| Sep 25, 2008

Sept 25/08 - Local schools open doors

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Feature Article - September 25, 2008 Local schools open their doorsBy Julie Druker

Grade 2 student Jack Revell and his grandmother Ann MacDougall at Prince Charles Public School's Open House in Verona last week

Last week many schools in the area held their fall open houses, each providing a chance for students, parents and staff to connect early in the school year.

At Harrowsmith Public School the event included a BBQ and a book sale. Principal Jim Horan also sent out personal invitations to a number of groups and organizations, who set up booths in the gym specifically for the event.

Principal Horan thrives on the chance to bring parents into contact with services that can be of help to students and parents alike. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for parents and students to get involved in a variety of organizations that are here to help support our students and the whole community,” he said.

Services represented included:

Pathways, a mental health agency for children and their families that provides counseling, education, advocacy and other interventions.The Independent Learning Centre, which provides accredited distance education for parents looking to upgrade their education and/or skills.The Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston (LDAK), which offers workshops and conferences on related subjects.TV Ontario (TVO), which provides a wide range of educational television programming to school age children.Girls Guides and Boy Scouts of Canada, who each had booths promoting their programs which focus on kids getting unhooked from TVs and computers to learn and experience what nature has to offer them.

As well, Sharon Rattray and Brenda Taylor are hoping to offer “Family Dance Nights” at the Golden Links Hall for younger children, to accompany the youth dances that regularly take place there.

Martial artists from Kennedy Jiu Jitsu were on hand and gave kids a chance to battle it out on gym mats while promoting the classes they offer at the school on Monday and Thursday evenings.

Ben Lappin, assistant Deputy Chief of the Portland District fire department was on hand to inform parent and kids about fire prevention and home safety.

Parents and teachers manned the BBQ and book sale and between hot dogs, kids showed off their classrooms and school work to their parents.

After a tour I had a chance to speak with Principal Horan in his office where he admitted to feeling “both privileged and indebted to the community for their overwhelming continued support on a daily basis.”

He was also thrilled with specific school improvements that took place during the summer, which included new ceilings, sidewalks and plumbing.

On my trip north from Harrowsmith, I managed to catch the tail end of Prince Charles Public School’s open house. It was a similarly well attended evening; the halls and classrooms of the school were bustling with students, their families and staff who were also enjoying the chance to get acquainted and meet face to face.

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