The Planning Continues at EMHS

Hello again parents/guardians,

I want to continue to connect with you to ensure that you are aware of the planning that is currently underway within our school community, and also to encourage you to please reach out with any questions that you might have as we prepare for a return to school in the upcoming weeks. We recognize that some of our students will be returning in person, while others will be accessing one of the on-line options available through PSD. Please feel free to reach out with questions regardless of which group your children fall into. We are here to help!

I am hopeful that you were able to take a few minutes to read my previous post, Updates from Ecole Meridian Heights School where I shared some of the plans in place at Ecole Meridian Heights School around how we intend to work with you and our children to Promote Healthy Hygiene Practices. Today’s message is intended to provide you with information on what Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting will look like at Ecole Meridian Heights School. While I can’t cover everything that will be in place, please read on for some of the highlights in our particular context.

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Custodians and Administration Working Together – I will be working closely with our head custodian, Ms. Jackie Hyde, to ensure that we are cleaning those frequently touched surfaces as often as possible. Things like door handles, water faucets, the handrails going downstairs etc. We will be establishing procedures to ensure that sanitizers are available throughout our school as required, in addition to many other protocols to support our staff and students.
  • Vending Machines – In order to allow Ms. Hyde to focus her work on the most important areas, we will not be using the vending machines to start the school year. We will ensure that parents and students are informed if/when we reopen these machines. Thank you for your understanding in this regard.
  • Opening Doors, Windows etc. – where possible, we will be opening both interior and exterior classroom doors to reduce the need for students to touch the doorknobs and to increase air flow within the classrooms. We are fortunate that some of our classrooms have windows as well as others having exterior doors that can be opened.
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting within the Classroom – each classroom will be provided with a cleaning/disinfecting product that is safe for student and staff use. Students will be asked to clean common surfaces such as a chromebook before and after they use it. For example, teachers may spray the keyboard and screen and provide students paper towel to wipe the surfaces.
  • Soft Surfaces and other Difficult to Clean Items – these items, such as cloth furniture, stuffed animals (in lower grades), reading carpets etc. have been removed from all classrooms at this time.

While these are only some of the measures we are taking at Ecole Meridian Heights School with respect to Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting, I am hopeful that this provides a bit more information to each of our families. Should you have any further questions in this regard, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at spatras@psd70.ab.ca or by calling the school.

Watch for more information coming soon!

Stay well,

 

 

 

 

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Updates From Ecole Meridian Heights School

Despite the fact that we are still a few weeks away from the return of our students to Ecole Meridian Heights School, you can be assured that we are working diligently to create the conditions necessary for the most safe return to school for our staff and students as is possible. As you can appreciate, there is much work to be done, and many questions to be answered. Further complicating our work is the ever growing research and new information around COVID 19 and its impact on our return to school. We truly appreciate your patience and support as we work on our return to school at Ecole Meridian Heights.

As you are likely aware, the Alberta Government has provided many documents relevant to our return to school, including the 2020-2021 school re-entry plan.  In addition, Parkland School Division is currently working on our specific return to school plan which will align with the expectations from Alberta Education. The implementation of these guidelines will most likely look somewhat different within different school contexts. As such, it is my intention to try to provide information and updates in the upcoming days and weeks on how these plans will be implemented at Ecole Meridian Heights School.

Because there is much to share, each post will address one of the Practices as outlined within the re-entry plan. Today’s post will be focused on Promoting Healthy Hygiene Practices for our students and staff.

Handwashing, Coughing, Sneezing

  • Staff will teach and reinforce with students consistently throughout the first weeks of school (and as required moving forward) proper handwashing, coughing and sneezing techniques. Posters will be displayed in washrooms and at all sinks throughout the school to support proper handwashing techniques. You can help us here by working with your children on this at home prior to their arrival.

Masks

  • All students in grades 4-9 will be provided 2 re-usable masks on the first day of school. Students are welcome to wear an alternate mask provided by parents as long as it appropriately covers the nose and mouth. The mask needs to fully cover your face from the nose (above the nostrils) to the chin and be worn without gaps between
    the mask and face. You can learn more about types of masks, caring for your mask etc. in this document provided by the Alberta Government.
  • Students are asked to bring a ziplock bag labeled with their name to place their mask in when it’s not being used.
  • Students in grades 4-9 will wear masks and will be reminded to ensure that their nose and mouth is covered while wearing the masks. Students in K-3 will be supported by staff should they choose to wear a mask.
  • Masks will be worn by students in grades 4-9 in all common areas (e.g. our hallways, jr. high gathering area, bathrooms etc.) and when instructed to within the classroom based on the learning activity taking place.  Masks will not be mandatory within the classroom at all times. Teachers will indicate to students when masks may be required within the classroom environment. You can learn more about mask usage within our school in this document.
  • Should a student forget or lose their mask, or should their mask be damaged, a temporary mask will be provided to the student so that parents do not have to come to the school.
  • In order to help your child get used to wearing a mask, you may consider having them wear a mask for a short period of time each day. If you are in Edmonton or other locations that require mask usage, consider bringing your child with you. This will allow them an authentic opportunity to practice wearing their mask and will provide them with an opportunity to see others doing so as well.

Hand Sanitizer

  • As outlined in the various re-launch documents and guides, hand sanitizer will be available at our main public entrance and in each classroom. As kids enter the school and proceed to their classroom they will be instructed to sanitize their hands before entering. We would encourage students to have their own personal sanitizer as a matter of convenience. Students may wish to sanitize their hands when outside at recess or may prefer to use their personal sanitizer prior to putting on their masks, as opposed to leaving their desk and going to the washroom to wash their hands or to leaving their desk to go to the sanitizer within the classroom.
  • Students will be expected to sanitize their hands upon leaving and entering any classroom or other instructional space such as the gym
  • Parents who enter the building will be expected to sanitize their hands upon arrival and report directly to the office. Parents will not be permitted to move throughout the school. Should a parent need to see their child, we will bring the child to the office. Thank you in advance for supporting us with this practice as we know it represents a change from our current practice.

Handwashing

  • Appropriate hand washing techniques will be reinforced to students consistently within the first weeks of school by classroom teachers and support staff. Additionally, hand washing posters will be displayed in every bathroom and near the sinks throughout the school.
  • All sinks within the school will have soap and paper towels, increasing the number of spaces that students can access to wash their hands. We have sinks within the “loop” of our school and within several classrooms that will be available for student use.
  • While it will take planning and time, teachers will ensure they provide time for students to wash their hands after activities such as recess, lunch, physical education etc. We will have several strategies in place to make this process as smooth as is possible under the circumstances. For example, staggered entry times, various entrances, use of classroom sinks (where possible) are just a few of the ways in which we will manage handwashing for our students.

Water bottles

  • We strongly encourage students to bring their own water bottle to be used and filled throughout the day, as opposed to using the water fountain. This will reduce the need for students to leave their classroom.

While there is much more I could share regarding our efforts to supporting Healthy Hygiene Practices for our students, I hope this provides you with a bit of information on how the staff at Ecole Meridian Heights School will work in this practice. Additionally, I would encourage you to continue to support these same practices at home (e.g. proper handwashing, coughing and sneezing techniques) in order to facilitate a smooth transition to school for your children. Working together we can help our kids build these new habits.

Please keep your eyes out for my next post, which will touch on Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting within Ecole Meridian Heights School.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at spatras@psd70.ab.ca.

Stay well.

 

 

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Staffing Updates at Ecole Meridian Heights School

While many questions remain for the 2020-2021 school year, we are beginning to gain a bit of clarity within some of our plans and we would like to share those with you. Today we are able to share with the changes to the teaching team at Ecole Meridian Heights School for the upcoming year. Please read right to the end to learn of a very special celebration.

We want to wish Mrs. Lindsey Johnson, Mme Lachapelle, Mme Le Norgant, Mme Currie, Mme Crowley, Ms. Schulte and Mr. Herman all the best as they take on various new journeys in their professional life. Each of them have served our community and students admirably over the past several years. Their absences will truly be missed.

With those teachers exploring other pathways, an opportunity arises for new members to join our learning community. We are excited to welcome several new teachers to Ecole Meridian Heights in September. We are excited to welcome back Mme MG and Mme Waterman to our team. We have truly missed them both. Also joining our school will be Mme Little, Mrs. Howe, Mme LeBritton and Mme Romyn. We are excited for the new gifts they will bring to our community.

One final note… while we are so excited for Mme Sonia as she will be retiring at the end of this year, we are sorry to see her leaving our school community. Mme Sonia has touched the lives of so many of our students and families in her time at Ecole Meridian Heights School.

There will be a goodbye parade for any students and families who wish to drive by and thank Mme Sonia on Thursday, June 18th at 7:00 p.m. Any and all families are welcome to make posters or signs, or simply drive through our parking lot and wave to Mme Sonia to thank her for her contributions to our school. In order to ensure the health and safety of all involved, and to keep traffic flowing, we would ask that vehicles feel free to drive through our front parking lot where Mme Sonia will be, but would ask that vehicles please not stop and that all passengers remain inside their cars.

We hope to see many of you at the parade for Mme Sonia.

Stay well,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Ecole Meridian Heights School

 

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January Updates at Ecole Meridian Heights School

I would like to begin by wishing a Happy New Year to all of our wonderful families! We hope you had a restful holiday spent with family and friends. As we look towards what is shaping up to be a pretty cold week, we want to work together with our families to ensure our kids are safe and warm 🙂

You can learn more about the PSD indoor recess policy, potential bus cancellations and all other relevant information on our school website.

As you are likely aware, there was quite a bit going on at Ecole Meridian Heights School in the month of December, highlighted by our many Christmas Concerts, so read on for a quick summary of December and a heads up for what’s coming in January.

Christmas Concerts December 2019

You can catch a glimpse of what was happening in the video below.

If you’d like to see a few more pictures and videos of our concerts, take a moment to check out my twitter feed @shayepatras  and just scroll down a little bit to see more! We would love to hear feedback on our concerts from this year to make them even better for next year so please reach out with questions, comments and concerns that you may have had.

Report Cards

As you are likely aware, Report Cards for term 1 were published to your Powerschool account. If you have not had a chance to view your child’s progress yet, please take a look. Should you need any help accessing the report card, do not hesitate to call our school office. If you have any questions about your child’s progress, please reach out to his/her teacher. We would be happy to discuss this further.

Jr. ATB Grand Opening

We were excited to host our Grand Opening for our Jr. ATB program! We have an awesome student-led Board of Directors and bank employees and are accepting student deposits each month on every second Tuesday. Our next banking day is this upcoming Tuesday, January 14th during our lunch hour in the small gym. If you have any questions about this program, do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or the office.

Messages of Resilience

We were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have two special guests join our school community in December to share a message of resilience and overcoming obstacles. Starting with a magical performance…

and concluding with a powerful message to our grade 7-9 students from “Mr. I” on his personal journey overcoming immense obstacles and his ongoing journey towards recovery. You can learn more about Mr. I’s message in this article published in the Edmonton Journal.

Looking Ahead

While that gives you a bit of a glimpse into the activities of December, as we look ahead into January you can anticipate…

  • School Council – our next meeting is this Tuesday, January 14th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in our school library. All are welcome to attend!
  • the Accountability Pillar Survey – coming for students in grades 4-9 and parents of students in grades 4&7. You can learn more about this survey on the Alberta Education website  or on this document created for parents.
  • Jr. ATB Banking Day – Tuesday, Jan 14th
  • Round 2 of Immunizations – Tuesday, Jan 28th – more info to come

You can always learn more about what’s happening in our school through our daily announcements on our website  (just click on the first announcement to see all messages) or on our school calendar on our website.

Until next time,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Ecole Meridian Heights School

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Some Important Information from Ecole Meridian Heights School

As we wrap up November and move into December, there are many things happening at Ecole Meridian Heights School that we would like to make our parents aware of, so please read on.

Report Cards Available on December 6th

You will have access to your child’s report card at approximately 3:30 p.m. on your Powerschool Account. If you need any assistance accessing your account, please do not hesitate to contact our awesome secretaries at the school.

When you access your child’s report card, you will notice some significant changes to the format and information. You can learn everything you want to know about the revised report card in this 3 minute video.  Additionally, you can learn more on our school website.

Family Games Night Wednesday, December 4th

Please consider coming out to the Stony Plain Public Library this upcoming Wednesday, December 4th from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with some of our staff and other families from our community. We are looking forward to seeing many of you there.

Term 2 CTF/Options Starting Soon

For those parents who have children in grades 7-9, your child will be selecting his/her options for term 2 this week. Option choices and information are posted within your child’s google classroom and on our school website. Please feel free to review the options available with your child.

Jr. ATB is moving along!

We are really excited that our Jr. ATB program is moving forward nicely. We hosted our start up assembly, students in grades 4-6 have completed job applications, been interviewed and hiring has been completed! Those students who are on the board and/or who are our Jr. ATB banking staff completed their training on Tues, Nov 26th at lunch. They are excited for our Grand Opening and first day of banking on Tuesday, December 3rd! There will be more information coming home with your child in the upcoming days.

Christmas Concert Preparations are Underway!

Our students and Mrs. Huedepohl and Mrs. Ausman are working really hard to provide you with an amazing concert experience again this year. Please confirm your child’s concert date and time on our school website.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or our school office. We look forward to celebrating with all of you.

We look forward to seeing you in and around our school this month.

Until next time,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Ecole Meridian Heights School

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Christmas Concert Planning Is Underway!

While it seems strange to be talking about our upcoming Christmas Concerts before Halloween, preparations are already underway and we want to ensure our families are aware of what’s happening.

In order to provide a memorable, fun and festive experience for our families, we have been thinking a lot about our Christmas Concerts. So that we can address several challenges that we have been facing over the past few years, we have made some changes to our Christmas Concerts that we are excited to share with you.

A Transition to Day Time Concerts

This year we will be hosting concerts during the school day for our families. The growth of our school  has made it increasingly difficult in several ways to provide the experience that our students and families deserve.

We are very fortunate that so many parents, siblings, grandparents and community members choose to spend their time with us for these events. With that said, this amazing support presents challenges such as parking and seating which have become increasingly difficult to manage.  We are now at a place where we can’t fit everyone in our gym!

If you are a parent of a Kindergarten or grade 1, 2 or 3 student you know all too well how many of these students struggle with fatigue during the evening concerts and subsequent early mornings at school the next day. Additionally, we can’t help but notice that so many of our families have to leave the concert immediately following their child’s performance. We recognize how busy families are during this time of year and we are hopeful that with the transition to day time concerts, we will not be adding one more evening event for our families to an already busy holiday season.

With this in mind, we have established the following schedule for our Christmas Concerts this year:

Monday Dec 16th:  2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Monday & Wednesday Kindergarten Classes as well as Grade 1J, 1C and 1S classes will perform. All families of those students are welcome to join us.

Tuesday, Dec 17th: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Tuesday & Thursday Kindergarten Classes with Grade 1H and 1P classes again performing. All families of those students are welcome to join us.

Wednesday, Dec 18th: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Grade 2/3 concert with families with last names beginning with A-K.

Wednesday, Dec 18th: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. – Grade 2&3 Concert with families with last names beginning with L-Z

Thursday, Dec 19th: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Choir and Band Showcase all families are welcome to join us.

Thursday, Dec 19th: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.– Choir and Band Showcase all families are welcome to join us.

While we recognize that hosting concerts during the day requires our working parents to make arrangements to be away from work and other responsibilities, we are confident that the experience we can provide for our students and families will be well worth it!

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Huedepohl, Mrs. Ausman or any member of our Administration.

We look forward to celebrating with you at our Christmas Concerts again this year.

Sincerely,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Ecole Meridian Heights School

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EMHS Code of Conduct

Did you know that the Ecole Meridian Heights Code of Conduct addresses everything from Discipline and Dress Code to our policies around the use of technology and personal devices?

While it may not be the most exciting topic to be writing about, it is important that we take a moment to ensure that all members of our learning community are aware of our Code of Conduct, and where to find it.

Our Code of Conduct outlines the expectations we have of all members of our community, including students, parents and staff. Teachers have reviewed this information with students throughout the first month of the school but we wanted to ensure that our parent community is also aware of the high expectations we have of our kids. We know that working together we can ensure a safe, orderly and fun learning environment for all of our students.

With this in mind, please take a moment to review, with your child, our Code of Conduct on our School Website. If you have any questions about the information contained within our Code of Conduct, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or a member of our administration at the school.

Sincerely,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Ecole Meridian Heights School

 

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Reaching Out

With the month of September almost behind us, students and staff alike are beginning to settle into a bit of a routine. At Ecole Meridian Heights School we are fully aware of the need for consistent communication between home and school and will strive to ensure that we make all important information available to our families in a timely manner.

With that in mind, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind our community of some of the ways we’ve been communicating between home and school, and to introduce one new way in which we are going to continue our efforts to keep you informed about what’s happening at Ecole Meridian Heights School.

Daily Announcements on our School Website

New this year, we are posting our daily announcements on our school website. You can find our announcements under the “For Parents” tab, or by using this link.  You will see the first announcement and simply need to click on it to view the remaining announcements.

Our School Website

If you are wondering what might be happening in our school, our website is a great place to start.  You can learn about everything from information on hot lunch to upcoming events on our school calendar. You can also access our monthly newsletter on our website.

Our School Sign Board

We have some awesome volunteer students (and occasionally our amazing secretaries:) who provide you with some brief information on this board, which is updated every few weeks. You will find this board on the corner of 41st ave and  43rd street.

Ecole Meridian Facebook Page

We do our best to update our Facebook page on a regular basis so please check in here for updates on everything from immunizations to sports!

School Messenger/email

If you are reading this message, you are a part of our email distribution list  and will receive emails throughout the year with reminders of upcoming events such as our upcoming Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences on Tuesday, October 8th and Wednesday, October 9th from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

If you would like to reach out to your child’s teacher or a member of our administration via email you can find each of our addresses on our school website.

Ecole Meridian Heights Twitter Feed

If you’re like me, and use twitter as a learning and communication tool, you will appreciate the updates we provide on our twitter feed.  You will also find pictures, video and other information for our school on Mr. Patras’ twitter feed.

Meridian Heights School Advisory Association Facebook Page

We have a wonderful Parents’ Association that supports many initiatives throughout our school, including our recent Library renovation, that offers many opportunities for our students and parents. You can learn more about their work on their Facebook page.

Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences

Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, October 8th and Wednesday, October 9th from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. for our Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences. These conferences provide a great opportunity for teachers, students and parents to connect and discuss progress thus far. We strongly encourage you to bring your child with you for these conferences.

Phone Calls and In Person Meetings

We’ve saved the best for last. While we know that technology can support us in delivering information to large groups of people very quickly, nothing replaces face to face interactions and phone calls.

Please do not hesitate to call your child’s teacher or a member of our Administration (Mr. Patras, Mme Pirot and Ms. Huisman) as questions arise. Additionally, we would be happy to arrange a time to meet with you, should that be your preference. Because your child’s teacher works most directly with your child we encourage you to start there to address questions and concerns; however, we are happy to join you in that meeting and to figure things out with you and your child’s teacher.

Thank you for making the time to learn just a bit more about how we can ensure effective communication between home and school. We are excited to be working with you and your children.

Until next time,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Ecole Meridian Heights School

 

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Looking Forward to Meeting You

With the first day now completed, and the energy and anticipation subsiding… just a bit, I wanted to take a moment to reach out and let you know that I am truly excited to be joining the Ecole Meridian Heights School community for the upcoming year!

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to you before we have the opportunity to meet in person in the upcoming weeks and hopefully on our Meet the Staff Night “Get the Scoop” ice cream night on Wednesday, Sept 11th from 5-7 p.m. I know that if my own kids’ school was receiving a new Principal I would want to know a bit about who was joining their school community.

With that in mind, I could share with you my experiences and learning as the Principal of Seba Beach School, Blueberry School or most recently at Woodhaven Middle School. Or I could tell you about how my time working for Parkland School Division as a Curriculum Facilitator has helped me learn to support teachers and students. I could share how my time working at Alberta Education has influenced my understanding of assessment and my work within schools.

While I am proud of all of these experiences and the learning that accompanied them, I am not sure that this is what I would want to know about a new principal, so …

I am a proud husband and a father of two girls, both who attend school in Parkland School Division (as did both myself and my wife Nicole). I am born and raised in Stony Plain, and am proud to be raising my family in this community. I had the good fortune to attend Ecole Meridian Heights School with my 4 siblings before it was “Ecole” 🙂 and am so pleased to see this French Immersion opportunity that was not available within our community during my time open to our students and families.

I am looking forward to getting to know our kids in the hallways, during recess and through coaching within our school community. I am excited for the opportunity to meet and greet you, our parents, while on morning bus supervision and at various school events. I am hopeful that you will have a moment to wave and say hello as you drop off your kids, or to stop by to introduce yourself.

See you soon,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Ecole Meridian Heights School

 

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Thank you…

Dear Parents,

I know you are very aware that we are on our last day of school for the year. You might also be aware that I will be joining the Ecole Meridian Heights School community in the fall, with Mr. Chris Shaw coming to join Woodhaven Middle School. Before I leave our community I wanted to take one last opportunity to say THANK YOU…

…for welcoming me to our school 5 years ago! It has been a whirlwind of action and excitement. I can’t believe it’s actually been 5 years already!

…to all of you, our parents, for your ongoing support, communication and effort to help guide our kids through the various academic, social and emotional challenges of middle school…

…to our students for the energy, excitement and enthusiasm you bring to our school everyday! There have been really hard days for all of us where I find myself struggling with you through the challenges with friends, with the learning in our classrooms and so much more. There are also so many days where we laugh together at the funny things you guys say and do!

…to our School Council and Parents’ Association! Your dedication and support go unnoticed by at times, but not me. You have helped lead us through so many challenges ranging from big events like the boundary changes to smaller conversations like how we use technology (and everything in between!). Woodhaven Middle School could not thrive without you!

…to our Maranatha Christian Program (MCP) for joining us and bringing with you a new energy and passion into our school. You quickly became an integral part of our community!

…for the opportunity to coach your kids in Basketball and Volleyball over the past two years.

…for allowing your son to join me for the Perpetual Fitness Workout Group this year!

…for sharing your daughters with us for the Paradigm Esteem program over the past 3 years.

…for not laughing too hard when a 5’6″ middle aged Principal “competes” in our slam dunk competition!

…for allowing me to serve in your learning community… to learn with our students, staff and with you, our parents… and for everything you’ve done to make the past 5 years the best learning opportunity of my career.

…to the most fantastic staff I have ever had the opportunity to work with. You are so dedicated to our kids. You model empathy, respect and caring to our kids everyday. You work tirelessly in the classroom to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of our kids. You have fun with our kids and each other…you are an amazing team and I am honoured to have worked with each of you.

I have been truly blessed to be a part of this community and am thankful for having had the opportunity.

One last time…

Sincerely,

Mr. S. Patras

Principal, Woodhaven Middle School

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