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.