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Big Rock School Updates

Tuesday, May 26

Hello Big Rock Families! I hope this email finds you well. It is hard to believe that it has been 10 weeks since the decision was made to cancel school-based classes and move to a remote learning model. Our deepest gratitude to all of our families for your commitment in making the most of this less than ideal situation so our students can continue to learn. Also, on a personal note, thank you to all of the families for the honks and waves when I see you out and about in the community; we miss all of you and can’t wait until schools regain some normalcy.

There are a few things going on that I wanted to bring to your attention pertaining to wrapping up this school year and leading in to the next school year:

First, the final learning plans for your child will be going out Monday, June 8th; with the last official day of learning on June 18th. The final learner profile for the year will be sent out via email during the week starting June 22nd. We understand that these final weeks of school can be difficult during our current circumstances and your child’s health and well-being needs to be our priority. If existing learning situations are becoming increasingly difficult at this time, please reach out to your child’s teacher and we will work to find a balance that fits the individual needs of your family.

Next, we have tentative plans for a Grade 6 farewell ceremony on Thursday June 11th at 2:00. The plan is to have a live stream event where we can recognize, celebrate and bid farewell to our Grade 6 students as they transition from their time at Big Rock. Ideally we would love to be in the gym one last time together, but unfortunately that is not possible at this time. Make sure to mark June 11th in your calendars and be on the lookout for more information as the day nears.

We are also starting to plan a year end celebration for our entire school community that will take place later in June. We are still finalizing dates, but we really want to create an opportunity to cap off the school year on a positive note and hopefully get a chance to see as many of you as possible as we move into the summer months.

Finally, the question that is on everyone’s mind: “What will school look like in the fall?”. Unfortunately it is too soon to have any definitive answers to that question. As a division we have formed a committee to start addressing possible scenarios depending on the course of the pandemic in the coming months. We are also closely watching other jurisdictions in North America and Globally to look at some best practices as they start returning to school before us. Ultimately it will come down to finding a balance between safety for all and resuming the school experiences we are used to.

As a staff we have been working through this in the form of two open-ended questions:

What wishes do you have for your child for the remainder of the school year?

What do you see as being essential for when we resume classes next year?

Many of your teachers have probably asked you these questions in some form over the past week or so. If you have already provided your thoughts, thank you as this will inform us as we transition from this year to next. If you would like to respond directly to me, I would love to hear your thoughts and please email them to me at careys@fsd38.ab.ca. We regularly hear the term “new normal”, and as a result of this process, one of our parents coined the term “wiser normal”. I like the idea of “wiser normal” as we have the opportunity to be very thoughtful about how we move forward together as a school community and your voice is instrumental in that process.

I hope you stay well, take the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather we are experiencing, and thank you for all you do to support us moving forward.

Take Care,

Your Big Rock Family

 

 

Wednesday, April 8

Happy Easter Big Rock Families!

Greetings to everyone in our Big Rock community! It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been 4 weeks since our school  year was abruptly changed. Creative, flexible, patient, collaborative, and resilient are just a few words to describe students, parents, and staff alike as we adjust to provide quality learning for all of our students. Thank you all for everything you have done to make learning possible through this pandemic. 

School is really about human interaction, and it is something that we are focusing on moving forward with our learning plans. I was able to sit in on a couple of live class meets this week and it was heartwarming to see and hear our students together. I hope your children enjoy these opportunities as much as our teachers do! 

We will continue to find ways to provide real-time learning opportunities for all of our classes in the coming weeks. This does take some coordination and scheduling, we love having as much participation as possible, but we also understand if it doesn’t always work in your individual contexts.

As a school community, we understand that this is a difficult time for everyone. Our primary focus is to work with you. If you need extra support with your child’s learning, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we can problem solve together. 

We also understand that some of you may be experiencing a variety of stressors and pressures beyond your child’s learning needs. As a school we have a nutrition grant designed to provide meals and nutrition for our students as needed. We still have some of those funds available and may be able to support you at home in the spirit of this nutrition grant. If you feel that you may need some support with food and groceries, please reach out to me directly via email (careys@fsd38.ab.ca) and we can do what we can to help you out.

Tomorrow marks the last day of school before the Easter break. As a division we are still honoring the Easter break as outlined in the school calendar. This means that Thursday at 12:00 marks the start of break and schools will be closed until Monday, April 20. 

Teachers will not be sending out learning plans next week so we can all take a well-deserved break from school. This gives you as parents an opportunity to perform a coveted teaching duty: Tomorrow at 12:00you may announce to your children, “Class dismissed and enjoy your Easter break!”

Thank you again for your support as partners in learning. Take care and I look forward to reconnecting with you all starting April 20th. 

Scott

 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Hello Big Rock Families,

I hope you are all having a good week. This whole situation is still pretty surreal for me, and I don’t thing I’m alone feeling this way. I’m still getting used to a quiet school. However, I absolutely love to see and hear the learning that is happening with students, parents, and teachers as we continue to provide education for our families. Thank you to everyone for your hard work and commitment to learning! The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” has never been more relevant. We may have physical distance, but our hearts and minds are still very much connected with our learners and families.

I hope that everything is going well as you establish routines that allow for learning time while still managing your already busy lives. Please give us feedback how learning plans are working in your home. Yesterday as a staff we talked about “Goldilocks Principle” and our desire to create the “just right” amount of learning for your children at home. This looks different for each family, so please take some time to reach out to your teacher and let them know how things are going at home; too much, too little, or just right.

Now more than ever, it is important that we keep our lines of communication open. As a school we obviously want to provide quality education for your children, but as a larger family we want to make sure that everyone is well and we don’t want education to be a burden in your lives. I recently came across the following quote that sums up the approach we want to take as we work together to provide learning:

“Relationships before Rigor, Grace Before Grades, Patience before Programs, Love before Lessons” – Dr. Brad Johnson

Keep the pictures and stories of your home learning adventures coming. We value hearing from all of you and they truly bring joy when we receive them. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at the school 403.938.6666 or email careys@fsd38.ab.ca

Scott

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hello Big Rock Families!

First and foremost, I hope you are all well and taking care of each other. All our lives are being disrupted in some way, shape or form. We need to take care of ourselves and each other as we establish new routines and navigate the days ahead. Thank you all for your support, understanding, and patience with us as we continue to provide learning opportunities for our families.

On Monday, we sent out our first week’s learning plans. I understand that may have been overwhelming for some of you, especially if you have multiple children that are possibly in different schools as well. The learning plans this week did contain a lot of information around logins, and procedures adding to the information overload. Moving forward, the plans should be a bit more straightforward and easier to digest. Next week’s learning will come out Monday morning. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your teachers if you need assistance.

We realize that it is a big ask on families to help facilitate learning, and we thank you for your commitment to help support the learning we are providing for your children. The guidelines created by the province (approximately one hour per day focusing on literacy and numeracy), were designed to create a manageable learning target for schools and families to ensure essential learning during this disruption. These are guidelines and you know your family situation best. Please reach out to your teacher if you are having difficulty managing things. As well, if you would like some extra enrichment, your teacher can help you with that as well. We can’t thank you enough for the work you are doing to facilitate your child’s learning!

It looks like most families are able to access learning digitally which is great. We will still make paper-based materials available if needed but would like to discourage this method as much as possible. With paper there are some health considerations as there is evidence that the Coronavirus can survive on surfaces like paper for a period of time. I would also remind you that the school is still operational, if you need to call the school, we would love to hear your voice! Also, if you need to access the school for resources or personal items, this is still possible but you need to arrange a time with your teacher. Finally, if you do come to the school, please make sure that you are symptom free, and mindful of protocols around social distancing.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are blessed to have amazing families and your support is greatly appreciated. We miss you all, schools are lonely places without children and families. Every time our staff receive a note, call, picture or video from home it brings joy to all of us! Keep the lines of communication open. If you have any questions, or just want to say hi, feel free to call or email me at careys@fsd38.ab.ca.

Scott and the staff at Big Rock

 

Thursday, March 19

Dear Big Rock Families,

Happy Thursday! I hope you are all well and taking care of each other. Like every family, it has been a unique week with the Big Rock family as we try to inform ourselves, make sense of the current situation, and plan for the future. Education is a vital component to our larger community. It has been difficult to pause learning as we plan our next steps. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we figure things out in the short term and into the longer term.

Our teachers have been reaching out to families this week to check in and see how things are going. The purpose of this is not just to reach out, but to hear from you as well. If you are receiving emails from teachers, please take the time to respond.  We would love to hear from you, and we really want to make sure our messages are being heard as we want to ensure open lines of communication moving forward.

We are ready to start moving forward with learning starting next week. Our commitment to begin with is to deliver basic quality education to provide consistency, routine, and a sense of normalcy to our students and families. Starting Monday we will be sending out learning plans for each week. These plans will provide instruction and learning activities for each of your students for the week ahead. The primary method for delivering these plans will be digitally.

I understand this is not ideal for all families. We will have the ability for print-based resources, but at this time we are asking families to make every attempt to use digital formats. We want to be mindful of limiting access to the school for health purposes. Information for accessing learning plans for your child will be going out Monday via email and the school website (bigrock.fsd38.ab.ca). Next week we will also be asking for feedback regarding the scope of work we are sending home. We are aware that as families you may be limited in terms of how much time you are able to dedicate to your child’s learning each day and we don’t overwhelm you. The goal is to find the “just right” learning environment so your child is receiving essential learning while not overburdening your personal and work commitments.

I know many of you have inquired about fees and refunds. As a division, there is a commitment to provide reimbursements as appropriate. We ask that you continue to be patient as we develop processes that are consistent across schools in the division. We will keep you posted as new information comes available.

I would also like to draw your attention to Foothills School Division’s Parent Link. This website provides a number of general resources to help you as parents with the education process. The division has created a special section in the Parent Link specifically targeted to provide resources that your family can use to help manage the disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources can be found in the parent section on Foothills School Division website, or by clicking on the link below:

https://sites.google.com/gm.fsd38.ab.ca/parentlearninglink/covid-19?authuser=0

Finally, it was good to see families coming through the school over the past couple of days. Getting a chance to touch base in person has been beneficial for all of us! If you missed your opportunity to come and retrieve any items you need, you will still have opportunity moving forward. Next week we will have some more scheduled access times for you to retrieve personal items or pick up alternative resources as per arrangements from your child’s teacher. These opportunities will be limited but “open” times that you won’t need to schedule. I will however monitor traffic to ensure we are keeping within guidelines outlined by the province. So at this time I ask your cooperation in only coming to the school if there is a need. Information around specific times will be made available on Monday.

These are less than ideal times to say the least, but it is also an amazing opportunity to solidify and strengthen the relationship between home and school as we work together to provide learning for our children.

Thank you so much for your patience, understanding and support.

Take care,

Scott and everyone here at Big Rock