April 3rd, 2020
As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, families and students will be provided with a weekly communication from the WRDSB that provides an update on the past week’s activities and an overview of the goals for the upcoming week. Our hope is that regular communication will reduce the understandable anxiety students and families may be facing.
We realize that this is a stressful time and everyone has concerns and questions. Moving from classroom learning to a distance learning model in a very short time is a challenge, and the WRDSB is working continuously to ensure that students have equitable opportunities to learn from home. With this in mind, our digital learning platforms and other student supports and resources that enable students to learn from home must be simple to use, accessible, and reflective of student needs.
We know that our commitment to strong relationships between educators, students, and families will be critical to our students experiencing success and well-being. It has been truly heartwarming to hear the extremely positive and appreciative responses from our parents and students regarding the calls home our educators are making. We know our students miss the school staff they interact with on a daily basis, and that our staff miss their students, too – which is why connecting is so important!
During this past week (March 30 – April 3) WRDSB staff:
- connected with our students and families
- assessed the needs of families, students and educators as we planned for distance learning
- continued to familiarize our families with the Ministry and WRDSB@Home distance learning websites
- created a plan to develop our staff’s ability to support students through distance learning
With the announcement from the Premier of Ontario and Minister of Education this week, students and families will see a shift to more educator-led learning.
Distance learning has many forms, and we are committed to ensuring our students are able to access these learning opportunities – each and every one. At the heart of our planning is the belief that educators know their students best and bring a wealth of educational knowledge and experience that is indispensable.
For those students who are preparing to graduate this year, we want them to know we understand this may be an especially stressful experience for them. In the coming days, they will be hearing from their teachers and guidance counsellors who will be able to provide a clearer idea of what distance learning will look like for them in their graduating year. We are committed to supporting our students and helping them work towards their goals including graduating from high school. What we do know is that the Ministry of Education has waived the requirement for graduating students to have completed their community service hours and the Grade 10 literacy requirement. So to be clear, if you have not earned your 40 community service hours or if you have not passed the literacy test requirement, you will still graduate this year.
Our goals for next week (April 6 – 10) include:
- Educators beginning to prepare students and families to engage in distance learning
- Continuing to identify barriers for students and families and develop alternate approaches
- Continuing to respond to the needs of educators (teachers, DECEs, EAs, CYWs) to build our ability to deliver distance learning for all students
Please know we are deeply committed to ensuring the equity of learning for all of our students and want you to know that the digital component of distance learning is only one of many potential solutions.
We continue to explore other solutions including the mailing and delivery of resources and supports.
For those families and students who have communicated that they need a device, please be reassured that the school will be in touch as to how this will occur.
We appreciate that there are questions regarding assessment, evaluation or timelines for curriculum goals. We have developed this FAQ to help provide as many answers as we can.
As we near the end of the second week of school closures and look to next week, we want to encourage you to focus on your own well-being and mental health. We look forward to the next phase of distance learning when our educators will provide more direct support for student learning.
Stay safe, stay connected, and stay well.