussion at this meeting will include end of year administrative wrap up, updates on the new Principal selection process, and updates on the Yard improvement proposal.
All are welcome!
If you would like an agenda please email
If you would like the zoom link for the meeting please email
Looking forward to seeing you!
Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)

Essex School Council Fundraiser – Plantables

We’re very excited to announce that we’ve chosen to be a part of the Plantables School Fundraising Program. We’re aiming to raise funds to support the Spring season at Essex. This includes topping up students’ individual supply kits, new sports equipment (basketballs etc,) and continuing to support our amazing teaching staff with outdoor learning.
Every box of plants you buy helps us get closer to that goal. (We get 10% of the total of every order you place.)
Plantables is an exciting new startup based in Forest, Ontario that grows healthy, hardy, happy, and certified organic fruit and vegetable seedlings and ships them to arrive at your door exactly when they need to go into the ground.
Head to and use the code ESSEXPS to support our school! More detailed information available in the brochure below.
Essex School Council Team
Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)

Info Session on Encampments in Toronto

Our school neighbours at Dewson are hosting an information session on encampments in Toronto and how to help children understand – We have been invited to join.
Information below:
Parents at Dewson have organized an information session on encampments in Toronto. The goal is to learn more about encampments in our neighbourhood spaces so we can help our children understand what’s happening in the community during this pandemic.
We will be having a moderated discussion with ALAB Clinic, a group of lawyers who provide frontline assistance to people living in encampments.
Date: Thursday, February 25
Time: 7 pm
Who can attend: Parents and families of downtown Toronto schools
In order to receive the Zoom link, please enter your email here:…/1rPDOaigptEKfiYTH…/viewform…
For more information on ALAB Clinic:
This event is organized by the social justice subcommittee of the parent council at Dewson School.
Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)


Through the combined efforts of our fantastic community we are able to offer contactless porch pick up for Essex Spirit wear. They are soft and cosy – essential for working from home! Kids love to wear their Essex gear with pride! All money raised goes right back to the school – this year that includes purchasing supplies for outdoor education and supporting the efforts to keep our school safe and open during these Covid measures.
The link below includes prices, sizes, and a photo of each piece.
Posted in Announcements, Intermediate (Grades 7-8), Junior (Grades 4-6), Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3)