Parent Newsletter

Macdonald Drive Junior High, May 2021

Dates to Remember

  • May 3 - Condensed day starts
  • May 12 - Teacher PD - No school for students
  • May 24 - Victoria Day Holiday
  • May 31 - Teacher PD - No school for students
  • June 1 and 2 - Grade 9 Vaccinations
  • June 24 - Last day of school for students
PowerSchool Login

Keep up to date with student attendance and marks! If you need your PowerSchool password, please contact the main office at 753-8240.

Important Info

Condensed Day Information

April 26, 2021

Dear Families,

This letter is to advise families of an adjustment in the schedule for students attending select junior high schools in the St. John’s Metro region.

As of Monday, May 3, students attending Beaconsfield Junior High, Frank Roberts Junior High, Macdonald Drive Junior High, and St. Peter’s Junior High will see their school day compressed, resulting in a shorter lunch period and a dismissal time approximately one hour earlier than usual.

After consultation with the Department of Education, school administrators, and teaching staff at these schools, it was determined that this move would limit the opportunity for students to mix with other cohorts during the school day. During this condensed day, all students will be required to remain on school property at all times.

Individual schools will communicate changes to their specific schedules. It should be noted that administrators and teaching staff will work additional short breaks into the school day, and make every effort to bring cohorted classes outside for breaks and instruction whenever possible.

Beyond the timing adjustment in the afternoon, student transportation arrangements will remain unchanged. Bus runs will remain the same for morning pick-up, but will return students home approximately one hour earlier in the afternoon.

We recognize this has been a challenging school year for many students and families, and that this change to the school schedule may mean some personal adjustments for families. This will, however, help limit the potential for mixing of cohorts outside the school environment during the school day, thereby allowing your school to more effectively adhere to the latest Public Health recommendations and remain open.

We sincerely appreciate your continued help in protecting the safety of our schools at this time.


Andrew Hickey
Assistant Director of Education (Programs),
Avalon Region

Condensed Day Q&A

This Q&A is to clarify points contained in a letter sent by the English School District on April 27. This document is for families of MDJH students regarding the condensed day that will be implemented at MDJH to limit mixing of cohorts outside of the school environment during the school day.

  1. When is this starting?
    The compressed day will start on Monday, May 3.

  2. What is the new schedule?
    The new schedule is as follows:

    Period 1: 8:05 - 9:01
    Period 2: 9:02 - 9:53
    RECESS 9:53-9:58
    Period 3: 9:59 - 10:55
    LUNCH: 10:55 - 11:15
    Period 4: 11:17 - 12:13 PM
    Period 5: 12:14 - 1:10

  3. Will there be a morning Homeroom?
    No. A warning bell will sound at 8:00. Classes will begin at 8:05.

  4. Will students still have recess?
    At the end of Period 2, we have a recess break when students will be permitted to eat at their desk.

  5. Will students be permitted to leave at lunch?
    No, students MUST remain in their classroom.

  6. Will Chartwells be available for purchasing food?
    Food can be purchased only through online ordering until 8am on the same morning, and will be brought to the class. Students will not be able to purchase food from Chartwells during the lunch period. Students can also bring a packed lunch from home.

  7. Will students be permitted to move about?
    During periods 1, 3 and 5, assigned classes will be scheduled for a “walk about” to get up and stretch. Staff are also encouraged to “get moving” in all other classes.

  8. Will buses run an hour earlier in the afternoon?
    Yes. Students will be dismissed at 1:10 and buses will take students home at that time. Morning bus times will not be affected.

  9. Will all junior high schools move to this model?
    The decision to expand to other junior high schools rests with the District and the Department of Education. At this point, only certain junior high schools will begin with this condensed day. These are the larger, pure (that is, containing only Grade 7, 8 and 9 students) junior high schools, and busing was able to be accommodated.

  10. Why is this being done?
    A condensed day will allow our school to more effectively adhere to the latest Public Health recommendations and ultimately remain open as it will limit the potential for mixing of cohorts outside of the school environment during the school day.

What's Been Going On...

Webinar with Canadian Authors

Canadian authors Eric Walters and Sigmund Brouwer have been doing online panel discussions with other award-winning Canadian children and YA authors and illustrators. Since we cannot have author visits in our school due to the pandemic, they came to us virtually and the best part was these authors would not normally even come to NL!

On April 23, we visited with a cast of Canadian all-star writers including Kelley Armstrong, Kathy Kacer, Teresa Toten, Marthe Jocelyn and Vicki Grant. Along with host Eric Walters, these authors created the best-selling Secrets series — linked novels for grades 4 -10 — about girls who search for the truth behind their families after their orphanage burns down.

Students enjoyed listening to the authors talk about how they became authors, and how they got their ideas for their work. They also enjoyed hearing the authors read their own work and they were especially intrigued by seeing what the authors looked like.

Share a Piece of Kindness - Remembering Ethan Paul

Big picture

Other News


Ramadan Mubarak to all those families celebrating the Holy Month of Ramadan!

Chess Club

On Saturday, April 17, Chess Buddies Canada hosted a nation-wide chess tournament, featuring 42 players! We would like to recognize MDJH student Emmett Booth for his participation in this tournament. Emmett faced some of the strongest players across Canada and scored a high performance rating of 1369! Congratulations Emmett!

On May 29, Chess Buddies Canada will be hosting the next monthly online tournament. The only requirement for this event is that players have a account. It is free, and you only need an email address to register. The link to join the tournament will be posted on the day of the tournament on the Chess Buddies Canada website under the tournament section.

If you have any questions, please contact Tanish Bhatt at

For more information regarding the club and upcoming tournaments, visit our website at and you can join the local club ( for news and updates.

Volunteer Appreciation Week

April 19-23 was Volunteer Appreciation Week, the motto of which was The Value of One, The Power of Many. The theme reflects the inspiring acts of kindness by so many of our Kids Eat Smart Club volunteers, such as those that help make the breakfast program at MDJH such a great success. Thank you for all you do.

Spring Cleaning

Julia Bassler, her cousin Charlotte, and her dad Paul used the nice weather to collect garbage at the Toronto Street Park. Thanks for helping to keep our school grounds clean!

Spring Fever

Mr. Sharpe and Ms. Shepherd are stylin' in their matching jackets! And they are a MDJH school match, too!

Student Council News

CSLC (Canadian Student Leadership Conference)

MDJH students have attended the National Student Leadership Conference annually for the past several years. To continue to offer these leadership opportunities to our students, the organizers will be offering the conference next fall in a virtual forum. There is a cost to participate which will depend upon the number of participants from the school, and this information will be passed on when it is available.

What does your registration include?

  • 3 days of conference programming plus a pre-conference day to learn about our virtual campus
  • 4 keynote speakers: Drew Dudley, Kayla Grey, Carol Leaman, Harnaryan Singh
  • 4 workshops with student choice available
  • Spirit Group sessions, student idea sharing, and presentations
  • Cultural moments, energizers and other interactive activities
  • Full Advisor program including workshops, speakers and networking
  • CSLC 2021 swag sent directly to your school
  • & MORE! To be announced as we continue our planning.

This is an opportunity for students in grades 9-12. Any student presently in grade 8 interested in attending this virtual conference in the fall should email There are a number of delegate spots allocated per school. Names will be put on a list in the order they are received.

Grade 9 Baby Picture Slideshow

As part of our Grade 9 School Leaving Celebrations, we would like to have a slideshow of all of our grade 9 students. We will show a baby picture of the student (toddler, primary or elementary is acceptable as well) and then their grade 9 school picture. Please select only one baby picture to email picture to

Yearbooks 2020-2021

You can now place your order for the 2020-2021 yearbook. Orders can be placed online by going to, the Yearbook ID code is 11573721. The cost is $25.

For anyone unable to place the order online, order forms are available in homeroom and and a the office and are payable with cash or cheque made out to MDJH. All orders should be submitted to Colette Quann. The deadline for ordering is May 31.

There are still a few 2019-2020 yearbooks available for purchase. Please contact

Yearbook Pictures

Thank you to everyone who submitted pictures for the yearbook. Please send any pictures to If you are sending from a cell phone, please select "actual size" to ensure the quality is good for uploading to the yearbook.

Celebrating Student’s Successes

We want to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of the students of MDJH. We have a wall of celebration where we will place a certificate of acknowledgement highlighting participation and success in a variety of activities. We want to know if your child has participated in any plays, musicals or has been on a team that has won some title or has been recognized in any individual competition. We need your help with this. Please let us know so we can proudly display this on our wall. Please email with Celebrate YOUR CHILD’S NAME in the subject line.


Results from The Eastern Newfoundland Regional Science and Technology Fair

MDJH Students did really well at the Eastern Newfoundland Regional Science and Technology Fair in late April. TWO of the MDJH projects were chosen as Canada-wide Science Fair Finalists! Congratulations everyone!

Orpa Hawlader - Surface Tension on Floating Objects and Cheerios Effect

  • Gold Medal - Junior Physical Science

  • First Place Overall Junior Project - $250

  • Canada Wide Science Fair Finalist 2021

Dipayan Dhar - Here Comes the Sun: The Potential of Solar Energy in NL

  • Gold Medal - Intermediate Physical Science

  • First Place Overall Intermediate Project - $250

  • Canada Wide Science Fair Finalist 2021

Adhira Ganesh and Alpita Patro - Resistance is fruitile

  • Gold Medal - Junior Life Science

  • Second Place Overall Junior Project - $150

Arika Rahman and Meghna Saha - Gel Electrophoresis Chamber

  • Honourable Mention

Sheza Chowdhury and Nasarajswari Devarapalli - Can We Truly Trust Our Senses?

  • Honourable Mention

Sanofi Biogenius Competition 2021

The Sanofi Biogenius Competition is a National Science Fair for students in Grades 9 to 12 that focuses on biology and biotechnology. There are nine competitions across different regions in Canada.

Our very own Tanish Bhatt participated recently. His project was called "Analyzing influenza vaccine effectiveness by comparing protein alignments of commonly circulating viruses and vaccine component strains." He was the winner of the regional competition (Atlantic Canada) and had the best project of all competitors in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Tanish was selected as the Atlantic Canadian Representative at the National Biogenius Competition which took place April 27. Tanish said that it was an awesome experience and he learned a lot that could be applied to his future projects. Congratulations Tanish!

Big picture

Science Students Separating Mixtures and Doing an Earth Day Cleanup!

As part of our study on separation of mixtures, students participated in an experiential learning activity to practice the scientific skill of hand sorting. Namely, we sorted litter from the school yard by having an Earth Day clean up. Students demonstrated persistence and creative problem-solving skills, as well as a sincere commitment to the quality of our shared environment. They really did me proud! - Mme Brunet

The Great Grade 7 Filtration Contraption Caper

Mme Brunet took advantage of the nice weather to get her class outside to perform filtration experiments. And no worries about accidental spills! Smart thinking Mme Brunet!

Grade 8 Science

Some of Mme Brunet's students working on an interconnectedness of body systems activity and soaking up some sun!