Immaculate Heart of Mary School held an ???Orientation Evening??? on Thursday, September 22nd at 7:00 p.m. This orientation evening, 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.
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??? – 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 running continuous running mission of the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate in the world (the school has just started its 106th year). There is currently only one Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate working at IHMS for the 2011-12 school year – Sister Anne Pidskalny, SSMI (the kindergarten and Sadochok teacher).
Mr. Picklyk then introduced the school???s current staff for 2011-2012, including the two new staff members – Ms. M. DePiero (grade 8 teacher) and Mrs. A. Lumbera (Sadochok Child Care Assistant). Ms. K. Rowe also returned to the school as an Educational Assistant after a 1 year absence.
Mr. Picklyk went on to list the members of the appointed Board of Trustees. Most school board members were not in attendance, and the few that were present at the ???Orientation Evening??? appeared to be attending in the role as parents to meet with their child???s teacher.
Mr. Picklyk also introduced the elected members of the Parent???s Guild, with Barb Pichlyk as the president and Rick Buchan as vice president. Mrs. Pichlyk and 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 in the past it has raised money for computers, digital cameras, bleachers, propane BBQ???s, and so on. The next Parent???s Guild meeting is at the school on Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 pm. Meetings are held once a month, and free baby-sitting is provided.
Some of the rules from the IHM school handbook were highlighted using a Power Point presentation by Mr. Crooks, the school???s vice principal. The Power Point presentation was a refreshing change of pace, and nicely summed up what Mr. Picklyk was describing in words. In the 3-4 scenes showing parents where not to park, Mrs. Dudych was a good sport volunteering her white car for the job. It was funny, but the topic is serious – 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.
Mr. Picklyk then spoke briefly of the ongoing effort to relocate the school to the 7 acre parcel of land at 2501 Ferrier Road. There didn???t seem to be anything new to report on this topic, but it was noted that work continues to happen behind the scenes.
Next, Mr. Picklyk introduced the IHMS student council, including: Petro H. (gr. 8); Alex K. (gr. 8); Matthew P. (gr. 8); Lukas S. (gr. 8); vice-president Matthew P. (gr. 7); and president Adrianna K. (gr. 8).
Adrianna, the newly elected president mentioned that the student council is a group of students that plan various fun functions (such as the Halloween Extravaganza) and fund-raisers for school dances and Graduation. The main fund raiser is selling pizza during pizza days throughout the year.
Adrianna also mentioned that the student council is currently selling ???Entertainment Books??? for $30.00 (until September 30th), and that $6.00 from each book is allocated for the grade 8 graduation in June.
Finally, Mr. Picklyk made a quick reference to some of the more important points in the student handbook, as well as the protocol for dropping off and picking up students in the back lane. He also discussed the school uniform rules; volunteering; and healthy eating practices (Halloween and Valentine???s day will be ???candy free days???). Since many of the students at IHMS have food allergies, students are asked not to share food or bring birthday cakes to school.
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.