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High Park Alternative School

The HPAS Community site

Welcome to your Community site for High Park Alternative School

This site is for Parents and Families who have children in High park Alternative School - Run by the Parent Council

High Park Alternative School is a Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 community of children, teachers and parents working together to create a stimulating and nurturing learning environment. Established in 1981, we are an alternative public school within the Toronto District School Board, committed to being…
“…An accountable small school community that explores
academics and citizenship adventurously together”.
Find out more about us… about our philosophy…
and how to enroll your children in the adventure…

Announcements (see the latest HPAS Community Newsletter here

Resources for Parents

Welcome to the HPAS Parent page. If you are a new or existing HPAS parent this page is for you! Parent volunteer opportunities are listed in the “Help Wanted” section. Instructions to register for the all school mailing list is available here, as well as other parent specific information. Check back regularly and often to keep up to date.

Joining the All School Mailing List - Communication to everyone in the HPAS parent body from the Parent Council Executive or the Administration is by email whenever possible. Paper is used only when necessary. We maintain a moderated email mailing list of current HPAS parents and Administration. All email notices distributed through this mailing list are checked by the Parent Council Executive to ensure they concern school business of importance to the whole parent body before they are sent out. (Note: If we don’t have an email address for you, a paper copy of the more important notices will be distributed to your youngest child at school.)

You are in control of subscribing to this email mailing list. You can subscribe yourself (preferred) or ask the moderator to add you (optional). In the future when your child leaves HPAS your email will be automatically removed from the list, but you can also unsubscribe yourself at any time if you wish to.

Useful Links:

Using the above link, will cause a confirmation email to be sent to your email address. If this email has not appeared after 15 minutes, please look for it in your spam bucket or junk mail folder.

Parent Handbook - The HPAS Family Handbook contains a more detailed account of life at High Park Alternative.

Clubs and Extracurricular - Here is a list of clubs available to students. The listing is for Annette and High Park Alternative so be sure to check which school runs the program.

Pick-up and Drop-off Policy - Kindergarten Please drop off and pick up your children in the kindergarten yard where they will be met by their teacher.

Unfortunately we do not have an inside ‘common area’ space for parents to come together and chat. The kindergarten classrooms are not housed in our main school building and as such interfere with our ability to get to know one another easily. Our Administration has suggested/requested that we use a ‘vestibule’ space (info below) for our community gathering and chatting. If you see us in the ‘vestibule’ please feel free and very welcome to join us, we would love to get to know you.

Primary/Junior/Senior Students drop-off Procedure - Students may be dropped off in the Yard (Annette street yard) from 8.45am. Teachers will collect students at 8.58am and take them to the classroom.

Alternatively, students may be dropped off at their classroom by their Parents or Care-givers at 9am.

Parents/Caregivers may enter the school with their children prior to 9 am and wait in the HPAS hallway for the school day to start. If doing so you must adhere to the rules detailed at the end of this communication.

In the interests of safety and in order to prevent disruption and obstruction, our Administration have requested that Parents wishing to remain in the school after 9 am, for their community conversations, use the vestibule space between the inside and outside doors adjacent to Room 107. If you wish to remain in the school for an extended period please remember you must sign-in at the HPAS office.

Lunch time drop-off/pick-up - If you are collecting your children for lunch (grades 1-6) please ensure you are at their classroom for 11.40. If you are not at the classroom by that time your children will join their class in the lunchroom program.

Please ensure your children are returned to their classroom for the start of afternoon class – 12.45pm.

Please remember, if you remain on school premises it is necessary to sign-in at the HPAS office.

Pick Up - Please collect your children from their classroom at 3:30.

If you arrive prior to 3:30 and wish to gather inside the HPAS hallway please use the vestibule space as outlined above.

Rules for Use of Hallway and School Premises - Supervise your children at all times prior to the start of the school day at lunch pick-up and at the end of the school day.

Respect the rules and code of conduct for use of the Hallway and School premises; (full details of the Code of Conduct will be posted to our website soon), in the interim please use quiet, calm indoor voices, no running, or playing ball games. Please ensure the hallways are clear of bags, or gathered groups which could interfere with the free flow of the hallway space and thus safety.

Respect the privacy and confidentiality of all Children, Teachers and other Parents. No inappropriate conversations or destructive gossip.

Conversations must be appropriate and respectful at all times, toward Teachers, Children and other Parents and for all age groups.

In the event that you wish to speak with a teacher you must request an appointment to do so in writing. Conversations with Teachers at the start and end of the school day impede their ability to safely supervise the students.

Entry to the classroom is not permitted prior to 9am and only when the students are accompanied by a teacher.

Please note, teachers using the photocopier, having conversations with other teachers, sticking artwork to the walls or any other activity prior to 9am are doing so in preparation for their day. Please respect their time and avoid the temptation to engage them in conversation.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of the following:
Edita Tahirovic (Vice-Principal) –

Amy Mulhern (Recruitment Lead) –

Ben Pettit (Co-chair) –
Joshua Tusin (Co-chair) –

E-mail Edita Tahirovic

E-mail Amy Mulhern

E-mail Ben Pettit
E-mail Joshua Tusin

who will be only too pleased to answer your questions.

The HPAS Executive.

High Park Alternative Calendar

Below is the High Park Alternative School Calendar organized by the Parent Council. It has all school holidays, PA days, School events, Parent Council meetings, etc. on it. There is also the Parc Asterix on the offical HPAS school website.

By default the school calendar shows a month at a time, but you can change to weekly format by clicking the tab in the upper right of the calendar (in weekly format you will more details about events, but you may need to scroll down to reveal evening events).

HPAS Fundraising Events

Each of these events has its own page:

The following are not events but are an important part of our Parent Council fundraising:

Class Pages

Use links below to access Classroom pages:
Junior / Senior Kindergarten (Teacher: Daniel Rodriquez)
- not available at the moment
​Junior / Senior Kindergarten (Teacher: Betty-Lynn Orton)
- not available at the moment
Grade 1/2 (Teacher: Kelly Fricker)
Grade 2/3 (Teacher: Lillian Tsim)
Grade 3/4 (Teacher: Alicia)
Grade 5/6 (Teacher: Bonnie Fairweather)
Grade 7/8 (Teacher: Anastasia Ali)
- not available at the moment
French (Teacher: Helena)
- not available at the moment
Music (Teacher: Unnamed)
- not available at the moment
School Support Services (Effi Kapoulis_
- Guidance & Grade 8 to Grade 9 Transitions

Allergies at High Park Alternative

DO NOT bring or send any of the following to High Park Alternative School, or any School related event. There are children in the school with life-threatening allergies to these foods, and even second-hand contact with the oils in these foods can be deadly to those children:

Official Anaphylaxis Policy

High Park Alternative School and Annette Public School take allergies and anaphylaxis very seriously and we rely on all staff, parents and guardians to do their part in keeping our children safe.
Several children in our school community have severe life threatening allergies to PEANUTS, TREE NUTS, and SESAME SEEDS. To ensure their safety, these items are prohibited from school, school property and school events and trips off school grounds. This includes items that may be at risk for cross-contamination. Please note that we also have a staff member with a severe latex allergy.
Some examples of Tree Nuts are; Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, Walnuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Hazelnuts, Chestnuts, Brazil Nuts and Shea Nuts. Examples of common items containing latex are; balloons, gloves and band-aids/first aid products.
An individual can develop an anaphylactic allergy at any time, therefore any of our children could develop a serious anaphylactic allergy and be at risk.
Our policy below applies to our school grounds as well as events and trips held off school grounds.
Please read our anaphylaxis policy below for more detailed information on how we can work together to keep our children safe.
Anaphylaxis (pronounced anna-fill-axis) is the most serious type of allergic reaction. It can progress very quickly and may cause death without proper medical attention.

An allergen is a substance which can cause an allergic reaction. Foods such as Peanuts, Tree Nuts and Sesame are a few of the most common allergens.

Cross-contamination is when a food that is free of an allergen is prepared on a surface or comes into any contact with an allergen (e.g. prepared on a surface that had the allergen on it, stirred with a spoon that touched an allergen). Cross contamination is a very serious risk for children with known allergies as the allergen is invisible.

When can an individual experience anaphylaxis? Anaphylaxis can occur when an allergen is ingested through food or drink, or by means of cross contamination such as a food for an allergic individual being prepared on the surface that an allergen came into contact with (e.g. a knife used to make a peanut butter sandwich is then used to make a jam sandwich for a person with a peanut allergy) Anaphylaxis can also occur when an allergic individuals skin comes into contact with an allergen (e.g. picks up a nut with bare hands or touches a toy that has come into contact with an allergen).

Best Practises

Only send safe foods/drinks

All food and drink must be Peanut, Tree Nut and Sesame Seed Free.

Do not share food/drinks

Teach children that food and drink are not to be shared.

Wash up

If your child has handled or eaten something containing Peanuts, Tree Nuts or Sesame Seeds for breakfast or while at home for lunch, please ensure hands and face are washed well and teeth are brushed before coming to school or attending a school event or trip.

Be Mindful of cross-contamination

When preparing lunches, snacks, food or drinks, ensure all prep surfaces are washed thoroughly. Food that is prepared on a surface that came into contact with peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame seeds is at high risk for cross-contamination and can pose a risk to children with these allergies. If you are unsure, use a clean plate or designated cutting board to prepare food.

Read labels

Before purchasing a food or drink, even one that has been “safe” in the past, make sure to read the label. Ingredients can change without notice. Read carefully through all listed ingredients and look for warning statements referring to allergens.

If any ingredient list states “processed in a facility…”, “may contain…”, “may contain traces of…”, “made in a factory that also processes…”. peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame seeds, it is not safe. Items with these warnings will be immediately removed from the classroom as products with these statements can actually contain enough allergen to cause a serious allergic reaction.

Read every item you purchase

Even if you have more than one of the exact same item you should read each item/package carefully. Many companies have several manufacturing plants and some plants may produce foods with allergens, thus potentially causing one item to be safe and another to be harmful.

Read ingredient lists carefully from start to finish

Food companies do not have to make allergens stand out (e.g. bolding, italicizing, underlining). The allergen may simply be listed in the ingredients without any warning statement at all.

No ingredient list

A packaged food product that does not have an ingredient label is not safe.

Call the company

If you are unsure about a food item you can call the company to inquire. If in doubt, these foods should be kept at home.

Food purchased from bulk bins are not safe

Even with ingredient labels, foods in bulk bins are at a very high risk for cross-contamination.

Be extra cautious of imported products

Food labelling regulations vary by country and products may not list potential allergens.
Learn More:

Executive Committee

The Parent Executive Committee includes the Co-chairs, Treasurer, Secretary and Chair (or designate) of some of the HPAS Committees. High Park Alternative’s Executive Committee is the primary administrative body of the school’s membership. Among its many tasks, the Executive Committee:
- communicates with teachers and school administration;
- maintains liaison with the TDSB and other organizations;
- prepares, presents, and manages the school’s budget and finances;
- schedules, plans, and chairs parent meetings;
- receives reports from committees;
- and generally deals with ongoing school-related administrative matters.

Our Parent Executive Committee members are:
Co-chairs: Ben Pettit and Joshua Tusin e-mail:
Treasurer: Brenda Turner e-mail:
Secretary: Shelley Scarrow Hurst e-mail:

To obtain recent copies of Council Meeting minutes contact the Executive Council at:
To send an e-mail to the entire Executive Council listed here, send your e-mail to:

Committee Chairs:

School Administration (for school information, admissions, etc. go to
Principal - Nancy Keenan e-mail:
Vice-Principal - Edita Tahirovic e-mail:

Arts Committee

Our Arts Committee is passionate about enriching our child’s education through exposure to the arts. This includes but is not limited to music, drama, dance and tactile arts such as clay works, mosaics, weaving, painting, making musical instruments, etc. The Arts Committee organizes whole-school arts workshops, as well as several mini in-class Arts Injections throughout the year.

CHAIR: Charlene Brooke


Grade 8 parents are responsible for organizing a graduation ceremony for their children graduating from the school, in conjunction with their teacher and the school administration. They are also responsible for working with the students and their teacher to raise additional funds required to cover costs associated with any activities not already covered by the budget. All students in the school attend this graduation. All parents and HPAS alumni are welcome to attend also.

CHAIR: Brenda Turner

Special Education Working Group

Group Purposes:
To champion the cause of obtaining TDSB funding for Special Education and Resource Support at HPAS, and
To strengthen the awareness, knowledge and opportunities for additional support for HPAS students, their families an the HPAS community as a whole.

The Big Chill - Skating and Dance Party

Hi Everyone,

The BIG CHILL (February 26) is this Friday - and we are looking forward to a day of family skating in the morning and a family dance party (back at the school in the afternoon)

The skating party permission forms should be returned by February 22nd - so we can arrange rides.

Once the permission forms go home, your trip rep will work with the teacher to make arrangements for transportation for your class.

Things to consider:

Will your child be attending? Will you be attending?
Will you be driving your child to the rink? From the school? Or going directly to and from the rink?
Can you take other children from the school? If so, how many? (Have you completed the volunteer driver forms (office) to make you a TDSB approved driver?)
Do you have car seats for those additional kids? (if applicable)

If you do not plan on having your child attend, please remember you will need to notify Marlene in the office of your child’s absence that day.

Also- if you choose to go directly to the rink, please try to arrive at normal time (9:00-9:15 a.m.) You need to ensure that your child checks in with their teacher upon arrival. This is for safety/safe arrival concerns.

Please remember ALL children must wear CSA approved helmets to be allowed on the ice. Please click here if you’re child does NOT have a helmet.


Make sure to label your child’s helmet and skates if possible. We will try to have extra helmets available for use (TDSB), but you must let your trip rep know that you need one by FEBRUARY 10, 2016. We cannot guarantee what sizes will be available but we will try our best. Please notify your trip rep if your child will need a helmet and what size. The way a helmet fits is very important to prevent injury. (You may also need to bring a screwdriver to ensure proper fit.)

How should the hockey helmet fit? Guidelines taken from the west Toronto skating club

A hockey helmet should fit snug to prevent any shifting and maximize protection.
Make sure the chinstrap can be adjusted so it gently makes contact under the chin
when fastened.
For an adjustable helmet, open it to the largest setting and gradually begin to
downsize the helmet until a comfortably snug fit is achieved. The helmet should
rest on the head so that the rim is one finger width above the eyebrow and
making contact with the top of your head.
Although most helmets are lined with protective foam, some helmets will feel
better than others. Try on different brands of helmets for fit and comfort.
All CSA certified helmets have a sticker indicating their certification.

We will try to have the helmets available at the school at least 3 days before the event so that parents can come in and fit their child before the day of the event. see link for sizing chart guidelines

We also have a skate exchange program at the school (outside Marlene’s office) that will take place in early February-look for more details coming out in the next few weeks.

Also please bring a NO NUT (peanut or tree free) and sesame free, healthy snack to share.

If you bring something homebaked, please make sure to include an ingredients list so that people can make choices consistent with any life-threatening allergies or dietary restrictions.

We are hoping to continue to be consistent with our healthy school initiatives…e.g., FRUIT and VEGGIES (clementines, apples, carrots, cucumber, bananas, pears, and other items that are easy to handle, distribute and clean upWinking face !)

Please make sure to check the weekly newsletter as there will be updates for you as we get closer to February 26, 2016!

Thanks everybody! We’re all looking forward to the day!


  1. Add High Park Skating Party , ‘the Big Chill’ Friday February 26, 2016 to your calendar
  2. Figure out how you will be getting there
  3. Let your trip rep know if your child will need a ride or if you can drive other children to the Park.
  4. Sign permission form and return to school
  5. Please inform Marlene in the office if you are NOT coming or are NOT coming back for the dance party in the afternoon
  6. Pack Helmet or tell your trip rep that you need one:)
  7. Pack Skates
  8. Pack Snack
  9. Pack water bottle
  10. Pack travel mug for coffee

Volunteers:: Please click on the following web links (or copy it into your web browser if clicking doesn’t work) to go to the signup sheet ASAP- We NEED You!

Skating party:

Dance Party:


So lots of questions going around HPAS about the Big Chill! We are all getting very excited! Here are some frequently asked questions about the Big Chill:

  1. Do I have to book work off?
    Yes please! This is a whole family, school wide, all in, everyone invited hang out day with kids, parents and teachers! Friday FEBRUARY 26th, 2016.

  2. What is the BIG CHILL?
    A whole day of fun: family skating party at High Park in the morning (9-11 am) and family dance party back in the HPAS gym in the afternoon (1-3 pm).

  3. Can I wear shoes to the dance party? Only indoor shoes with non marking soles please. We are not allowed any boots in the gym. Thank you.

  4. When is the big chill? Friday FEBRUARY 26th!

  5. Will Chilly the Polar bear be there? You’ll have to find out for yourself;)

  6. Do I have to tell my child’s teacher when I come and go at the skating party AND the dance party? Yes please! We are taking attendance! Super important to check in and sign out with teachers about comings and goings at all times! Please let Marlene know if you will not be in attendance.

  7. How will my child(ren) and I get to High park? Your trip rep will help plan this event with your child’s teacher just like any other field trip.

  8. Have Kelly and Lillian ever had a dance off before? I don’t think so…

  9. Does my child need a helmet? Yes!! One that is CSA approved. They won’t be allowed on the ice without one. Email your trip rep if your child needs a helmet please ASAP.

  10. Do I need to know how to dance? NOPE - but we have some fun tips on our YouTube Channel and tunes to practice to as well!

  11. Do we bring snacks to share at the skating party? Yes please! NUT and SESAME FREE! E.g. Fruit, veggies, and granola bars. And don’t forget your water bottles.

  12. Do you still need volunteers? Yes! Please click on the links below to sign up.
    Skating party:

Dance Party:

  1. How much does it cost to get into the dance? We are suggesting a $2 donation to help cover the costs of the DJ.

  2. What kind of food will be at the dance? Yummy popcorn! A bonus is that it is allergy safe and easy to clean up. If, however you do NOT want your child eating popcorn, please let your child’s teacher know beforehand.

If you have any other questions please email Stef:

See you soon,

Your Events Team

Hallowe’en Party or Hoedown Party

HPAS Halloween Party & Fall Fundraiser (2015): Way to go HPAS community! The Halloween Party was an amazing success thanks to all of you. The big draws were the Henna artist, bouncy castle and Maggie’s house of horrors. Way to creep us all out Maggie!

The classroom baskets all turned out beautifully and the lucky winners were able to take home their loot that day. Kudos to everyone who helped with solicitations, the silent auction brought in $1350.00. Gotta’ love Leafs fans!!!

A huge thank-you to everyone who made the day run so smoothly; set-up and clean-up crews, the 7/8 volunteers who ran games, and all of you who showed your support for HPAS.

The numbers are being finalized but……after expenses ….drum roll please….we doubled our goal…and came in around $4000 profit!

A special thank-you to our donors, who make it all possible:

Ellen Moore, Supper Solved, Tangerine Photography, Black Daffodil, Martin’s Flowers, Ice Cream Junction, Starbucks, Artful child, pitter potter, High Park Family Fun Place, Vesuvio, The Flower Room, Harper Collins/Brad Wilson, Red Label Hair Salon, System Fitness, Tango Tanning, The Hair Lounge, Pandemonium, Snap Fitness, The Friendly Thai, Espresso mi Vida, Big Daddy’s, Wise Daughters Craft Market, Lucy Nails, Satisfaction Spa, Heather Heaney R.M.T.,The Earth Collection, The Pie Shack, Delight, Junction Fromagerie, Loblaws Humbercrest, Kid Culture, Party Pros, No Frills, Catelli and Pizza Pizza

Pizza Lunch

Monthly pizza lunches are a much-anticipated treat for students and a nice break from making lunches for parents. Order forms are sent home with students at the beginning of the year for the whole year’s worth of pizza lunches. Participation is optional. The Pizza Lunch coordinator tracks, orders and distributes the pizzas, snacks and drinks with the help of various volunteers including Grade 7-8 students. Funds raised by Pizza Lunches are processed through the school budget managed by the HPAS parent body.

COORDINATOR: Susan Gallello-Kucharski