Wednesday, June 3, 2020

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

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Posting for Parents

We want to thank all of the families who visited Stratford Elementary School last week to pick up student belongings. This being done, we also want you to know that teachers are available to help students with learning instructions. Home learning will continue until June 19th and it is available to all students. If you or your child wish to meet with his/her teacher regarding learning, please contact the teacher. These meetings can be in person, virtual or by phone all the while protecting CPHO regulations.

We are presently planning end-of-the-year activities. All grades will be celebrated sometime between June 17th and June 26th. Further information with details will be coming to students through home room teachers. Stay tuned!

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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

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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.

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

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May 20, 2020

‘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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
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