Harry R. Hamilton Elementary

Welcome Back Newsletter Sept. 2023-2024

Dear Families,

Welcome to a new and exciting school year! Teachers and support staff have been very busy preparing for the arrival of our students on Thursday, September 7th.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to our new families.  My name is Jennifer Cholock and I am principal. Together with our VP, Kara MacGillivray, I feel very lucky to be part of such a warm and welcoming community. You will see Mrs. MacGillivray and I in the mornings welcoming our students to school and at the end of the day, wishing them a good evening. We look forward to getting to know our students as little people and learners and having an opportunity to meet families. If at any time you would like to chat, please do not hesitate to reach out.

We would like to welcome Mrs. Alicia Howell and Mrs. Bridget Beaton to our Harry R. Hamilton team. Mrs. Howell is teaching grade 5 and Mrs. Beaton grade primary/one. We would also like to welcome back Mrs. Krista Floyd to our grade 5 teaching team.

We have grown a lot at Harry R. Our Pre Primary program has expanded and we would like to extend a warm welcome to our new teachers, students and families. Our pre primary program continues to grow each day. If you have registered your child and have decided not to send them to pre primary, please email me at jcholock-whitty@hrce.ca. Our registration determines the number of adults and space we require.

The landscape of our school has also changed. Our school parking lot and area surrounding the side and back of the school have been repaved. The modular unit will house 6 of our pre primary classes and soon this space will be filled with lots of fun and energy. Our 7th pre primary class will be inside the school building.

Curriculum Night:

We are looking forward to welcoming families to our curriculum night on Tuesday, Sept 5th.  Sessions will run from 6:00-6:25 and 6:30-6:55. All families who will be visiting teachers on the bottom floor (room numbers in the 100s), please use the front door. If your child is upstairs (room numbers in the 200s), please use the back door. This will help ease congestion and allow families to move through the school with greater ease. See you all on Tuesday evening!

First Day Procedures:

All Primary-5 families should have received an email from your child’s classroom teacher on Friday. The email included a picture of their teacher, classroom number and questions asking about your child’s dismissal. To help ensure that all children arrive home safely on Wednesday, please ensure that you respond to the email, providing dismissal information.

First day for our pre primary and primary students:

Sending your child off to school for the first time is both exciting and a little bit scary. I promise you that your children will be well loved and taken care of during their school day.

On Thursday morning, our beautiful primary teachers will meet families in the tennis court. Each teacher will carry the same-coloured balloon as was shown in the email they sent to you. Our primary teachers will line the children up, families will have an opportunity to give a big hug to your little ones and with the help of our specialists (gym, music, vice principal and resource), they will be taken to their classes to begin their elementary school career. 

Our pre primary teachers will meet families in the paved area in front of the modular unit. Each pre primary lead and support will be holding a shape, specific to their classroom. You will receive more information about this from your child’s pre primary teacher. There may be some tears (from parents and children) on Thursday morning, however, we promise that your children will be okay. Families will give their hug and wave goodbye outside and teachers will take the children to their classrooms.

Grade 1-5 students:

If students are travelling on the bus, we will greet and help them get to their classes. For the safety of our students and to prevent congestion, parents are asked to always drop their students off at the tennis court. There will always be an adult around in the mornings (either myself, our VP or our guidance counsellor), to help your child get into the building safely.

At the end of the day, all children will be dismissed with their classroom teacher to board their busses and walkers will be dropped off to their families/childcare providers in the tennis court.

SchoolMessenger: Safe Arrival

Click here for a short video on how to report your child's absence using

What is SchoolMessenger’s Safe Arrival?

SchoolMessenger’s Safe Arrival is an absence-management system that improves student safety and makes it easy for you to let the school know about your child’s absence.

You are asked to report your child’s absence in advance whenever possible using one of these convenient methods:

Interactive Toll-Free Phone

Call the toll-free, interactive telephone system at 1-833-582-6940
If the system does not recognize your caller ID, you will be asked to enter a phone number that the school has on record for you
Follow the instructions to report an absence
SchoolMessenger Through PowerSchool

Log into the Parent Portal of PowerSchool: https://sishrsb.ednet.ns.ca/public/
If signing in for the first time, follow the instructions at the bottom of the page
Select the SchoolMessenger link from the left-hand menu
Select Attendance from the menu, then select Report an Absence
Follow the prompts

Download the SchoolMessenger app for Android and iOS devices
Sign up using your PowerSchool username (full email address) that the school has on record for you
Click on Attendance
Follow the prompts
Absences can be reported in advance, up to the start of the school day on the date of your child’s absence:

24 hours/day
7 days a week
For any school day during the current school year
When an absence is reported or updated, you will receive a confirmation notice by email. If you don’t report your child’s absence in advance, the automated notification system will try to contact you. This may include an email, text message, and phone call. You will be asked to confirm your child’s absence. If the automated system cannot reach you, a school staff member will contact you.

Arriving on Time:

It is very important for your child to arrive at school between 7:55 am and 8:10 am. Arriving late means that your child is missing important instructional time. We appreciate your help in ensuring that our students arrive on time.

To help ensure the safety of our students, if our pre primary students arrive late or are picked up early, families will always drop their child off and pick them up at the main building. Thank you!

Life Threatening Allergies:

In order to keep our students and staff safe it is important that all parents continue to respect that we are a Nut and Scent Aware School. Please be aware that there are a number of students who have life threatening allergies to Nuts. For this reason, we are asking all parents/guardians, to ensure they do not pack snacks and lunches containing nuts or nut products. Thank you for helping to keep our students and staff safe.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

J. Cholock

Upcoming Dates:

September 5th: Math PD for teachers/ Curriculum night 6:00- 7:00
Sept. 6 Literacy and Math PD Day for teachers/ Open house for pre primary families from 1:00-3:00
Sept. 7 First Day of School
Sept. 14th Pink Shirt Day