Note from Mrs.Orth – May 26th
I hope the spring weather and activities are creating some new opportunities for joy in your family. Teachers continue to work hard to support meaningful learning for our students and I cannot speak highly enough of the effort and resilience they have shown in figuring out how to do this emergency remote teaching. When this all started, many of my conversations with staff were about the logistics of Google Classroom or how to have kids share their work on See Saw. By working together, they have largely found their groove with the technology (not that it’s without hiccups!) and when I talk to teachers and EAs now, I am hearing only about how much they miss and care about your kids. How they woke up early because they were excited for the online speakers competition in Grade 6. How they are worried about the kids they haven’t heard from. How they are designing activities specifically to give kids a chance to hang out with their friends. How excited they are to get back to school. I feel very lucky to get to work with the people at ACS.
We have finalized our staffing for the 2020/2021 school year. Bryan Matkowski and Scott Myrah have both accepted transfers to Warman Community Middle School and Waldheim School, respectively and we are excited to welcome Shantelle Rempel to our staff in the Jr. Special Education Resource Teacher position. We are thankful to Bryan and Scott for their contributions to our school community and wish them the best.
One of the things that has been particularly difficult is planning for an alternative graduation celebration. Grad is an event that celebrates not only the accomplishment of 12 years of school, but the relationships that students have built with each other and the larger school community. WE are all disappointed that we are not able to celebrate these fine young people as we have traditionally done. After much planning and consideration, Prairie Spirit School Division has advised schools that all graduation ceremonies are to be virtual in nature and should not include any sort of in-person activities. To this end, our graduation celebration will include video messages from myself, a special guest speaker, grads’ future ambitions, a valedictorian address and lots of photos of these impressive students. We are aware of an alternate parade type event being planned by community members and unfortunately, PSSD staff will be unable to participate in such events because they fall outside of the health and safety guidelines provided by the province.
We know that many of you have been worried about your kids and how they are coping without a lot of social interaction with others. Some of you have been reaching out to each other and to us to talk about how best to help your kids deal with the trauma of this pandemic. One resource you may find helpful is from Kevin Cameron, who helps school leaders understand how to support students and families through trauma. In PSSD, we’ve done lots of work with Kevin and benefitted from his training. This podcast is helpful in understanding what’s called the “closeness/distance cycle” and what might be going on for people in your circles. Also, some members of the SCC are planning to meet on Zoom at 7:30pm on Thursday, May 28th just to talk about how our kids are doing and share ideas about how we are supporting them. Nothing formal, just a chance to talk. Please feel welcome to join us if you’d like; I will send out a separate email with the Zoom link.
On the topic of getting back to school in September, I wanted to let you know that we don’t have any direction yet about what that might be like. One challenge we have is that it is difficult to predict what sort of precautions might be necessary with regard to COVID-19 by the time school is set to resume at the beginning of September. You will be receiving some communication in the next couple of days from Prairie Spirit School Division regarding some of the different scenarios we are planning for. We know that learning in September will no longer be supplemental or optional for students – we will be expected to work together to help our kids engage in a regular Saskatchewan curricula. What I can offer you right now, is my assurance that the awesome people that work at ACS will be ready to support your kids and teach them well. We will continue to give you any information we have as it becomes available.