April 9th, 2020
Thanks to all parents and caregivers for your feedback as we implement a distance learning program that is responsive to the needs of our students and our families. We have done our best to contact all of you and are committed to helping each and every student through this unprecedented time. This past week has been a busy one for WRDSB Educators as they continue to work hard, meeting the Ministry of Education’s expectations and direction for distance learning, and establishing a foundation for learning and success with their students.
We want to clarify with you that Distance Learning is not the same as online learning that we as adults might be accustomed to – there is no set time when the teacher and all students are meeting online together, there is no video conferencing. Distance learning cannot duplicate the classroom experience – it will happen as a result of teacher-student-family connections by phone, email, mailed packages, or other tools that teachers have identified. There is no “one-size fits all” approach.
We know that students facing prolonged times at home need more than just lesson plans, so we developed what we call “Supporting Mind, Heart, Body” to help students and their family create some structure to the learning and to support the overall well being of your child – in the end, the routine needs to work for you and your child.
We have created samples of schedules that include these elements:
- Sample Kindergarten Day at a Glance
- Sample Primary Week at a Glance
- Sample Junior Week at a Glance
- Sample Intermediate Week at a Glance
- Sample Secondary Week at a Glance
These suggested structures and routines align with the Ministry of Education guidelines for a minimum number of hours of assigned learning tasks per student, per week and your child’s teacher will be targeting these guidelines as they plan.
The Ministry of Education’s guidelines are as follows:
- Kindergarten-Grade 3: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math)
- Grades 4-6: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies)
- Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies)
- Grades 9-12: three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work, per course, per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation)
What you can expect over the next two weeks (April 14 – 23):
- Teachers will introduce curriculum through learning activities (within the target number of hours) and provide feedback to students and families as appropriate
- Teachers will support students and families by suggesting a structure and or routine that can help students participate in the learning – in the end, the routine or structure needs to work for you and your child
- Teachers and other educational staff will continue to communicate with every student (contact at least once during the week via phone, email or Google Classroom, VLE/D2L) to see how they are doing with distance learning and the activities assigned
- Staff will respond to any questions or concerns of students or their families regarding distance learning (For more information about how to contact your school please refer to our website.)
Important Updates About Assessment and Report Cards:
We have received some clarifications on Assessment and Report Cards from the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has indicated that students will receive final report cards in June.
For Elementary Students
- Final report card marks will be entered in June. Marks will be based on work done from September 2019 to March 13, 2020.
- Any student learning assessed after March 13, 2020 can only be used to improve a student’s final report card grade.
- Teachers will be assigning learning activities and providing feedback.
- For students taking Grade 12 courses – they will receive a midterm mark. These marks should be reflective of work done up until March 13, 2020.
- Students enrolled in Grade 12 courses, or other courses necessary for post-secondary admission, will receive a midterm mark because this is information that is needed for those students who have applied to colleges or universities. Please be reassured that the WRDSB will meet the timelines provided by universities and colleges to ensure we are supporting students as they graduate and move on to their post-secondary destinations.
- Grade 9, 10, 11, 12 students will receive a final report card in June using student work and learning completed up to March 13, 2020. Secondary teachers will continue to assign learning tasks and provide feedback. Any student learning assessed after March 13, 2020 can only be used to improve a student’s final report card grade
- For those students who are set to graduate this spring, we want to remind families 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. If students have not earned your 40 community service hours or if they have not passed the literacy test requirement, they will still graduate this year.
No one could have predicted this pandemic, and no student will be penalized as a result. Grades can improve through distance learning and we would like your support to help reinforce this. It is not only very important for their future success, it will contribute to their overall well-being. Our educators will continue to reach out to students to support their learning in any way they can. Again, there is not a “one size fits all” approach and ultimately our goal is to work in partnership with students and their families to support students in their learning and well-being – we are in this together!
We have 64, 000 students and we know that not everyone has the same opportunities. Not everyone has a computer or access to Wifii, so we are doing everything we can to make sure that everybody has access to learning. 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, if you haven’t already been contacted and received your device, please be reassured that the school will be in touch as to how this will occur. Again, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Families are encouraged to contact school staff with any questions or concerns during the closure. Families should go to the Staff List on your school’s website that provides staff email addresses or you may call the school and leave a VoiceMail for staff via their personal extensions. For more information about how to contact your school please refer to our website.
As we near the end of the third week of school closures and look to the next two weeks, we look forward to continuing to support our students and families with distance learning – together – for each and every student.
Stay safe, stay connected, and stay well.