Dear Peel District School Board Families,
I hope this message finds you safe and well, and surrounded by those you love.
As we look to re-start instruction on Monday, April 6, 2020, I want to provide you with our plan so that you know what to expect in the coming days and weeks. To guide our next steps, we have developed A Community of Care: The Peel District School Board's Learning and Support Plan. The plan, which is aligned with Ministry of Education requirements, is posted on the board's website and will be updated as we adapt to this new teaching and learning environment. A PDF version is also available, if you'd prefer to view it in this format.
We know that students and families may be worried about learning from home. What will it look like? How will I be assessed? Will I graduate? What is expected of me as student, as a parent? How can I support my child if I'm an essential worker? There are many questions, and we've tried our best to answer most of them in our Community of Care Plan.
We know that distance learning will not be simple or easy for everyone. Some will embrace this style of learning and others will see it as yet another challenge they have to overcome during an already difficult time. As a board, we will do everything we can to support everyone in our community—students, staff and families—throughout these closures.
We know that you will do your best to encourage and guide your children as they engage in learning at home. Our staff will do the same, while managing some of the same stressors you're facing at home. Some educators may be caring for elderly parents and young children while delivering lessons, and some will be new to delivering distance learning. We have been thrown into this situation together, and we must work through it with optimism. We ask for your patience, understanding and grace, and commit to extending the same compassion in return.
As you know, from the Minister of Education's letter, the Ministry of Education has directed school boards to offer distance teaching and learning for all students. Teachers will deliver learning by grade groupings as follows:
- Kindergarten to grade 3 – five hours of work per student/week
- Grades 4 to 6 – five hours of work per student/week
- Grades 7 to 8 – 10 hours of work per student/week
- Grades 9 to 12 – three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; one-and-a-half hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students
Our goal is to be able to reach and support every learner. It's important to note that unlike traditional online learning, distance learning does not necessarily rely on the use of technology nor does it always require online access. While initial instruction may be conducted online, students aren't expected to be tied to a device for their learning.
Distance learning is flexible and can be done at any point in the day. It allows for student voice and choice, and can be done with minimal adult support. Our goal is to encourage students to read, communicate and engage in authentic learning experiences while continuing to be physically active and mentally well.
To learn more about distance learning, please review our Community of Care Plan. The plan also lets you know what to expect regarding:
Our priority over the next two weeks is for educators and students to become comfortable in this new learning environment. We will listen to the input we receive from staff, students and families in the days ahead as we design future supports.
As we begin this journey together, please keep in mind that there are bound to be some bumps along the way as we all adjust to our new circumstances. In the same way, students and families will need time to get used to the new learning environment, so will our staff. We know they are committed to supporting every learner and will do so while keeping students and families informed. As always, if you have questions about what your child is learning, please contact their teacher(s).
Thank for your understanding, support and partnership as we move forward with the best of intentions. These are new experiences for all of us, but with care and compassion, we will do this together. Stay well.
Director of Education