HCDSB Virtual Elementary School Parent Handbook 2021-2022

HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School Parent Handbook 2021-2022

Table of Contents

HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School Staff

At the HCDSB Virtual Elementary school, our teachers and support staff are committed to providing a thriving Catholic educational environment for our students.

“The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity: a network not of wires but of people. Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world.”

~ Pope Francis
Catholic Learning Environment At HCDSB Catholic Schools, we use language and conversation that reflects the gospel values of mutual respect, care and value for the dignity of each person. We are dedicated to reading the Scripture, celebrating the Sacraments, praying and engaging in symbols and rituals of the Catholic Church.
Catholic Community We are a community committed to loving and serving as a people of faith in our community, and our society, and to living out the Gospel message through justice and charity. Love of God and our neighbor is the first and greatest commandment basic to our Christian faith.
Catholic Curriculum Our Catholic School teaches the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum that is grounded in the Religion and Family Life Education programs. Our goal at the HCDSB Virtual Catholic is to help our students see the world through a Catholic lens, as they become critical Catholic learners.
Catholic School Staff at the HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School share a common focus on faith and considers each child as a unique and special gift from God with individual talents and abilities. We teach our students to respect the rights and dignity of all people in a caring community.

Tips for Parents

How to set up your student for success in the Virtual School

Supporting your child’s virtual learning experience is an essential part of their success while learning from home. Just like in a conventional, face-to-face classroom learning model, all curriculum subjects/frames are taught and reported on.

During virtual learning, your child is expected to participate in instruction and complete assigned learning activities each day. They will show proof of participation in daily virtual learning by satisfactorily engaging with assigned learning

activities and completing assignments to demonstrate their learning by the assigned due date. For students with special education needs, this will include instructional and assessment accommodations/modifications as identified in their Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Educators may engage with students through a variety of means including Microsoft Teams, D2L, telephone, email and there is no expectation for educators or students to be in a Microsoft TEAMS meeting all day.

Communicating with the Teacher/Educator

During virtual learning, your child is expected to participate in instruction and complete assigned learning activities each day. Staying up to date with communications is an essential component to providing support for your child’s virtual learning experience.

  • Consistently monitor the communication from your child’s educators
  • Make sure you know when and how to best communicate with the educators (i.e., email, phone)
  • Recognize that educators are teaching during the instructional day, just like in a conventional, face-to-face  classroom, and interruptions during instructional time negatively impact teaching and student learning
  • Address concerns regarding your child or instruction during the times provided by the educator, such as before or  after school, as doing so while the educator is online with students is not appropriate and would not occur during conventional teaching
  • Make sure you and your child stay in communication with their educators when in need of additional learning    support

Supporting Your Child

No one expects parents to be full-time teachers or to be content matter experts. One of the goals for students is to become independent, and that takes lots of practice! Checking in with your child throughout the day will support them in processing instructions and communication from their educators. For younger children, this means supporting them at the beginning of the day and with check-ins throughout the day. Longer check-ins in the morning or evening may provide older children the support they need.

  • Remember, you do not have to be the teacher to ensure that your child learns
  • Avoid hovering over every lesson. Your child needs to make mistakes, interact with others, and learn to attend, all of which may be hindered if you are watching everything that they do
  • Provide support and encourage your child while expecting them to do their part
  • Resist the urge to help by providing your child with the answers…struggling is allowed and encouraged and that is how learning happens! Your child’s educators need to know what they can do independently
  • The virtual classroom is designed to support teaching and learning. Respect and honour the classroom space, just as you would a regular classroom

Here are some questions that might spark a conversation with your child:

Tips for Students

Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can work:

A table, countertop or desk is better than a couch or bed.

Be on time:

You should login at least 5 minutes before your session begins. If you are unable to attend the scheduled session, a video of the lesson will be uploaded for later viewing.

Dress appropriately:

Uniforms are not required, but we do expect you to dress appropriately for learning.

Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking:

Although you may not be speaking, microphones on devices can pick up background noises such as coughs, whispering and typing.

  • Be respectful of your educators and classmates: You are expected to behave as you would in the classroom, including using appropriate language and interacting positively with your classmates and educators.
  • Using the camera on your computer is optional: Remember, if the camera is on, everyone will be able to see you and what is going on in your immediate area. Consider your background environment before using

your camera.

  • Your educator will let you know how questions can be asked: Be sure to take the opportunity to ask questions if you are unclear about something.

When the session is over, your educator will ask you to leave the web conference:

Be sure to leave the conference when asked. Your educator will be the last one to leave.

  • Although online learning is not for everyone, try your best: There’s important lessons and learning that will happen before school ends. Your educator is here to help you be as successful as you can be. Give it your best shot!

Never share your password!

HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School Special Education 

At HCDSB, we believe that each student is a unique gift from God and as such has the right to an education which will foster spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and social growth. We believe that students with special needs (exceptionalities) should be given the opportunities and support necessary to reach their full potential. ​

All decisions are grounded in the following five foundational assumptions: ​

  • All students can learn
  • Teachers have the greatest influence over student learning ​
  • We can all be more than what we currently are ​
  • Support and professional development are required to do so​
  • This is best accomplished in partnership with parents

The HCDSB Virtual Elementary School’s teachers are supported by a Special Education Consultant and an Itinerant SERT. Modifications and Accommodations from IEPs are implemented by our teaching staff with the support of our Special Education team.  ​

For more information about Special Education at the HCDSB, please visit our Special Education Website found here.

Responsible Digital Citizenship and Learning

Preparing our students for success in the future requires preparing them for today’s workplace, and for a world that continues to evolve through advances in technology. 

At HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School, teachers and learners collaborate in innovative school and classroom communities that encourage student engagement, learning, and achievement. Teachers incorporate digital resources into their lessons where appropriate and students use digital resources to demonstrate learning.

We believe that technology enhances a child’s learning experience, and therefore we use digital tools and platforms to support student learning. Parents can participate in their child’s learning by encouraging responsible digital citizenship. 

Further information regarding this topic can be found in our HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School Code of Conduct policy.

Responsible Digital Citizenship

As a school district, we place a great deal of emphasis on responsible digital citizenship. In accordance with Policy I-43, Use of Technology and Digital Citizenship​, students are taught how to use technology responsibly and appropriately.

More information on Digital Citizenship can be found in this infographic: Responsible Digital Citizenship Through the Lens of the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations

Virtual Learning Environments

All HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School students are supported by the Ministry funded virtual learning environment (VLE) using the D2L Brightspace platform. Ontario’s VLE includes digital portfolios, assignments, rubrics, lessons linked to curriculum expectations, quizzes, and much more. Each student is given their own unique login, ensuring a safe and secure virtual learning environment. 

Ontario’s VLE does not feature any advertising, so there will be no distraction to your child’s learning. In addition, educators have access to ongoing D2L platform support so that they will be able to create and maintain an engaging learning experience for all students.

In addition to Brightspace D2L, teachers will have access to Microsoft TEAMS for real-time whole class, small group, and individual meetings with students to support learning.

Use the links below for instructions on how to access the D2L learning management system, Office 365, and HCDSB Google apps and services.

D2L Desire 2 Learn

D2L Brightspace

Microsoft Office 365

Office 365

Google logo

HCDSB Google Account

Report a Student Absence

To report your child’s absence from virtual school, please contact their teacher directly by email. Student absences will not be recorded through SchoolMessenger for Virtual Elementary School.

Balanced School Day

A balanced school day operates during the same start/finish times,  but the blocks of learning time are reworked within this time frame.   There is no change to the number of teaching minutes per day, nor to the total number of recess minutes per day, just fewer transition times and increased learning time.  The school is changed from the traditional two fifteen-minute recesses and a twenty-minute lunch followed by a forty-minute recess to two longer nutrition and activity breaks​ during the day.

This is the Balanced Day schedule that the HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School will be following for the 2021/2022 school year:

Start of Day 8:30 am

Period 1 – 8:30 am – 9:30 am (60 min)​

Period 2 – 9:30 – 10:10 am (40 min)​

Nutrition Break #1 – 10:10 – 10:50​ am (40 min)

Period 3 – 10:50 – 11:30 pm (40 min)​

Period 4 – 11:30 am – 12:10 pm (40 min)​

Nutrition Break #2 – 12:10 – 12:50 pm (40 min)

Period 5 – 12:50 – 1:30 pm (40 min)​

Period 6 – 1:30 – 2:10 pm (40 min)​

Period 7 – 2:10 – 3:00 pm (50 min)

Dismissal 3:00 pm

HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School Catholic School Council

At HCDSB, we are proud of the vibrant partnership that exists between home and school. We know that children do best at school when their parents are engaged in their education, and so we encourage parents and guardians to explore the various ways they can become more involved in their child’s learning and in the life of the school. 

One of the best ways to get involved is by joining your Catholic School Council.

Further information about the nomination process for the HCDSB Virtual Catholic School Catholic School Council will be announced before the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

Simon, MartinHCDSB Virtual Elementary School Parent Handbook 2021-2022