Older Announcements

Update for Kindergarten families

November 18, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian and Students of the Kindergarten Virtual Program,

Last week we transitioned the Grade 1 - 6 students smoothly to virtual learning! As a result, we have made some slight changes to the Kindergarten transition timeline. Although the first official day for virtual learning is Monday, November 23rd, the first day of live Google Meets for the students will be Wednesday, November 25th to allow for parent information sessions and time to complete the Virtual Learning Checklist. This is very important as you will need to know how to access learning platforms like Google Meet and Hapara Workspace when virtual classes begin on November 25th.


Parent Information Sessions

At the start of next week, we will be hosting virtual parent information sessions on the dates listed below. To join, just click on the link at the appropriate date and time.

Supporting students with Technology in Online Learning - Monday, November 23 at 11:00 am.

Supporting students with Technology in Online Learning - Tuesday, November 24 at 1:00 pm.


You will hear from your virtual teacher next week

You will hear from your child's virtual kindergarten team by the end of the day on November 23rd. They will provide you with all the information your child will need to smoothly transition from in-person learning to virtual learning. If you do not hear from your child's teacher by the end of the day on November 23rd, please email Virtual.Elementary@ocsb.ca.


Device Recommendation

As a reminder, please ensure that your technology is functional. If you decide to purchase a Chromebook, we recommend getting one with 4GB of memory. If it has a touchscreen, that is helpful but not necessary. If you have any questions regarding technology, please contact your community school prior to starting virtual learning.


Thank you for joining our virtual school!

We look forward to supporting your child and their teachers in their virtual learning journey. The virtual program is a novel experience for all of us, and together we will ensure it is the best possible Catholic learning experience for your child.


Sincerely,

Michelle McGarry
Principal, Elementary Virtual Program

Welcome letter to new Virtual Families

November 11, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian and Students of the Virtual Program

I want to start by welcoming you to the Elementary Virtual Program. My name is Michelle McGarry, and I’m your new school Principal. Watch welcome video

When do classes begin?

Your child officially joins the Elementary Virtual Program on November 16, but your virtual classes will not start until Wednesday, November 18 (grades 1-6) or November 23 (Kindergarten). Your first two days of school will be independent orientation days for you and your child to prepare for virtual learning at home.

Checklist for transitioning to virtual learning

We’ve created a Virtual Learning Checklist to support you and your child as you transition into the virtual learning world. On November 16 and 17, please go through the checklist with your child. You will need to know how to access learning platforms like Google Meet and Hapara Workspace when virtual classes begin on November 18.

You will hear from your virtual teacher next week

We were surprised by the volume of requests for virtual learning, and this resulted in unexpected delays. For that, we apologize. You will hear from your child's virtual teachers by the end of the day on November 17. They will provide you with all the information your child will need to smoothly transition from in-person learning to virtual learning. If you do not hear from your child's teacher by the end of the day on November 17, please email Virtual.Elementary@ocsb.ca.

Supporting your child in online learning

We’ve prepared tips for parents to support virtual learning and two optional parent information sessions to help you support your child with the technology used in virtual learning. Both sessions are the same, so feel free to attend either session.

Parent Information Session 1: November 16 at 1:00 pm

Parent Information Session 2: November 17 at 10:00 am

Buy a Chromebook with the Support for Learners initiative

This is a good time to ensure that your technology is functional. If you decide to purchase a Chromebook, we recommend getting one with 4GB of memory. If it has a touchscreen, that is helpful but not necessary.

If you plan to take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales, make sure you keep your receipts! The Province recently announced a Support for Learners initiative in the Ontario Action Plan. They will offer up to $200 for students under the age of 12 and $250 for students under 21 with special needs. The government has not yet released details on how to apply for this funding, but we will share it with you when we find out more.

Thank you for joining our virtual school!

We look forward to supporting your child and their teachers in their virtual learning journey. The virtual program is a novel experience for all of us, and together we will ensure it is the best possible Catholic learning experience for your child.


Sincerely,

Michelle McGarry
Principal, Elementary Virtual Program

Administration changes to the Elementary Virtual Program

October 14, 2020

Dear Virtual Families:

Thank you for journeying with us through this experience of the first-ever OCSB Virtual Elementary Program. As you may or may not know, in mid-August, the Ministry mandated that all School Boards offer 225 minutes a day of synchronous learning to our students. Given the size of our organizations (school boards) and the fast-approaching school year start, getting this off of the ground was not an easy task. It would require experience, work ethic, patience and flexibility.

As a school board, we were so blessed that three of our very experienced retired principals decided to take on this opportunity. You have come to know them well, Andrea Green, as principal and Luce Paradis and Michelle Corbitt as vice-principals. These three amazing women have worked long hours, weekends and nights to ensure, given the circumstances, that your children had a positive virtual experience. In the education field, a retiree can only work so many days before their pension is affected, and we have come to that day with these women. Friday, October 9th, was officially their last day. Please join me in thanking them for their tireless hours to ensure that this program got off the ground in record time. They were truly inspiring, and they will be missed.

We were transitioning Michelle McGarry as the new Virtual Elementary Program principal and Jim Conklin as the vice-principal during all of last week. A big congratulations to our new Admin team! They bring with them energy and enthusiasm, recognizing we are in the middle of creating a brand new experience for all of our current and future students!

In addition, in our new structure, each grade level has been assigned a vice-principal. By Friday, you will receive a welcome letter from your child's official vice-principal. All future communication should go through this vice-principal. If the VP is not able to respond to your question, he/she will know who they should direct the inquiry to in our system, and someone will get back to you promptly.

We are hopeful that this structure will allow you to have a more intimate and personal experience as we journey through this together.

Again, we thank you for your ongoing support, words of encouragement, praise and mostly for your patience.

Sincerely,

Shelley Montgomery

Superintendent of Student Success Elementary

Reorganization of classes & French programming

September 27, 2020

Dear OCSB Elementary Virtual Program Families

To meet the demand for remote learning some of our elementary schools will be reorganizing this week. Families directly involved will be contacted regarding how this will affect your child(ren)’s classes.

The reorganization process happens every September in our schools. Classes are organized based on projected enrollment and then finalized once the actual number of students are determined. Usually, in a typical year, the board must reorganize approx one-third of our elementary schools. This year, due to the addition of remote learning and the creation of the OCSB Virtual Elementary Program in August, we expect changes to schedules, language of instruction and teachers to many of our classes.

As of this week, 6700 elementary students, 24% of the OCSB elementary population, chose remote learning. Based on the revised numbers of students attending in-person schools, we must transfer teaching staff from in-person schools to serve the virtual school's learners.

This means that some teaching staff will leave their current schools to teach in the virtual program. While classes may be affected at schools, teacher staffing remains consistent across the OCSB. We are not reducing the number of teachers but changing the location where some of them teach. This is a complex process that involves many moving parts. We appreciate your patience and your support in finalizing the reorganization of classes. Our goal is to make this as seamless as possible for our students and our teachers.

The scale of the staffing changes requires a reorganization to accommodate all students (virtual or in-school), and adhere to Ministry of Education regulations and collective agreements with our labour partners. This is also why moving from in-person learning to remote learning is a complex process.

French programming is scheduled to begin this week. Staffing our French teachers is ongoing. As we address staffing, reorganizing some classes still requires a French teacher. We hope to have these positions filled as soon as possible. If a French teacher is unavailable in grades 1,2 and 3, you will have the required 225 minutes with your English teacher and asynchronous learning will be provided for the French program.

The OCSB Virtual Elementary Program has adapted the French synchronous and asynchronous minutes to meet the demand in our Virtual classes. Please note the French synchronous and asynchronous minutes for your child(ren) enrolled in a virtual classroom.

Kindergarten: 60 min/day synchronous + 30 min/day asynchronous = 90 min/day

Grade 1-3: 60 min every second day synchronous + 55 min every second day asynchronous = 115 min every two days. (French in grades 1-3 will be taught on a Day 1/Day 2 schedule.)

Grade 4-6 extended: 50 min/day synchronous + 10 min/day asynchronous = 60 min/day

Grade 4-6 immersion: 100 min/day synchronous + 15 min/day asynchronous = 115 min/day

We understand that changes to your child(ren)’s class may be upsetting, and we thank you for your patience and understanding. As shared above, schools and teachers will inform families directly about how this reorganization will affect their child(ren)’s classes next week. Please note that with the number of virtual students that we cannot accommodate family requests for a specific class placement.

Thank you for your continued support in our Virtual Elementary Program.

Recording now available: Parent "Tech Support" - Thursday, September 24

A recording of the Parent Learning Session that took place on Thursday, September 24 is now available on our Online How To's page.

Tips for parents to support virtual learning

We've created some Tips for Parents to help you support your child as they learn from home.

Suggested Learning Tools (Kindergarten)

We suggest that students have the following items available, if possible:

  • Scissors

  • Pencils

  • Glue stick

  • Paper

  • Books

  • Magnetic letters and numbers (for those that received Welcome to Kindergarten bags)

  • Found/gathered items from nature - pine cones, shells, pebbles, acorns, etc.

  • Anything that can be used as counters such as screws, buttons, coins, etc.

  • Building materials - lego, wooden blocks, etc.

Suggested Learning Tools (1-3)

We suggest that students have the following items available, if possible:

  • Pencil

  • Paper

  • Coloured pencils

  • Scissors

  • Glue

  • Ruler

  • Whiteboard and whiteboard marker

  • Anything that can be used as counters such as screws, buttons, coins, etc.

  • Earphones

  • Stylus (if possible)

  • Quiet personal workspace

Suggested Learning Tools (4-6)

We suggest that students have the following items available, if possible:

  • Pencil

  • Pen

  • Coloured pencils

  • Scissors

  • Glue

  • Ruler

  • Protractor

  • Calculator

  • Whiteboard and whiteboard marker

  • Earphones/headphones

  • Stylus (if needed for touch screen)

  • Fidget tool (if needed)

  • Quiet personal workspace