Please click on the link below for a special message released today from the Minister of Education.
“May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Catholic Education Week 2020 begins on Sunday, May 3, 2020. Although we will not be able to gather as a school community, we at Christ the King have organized a series of activities that you and your child can complete to celebrate the ongoing gift of publicly-funded Catholic education.
This year’s Catholic Education Week theme is, “Igniting Hope” and during this unprecedented time, this year’s theme could not be more fitting. Each day, we will focus on a sub-theme that is tied to the overall theme of HOPE. On the chart below, you will find each of the subthemes and the activity that we are asking families to complete. A link has also been included for your reference.
Bobcats, how will you IGNITE HOPE in your community? Make sure to Tweet your pictures, tag @CTKBobcats, and use the hashtags!
Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –
It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates as we continue to navigate this time of school closure and distance learning. Let us begin by saying that we truly hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive. As an Easter people we pray that the hope of the season is alive in your homes. But these are unsettling times for everyone and we believe it is absolutely OK to feel that you are not OK. We know that each of us has a unique reality and that will position us differently in terms of our ability to walk through this time and to support our children’s learning journey right now.
For the past three weeks we have begun the journey into Educator-led learning and it could not have been done without the tremendous efforts of so many. We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students. We hope that every student continues to have contact with their teacher(s) and that each one knows that we care for and value each of them. Your teachers are truly amazing and they are definitely here for you. We will reiterate that our most pressing concern remains student well being – both mentally and physically. As we have said before, it is not “business as usual”, but we do hope that students are connecting with their teachers as this is our “new normal” for the time being.
We wanted to provide you updates on a few different topics of interest to you and your children. Know that this is a rapidly changing landscape and with many uncertainties, and as there are many players to both consult and work with, as well as others who provide us vital direction or information, sometimes full clarity takes a little time.
As always, on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found. We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage as well as our FAQ page. You can also follow the #STEAMDays hashtag where lots of fun and engaging activities are being posted. With that said, a few updates:
Length of the closure:
We are awaiting direction from the government and Ministry of Education on this point. We expect it will be forth coming soon. While it is unlikely we will be returning to our buildings in the short term, full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming.
Expectations During Distance Learning:
We realize there are different realities for all of our students and all of our educators. For that reason, each student and teacher is held to the guidelines the Ministry has provided for minimum hours. To review what we have shared previously – the suggested hours reflect both the time a teacher might use in providing formal instruction or guidance, as well as the time the student will spend completing the learning task or activity. There is not a firm expectation that all students have to be “online” at the exact same time, although in some cases that might happen on occasion.
Assessment and Evaluation:
Equity has been a significant consideration in this new landscape as not all children are equally positioned to succeed to the best of their ability when learning from home. We also know that students learning from home can place added pressure on a parent who may be juggling their own work or family related responsibilities. For these reasons, assessment in elementary is taking the form of feedback or formative assessment, rather than grading. Students can benefit and continue progressing through this feedback. For our students in secondary, they will receive both formative and summative assessments – that is feedback and grades, but teachers will be working to support a student’s best outcome and will not be penalized if the current circumstances detract from their ability to succeed. Marks will not drop below that attained on March 13th, when schools were declared closed. There is however every opportunity for a mark to improve, and for learning and achievement to be enhanced.
There will be a report card in June for all students and they will contain grades. As noted above, those grades will be largely informed by the marks students had attained prior to March 13th, but there is every opportunity for those grades to improve based on any work submitted during this time of distance learning, if there is evidence of growth and/or improved performance. In the case of graduating students, midterm marks were sent to the Universities and Colleges to assist with post-secondary admission.
We know that graduation is a significant event in the life of a student and his/her family. For this reason, this has been a difficult decision. Our secondary schools have no option but to postpone graduation ceremonies as a result of venues not being available to us. As you can appreciate secondary graduations are often large events and so they are not easily accommodated in alternate settings. We have made the decision that all of our secondary schools will hold their graduations in the fall. This will in no way impact a student’s ability to actually graduate from high school should they have met the requirements. We are still in the process of finalizing our decision in relation to grade 8 graduations and will communicate that information as soon as a final decision has been achieved.
Thought Exchange – Your Voice
As most of you will be aware, we recently engaged our stakeholders in an exercise of asking them what questions or concerns they had after one-two weeks of distance learning. Our survey closed on Tuesday April 21st in the evening and we are now starting to unpack that feedback. We are thrilled that you took us up on this invitation. We had just under 2000 participants and approximately 37,000 ratings from all our stakeholders. We know that at a very high level elementary parents are expressing thoughts about the home learning environment and the types of tasks students are assigned, about feedback and assessment, and about equity. Secondary parents are sharing thoughts about the nature of student and educator contact, and also about feedback and assessment, as well as issues related to equity. There are roughly 14 sub-themes in the Thought Exchange feedback that we have identified and there is much more analysis we can do, and it will help to inform our thinking and actions moving forward. A high level report on parent feedback is available at these two links, but much more will be shared in the weeks to come, that will map to themes and the take-aways from the feedback.
Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Waterloo Region Public Health. As a local and global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago. As an Easter people we believe in the power of the resurrection and the promise of new life. Certainly this signs of the season affirm that promise. Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community. #WCDSBTogether.
Loretta Notten Bill Conway
Director of Education Chair of the Board
We can’t wait to see your wacky hair tomorrow! If you need some ideas, check out this video. Don’t forget to tweet your pictures to @CTKBobcats and make sure to get your entire family involved. Have fun!
If you would like to place an order for the Lifetouch school pictures that were taken earlier this year, go to mylifetouch.ca. Free shipping to your homes will be available until May 31, 2020, when you order on mylifetouch.ca with promo code SMILES. Locate your access credentials on your proof sheet if you have it or call 1-866-457-8212 and Lifetouch will help locate your credentials.
We are saddened by the tragic events in Nova Scotia. Let us pray for Nova Scotia and the families of those who lost loved ones.
We understand that coping with a tragedy may be difficult. The Social Workers at Waterloo Catholic District School Board have created this resource to help support your child and your family. Please let us know if we can be of any additional support.
Good morning Bobcats! The sun is out and we are ready to begin a new week!
TEACHER-LED DISTANCE LEARNING TIPS: Teacher-led distance learning is certainly different and can sometimes be challenging. Here are some tips to help you and your child continue to be successful:
- Stick to a routine. Create a daily schedule with your child and hang it on the refrigerator or somewhere where you can see it each day. Wake up, get dressed, and have breakfast at the normal time. Stick with normal bedtime routines as much as possible during the week. List times for learning, exercise, and breaks. For example, for younger children, 15 minutes of class assignments/work followed by 10 minutes of physical activity might work. Older children and teens may be able to focus on assignments for longer stretches of time, taking breaks between subjects. Schedule time for nutritious lunches and snacks! Remember that Nutrition for Learning is offering daily pop-up snacks at various school locations. Check this link for their daily schedule: https://www.nutritionforlearning.ca/popupsnacks/ Finally, be sure to include breaks from work to relax and connect with each other. Continue to have fun!
- Location, location, location. Decide where everyone can do their work most effectively and without distractions. Ideally this would be a different set up from where your child watches TV or plays games. Leave cell phones and other distractions in another room while work is being done!
- Connect with your child’s teacher! Teachers are more than willing to connect with you via Google Classroom and email. Ask questions if your child is having difficulty managing the online learning platform or staying on task. Be sure to check for any communications from the teacher as well. We want to help and are here for you so please do not hesitate to ask!
- Encourage physical activity and exercise. Make sure you take frequent breaks from the computer and do any form of physical activity. You could set up times for ‘recess’ just like they had at school- one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Stretch, walk the dog, go for a bike ride, play in the backyard, or do jumping jacks — any movement helps!
- Take care of you! This one is extra important, and we hear it often, but take care of your own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. Have your child show you how they do Christian Meditation at school for even 5 to 10 minutes per day. Visit our Board’s Pray@Home for prayers and reflections to use at home with your child: https://wcdsblearnathome.wcdsb.ca/pray-at-home/. Check our Board’s WCDSBLearn@Home portal for resources on mental health: https://www.wcdsb.ca/programs-and-services/mental-health-and-well-being-at-wcdsb/. Now more than ever, find ways to stay in touch and connect virtually or by phone with others to share worries, advice, and the unexpected joys of living life during this time. You are not alone in this journey! And, remember that we have the power to come out stronger from this experience! Please know that we are here to help and support you and contact us if we can help in any way. We got this Bobcats!!
WACKY HAIR DAY: This Friday, April 24th is Wacky Hair Day! Bobcats, we want to see your creativity. This means you too parents!!!! Start thinking about what you will do with your hair and make sure you take a picture and share it with us on Twitter @CTKBobcats! We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Thank you for joining this important conversation! We are interested in learning about how WCDSBLearn@Home is going.
The tool we are using is called ThoughtExchange. Your participation is voluntary, and your feedback will be very important for helping us make sure that we are providing the needed supports for students, staff, parents and community members.
To make sure that the conversation is about the topics most meaningful to you, we have set up separate conversations for different groups. This is why you are asked if you are a student, parent, staff member, administrator, or community member.
Here is the link: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/763676673
Once you have shared your thoughts, you will have the opportunity to read the thoughts of others and assign *STARS* based on how much you agree (5 Stars) or disagree (1 Star). This helps us determine the ideas that are most important to the group.
We encourage all participants to read and consider 20-30 thoughts.
You can return to the exchange as often as you like to *STAR* thoughts.
PLEASE NOTE: If you would like to join more that one conversation – choose a new group by opening the invitation link in a new tab in your web browser.
The Survey will remain open until Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
If you have any difficulty with the survey, questions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents/guardians who consent, are also welcome to share this link with their child(ren) to participate in the thought exchange.
For younger children (Grades K-8), please support them in participating as their feedback will be very important during this process.
Thank you in advance for your participation in helping us make WCDSBLearn@Home a success!
The Umbrella Project is offering a free training webinar on “Parenting Strategies to Support your Families’ Well-being through Uncertainty and Rainy Days.” The 50-minute training is designed to watch or listen to at your convenience. The accompanying worksheet provides a summary of the content and is a great starting point for practical action. Please click on the link below for the worksheet.
HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!! We hope that each of you had a most joyous and blessed Easter and that your spirits have been renewed! Looks like Spring has also arrived and we look forward to seeing many new signs of the season.
TEACHER-LED REMOTE LEARNING
A huge shout out to all of our students for completing their first week of teacher-led remote learning. We know that this is all very new but we will continue to do our absolute best to provide support and resources to you. We miss you but we are so proud of the work that you have completed so far. Keep it up Bobcats! For our families, THANK YOU! We appreciate that this is also very different for you and that you are juggling the many demands from home, your child/children, and work. Please let us know if there is anything that you need and we will try our best to make this new form of learning a little bit easier. Remember to continue to visit our Board’s Parent Portal (WCDSBLearn@Home) for information, FAQ, and other valuable resources. We are all in this together!
KINDERGARTEN REGISTATION IS STILL OPEN!!
Several years ago, we established a very easy-to-use online pre-registration portal to make the registration process as convenient as possible. Parents of children scheduled to begin JK in September 2020, are encouraged to complete the pre-registration process as soon as possible. There will still need to be some in-person contact with the school, but that will be handled at an appropriate time after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
For non-Catholic families wishing to register in a WCDSB elementary school, Mrs. Sica will reach out to you to complete the required interview process – again – at an appropriate time in the most appropriate manner, including via phone.
REGISTRATIONS AND TRANSFERS
If you know of anyone who plans on having their children attend Christ the King in September, please direct them to our school website and click on the link “Register for School”. Once the information is entered online, Mrs. Almanza will contact families to inform them of next steps to complete the process.