With more than 4,000 students across the Lac La Biche region out of school due to classroom cancellations at public, Catholic and Francophone schools, education officials are offering new ideas to keep young minds active.
Representatives from each of the school divisions are working together and with provincial government counterparts to create digital and printed lessons for students from K-12. The initial plans for those lessons were released by the Alberta Education department last Friday.
“All kindergarten to Grade 12 students will be offered at-home learning opportunities, either through online means or through other accommodations, such as course packages and telephone check-ins,” notes Northern Lights Pubic Schools spokesperson Nicole Garner in a statement issued after the government’s announcement. “We were pleased to see that much of the direction and guidance provided aligned with the plans that we have already been working on in conjunction with Lakeland Catholic School Division and Conseill scolaire Centre-Est. We appreciate the balance that has been struck between providing students with opportunities to learn, and understanding the complexities of providing those opportunities outside of the school environment.”
For Kindergarten to Grade 6, teachers will assign an average of five hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials. Students in Grades 7 to 9 will be assigned 10 hours of work per week.
Learning for high school students will continue with the focus on courses needed to meet graduation requirements.
Teachers will assign an average of three hours of work per course per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.
All Grade 6 and 9 provincial achievement tests and Grade 12 diploma exams are cancelled. Under special circumstances, students can request to write a diploma exam. Students wishing to do so should speak to their teacher and school administrator.
More details are still being planned on how instructors will be involved, and the best delivery of the plan, says NLPS officials.
“Instruction will be on hold temporarily while we finalize our plans for sharing content with parents and students. Our instructional leaders have been mapping out a framework for content and next week our staff will continue developing resources and materials,” says Garner. “We will be sharing more details on our model for content delivery and timelines next week with parents.”
School divisions across the region are continuing to include mental health awareness in all steps of the at-home learning plan.
“During this time of uncertainty and change, it is more important than ever that we maintain that focus on mental health,” notes Garner, adding that parents or students anxious about how the interruption of classes will affect their next school year have been considered. “We know many parents and students have been anxious and feeling a lot of pressure about keeping up with their studies or missing out on learning opportunities. We want to be clear that all students who were on track to progress to the next grade will do so.”
Teachers on hand
For parents with specific questions about their child’s individual situation, their classroom teachers remain available to help.
“If you are worried about supporting your child academically during this time, please share your concerns with your child’s teacher,” notes Garner. “Working together, we will look for solutions that will support your child and work for you.”
School officials say the unprecedented changes taking place around the world due to the viral pandemic has affects on their planning on a daily basis. As issues present themselves and plans evolve, school officials say they will keep parents and community members in the loop.
“We thank you all for the support you have shown to us and your willingness to work with us during this time,” Garner stated.
School officials are expected to announce this week when the home-learning plan will officially be launched though the region.