School di­vi­sions de­vel­op­ing al­ter­nate learn­ing strate­gies for stu­dents

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - By Jamie Rieger [email protected]­

School ad­min­is­tra­tions from across the prov­ince are work­ing this week to de­velop strate­gies to en­sure there are suf­fi­cient learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for their stu­dents af­ter the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment an­nounced on Sun­day af­ter­noon that all classes would be stopped in­def­i­nitely. The de­ci­sion by the gov­ern­ment came at the di­rec­tion of Dr. Deena Hin­shaw, Al­berta’s chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health.

Prairie Rose School Di­vi­sion (PRSD) su­per­in­ten­dent Roger Clarke, in a let­ter to par­ents sent out on Sun­day fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment, said, “Schools will close in­def­i­nitely, but will con­tinue to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion, de­spite the cur­rent chal­lenges.”

PRSD com­mu­ni­ca­tions co­or­di­na­tor An­gela Baron said ad­min­is­tra­tion was de­vel­op­ing plans for the stu­dents which would be avail­able later this week.

“We need to work out strate­gies and we rec­og­nize each child is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent. Some have In­ter­net ac­cess, some don’t. Some have par­ents work­ing, some don’t. There are so many vari­ables that have to be con­sid­ered,” said Baron. “We’re mak­ing sure stu­dents have the chance to progress and need to make sure all of our kids are sup­ported.”

Clarke noted that teach­ers will be re­ceiv­ing di­rec­tion from prin­ci­pals this week about de­vel­op­ing plans to al­low stu­dents to progress while learn­ing from home and asks par­ents to start think­ing about de­vel­op­ing a sched­ule that sets aside time for stud­ies.

“These are un­prece­dented times and ed­u­ca­tion has never been of­fered in this way be­fore. There will likely be bumps along the way, but we are com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that Prairie Rose stu­dents have a suc­cess­ful school year,” he wrote in the let­ter.

Al­berta Ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Adri­anna La­Grange said that while classes have ceased, all other school op­er­a­tions will keep go­ing.

“School au­thor­i­ties are ex­pected to con­tinue their reg­u­lar day-to-day op­er­a­tions and en­sure the safety of our school fa­cil­i­ties. We ex­pect main­te­nance, cap­i­tal projects, clean­ing of fa­cil­i­ties, and ad­min­is­tra­tive work to con­tinue,” said La­Grange.

At the same time, she pro­vided words of en­cour­age­ment for stu­dents and par­ents with re­gards to fi­nal grades and pro­gress­ing to the next level.

“Now I know that stu­dent pro­gres­sion will be on the minds of both par­ents and stu­dents. We ex­pect ev­ery stu­dent to re­ceive a fi­nal mark and that stu­dents will progress to the next grade level next year. How­ever, pro­vin­cial as­sess­ments, such as pro­vin­cial achieve­ment tests will be can­celled as of this time. Diploma exams es­sen­tial for post-sec­ondary ac­cep­tance will con­tinue. We are con­fi­dent that ev­ery stu­dent who is el­i­gi­ble to grad­u­ate from Grade 12 this year will grad­u­ate.”

As PRSD stu­dents ad­just to learn­ing from home, ad­min­is­tra­tion is try­ing to re­duce the un­cer­tainty for their stu­dents.

“We are try­ing to keep a sense of nor­malcy. The risk is low and we want to keep it that way. This is new ter­ri­tory for every­body,” said Baron.

Grass­lands School Di­vi­sion su­per­in­ten­dent Scott Brandt is­sued a writ­ten state­ment to par­ents on March 17, ad­vis­ing them of the class­room clo­sures at their schools.

“I am very proud of our teach­ers and staff as they re­al­ize that learn­ing and teach­ing is go­ing to look dif­fer­ent and con­tinue to evolve. They are al­ready dis­cussing cre­ative and in­no­va­tive ways to end the needs of a range of learn­ers in a va­ri­ety of set­tings,” wrote Brandt.

“The prov­ince will pro­vide clear guide­lines for min­i­mum lev­els of con­tent, school ju­ris­dic­tion will nav­i­gate “how” we en­gage stu­dents in the learn­ing. At this time, we do know that we will be de­liv­er­ing con­tent in mul­ti­ple for­mats (ex. paper copies, elec­tronic, etc.) for stu­dents who have dif­fer­ent learn­ing pref­er­ences or ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy.”

More spe­cific de­tails will be pro­vided over the next few days.

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