Yearly Archives: 2020

Remote Learning – January 4th to January 8th

Dear Parents/Guardians,

 

am hoping that all of you had a very Merry Christmas and that you continue to enjoy the remaining days of the break.

 

As you know the Minister of Education has communicated an expectation that fully synchronous learning be embraced for January 4th in both elementary and secondary schools.  This will be different than what we experienced in the Spring.

 

According to PPM164, during periods of remote learning where students are at home for more than three days in a given week, boards must ensure that students are provided with synchronous learning. The minimum requirements for synchronous learning are meant to ensure that students have access to both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities each day.

 

While the Pivot Plan provides sample schedules it is expected that teachers will follow their bell and regular planning times as they communicate what subjects will be taught when and also when synchronous learning will take place. The ministry outlines the minimum number of scheduled synchronous learning time to be offered to students each day:
 

  • Kindergarten:  180 minutes 
  • Grades 1 – 3:  225 minutes 
  • Grades 4-8:  225 minutes 

It is important to note that synchronous learning time requirements are a cumulative number of minutes that a teacher is available to engage with students throughout the teaching day using a variety of synchronous strategies. The day will also be comprised with asynchronous strategies to make up the usual length of the instructional day. Remember that in a classroom setting, whether online or at school, student engagement requires a back and forth between educators and students and significant time for students to engage in learning tasks that include a mix of online and physical materials as well as movement, discussion, and connecting with educators and peers.

 

Please know that classroom teachers will be communicating their classroom schedules and expectations on Monday, January 4th for their students.  However, as the school day at St. Paul begins at 8:20 am, students are expected to be on their Google Classroom at 8:20 am.  Attendance will be taken as usual, therefore, if your child(ren) will be absent, please make sure to call into the office and let us know, as Mrs. Pieczewski will be following up on all students who are absent.  

 *** PLEASE NOTE: Chromebooks for JK/SK students who require a device for virtual learning at home were NOT sent home prior to the break. Parents/Guardians of JK/SK students will be contacted by their child’s classroom teacher to arrange a time to pick-up/drop off the device on Mon. Jan. 4th.   

 

Also, Parents/Guardians of students who received a Chromebook from the school are asked to complete the “Take Home Device Consent” form that has been posted on School Cash Online. 

 

Thank you in advance for your support and assistance as we strive to provide optimal remote learning for all of our students. Please feel free to reach out to your child’s classroom teacher or me if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Safe New Year! 

 

Cheryl Casselman, Acting Principal

WCDSB School Building Closure Update for Parents

December 21st, 2020

 

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

 

As you know we have commenced our well-deserved Christmas Break and we hope that for each of you, it is starting as well as it can under our current circumstances. No doubt you are likely also aware, the Premier of the Province has indicated that the return to school in January will be remote. That is, on January 4th both our elementary and our secondary students will begin the new year learning virtually. The decision is being made out of an abundance of caution. We know our schools are safe. The cases of COVID are not starting, nor are they spreading, in our schools, but we are a reflection of the community. Closing the schools to in person learning for the early part of January will help us contain the cases that come into schools and ensure that when we return to our buildings, we are doing so in the safest manner possible.

 

Our elementary schools will return to face-to-face learning on Monday January 11th, 2021 and our secondary schools will return to face to face learning on Monday January 25th, 2021.

 

Just before we left for the break, we were given an indication that the government might choose a remote return in January. Given the short timelines, we made a “best efforts” attempt to send home Chromebooks with all those students for whom we had a prior request through our comprehensive survey. If there are outstanding orders that were missed, they will be deployed upon our return on January 4th. Schools and Extended Day programs currently remain closed and unavailable to staff, students and parents. All school staff and teachers are on a well-deserved break and will be available for questions and updates as of January 4th, 2021.

 

The move to remote learning will be different than last spring when the face-to-face hours with teachers was limited. The school day will follow the bell times of your individual school and if not already received, you/your student will be given a clear indication of the daily schedule your child is to follow through your local school. Again, we might expect that the first day or two back in January may not be perfectly smooth as we all adjust to the new reality. St Isidore students will continue as per the usual schedule.

 

For our high needs special education students we would like to provide the following guidance. In elementary, students with high needs will learn remotely as with the rest of your class and per the class daily schedule, but there will be “break-out” rooms where additional support is possible. Your return to face-to-face learning will be January 11th 2020. For secondary high need students, you will also leaning virtually for the first week back (again with breakout rooms) and by January 11th we will provide more detail with an option for transportation and face to face learning in your local school setting.

 

As of today, we are still planning to proceed with our Secondary Transition Survey regarding quadmesters 3 and 4. The current decision to move to virtual is a short-term strategy and there will be a return to face to face learning on January 25th (as we near the end of quadmester 2). Please keep in mind if you choose “face to face learning in the bricks and mortar schools” or if you choose “virtual” that is your choice through to the end of June.

 

Thank you for adhering to public health and safety measures that have ensured schools remain a safe place for our students and staff. This will be more important than ever now – both for our schools and for our community at large. During the upcoming Christmas Break we must adhere to the guidance to limit our contacts and social gatherings. You can check the government’s holiday web page for more direct and up-to-date guidance on how individuals and families can plan for a safe holiday season, including suggestions for safer holiday activities for children and families.

Once again, we encourage you to visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in our community – but also please be aware that these could change depending on the most current public health advice. We also suggest checking out the WCDSB website https://www.wcdsb.ca/living-learning-looking-forward/ and Region of Waterloo Public Health website https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/2019-novel-coronavirus.aspx as they contain helpful resources and supports. If you have any questions about what your particular school is doing, please let your school principal know upon their return on January 4th, 2021.

 

I will also take this opportunity to point out that mental health resources are available to students and families through Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.

 

This is likely not the Christmas any of us envisioned or desired. These challenges are real and the hardships can be quite difficult for some. But we can see the light in the distance. We can also see the profound light of the manger. Let us continue to be people of hope who celebrate the birth of a tiny babe who shared a powerful message of love and salvation. Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community. #InThisTogether #WeGotThis

 

Sincerely,

 

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

Christmas Thank You

Thank you to the St. Paul’s community for the overwhelming response to our Food Drive and Angel Tree.

With your help, we have been able to help many families in the community who will find this time of year a difficult one. 

                                                                          Merry Christmas  

                                                                                    and  

                                              Best Wishes for a Safe and Healthy New Year! 

                                     

 

Preparing for a Possible Pivot to Remote Learning

Good afternoon St. Paul Families!

 

You may have heard some news in the media regarding a potential pivot to virtual learning after the Christmas break.  At this time – nothing has been confirmed.  Our actions over the break will make a difference in the decisions that are being made. Staying home and spending Christmas with only those in your household bubble will help to reduce the potential of positive Covid cases.  We continue to be diligent in our fight against Covid – We are all in this together!

In order to be prepared for both face-to-face and virtual learning, we are taking some steps to ensure we are ready to support everyone’s learning.  We are sending home materials from the school to ensure that students will be able to continue their learning from home, should they need to.  All indoor shoes and personal items will be sent home as well.

If you requested a Chromebook during parent/teacher interviews, one is being prepared for you.  We will be deploying Chromebooks to those families of JK/SK students if a pivot to remote learning is confirmed.  You will receive a call with a pickup time once a pivot is confirmed.  Our grade 1 to 8 students will be sent home with a Chromebook today and if we return back to face-to-face learning on January 4th, the Chromebook needs to be returned to the school so students have the technology at school to use.

Action Items For Parents:
 

  1. Be ready to receive children’s school supplies and set them aside for safe keeping should we begin virtually on January 4th, 2021. If we return to school on Jan 4th, face-to-face, please bring the materials back to school on the first day. 
  1. Keep Checking Newswire and your spam/junk mail for important updates in the next 2 days and the days following New Year’s Day for school updates regarding our return. 
  1. Please be aware that if students are online learning in the new year, attendance will be taken daily, just like a regular school day. If your child is ill and cannot attend online learning, you must call into the school to let us know of your child’s absence. 

Thank you for partnering with us on this next step of the educational journey this year. We appreciate all the support you offer as we work together to make learning come alive for our children. 

Cheryl Casselman, Acting Principal

T’was the Night Before Christmas

Dear St. Paul Families

From our school family to yours we wish you and your family a JOYOUS Christmas and MANY BLESSINGS for 2021!!

We HO HO HOPE you will take some time to enjoy the video link below, T’was the Night Before Christmas, performed by our very own students.

T’was the Night Before Christmas

Need a Computer??

Hello St. Paul School Community

“Let’s Get Together” has been collecting computer and laptop donations from our community and wish to distribute to our families in most need. They will contact families on a first come first serve basis (kindly indicate that your child attends a schoool within WCDSB and that St. Paul school staff referred you, and then it will be easier for “Let’s Get Together” to identify you). Please see the attached flyer for more details.

APPLY FOR REFURBISHED DEVICES AT:

Let’s Get Together

 

Director’s Christmas Message

Hello St. Paul Families,

Please read the following Christmas Message from our Director of Education, Loretta Notten:

 

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

As I write this letter we sit on the cusp of our Christmas break and perhaps more than ever, we can all appreciate the need for a pause. It is a true testament to everyone in the entire WCDSB community that we made it to Christmas with all our schools still open and thriving, despite the reality of the pandemic. The number of cases in our schools has grown, reflecting where we are as a region, but in all circumstances, the cases are quickly resolved and all affected individuals return to school in a short period of time. We have had very, very few cases of “outbreak” which is defined as 2 or more related cases in a school. So, on behalf of all – thank you for your ongoing efforts which have made the school re-opening process possible, and for adhering to public health and safety measures that have ensured schools remain a safe place for our students and staff.

The holidays are going to look a little different this year. We understand that there may be challenges as the winter break approaches but we encourage all families to consider what we can all do to make the return to school in January 2021 as safe as possible. I would also like to remind you about the actions we are taking to reinforce the health and safety protocols aimed at protecting our students, educators and staff while limiting the spread of COVID-19 at schools.

Throughout this challenging time in our history I have used the refrain #InThisTogether and it has been a way to emphasize that we are a team in all of this. That we do have each other’s back. What one of us does, affects all of us. During the upcoming Christmas Break we must adhere to the guidance to limit our contacts and social gatherings. You can check the government’s holiday web page for more direct and up-to-date guidance on how individuals and families can plan for a safe holiday season, including suggestions for safer holiday activities for children and families.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to speak to you about our upcoming Transition window in secondary. As indicated we have one further transition window in both elementary and secondary. Our secondary survey will be open January 4th to January 6th. At this time you will have the opportunity to indicate if you wish to move your child back to face to face learning (adapted model) in their community school or if you wish to move to St Isidore (virtual school). This choice will apply for the remainder of the year – including into the warmer spring months of April, May and June. We have to limit ourselves to one final transition window to be able to facilitate the challenging student and staff scheduling that needs to take place.

As a reminder, anyone feeling ill should not attend school. All children, students, staff, and visitors must be screened for symptoms of illness every day before attending school or childcare. To help meet this requirement, you may use the provincial COVID-19 school screening tool. Self-screening will still be a requirement when we return to school and we will continue to reinforcemasking and hand hygiene, as well as cohorting and physical distancing with students and our staff.

We encourage you to visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in our community – but also please be aware that these could change depending on the most current public health advice. We also suggest checking out the WCDSB website https://www.wcdsb.ca/living-learning-looking-forward/ and Region of Waterloo Public Health website https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/2019-novel-coronavirus.aspx as they contain helpful resources and supports. If you have any questions about what your particular school is doing, please let your school principal know.

Once again, I want to share that it is perhaps inevitable that when the provincial and regional numbers rise, we too will see some cases. I realize that if you get a letter saying there has been a case of COVID in your school that it is most unsettling. If we ask a cohort to quarantine it is to ensure that they remain safe and that the rest of our school community remains safe. Our safety protocols are working.

We sincerely thank you for journeying with us. May each of you and your families enjoy a beautiful Christmas Season. Perhaps it is entirely fine that it will be less social, less focused on material goods, much simpler in every way but firmly focused on family, for isn’t it true that the very first Christmas was exactly that. Let us continue to be people of hope who celebrate the birth of a tiny babe who shared a powerful message of love and salvation. Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community. #InThisTogether #WeGotThis

 

Sincerely,

 

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

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