Bel Ayr Elementary School

December 2022 Newsletter


Dear families,

On behalf of the staff, we would like to thank our Home and School committee members and our volunteers who gave their time to make our Holiday Shopping Day a huge success on Monday. The students were very excited!

We would also like to thank all of the families who are paying close attention to safety in our parking lot and drop off areas. The traffic in these areas has been drastically reduced and students are using the sidewalks instead of walking in the cul-de-sac after exiting vehicles. As a reminder, please drive past our two driveways before stopping or parking at the curb. There are signs to indicate where vehicles can stop/park.

December is a busy month as our students are eager to perform on stage and get underway with their classwork in term 2. We look forward to inviting families into our school again!


Shawn Marsh



    • December 5 - Student Gift Shopping

    • December 8 - School Assembly

    • December 13 - Grade P-2 Concerts (11am and 7pm). Doors open 10 minutes before each show

    • December 14 - Grade 3-6 Concerts (11am and 7pm) Doors open 10 minutes before each show

    • December 15 - Concert Storm Date

    • December 20 - Last day of school before the holiday break

    • December 21 - First day of the holiday break

    • January 3 - School re-opens

Lunch Monitors

We are looking to hire new lunch monitors. If this interests you, or if you know someone who would be interested, please phone Mr. Marsh at the main office.


Winter is Coming: Guidelines for Inclement Weather

Making the decision to alter the regular operations of school and/or school buses due to inclement weather is never an easy task. To learn more about how the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) makes this call, visit

When is the decision made?

HRCE’s goal is to make the decision as close to 6 a.m. as possible.

A 6 a.m. announcement could be:

  • All schools are delayed in opening by two hours and all bus pickups are delayed by two hours; or
  • All schools are open, but some or all buses are not operating for the day; or
  • Some schools (either individually or by family) are closed for the day; or
  • All schools are closed for the day.

If the weather deteriorates through the school day, the HRCE can decide to dismiss early. In the event of an early dismissal, the decision will be communicated as close to 11 a.m. as possible.

An 11 a.m. dismissal means:

  • Bused students will be picked up two hours earlier than their regular dismissal time; and
  • Walking students will be dismissed at their regularly-scheduled lunch hour.

Please Note: students in Grades Primary to 6 will not be released from school until parents/guardians or designates have been notified by the school.

How will families be notified?

  • Families will receive an email and text message (opt-in is required: text Y to 978338)*
  • Check our website at
  • Follow us on Twitter at @HRCE_NS
  • Call the HRCE information line at 902-464-INFO (4636)
  • All local radio stations are informed

Click here for a printable PDF of our guidelines.

*If you know someone who is NOT a parent/guardian who would like to receive an email and/or text message, let them know they can sign up here:

December 1st and 2nd In-Service Days

Do you ever wonder what teachers learn during in-service days? Let us share!

On December 1st, our staff learned more about the NS curriculum for Treaty Education in addition to taking time to write new strategies and action steps for our school's improvement plan.

For Treaty Education, teachers dove deeper into the meaning of the Land Acknowledgement and the origins of the Treaties of Peace and Friendship. They also explored the meaning of "unceded" in the context of land never being handed over to the European settlers by Indigenous peoples. For school improvement, we focussed on three goals under the umbrella of improving reading, mathematics, and student well-being. In literacy, we worked together to learn more about phonemic awareness, phonics, and vocabulary instruction. We used new resources to help us learn how to become better at teaching students to decode and understand words. In math, we shifted our focus to the teaching of multiplication fact fluency (grades 4-6) and basic number sense (grades P-3). Teachers are learning more about explicit instruction in these important areas of mathematics. For student well-being, teachers drafted strategies for learning more about culturally responsive teaching, analyzing curriculum/events for equity, a new school-wide incentive system, and contributions to lesson planning from our Equity Team.

On December 2nd, our specialists were off-site learning about curriculum implementation and assistive technology. At our school, grade P-3 and resource teachers collaborated together on research about the science of reading and phonemic awareness/phonics instruction. Our grade 4-6 teachers worked on learning about multiplication fact fluency research and ways they can integrate this into their daily instruction.

These two in-service days were well received by all and will help us move forward with greater focus as a school. If you have questions we are always happy to explain more!

Volunteer Checks

Are you interested in volunteering for future events or class trips? In order to volunteer with children at an HRCE school, you must submit a current Criminal Record/Vulnerable Sector ($30-$50) check and a Child Abuse Register Search (free). Please request a volunteer letter from our main office before applying for a Criminal Record/Vulnerable Sector check. This will also reduce the cost if you have it done in person at an RCMP detachment. We have some funding available upon request for reimbursements with original receipts.

After submitting both of these documents to our main office, you will be cleared for volunteering in our school for three full years from the dates indicated on your paperwork. Thank you for your interest and your time!

Student Absences and Symptom Monitoring

Absences due to various illnesses are on the rise in our school. We have rapid test kits available upon request. Please phone 902-435-8353 if you, or a member of your family, need a test kit. Our collective health depends on the work of our entire school community in seeking out available vaccines, doing frequent rapid tests, frequent hand washing, and staying home if we are symptomatic or ill. Thank you for your support and understanding!

SAC - New Member

We would like to welcome David Nash, our newest SAC parent-guardian member. Thank you for volunteering your time!


We are pleased to announce that our staff members are volunteering their time to allow us to move forward with our evening concerts. Two (2) tickets will be sent home to each household this week. Families requesting additional tickets can send back the yellow slips at the bottom of each notice to indicate the number of additional tickets desired. The capacity in our gymnasium is limited and thus only 50 extra tickets will be issued for each evening concert. Tickets are not required for our afternoon concerts.

December 13th - P-2 Concert 11 am and 7 pm

December 14th - 3-6 Concert 11 am and 7 pm

(Doors open at 10:50 am or 6:50 pm)

STORM DATE - December 15th

- Admission is free!

- Food bank donation boxes will also be available if you would like to support a local food bank.

Equity Team Update

Otis Daye, HRCE Student Equity Consultant, came to work with a small group of teachers at our school last month. They worked together to draft strategies and action steps that will help our students learn more about personal safety, social justice, discrimination, and sexual misconduct, assault, or harassment (in age-appropriate ways). As a staff, we wish to bring about a school-wide awareness about socially inappropriate behaviours that have become normalized in today's society or through social media.

Our Equity Team began the day by studying the Nova Scotia School Code of Conduct, which is the document used in schools to help us teach students about expected behaviours and how we can interrupt unacceptable behaviours. The team will send a separate letter home to families soon to outline their work in greater detail. This team will eventually have parent/guardian members who will add an additional layer of understanding, insight, and support. Thank you to Ms. Merrick who has already volunteered to be one of our parent/guardian members. More to come!

Positive Effective Behavioural Supports (PEBS)

On Thursday, we will have our second assembly to check in on how many pom poms have been accumulating in our classrooms. Staff and students will also help us name our giant cylinder this week! Many students who show kindness and responsibility are recognized with our pom poms each day.
Big picture

3 versus 3 Basketball Update

The students who signed up for our 3 vs 3 basketball tournament continue to participate each day. This tournament is almost completely organized by our students. We have student referees, officials, and score keepers. Well done, students!


Photomaster Studios would like to remind families that they can still order photos from their website below:

Any orders received before Dec 15th will be sent to the school in time for the holiday!

Important News and Events

BusPlanner Text Messaging

Does your child ride the bus? We are excited to introduce text messaging through BusPlanner!

To ensure compliance with Canadian Anti-Spam laws, you must opt-in to receive information by text message. You can opt-in by logging into BusPlanner Parent Portal.

By opting in, you will receive texts from BusPlanner, including late notifications, general notices, and bus cancellations due to inclement weather.

Click here for directions on how to opt-in.

Don’t have a BusPlanner Parent Portal account? Need help logging in? Please contact the HRCE Student Transportation Team at or call 902-431-4723.

School Insurance Program (SIP) - Your child is automatically covered for accidents and injuries that happen during the school day. If you want to have 24/7 coverage including the summer months it only costs $14.00/year for a gold plan.

Did you know? HRCE is growing!

More than 57,000 students are currently enrolled in the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE). In the last five years, enrolment has increased by 7,733 and that number continues to grow!

As our region's population expands (Nova Scotia's population reached one million last year), new families are registering all year round. This is an exciting time for our province, our city and for HRCE!

You can learn more here:

School Cash

Our school will post items for purchase and assign school fees relevant to your child (eg. pizza orders). You can make all purchases and payments from your phone, tablet or computer.

We would like families to register as soon as possible.

To get started, please register for SchoolCash Online. It’s free and takes less than two minutes. You will receive an email once items are posted for purchase.

Visit and click Register to get started.

Need support? Connect with the SchoolCash Online help desk at

We hope that SchoolCash Online makes paying school-related fees more convenient!

Allergy Alert

Please be reminded that we have students who have life threatening allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, and eggs (ingestion only). We would ask that you do not send food items in lunch bags containing peanuts, tree nuts and sesame seeds as these can contaminate surfaces.