Hi Defender Families,
I am sure many of you heard yesterday through the media that we will not be returning to school during the month of April. This definitely saddens our staff because we value the classroom communities that exist. Though we are now physically distant, our social connections are still very much intact at Saint Peter. We are still one community, and we will move forward with our educational journey in this time of crisis. However, let me be clear: It will NOT be business as usual. We are providing emergency response education. At best, we can build some momentum with teacher-led learning, but it will not be ‘traditional’ teaching that exists in the classroom. None of us would have hoped for this new reality, but we are a resilient community and we are passionate about supporting each child in our school.
Some Things to Note:
- We are doing ‘Asynchronous learning,’ which means students will learn the same material at different times and locations. We recognize the challenge of working from home and sharing devices between parents and siblings. When then ministry refers to 1 hour each day, they mean an hour in work total for your child to do, that can be done at various points throughout the day.
- A teacher will never expect your child to something at the exact same time as all other children unless it is mutually agreeable and age-appropriate (group presentation etc.).
- You should not expect to see your teacher doing formal instruction for 1 hour each day. They will be providing the work to the students and using the remainder of the time to connect one on one with students, provide feedback and prepare teacher-led learning for the following day.
- Students with an IEP will still receive individualized support. However, some of the tools and strategies will no longer be feasible or appropriate in a Learn at Home environment. Our teachers will be collaborating with Mrs. Van Trigt to do their very best. We will definitely need to keep the lines of communication open. Please reach out to your child’s teacher and let them know if the accommodations and modifications are having the intended result. We might not get it right the first time, but we will not be leaving any child behind.
- Grades. Students will be receiving feedback and teachers will be doing regular formative assessment with their students. However, based on the information we received from the ministry, final grades will be reserved for secondary students in high school.
- Chromebooks will be handed out later this week to any family who needed one based on conversations with their child’s classroom teacher. If your situation changes and your family’s device breaks and you are in need of technology down the road, please reach out to your classroom teacher. Do not sit and suffer in silence. We need everyone to be a part of our Distance Learning community.
- Family must always come first. If you are at home balancing the responsibilities of working from home and providing childcare, you will be in the same position as many of our staff members. Please know that we want to be responsive to meet the needs of our students. If something is working really well for you and your child, please let your child’s teacher know. If something is not working for you, please let your child’s teacher know! Communication is so important as we navigate these waters together.
I gave you the highlights above, but there are a few other things I would like to leave you with:
The board’s Learn At Home Website. You can check this regularly for enrichment opportunities, government updates, helpful tips and mental health resources. In the future, there may even be additional Special Education Supports added here. Keep it handy: https://wcdsblearnathome.wcdsb.ca/
An official letter from our Director and Chair of the Board outlining Phase 2 of Distance Learning:
An official letter from the Minister of Education regarding yesterday’s announcement:
Lastly, an inter-faith prayer jointly developed by Archbishop Terrance Prendergast and Rabbi Bulka–two religious leaders in the Ottawa region.
O God, We gather together separated by life-saving distancing, but united more than ever in spirit; We know we are in a war against COVID - 19 together, and the more together we are, the better and stronger we will emerge: We know the challenges are enormous, yet so are the opportunities; That whether we are in isolation with loved ones, or alone, we will have abundance of time; We commit to using that time to the max, to help those in greater need in whatever way we can; We know we all have the opportunity, and time, to be life savers and life enhancers; We give thanks for those who are on the front line taking care of those who are not well; We give thanks for the researchers who are working at breakneck speed to find cure and vaccine; We give thanks for our leaders, federal, provincial and local, for their dedication to all of us; We give thanks for the providers of our daily needs who go to work in spite of the risk; We give thanks for those who have ramped up their ability to produce life-saving supplies. We pray for the well-being of all our life savers; For those who are not well, that they recover fully; For those enduring difficulty, that they may overcome their challenges. We pray that a cure and vaccine will soon be available, And that we all – family, friends, all Canadians, the entire world may be healed in body and spirit. We ask you, O God, to bless our leaders, our front line care givers, our life savers and life enhancers. We ask you, O God, to bless Canada, to bless the world, to bless everyone. Amen.