Parent Newsletter

Macdonald Drive Junior High, March 2020

Dates to remember

  • March 9 - Teacher PD Day - No school for students
  • March 12 - School Science Fair 1:00pm-5:30pm
  • March 13 - Pi Day cake auction
  • March 16 - District Holiday
  • March 17-20 - La semaine de la Francophonie
  • March 20 - Report Cards
  • March 23-27 - KES Fill Your Cupboards
  • March 26 - Parent teacher interviews - 12:30-6:30pm, Thursday
  • March 27 - Teacher PD day - No school for students
  • May 26 - Provincial Reading and Mathematics Assessment - One hour assessment for grade 9s
  • May 28 - Grade 9 Carnival

What's been going on...


An awesome day at Pippy Park with the MDJH LEARN class. This is the first time skiing and snowshoeing for many of these students! They learn fast!!

Kindness week

This year MDJH celebrated Kindness Week from February 24-28. It was a wonderful and fun-filled week of activity and celebration with an important theme. Special thanks to all the teachers and students who made it so special.

Check out all the goin's on below!


On Monday, teachers greeted students with kindness signs, and teachers introduced kindness bingo to their classes. Students really enjoyed the kindergarten games that were set up in the gym during lunch. Real life Hungry Hungry Hippo was a huge hit!


On Tuesday, teachers handed out lollipops to students as they entered the building. Mr. Connolly treated students to a kindness rap over the P.A., and we had a students vs. teachers dodgeball game in the gym. A good time was had by all!


On Wednesday, we celebrated Pink Day. Special thanks to all parents who donated pink cupcakes. We were able to feed every student a cupcake during period 2. Students also participated in a talk about bullying and watched some videos about how Pink Day started. Ms. Pickett and her choir did kindness caroling during lunch hour, what a great time!


On Thursday, we focused on the importance of self-care, as we all know we cannot be kind to others until we are kind to ourselves first. Students participated in an extended homeroom where they completed a self-care quiz, and discussed how we can be kind to ourselves. At lunch hour we had a basketball game with the MDJH boys' team vs grade 10 Gonzaga team.


On Friday, we had a teacher vs. student volleyball game in the gym at lunch and made some prize draws for kindness bingo.

Telegram Spelling Bee

Congratulations to Raina Aylward and Tanish Bhatt who represented our school quite well at the recent regional Spelling Bee at Holy Heart. Both representatives arrived hours earlier than the competition's start time on February 29, to register and receive their numbers and treat bags. For Tanish, this was familiar territory as it was his fourth consecutive time participating, but for Raina it was all new and exciting, as well as a little intimidating!

Tension built throughout the competition as the high stakes became apparent with each eliminated contestant. Raina remembers receiving the word “elusive” because she was confident of the spelling. She would make it to the top 30. The word “sacrament” proved to be a challenge. Tanish recalls his delight at one point when the speller before him received a very easy word. He thought it would bode well for him. Then, the host said the word “incendiary”. Tanish was incredulous, but as the seasoned pro he was, he broke the word down and slowly and methodically spelled it correctly. This and other tough words brought him to sixth place. The challenging word “guttural” stopped his progress. That word would have tested most people considerably!

In the end, it was a great experience that both Raina and Tanish will never forget. They both recalled meeting past MDJH winners, Vincent Burton and Maria Burton, who were at the event to cheer them on, as one of the greatest highlights of their day. Way to go, Raina and Tanish! We are extremely proud of you.

Junior High Math League

On the last Wednesday in February, our mathletes competed in the "Spring" Junior High Math League competition. There were 88 students registered, making up about 24 teams. We were so excited when they announced that MDJH placed first AND second in the competition!

Members of the first place team were Gianne Kim, Elena Velichkova, and Joohyeok Seo.

The second place team included Farah Farah, Dipayan Dhar, Megna Saha and Orpa Hawlader.

MDJH Science Fair

The MDJH Science Fair is fast approaching on Thursday, March 12. We're looking forward to seeing another great year of projects and experiments!

Students participating need to register through this Google form and should see their Science teacher with any questions leading up to the big day.

Parents, guardians, friends, and mentors are still needed to help with judging the event. Please get in touch with Madame Brunet,, if you can help.

Pi Day cake auction

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A message from the MDJH Climate Awareness Group

We are the Climate Awareness Group at MDJH and we are in the process of putting ourselves out into the community to help make a difference. Climate change is very real and we can’t ignore it anymore. Our goal as a group is to raise awareness about climate change and to help MDJH become more eco friendly. MDJH wants to make a difference and here are our plans:


Composting is a great way to dispose of decomposable food waste. If you turn your apple cores and banana peels into soil, your waste will not go to the landfill. We want to get a compost bin for MDJH because there is so much compostible material thrown out by students each day and this is easily avoided. By getting a compost bin, we will make new soil that can be used in the new Canadians’ garden outside the school. It’s a win-win, and we appreciate all the support we received at the recent bake sale we held. All of the money raised will go towards getting a compost bin that we hope to have in place by the spring.

Talking to the school lunch program

In our opinion, the food provided in the school cafeteria is not the healthiest. We don’t want to deprive anyone of their pizza, but with all those greasy slices, also comes unnecessary plastic. We are planning to talk with Chartwells to see if it’s possible to reduce the amount of plastic in the cafeteria. And maybe even get a Caesar salad on the menu while we’re at it.

Community Clean Up

If we’re walking down the street and we see a piece of garbage, a lot of the members of our group will pick it up and put it in its place: the trash. But that can’t be all we can do, right? In recent meetings, we agreed that there is a lot of litter around our school and we need to do something about it. Once the snow melts, we are planning to organize a school clean up. The plan is still in the works, but the more the merrier. We need as much help as we can get. If our fist clean up is a success, there will be more! If you are interested in this idea (or have any questions about what we’re planning), please contact us at

Coming up...

Mini-enrichment courses!

Mini-enrichment courses are coming up! These one or two day courses are offered to students in Grades 7 to 9 to provide opportunities outside the regular classroom. To see what courses are available, please click here for the course catalogue.

Applications are available at the main office, or you can download a copy by clicking here.

Please note that applications are due in to the MDJH office no later than March 11, and there is a $45 application fee.

Once students have submitted an application they will receive a Letter of Acceptance or a Letter of Not Placed. If you do not receive notification by April 1, 2020 please contact the office to enquire about the status of your application.

The Course Waiver must be signed and brought with your child on the first day of the course along with their Acceptance Letter. The school will distribute Letter of Acceptance and the MUN Waiver form.

For more information, please visit the Min-Enrichment website at

Fundraising for an orphanage in Kenya

As part of our WE global campaign, as a WE school this year we will be fundraising for Food in Kenya. We are supporting an orphanage in Kakamega, Kenya, and our goal is $1000. The main needs of this orphanage are food, mosquito nets, and medicine. The student council will be having a bake sale during our parent/teacher interviews on March 26, and all proceeds will go toward this goal. Donations will also be welcome. Please help support this fundraiser, and thank you!


Congratulations to Zora Maskova on her performance in Heritage NL's 2020 Heritage Places Poster Contest. Zora submitted a painting and essay about the Colonial Building in downtown St. John's and received honourable mention in the competition for her great work.

Other scoops!

District Assessment Policy

Just a few reminders about late or missed assignments:

4.34 Students are expected to submit assignments on scheduled due dates. If the reason for missing an assignment is deemed valid, the teacher sets a new submission date and advises the family.

4.35 When assignments are not submitted on time for invalid reasons, teachers:

4.35.1 assign a value of zero as a placeholder until appropriate assignment is completed;

4.35.2 engage in intervention strategies to the degree possible and practical;

4.35.3 notify families in a timely manner using effective two way communication that the assignment is late; and

4.35.4 notify school administration if interventions do not successfully resolve the problem.

Missed Assessments (Tests and Quizzes) 4.38 Students are expected to complete assessments at scheduled times and adhere to due dates. 4.39 School administrators will oversee the establishment of school-wide guidelines regarding valid reasons for missing assessments.

4.40 If a student misses an assessment, it must be for a valid reason, which is verified by the family.

4.41 Schools are expected to establish a monitoring system for students who repeatedly miss assessments.

4.42 Students who miss assessments for reasons deemed valid will have the opportunity to demonstrate their learning on the assessed outcomes in a manner and time that is determined by the teacher. This may include, but is not limited to: 4.42.1 administering the same assessment if it is determined to be still valid; 4.42.2 administering an alternate assessment; and 4.42.3 assessing the outcomes by an alternate method.

4.43 When an assessment is not completed on an assigned date for invalid reasons, the teacher will notify the family and the school administration and utilize one or more of the following responses: 4.43.1 administer the assessment on an alternate date; 4.43.2 assess the outcomes using an alternate method (another assessment); 4.43.3 initiate a mark reduction for the completed assessment, if consistent with school-wide practices; 4.43.4 use zero as a placeholder and refer the student to the Escalating Levels of Intervention process for recurring incidences; and 4.43.5 apply consequences in line with the School Code of Conduct and a zero may stand when a student refuses to complete an assessment.

Family 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, which means that we cannot connect your survey responses to you. We encourage everyone to participate so that we have the most accurate representation of family perceptions at your school.

Please complete the survey by March 20, 2020 by clicking on the following link: If you do not have internet access, you may contact your school to arrange access to a school computer or mobile device for survey completion.

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.

Eastern Health's new Health Information (HI) website

Earlier this Fall, Eastern Health launched its brand new website – Health Information, known as “Hi”. The Hi website is the go-to place for health and wellness resources for individuals, families, and communities.

Check it out at


As you may know, March is Nutrition Month, a national campaign led by Dietitians of Canada. This year’s theme is “More Than Food” and we are encouraging schools to get involved by sharing healthy eating messages through Twitter. Click for more info!

MDJH Music

March band schedule

March Band Schedule

Choir schedule

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MDJH Sports

Grade 7 girls' volleyball won the league gold

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U13 badminton

Congratulations to the MDJH students who participated in the U13 badminton tournament this past weekend. They were:

  • Eric Guzzwell – gold (mixed doubles), silver (male doubles)
  • Emily Guzzwell – gold (mixed doubles), bronze (female singles)
  • Travis Cormier – silver (mixed doubles), bronze (male doubles)
  • Dipayan Dhar – silver (male doubles), bronze (male singles)
  • Lucas Osbourne
  • James Salter

Student council news

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week was February 10-14. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our school community for the treats sent in to our staff.

Valentine fundraiser for WISH

For $2, students purchased a can of crush for their friend, their crush, their teacher, or themselves. A total of $434 was raised for our WISH campaign bringing us closer to reaching our goal. We are $1855 away from being able to grant a child’s wish. Thank you for your continued support.

Parent / student information meeting for the Canadian Student Leadership Conference

The 36th annual student national leadership conference will be September 22 - September 27, in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. The theme is “From the Roots Up”. 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 There are limited spaces so students will be placed on a list in the order the requests were received. You can visit the website for more details.

Registration opens April 1. 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 will be a parent information meeting on Wednesday, March 11 at 6:30 in Room 220.

Regional Leadership Conference May 6

The Horizons Leadership Conference is a nation-wide project of the Canadian Student Leadership Association. CSLA is a not-for-profit educational association comprised of volunteer teachers that has been assisting advisors and student leaders for the past 30 years.

One of the core purposes is to promote education and the development of citizenship, employability, and leadership skills among students within Canadian schools. The

Horizons Leadership Conference is intended to give the student delegates the permission and the network to be positive change agents within their schools and communities.

MDJH student leaders will be hosting a conference Wednesday, May 6. More details will follow.


There are several 2018-2019 yearbooks available for purchase.The cost is $20. 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 students' 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.

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

WE create change

MDJH is a WISH school. In the last year and a half, we have raised $8145 for WISH by collecting change and through various fundraisers. We are $1855 away from our goal of $10,000 - the amount needed to grant a wish for a child. If we are successful in reaching our goal, we will grant the wish of a child in our own school community. There are wish jars in every homeroom for students to put change left over from recess or lunch and for other donations. If every student donated $3 we would reach our goal and be able to grant a wish.

Grade 9 baby picture slideshow

During the grade 9 school leaving carnival, we would like to show a slideshow of all of our grade 9 students. We will show their grade 9 school picture and one of them as a baby. To be included in this slideshow please email a baby picture to

Macdonald Drive Junior High

We are a WE School.

Our background picture was taken by student Travis Cormier.