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Hello Parents, Aug. 24, 2021

We hope you are all doing well and having a wonderful summer. The office will be open again on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. If you have any questions, please call the school and we will be happy to assist. We sent out an information email regarding 2021-22 in June, but the end of the year was a very busy time, so you may have missed that email. We do have one important scheduling change for Grade 6 parents below regarding the first day of school and we want to be sure the information regarding start up is very clear.

Please see the attached memo from our Board Office. Also, please continue to watch for emails from Journey Middle School or from the Sooke School District. As we get closer to September, we will have detailed information regarding the COVID guidelines and restrictions (let’s hope we will be back to somewhat of a normal year).

Start-Up for 2021-22
A staggered start to the year was one of the best decisions we made last September. For all students, the first day of school can be a little overwhelming, and for our new grade 6 students, the transition to middle school is always a little unnerving. Especially when they are surrounded by 590 other students. Last year, we were forced to stagger the start times and it actually created a calm, safe, successful start to the year. It allowed us to focus on the different needs of each grade level and it was the perfect way to welcome our new students to our school community.

So, for week one, we are planning to organize the following:
SCHEDULE CHANGE: Tuesday, September 7 – Grade 6 students only. Students will arrive for an 8:43am start time and will stay at school until noon. Bus schedule is yet to be determined, so parents may want to arrange rides for the first day. We are hoping to have buses running for the morning, which would be on the early dismissal schedule (regular morning schedule, and 3-hour early pick-ups starting at Noon). If your child is a bus student, this is the perfect day to ride the bus as it will only be new Grade 6 students riding the bus in this day.
Wednesday morning, September 8 – Grade 7 students only. Students will arrive for a
9:00am start time and will stay at school until 11:00am. We are hoping to have busses
running in the morning, but transportation will not be available for an 11:00am pick
up. Parents may want to organize rides for this pick up time.
Wednesday afternoon, September 8 – Grade 8 students only. Students will arrive for a
1:00pm start time and will stay at school until 3:00pm. We are hoping to have the buses
running for the after school pick up, but transportation will not be available for the
1:00pm start time. Parents may want to organize rides for the 1:00pm start time.

We realize this schedule may not be convenient for a few parents, but we feel this staggered start time is best for all students of a large middle school. We thought if we gave plenty of notice, parents would be able to arrange rides and child care for the first two days of school if needed.

A few more details regarding the first day of school – UPDATED
All Journey Middle School students will be expected to arrive at school on their designated day. All staff will be meeting and greeting the students outside when they arrive on day one. Our staff will help the students find their Advisory number and then students will be directed to their Advisory number that will be posted on the field. At that point, the teachers will show their students to their classrooms and spend the rest of the morning providing all the details and information needed to begin a successful year at Journey.
On a regular day, our first bell will ring at 8:40am. We will have students waiting outside until their teachers welcomes them in for the day. This will be the routine throughout the year, so we suggest students arrive as close to 8:40am as possible. All students will eat their lunch in their classrooms, and all students will be outside during the scheduled lunch and recess breaks. We ask that students come prepared to be outside throughout the year. The day ends at 2:58pm Monday to Thursday and 1:58pm on Friday.

Cell Phones at Journey
From the first bell to the last bell each day, we do not allow students to have cell phones out, so all students will be leaving their phones in their locker (if they are in use this year) from 8:43 to 2:58pm (1:58pm on Fridays). If lockers are not in use this year, students will be asked to keep their cell phones in their backpacks. Please discuss this expectation with your child over the summer in preparation for this policy.

School Supplies
A school supply list is posted on our website under “Links”. Students will not have to bring their school supplies on the first day, but we suggest they bring something to write with. Advisory teachers will be going through the school supply list with your child, so if anything is missing, you will get notification from the teacher.

If lockers are in use this year, all students will be given a school combination number to use on their lockers. Locks are built into the lockers at Journey, so your child does not need to bring a lock to school. More information regarding locks and lockers will be covered on the first day of school.

Journey will not be selling school agendas. Over the past few years, we have spent a lot of money on school agendas, but we have noticed that very few students use them. If your child would like to use an agenda, please add this to your school supply list.

All bus information can be found on our School District 62 Website including scheduled times and pick up and drop off locations. Buses will enter and exit the Journey property off Throup Rd. Students will be dropped off and picked up right on our school grounds.

Parking for parents, staff, school buses and visitors is always a challenge at Journey. We simply have no space available for the many vehicles trying to park, drop off and/or pick up students before and after school. For the safety of our students, please arrange for an alternate pick-up and drop-off location with your child. The parking lot on the school property is for staff and school buses only. This will be strictly enforced. We recommend arranging a drop-off/pick-up location by the baseball diamond or nearby, but not in the parking lot. This really helps with the congestion during our busy times. Thank you in advance for your help and cooperation.

Student Fees
Payment for athletic fees, yearbooks, and lost textbooks/library books will be done through the online payment structure. Please refer to the instructions for online payment on our school website.

Class Lists
Our class lists for the upcoming school year are completed and no changes will be made at this point. Our team works very hard to balance classes and ensure start-up runs as smooth as possible for all students. However, if enrolment continues to increase, we may have to make some changes within the first few weeks of September.

Space at Journey
We are very close to being full in some of our grades for September 2021. If you know you will not be coming to Journey in September, could you please let us know as soon as possible.

Journey Website
We will be updating the Journey website over the next couple of weeks. Please become familiar with our website and visit it regularly throughout the school year.

A few dates to mark in your calendars:
Photo Day – Friday, Sept. 21st
Non-instructional Day – Monday, Sept. 27
Thanksgiving – Monday, Oct. 11
Non-Instructional Day – Friday, Oct. 22
Photo Re-take Day – Friday, Nov. 5th
Remembrance Day – Thursday, Nov. 11
Early Dismissal (noon) – Thursday, Nov. 18 (Student-Led Conferences for Parents)
Non-Instructional Day – Friday, Nov. 19.
If you need further information, have questions, concerns or ideas, please call the school office. Our clerical staff are amazing and they will be happy to assist you in any way. The office will be open again for parents and students on Monday, August 30th, 2021.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and we look forward to seeing you again in September.

Pamela Gerrits, Principal
Journey Middle School
pgerrits@sd62.bc.ca (250) 642-5881