Good Afternoon Tigers Families!
As we heard late last week, we will not be returning to school as planned on Monday, January 11th.  Instead, we will continue to learn from home, virtually in the same manner that we have throughout this past week until January 25th, 2021.  We have asked a lot from staff, students and community members this year and now we must ask a little more.

It is important to acknowledge our students, community members, staff and express our gratitude.  Our students are staying engaged, working hard and putting forward their best efforts.  To our supportive community members who are pulling double duty right now and we really appreciate your support.  Our staff members also deserve credit for the transitions, the additional planning, the complete change of methodology and doing it with professionalism.  I am so proud of all of you and you all deserve the credit!

We are in another unprecedented time as the medical professionals tell us as it seems that the early months of 2021 will be challenging.  Yet, with the vaccine on its way, there is HOPE and being people of HOPE, we should continue to lean on one another for guidance, wisdom, strength and perhaps just to listen to one another. We know that we will be challenged with many surprises however with our faith, our family’s strength and internal fortitude we will make it. Stay safe and stay well.  May our Lord continue to walk with you.  Please continue to reach out to our staff if there anything we can do to make your child(ren)’s learning experience the best it can be under the circumstances.

Attendance
Also, a reminder that during this week we are taking attendance this week as per usual practice. Your children need to check-in online with their teachers each morning at 9:00 AM and afternoon at 12:45 PM. If they are not planning to connect on a given day, or they are sick and not able to connect, please contact the school and leave a message on our attendance line. Thank you so much for your help and cooperation with this. We know everyone is trying their best, and we appreciate it!

Remote Teaching and Learning Look Like?
What is Synchronous Learning?
The Classroom Teacher (CT) is online and available to students for 225 minutes/ day and maybe working with students in a variety of formats including:

  • large group instruction or activities
  • Students working in breakout rooms with teacher support and moderation
  • Students working with the CT in 1:1 or small groups (guided reading/ math etc)
  • Students working independently away from the screen, with the teacher still present on the Google or Teams Meet (the teacher is still ‘in the room’) for questions and support

    Much like a face to face classroom, the Classroom Teacher is not ‘teaching’ or leading the class activities all day. Students are, at times, directing their own learning, independently or with peers (and in some cases for Kindergarten and Primary students, with the assistance of an adult at home).

How might asynchronous learning be incorporated into synchronous learning time?
Classroom Teachers are encouraged to include some asynchronous learning opportunities as part of their 225 daily synchronous learning time.

NOTE – this is not the same as the 75 min asynchronous time at the end of the day.

  • The classroom teacher will plan for a balance of all types of learning and groupings of students
  • Students will be provided with clear assignments – including directions on whether this is independent work or to be completed with peers
  • The classroom teacher will assign students to specific breakout rooms as appropriate
  • Classroom Teacher will keep the Google Meet open (with a message posted that he or she is available for questions or support but currently not on screen – still ‘in the room’ and supervising students)
  • Classroom Teacher can use this time to meet with students, to provide supports or interventions, to complete assessments or work with students with special learning needs
  • Time should be limited to 30 – 75 min in length (depending on grade levels and abilities for students to work independently) – in some cases, teachers may use longer blocks of time

Grade 9 De-Streaming
Our Grade 8 students and families are asked to see the following link relating to de-streamed Grade 9 mathematics, which will inform course selection codes for 2021-2022.
Appendix A – New Grade 9 Mathematics Course

Want to Switch Mode of Learning Starting February 16th
Complete the survey to transition from face-to-face learning to virtual or from virtual to face-to-face. vice-a-versa on January 27th starting at 6 am to the 29th at 6 pm. Here’s the link: Switch modes of learning

St. Aloysius Parish News
We are set to launch our online registration system on Monday, January 11th for the Sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation for current Grade 2 and Grade 7 students. It will be active until February 15, 2021.

We are hopeful that following the Provincial lockdown, we will be able to proceed with the Sacraments this Spring. Due to gathering restrictions, and following the health guidelines in place this Spring, we will be breaking up the candidates into much smaller groups with Sacrament dates and times TBD. This will all depend on how many people will be allowed into churches, and how many people are interested in registering.

We are asking that anyone who would like to receive the Sacraments to register online through our Parish website; https://www.staloysius.on.ca/  There will be buttons on the homepage that will lead parents/guardians to a Google Form to register. This will be for new applications only. Families who registered last year through our Parish Office and chose to wait until this year will not need to register again. We will be communicating with those families after the close of registration.

Our Parish office and church are currently closed during the lockdown, but we are monitoring emails during the closure. We will not be having an in-person information meeting at the church. We will be giving families further instructions after the close of registration, and we will also send this information to the schools. There are a few video resources on our website to help families prepare for the Sacraments.

We ask that you please help to spread the news to families of Grades 2 and 7 students who are baptized in the Catholic faith. If there are students who would like to participate that haven’t yet been baptized, they can email our Parish office at info@staloysiuson.ca for more details.

Thank you for your continued partnership!

Proposed New Bell Times For 2021-2022
Last week a newswire was sent out asking for feedback regarding new bell times for the 2021-2022 school year.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to offer your input, please do by visiting the following link.  https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=k7g9cu0X7ESGEwEZOMNydonPicOFAQJKpBuerW9_q8lUOVlWN1pKQThVNUQzQURSWEJMTFpPR0xESi4u

Using Technology During Remote Learning
This is just a reminder of the expectations for using technology with remote learning.  Parents, please take a couple of minutes to review the expectations with your child(ren) so they are clear about what is expected in a healthy online presence with remote learning, and please do several reminders as the week goes on as well. We want to avoid any issues popping up with the inappropriate use of technology with any of our students.  Thanks for your support parents, as you will have to assume most of the responsibility for this during remote learning.

Grade-4-Grade-8-Computer-and-Virtual-Learning-Expectations (1)    Number 2 is important as our students grow older and more independent.
JK-Grade-3-Computer-and-Virtual-Expectations (1)
Teachers may have additional guidelines they have already shared with their students regarding safe and appropriate use of technology for learning. Thank-you!

Artshine
We are so excited to announce that registration for our February virtual after-school Artshine program is now open! This is an at-home, after-school Artshine class, offered in both English and French: Artshine February flyer

Region of Waterloo – Updated Emergency Child Care
On Thursday, January 7th, 2021, the Ministry confirmed, that all elementary schools, publicly funded and private will remain closed to in-person learning for an additional two weeks.  All before and after school programs will continue to be closed during the period of January 11 – 22, 2021. Before and after school programs may resume operation when elementary schools return to in-person learning on January 25th, 2021.  In support of health care and other frontline workers whose children are in school, the Ministry of Education will continue the targeted Emergency Child Care (ECC) program for school-age children. This emergency childcare program is available at no cost to eligible parents, from January 11 – 22, 2021. Please visit the link for more information: https://www.wcdsb.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2021/01/Waterloo-Region-Extension-of-Emergency-Child-Care.pdf

Anti-Human Trafficking Campaign
WCDSB  invites parents/ caregivers to be a part of our Anti-Human Trafficking Campaign. On January 18th, 2021 from 6:30-8:00 pm we invite you to attend an informational webinar on Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention as the first step in our multipronged Anti-Human Trafficking strategy. We have partnered with the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Program from St. Mary’s Hospital, as well as Waterloo Region Police Services, to deliver this presentation. For more information please visit this link: Human Trafficking Presentation Jan18

Kindergarten Registration 2021 -2022
Please register online at https://www.wcdsb.ca/our-schools/register-for-school/entering-kindergarten/.  Once you have completed your registration, please call the office at 519-748-1874 to book an appointment for the week of February 22nd to 26th 2021.  For more information please visit: Kindergarten Registration 2021

Umbrella Project
Help your child face their fears
Avoiding our fears may be the easiest road in the short term but doesn’t help us build resilience.  What we actually need is small, repeated exposure to the things that scare us.  Small successes over these fears over time help us slowly build the confidence to navigate the adversity.

Here’s an example from my family.  When my daughter was young she didn’t like to be the centre of attention.  This became glaringly obvious the day she wore a fancy dress to school for the first time in years, received at least 5 compliments in the first minute and proceeded to burst into tears and beg me to take her home.  It seemed like a small thing but it pushed a big fear button inside her.  Parenting dilemma…take her home to change or make her stay in a state of clear distress.

Actually, there is a third choice.  We had time to go home and change but only with the following condition; she was going to have to work on being the centre of attention.  That was the deal.

I explained that life will present her with many similar circumstances and I want her to have the skills to deal with these situations.  While this current challenge was too big for her, we were going to choose smaller opportunities for her to practice.  She agreed and we have since helped her practice this skill in many contexts until she is now more comfortable when she finds herself pushed this way. In fact, last year she made it to the school finals for the speech competition.  A huge change from the girl crying in the hallway over some positive attention.

This is how resilience is built.  Not avoidance, not full immersion, but repeated small fears faced and defeated over time.  In this short, 2 minute video, I explain the importance of facing our fears.
You’ve got this!
Dr. Jen, The Umbrella Project

Upcoming Important Dates
Wednesday, January 13th      St. Timothy Spirit Day – wear our spirit wear or school colours

Monday, January 18th             Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Friday, January 22nd              Professional Development Day – no school for students

Monday, January 25th         Return to Face to Face Learning

Tuesday, January 26th        St. Timothy Feast Day
Grade 8 and Senior Kindergarten Graduation Pictures

Wednesday, January 27th             Window Opens to Request Change for Learning
Family Literacy Day  and Umbrella Project Assembly-Introduce Mindfulness

Thursday, January 28th       Dress Like Your Teacher Day
Bell Let’s Talk Day

Friday, January 29th             Window Closes to Request Change For Learning at 6:00 p.m.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the office.  Have a great week!