Parent Peek at the Week
Week of May 4th, 2020
Welcome to May!
It's hard to believe it's already May!
As the weeks drag on, we are aware that it is getting more and more challenging for many families to keep their children engaged in distance learning. We understand! Staff are working diligently to ensure tasks are open-ended, as engaging as possible and if only a few things get done, that's okay too.
If you or your child(ren) are struggling in any way that we can support - please let me know. We have an amazing support staff team who are working with some students one-on-one to help get through these challenging times. If you feel your child would benefit from having an adult in addition to their classroom teacher to check-in from time to time, please just let me know. I'm happy to connect as well.
We thank all the families who were able to support our first Virtual Spirit Day - Super Hero Day - on Friday. Below you will see a link to a video that was created with all the photos submitted. This week is the launch of our Pedal for Hope campaign - virtually, of course! If you are able to contribute in any way, we'd love your support! This weeks events:
1. Watch our Kawartha Heights Cougar bike from Peterborough to Vancouver, BC – exactly
4,500 kms which matches our fundraising goal of $4,500! If he gets there and we keep
raising, we will try to bring him home! Updates of our cougar’s progress will be on the
morning announcements on Tuesday and Friday.
2. As an individual, or as a family, create a sign to recognize and celebrate the person or
people you are supporting thru Pedal for Hope. Send your pictures to Mrs. Sampson by the
end of the week to be included in our Tribute Video.
This week is also the launch of the first "Story Time with Mrs. Sampson". Join us at 3pm on Wednesday as we read our first book together on YouTube Live. The link to this event will be posted on Edsby shortly.
We continue to work hard to find innovative and different ways to support you and your family during these interesting times. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I'd love to hear from you!
Until then, stay safe and take care of each other,
A few photos from our last week of distance learning:
Super Hero Day!
A few other bits of information......
Story time with Mrs. Sampson
Beginning this week, I'll be offering our first ever "Story Time with Mrs. Sampson" - live on YouTube.This event will happen once a week moving forward and I will also save the event so that if you miss it, you can watch it at another time. Please be aware that due to copyright issues, these events will need to be "private" - which just means that you need a link to view. I'll post the link shortly on Edsby for all families - Then tune in on Wednesday at 3pm for our first story - A Walk in the Rain with a Brain by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell!
For any students that have IEP's (Individual Education Plans), we will be contacting you shortly about revisions that are necessary due to distance learning. Unfortunately, there are some things we would normally teach at school that are not able to be done in the home setting. Teachers will be contacting families and collaboratively deciding what will stay and what will be put on hold. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Things to come.....
Just a little update on where we are at in the school bigger picture. Things continue to move ahead, even if we're at home!
Over the past few weeks, Principals have been focusing on staffing, interviews and hiring for September 2020. The transition to Crestwood Intermediate also continues - the transition committee (staff, students, parents) will be meeting this week, so we should have a bit of news to share after that. In addition, there are a few other things on the radar that you can expect to hear more about in the coming month: class placements for students (see below), transition meetings, CUPE staffing, schedules, report cards, Kindergarten orientation, end of year celebrations....just to name a few. We'll do our best to keep you in the loop on everything as we go!
We want to let everyone know that even though schools are physically closed, Kindergarten registration continues! School secretaries, principals, educators and school board staff are working behind the scenes preparing for Kindergarten 2020-21. Families can register online with any device connected to the Internet, at KPR School Registration. Please register as early as you can, as knowing how many new little ones will be joining our school community affects staffing and organization.
Some printed documents are required to finalize school registration, such as proof of age and address, and these can be handed in once schools re-open. Until then, our Kindergarten web portal www.kprschools.ca/kindergarten includes important resources and strategies to help prepare your little one for school. We look forward to welcoming our new students and families this fall!
Kawartha Heights Family Dashboard
Just a reminder that if you are looking for some alternate activities to do with your family, the Kawartha Heights Family Dashboard is for you! You can find the link below, but you can also access it any time in the top left corner of your child's classroom homepage on Edsby.
At Kawartha Heights, how do we determine class placements for September 2020?
Over the course of this year, I have had many discussions with parents inquiring about the process we use to decide which class students are placed in for the upcoming school year. This article will give you more information about how the process is completed.
The allocation of the number of teachers each year is based on our projected enrollment, through the Board office. Staff assignments are subject to change each year, especially in a climate of changing enrollment. In addition, the requirement for combined grade classes varies from year to year depending entirely on the number of students.
Each year in June, our team meets to make up classes for next year. Before our meetings begin, we have a general idea of the number of classes we will have and whether there will be combined grades or straight grades. This is still subject to change between June and October, as enrollment may increase or decrease.
When we meet, student placement is always determined collaboratively by the team, taking into account a variety of different factors. Each meeting focuses on only one grade at a time, and the current grade teacher, SERT and Administration look at the following factors to determine best placement:
- A range of academic abilities in each class
- A balance between boys and girls (where possible)
- Consideration for ensuring a friend is with each student - this does not mean a student’s best friend, but rather a friend that best supports their learning
- Specific information provided by parents that does not include requesting a favourite teacher, requesting favourite friends or requesting straight grade classes
- Specific individual and unique issues that we are aware of as a school team
Our shared goal is to provide the best possible learning environment for each child. This is a balanced classroom. A balanced classroom also includes students with a range of academic abilities and incorporates a match between student needs and the available resources to address those needs.
After due consideration by the school team, the final responsibility for school organization rests with the Principal. This is a responsibility that is taken very seriously with the best interest of all students in mind. If there is something specific that you would like us to know when considering your child’s class placement for next year (please refer to the factors above), please inform Mrs. Sampson by email by May 15th. Note: requests for a specific teacher or for a child to be with a specific friend are not usually entertained.
As a staff, Kawartha Heights is committed to a thorough placement process in support of student achievement. Your child’s tentative placement will be included with the June report card. In some cases, because the teacher hiring process may not be complete, it may be impossible to name the teacher. If this is the case, parents are welcome to call the school during the last week of August. Changes to enrollment over the summer may effect prior decisions about class organization. It is important that parents understand that unanticipated staff changes over the summer, or fall reorganization to balance class sizes, may require a revision to your child’s classroom.
Transition to Crestwood Intermediate School
Pedal for Hope
- Please consider joining our team, or donating to the "team gifts" or any of us individually. $5 or $10 makes a difference! One suggestion from P4H is if we ask 10 people for $10 each, we quickly raise $100. Please consider supporting if you can. All donations are accepted online only this year.
- Keep up to date on the events each week. I'll be reminding you on the morning announcements, Twitter and Instagram as well.
- Consider participating in any of the events you can - and then send a picture along to me so that we can share with others.
If you can think of any other ways that we can make this campaign special, please let any of us know.
Update from KPRDSB
Mental Health Week and Education Week – May 4 to 8
May 4 to 8 is Education Week in Ontario and it is also Mental Health Week in Canada. Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate public education and highlight its significant impact, including the contributions of students, parents, teachers and education workers. We all work together to ensure student success and well-being. During these uncommon times especially, we want to take a moment to recognize the importance of public education in all of our lives.
As you know, we have put together a series of mental health supports and toolkits to support students and families during this health crisis, all of which are available from the home page of our website, www.kprschools.ca . Further to that, as part of Mental Health Week, we have compiled even more resources for children, teens and parents. We’ve attached our Mental Health Week poster, which contains links to videos, activities and supports. Follow @kprschools on Twitter or Instagram, or Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board on Facebook, for more Mental Health Week information and activities.
As we shared home with you earlier this week, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31, 2020, as part of an effort to keep students, staff and families safe from COVID-19.
The extension was based on expert advice from health officials on the COVID-19 Command Table and is part of the government's ongoing effort to stop the spread of the virus. The advice was to extend school closures for an additional period of time to permit updated modelling and data to inform next steps.
At this time, we have no further information on the balance of the school year.
Also this week, the province announced plans that will guide the reopening of our province. These guidelines set out a framework for a gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.
In its release, the government states that it is: “planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.”
While the guidelines do not specifically reference the education sector, more information is available here: Provincial COVID-19 Information
Provincial iPad announcement
Parents may have seen media reports, as well as references in the Minister of Education’s letter earlier this week, highlighting how school boards across the province are providing computer devices to families in need.
At this time, we are pleased to be able to provide digital devices to any family in need from within our current available assets. While we do not have any of the iPads referenced by the province, we do have other devices in our schools that can be loaned out during this time. Parents can continue to contact their local school to be provided with a digital device.
With respect specifically to the provincial iPad information, we want to clarify for parents:
- The program supports school boards who may need to purchase additional devices; however, at KPR, we are not in that position.
- School boards have not received any additional funds to purchase these iPads, nor are any iPads being provided directly to school boards for sharing with parents.
- The devices referenced in the announcement do not fix connectivity issues for households with limited broadband availability.
As of today, we are currently on pace to provide over 3,000 Chromebooks, and other devices that match our learning platforms, to our elementary and secondary families to support student learning needs. This process continues as we learn more about the emerging needs of our students.
For families who are experiencing barriers to learning as a result of internet access – due to either a lack of local internet infrastructure, or financial hardship, we have a couple of possible solutions. Again, we encourage families in this situation to contact their school principal for assistance. Where internet access is simply not possible, we are providing families with paper learning resources.
We are committed to providing any family in need with a digital device, and will support Internet access as best we are able. We are thankful that we can make that happen from the available resources we have within our school board.
Just one more thing....
Families - for all your are doing during this interesting time, as our partners in education - we thank you. In fact, we "think you're wonderful"!!!!!