Dear Parents and Guardians,
With the completion of our end-of-year graduation ceremonies and the release of the elementary report cards, this exceptional academic year has been successfully completed. Jeff and I attended all of the end-of-year celebrations, and it was wonderful to see our students and to celebrate their accomplishments with their families.
The end of June is a time to reflect on the school year. This year was unprecedented. Teachers did not envision themselves teaching remotely, and many parents, we are confident, did not aspire to become home educators 🙂 Yet, because our students, parents and teachers sustained resilience, perseverance and partnership, we managed to educate our students successfully.
The overall results of our discussions with our students, and the recent parent survey, revealed our online learning program was successful. Feedback from both groups will be included as we move forward to design plans for September.
We are aware of the Ministry’s current three-scenario planning for a return to school in September. We also support last week’s Hospital for Sick Children (‘SickKids’) report that children need to return to school for their overall well being – in particular, their mental health. This unprecedented learning experience over the past three months has emphasized the importance of social interaction and the need for face-to-face learning for our children’s mental wellbeing.
Quite simply, our Plan A hope is that we return to the regular classroom and to our 8-day schedule.
In September, each homeroom will be equipped to record the vast majority of lessons as they are taught – we will call this synchronous or “real-time” learning. If there are students at home due to health precautions, these students will have access to their lessons as they happen.
We believe the real-time streaming of lessons will be the core of our program in September and can be successfully used to accommodate any variation mandated by the Ministry and health officials regarding classroom size and social distancing of students.
This process will also ensure students at home will have access to almost all their subjects throughout the day. We will prioritize real-time (recorded) learning in the core subjects of Math, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts, with an increased recording of other subjects and frequency of recordings as we move up in grades.
When students return to school in September, we will also focus on assessing for potential academic gaps resulting from the closure of school. To assist with potential closing gaps, we have hired a resource teacher for grades 5 to 8. His focus will be to help with Math and Language. Ms. Shaikh will continue to be our resource teacher in reading and French instruction for the primary grades.
Please note that any scenario involving a return to the classroom will be supported by safety protocols mandated for the school environment and protection required for students and staff.
As the summer unfolds, we will monitor communication from the Ministry. Parents will be informed of our plans for a return to school with sufficient notice prior to September 8, our first day of school.
Thank you, as always, for your ongoing support and patience.
Have a safe and active summer. We also deserve a well-earned break.
Jeff and Rose.