Just a reminder to all University Hill families that Sports Day will take place this year on Friday, May 15th.  School will start at 8:45 am and finish at 12:30 pm on this day.  We look forward to seeing our many supportive parents and guardians at this fun filled event.

Please be aware that opening day for the 2009/10 school year is Tuesday, September 8th.   If you are planning a holiday that will extend into September or you plan to be away past Thursday, September 10th for any reason, please complete a Notice of Late Return form available from either the office or your child’s teacher.  This will ensure that your child(ren)’s spot in the school is held until you return.  Unfortunately, we cannot hold a spot for your child(ren) past September 30th.  Thank you for you cooperation in this matter.

Once again a reminder to all families, that it is the recommendation of the Vancouver Board of Education, that after twenty days of absence from school for non-medical reasons, a spot can no longer be held for a student. (Medical reasons are for the student.)  If you are planning an extended absence from school, please advise the school in writing.

Parents and school staff are the adults who make the greatest difference to a child’s learning in their early lives and beyond.  When these two groups work together the lives of students are very much enriched.  We are very fortunate at University Hill to have so very many parents who volunteer… on the PAC, at Sports Day, on field trips, in classrooms, for extra curricular activities, fund-raising…the list goes on and on.  We’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge those parents who play such a supportive role in the educational lives of their children and to thank you all for ongoing support of our work at the school.

On April 22nd, the school staff welcomed more than 30 people to our annual Volunteer Tea.  It was a real pleasure to say thank you to those who have put that little extra quality into the life of University Hill Elementary School and into the educational lives of their child(ren) by providing special and extra service to the school community.  This year more than 85 volunteers contributed to the school in many, many different ways.  Once again, we thank you for your ongoing support and we look forward to many future opportunities for home/school collaboration.

A reminder to check the hallways and the office for any items which has been ‘misplaced’ during the school year.  Any unclaimed items at the end of the school year, will be donated to charity.

The proximity of the school to Pacific Spirit Park offers students, staff and families many, many educational and recreational opportunities from woodland studies to cross country running to simple nature walks.  Given recent events, however, it is useful to review and remind everyone of common sense safety procedures when walking in on trails in the park.  We would caution everyone to walk in pairs or groups – the bigger, the better.  It is never a good idea to walk alone in the woods.  Further, when walking or running in the park – on or off trails – be aware of your surroundings.  It is not advisable to listen to music, talk on the phone or be otherwise distracted.

The school will continue to use the park for educational reasons and will continue to adhere to the VBE recommendations for supervision while on outings.  It may be useful to know that it is a normal practice for staff to take both a cell phone and a first aid kit with them on any of these ventures.

Finally, with the weather getting better, students will be spending more time outside during recess and lunch breaks and during P.E. classes.  Please be aware that during these times, school staff are always present monitoring play and safety.

Sunday, May 17th is ‘International Day Against Homophobia’.  As we celebrate the diversity of culture, lifestyle, ethnicity and language that is so rich in our community, it is as important to remember that put downs, ethnic, homophobic, racial and sexist remarks and actions are not acceptable in the school or community.

On Thursday, May 7th at 2:00 pm, all Vancouver schools once again conducted a comprehensive Earthquake drill.  This included an emergency evacuation and a simulation of follow-up activities that would happen if an actual earthquake should occur.  The event went smoothly and efficiently as the staff and students have practiced to prepare.  This year students were not dismissed directly form the drill, though this may be the case in future years.

Track season has begun!  Thanks to our dedicated coaches, Track Club is up and running and students will be training hard.  All those who train are eligible to participate in after school ‘mini-meets’ during May.

There is a need to build general conditioning before more specific training for events begins.  This year the students will be practicing for, and participating in both the running events and the field events should they choose.  Practices will be scheduled that allow for the necessary time to build skills and conditioning. Everyone who has come out for track is having fun and keeping fit!

Friday, May 8th was our annual Jump Rope For Heart event and fundraiser at the school.  All of the classes in the school participated in a variety of skipping activities designed to keep them fit and having fun.  The day’s events culminated in an assembly celebrating the benefits of the day’s activities for both students and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  As a wind up, the staff challenged each other in a “skip off”.  Congratulations to Val Day for “out skipping” everyone else on staff.