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Weekly Update – April 14- April 17, 2020

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life

John 3:16

This Easter, may we remember God’s gift to us and the promise of eternal life.

Dear St. Mary’s Families,

We have come to the end of our first week of distance learning. The goal this week was to welcome everyone into the virtual classroom and re-establish the connection between our teachers and students. It was not the kind of ‘back to school’ reunion we have always enjoyed following a break. There were no smiling faces in our hallways, no sounds of laughter by the lockers. It was not what we might hope for, but the best we can do in the circumstances, and it was great to see our staff and students come together again, if only virtually.

We want to thank you for your ongoing patience, understanding and support during this period. We know this is a challenging time. Many of our parents are balancing working from home, while also caring for loved ones, and now helping your children transition to distance instruction. This is also true of many of our staff who are caring for their own children and loved ones while learning new ways to support student learning. As with anything new, we know it will take some time before we fully adjust to this new way of teaching and learning, but as we all become more comfortable, it will get easier. We are in this together, and we will all keep doing the best we can to meet the needs of our students.

As we celebrate Easter today and the greatest celebration of our Catholic faith, we are reminded that even in our darkest hour, there is hope.

Easter will feel different this year. We will not gather as a community at Easter Mass, and we will not be able to share a meal with extended family and friends. We will find new ways to celebrate this holiest of days at home.

We have attached the Holy Week at Home resources to help your family celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord (Easter Sunday) from home.

We wish you and your family a blessed and joyful Easter celebration. Please continue to follow the advice of our public health professionals and stay well.

 We look forward to connecting with our students again on Tuesday!

Accessing Websites for Teacher-led Distance Learning

There are three main websites that students will be using to access their teacher-led distance learning:

  • Google Classrooms
  • Brightspace D2L (Desire to Learn)
  • Microsoft Office 365 (includes Office applications such as Word, OneNote, and Teams)

Your child’s teacher will have communicated which site your children will be using to access their learning, along with the required usernames and passwords.

Students can also access D2L and Office 365 sites from the board’s public website here by choosing the correct program from the column on the right-hand side of the webpage.

If you have trouble accessing the sites, please contact your child’s teacher, and be patient as he or she works through the problem with you.

What is Teacher-led Distance Learning?

Distance learning is learning that takes place outside of a traditional classroom setting. While some of the instruction may be conducted online, students will not be expected to be on a device for all of their learning. Our goal is to encourage students to read, communicate and engage in learning experiences.

It may look different for each class, but in general, distance learning –

  • is flexible and can be done at any point during the day or week
  • does not always require online access
  • requires minimal parent/guardian support

Hours of Work and Focus on Learning

The Ministry of Education has provided the following guidelines for hours of work and focus of learning.

Kindergarten-Grade 35 hours of work per student, per week.
The focus of learning: literacy and math
Grades 4-65 hours of work per student, per week.
The focus of learning: literacy and math + science and social studies
Grades 7-810 hours of work per student, per week.
The focus of learning: core math, literacy, science and social studies

Hours refers to the approximate amount of time your child would spend on the work assigned by teachers. This does not mean the amount of time your child should be online or in front of a screen. Your child’s teacher may engage with students in a variety of ways.

As a Catholic school, our focus will also include Religion, and our teachers will continue to integrate our faith and Gospel values in all subject areas.

Assessment

Your child’s teacher will use formative assessment to gather evidence of how he or she is progressing in their learning. They will provide feedback on his or her progress, and he or she will receive a final report card.

Communication

Now more than ever the relationship between home and school is key to your child’s success, and we will continue to keep the lines of communication open with our parents. You will receive a message from your child’s teacher today outlining the next steps and learning opportunities for the coming week. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher if you have any concerns about their learning. All of our teacher emails are listed on our website under Contacts > Staff Directory. We are committed to responding to your concerns in a timely manner. Please ensure you have checked your junk or clutter folders for any communication that may have been delivered there.

St. Mary Tip

Self Care 101

Nurturing ourselves gives us the energy to help others through difficult times.

Connect 

  • Strong social connections are one of the biggest influences on our mood and mental health. Reach out to friends and family by phone or video chat to help fill the need for human connection.

Refuel

  • eat healthy
  • hydrate your body with an increase in water and decrease in caffeine
  • sleep 
  • be physically active
  • take time t​o do an activity you enjoy

**Check out School Mental Health Ontario for more tips! www.smho-smso.ca

We continue to draw on our faith and offer prayers for the safety and well-being of those who are sick, and those who are working on the frontlines to care for them.

K. Dobbie & D. Comito

Principal     Vice- Principal

Follow us on Twitter @StMaryOakville

Elementary Vice-PrincipalWeekly Update – April 14- April 17, 2020