Mr. Headley, Ms. Blanco and I could never have imagined before last week that an empty school could be so busy. Yet, our staff have been working hard to connect with students, to collaborate with colleagues, and to develop learning opportunities in order to make our students’ online schooling meaningful and accessible.
Teachers and support staff have reported that they have learned a lot from their discussions with students about the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. I want to address some of the frequently asked questions that have been raised by students and parents and to let you know about some of the solutions we’ve been working hard to develop.
Where should I go to find out what I’m supposed to be doing?
Teachers will be emailing students this week with details of their method of delivering learning opportunities and they will also be providing them with any access codes and/or instructions. In addition, our plan is to also make the MRSS website the “go-to” place for parents and students to find similar information. Therefore, we will be continually updating the Teacher Tab on the MRSS website as our staff provide links and information about their chosen method of online teaching. If just an email is listed next to a teacher’s name, then that teacher is still in the process of developing their delivery model.
How come all of my teachers are using different platforms? It’s confusing.
Many of our teachers have been using online platforms to support their in-school teaching for years: Schoology, Edmodo, Moodle, Microsoft Teams. As a result, we have experts in the building that are supporting other teachers who want to succeed in this setting. We recognize that it might be overwhelming at first, but teachers are willing to support students during the onboarding process. I’ve attached a spreadsheet that will allow students to keep track of key information.
What should I do if I don’t have a computer or have to share one with siblings?
The teachers who have made contact with students have created a database of computer needs. Over the next few weeks, we are hoping to be able to deploy computers to students starting with kids that have no computer access at all and then moving on from there. This process is being managed by the District IT department. We would love to be able to just send out our computers directly from the school, but they are presently set up so that students can only logon using the SD42 server. That will need to be changed. For the time being, all of the teachers are trying to ensure that they are providing options that don’t require students to be sitting at a computer to complete. Students might have to download an email attachment to get work, at which time they will be able to move to a desk to work until you’re ready to send it back. If you know that your student needs technology and hasn’t yet reported it, please email Vice Principal Ken Headley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I get my things from school like textbooks and instruments?
This Wednesday and Thursday the school will be providing times for students to come to the school to pick up essential items: medication, instruments, and much needed clothing. Textbooks and binders are not necessities in most cases because the majority of textbooks are available online and because teaching staff have been directed to assume that students don’t have a physical textbook. In some cases, students might require their binders because they have notes that they feel are essential to their understanding of material. We need you to be the judge. The difficulty for us is that every person who enters the building must complete a Risk Assessment Screening form and be escorted by an administrator in and out of the building. Therefore, we will be requiring all students/parents to arrive at their designated time which will be confirmed by phone call or email tomorrow as directed by you in the linked form below. No loitering will be permitted. Please fill in the linked form below form below if you need to pick up an item. https://forms.gle/u4A5enANzFEbPbfL9
What should I do if I’m already busy all day?
Staff are very aware that the present crisis has put students and their families in unique positions. We do have parents who have been laid off and need their teenage child to be working their part time job. We have other parents at work who need their older child to supervise siblings. Many similar examples have been brought to our staff’s attention and we want to let you know that we recognize that completing work for 8 online classes might prove very challenging. Staff are acutely aware that they need to be flexible and supportive. The key, of course, is communication.
What about my Digital Academy classes which all require expensive software and good computers?
Mr. McCain and Ms. Foo might take a few weeks to roll out their curriculum because they need to source free online software and then develop lessons based on these programs. Both teachers are eager to continue to provide you with skills for university and for the workplace. Unfortunately, we are not confident that we will be able to provide computers with the power to support these classes, but we have made the request from the district.
Are the counsellors available?
Because of privacy and access concerns regarding ‘on-line’ counselling and consultation, the school district is advising, at this time, that school counsellors do not conduct ‘counselling’ meetings with students using an on-line platforms. If you do need to access a counsellor for whatever reason, please make first contact by email. Counsellors are divided by grade level. Please contact your grade level counsellor unless you already work with a specific counsellor. In such a case, contact the counsellor with whom you are already connected:
Grade 8: Sacha_Page@sd42.ca
Grade 9: Stephanie_Bikic@sd42.ca and Michael_Wade@sd42.ca
Grade 10: Tiffany_Kusnezov@sd42.ca
Grade 11: Michael_Wade@sd42.ca
Grade 12: Sacha_Page@sd42.ca
Counselling and Graduation Concerns
If you have a concern regarding graduation such as transcripts, scholarships, post-secondary, grad requirements etc., please contact Mr. Page at Sacha_Page@sd42.ca
For Parents of Incoming Grade 7 Students
If you have a concern regarding your students transition to grade 8 at MRSS, please direct inquiries to Stephanie Bikic at Stephanie_Bikic@sd42.ca
If you are a student and have concerns for your mental wellness, or if you are a parent and have concerns for you child’s mental wellness, you can contact the counsellors. At this time, they can direct you to appropriate community resources. If you have concerns but do not want to contact the school, we are attaching a list of community resources that are available to you. More specific information on these community resources can be found on-line.
Finally, for students, the number for the Kid’s Help Phone (text, phone and live chat) is:
I apologize for the length of this message, but I want to assure you that this is the edited version. To finish, I want to say that if you have any outstanding concerns or questions please feel free to email administrators at any time: email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. We want this to be a positive experience for both students and parents.