September 18th, 2020
Welcome to the first official day of the Elementary Distance Learning Program or EDLP. To support our students and families who have chosen Distance Learning, staff have developed this Elementary Distance Learning – Students and Family Handbook. The WRDSB Elementary Distance Learning teams have been working tirelessly to welcome students into a robust distance learning program. Organizing, hiring and scheduling for close to 10,000 elementary students into a distance learning program in a very short time has been a monumental task. The distance learning administrators have largely completed the hiring process for more than 90 teachers and 30 Early Childhood Educators as well as secretarial staff. Most families will have received a welcome call from educators. If you and your child have not received a call yet, we apologize for any concern or anxiety that this may have caused. We thank you in advance for your patience as we work with our new staff and provide them with the information needed to get their classes started.
We would like to introduce the Administrators assigned to the Elementary Distance Learning Programs:
Kindergarten – Erin Bell Principal, Helen Turner-Fisher, Vice-Principal
Primary – Laura Hagey-Nichols Principal, Karen Canapini, Vice-Principal
Junior – James Bond Principal, Jeffrey Brown, Tamara Schmelzle Vice-Principals
Intermediate – Bobbie Chatha Principal, Christina Elmslie Vice-Principal
French Immersion– Karin Bileski Principal, Stephanie Ringwood Vice-Principal
The staff in the EDLP are committed to creating caring and engaging virtual learning environments for students in attendance. Our EDLP will look and feel different than it did in the spring. Getting to know our students will be our teacher’s most important task. The program will begin with a focus on building relationships and connecting with students and families. Because of the staffing challenges, some classes will start with a temporary qualified educator. We will place permanent educators in these positions as soon as hiring is completed.
Providing our students with the right tools for distance learning is a top priority. Teachers will spend the first days of class ensuring that families have the appropriate and necessary technology and resources. Routines will be established to ensure students gain familiarity with the Google Classroom and the WRDSB Virtual Learning Environment (Brightspace/VLE).
Many of the frequently asked questions regarding the Elementary Distance Learning Program (EDLP) are answered below. You are encouraged to reach out to your child’s EDLP educator if you require further more information.
Why haven’t I heard from anyone?
Because of hiring challenges, some students may not have received a phone call from a distance learning teacher. In some instances, staff have made efforts to call but have not been able to connect with families. Educators will continue to reach out to families to ensure they have the information they need to fully engage in the program.
How can I reach the Distance Learning Program?
Below are the email addresses that families can use to communicate with administrators and secretaries in the Distance Learning Programs.
Kindergarten – firstname.lastname@example.org
Primary – email@example.com
Junior – firstname.lastname@example.org
Intermediate – email@example.com
French Immersion – firstname.lastname@example.org
We have also created phone extensions for each program that parents may use to reach the program secretary. We will communicate these extensions as soon as our secretarial staff is fully in place.
How can I help my child get oriented to the Distance Learning Environment?
The focus of the first days in the EDLP is to ensure students gain familiarity with either their Google Classroom or the WRDSB D2L Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platform called “Brightspace.”
WRDSBTech@Home – Technical challenges
Distance Learning Elementary Student – Login support
Is the program going to be very different from last spring
The program will be different from what students and families experienced last spring. In the EDLP, students will experience a greater amount of live (synchronous) and engaging instruction. EDLP classes will follow the same daily schedule and provide similar points of teacher connection as that of in-person classes. Daily attendance will be taken by the educators. Instruction will be a blend of live instruction, independent work along with small group opportunities. Distance learners who requested technology-free learning should dedicate the same amount of time each day for learning and task completion. Instructions on accessing learning materials for our tech-free learners will be communicated by the classroom teacher next week.
This year students will receive regular feedback, ongoing assessment and work that will be evaluated. Students will receive a progress report and provincial report card from the distance learning teacher.
We apologize for any frustration or confusion that families and students may have experienced as we get this program up and running. The creation of a full distance learning experience for approximately 10,000 elementary students in a short period of time has presented many unexpected challenges. We appreciate the patience of our families as we work through the final challenges.
If you would like additional information that is not provided in this update, we remind you of our elementary distance learning guide on the WRDSB website.