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The Current | VWS News & Events | #3
Development Edition
25/09/20
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Chalkboard Art by Mr. Sussman, Tucson Waldorf School

FROM THE DEVELOPMENT OFFICE

Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the first update from the Development Office!

Laura and I have decided to trim our communications to make getting the info you need easier. We know it’s been an email-heavy bunch of months so we’ve decided to do away with the Monday email and instead direct all info into this weekly newsletter. There will of course be emails from your child’s teachers and the ad hoc emails from the school but we’ve heard your feedback and are doing our best to reduce the volume. Starting in October, the second Friday of the month will be dedicated to Development Office happenings so please stay tuned.

The intention behind the Development Office is to hold the space for community engagement. With the ways we traditionally connect as a parent body limited, for the time being, you have been asking me about how we can build connections with the school and with each other. I’ve been thinking about that and am grateful to have input from many creative and resourceful souls, who are sharing community-building ideas and figuring how to bring them to fruition. Collectively, we’ve done so much work the past three years to enliven many aspects of school life which means we have a solid base to work from. We also have the Community Fund to work with, which allows us to invest in ideas that make sense for the school and community. Please keep sharing your ideas with me and with your class reps too – your voice is important.

For those of you that have offered to be a class rep, thank you! We’ll talk as a group next week about how we can support each other, our class communities, new families, and the school through the coming months together. Speaking of new families, huge thanks to the many of you who have referred friends and family to us. It’s been amazing to welcome new families to the school and similarly, to greet returning students. Your referrals and decision to return mean so much.

Fundraising will carry on this year as it has the past few years, but I am dedicating more focus to creating the systems and structures needed to grow our fundraising program. I’m excited that we’re participating in #GivingTuesday again and will be promoting it regularly in the coming months. For those of you new to #GivingTuesday, it is a very cool and inspiring international day of philanthropy. This year #GivingTuesday is December 1st and we’ll set an ambitious participation goal for ourselves. Please stay tuned for more information in a few weeks’ time about how you can help.

Another area I am focused heavily on is our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work. Our working group now includes five teachers representing every department of the school and we are committed to changing things for the better. We are looking at all of the opportunities we can make an impact on operations, including: training and orientation, policies and procedures, curriculum and resources, and parent education. Please be in touch with me if you would like to learn about what we’re doing now and how plans are forming for the future.

And now, apropos community, I have to mention parking. It’s been so nice to see many of you GS and ECC parents while I’ve been supporting traffic flow in the mornings and afternoons. And what a treat to see some HS parents on occasion – I love it. Even just in passing, it feels like a connect. It warms my heart to see your kids smile and wave too. It’s such a sweet way to bookend each day. Things have been pretty great overall though I would like us to work together to use the drop-off lane on St. Christopher’s more efficiently. These past rainy days, the volume of vehicles coming into the driveway has been heavy. Please keep the St. Christopher’s Road drop-off and pick-up lane as a Kiss & Go (which means do not leave your car) so folks that are planning to use it when they approach the school can actually access it. The exception is for parents with little ones in tow or with sleeping babes in the car. If that’s you, please pull up as far as possible to enable the Kiss & Go lane (while minding the fire hydrant restrictions). We’re not going to be calling the District to issue tickets but neighbours do and parents have been ticketed for blocking or parking too close to driveways and for driving too fast. Nobody wants a ticket so please make the sometimes inconvenient choice to park where you’re allowed and to drive the limit or we might make parking duty mandatory for all parents. Just kidding; we won’t. But seriously, please keep making my job easy by following the rules. It is appreciated!

Please be in touch if anything comes up as you move through your days as a VWS parent. I’m here to support you.

Until next time,

Mary Henley
Community & Resource Development Manager

WEEK AT A GLANCE

 

Tuesday, September 29

Michaelmas - Parking Lot Closed!
The First 7 Years Seminar Series: Child Development I 7:30 pm, GS Hall
 

Wednesday, September 30

Orange Shirt Day
 

Thursday, October 1

Grade School Photo Day
Class Rep Meetings
7:00 pm, Zoom
 

Friday, October 2

1900’s Dress Up Day HS
 

On the Horizon

GS Harvest Lunch October 9
HS Thanksgiving Potluck October 9
AGM October 28

 
ECC (Early Childhood Centre) | GS (Grade School) | HS (High School)

NOTICES & ANNOUNCEMENTS

ABSENTEES & LATENESS - If your child/student will be absent or late, please let us know by notifying the school as soon as possible.

  • Early Childhood call 604-985-7435 with the following extensions:
    • Mulberry and Dandelion Preschool x 101
    • Plum Cottage Kindergarten x 102
    • Red Rose Kindergarten x 103
    • Sunflower Preschool x 104
  • Grade School call 604-985-7435 x 421 (absentee line) or email rireland@vws.ca
  • High School call 604-986-2922 or email svondruska@vws.ca

REUSABLE MASKS - VWS is providing reusable cotton masks to all students from Kindergarten and up. Children in Kindergarten-Grade 3 will receive one mask for the time being, and students in Grades 4-11 will receive two. Please be sure to wash them over the weekend and return them to school on Monday marked with the student’s initials/name. Paper storage bags will be provided by the teachers, and do remember to wash your student's mask regularly. Kindergarten masks will be washed on-site and will remain in the classroom. The masks are for possible use in the few situations when physical distancing outside of cohorts cannot be maintained.

PARKING LOT CLOSED - Grade 8 is organizing Michaelmas activities and will require the use of the parking lot all day, Tuesday, September 29. There will be no parking spaces available for parents, visitors or staff. The Kiss & Go Lanes will be open to allow the bus to come and go through the day. Morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up will be unchanged.

VOLUNTEERS - Are you looking to get involved again with the VWS, but with restricted campus access don't know how? We would love a team of parents to help support parking lot safety. Contact Mary Henley at mhenley@vws.ca if you want to join!

PHOTO DAY REMINDER - Photo Day was postponed this week due to a forecast of stormy weather and has been rescheduled for Thursday, October 1. Please be sure that your children are prepared. Photo Day info sheet

LICE CHECK - As a precautionary measure, please check your child’s hair for lice! It’s that time of year so let’s beat it at its game. Head lice info for North Shore schools

RETURN TO SCHOOL Q&A - Anonymously ask your burning questions on all things "Return to School". Can we help to clarify any pieces that have been missing from our communications? Or are you unclear why certain things are done the way they are done? We will do our best to answer in an upcoming Current newsletter or future Town Hall session. But we need to hear from you first. Your thoughts are important to us and we are grateful to you for sharing your quandaries, questions and concerns. vws.ca/return-to-school-qa

HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATES - We have created a new page on our website to house all updates related to school safety and COVID-19. We recommend that you read through the recently updated Health & Safety Plan COVID-19, included the updated Daily Health Check on page 23. All the updates are highlighted in yellow. As well on this page, are links from the Province and the BC Centre for Disease Control. vws.ca/health-safety

SPINNING DISTANCE!

New Physical Education & Circus Arts teachers, Bruno & Vanessa, share a fun example of how to play 6 feet+ apart! We are so glad that they have joined our faculty at the Vancouver Waldorf School.

Painting by Monica Gold

ELAINE MACKEE & GUNTHER SCHNEIDER

Two of my long-time colleagues have recently crossed the threshold, Gunther Schneider on August 26th and Elaine MacKee this past Friday, September 18th.

Elaine was one of the grounding teachers of our high school and the school as a whole. Truly a Renaissance woman, she taught Art; Astronomy; Weather, Seas and Climate; Geology, just indications of her reach from the arts into the sciences. For many students Elaine was a lifeline in difficult times, and a faithful colleague to all of us who taught alongside her. She served for a time as Principal of our school and was one of those who made possible the Early Childhood Centre.

Gunther loved teaching both in the high school and in the teacher training of the West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy. He spent years preparing for those tasks and brought to his students a disciplined love for the crafts he taught, from work with wood to stone, an artistic touch to all he did and a sense of fun to what he asked his students to do. There was always a twinkle in his eye.

Waldorf education is a path of becoming true human beings, students, teachers and parents together. Gunther and Elaine walked that path with their students and with all of us who shared in their lives.

Good thoughts to each of you,
Philip Thatcher

The Vancouver Waldorf School is situated on the unceded ancestral territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

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