Snow Day

It is a Snow Day today.  Please be advised that the school buses are not running today.  If you have driven your child to school today, you will have to pick them up at the end of the school day.

On Snow Days, the lunch program in cancelled.  Pizza lunch will be rescheduled to tomorrow, Thursday, December 18th.

The Intermediate Band Concert, being held at the Earl of March Secondary School at 7:00 p.m. will go ahead this evening.

November News

How quickly the month of November has flown by!

Remembrance Day

On Tuesday, November 11th, our Grade 7 and 8 students walked to the Kanata

Cenotaph and participated in the Remembrance Day Ceremony. Here at school,

the Kindergarten students assembled in the Library to remember, while the

Grades 1 to 6 students participated in an assembly in the gym.

Parent Teacher Interviews

Thank you to all of the families who were able to come and meet with teachers

last Thursday evening and Friday morning. There was a very positive feeling

throughout the school. It is important that home and school work together to support

student learning. If you were not able to meet your child/ren’s teacher(s), please

contact the respective teacher to arrange for a phone conversation or to schedule a


Book Fair

Thank you to all of you who took the time to visit our Book Fair. It was most



Lockdown and Secure Your Classroom practices have taken place.


Students in grades 3 through 8 enjoyed a memorable day at the Canadian Tire

Centre, Monday the 24th, for the 67s School Game Day.

Upcoming Events

Intermediate Band Concert

The Band Concert will be held on Wednesday, December 17th, at the Earl of

March Secondary School, 7:00 pm start.


Please mark your calendars for Friday, December 12th, at which time Kindergarten,

Primary and Junior Concerts will be taking place. More information from

classroom teachers will be forthcoming.

School Council Movie Night

Don’t forget to bring the family to the Holiday Movie Night, featuring Arthur

Christmas, Thursday, December 4th from 6-9 p.m.

Student Absence

Thank you very much for calling in your child’s absence or late arrival. It is a

tremendous help in ensuring students have been accounted for in a timely fashion.

Please call 613-592-4492 and leave a message on the voicemail 24 hours a day or

by email at


Family Movie Night
WEJ School Council will be hosting their first Family Movie Night of the Year, “Disney Muppets Most Wanted” Thursday, October 30th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the WEJ Gymnasium. Be sure to register for your FREE ticket, on the School Council website. There will be a canteen and donations are appreciated.

Halloween Celebration
Students are invited to wear their Halloween costumes on Friday, October 31st or to come to school dressed in black and orange colours. It is appreciated that face paint be used rather than wearing masks.

Report Cards/Parent Teacher Conferences
Progress reports will be sent home on Thursday, November 13th. Parent-Teacher interviews will take place on Thursday, November 20th from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. and also on Friday, November 21st from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. Information on scheduling interviews will be sent home along with the Report Card on Thursday, November 13th.

Update on the Incident in Downtown Ottawa yesterday

October 23, 2014

Dear Parents/Guardians:

On behalf of the school community, I extend our support and condolences to all those affected by the events on Parliament Hill. It was a difficult day for our community.

At the school, our first priority is always the safety of our students and staff. When we encounter situations of risk, we implement appropriate safety measures to secure the school and we make every effort to maintain a calm and safe learning environment.

In response to this incident, our school moved to Shelter in Place. “Shelter in Place” mode means regular activity continues within the school, but all exterior doors and windows are locked, and students are kept inside at lunch and recess.

In emergency situations, we receive communications support from the school district. This allows school staff to stay focused on school needs and ensures consistent and timely messaging to the community. Information was provided to parents through the media, social media (Twitter and Facebook), our district website (, and direct phone calls and e-mail to parents, the school website and telephone calls. At times like this, we are reminded of the importance of having up-to-date emergency contact information for all parents. Please ensure that your contact information is up to date.

As we resume regular operations, we will be keeping a close eye on student and staff well-being. We know that children may be confused by what they have heard concerning what has happened in our city yesterday. Most likely they will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children cope by listening, acknowledging and validating feelings and by being reassuring. At the school, we will provide resources and supports to students as required. Attached is an information sheet for parents to help manage conversations with children. This information is also posted on the district and our school website.

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school. I appreciate your ongoing support.

Marilyn Burans

Communication Tips for Parents and Teachers

Children may be confused by what they have heard about what has happened in our city today. Most likely they will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children cope by listening, acknowledging and validating feelings and by being reassuring.

Model calm and control – children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives.

Limit exposure to media coverage. Images of a crisis can become overwhelming, especially if watched repeatedly. Adolescents may choose to watch the coverage- be available to discuss what they are watching and help them put it into perspective.

Follow, don’t lead. Make time to talk, but don’t force discussion with children who don’t feel the need to discuss the issue. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient. Children do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or other chores. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.

Answer their questions. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate- young children need brief, simple information that is balanced with reassurances that the daily routines of their lives will not change.

Acknowledge and validate their feelings. Regardless of what emotion is being expressed, it is important for children to feel heard and believe that their feelings are accepted. As feelings are discussed, help children put their feelings into perspective.

Monitor your own stress level. Don’t ignore your own feelings of shock, worry, anger, etc. Talk to your support people – your family and friends, counselor. It is okay to let your children know that you too are surprised, confused, worried, saddened by has happened. You are better able to support your children if you can express your own emotions in a healthy manner.

Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that Ottawa is a safe community and that home and schools are very safe. Review safety precautions and review a plan for whom to talk to about any concerns they may have.

Update on Downtown Activities

We have been advised by the OCDSB that we are able to lift the Shelter in Place. Our children will remain inside the school until the end of the regular school day. Our Extended Day Program will operate as usual.

Students will be dismissed at our regular dismissal time. Transportation will run on our regular schedule, however, there may be some delays due to traffic disruption.

We want to thank you for your understanding and support over the course of today. A system wide Synervoice message will be sent to all parents/guardians from the OCDSB later this afternoon.

M. Burans and W. Erskine Johnston staff

Activities Downtown

Due to the activities that are happening downtown, our school is presently in Shelter in Place. The school doors are locked and we ask parents not to pick up your child until the shelter in place is lifted. Our field trip to the Beaver Pond this afternoon for some of our junior classes has been cancelled. All after school and evening activities, including community use, are cancelled.

WEJ School Council is offering Pizza and Pita Lunches and Milk or Juice

Please read the information and how to order regarding Jo-Jo’s Pizza and/or Pita Pit Lunches for students in Grades 1 to 8 and Milk or Juice for JK to Grade 8 students in the WEJ School Council link.

Pizza and Pita Lunch Orders are now OPEN (for the first term)!

Orders will be open until October 24, with deliveries starting the week of October 13 (milk/ juice will start on Tuesday, October 14, first Pita delivery on Tuesday, October 14 and Pizza on Wednesday, October 15). During the order period, you must submit and pay for your order by Wednesday to receive the food deliveries the following week (milk and juice is slightly different and will be delivered within a 7 day window). The ordering system will make this obvious to you and block out dates which have been missed such that you cannot order for those days.

Pita Pit Pitas: Tuesday Delivery

Fresh, healthy pita sandwiches are offered in a 6-inch size called a Petita™ that’s perfect for children.

Pita Pit is approved by the OCDSB and their food meets all the nutritional guidelines for food served in Ontario schools. Fun food doesn’t have to be junk food! Full nutritional and independent test kitchen results are available upon request.

Five tasty pitas are available (chicken breast, turkey, chicken souvlaki, ham, and veggie), each with the choice of five toppings, cheese, and a choice of two sauces!

Pricing $4.50 per pita.

Jo Jo’s Pizza: Wednesday Delivery

Locally owned and operated, Jo Jo’s Pizza will be operating WEJ’s pizza program this year. They meet the nutrition guidelines of the Board and are going to be great corporate partners!

Pricing: Pizza Slices are $2.50 each, Cheese and Pepperoni.

WEJ Reorganization

At the end of each school year, we organize the next year’s classes based upon the information we have at the time.

When we return in September, the OCDSB reviews class sizes and organization in all schools. To meet the Ministry’s directive, some class changes had to be made here at W. Erskine Johnston P.S. The parents of the effected class reorganizations have been notified. These changes came into effect on Monday September 29, 2014. As a result of this reorganization, some classroom timetables were affected. If this applies to your child’s class, your child’s teacher will inform you of the new schedule.

I want to extend a sincere thank you to all parents/guardians for your support, understanding and cooperation through this reorganization process.

Marilyn Burans

Welcome to W. Erskine Johnston Public School

50 Varley Drive, Kanata (Ottawa) K2K 1G7
Marilyn Burans, Principal
Colleen Robazza, Vice-Principal

Welcome back for another great year at W. Erskine Johnston P.S. The staff is very excited to be back to begin another year with our students. September is a favourite time of year for teachers with the promise of a fresh start. It is a great time to set up our classrooms, lay out the new school supplies, and enjoy the optimistic, energetic feeling after having enjoyed a wonderful summer break.

Welcome to our new students who have joined us at WEJ this year. We are happy to see our students this week looking fresh, eager and excited to be back with their friends.

This a good time for families to start the year off with positive routines that will enhance your child’s school success:
• A regular bedtime
• Healthy litterless lunches and snacks
• A regular review/homework/study time of 10 minutes per grade level
• Bring home the agenda to be checked and signed/or checking the class blog each evening
• More time for reading and less in front of the TV
• More time for exercise and fresh air
• Helping your child take responsibility for his/her cooperative behaviour and commitment to achieving a personal best this year.

The first month of school is a great time to get these positive habits in place.

Staffing News
We extend a warm welcome to teachers Dan Kline, Michael Braden, Aniqua Khan, Heather MacAskill, Kerrie Cameron, Alison Gurr, and Rebekka Bahm; and to our Early Childhood Educators, Karen McLaughlin, Chareen Moher, Kellie Grant, Melissa Hayes, and Sabrin Saraj.
We welcome back from leave Shannon Jorgensen and Andrea Steen.

Student Absence
It is most important that you report your child’s absence or late arrival by calling the school at 613-592-4492 or by email at

Do We Have Your Number?
We have sent home a number of forms for you to read, sign and return. It is essential to let the office know IMMEDIATELY should your home, work or cell numbers change throughout the school year. It is also very important to let us know should you move or your daycare changes.

School Bus Transportation
WEJ has 12 buses and 5 taxis this year. The OCDSB transportation policy clearly outlines protocol for bus privileges. Only those students who qualify for busing will be permitted to ride on the busses. Students will be transported only on their designated bus with consistent pick-up and drop-off locations. Any change will only be considered in the case of an emergency and must be arranged through the school office.
If you are picking up your child who normally rides the bus, you must sign him/her out in the office at the end of the day.

Parents can go on line and review any “bus delay” information from the OSTA website at Parents may reach the Transportation Office at 613-224-8800 # 2383 until 5 pm for information about buses or in case of emergencies.

Student Drop-Off and Parking

Thank you to the parents who are dropping their children off at the Lay-By on Varley Drive. Please be advised that the small parking lot located off Varley can only accommodate about a dozen vehicles and is intended for parents of Kindergarten students. Therefore, parking is limited to less than 10 minutes in this lot. Older students, driven to school, should be dropped off at the Varley Lay-By. Parents are asked not to park in the larger parking lot as those spots are reserved for school staff.

Due to the high number of school buses entering, the entrance way must be kept clear at all times, and therefore, there may be limited access to the small lot at any given point in time.

Student Safety
As a visitor/volunteer, you are asked to report to the main office upon school entry. Please do not go directly to any classroom or onto the schoolyard at recess times. If you are staying, we ask that you sign in and wear a visitor sticker while you are in the school building or on school property. If you are withdrawing your child(ren) from school during school hours, please send a note to the teacher indicating the date, time and reason for leaving. Office staff will call students down to the office to meet you. Parents are required to come in and sign out their child(ren) at the office if they are departing during school times.

Students who arrive late must receive an admit slip from the office.

We ask that you refrain from telephoning or coming into the office near the end of the school day to sign out your child, as office staff will not be able to contact your child in time.

W. Erskine Johnston Web Site
The school website is We will be updating information on staff, class blogs, and upcoming activities over the next several days.

School staff is not permitted to administer medication (prescription or non-prescription) to any students without authorization from the parent and physician. If it is necessary for your child to receive medication at school, an Ottawa-Carleton District School Board form must be completed by your doctor and brought to the school office. Forms must be signed by the physician who prescribed the medicine. Please do not send a note asking staff to administer any medicine on a casual basis; legally, we are not permitted to do so. Should medication or dosage change, a new form must be completed and signed by the physician.

Allergy-Smart School
Help to make WEJ and “allergy smart” school by creating a safe environment. Please do not send nuts/nut products or other allergens to school if your child has a classmate with a life-threatening allergy. We appreciate you taking time to read labels of items to ensure there are no “hidden” ingredients that are of concern.

School Council
Please consider getting involved in supporting W. Erskine Johnston P.S. by joining our School Council. The first meeting this year and the elections of the new Council for this year will be held on Tuesday, September 23rd in the library at 6:30 p.m.

Student Accident Insurance
Creating a caring and safe environment for our students is our top priority. Unfortunately, despite all reasonable precautions being taken, accidents can still happen. Some injuries may result in medical, dental or other expenses that are not covered by provincial health care or employer group plans. As a parent/guardian, you become responsible for these expenses.

Student accident insurance is available for purchase, on a voluntary basis, through Reliable Life Insurance Company. Forms can either be picked up from the school office or downloaded, or you may apply online at

The OCDSB encourages all parents/guardians to consider purchasing this insurance. If your child is involved in school related sports activities or is participating in any field trips out of the province you may wish to seriously consider the coverage options, which range from $13.00/year to $31.00/year. This coverage is for the entire calendar year and also applies outside of school hours. If you have any questions, please call Binks Insurance Brokers directly at 613-226-1350.

Meet the Teacher and Barbecue
You are invited to come to the school for a Meet the Teacher and Barbecue, sponsored by the School Council, on Thursday October 2nd, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. A professional service, Grillmaster, will be selling hot dogs and hamburgers. We hope you’ll come out and have an opportunity to meet each other.

Special Lunches and Milk and Juice
Thanks to the School Council, students will be able to participate in special lunches and/ or the Milk and Juice program. Information will be coming from School Council shortly.

School Photo Day
On Thursday, October 16th, a photographer from Earl Havlin Photography will be taking individual and class photos of all our students and classes. You are under no obligation to purchase the pictures. This year, on the same day after school, a family photo evening will also be provided beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Patrolled Crossing
We are fortunate to have an adult crossing guard at Varley Dr. and Carr Cres. Students, who cross there, do so under the supervision of the crossing guard.


Hello to all W. Erskine Johnston families,

On behalf of the staff at W. Erskine Johnston Public School, we would like to extend a warm welcome to all and a special welcome to any new families who have joined us this year. We are looking forward to a great school year and are eager to get started.

W. Erskine Johnston PS offers Full-Day Kindergarten, an English program (JK-8), a Middle French Immersion program (beginning in Grade 4), and a Learning Disability program class. The Extended Day Program, for before and after school child care, is available from 7:00 – 9:00 am and 3:45 – 6:00 pm.

On the first day, Tuesday September 2nd,

 Grade 1, 2 and 3 students will gather on the far side of the school; the Vanier yard. Signs indicating the grade levels will be posted on the side of the school building and students will head towards their respective grade.

Grades 4, 5, and 6 English students will go at the back of the portable area and gather by their respective grade number that will be posted on the back of the portables.

Grade 4, 5, and 6 Middle French Immersion students are asked to go to the front of the portable section and gather in front of their respective grade sign.

Intermediate students are to gather by the intermediate door; by the instrumental music room.

Teachers will be greeting each bus as it arrives.  Our staff will direct the students to their areas and then organize them into their class grouping.  It is not necessary for parents to come with their bus student(s).

Kindergarten students will be coming to school for either intake interviews (JK students) or welcome back sessions Tuesday and Wednesday.  SK students start full day Thursday September 4th and JK children start full day either Thursday September4th or Friday September 5th depending on their assigned staggered entry day.  All Kindergarten students will be in school full time beginning Monday, September 8th.

Enjoy the long weekend.  We look forward to seeing the students on Tuesday.

Marilyn Burans