Parents of Prince Street

I have a well-known aversion to acronyms, so attending my first meeting of POPS — “Parents of Prince Street” — was challenge for me. Let’s just call it “Home and School” between us. But somehow, against our better judgment (or at least mine), Catherine and I are turning out to be that sort of “active and interested in school” parent. The kind you find behind the Mcdonald’s Orange Drink dispenser at field day. So this was just part of the drill.

There are about 230 kids at Prince Street School. There were 4 parents at the meeting. Obviously other parents see the Orange Drink dispensers on the horizon and run in the other direction. And who can blame them. That said, it was interesting, and worthwhile. Here’s what I learned:

  • The “zone” for Prince Street School runs from Queen Street to the Hillsborough River, and from Water Street to Allen Street.
  • That said, 70% of the students at Prince Street School are bused in from Hillsborough Park, four kilometers away in the suburbs.
  • If the Hillsborough Park students weren’t there, Prince Street School would have about 70 students.
  • In the good old days, Prince Street School had more than 400 students. Indeed, all the students from St. Jean and West Kent — the other downtown elementary schools — could move to Prince Street and there would be enough room to house everyone.
  • One of the important functions of the Home and School Association is to raise funds for items that teachers and staff identify on “wish lists” — things that aren’t otherwise paid for by the school district or the government.
  • A frequent request on the wish lists is window blinds: many of the classrooms in the school are missing proper blinds. In rooms that face south this can be a big problem, as the temperature can soar. Apparently it takes up to 5 years to get this sort of thing paid for in the capital budget for the school.
  • Other items on the wish lists: books, butterfly kit, microwave oven, listening centres, white boards.
  • Crossing guards are paid for by, and report to, City Police, not the school.

Comments

Ann's picture
Ann on November 9, 2007 - 14:32

Somehow it just breaks my heart to think that the school district or the Dept. of Education can;t provide enough money for the school to have proper blinds.
Considering what government does chose to spend money on, I think this qualifies as shameful.

Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on November 9, 2007 - 16:16

I’ve been to two such “Parent’s Coucil” meetings since September at my son’s inner city Calgary elementary school and have been impressed by the activism of the parents involved.

That said. One of my personal peeves is that organizations in Alberta like parent’s councils can raise money for themselves through running charitable casinos once every two or three years. I find this practice abhohrent in a community like I live in where average house prices are over half a million dollars and many families choose to have a stay at home parent. (Sorry for the rant and I have nothing against stay at home parents — I am if anything jealous of this.) While it is nice to have a public school in our neighbourhood populated by children from said neighbourhood I wish the extras weren’t (and know they shoudn’t be) funded this way.

On the blinds issue , my experience so far is that the parent councils have very strict rules about it can spend money on. Not haveing to buy blinds for example means the school can spend its money on books, computers, etc — things the parent’s council isn’t allowed to buy.

Sandy's picture
Sandy on November 10, 2007 - 23:16

Our home and school is very poorly attended as well. It always surprises me that so few parents show up. I know that it is tough to fit everything in, but I couldn’t imagine not being involved in the school. One of the things that Englewood Home and School does is offer a healthy snack and lunch program. Hot meals are offered on Mon, Wed and Fri and parent volunteers chop fresh fruit and veggies and cheese for trays that are brought to each classroom at snack time on Tuesdays and Thursdays at no charge to the students. I think that this is a great thing. Kids are exposed to and encouraged to try new fruits and vegetables.

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