Parent Newsletter

Macdonald Drive Junior High, January 2019

Dates to Remember

  • January 29 - School Spelling Bee
  • February 1 - Term 1 Ends
  • February 4 - Term 2 begins
  • February 11 to 15 - Teacher Appreciation Week
  • February 18 - Winter Break - Holiday
  • February 25 to March 1 - Spirit Week
  • February 27 - Pink Day
  • March 22 - Term 2 Reports
  • March 28 - Parent Teacher Interviews

Safety in the parking lot

Due to congestion in the parking lot during commute times before and after school, we are instituting some new parking lot policies. The safety of students and staff is of utmost importance. Please adhere to the following:

  • Before school and after school, students will use the Student Entrance EXCLUSIVELY.

  • When entering the parking lot, please note that there are TWO lanes off of Toronto St.

    • The left lane, closest to the field, is to be used for Student Drop-off and Pick-up. Students MUST be dropped off at the Student Entrance. They cannot be dropped off at or use the Main Office Entrance.

    • The right lane that runs alongside the sidewalk is for Busses, Staff, and Special Transportation ONLY.

  • School Busses have the right of way at all times.

    • At 2:20 ALL traffic must stop in ALL directions to allow the busses to exit the parking lot.

    • Please do not pull out in front of a bus under any circumstance.

    • Please ensure you stop at the STOP sign (at the end of drop-off area) to allow busses the right of way.

  • Cars coming off of Macdonald Drive onto Toronto St. and those coming down Toronto St. in the opposite direction, should use the “zipper method” and allow one car at a time from each direction to enter the lanes. Busses still have the right of way.

  • Once in the Drop-off lane in front of the school, cars should move as far forward as possible in a line all the way up to the STOP sign. This ensures that traffic is continuously moving, and alleviates a lot of the congestion on Toronto Street. Please do not stop directly in front of the door and let your child out.

  • Doors open at 7:45. Dismissal is at 2:10. Parents are asked to park their vehicle in the parking lot for MDJH or MDE if they arrive before the doors open or before students are dismissed. Parents should NOT park and wait in front of the bus lane or across either of the two crosswalks. This causes a lot of congestion.

  • When exiting the Drop-off lane, please wait for the car in front of you to move before you pull out. Do NOT pull out around other vehicles once you have picked up or dropped off your child.

  • Other

    • During the school day, including recess and lunch, students MUST use the Main Office Entrance (the Student Entrance is locked at this time).

    • Students are to use the crosswalks, and NOT cross in between busses.

    • Students are NOT to walk along the median or wait on the median to be picked up.

    • Students who have medical reasons (ie. using crutches) may also use the bus lane around the building to the Main Office Entrance.

    • There is no right turn onto the parking lot after the Drop-off lane STOP Sign.

Let’s all work together to ensure that MDJH is a safe place to be! Thanks for your cooperation.

Chronic Absenteeism

"Many children and youth in Newfoundland and Labrador are routinely absent from school without excuse or reason. Once they become disconnected from school, it can be hard to reverse. These children often lose their social connections, they drop behind in the curriculum, they miss opportunities to participate in school activities, and eventually they may disappear from school completely. There is a long list of root causes for these absences. Although this is not a new issue, it is a very troubling one which affects students across all grades and can have lasting impacts throughout their lives." - Child Youth Advocate

Check out this report by the Child and Youth Advocate, Chronic Absenteeism: When Children Disappear

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Please contact the office for password information. (709)753-8240.

Science Updates

MUN Chemistry at MDJH - A student's perspective

On Wednesday January 9, 2019, two chemists from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) came to do a lab with the Grade 9 classes. They brought all kinds of different materials and set up eight different stations around the room.

Our science teacher, Mr. Phil Smith, introduced them and explained that they were here because we were learning about physical and chemical properties and change, and they had set up some experiments for us to do. We were all excited and eager to get started, so we were put into groups of two or three and allowed to begin the experiments.

My group started at a table with tea candles, vinegar, and baking soda. We followed the instruction sheet and combined the vinegar and baking soda in a graduated cylinder. The ingredients immediately began to react! So, we lit a tea light and poured out the gas from our reaction onto the candle. The candle promptly went out as if we had poured a liquid onto it! It was possibly one of the coolest things I have ever done in school! Suddenly, the material we had just been learning in class came to life. Instead of writing “this would be a chemical change because the reaction would release gas,” we got to watch the reaction unfold and be a part of it. We were like “Hey! The vinegar just made bubbles and released gas, it must be a chemical reaction!” The material from our classes suddenly came to life!

Plus, the chemists could answer all our questions more in depth and far better than any textbook or worksheet ever could. All in all, it was a phenomenal experience where we got to apply our knowledge, and get hands-on with the guidance of professionals.


Rachel Hattenhauer, 9-4

Science Fair Season is starting!

This year again, all grade 7 students will be required to complete a science fair project and present it in class. This assignment will count for about 10% of their final science average.

Students can work on their own or with a partner of their choice. The project will be due at the end of February, with the exact date set by individual teachers. Participation in the school Science Fair, which will be on the afternoon of Thursday, March 14th, is optional and rewarded with 5% bonus marks. Top projects will have the opportunity to attend the Regional Science Fair.

For grade 8 and 9 students, the Science Fair is optional for extra credit in their science course. Students with an interest in science are encouraged to prepare a project to present at the School Science Fair. We will send as many projects as possible to the Regional Science Fair.

Science teachers will provide project guides to all students completing a project. Grade 7 teachers will allow a few class periods for students to research an idea and start planning their experimental procedure with teacher guidance, and will set a timeline for the various stages of the work. Grade 8 and 9 students who choose to complete a project will need to work more independently. Additional support for all grade levels will be offered during lunchtime twice a cycle in room 124 (Mme Brunet’s classroom). Science teachers, internet access, and use of school science lab supplies will be available for students.

Project guides in French and in English are available online at

The MDJH School Science Fair will be on Thursday, March 14, 2019, 1:00 - 5:30 pm.

Wanted! Science Fair Judges

The MDJH School Science Fair this year will be Thursday, March 14, 2019, 1:00-5:30 pm.

Science students are getting to work, creatively designing and performing experiments. Many of them will be proudly showing off their work at our School Science Fair. It will be, as every year, a big event with a high degree of community involvement from parents and other scientists. We are proud of our high rate of student participation!

If you have a science background and want to share in the excitement of doing and talking science with young people, we want you! Judges visit individual projects and engage the students in conversation about their work, giving each participant the benefit of a supportive, enthusiastic, and thoughtful audience for their learning. Then the judges help select the Science Fair winners, who will have the option of going on to the Regional Science Fair or other event depending on their type of project.

If you are able to participate, please contact me at

If you have a child in our school, you will be asked to judge a different grade.

If you know someone else who would like to be involved, please forward this information.

Nathalie Brunet, Science teacher and Department Head, MDJH.

Let's Talk Science Challenge

Macdonald Drive Junior High students will be taking part in the Let’s Talk Science Challenge ( ), which is a science competition open to students in grades 7 and 8.

Interested students will form teams of up to 4 students, prepare by studying provided materials in their chosen science disciplines, and will have meetings once a cycle during lunchtime with teachers to practice solving “Design Challenges” that hone their problem-solving and team communication skills.

The teams will prepare under the direction of Mme Brunet and Mr. Walsh (intern). The final competition will take place at Memorial University in April or May, exact date TBA. Stay tuned for the call for interested students!

MATE ROV Competition

Once again this year, Macdonald Drive Junior High students will be taking part in the MATE ROV Competition at the Marine Institute under the direction of Mr. Thorne and Mr. Smith, exact date TBA. ( ) Stay tuned for the call for interested students!

MDJH Sports Updates

Student Council News

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week is February 11-15. We 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, February 11- Grade 7
  • Tuesday, February 12- Grade 8
  • Wednesday, February 13- Grade 9.

If you are able to send along a treat, please email or All treats must be peanut and cinnamon free.

Spirit Week

Spirit Week will be held from February 25 to March 1. Theme days and lunchtime activities will be announced in the next newsletter.

Canadian Student Leadership Conference

The next national leadership conference will be September 24 - September 29, 2019, in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The theme is Empowering Inner Resources. The conference theme will flow through the keynote speeches, leadership workshops, volunteer opportunities and cultural experiences of the conference.

Any current grade 8 student interested in attending this conference next year should see Ms. Quann. Parents can email to express a desire to have your child attend this conference. There are limited spaces so students will be placed on a list in order of email received with an expression of interest.

You can visit the website for more details. Registration opens in March. All students who have expressed an interest will be registered but may be put on a waitlist until registration ends and the number of student delegates for each province is allotted.


There are several 2017-2018 yearbooks available for purchase.The cost is $20. Please contact if you wish to purchase a yearbook from last year. You can also preorder next year’s yearbook. Forms are available at the office and from Ms. Quann.

Yearbook Pictures

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.

Celebrating Students' Successes

We want to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of the students of MDJH. We have a wall of celebration where we place certificates of acknowledgement highlighting our students' participation and successes 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.

Photography Club

Photography club meets every second Wednesday from 3-4:30. Each month there is a photo contest. Club members are reminded to please submit their photos to