Embracing Distance LearningDirector's Corner
For the past two months, we have all been adjusting to the realities of COVID-19, including the closure of our schools and the need for social distancing. These weeks have presented many challenges, but I have to say how proud I am to be part of the Sudbury Catholic team. I want to thank all of you for your patience, incredible support, creativity and perseverance during these very difficult times. The Learn@Home program began on Monday, April 6 and it is absolutely amazing what has been accomplished since that time. One need only look at our social media for the many examples of engaging activities our students are undertaking, under the guidance of their teachers and caregivers. I am touched by the comments I am receiving from staff and parents about how our teachers are reaching out and staying connected with their students via a variety of platforms. It is through these efforts and the support from our exceptional central office staff that our students are continuing to learn the key concepts that they need to advance to the next year or graduate. In addition, to all you are doing to support their well-being.
This month’s blog is a glimpse into the amazing learning opportunities being initiated through the efforts of our staff and families. Thank you for all that you do!
SCDSB Learn@Home Site
The SCDSB Learn@Home site was developed by our talented Learning Support Services for students and their parents and guardians. The resources on this site are designed to help support and to further enhance the teaching and learning that is taking place in our virtual classrooms. On the website, you will find specific learning resources by grade, as well as wellness supports and information pertaining to the chosen learning platforms.
We hope that these resources are helpful to you. Parents and students who are experiencing difficulties are encouraged to reach out to their teacher or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for support.
SCDSB Learn@Home Site
Students and Educators Embrace Online Learning Platforms
Students and teachers alike have been learning and growing together through online distance learning. Teachers are using online learning platforms such as Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams and vLE (Virtual Learning Environment) to plan and deliver lessons to our students. While we know our staff and students would rather be in their physical classrooms, the platforms have allowed educators to be in regular contact with students and parents, and to extend the learning that was started in the classroom.
St. Mark School students Connor and Ben have embraced distance learning and have enjoyed the opportunity to continue their learning online.
“I like distance learning because I don’t get distracted. Whenever I just need a break I just go outside for 10 minutes and then return to the job.” Connor, Grade 6 student.
“My work at home has been fun online!” Ben, Grade 3 student.
Carole Remillard, teacher at St. Mark School has enjoyed seeing her students succeed from the safety of their homes.
“My students really enjoy seeing their reading skills improve in such a short time through the Lexia program. They love receiving their certificate and positive feedback from the teacher. Students at St. Mark are also learning math concepts through the online Mathletics program. Both programs provide direct lessons which help students learn more independently” she explained.
St. Francis School teacher Lyanne Dupuis had not previously used Google Classroom. However, after using it for her class for distance learning, she has thoroughly enjoyed the flexibility and creativity that the program offers. She finds the students have been very engaged with the assignments and has enjoyed keeping communication open with parents. She even plans to incorporate the platform into the classroom when it is safe to return.
“Since launching my Google Classroom, I have been able to create a community within my online community. Most of my students are actively participating, and parent communication is ongoing and positive. My students remain engaged in meaningful tasks, and are navigating Google Classroom like pros!”
Griffin Whorley is a Grade 9 student at St. Charles College. He is currently completing his semester from the comfort of his kitchen table. He works each day alongside his mom who is also working from home. Griffin has been completing assignments for Religion, Foods, English and Geography. While he would rather be in class with his classmates and teachers, he is making the best of it and enjoying both the work he has been able to accomplish and the opportunity to spend extra time with his family!
Marymount Academy staff and students participated in the National Online Development and Peace THINKfast. Students and staff used Zoom for a 20 hour fast (11 hours on Zoom online). The group also used YouTube videos, online discussions, Kahoots, and participated in the Stations of the Cross to connect with people across Canada and the world.
Supporting Our Community
Our Board continually strives to contribute meaningfully in our community. In partnership with Laurentian University, we have put our 3D printers to good use during this time to help create frames for face shields which will be used to help protect front-line workers. Staff and students have volunteered to bring home the 3D printers from their schools and assist in this project. Response has been extremely positive!
Brady, a Grade 9 student at St. Charles College took it upon himself to learn how to make the face shield headbands. He said it took some time to figure out the design, but once he figured out how to produce the first one, he was able to replicate it fairly easily. He has produced 20 headbands so far and has a goal of producing at least 25 in total.
“I had never used the 3D printer at school but I thought I would give it a shot and try to do something to benefit our community,” he explained. “Since we’re a smaller community compared to the bigger cities like Toronto or Vancouver, we don’t necessarily get the same level of supplies. It was really cool to be part of a project that I know will help people! I would encourage everyone to do their part by staying home and look for ways that they too can help. We’re in this together!”
Lisa Levecque, a teacher at St. Francis School has also volunteered to produce the faceshield headbands. “I am very grateful to be able to help with the efforts to protect the front line workers in our community from the spread of the COVID-19. I jumped at the chance to volunteer for this project because I have used the printers in the past and have really enjoyed working with them!”
We are Stewards of the Earth – How SCDSB Celebrated Earth Day
Congratulations to all of our students who entered our Earth Day contest, making it such a success! We extend our appreciation to our staff and to our parents for encouraging and supporting our students. We received over 90 entries! With so many outstanding submissions, it was difficult for us to select our winners.
Special congratulations goes out to the following winners:
Kindergarten – Grade 3 Division
- Earth Day Video by: Jake M- Grade 1 and Cade M- JK, Immaculate Conception School (View video HERE)
- Earth Day Donuts Baked by: Sebastian N- Grade 1 and future kindergarten student Mason, Holy Cross School
Grade 4 – 6 Division
Grade 7-8 Division
- This is Our Planet Poem by: Emma B- Grade 7, St. Charles College (See poem HERE)
Grade 9 -12 Division
- Earth Day Poster by Janessa Smania- Grade 9, Marymount Academy
- Earth Day Rap Song Written by: Gabriel C, Jeremy H & Brady H- Grade 11, St Benedict (View video HERE)
Keeping Wellness in Our Days – Body, Mind and Spirit
We know this is a stressful and uncertain time for our families. As a parent, there’s a good chance you’re juggling a lot right now, while dealing with your own thoughts and emotions. As a student, the change in routine might be scary, frustrating and challenging. Try to treat yourself with compassion and gentleness, as you would a dear friend.
Our SCDSB Learn@Home site has many resources and activities geared toward supporting your wellness. Click HERE to access those resources.
Our schools have also promoted wellness with their families through their learning platforms and on social media. The School Mental Health team produces Wellness Wednesday videos to provide support to students during this uncertain time. Indigenous Support worker Robyn Lafortune shares her thoughts about the benefits of bullet journals and staying organized. View her video HERE and view all Wellness Wednesday videos HERE.