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Weekly Update: January 11th

“If we have no peace in our hearts, how can we think there will be peace in our world? Let’s try to remain in the Lord, & the way to do so is to love, & to love in little things.”

 Pope Francis

Thank you:

Thank you to our students for your resilience and adaptability in pivoting to remote learning- you are ALL “ROCK STARS’!

Thank you to our parents for your support, patience and smiles as you juggle supporting your child(ren) at home and your own work~ you are AMAZING!

Thank you to our ALL of our staff for your efforts, time & energy in supporting our students and their families!

Gentle Reminders:

Morning Announcements & Prayers

Each morning @ 9:40am, we will gather as a community for the singing of O’ Canada, Morning Prayers & Announcements. Parents are always welcome to join us!

Christian Meditation

Our school community is invited to participate in Christian Meditation @1pm, each afternoon. Parents are always welcome!~ Please check with your child’s Digital Platform for the link.

On Line Expectations/ Etiquette

It has been wonderful to see how quickly our students have adapted to remote learning! We kindly request that parents discuss with their children the proper use of the “Chat Feature” in Teams. Students are reminded that they should not be utilizing the chat feature during Morning Announcements or Christian Meditation as it is very distracting ~ Parents thank you for your support with this!

Student Attendance

During this period of remote learning, we continue to promote regular attendance, as it is important for students to remain engaged in their learning so they can stay on top of the curriculum and feel more connected to their peers while our school is closed. 

As noted in PPM 164: Requirements for Remote Learning, schools are required to take daily student attendance throughout the period of remote learning.

Attendance will be taken twice daily: once in the morning and again after lunch. If your child is not able to attend or participate in remote learning on any given day, please report his or her absence, as you typically would during in-person learning through the SchoolMessenger Safe Arrival System:  https://www.hcdsb.org/parents/report-your-childs-absence/.

We will be following our usual process of contacting parents and guardians when student absences are not reported. 

Thank you for your continued support and partnership. Now, more than ever, ongoing communication between home and school is key to your child’s success and well-being. 

School Fundraiser- Little Caesar’s Pizza

Our Catholic School Council would like to invite our community to participate in our upcoming School Fundraiser! Little Caesars on Walker’s Line has offered to support our school! Starting on  January 18th – 31st 2021, 20% of your Little Caesars® order will be donated to Canadian Martyrs Catholic Elementary School. Please refer to the email sent on Thursday, January 7th for more details!

Ministry Updates ~ Remote Learning

  • Elementary schools will be closed for in-person learning between January 4-22, 2021. 
  • Elementary students will continue to learn remotely until Friday, January 22, 2020.
  • In-school instruction for elementary school students will resume on Monday, January 25, 2021.

 
Virtual Elementary School

  • Students enrolled in the Virtual Elementary School will continue to follow their established schedules. 
  • The change in learning format between in-person and virtual instruction will be delayed until school re-open for in-person learning on January 25, 2021.

Technology Support for Students
Families that were provided a device to support student learning are not required to return their device on Monday, January 11 as previously planned. Families may continue to use their loaned devices throughout the extended remote learning period.

Special Education

  • School staff (Teachers, Educational Assistants, etc.) as well as board professionals (e.g. Speech and Language Pathologists) will continue to provide support and services for special education students virtually throughout the extended remote learning period.
  • Students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning will continue to receive in-person support during the extended remote learning period.

Financial Support for Parents
The Ontario government has made financial support available for families during this temporary remote learning period through the Support for Learners program. Starting on January 11, 2021, an expanded Support for Learners program is providing $200 for each child or youth up to Grade 12 and $250 for each child or youth up to age 21 with special needs. Applications will be open until February 8, 2021.

Apply for Support for Learners Funding here: https://www.iaccess.gov.on.ca/SupportForLearnersWeb/public/index.xhtml

Faith & Well-Being Resources
I recognize that the extension of remote learning will create additional burdens on our families and staff.

Here are a list of supports for families to access during this difficult time: 

Updates and Additional Information 

We will continue to share any new updates as they become available, in the following ways:

Register your Child for Kindergarten
Kindergarten is an exciting milestone for your child and for your family! Our school offers a full-day, 2-year Kindergarten program, designed to engage curious early learners through different kinds of play, that help children learn how to reason and problem-solve as
they interact with one another.

When Can My Child Begin Kindergarten?
To register your child to begin Junior Kindergarten (Year 1) in September, 2021, your child must be four years old by December 31st, 2021. Children enrolled in Senior Kindergarten (Year 2) must be five years old by December 31st, 2021.

Promoting Well Being: Get Ready to Take on Winter

We know the pandemic and COVID-19 prevention measures have already had an impact on children and youth mental health. For many of us, it has impacted our whole family’s mental wellness. Now, once again, Ontarians are facing new lockdown measures and we are being asked to stay home and only see those people in our households.

It’s a tough start to the New Year. The experience can be isolating, lonely, and even overwhelming for families who are home-schooling and trying to work. Many of us have found ourselves without our usual supports or activities for the kids to do. 

It’s even harder when our children are facing mental health challenges. Additionally, this is the time of year when many of us start to feel the mental health impacts (such as sleep disturbances, low interest in activities, fatigue, and irritability) of having less exposure to daylight.

Recognizing that this winter may be a difficult time for a lot of families across the province, especially those whose children have mental illness, Children’s Mental Health Ontario has rounded up some expert tips to help you through the season. 

1. Focus on Gratitude

The start of a New Year may be a good time to reflect and make space for feelings of gratitude. Often when we are dealing with difficulties and challenges, we tend to focus on what’s not going right. But if there is anything the last year has shown us, it’s that families are resilient. Take a few minutes to think of the things you are grateful for and encourage children to do the same. That is not to take away from how challenging things have been over this last year, but rather, it’s an opportunity to recognize that some good things have been happening, too. If there are younger kids in your family, consider helping them journal feelings their feelings using colours. If you do it throughout the day, you and your child may notice points where they felt ok and it gives you a chance to talk about what changed in the day.

2. Collaborate with Kids on Plans

Take time to collaborate with your family on activities to stay busy. Even something as similar as a family movie night at home can be turned into something special for young children by pretending you are in a different place, like a movie theatre. If your teen is feeling unmotivated to leave the house, try to really understand what’s behind their feelings – perhaps they are concerned about the virus. Ask if there is anything new that they are interested in trying. It gives you a chance to help them address the issue and potentially shift how they feel about going out. Another idea is to have your child/ teen teach you how to do something (maybe a new technology or game), giving them a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and interests.

3. Stay Connected

On top of the cold weather that tends to keep us indoors more often than out, lockdowns and school closures make it challenging to stay connected. Help your students stay connected with friends in new ways. Talk to children and teens and ask what methods of connecting with friends help them feel comfortable. Is there a virtual program they could do together? Depending on your child’s interests, it could be something like a shared online yoga or dance program. Let your teens know that you understand how difficult this time is and validate their feelings – there is no question that this is a hard and challenging time for a lot of youth and teens.

4. Embrace Winter

Understanding that physical health and mental health are connected, it’s important to stay active. With so few activities available indoors because of COVID-19 lockdowns and prevention measures, many families may be looking to embrace the outdoors in a new way this year. Having a positive mindset about winter may encourage you and your family to think of new ways to get outside more. Spending time outdoors and in nature can have a positive impact on our moods – the snow and cold doesn’t have to change that.

5. Stay Active

With the right snow, there’s lots of activities to be had such as tobogganing or ice skating. But if the hills are too busy or sledding is not the right speed for you and your family, try getting outside for a brisk walk in the day in your neighbourhood. Going out, even on cloudy days, will give you a dose of much-needed natural light. You might even like to venture further out for a winter hike in a local park. During a recent Twitter chat with the #kidscantwait community, we asked parents and mental health experts what they plan to do to stay busy over the kids’ winter break. Have a look at their responses for more ideas on staying active over winter.

6. Keep Healthy Habits and Routines

Prioritizing the healthy habits that you normally have, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and exercising regularly will help. Parents and caregivers should also keep up with self-care and know that it’s ok to take time for yourself. Routines – and knowing what to expect in the day – can be especially helpful to children with mental health issues.

7. Reach Out For Help

Often, the ways children present mental illness is not the same as adults. When a child’s behaviour changes and their worries, low-mood, or irritability become so strong that it affects their day-to-day activities, it is important to reach out for help. If you are not sure what your child is experiencing is normal or if they need help, reach out to a child and youth mental health centre in your community. Help is available from child and mental health experts who can talk to your child or you, or both. They can help you determine whether what your child is doing/feeling is normal or if they need more help. Find help here

Children’s Mental Health Ontario ~ www.cmho.org

Twitter:

Please follow us @CMartyrsHCDSB , to view learning in our community as well as some great community and parent information.

Looking Ahead:

Jan
18
Mon
School Fundraiser – Little Caesar’s Pizza
Jan 18 – Jan 31 all day
Jan
25
Mon
Return to In- Person Learning
Jan 25 all day
Catholic School Council Meeting
Jan 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Feb
4
Thu
Spirit Day ~ Beach Day!
Feb 4 all day
Feb
5
Fri
PA Day
Feb 5 all day
School Uniform Vote March 4th-11th
Feb 5 all day
Virtual Friendship Liturgy @1:10pm
Feb 5 @ 5:35 pm – 6:35 pm
Feb
8
Mon
School Uniform Vote March 4th-11th
Feb 8 all day
Feb
9
Tue
School Uniform Vote March 4th-11th
Feb 9 all day
Feb
10
Wed
School Uniform Vote March 4th-11th
Feb 10 all day
Cronin-Nowitsky, LouiseWeekly Update: January 11th