The front blackboard in a class. (file photo)
Class is back in session for Lloydminster students. Lloydminster Catholic School Division and Lloydminster Public School Division have started their supplemental learning programs.
Schools across Saskatchewan were on pause for a week as the province created new guidelines for supplemental learning.
Lloydminster Catholic School Division
The pause ended on March 30 and LCSD teachers have already started their remote online classes on April 1.
“A lot of how we are able to launch this today really comes from the creativity of individual teachers and the great navigation of our principals and vice-principals,” says LCSD Director of Education Nigel McCarthy.
Staff will work from home and use a variety of programs and resources to get in contact with students to continue education. McCarthy says the Ministry of Education has given division broad guidelines which allows teachers to build plans how they see fit.
“As it’s always been done teachers will use their professionalism to understand what the needs of their students are and support those needs in the supplemental learning environment.”
McCarthy says things will change as the division gets a better understanding of how to meet the needs of the students. LCSD could also provide laptops and equipment for families who do not have them and will find ways to deliver assignments to families who prefer to limit the use of technology.
“We want to take it step-by-step to make sure that every student is being served before we expand upon what we are doing. There’s going to be better ideas on how we do this as we move forward.”
Supplemental learning is not mandatory for students but McCarthy believes it will help them as they move to the next grade in the next school year.
“We think that by adhering to the learning outcomes that are there we are going to prepare kids for next year the best way possible.”
McCarthy says the closures remain indefinite and it is the province’s decision on whether students return to schools. But, he says the division is ready to educate until the end of the school year.
“We’re prepared to be there for students and families all the way to June 30 and we think it’ll only get better as the days and weeks go by.”
Lloydminster Public School Division
LPSD is taking a two phase approach to the supplemental learning program. The first phase is teachers and staff connecting with students and families to find the best options for students at this time.
They will be checking to see if students are opting in to the program, getting their preferred learning methods, whether it’s online or another method, and setting students up with resources like laptops if needed.
Teachers are also sharing information and supplemental material with families during this time. The first phase runs until April 3.
The second phase begins after Easter and will roll out the new education method and specific teaching plans. LPSD Director of Education Todd Robinson says teachers will then be designing a program to meet as many needs of students as possible.
“We’re leaving a lot of autonomy to our teachers to make decisions on how they can meet the needs of all the students that they have. We’re looking at things like Google Meets and those sorts of products that will allow us to do in real-time instruction to a larger group of students.”
The supplemental program is again optional and all students will be moving to the next grade if they take part in it or not. Robinson also provides some details on the situation for high school students.
“Any student in Grade 10, 11 or 12 that was in a course and had completed work will get a minimum mark of 50 per cent. Then the supplemental materials will give them an opportunity to improve that percentage if that’s something they’re interested in doing.”
Robinson notes the new model will place more responsibilities on parents and says the division is adding resources to their website to help parents.
“There is an increased burden on parents in this model to support their students and help them with a structured space and access. We understand that this model will be as strong as the partnerships that we create with our families.”
Robinson echoes McCarthy in that these closures are indefinite but the division will do the best they can to provide education to all their students.
“We would love to see our kids again this year. We are missing our kids and our families. That being said is there a chance this will run through the rest of the school year? There is. It is indefinite and we don’t know the end date for that so we are planning to offer as rich a program as we can.”
EDIT: The article was changed to provide a clearer understanding of what both school divisions are doing. LPSD students are learning at this time. LPSD is taking a two phased approach with more detailed learning taking place after Easter.