My message this week is tied to student safety, my number one priority as the principal of Allenby.
Ensuring a Secure Building
I am writing this message asking parents to help us in ensuring that our building is secure throughout the day. Please always use the Main doors or St. Clements door when entering the school and make your way directly to the office. Please do not prop doors open, walk the hallways, or enter the building to wait for the end of an After Four program or Hebrew School (they will come to get you to enter or arrange for pick up outside), or the end of classes. All visitors to the school are to sign in and collect a visitor’s badge. With over 500 families at Allenby all adults working in the building do not recognize all parents. If you are stopped and asked if they can help you, please do not be offended, we are ensuring no strangers are in the school to ensure the safety of our students.
If your child is going to be away from school for any reason, please call the school at 416-393-9114. There is an answering machine that will take messages when the school office is closed or busy. Please do not call the main office. Starting next week, Jamie and Renee will no longer take messages (by phone or in person) to provide to the safe arrival volunteers because it delays the logging of absences and phone calls being made home to all families. Instead, they will ask you to dial the Safe Arrival line and leave a message.
If you are in the school and need to use a washroom, please never use a student washroom. There are a limited number of adult washrooms throughout the building. If you need assistance if finding one please do not hesitate to ask a staff member for directions. Student washrooms are for students.
Student Medical Needs
This year, like last year, has medical information collected from families in the September package included in our occasional teacher folders so that all occasional teachers (including rotary teachers) have the same knowledge regarding serious medical concerns of our students. Additionally, EpiPens and similar critical medical needs will be housed in classrooms with a large student photo and medical information in a central location in each room (in place of the office). We believe this will better allow us to respond in cases of emergency. EpiPens should also be carried by the child on their body and we will have additional EpiPens in central locations around the school (including the main office).
The office staff field many calls with messages from parents to be given to their children throughout the school day. There are over 800 students at Allenby and I know that you can appreciate the number of calls that Jamie and Renee field daily, these should not include reminders for children, playdate information, check ins or anything that is not urgent. These calls not only take Jamie and Renee away from their work, they take their attention away from supporting students with injuries, they disrupt the learning taking place in the classroom (as the classroom phone rings in the middle of a lesson) and don’t facilitate the independence and responsibility we are trying to instill in our students. Please use your child’s agenda to remind them of important reminders and plan playdates, etc. in advance.
School Yard Safety
Longer daylight hours, results in more time spent outdoors. This results in students wanting to stay after hours to play in the schoolyard. Please remember that the yard is only supervised by staff until 3:50 pm. After this time, students remaining in the yard should be supervised by a caregiver. Although the yard is only to be used by Allenby students up until 6:00 pm we cannot monitor this on a daily basis. If you ever have concerns, please call or visit the school office, or if after hours, contact TDSB’s Call Centre at 416-395-4620. Working together, we can help make our school community as safe as possible.
Student safety is focused not only within the walls of Allenby but also on students’ journeys to and from school. The work that has been done in partnership with the APA (especially David Heath who is the safety rep on Exec, Lisa Parker and Gillian Uy), Toronto Police Services, Councillor Carmichael Greb and the Transportation Department over the last year has resulted in many changes to improve student safety. That work continues and resulted in a visit from Mayor John Tory last Friday to Allenby bringing awareness to traffic safety in school zones. This coverage was picked up by the 5 o’clock news and various media outlets and supports our collective efforts to bringing changes to our school zone. More information on the mayor’s visit can be found at:
Parents can support our efforts by modeling the message of traffic safety to our students by obeying street signage in our areas surrounding the school (Drop Zone, Bus Loading Zone). Your quick rationale for disobeying the signage, painted curbs and supportive messages from our volunteers in not only not setting a good example to your children, but should not be at the expense of the safety of any child at Allenby.
Thank you for your ongoing support of student safety at Allenby. I look forward to seeing everyone at Curriculum Night next Wednesday!