January 6, 2022
Welcome to the Blended Learning Guide for Parents/Guardians
This guide is intended to help parents and guardians of our PVNCCDSB students who have been learning in school but are now learning virtually as a result of the provincial lockdown. For many of our students and staff, virtual learning is new to us, and we need to develop our skills together. The following is intended to help:
Teaching and Learning
- Daily schedule or timetable that includes 300 minutes of learning opportunities – to be provided to students and parents
- Students will be using Google Classroom as the platform for learning
- Program based on full Ontario curriculum
- Guided instruction, large and small group learning, synchronous check-ins, and asynchronous independent work
- Teachers must be available to students at all times as they would be face-to-face
Synchronous Learning is learning that takes place with the teacher in real time. Students are completing the same task at the same time, and have access to the teacher for help, but do not necessarily need to be in front of the computer. Examples of synchronous learning can include but are not limited to, live online lessons via Google meet, individual conferencing, collaborative writing including Google docs and slides, and small group work via Google chat.
Synchronous Learning Expectations
- Kindergarten: 180 minutes
- Grades 1-3: 225 minutes
- Grades 4-8: 225 minutes
- Grades 9-12: 225 minutes
Parents will be provided with the class schedule so that their child may participate synchronously. It is important that students complete a tech-in/gathering in their class each day at the predetermined time. Otherwise, we ask parents to call the school line to report student absences. Parents who require an exemption from synchronous requirements should contact the school.
Asynchronous learning refers to learning that students undertake when they are not all in the same place with the teacher at the same time. Examples of asynchronous learning include independent learning, video recordings of lessons and activities, and posted assignments that students work on independently.
The Ontario curriculum is the basis for learning in a blended learning environment. Students attending are still expected to demonstrate and achieve the Catholic Graduate Expectations.
Mental Health and Well-being
Whether learning online or in traditional class settings, it is important that students have the strategies that they need to be successful in a holistic way, Mind, Body and Spirit.
Our Mental Health and Well Being Strategy strives to ensure that students are supported in the classroom both in person and virtually. Educators are provided with resources around social emotional learning, resiliency, self regulation and self care to integrate into the curriculum to encourage positive mental health for all students. Additional resources for families for all regions of the board may be found here: Community Resources for families of PVNCCDSB.
We know that some students may need additional support to be successful and we have social work support available to assist students learning virtually. Referrals can be made through your school principal to access these additional supports for your student, if necessary. Our social workers may also make referrals to additional programs in the community should the needs of your student warrant an additional or specialized level of support.
School Mental Health Ontario has resources for families to support positive mental health for their children specifically, the Parent Guide for Return to School. In addition, if you are concerned that your child may be struggling with their mental health, this resource on Noticing Mental Health Concerns for Your Child may assist you in supporting them and determining next steps for accessing support.
Moving to an online learning environment can offer some opportunities to meet the needs of a wide range of learners. The online environment can provide new ways for students to learn because teachers can present content and students can access content in different ways (such as through videos, for example). Online learning can provide multiple ways for students to engage with learning because some students are more motivated and connected when they are using technology.
The online environment may also present some challenges for students, and in particular, it may present challenges for students with special education needs. These students should receive appropriate accommodations and modifications where necessary and be provided with assigned work by teachers as well as feedback or assessment. If your child’s exceptional learning needs cannot be accommodated through remote learning, please contact your school principal.
Individual Education Plans (IEPs) have been developed by teachers and by special education resource teachers in your child’s home school and will continue to be in place during lockdown. Please contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions about their IEP.
Special education support staff (educational assistants) continue to support our students who are learning during the provincial lockdown.
Code of Conduct
A virtual classroom is still a place of community and a safe place to learn. Parents are encouraged to review with their children the Provincial Code of Conduct which applies to all students, staff, and families of PVNCCDSB.
Supporting Your Child Remotely
Parents can help their children in a number of ways. The following represents a number of suggestions to help your child learn remotely.
- Find a space: choose a space free from distractions but is also accessible to you as well. This might be the living room, kitchen, or family room.
- Access to technology: make sure your child has access to technology and wifi necessary to learn. If this is an obstacle, please reach out to your child’s teacher or principal.
- Learning Management System: all PVNCCDSB students use Google Classroom as their learning management system. This is easy to follow and comes with a number of Google applications that help your child learn.
- Readiness to learn: students should approach online learning as they would with getting ready to attend school. They should be suitably dressed for school with their learning materials and laptop ready to begin.
- Breaks: observe the breaks in the schedule to encourage your child to take some physical activity and move away from the computer. Nutrition, hydration, and activity are important for your child’s wellbeing.
- Support learning in age appropriate ways: children need the support of their parents in their learning in ways that reflect their own psychological and social development. In early years, this may mean direct support from parents as their children learn and play at home, but as children grow older and their skills develop, parents may be less directly involved.
- Supervision: parents and caregivers still need to supervise their children online during the school day and support any outdoor learning experiences they may have.
- Responsibilities of the student: students are expected to participate in their learning every day. Parents are asked to call the school if their child is going to be absent.
- Patience and persistence: moving from traditional classroom to online learning can be challenging and come with technical difficulties that can interrupt planning and learning. Patience and communication are key to assisting with working out these inconveniences in collaboration with school staff.
- Students and parents in Grade K to 3 are required to review and sign the Student Acceptable Use Agreement
- Students and parents in Grades 4 to 8 are required to review and sign the Student Acceptable Use Agreement
- Students and parents in Grades 9 to 12 are required to review and sign the Student Acceptable Use Agreement
Students are required to attend the school every day. Tech-ins and gatherings will take place each morning at the time established by the teacher. Please ensure your child is present during this time or contact the school attendance line to report an absence.
Sometimes, electronic communication takes on a 24/7 quality. As your child is learning virtually, please direct questions to the classroom teacher. If further information is required, please leave a message on the school’s general voicemail so that your call can be returned within 24 hours.
Teachers are available to support student learning during the school day through board email or Google classroom. Teachers will also be available to conference with students through Google meet. Conferencing between a teacher and a parent will take place on an agreed upon time and cannot take place during the synchronous portion where a number of students gather.
Help Desk: If you or your child have technical difficulties with technology or wifi that you are unable to resolve, please contact our helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 705-748-4861 EXT 1218.
Please continue to follow the PVNCCDSB calendar to assist you with planning for the duration of the year.