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Cars parked in the school playground during “Meet the Teacher” Evening (top photo) and door greeter Marissa F. (bottom photo)


Immaculate Heart of Mary School held its annual “Meet the Teacher Evening” (formerly known as the “Orientation Evening”) on Thursday, September 19th at 7:00 p.m. This event, which is held every year during the third week of September, is not intended to be a parent/teacher night where specific concerns about a child are discussed. Rather, it’s meant as an opportunity for parents to learn more about school policies and to give them a chance to meet informally with the teachers.


Mr. Picklyk projecting a PowerPoint presentation onto the gym wall


The evening began in the school gym where Mr. Picklyk, the school’s principal, welcomed everyone and then invited Sister Anne Pidskalny, the school’s director to say “Hail Mary” as the opening prayer.




Mr. Picklyk again welcomed everyone, especially all the new parents, and indicated that the school is the only Ukrainian Catholic school in the province. It’s also the longest continuous running mission of the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate in the world (the school has just started its 108th year). There is currently only one Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate working at IHMS for the 2013-14 school year – Sister Anne Pidskalny, SSMI (the Kindergarten and Sadochok teacher).


Mr. Picklyk then introduced the school’s current staff for 2013-2014, including the one new staff member – Mr. Michael Banias, who is currently the school’s new vice-principal. Mr. Banias was a former student at IHMS, graduating from grade 8 in June 2000.


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 Some of the staff members who attended the “Meet the Teacher” evening


Mr. Picklyk went on to list the members of the appointed Board of Trustees. Members of the school board (the “Board of Trustees”) are not elected – they are individually selected by the school administration. Most school board members were not in attendance, and the few that were present appeared to be attending in the role as parents to meet with their child’s teacher.



Mr. Picklyk then spoke briefly of the ongoing effort to relocate the school to the 7 acre parcel of land at 2501 Ferrier Road. Although work continues to happen behind the scenes, there didn’t seem to be anything new to report about the relocation. However, it should be noted that an organization known as “Lubov” (Ukrainian for “love”) has been created by the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate to help in the capital campaign.


A display set up in the gym with some information about the school relocation project



Mr. Picklyk also introduced the elected members of the Parent’s Guild, with Mr. Rick Buchan as the president. Mr. Buchan spoke briefly about the role of the Parent’s Guild in the school. All parents with children enrolled at IHMS are automatically members of the Parent’s Guild. Its main role is fund-raising, and recently it has been involved in raising money for the new computer lab (which was a substantial contribution) and for the beautiful new picnic tables by the front doors of the school. Mr. Buchan asked the parents to make an effort to attend the monthly meetings, which are held at the school and are usually less than an hour in length. He also noted that free baby-sitting is provided for parents who bring their children.


Mr. Rick Buchan, President of the IHMS Parent’s Guild (top photo) and the babysitting room (bottom photo)


Next, Mr. Picklyk introduced the IHMS student council, including Russell C., the newly elected president. Russell spoke briefly about the student council’s fundraising efforts throughout the year, including the “Show and Save” coupon books currently on sale in the front foyer.


Student council president Russell C. (top photo) and other student council members selling “Show and Save” coupon books (bottom photo)


Next, Mr. Picklyk talked about the school website, bringing attention to the calendar and school newsletter. The calendar and newsletter are sent home with the children each month, but can also be printed out from off of the website.


noparking4 The  protocol for dropping off and picking up students in the back lane was addressed with a Power Point presentation. It gave a visual representation of where parents could and could not park.  Parents are strictly forbidden from parking almost everywhere in the back lane. It’s school policy and a city bylaw. No matter how tempting it may be, parents cannot park along a neighbour’s garage, and they cannot park in front of the “No parking” signs along the school.


An image projected on the gym wall during the PowerPoint presentation showing parents where NOT to park



Mr. Picklyk then made a quick reference to some of the more important points in the student handbook, including school uniform rules, volunteering, and healthy eating practices (Halloween and Valentine’s day will be “candy free days”). Since many students at IHMS have food allergies, students are asked not to share food or bring birthday cakes to school.


An IHMS  display board set up in the gym



Finally, Mr. Picklyk announced that for the first time in IHMS’s 108 year history, an alumni organization of former students has been created. The inaugural alumni reception will be held at the school on Sunday, October 6th, 2013 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm.




Mr. Picklyk then dismissed everyone from the gym, and parents were free to visit the classrooms. There were 2 classroom sessions, and each one was 20 minutes in length.




During these sessions, teachers gave a short presentation to the parents on the type of work they were planning to do. There was also plenty of time for the teachers to answer any questions that the parents might have about the curriculum or classroom rules.


At the end of the evening, refreshments were served in the gym. Coffee, tea, and juice were available, as well as an assortment of baked items supplied by the grade 3 and 4 classes.


 Parents socializing in the gym at the end of the evening
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