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

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