March 17 Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

It is an understatement to say that a school is more than the bricks and mortar of the building we occupy. The heart and soul of our school community lives in each and every one of you who place your trust and confidence in the robust, engaging, and meaningful activities that guide our children to be extraordinary citizens. We are about to cross a threshold into new territory of school-wide remote learning that will test our ingenuity, our patience, and the state of our growth mindset. We will be trying new strategies…some will work…some may not…and we will continue learning and re-evaluating as we go. Throughout, we will be maintaining focus on student well being and learning. As parents, your ongoing support of your children…and of us…is immeasurably valuable, and we are so grateful you have entrusted us with the education of your children. I know you have been inundated with emails from the school, and if you have multiple children in different schools I can’t even imagine how you sort out all the messages. Nonetheless we will continue to keep you up to date and share new developments as they become available. Thank you from all of us to all of you.

Teachers transitioning to working from home

There have  been increasing calls for people to work from home whenever possible as an additional measure in stemming the tide of COVID-19.  Connect teachers will begin performing their duties from home tomorrow. Over the next few days they will continue to reach out to students and establish a level of comfort and confidence in the online platforms that will be the essential tools for the e-learning that will be implemented immediately following spring break.

Community Hub

A Community Hub has been set up in Google Classroom and all students have been invited to join. Please remind your child to check their email and accept the Google Classroom invitation.  This will be a space where information will be shared with all students.

E-learning plan

Our staff e-learning committee has been working diligently to prepare online learning resources and delivery methods. For the first couple of weeks after spring break we will be focusing on core courses through this new learning environment. Each grade will be supported by an Educational Assistant and a member of the Complementary/Phys Ed team. Students will connect with their teachers for one hour daily in accordance with a schedule that will be shared just prior to our return from break. We have made a decision to start on this new path with small but purposeful steps and review our progress regularly before adding on more learning components.  We recognize the value of consistency between grades in terms of scheduling and the teaching/learning format and will be striving for uniformity while also realizing the need for some flexibility as well. Grade teams will share their respective schedules with students and parents near the end of spring break in preparation for an April 6th e-learning launch. Other details of the e-learning plan will be shared with you on April 5th.

Monitoring Device Use

When we initially decided to send students home with their devices we had planned to remotely deactivate them over the break. Since then we have come to realize that students may (and in some cases are already) experiencing social isolation from their peers and the school. Under the circumstances we will be leaving most devices and apps in an activated state, with the understanding that parent supervision and access to student devices is essential. The Empowered Use Policy that was signed at the beginning of the school year remains in effect and as parents you have every right and responsibility to deny a student access when you see fit. For more information on guidelines for screen time use, please visit  https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT208982.

If your child did not bring home their device last Friday, you may pick it up in the IAC between 8:30am and 4pm tomorrow or Thursday. You may also retrieve any belongings from their locker at that time. In order to come into the school you must be symptom free and we ask that you exercise social distancing and proper respiratory etiquette while in the building.

Fun Lunch Refunds

Fun Lunch ordering has been suspended based on the current decision to close schools indefinitely. Schedules will be adjusted should the situation change and refunds will be available at the end of the school year should school not resume. Please do not contact the Fun Lunch Committee regarding orders or refunds – these will be sorted out in June or when the pandemic ends, whichever comes first.

Thanks,

Phil Butterfield

Principal