October 29th, 2020

City school divisions working to help students move forward


By Bobinec, Greg on March 18, 2020.

Teacher Alyssa Andreachuk and educational assistant Deb Stankievech clean toys in their kindergarten classroom Tuesday at Senator Buchanan Elementary School. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge School Division has provided an update to parents in regards to Sunday’s announcement that classes have been cancelled for students in kindergarten to Grade 12.

Since the abrupt stop to public education due to the COVID-19 virus, faculty at the school division have been working with the province to determine the best way to deliver education to students and say the goal of the province is for all students to move forward in the coming year.

“We are certainly paying close attention to and adhering to what the minister of education and deputy minister has given with respect to moving forward,” says Cheryl Gilmore, superintendent, Lethbridge School Division. “All schools are operational so all of the staff are in the schools and working hard. What the minister made clear was the goal of the province is to make sure that every student finishes the year, every student in high school receives their grades; if they are in elementary or middle school they are able to finish their grade and are able to move forward.”

Figuring out the best delivery method is something teachers are looking at with each individual class, considering all of the learning outcomes and collaborating. For possible learning outcomes, the school district is taking into consideration students’ cognitive ability, as well as students’ access to devices to connect them to potential alternative learning.

“Certainly I don’t know what the timelines are with respect to school closure, but what we are looking at is preparing structures that move us forward in the timelines that are established as government proceeds with making decisions,” says Gilmore. “It will vary, certainly the government is committed to putting out in the very near future what they call the basic level of service and trying to have consistency across the province, what will be the areas of curriculum, what will be the significant learning that the province sets as a standard. From there the schools are working on how will that happen, and that looks different in Grade 1 and in Grade 12.”

The Holy Spirit School Division is in a similar situation as they try and learn how to adapt the classroom into the homes of their students.

The principal of Catholic Central High School sent out an email to families sharing their experience through the alternative learning process and gave some insight to ideas they are considering.

“We have also met with our teaching staff, who is our most valuable resource during this transition time. I am proud of the commitment they have already shown to ensure that your child will be supported in alternative ways,” says Joanne Polec, principal of Catholic Central High School. “As yesterday was a natural PD day for us anyway, teachers used this time to add students to digital classrooms, to meet as departments to troubleshoot any challenges students might have, and to prepare paper copies and textbook materials for pick up.”

As more information about how the Lethbridge School Division and Holy Spirit School Division will be rolling out the alternative learning for their classes, they will be in contact with families about any updates regarding the near future of their child’s education.

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