Hello trusted agents of the Sea to Sky school district,
We hope this message finds you well during these unprecedented times. We recognize that many of our agent partners are receiving multiple message from a number of schools districts throughout the world and it can be challenging to stay on top of everything. For this reason, we will do our best to share specific important information around program deliver in the face of COVID-19. We apologize in advance for the lengthy email.
As we previously shared, on March 17, during spring break, the BC Ministry of Education announce the indefinite suspension of in-class learning.
On March 18, the provincial government declared a provincial state of emergency to support the response to COVID-19.
On Monday, March 30th, students were scheduled to return back to school after Spring Break.
On Friday, March 27th, the BC Ministry of Education released Supporting the K-12 Education Response to COVID-19 in BC document asking schools to provide continuity of education opportunities for all students. This includes international students who remain in our homestay program here in the Sea to Sky as well as those who have returned to their home country. School staff returned to work (mostly remotely) on Monday, March 30th. Schools had their first staff meeting in response to the above announcements in order to plan forward.
Here are some of the key points shared in this document to help agents and international families understand what is being offered at this time. Please share this with your families and let students & parents know the expectation. This will be of particularly importance to students needing to validate, in the graduation program or on track to graduate this June.
- Students will be supported with opportunities that allow for a variety of learning experiences to develop literacy and numeracy skills, support social, emotional and physical well-being and continue their studies in content areas across the curriculum. p. 13
- Over the next days and weeks, individual educators, schools and school districts are preparing to support student learning until normal operations are resumed. It is expected that students will be connected to their teachers no later than mid-April.
- Teachers across the province are empowered to determine a final grade for children based on work completed to-date and the assessment of participation in learning opportunities that will occur over the coming months. Teachers are expected to prepare report cards for their students for June.
- The evaluation of learning taking place after the suspension of in-class instruction should be in relation to a smaller selection of learning standards which students are able to complete at home.
- For students in grades 10 and 11, school districts should focus on courses in the subject areas required for graduation.
- For students in grade 12 on track to graduate this year, the focus should be on the total 80 credits needed for graduation.
- The Ministry is not mandating or specifying the minimum number of hours that must be completed for a student to receive credit for a grade 10, 11, or 12 course. Hours do not necessarily reflect the actual learning that occurs. The focus is on determining if, and how, sufficient learning has taken place during these exceptional circumstances.
- Sufficient learning will be determined by teachers using their professional judgement. Grounded in the curriculum, teachers will assess what individual students know, understand, and are able to demonstrate to determine whether sufficient learning has taken place to enable the student to pursue further learning in the curricular and content area. To do this, teachers should prioritize which learning standards can be learned from home, with particular emphasis on the development of a student’s literacy, numeracy, and Core Competencies.
- Teachers are empowered to determine a final grade for students based on work completed to-date and the assessment of participation in learning opportunities that will occur over the coming months. Teachers will work with students to fulfill course requirements according to their school/school district plans during the suspension of in-class instruction.
- Elective courses are still of significant importance to students, though continued delivery of some courses may be more difficult. For elective courses with unique challenges, teachers have the discretion to provide a passing grade if sufficient learning has been achieved.
- Every student eligible to graduate this year will graduate. To be eligible to graduate means that if a student were to successfully complete courses underway and in progress for completion this June, they would satisfy all graduation requirements. This does not mean that students will graduate “no matter what”. Students are expected to continue their learning and complete the assignments set out by their teachers in order to graduate.
- Graduation Requirements: For details in regards to Career Life Connections, including the capstone project, see page 21.
- Particular attention is being paid to assessing a range of alternatives for those grade 12 students who have not completed the Numeracy 10 Assessment required for graduation but who are otherwise on track to graduate this school year.
- Where a decision is made to send international or boarded students back to their home country, school districts are expected to make continuous learning options available to the students, consistent with educational programming offered to resident students and provided there are no other barriers (technical or otherwise) to the student’s participation. International students who are enrolled with a K-12 public or independent school in B.C. will be allowed to complete their coursework to continue their education program this school year via online/Distributed Learning opportunities through their respective school or school district, or through an arrangement approved by their respective school or school district.
- All international students currently enrolled in an additional online course through our district’s Sea to Sky Online School are permitted to continue and expected to complete all course work in order to gain credits. An exception is being made to allow them to do this overseas. Because face-to-face instruction has been suspended until further notice, all supervised tests (for the time being) will not be included in course assessment. Students should continue to access and complete all assignments/quizzes that do not require a pass code. Upon reinstatement of in-class instruction, students who have not yet completed the course will be expected to write supervised tests for the remaining uncompleted units as part of their overall assessment.
Another document being used by teachers: Continuity of Learning Planning Guide for Teachers indicates the following:
- Grades 4 – 9: For learners in the intermediate and early secondary years, engagement may include learners in a wide array of learning activities, with a focus on project-based, inquiry or problem-based learning. Educators may also use technologies to establish “live” virtual contact with individuals or groups of learners to facilitate their learning activities and to sustain a sense of community.
- Grades 10 – 12: For learners in the graduation years, teacher-led/moderated activities and individual or group projects will enable learners to achieve and demonstrate the competencies required for course completion and expected of graduates of the BC education system.
Teachers have started to reach out to their students and will begin, if they haven’t already, implementing their Continuity of Education Opportunities plan . Please ask your students who have been studying with us as of February, who have recently gone home, to ensure that the school has their correct personal email address on file in order to connect with them. An email can be sent to their respective school’s clerical to verify this:
Don Ross Middle School in Squamish: firstname.lastname@example.org
Howe Sound Secondary in Squamish: email@example.com
Whistler Secondary: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pemberton Secondary: email@example.com
All students in our district are also set up with a Google account. Many of our teachers, schools and programs have been using this as a learning tool and therefore are already familiar with this platform. For our Chinese students who have gone home due to COVID-19, we will be in touch specifically regarding other alternatives to Google. Schools are also offering a laptop or Chromebook loan program for students (including internationals) who may not have access to a device at home. Schools are also limiting access to entering the school buildings in an effort to keep everyone safe. The school-specific details around these pieces are being emailed to (host) parents to share with students. Multiple emails are being sent out daily.
We recognize that this is a lot of information to share out with others in a different language. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions around this. We will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available without bombarding you too much. We also recognize that there will be many questions that may be unanswered at the moment and we will continue to work to gain answers for you. We have sent out a similar email to our host families and have asked them to share the information with their international student(s).
Here are the links to the 2 documents that have been cited above.
Supporting the K-12 Education Response to COVID-19 in BC
Continuity of Learning Planning Guide for Teachers
These documents are scheduled to be updated this Friday. We will continue to keep you updated. Thank you so much for your assistance during these tricky times. Stay safe & healthy.
District Vice Principal – International Education
Sea to Sky SD 48: Squamish, Whistler & Pemberton