Dear Parents and Guardians,

Since March 23rd, our focus has been on literacy, numeracy, and student health and well-being in kindergarten through grade 9. During this time, home learning materials have been provided for students. Our goal has been to provide opportunities for learning, rather than evaluation.

As the year progresses you have been asking about your child’s achievement and report cards. In June, you will receive an end of year report with comments from your child’s teachers. There will not be an end of year achievement mark because we have been focusing on student learning in specific areas of the provincial curriculum.

Students in K-9 will not be retained as a result of COVID-19 and will move to the next grade level.

In the fall, teachers will be using a revised curriculum to teach your child. The curriculum will include key aspects of learning from this school year that your child will need to learn as they continue in the next grade.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s learning, please contact your child’s teacher.

Kind regards,

 

Tammy Hubley-Little

Director of English Education, Programs and Services

Department of Education and Lifelong Learning

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

May 13, 2020

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

Hi Everyone:

I hope your family is healthy during this very different time. I can tell you that it is very surreal at the school. I am there one or two days a week. Today our administration team is distributing chrome books to the first round of students needing such a device. Last week teachers had a chance to come into the school to gather materials and any belongings they needed. I can tell you that more than a few were very saddened when they entered their empty classrooms. I found one teacher in the library crying at a loss for words on how she was feeling with the reality of not working with her students for the rest of the school year. It is very strange for teachers not to be on a strong path of teaching in May until mid June. They are committed to giving students the opportunity to learn. The new norm is so different for all of us.

This year has brought us many differences like having to cancel our yearbook. Much of the intense work that goes into a yearbook is done between March break and the end of April. This work takes a lot of coordination between teachers and the materials they provide for publication. This was not able to happen this year so we do not have what is needed for such a book to go to print. We do regret this as the yearbook has been a tradition at Stratford Elementary for many years.

We are working on how to have students collect their belongings, give out report cards and do a send off for this school year. We will keep you posted as we will be following the Chief Public Health Office recommendations.
Cheers
Principal Cameron

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

Parents and Guardians,
Are you a caregiver who has a child that is supported by an EA or YSW while attending school?  If you are you may be eligible for a few hours of respite care per week during the time that school is closed. Some schools are opening within family of schools (with some families being combined) to meet this need.
If you are interested in receiving more information please email respite@edu.pe.ca or call 902-368-4997.
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

April 29, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students;

Former automobile racer Bobby Unser once said: ‘Success is where preparation and opportunity meet’. Some would say he was fortunate to have experienced the thrill of three Indianapolis 500 victories over his career. Success, however, is rarely a matter of luck, but more a matter of preparation, and of doing what needs to be done to be in the path of opportunity.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, PSB staff have been busy preparing and working with our partners, including parents and staff from the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, to ensure students can be as successful as possible learning from home. The efforts educational leaders and teachers have made around home learning during this pandemic has allowed students to be able to take advantage of opportunities and maintain connections. We thank parents and students for engaging with the learning materials and opportunities that have been provided. As we continue to respect the Public Health guidelines, home learning materials and opportunities for students will continue until we are able to all safely return to our schools.

Ask a Psychologist

Our Student Services team has launched an Ask a Psychologist section on their PSB Student Services Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/psbstudentservices/ . If parents are wondering about how to manage bedtime worries, what to tell their teen who wants to visit friends, where to begin to structure their child’s day, or any other questions, they can write in and ask for advice from a school psychologist. Parents and students can also email a question to askapsychologist@edu.pe.ca . Anonymous responses will be posted to the Facebook page so other parents can also benefit from the advice. Please check out the first video that answers a question that was recently posted about how to regulate children who have tantrums.

Home Learning Television Program

A great deal of preparation has gone into making the new home learning television program Head Hand Heart Connections. Tune in to the Community Channel on Eastlink (10 & 610) and take time to connect through stories, movement, music, art and language. Through a series of episodes focused on creativity, physical health and well-being; children, youth, and families can engage with educators and librarians and explore fun learning opportunities. Episodes will be aired on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday each week from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. until further notice.

Students and Parents are also encouraged to watch Language 4 Vous on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 11:30 a.m. on the Eastlink Community Channel. The show is suitable for children pre-kindergarten and older wishing to improve their English and French communication. Each 24 minute episode features a variety of videos varying in length on vocabulary, crafts, well-being, drawing, music, and other aspects of life. A majority of the show is meant to be interactive as students can follow along with many segments within the show and can send in their created works to Language4Vous@gmail.com . Language 4 Vous is created by a collaborating team of EAL and FAL itinerant teachers and specialists in PEI with the goal to help everyone improve.

Nothing can be achieved without preparation. We thank our staff who help prepare for student success. We thank you for taking care of each other, yourself, and remaining engaged with these educational opportunities at home.

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

Ask a PSB School Psychologist

Hello parents and guardians! Welcome to ‘Ask a School Psychologist’!

Wondering how to manage bedtime worries, what to tell your teen who wants to visit friends, or where to begin with structuring your child’s day? If you have any questions you would like to submit to our PSB Psychology Team concerning COVID isolation, academics, behaviour, or well-being, send them to askapsychologist@edu.pe.ca.

We can’t promise we’ll get to every question, but we will be posting anonymous responses to some of your questions on the PSB Student Services Facebook page.

This project is for information sharing with you and our broader parent and guardian audience. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call the Island Helpline (1-800-218-2885) or Emergency Health Services (911).

Please submit your questions by May 8th.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

April 22, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students;

This is the fifth week of schools being closed since we returned from the March Break. This is also the third week of teacher led home learning. What education looks like on PEI now has been the culmination of the advocacy and teamwork of many. The efforts our educational leaders and teachers have made around home learning during this pandemic has allowed us to maintain connections with students and families. It has been our response to staying apart and supporting our communities and health care system. It looks and feels much different than what we are used to and we are all having to adjust. PSB students, parents, and staff have always responded in times of crisis and this time is no exception. We still have much to do, but we have accomplished much these last few weeks, and this success is thanks, in part, to you and your efforts.

We thank you for your support of the learning that has rolled out from teachers thus far, and we ask you to continue to communicate with them. We are all new to this, so we need to know if you require additional support. We have identified and are providing Chromebooks for our grade 12 students who need them most, so they can access on-line learning materials. We also have print materials and basic learning supply packages available. Please contact the Support for Families line at 902-368-5155 or supportforfamilies@edu.pe.ca to access supports we may be able to provide to assist with home learning.

Please refer to the chronology of COVID-19 education related decisions posted on our website https://tinyurl.com/chronologyeducationdecisions

Early in my teaching career, a parent gave me a poem called ‘Unity’ that had been written by an anonymous author. It was presented to me as a gift and the parent had framed it in their own calligraphy. The poem, which has remained on display in my classrooms and offices ever since, tells a story about the efforts of a parent and teacher working together to ensure the success of a child. I have looked at it often as a source of guidance and encouragement. It struck me that in our new reality, this poem has probably never been more appropriate than today.

UNITY

I dreamed I stood in a studio
And watched two sculptors there,
The clay they used was a young child’s mind
And they finished it with care.

One was a teacher; the tools he used
Were books and music and art;
One a parent with a guiding hand
And a gentle and loving heart.

Day after day the teacher toiled
With a touch that was deft and sure
While the parent laboured by his side
And polished and smoothed it o’er.

And when at last their task was done
They were proud of what they had wrought,
For the things they had moulded into the child
Could neither be sold nor bought

And each agreed he would have failed
If he had worked alone.
For behind the parent stood the school
And behind the teacher, the home.

Many people remind us now that we are in this together. From an education standpoint, I think we always have been. Thank you for your efforts in supporting learning at your home and for working together.

There are no words to express the level of sympathy that is being felt right now in many of our homes due to the horrific events in our neighboring province, Nova Scotia. Many people have been personally impacted and know family, friends, or first responders who were affected by this terrible tragedy. We are united in our grief and our condolences. Please take good care of family members and yourself.

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

StudentsAchieve (SAS) update for Parents and Students

We are pleased to report that StudentsAchieve (SAS) is now available for teachers to mass email parents and students! StudentsAchieve is fully functional and working well. Given the current school closures and shift in how learning is happening, teachers are not currently entering any data into SAS. In order to avoid any confusion, we will leave SAS “off” for now. If you would like updated information on your child’s progress from earlier this year or during the home learning situation, please contact your child’s teacher. When schools re-open, we will make SAS available again to parents and students!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students;

Thank you for your efforts in supporting learning at your home right now. It is great to see the on-line images of students working on their studies, some with the help from parents, at kitchen tables across the Island. Many parents and students have placed a lot of pressure on themselves because they have high expectations for being successful. We recognize these efforts are not without their challenges or stress. These challenges are recognized by the Public Schools Branch staff and the well-being of our students and parents is very important. While we all struggle to balance current pressures and manage new realities, sometimes it helps to know that others share our experiences and understand how we are feeling.

Emotional Well-Being

We are all hearing a lot about the importance of connection right now. We have taken for granted some of the ways we socialize and connect through time together in schools and at work that are presently no longer possible. We are social beings and during this time, even though we are physically distant, we need to find ways to be emotionally close. It is important to keep socially and emotionally connected. When we feel more connected to family, friends, and our work, we have less emotional distress. We all do better when we are connected.

I would like to share with you, two short articles that were recently shared with me on the importance of connection: “COVID-19: Moving Forward with a Caring Approach” by J. Kevin Cameron http://nactatr.com/covid19.html , and “The Importance of Connection” by Dr. Jane Nelson https://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/importance-connection. I hope you find the insights helpful.

Building in moments of connection do not need to be for long periods of time. Even a three-minute connection with someone can be helpful (e.g. texts, emails, phone call, or social networking). Connecting with those who model calmness can create that feeling in ourselves. Try connecting visually with others when able (e.g., video through social networking), as hearing and seeing the person strengthens the level of connection. This type of connection is especially important for individuals living alone or the elderly. Staying connected to the people within our circles is a good way to give support and be supported.

Create Routine and Structure

Keeping predictability within our environments and relationships during an unpredictable time is important. Maintaining our daily routines and structures as well as engaging in calming and regular activities can help to manage stress and improve our mental health.

Some of these routines and activities may include regular times to wake up, and go to sleep, preparing healthy meals, short exercise blocks during the day, listening to music, dancing and spending time outside in nature, while following the rules around social distancing.

Connecting with Media

It is important to stay informed using reputable media sources. Limit your time watching the news and be mindful of the content young children are exposed to as they often hear and take in more than we may realize. Our government sponsored websites are a good source of information. They are written without sensationalism, which helps to keep us calm, while making us knowledgeable about up-to-date and factual information.

As we all strive to stay connected and create structure and routine in our lives, every day I search out the many positive things happening within the PSB. Recently I enjoyed watching the video message one of our school principals sent to his school community with a wealth of good information and cameo appearances of his two children. He closed by saying: ‘you are not stuck at home, you are safe at home.’

Stay safe and thank you for remaining connected. We appreciate the opportunity to continue working with students and parents.

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on