Weekly Update, May 17-21, 2021

Good afternoon Connect parents;

In spite of current health restrictions on outdoor gatherings, I hope you were all able to enjoy some of the beautiful weather this weekend…maybe spring is finally with us as an actual season rather than a fleeting glimpse here and there.

A question that is on the minds of many of us is, ‘will students be returning to in-person learning as scheduled on May 25th?’ We are certainly hopeful that we will have all students back in school on the 25th but we will be awaiting direction from government officials. Hopefully that notification will be forthcoming towards the middle of this week, and as soon as we have information we will be sure to pass along the Connect-specific plan for the remainder of the school year. There are many ‘loose threads’, not the least of which are the Camp Riveredge trips planned for June, the kayaking days scheduled at the Calgary Canoe Club, and the grade 9 farewell activities. We have contingency plans for just about everything (a dangerous assertion, I know, but after 15 months of the pandemic we’ve become quite skilled at rapid and responsive decision making), and are prepared to respond to anything we don’t have planned, in order to bring the school year to a successful close.

We are very aware of the parenting fatigue that is, or has, set in for some of you as a result of shifting to online learning yet again. Our teachers, student services team, and school leadership are working diligently to support all students and parents to navigate the often challenging and murky waters of learning in a Zoom world. The challenges and frustrations can lead to misunderstanding between parents, students, and teachers that only serves to elevate anxiety and tension in an already anxious and tense time. Using some tried and true strategies, such as the 24 hour rule before sending an email out of frustration or anger, can lead to effective dialogue that will de-stress your concerns and solve many problems before they needlessly escalate. This week we are sharing some resources to support online learning, parenting in a pandemic, and supporting children with ADHD.



Online Learning Tips and Tools

To help manage your child’s use of their school iPad, here is a 7-minute video (courtesy of Mr. David Cloutier) on how to restrict their use during certain times, of certain apps, etc. Although some students have been able to follow our Empowered Use Policy, we’re finding that some need more guidance.

drive.google.com/file/d/1OcuSOxRqloy1tQLq25bo2L5ZugHoa0v1/view?usp=sharing




Resource for parents 

ADHD course for parents

Having a child diagnosed with ADHD can be overwhelming. The Inside ADHD for Families online course was created to allow parents to access evidence-based, reliable information, strategies and support for their children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

This 11-module online course has been designed to increase your knowledge and understanding of ADHD. You will learn how ADHD can impact a child’s academics, behaviour, and well-being. You will learn about evidence-based strategies and tools to build your knowledge, skills and abilities which will increase your child’s success

The course is presented in a format that is convenient to access. Hectic lifestyles make it challenging to commit to attending in-person classes. Online learning options provide flexibility by being open 24/7. If desired, a parent can revisit the same content multiple times. It also allows parents the ability to access information when it’s convenient for them. Learn at your own pace. The course is available whenever you are. 

www.foothillsacademy.org/community-services/parent-education/online-learning/inside-adhd-for-families

 

Parenting in a pandemic

Here are some articles around parenting in a pandemic that may be of interest.  They give a good overview of the different dynamics at play/ 

www.care.com/c/stories/17116/pandemic-parenting-lessons-for-2021/

www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/12/01/remote-learning-strategies-covid-parenting/

www.commonsense.org/education/articles/parent-tips-and-tricks-for-distance-learning




School Leadership Presentation to School Council meeting

On Tuesday May 11th at the School Council meeting, the leadership team shared a feedback presentation developed around the trends in frequently asked questions we receive from parents. The text of the slides below will not completely reflect the discussion that took place around these points during the meeting, but will provide you with a sense of the topics and themes that were covered.

 

A Conversation with the Connect Leadership Team

Our Planning Model

Upholding a High Standard

Maintaining True to our Charter Goals

Multiple Scenario Planning

Being Informed

Creative  Solutions

Being Flexible

Going Back to the Drawing Table

Showing Appreciation

COVID Measures

Screening Tool

There are questions as to whether the screening tool continues to be useful.  Connect’s stance is that this is a proactive tool that can help keep us safe. Used across all schools and many other settings (dentist, daycare, doctor, public/private services)

Quarantine Protocol 

We continue to be guided by AHS and our health consultant related to our protocol.  Working to find ways to reduce interaction between cohorts so that fewer students would be placed into quarantine.  

Health Class

Communication has been ongoing  to students about protocols and personal responsibility at school. 

Online Learning

Curricular Outcomes

-”Meaning Making” for learners

-Maintain a sense of belonging, community and relationship

-Teachers finding creative approaches

-Inquiry lives within the discipline

-Technology to enhance learning

Schedule

-Emphasis on synchronous learning

-Core-focused with opportunity for PE/Arts

-Opportunity for collaboration

-Access to teacher support

-Awareness of staff home context

-Balancing screen time (student capacity to focus)

Engagement

-”Meaning Making” for learners

-Maintain a sense of belonging, community and relationship

-Teachers finding creative approaches

-Inquiry lives within the discipline

-Technology to enhance learning

Parent Role

-Preparing for each day of learning

-Household plan and clarity of roles?

-How can I help you?

-What can be a healthy schedule for  you?

-After a full day of online learning, what might be a fair amount of  online downtime?

-Uphold that online school  is important.   

ConnectFLEX

-Blended online and in-person learning

-Dependent on interest and confirmed registrations

-Does not impact our programming for current Connect Charter students

-Self-sustaining (funds)

-Grade 7-9

-Upholds our Charter Goals

Directions for Next Year

Here are some initial thoughts as we begin our planning process for next year.   

Student Transition

Gradual Re-Entry

Phased return to full programming. Focus on social re-integration and outdoor education.

End of Year Transition Meetings

Increased Diagnostics

Mental Wellness

Continued Emphasis on Health Class

Increased use of helpful assessments to inform programming in literacy and numeracy. 

Skill Development

“Learning Loss”

Prioritizing, Enduring Understandings

Supporting students in collaboration, citizenship, hands-on learning etc.  

Positive Takeaways from 2020-2021

These unprecedented times have resulted in trying new ideas and some of them, as it turns out, are things we want to keep:

-Different entry doors/hallways for students

-Increased hygiene – handwashing

-Increased capacity to teach online (deepened understanding of using technology, increased dependability on learning management systems)

-Parent meetings/conferences online – more accessible for many.  

-Increased emphasis on health class

-New ways to meet diverse learning needs (structure)




Finally, a reminder that Friday May 21st is a PD/ Non-instructional Day – there will be no classes for students. 

 

Have a wonderful week and stay safe everyone,

Phil Butterfield

Principal