APHS Parent Council Meeting
May 26, 2008
Start 7pm (following Mr. Heffernan’s question & answer period)
Attendees: Regan Heffernan, Lucia Smith, Doris Fox, Anne Hughes, Monica Friesen, Sandra McLauchlan,
Elaine Blaylock, Dmitri Prokopiev, Anna Houpt-Taylor, Sue Turchet, Nicholle Russell, Cheryle Hinder, Linda
Thomson, Wendy Ahlin, Rosemarie Sears, Dimple Arora, Moira Chisholm, Serida Bhattacharya, Catherine
Taugh, and Laurene Via
Apologies Received: Erica Bostwick, Debbie Kalil
Introductions and Attendance Sheet
APHS Council Chair Lucia Smith called the meeting to order asking everyone to sign the attendance sheet. She
welcomed us to the last council meeting for this school year and introduced council members in attendance as
well as Mr. Heffernan, Anna Houpt-Taylor, Nicholle Russell and Dimple Arora
Request for AOB Items: None
Approval of Minutes from Last Meeting:
Approved first by Sandra McLauchlan; seconded by Elaine Blaylock. Approved.
Communications: Lucia Smith
The HAPG (Halton Anaphylaxis Parent Group) is hosting an event for teens or young adults in their 20's who
have dangerous allergies, on Sunday, June 1, from 5:30pm to 8:15pm at the Iroquois Ridge Community Centre,
1051 Glenashton Drive, Oakville. There will be a swim from 5:45pm to 6:40pm (or a chat in the atrium). At
6:50pm, the pool closes and an informal meeting begins. Topics include dating and social situations, high
school and university tips, finding or being a mentor and safety essentials. Several presenters will be present
including Mary Tabak, Public Health Nurse for Halton Region. The fee is $8 cash, $12.50 for 2 or $15 (3 or
more). The session seats a maximum of 30. To reserve a spot contact email@example.com or Wendy at
(905) 339-1773. Family members and friends may also attend.
Next year’s school calendar including holidays and PA days is posted on the district web site at
http://hdsb.ca/main.aspx?sMenuKey=1296%20&sPageID=564 and was printed in the May Eagle Beakon.
The planning team of the HDSB Parent Involvement Committee is in the process of planning a conference, to
be held Oct. 25, 2008. The team is extending an invitation to individuals and groups who may be interested in
submitting a proposal to present. They are most interested in parents presenting from their perspective.
Contact Denise Pearson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Special Presentation: Dimple Arora (Grant from Halton's Making a Change Team)
Lucia then introduced Ms. Arora and thanked her for attending tonight’s council meeting.
Ms. Arora started off by asking for a show of hands as she listed each grade level at the school. Then she
explained that her presentation will be about a possible campaign that Abbey Park may create, from which
students will be encouraged to show respect for them and others, take responsibility and achieve results.
APHS (one of 8 schools to receive a grant) has received a grant of $1300 from Halton's Making a Change
Team to support this idea.
The “Making a Change Team” goals are as follows:
- Promote inclusion within Halton schools
- Provide tools for respectful dialogue
- Provide tools to enable self-advocacy and support ally work
- Make positive changes in schools
The idea is to launch an advertising campaign designed by students, teachers, and parents, to inspire students
to take responsibility for making smart decisions and to harness the personal power within them. The reason
for this need comes from Generation Y themselves. They tend to expect egalitarian relationships with authority,
want to create their own rules, have a sense of entitlement, and they have more control over decisions at an
earlier age than any other previous generation. Since these students live in a time where everything is heavily
marketed to them, schools may need to “brand” character development, respect, and responsibility. The aim of
the campaign is to get students to show respect, take responsibility, and achieve results in every aspect of their
lives. The campaign will ideally focus on three main goals: encourage respective dialogue with elders and
peers, establish a sense of work ethic and time management, and it encourage students to take the initiative to
work towards their own success.
Nine attributes of Character Development, as established by the HDSB are: acceptance, citizenship, empathy,
initiative, integrity, optimism, perseverance, respect, and responsibility. The campaign would eventually lean
towards promoting all nine attributes of character development.
Some preliminary ideas that Ms. Arora shared with us include: effective posters (as used in the MADD
campaign), commercials to play during grade assemblies next year, referencing the national flags displayed
throughout the school, a student created mural in the cafeteria, the creation of felt banners conveying the 9
attributes to be hung in the cafeteria, school wide pep rallies or events, a goal setting and success wall
(perhaps in home room classes), and adopting the “iRespect” program at Abbey Park.
The iRespect program was started by teacher, Tina Dine at Nelson HS in Burlington, to promote global
citizenship, social awareness, and human kindness.
This program is based on 7 Habits of Being Human:
1. Make it a habit to smile and say hello to everyone you can, even a complete stranger.
2. Make it a habit to open the door for someone in need.
3. Make it a habit to swear as little as possible.
4. Make it a habit to clean up after yourself and your friends.
5. Make it a habit to not spread or start rumours.
6. Make it a habit to not just standby and witness disrespect but rather speak up.
7. Make it a habit to spread these habits.
Ms. Arora showed us some sample posters. The next steps include building a team within the school of
students, teachers, and parents; creating posters, getting input from students, creating a communicating
strategy, and then execution of the program itself.
Mr. Heffernan thanked Ms. Arora and the other involved teachers who attended cultural diversity training at the
board this semester for five evening sessions.
Mr. Heffernan added that Halton is a most diverse region. He is happy with our school’s diversity but messages
are not getting out to the students regarding homework responsibility.
Next year he is planning to get the graduation outcomes rewritten in a two-fold manner: a plan and a
corresponding action. Mr. Heffernan added that he is excited about getting this grant (which is a reflection of
how well Ms. Arora wrote the application) and he is looking forward to making the cafeteria a place of learning.
He would like have a way to get the kids to share their experiences. So far he hasn’t found a way to encourage
the students to share what their families in our school community do.
Rosemarie asked about a summer program. Plans will be in place for various areas.
Dmitri suggested that special presentations for the students be arranged periodically (ie---the mayor). A career
day will be held next Oct. We are negotiating for a very inspirational speaker to come in and talk.
Anne Hughes asked Ms. Arora if the program will be directed towards the entire school population and Ms.
Arora emphasized that the program launch must be and will be directed to the entire school population. For
example, Mr. Hepburn is trying to improve the school wide view of the Pride Group from one of tolerance to one
of acceptance. The grant is not only diversity based, but can be used to create any positive change within your
The goal is to try to make respect a value—perhaps even an enrichment opportunity for those students who are
Student Council Report: none
Staff Report: Anne Houpt-Taylor
Grade 11 students recently shared info from MADD regarding drinking, driving and leadership.
Grade 9’s will be mentored by the Link Crew. Two students (one each from Grade 11 and 12) will work with 10
Grade 9 students during orientation week and throughout the year.
416 students and 27 teachers will be attending the prom.
Tara Ashley will be handling the Eagles Awards on June 4.
Mr. Heffernan is pleased that the Angel Fund was able to help some students attend the prom. Many of the
current staff were teaching when Abbey Park opened and therefore are looking forward to this year’s
Treasurer’s Report: Elaine Blaylock
We made $147.60 from the book sale. We will need to pay out a deposit for the Conference Centre for next
year’s Gala and will also need to write a deposit for the band. $20,000 is invested in a term deposit for the
Principal’s Report: Regan Heffernan
The Food for Thought Program is a nutrition grant and is part of a government program through the Trillium
Foundation. Students in great financial need are identified. Pre-approved, healthy meals are made available in
the cafeteria. One meal is approved per student a day from now until June. Ten students have been identified
for next year and more can be added on throughout the year. This grant also assists with Nicholle’s after
school cooking class.
The Angel Fund just purchased some bikes for students who are living independently.
The Arts Banquet and Show of Hands were successful. Mr. Heffernan thought the show was completely award
winning. It got a lot of students involved both up front and as stage managers. He likes the way it gives our
kids an opportunity to take on leadership roles.
This week will be the Grade 8 to Grade 9 transition. Over forty Grade 8 students have been identified as
leaders (or need one) and will go in early to prepare. In the afternoon on Wednesday, all Grade 8’s will attend
sports and drama activities.
Mr. Heffernan is looking for ways to deal with “issues of engagement” so that all the students will willingly come
to school as they transition from Grade 8 to 9. In June, he is going to work on keeping the students engaged.
His goal is to make this June grad different by hosting a barbecue picnic for staff and students at lunch time.
This is the first class to graduate from APHS having spent their entire time at this school.
Three new trees will be planted to replace the trees that have died.
The computer infusion will take place the last two weeks of August so the staff can be a part of it. Old
computers are being replaced by new ones; we will be getting lap tops and students will be able to bring their
own lap tops to school now. APHS will be the only school to get upgraded high speed wireless.
Enrollment for next year is currently at 1320. We are picking up 2 to 3 students a week though some students,
who we anticipate will attend APHS, may choose an alternate acceptance.
Staff is completely hired except for maternity leaves which will be decided in a few weeks.
Mr. Heffernan will be back next year. He is very happy about this because he will be able to see the computer
infusion, as well as a continuation of the academic and sports successes. He is going to encourage the
upcoming Grade 9 class to start raising the bar to see even more successes. Mr. Heffernan is very happy to
stay on—trying to be better every day. He plans on working hard next year.
APHS students are doing well on the EQAO but he wants more to score level 4.
He would like to encourage more “What If?” dreaming and wants to spend more time enriching.
Did 3 expulsions over the past few weeks.
Next fall, he plans to take on the area called the “smoking pit” and wants tickets given out to those caught. He
will promote a smoking cessation program.
14 staff will be trained in June to use the defibrillator.
He will also work on monthly sessions for parents. He is considering sharing guest speakers with Loyola or
engaging the presenter to speak to the students during the school day and to the parents in the evening.
He feels that APHS has made a difference in the community over the past four years. Our graduates are
contributing, the school is a good neighbour and he likes the “walk to school” idea.
APHS is looked upon positively across the province. He asked us to remain optimistic. He thinks our kids are
good kids and he expects success from them.
Then he thanked the school council and staff and thanked everyone for being a part of pre-council monthly
meetings and council meetings.
Ms. Arora thanked us for attending and listening and invited us to contact her if we would like to help. Lucia
asked her to report back to us in the future after the program is in place.
Chair/Vice Chair’s Report: Lucia/Doris
Pat Peterson needs pre-registration help Aug. 26 and 27 in the office. If you are interested in helping out and
available morning or afternoon or both of those, please e-mail her at email@example.com as soon as possible.
The Arts Banquet was a great evening. Catherine Brown donated the centerpieces.
Lucia then thanked the track meet helpers, Colleen Trnkus, Lori Zeniuk, Elaine Amos, Wendy Ahlin, Lucia
Smith, Nancy Jarvis and Monica Friesen, who worked two days each of the last two weeks at GHAC and
Regionals at Mohawk Park, in Hamilton.
She asked members to consider filling council positions in the next school year. The next meeting will be in
September, the first of the 2008/09 school year. We have someone interested in the treasurer position. Doris
Fox, our vice chair will be moving away this summer and we wish her and her family every success. Consider
over the summer whether you would like to step up into the chair or vice chair position or become an executive
member on council. Elections are held the first meeting in September. Look in the summer registration
package for nomination forms if you, or if you know someone who might be interested in putting their name
Anne Hughes announced that APHS may be able to offer parking during the upcoming Canadian Open, July
21-27. If so, this event can serve as both a fundraiser and an opportunity for students to earn volunteer hours.
Once more is known, an email will be sent out.
Lucia then thanked everyone on council, all members of the gala and auction committees; everyone who helped
with Chapter’s night, QSP, Shop and Support and the book sales, those who supported student events, Mr.
Heffernan, Anna Houpt-Taylor and Nicholle Russell, other staff members who attended council events
throughout the year, Dmitri and Steve Moran for their work on the website and parents for all their attendance at
school events. She then apologized for anyone she might have omitted.
Exam review day is Thursday, June 26, nor June 25 as previously published.
She wished us a great summer and “See you in September.”
Special Presentation: Moira Chisholm (The Link Crew)
Ms. Chisholm introduced us to a new program, The Link Crew, that the school is adopting by showing us a few
short clips of it in action in schools in California, where the program began. It is now used in hundreds of
schools throughout the U.S. and is very successful in helping students transition to high school. This program
attempts to combat the situation in which not all students transition well from Grade 8 into Grade 9, with some
even choosing not to attend school.
We were able to access this program through a government (diversity) grant that Mr. Heffernan requested 3
years ago. In the past, we couldn’t afford to train our teachers because they had to go to California to train.
Now, since the training can take place in Ontario and since we have the grant, our school can finally use the
John Maras and Ms. Chisholm attended a three day training session run by experts from California with
Canadian teachers as well. Other school boards have already adopted this program and Iroquois Ridge
already uses it with their Grade 9’s for 3 years now.
It links ten Grade 9 students with 2 senior students (one currently in Grade 10 and Grade 11). Hopefully
connections will continue throughout the school year and even personal relationships will get established so the
Grade 9’s will be able to get support throughout the year.
Ms. Chisholm shared some of the applications our students submitted and then explained that she will select 60
leaders (2 per group).
We may be able to establish a “link alert” email to create a casual conversation between the Grade 9’s and their
Teachers in Abbey Park are already getting trained. They want to have kids involved from all areas of the
On the first day of school, Grade 9’s will be divided into groups of about ten and assigned to two senior leaders
who will be their student connections to the school throughout the year. Teacher recommendations and
personal observations are also being used to select leaders (mainly from the current Grade 11 class). A
student can not be a leader unless he attends both training sessions.
A discussion then began about creating leadership opportunities for our students and fall-out from too much
Mr. Heffernan feels that we have a lot of kids who have the time to help out at the school. He also feels that our
kids need to “get busy” to be successful because there is so much competition.
Programs like these create opportunities to give our kids better resumes by creating leadership opportunities.
30% of all marks are on the line between now and the end of June.
Mr. Heffernan is hoping that students in leadership roles in this program will find that they enjoy working with
The Grade 9’s and their leaders will be the only students attending school during the morning on the first day of
school in September. All other students will attend from 12:30pm. There will be a barbecue for the Grade 9’s
and the staff that day as well.
Mr. Heffernan is thinking of running a Grade 12 program to help those students throughout the year too. He is
suggesting assigned reading to the gr. 12’s regarding university and college information, during DEAR time.
Lucia thanked Ms. Chisholm for coming to the council meeting.
Public Health Nurse: Nicholle Russell
Nicholle started off by thanking all who attended the “Tuesdays at 10” and evening parent information sessions.
So far, she has received 39 responses from the survey with the following topics requested for future parent
information sessions in the fall: course selection, internet and chatt and teen sexuality and relationships.
She also likes the idea of sharing speakers with Loyola and will be pursuing that with their council chair and
public health nurse. She hopes to have all programs for next year planned by September and on the school
Lucia thanked Nicholle for her work this year at Abbey Park.
Fundraising Report: Anne Hughes
A dinner dance/fundraiser (gala) will be held Friday, February 6, 2009. It will include 5 casino tables and a DJ.
Playing at the casino tables is optional but they are being included so as to increase appeal and thereby
At the next committee meeting, the ticket price will be discussed.
A director is needed for the Silent Auction.
A cheque is required for $500 as a deposit with the company running the casino games. It was put forward for
approval. All were in favour of writing a $500 cheque in September for the deposit for the casino company.
There were no other questions or comments.
Lucia reminded us that report cards are available for pick up July 2 and 3. They will not be mailed. She then
thanked everyone for attending. The meeting was adjourned.
Laurene Via, APHS Council Secretary.
May 27, “Tuesdays at 10”
May 27, Student council speeches
May 27, Valedictorian election
May 27, Dance show
May 28, Student council elections
May 28, Grade 8 transition day
May 29, Prom
June 4, Eagle awards
June 5, Little Big Band concert
June 9, Spring festival
June 9, Recognition assembly
June 12, Athletic banquet
June 12-13, Grade 9 EQAO math test
June 19-24 EXAMS
June 26, Exam review day
June 26, Commencement
June 27, PA day
July 2-3, Report card pick up (They will not be mailed)
Aug 25-26, Pre-registration for school year 2008-09
September 2, Classes begin