Update from Mrs. Orth – April 16th

I hope this note finds you in good health and spirits, as we work our way through the last quarter of our school year.

It’s impossible not to be bombarded by information about the pandemic and how the virus is affecting our daily lives.  At ACS, because of our diligence and support, things continue to go well.  Students continue to adhere to safety measures and parents are doing a great job of monitoring for symptoms, testing when necessary and keeping kids home when necessary. Thank you.

Our high school students are entering their final quarter of classes and report cards will be sent home next Friday.   We will be starting our staffing and timetabling process next week for next year’s classes.  Based on parent and student feedback, we will be using a similar “block” scheduling system next year, meaning that some high school courses will be two hours long and some will be one hour long.  Students have provided feedback also about they types of electives they would like to see next year and we are hoping to have that selection process complete by mid-May.

High school students who chose to participate in the SLC’s Escape Room activity this week enjoyed a break from regular classes and the chance to work with a small group of friends on a challenging and fun task.  Check out social media for some pics of the action!

As a school community, we are wrapping up year two of our work on our family engagement goal.  Specifically, we have been exploring the question “How might improving family engagement impact learning?”.  We would love to hear how this has gone for you.  Over the last two years, we’ve explored in many ways.  Some examples of our work:

  • Done a lot of research to build our understanding (For example: Engaging Parents In Our School Communities – Dr Debbie Pushor)
  • SCC created a database of community expertise – a list of people with particular skills and abilities that teachers might reach out to when planning/creating learning experiences.
  • Home reading challenge (SCC purchased book for each K-6 family to encourage reading together)
  • Made efforts to increase communication with families (check in calls, positive phone calls, email updates, See Saw and Freshgrade)
  • Presentation from McDowell Foundation researchers (project called “Promising Practices in Family Engagement)
  • Offered 4 parent information sessions during T2 conferences (planned in person for 2020, held online in 2021)

As we near the end of this two year period, we know that the “work” of family engagement is never done and this is something we will continue to work on as a school community.  We also know that family engagement is not a program or initiative, but more of a mindset, where we understand that families are critical partners who have expertise and knowledge that is necessary in order for learning to occur.  We know that engagement looks different for different families, and it is part of our job as educators to connect in ways that work for you.   We will continue to work on all of this.

We ARE wondering though, about your experiences as we’ve tried to improve family engagement.  Please consider responding to this TWO question survey, so that we can gather some feedback from you.   You’re also invited to continue to post pictures of your family learning together to any of our social media platforms using the hashtag #acsfamilylearns.

We are happy to welcome two new educational associates to our staff, Kennedy Hannay (.5 FTE) and Christopher Weber (1.0 FTE) Ms. Hannay is currently completing her B.Ed and worked with Mrs. Peters as a teacher candidate earlier this year.  Mr. Weber has also just completed his B. Ed and has many years of experience working as an EA.  We welcome both of these new staff members!

Our new Awards program is almost finalized and we wish to thank students, staff and SCC members for their input.  We are VERY grateful to the many businesses and community members who have stepped up with donations to fund our various awards and scholarships.  Nominations for student awards will go out in May, with a virtual ceremony to celebrate the recipients to take place in June.

Finally, we are still awaiting specific information about graduation ceremonies from the Provincial Response Team.  In the interim, Mrs. Martin has been planning a graduates only ceremony on May 29th (late afternoon) at the school.  We will share more details as they become available.   Thanks for your patience and understanding about this planning.

Enjoy the sunshine out there!

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