Message from the PSB – May 20th, 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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Message from The Department of Education – May 20th, 2020

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 | Leave a comment

May 19th, 2020

Good Evening Everyone,

I am happy to provide you with an update regarding picking up your children’s items. Beginning next week, staff will be at school organizing their student’s belongings. All items belonging to a student will be put into a bag and each bag will be labeled. At this time, only staff members are permitted into the school building.

The following week (June 1st – June 5th), parents/guardians will be able to come to the school to retrieve their children’s items. Once I have a clearer picture of the health guidelines/procedures, I will let you know how and when you will be able to come to the school.

Please do not come to the school until I have outlined the proper procedure on how to do so. Thank you for your patience and cooperation on this matter.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

Mrs. Conohan

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Message from PSB – May 6th, 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 | Leave a comment

Respite Message from PSB

April 29th, 2020
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 | Leave a comment

April 29th 2020

Good Morning Somerset Families,

I hope this message finds you all well. As stated in today’s message from the PSB, teachers will continue to provide home learning opportunities for their students. Please feel free to do what you can with these learning opportunities.

I know this can be a challenging time at home juggling your own work and home learning but we do appreciate all the efforts that are being made.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or reach out to your child’s teacher. We are here to help and we will get through this together.

Have a wonderful rest of the week. Take care,

Mrs. Conohan

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Message from the PSB

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 | Leave a comment

Monday, April 20th

Good Morning Somerset Families,

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready for the week ahead.

We are now into week three of home learning. This learning opportunity has been made available to you should you want to use it – it is not meant to be a stressor to our families. When making your learning choices, please be assured that no students are getting ahead and no students will be left behind. Home learning is not the same as school, it is meant to be a reinforcement and practice of skills learned. Any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact myself or your child’s teacher.

The PSB is still offering support for families in need – please contact 902-368-5155, 902-368-6990 or supportforfamilies@edu.pe.ca. They can help with food insecurities.

Have a great weekend everyone,

Mrs. Conohan

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SAS from PSB

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 | Leave a comment

Message from PSB

April 15, 2020

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 | Leave a comment