Parent Newsletter

Macdonald Drive Junior High, February 2021

Dates to Remember

  • February 8 - Information session on IB Program at HHM
  • February 8-12 - Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week
  • February 22-26 - Spirit Week
  • February 25 - KES NL Breakfast Blitz
  • March 8 - Teacher PD Day - No school for students

What's been going on...

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Black History Month, February 2021

Each February, Canada and the United States celebrate Black History Month. It is the time of the year when we highlight the history of Black people and the struggles and victories of their past.

This year is the 25th anniversary of Black History Month in Canada and this year in particular the Black Lives Matter movement is highlighting the challenges many people and their families face in their daily struggle for equality. Let’s reflect on the difference we as individuals can make each day through the power of our words, our choices and our actions.

This year’s Canadian theme for Black History Month is The Future is Now!

These links have some excellent videos and information on Black History Month for 2021:

Black History Month_ 2021 (commercial)

Black History Month _ Heritage Canada

Celebrate Black History Month _ PBS

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The Importance of Being on Time

When students are organized and arrive to school on time, it helps reduce classroom interruptions and distractions allowing teachers to focus on teaching lessons to all students. Being on time also shows respect for both themselves and their teacher.

A reminder that school doors open at 7:45 and Homeroom begins at 8:05. Students are expected to be seated in their classroom by 8:05am.

Bell Let's Talk

Bell Let’s Talk Day took place on January 28, and Canadians everywhere joined in the global mental health conversation. On this day, Bell donated 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long-distance call, tweet or TikTok video using the #BellLetsTalk hashtag.

At MDJH, we provided a pre-packaged breakfast to every student and staff member in the school. This breakfast was made possible through a partnership between Bell Aliant and the Kids Eat Smart Foundation of Newfoundland. It consisted of a piece of fruit, a school-safe muffin, a cheese stick, and a juice box.

Special thanks also goes out to Costco for donating the school-safe muffins. While eating breakfast, the kids took part in a school-wide lesson plan aimed at reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health. It was a well-received event and the kids enjoyed taking part in the conversation.

Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global informal education framework which recognizes and celebrates young people's achievements outside of the classroom. The Award allows participants to determine what they are passionate about, regardless of their background, culture or access to resources. The Award can play a critical role in a young person's development by creating opportunities to develop skills, get physically active, perform community service, and experience adventure.

This year at MDJH, we have 68 students working towards their Bronze Award. Since October, students have been working independently toward their skill, physical activity, and community service hours. Training for their adventurous journey began at the school this weekend and will continue until April.

Chess Club

The MDJH Chess Club will be running in the Library on Days 4 and 5 from 11:30am until the end of lunch. Day 4 is for grade 7s, and Day 5 is for Grade 8s and 9s. It’s open to everyone. This year, we will also be offering chess lessons for beginners.

If you have any questions, please see Balthazar.
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.

Coming up...

International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Holy Heart of Mary

On Monday, February 8, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) will host an information session for parents/guardians of current Grade 9 students interested in learning more about the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. The virtual meeting will take place at 7:45 p.m., with the link to be posted on the Holy Heart of Mary school website. Families will be able to access further details on the program, ask questions, and evaluate whether the IB Program could be of benefit to their Grade 9 student.

The IB Program is an internationally recognized university preparation program which aims to educate students through comprehensive curriculum to become creative, critical thinkers, effective communicators, and globally aware citizens. The IB Diploma program complies with provincial diploma requirements and is a challenging alternative for those who seek to expand their educational horizons. The Program offers high quality international education to a worldwide community of schools and is recognized as such by postsecondary institutions. There are more than 900,000 IB students in over 140 countries.

The IB Program is provincially sponsored by the NLESD and any student in the province may apply to attend. The NLESD’s IB Program is hosted at Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John’s and students who enroll are required to attend in person at that school.

Complete information on the NLESD’s IB Program is available here:

For families who may be interested, current Grade 9 students should apply by Tuesday, February 16 in order to be considered for placement in the IB Program for September 2021.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

Debbie Howse

Provincial Director of Programs and Comprehensive School Health NLESD

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week is February 8-12. The MDJH School Council would like to ask our school community to show appreciation for the staff of MDJH by providing treats at recess and lunch. As in past years, we would like to have grade levels provide on different days:

  • Monday, Feb. 8 - Grade 7
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9 - Grade 8
  • Wednesday, Feb.10 - Grade 9

If you are able to send along a treat, please email All treats must be individually packaged to adhere to public health regulations and must be school-safe.

NL Virtual Science and Technology Fair

Science fair season is coming up. MDJH students are encouraged to speak with their Science teachers if this is something they are interested in. A Google Classroom has been set up for more information for the MDJH fair. The date for the school fair is TBA.

Students can also participate in the fair sponsored by the Eastern Newfoundland Science Fair Council who are hosting a virtual science fair this coming April. Students from grades 7 to 12 are eligible to compete. Single or 2-person projects are eligible. The Eastern NL Fair which will include students from schools on the Avalon Peninsula will take place on Friday, April 23, 2021. Registration will open in early March and remain open for approximately 3 weeks (more info on this to follow).

Below is a Google Drive link to the updated science fair instructions documents as well as a sample science fair presentation (by Nicholas Flowers from Hopedale who won the Outside Eastern Fair last year).

Six students from the Avalon Peninsula will be chosen to represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the virtual Canada Wide Science Fair in May.

More information will be posted on their website as it becomes available.

If you have any questions about the regional fair, please contact Both fairs were a great success last year and we hope they will be even better this year.

Other News!

Teens and Vaping

There are known and unknown consequences of youth vaping. Talk to your teen about it. Get the facts at

#talktoyourkids @nlesdca @actnl @EasternHealthNL

These resources were developed by Health Promotion Consultants from each Regional Health Authority to deliver key messages about vaping to youth and their caregivers. Additionally, The Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance for the Control of Tobacco (ACT) launched a youth vaping prevention advertising campaign on social media in January 2021.

Please Complete the School Development Survey

School development surveys are conducted annually to gather feedback from students, staff, and parents/guardians to inform the school development process. The survey results will be provided to your child’s school and used with other data to identify the school’s strengths and challenges. Your child’s school will then create and implement a plan to build on successes and address areas of challenge.

The survey is anonymous and we encourage everyone to participate so that we have the most accurate representation of family perceptions at your school.

The Family Survey will be available on February 8. Please complete the survey by March 19 by clicking on the following link: If you do not have internet access, contact your school.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the school development surveys, please contact Allan Johnson at 709-729-7831 or or Patricia Emberley at 709-729-6850 or

Thank you for your participation and for being a valued member of your school community.



Joanne Hogan

Director, Evaluation and Research Division


If your child requires additional help in math or science, online tutoring is being offered for free through CDLI (Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation). See the schedule for the days these subjects are being offered for grades 7-9. You can click on the link to math or science and sign in at that time. See link below:

Roots of Empathy

To help parents and educators during these challenging times and beyond, please watch and share the "Parenting Through COVID-19 Video Series, With Founder and President Mary Gordon." Various topics include sleep, play, school anxiety, friendship, intrinsic motivation, and (our most recent video) resilience. The videos are available in 19 languages, including 6 indigenous languages. Here is the link:

Student Council News

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Grade 9 Baby Picture Slideshow

As part of our grade 9 school-leaving celebrations, we would like to show a slideshow of all of our grade 9 students. We will show 2 pictures. One will be their grade 9 school picture and the other will be a baby, a toddler, or primary- or elementary-age picture provided by you. Please select one picture only. To be included in this slideshow, please email the picture to


There are still a few 2019-2020 yearbooks available for purchase. The cost is $25. Please contact if you wish to purchase a yearbook from last year.

Photos Wanted

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

Celebrate Student Success

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.

MDJH Music

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February Challenge

We are a month into the New Year! To kick off the shortest month, we propose a challenge to our band and string students. Practice 10 minutes a day, every day, for the month of February and win a prize! Finding the time to practice is a challenge in itself but all students should be able to carve out 10 minutes of their day to devote to their instrument. All returned practice sheets win a prize, regardless of the number of days completed. Top awards go to those who complete all 28 days!
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MDJH Sports

Sports Practice Schedule

2:30-4:00pm – Grade 8 Boys Basketball
4:30-6:00pm – Grade 8 Boys Volleyball
4:30-6:00pm – Grade 7 Boys Volleyball

2:30-4:00pm – Grade 9 Boys Volleyball
2:30-4:00pm – Grade 9 Girls Volleyball (Team Walsh)
4:30-6:00pm – Grade 9 Girls Basketball


2:30-4:00pm – Grade 8 Girls Volleyball (Team Hassan)
2:30-4:00pm – Grade 9 Girls Volleyball (Team House)
4:30-6:00pm – Grade 7 Girls Volleyball (Team Foley)
4:30-6:00pm – Grade 7 Girls Volleyball (Team Goldsworthy)

2:30-4:00pm – Grade 7 Girls Basketball
4:30-6:00pm – Grade 7 Boys Basketball

2:30-4:00pm – Grade 9 Boys Basketball
4:30-6:00pm – Grade 9 Boys Volleyball
4:30-6:00pm – Grade 8 Girls Volleyball (Team Keough)

11:00-12:30pm – Grade 8 Girls Basketball
1:00-2:30pm – Grade 8 Girls Volleyball (Team Keough)
1:00-2:30pm – Grade 9 Girls Volleyball (Team Walsh)
3:00-4:30pm – Grade 9 Girls Volleyball (Team House)