Head of School’s Weekly Message

June 19, 2020

Dear Urban Academy Families,

We have had a good last full week of classes and this email contains quite a bit of information that will help you as we complete the year and prepare for school opening in the fall. We have included again the outline for dismissal for June 22 and 23 for those students back in school, please scroll down to see that. As noted, those families whose children have not been in attendance the last few weeks can pick up their report card and their personal items on the afternoon of June 23. Please note the schedule below of teachers who will be available in the parkade on the afternoon of June 23 to hand out report cards, yearbooks for those who have purchased one, and your child’s personal items bagged up. Please drive through and pick up the report card and any other materials and say goodbye.

12:00-1:00pm JK, K and Grade 1 teachers
1:00-2:00pm Grade 2, 3, 4 and 5 teachers
2:00-3:00pm Grade 6-10 homeroom teachers

You will note a new look to the student report cards. We have transitioned to a new school information system called MySchool. It offers many components of school administration that we have not had with our old system and you will see more and more processes go online and a reduction in duplication of information. We have produced this final term report card in MySchool and I think you will find it easy to read. We have also made some adjustments to report on eLearning. It was a whole term of new learning for everyone ?.

As we move to our new system, every family, current and new, will receive an invitation to MySchool well before school starts asking you to verify the data we have on record so we can ensure we can send emails and report cards, contact you in case of an emergency, etc. Please watch for it and respond. We need this in order to be able to communicate with you. Responding to old emails on our former system (PCR) will no longer work after July.

This will be the last Friday email out to families for the summer. The school Administration Office is open throughout the summer with the exception of July 20 to August 3. It will be closed during those two weeks, although Out of School Care will continue to operate. If you have not registered for Out of School Care and require care for your child for the summer, please ensure that you have done so.

In early fall we anticipate our application to the City of New Westminster to add the fifth and final floor to our school will be heard by Council. This is an important public process and will require the support of our families. We will be reaching out to you for support in the form of letters, messages, emails and contact with the City to support our application for permission to move forward with the construction. We are most fortunate to be working again with Paul Grant and the team at Grant Architecture Studio, who designed our school and supported us through the first two phases. Mr. Grant is most accomplished in school design and his team’s attention to detail on our project has made a tremendous difference to the successful completion of our project thus far. I have been most appreciative of having him as a partner through the work to date. I will be taking on the project management of the fifth floor and you will see some updates on the work from time to time over the course of the next year. This is a significant final step in our building and will be the specialty space for our senior program, a “Superlab” for senior sciences, a deck that focuses on environmental science, and senior classroom and tech space for our oldest students. We will want the support and commitment of our entire school community as we go forward with our application. This work will complete our school, JK-Grade 12, with resources and specialized facilities for all our learners.

Thank you to everyone who bid on the Gala Art! It was fun to do a sidewalk gallery walk and it garnered a lot of bidder competition. We will share the outcome of this fundraiser next week and the winners of the bids will be able to collect their pieces of art early next week.

As we come to the close of the school year, thank you to our parent leaders who give so selflessly to our school community. Nav Gaday has done an amazing job chairing our PAX and bringing our families together for fun social events (while also raising funds!). Sonya das Gupta is the Volunteer Coordinator extraordinaire, who seamlessly organizes all of the volunteer opportunities for our families. Joanne Ward gets the PAX Hot Lunch program out to kids, consistently making sure that the meals are those the students enjoy and that parents get a break from preparing lunches. Michel Watson chaired a very successful Gala Committee – they still managed a wonderful fundraiser even in a year that they were not able to host us at the event! She and her crew were very creative, encouraging donations and sponsorships to stay with the school and heading up the Online Art Auction. And thank you to Rupa Marcus who has done a wonderful job organizing and guiding our Class Parents to support our teachers.

Mr. Mike Slinger will be taking over as your new Head of School on August 1 and he is very pleased to be joining Urban Academy. He will be in touch with you before the school year starts to provide an outline of how school will reopen. The Ministry of Education is planning on a Stage One re-opening, however, that will need to be confirmed once the government sees how the summer has gone in BC regarding the pandemic restrictions. All schools in BC take direction from the Provincial Health Officer and the Minister of Education and they will provide direction regarding the stage of re-entry that we are in in BC and which services are available to the public. Mr. Slinger will also outline the Welcome Back day planned for Thursday, September 3, and the first week of school, as well as all the other plans in store for UA next year. I know you will very much enjoy getting to know him and working with him.

We have attached next year’s calendar – please note upcoming important dates and the change to the JK admissions deadline. We will be in touch on siblings early in the new school year.

This is my final Friday email and I want to thank all of you for the lovely retirement celebration last week. Your kind words and expressions of thanks touched me deeply. Please note that the livestream is still available on our website, click here. UA has been a very special part of my career – I guess I saved the best for last! The support of the community, my staff, the students and the Board of Directors has always been there, standing with me, through the easy times and the tougher times. I will miss all of you terribly, however I am very proud of what we have built together and know that UA has a very bright future ahead. Thank you for the honour of serving you as your Head of School. You remain forever in my heart.

Mrs. Cheryle Beaumont
Head of School

Posted on: June 19, 2020