A Message From The PSB

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

The Public Schools Branch would like to send congratulations and best wishes to our 2020 Graduates. We want to congratulate all our grade 12 graduates on their many accomplishments during their education journey these last 12 years. We hope they enjoy the recognitions and ceremonies that are being planned for them next week to mark this major achievement.

We live in interesting times that we will always remember. Our 2020 graduates will certainly never forget the year they graduated. Even though our graduates are leaving public education during a worldwide pandemic, they have remained focused, pushed forward, and developed skills of resiliency that will carry them well into the future. Their determination and resolve has been inspiring.

This is a time for our graduates, to reflect on and celebrate their accomplishments, efforts, and actions with their parents, family and friends. Our graduates have achieved so many great things to get to this stage of life, and in doing so, they have created endless possibilities for themselves. We wish all graduates the best of success in what life has to offer as they head to university, college, the work force, or other pursuits. We encourage our PSB graduates to continue to fill chapters of the amazing story they are writing. #classof2020

COVID-19 Response to Mental Health Concerns

A Child and Youth Urgent Mental Health Care service is now available for children and youth ages 18 and under with urgent mental health needs or very high emotional distress. Children and youth with urgent mental health needs can call the virtual clinic for support and assistance. Children, youth, and their parents can call toll free at 1-866-833-5443 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily to connect with trained Health PEI mental health clinicians, who will provide a thorough risk assessment, help to stabilize any crisis, and connect to appropriate community supports.

Outside of the Child and Youth Urgent Mental Health Care hours, individuals requiring urgent mental health support can also access the Island Help Line (1-800-218-2885), Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868), their local emergency department, or 911. Community Mental Health Services, Student Well Being Teams, Strongest Families, and other community partners will continue to be available for all non-urgent mental health questions and concerns. For information on these services contact your local Community Mental Health office or Mental Health and Addictions Information Service at 1-833-533-9333.

Thank you to those who sent me feedback on the benefit and value of these weekly communications that began back in mid-March. It is my hope that these messages have been helpful. Next Wednesday will be the last letter for the 2019-20 school year. Plans are in the works to make it both a video and written message.

Until then, take care,

Parker Grimmer

Director

A Message From the PSB

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

A friend recently shared with me a message from the Prince Edward Island Public Service Commission about working from home with kids during the pandemic. The information is very helpful and I have drawn from it to share several important points for your consideration.

Many parents and staff are still working from home as they continue to manage the realities of dealing with COVID-19. We are all beginning to understand that working from home might continue for some time, at least part-time. Many are working alongside their family members, including children and may find this to be a challenge. There are a few positive things that we can all do in these situations.

Approach unpredictable times with flexibility. Being flexible helps us to better adapt to changes happening at home or with our workday. The positive side of being flexible is we are never going to feel stuck doing things “the one right way.” We can learn from our efforts, make revisions, and try something else without judging ourselves harshly. It is important to be kind to ourselves when we struggle and our day doesn’t unfold with our work and family the way we planned it would.

Find relief. Life is tough sometimes, really tough and at times we need to find relief in the simplest of things. Nature, family, music, cooking, art, gardening, exercise, reading, etc. can give us the break we need from our struggles so that we can recharge and refocus. Positive things will happen for our families and ourselves when we find ways to get some relief from life’s challenges.

Seek support to gain solutions. It is important to reach out for emotional support to those you trust.   Professional support can also help us gain new skills and strategies to manage our priorities and struggles. To access advice and find solutions to problems that are affecting work, family or your well-being, contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 1-800-239-3826 or eap@gov.pe.ca. It’s free and confidential.

For more information on how to work from home with kids in a pandemic, click the link: https://www.poynter.org/business-work/2020/how-to-try-to-work-from-home-with-kids-in-a-pandemic/. The article includes practical and helpful suggestions to support working from home while managing students of various ages.

Take care,

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

Message From The PSB

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

As we move into June and the last month of school for the 2019-2020 school year, Public Schools Branch (PSB) staff are working diligently on the many year-end tasks and are planning and preparing to ensure success for September 2020. In accordance with the provisions of Phase 3 in Renew PEI, school staffs have more opportunities to support students and families throughout the month of June.

Teachers are available to schedule in-person appointments with students who wish to review their learning, the Respite Program is being offered in all PSB schools, some teachers are connecting with students through Google Meet, and PSB consultants and school counsellors have begun to reach out to families needing specialized supports. Home learning will continue until June 12 for high school students and June 19 for K-9 students.

Schools have been very successful in finding ways to maintain connections and relationships with students and families. As we continue to navigate our changing landscape and find our way through these unprecedented times, we want to thank students, families and staff for their efforts and for working together.

Take care,

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

Message From the Public Schools Branch

We have been very impressed with the work of our teachers, who have migrated to home learning platforms with tremendous efficiency and creativity during this global pandemic. Teachers have been very busy preparing lessons, providing feedback on learning, connecting with students, working through year-end transition processes and supporting the social and emotional well-being of students. Teachers have and continue to be available to students and families through various means of communication.


Like all Islanders, staff at the Public Schools Branch (PSB) have been very encouraged with recent messaging from the province and the Chief Public Health Office (CPHO), including the positive trend toward lifting restrictions on mobility and gatherings in PEI. As home learning continues to unfold, we are able to consider broader opportunities to connect and engage with students and families. We would like to provide you with an update.


In accordance with the provisions outlined in Renew PEI, new possibilities for staff and students to connect at their respective school will be available. With the easing of restrictions, PSB staff may be available to provide additional support to students.


As restrictions are being lifted, PSB staff are excited that there are greater opportunities to connect with students to support academic and well-being needs. Teachers will be reaching out to their students with options they can participate in.


In addition, Respite Programming will begin operating at all 56 PSB schools. Please contact respite@edu.pe.ca or (902) 368-4997 for more information.


Student Services consultants and specialists will be in contact with families as additional supports become available. For more information please contact supportforfamilies@edu.pe.ca or (902) 368-5155.


Schools are excitedly working on plans for High School Graduations and year end closing activities, within the public health guidelines outlined by the Chief Public Health Office. While activities will not look the same as in previous years, schools are committed to offering a unique experience to mark the end of the school year and wish their students well.

Parker Grimmer
Director
Public Schools Branch
P.O. Box 8600
Charlottetown, P.E.I. C1A 8V7
(Phone)368-6841 (Fax)368-6843
tpgrimmer@gov.pe.ca

Summer Tutoring Program

PEI Literacy Alliance – Ready Set Learn Summer Tutoring Program

The PEI Literacy Alliance is excited to launch their Ready Set Learn summer tutoring program for another year! Because of Covid-19, the process to apply is a little different this year. Parents – please click the following link to get started: https://peiliteracy.ca/ready-set-learn/ The application form for Ready Set Learn will open Monday, May 25.

Ready Set Learn is a free one-to-one tutoring program for children in grades K to 6 who need it the most. Each child selected for the program will receives 1 hour/week of free tutoring for 8 weeks over July and August in a fun and positive learning environment. For younger children this may be two 30-minute sessions a week. Changes to this year’s program due to Covid-19 include:

  • Tutors will work one-to-one with children virtually through Zoom Classroom.
  • Each child will receive a Literacy Kit to be used during tutoring sessions.
  • Parents will have to sign a legal waiver.

Message From the PSB

‘It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ – E. L. Doctorow

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

Have you ever noticed when driving late at night that the road ahead is pitch-black? Even though our headlights are on, we still can only see a little ways down that road. This limited sight line requires us to stay attentive with our hands firmly on the wheel to navigate the part of the road we can see, so we can safely make the entire trip. The same can be said for how we navigate our lives and plan for the future during this pandemic.

While we do not know what will happen in the distant future, we don’t need to. We can trust others for leading and caring for us, have faith in the contributions we can make, and navigate the unknowns as they arrive. We can successfully travel the whole journey through COVID–19 that way.

Our recent planning and navigating has ensured the Respite Program is off to a smooth start. The program is being utilized by 215 students and has been a welcomed support to their parents and caregivers.

Planning is also underway for some PSB staff to safely return to their work places. Custodians and cleaners started back to schools full-time this week and administrative assistants will be back part-time next week.

Operational plans allowing schools to complete essential tasks have been approved by the Chief Public Health Officer. These plans include packing up student items (desks and lockers) and working with families to distribute these items, providing Term 2 Report Cards to K-9 students who have not yet received them, collecting library books or other items on loan etc. Schools will communicate their detailed plans with families soon. Given the difference in school populations and layouts, things may be done differently at each school.  However, we can assure you that approved safety guidelines will be followed.

Additional activities and planning include, year-end student transition planning by our Student Services teams, exploring the use of Google Meet for some high school teachers and students, wrapping up Chromebook deliveries to over 1000 students, preparing for summer school, finalizing school supply lists and packaging Welcome to Kindergarten bags.

American novelist E. L. Doctorow’s quotation at the beginning of the message is our reminder that we don’t need to know everything in the future. We need only know enough to make hopeful, wise, and realistic plans. If together we don’t go too fast or deny the limitations, and we stay focused on the road directly ahead, the journey will be much more successful.

Thank you and take care,

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

Car Parade Route for Friday!

Tomorrow (Friday, May 15) our staff parade will be leaving the school at 2:30pm and heading to loop around Maple Crescent, Cedar Ave and back down North St.
We will then see students on George St, Glenelg St, Fitzroy St., then along Water St and Richmond St.
We will then head out to Burnt Pt Rd and Prestige Rd before coming back into Grafton St., Victoria St., Durham St, and East St.
We will then take Victoria St up to the North Royalty Rd., and the Morrison’s Beach Rd.
We will then return down the Kayes Rd., the Moar Rd., and end at the bottom of East Royalty Rd.
We will post our progress as we go on this FB page, so you’ll know when we’re coming.
We are so excited to see everyone!
😃🚘🚙🚗🎈🎉

Weekly Update from the PSB

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

Our teachers, administrators, support staff, branch staff, parents, and students are working incredibly hard to adapt to the new reality of at-home learning during COVID-19. The pandemic has presented challenges for many including parents working and balancing home life, teachers developing remote lesson plans to fit different students’ needs, and students looking for new ways to stay connected to friends and learning. There are many successes and members of our PSB community are meeting these new demands with determination and enthusiasm.

We all know how adaptable and resilient PSB students, parents, educators, and staff are in the best of times, and through these difficult times each group has shown this in more ways than ever before. We admire our teachers and other branch staff, parents, and students who are teaching us all lessons in perseverance.

Amazing examples of this include the food programs that have been supporting our families. PSB staff were able to deliver the Department of Agriculture food hampers directly to many families across the Island who did not have access to a vehicle. Our School Food Program provided 6,006 meals to 858 students last week, a 12% increase over the previous week.

Another success story is the Respite Program that began this week. Students who had been receiving individualized support at school from an Education Assistant, Youth Service Worker, or other Student Services Team Member may receive a 2 to 3 hour blocks of play/game based respite care on a scheduled basis. These examples of people coming together and working hard to help others is inspiring to all of us.

By following the public health measures, Islanders have also experienced success as a province in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases in PEI. In doing so we are seeing some of the public health measures relaxed. The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning will likely soon be making an announcement about the reinstatement of early childhood programs, including those for school aged children housed in schools, to assist parents who are returning to work.

As we move through the sixth week of at-home learning, it is an excellent time to thank students, teachers, parents, and staff for their ongoing commitment to learning together, while always remaining safe. Our shared goal is to ensure the successful completion of the school year for all students and to support students as they advance to the next grade, earn credits, and for some to graduate.

We all have an important role in keeping students motivated and engaged for these next weeks. Teachers continue to have high expectations for students and we all want students to continue to have high expectations for themselves. The work we are doing together is about helping students succeed and prepare for the future.

It is important to take time to reflect on how much we have all achieved thus far by working together. Be proud of your accomplishments. We here at the PSB are very proud of you.

Keep learning and take care,

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

A Message From the PSB

May 6, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

Welcome to May! Since COVID-19 reached Prince Edward Island, I have been separately reaching out to students, parents, and PSB staff through daily and weekly letters. As we usher in the new month, I am pleased to be writing my first joint letter to all of you. It seems very appropriate to do so as we have been coping with the pandemic together all along.

During his Thursday briefing last week, the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning, Brad Trivers recognized students, parents, and staff for their continued partnership in support of learning. He also said, “Our top priority remains the health and well-being of children and we will continue to look at ways to support children and families, address gaps and ensure all Islanders have the necessary tools and resources available to succeed now and as we plan for learning in September.”

Students, parents, and staff are encouraged to read the Renew PEI, Together document which outlines the guiding principles and phased approach to reopening businesses, services and public spaces in Prince Edward Island. www.princeedwardisland.ca/renewPEI Further information is available on the provincial government’s response to COVID-19, including resources, program applications and important public health information by visiting: www.princeedwardisland.ca/COVID19

Public Schools Branch and the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning are committed to supporting students, parents, and staff during the final weeks of the school year. The safety of our students and staff is paramount and all operational plans for programs and activities will be reviewed and endorsed for their safety. All school-based services will follow public health guidelines that allow for physical distancing, hygiene protocols and the proper cleaning of schools.

I am pleased to share with you additional details around the announcements Minister Trivers made last week during his briefing. The details for some programs and services are still being worked on and we greatly appreciate the support and patience of everyone during this process. We will communicate further details when finalized.

Respite Care

Beginning May 11, several designated schools will open to offer a respite program. Families who have a child that is supported by an Educational Assistant (EA) or Youth Service Worker (YSW) while attending school, may be eligible for a few hours of respite care per week while schools are closed. Please email respite@edu.pe.ca or call 902-368-4997 if you are interested in receiving more information.

Learning Materials

Teachers continue to connect with students and support at-home learning based on a compacted curriculum, and learning resources are regularly being updated and made available online and in paper form. Chromebooks have been distributed to hundreds of students. Student Services Teams also continue to provide supports to students and families.

Ongoing Student/Teachers Connections

Since home learning began, students have been connecting with teachers in many ways. Beginning on June 15, students and teachers may have the opportunity to connect beyond phone calls, emails and approved technology, should they wish. Further details will be communicated in the coming weeks.

Transitions and Closings

During the week of June 22, and in consultation with students and parents, schools may offer innovative year-end and closing activities that will enable students to connect with their teachers and classmates and bring closure to the school year. This may include activities to support students who will be transitioning to new schools in the fall.

Student Well-being Teams

Student Well-Being Teams continue to connect with and support students and their families throughout PEI. The Student Well-Being Team’s website has been enhanced to make connecting to a team member easier. If you need some support, please visit the link below and click on your Family of Schools: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/education-and-lifelong-learning/student-well-being-teams

Hand Head Heart Connections TV Shows

The Hand Head Heart Connections home learning TV shows are being very well received by students and parents. If you are not an Eastlink customer or do not have access to a television, you can find episodes of Hand Head Heart Connections on the Eastlink Community TV YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/eastlinktv/videos

Please reach out by email or call our main number at 902-368-6990 if you have any questions or comments. We will respond to you as quickly as we can. Much can be accomplished when we work together. We are grateful to our students, parents, and staff for working together and supporting each other.

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch