April 3 Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

I sincerely hope this finds you and your families safe and in good health. Our world has changed at a head spinning rate and it can be difficult to look into the future and foresee us returning to anything resembling the ‘normal’ lives we had a few weeks ago. But that is the one assurance I feel is a safe one to repeat…we will come out at the other end of COVID-19 as a stronger and more cohesive school community for having shared these challenging times and demonstrating our resilience and innovation to continue teaching and learning in new and different ways.

Teaching teams have been busy – many of them meeting online during spring break – planning for our first days in an e-learning environment beginning on Monday April 6th. The prospect of having your child (ren) at home and trying to coordinate their e-learning schedule with your own work-from-home requirements, and possibly juggling the schedules of other children in other schools, can be daunting and anxiety-inducing. 

We have endeavoured to build an e-learning framework that will ease the onus on parents of feeling like you are solely responsible for your child’s education from now until the end of June. Your first priority is to the health and safety of yourself and your family. We recognize that sometimes those needs and circumstances are going to take priority over Connected e-learning…and that is completely understandable. 

Beginning with this update you will be starting to receive information about e-learning schedules, topics, activities, and expectations. I cannot stress enough the importance of communication with your child’s teachers and school leadership if there is anything needing clarification or support. Each grade team has built in support for students and parents and administration are available at any time to address questions or concerns. To guide your introduction to an e-learning format for your child, please visit connectcharter.ca/elearning/ for a comprehensive overview of Connected e-learning. It is critical that you take the time to review this resource thoroughly to familiarize yourself with the program and how it will be implemented. There is a lot of information here and it may seem a little overwhelming. Take your time and go through it with your child so they also understand what to expect, and make note of any questions you may have. There will be lots of opportunities to get clarification as the e-learning program takes shape, and many of your queries will be addressed within the first few days of the coming week, so hold onto those questions and whatever is left unanswered we can deal with in due course.

I would like to highlight that beginning the week of April 13th we will be hosting one hour grade-level parent Zoom sessions to provide a forum in which you can ask questions or share challenges and successes. We will run these sessions every other week and will record them for those who are unable to join in real time. 

Once this message hits your inbox, it is the signal to teachers that they can begin sending you information on grade and pod specific details for the coming week(s). The initial focus of the e-learning program will be about reconnection between teachers and students and establishing a new type of relationship in an online environment. Our direction to staff has been to spend as much time as required to ensure that all students feel comfortable using the technology and platforms for communication. Our grade assigned Educational Assistants and Core Support Teachers will be available to provide supplementary support to students who may benefit from extra time or some one-to-one attention.

There are many challenges confronting us these days, my friends, and it is our collective commitment that continuity of your child’s education should remain focused on the personalized learning and the relationships that define Connect Charter School. I will be in touch again soon and look forward to receiving your feedback on our Connected e-learning program.

Phil Butterfield