I’m sure that title grabs your attention! Before we get to that…
It is an honour that I have been asked by the Halton Learning Foundation to be their Guest Speaker at their Annual General Meeting on Thursday, February 24th.
The Halton Learning Foundation (HLF) were, during my time, and continue to be a big part of our school story.
From myHDSB, the employee hub for the Halton District School Board
“The Halton Learning Foundation (HLF) is a registered charity whose mission is to ensure all students of the Halton District School Board have equal opportunities for participation, engagement and success.
HLF helps eliminate financial barriers to learning by providing emergency funds for HDSB students in need and support for their inclusion in extracurricular opportunities. HLF also disburses grants that help pay for school programs and resources, and offers a number of student bursaries and post-secondary scholarships. “
Their own website provides a great deal of information about this marvellous organization.
In my presentation to the donors I will share how we have utilized the HLF in our school in order to support students and their families. I will be sharing the kinds of requests we made, and how the funds were used for individual students. I will also be highlighting the school grants we received in order to support our music program, our physical education program and our environmental work.
One aspect of the HLF that I really admire is their understanding that “Within Halton, there is economic diversity from community to community. Some school communities and parent councils have a harder time than others raising funds to assist with additional purchases above and beyond core education funding.” (HLF Website)
Of course, part of my talk will be on the importance of giving. One reason I was asked to speak is because they know our family has made the HLF one of the organizations that we support financially. I was blessed during my retirement that the staff at Boyne PS made a significant contribution in my name to the HLF. It is a cause I believe in. I want to continue to support them and lending my voice to their story is a privilege.
I shared in a previous blog about the idea of having three fundraisers a year. Work Hard, Be Nice, Make a Difference. That blog can be found here and although we never really got it off the ground because of the pandemic the plan was in place to have our ‘Be Nice’ event benefit the HLF. We had planned an Arts evening with a dinner served as a way to highlight the work they do in our school and as an opportunity for our students to shine. Every parent and grandparent of a performing student would have been in attendance. Important people from the HLF were coming to address the crowd and a good time would have been had by all.
Back to the AGM. I will be structuring my talk around the AIM model, the Aligned and Integration Model (AIM) for School Mental Health and Well-Being. You can find out more about AIM here. We had worked really hard at our school to make sure we ‘welcome’, ‘include’ ‘understand’ ‘promote’ and ‘partner’. Even with our plans being detailed, thoughtful, and structured we cannot do all this important work on our own. The needs were too great and that is why we value the HLF.
I am going to finish by sharing that our staff always got involved in supporting the HLF because they saw the work they did to support our families. A lot of our requests were to support new Canadians with food, clothing (winter clothing!) and school supplies.
One of the staff fundraising initiatives I am going to share is ‘Annoying Song of the Month’
The first week of the month was generally our staff meeting on the Monday, an important Community Circle question to do with students that week AND it also became Annoying Song Week.
For one week, five days, I would play a song over the loud speakers and throughout the school. It would come on about 10 minutes before supervision began and the students were entering the building.
You know those final few minutes before the students and all their energy come streaming through the door? Remember those quiet moments before your tranquility was broken? Well, I would interrupt those final ten minutes with a song, played on repeat over and over again. It was the same song every day, and the songs switched each month.
I don’t want to mention any songs here, just in case anyone happens to be a big fan of any of them, like that one about the new born large fish and their family (sorry, if you now have that earworm floating in your brain!)
We had a lovely decorated container in the main office with HLF printed on the side. We were requesting pocket change from our staff in order to stop the music each day. The music would play until we had $20 each day. Five days in a week, $20 or more a day, $100 or more in a week, ten months in the school year and we were proud to hand over to the HLF more than $1000 at the end of the school year.
One time a teacher called down to the office to inform us that they were having a parent interview at that particular time. We asked them if they had any change! Their teaching partners bailed her out and came running down to the office in order to get the noise to stop.
We did multiple genres of music. The worst in my mind being the heavy metal month, where the song I picked had some not very kind language. Thank you to my much younger staff who were able to hear the actual lyrics and alert me to the problem I created. A different song for the remainder of the week!
You will be able to find many websites that list the most annoying songs of all time. Hopefully, none of your favourites are there. In the final few months we had many staff suggestions, some I think chosen in order to poke good fun at their colleagues. (maybe a few inside jokes in those selections)
Check out the HLF, they do marvellous work, important work, needed work.
Try out my Interesting Idea for a fun, quick, fundraiser idea to support a local charity or organization. Annoy your staff for a good cause!
Halton administrators, annoy your staff for the Halton Learning Foundation.