March 31 Update from the Superintendent

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Connect Parents,

Over the last 4 days there has been a lot of information in the media regarding cuts to education budgets. The purpose of this correspondence is to update you on the impact the cuts will have on Connect Charter School.

On Saturday afternoon, I received notice from Alberta Education indicating base funding for May and June (2020) would be reduced by 14%. Furthermore, bus funding will be reduced for April, May and June (2020) by 51%.

Over the last 3 days I have been meeting with our school-based leadership team, Alberta Education and our Board Chair Dave Robinson to outline a path forward. Our top priority is to ensure that we support our students through the continuity of instruction to the best of our ability. Regardless of the funding cuts, our staff have been preparing for teaching and learning via distance since late March and I am very confident that once details of our plans are shared with you in the coming days that our students will embrace the changes.

Enrichment fees collected to provide students with a variety of enriched learning opportunities including the fall camps and the use and support for an Ipad will continue to support student learning to the end of the school year. 

More information on bus fees (paid) will be provided to parents in the coming weeks and months.

Connect Charter School (the building) remains open with only a few employees in the building at any given time; however our teachers are working from home. Students will remain at home as directed by the Minister of Education indefinitely. This means there has been no final decision outlining when or if students will return to attending school, in the building this school year. Our school plans continue to be guided by the direction provided to us by Alberta Health Services.

We have made no reductions to our teaching staff or our education assistant’s staff to ensure we continue to provide our students with the best learning opportunities and supports possible over the coming months. Most resources have been allocated to staffing to make this happen.  There will be a steep learning curve for teachers and students alike over the coming weeks as we transition to a new teaching and learning format. With the full support of all teachers and educational assistants I am confident we are setting our students up for success. Direction and expectations provided to school boards from Alberta Education while in-school classes are canceled are available at: www.alberta.ca/student-learning-during-covid-19.aspx

Our school motto is ‘It’s never just an ordinary day’. While there remain many global uncertainties, I assure you that our staff are doing everything they can to adjust, to be flexible, to keep you informed and to meet your expectations. There has been nothing ordinary in the past month. However, what will remain consistent is our commitment to you and our students over the coming months.

As Dr. Butterfield indicated in previous emails, details on programming beginning Monday April 6th is forthcoming. I appreciate your patience as we finalize our plans. We remain deeply committed to working with each of you through unique challenges that we will face in the coming weeks and months.

Yours in education,

Chris Gilmour

Superintendent