Please read the following letter from Superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen:
March 30, 2020
Dear Students and Families:
I want to begin by welcoming you “back” from Spring Break.
Students, while your learning journey is vastly different from what you imagined – even a few short weeks ago – we know that you are resilient, curious, creative and will undoubtedly embrace this unexpected experience. Your teachers have missed you and are excited to connect this week.
Please be assured that teachers already have a solid digital infrastructure that they were accessing during in-classroom instruction. They will keep using technology as we move forward with continued learning. We are well positioned in the Burnaby School District to support our students, staff, and community and we will rise to meet this challenge together.
Families, please know that our staff are dedicated to responding to your child’s needs with professionalism, compassion and commitment. In my letter to you on Friday, I shared that we would have some web resources available this week to support your child’s continued learning.
Web Learning Resources
Both we, as a district, and the Ministry of Education have each created complementary websites, designed to engage learners and help take the pressure off families. I encourage you to explore them:
• Our newly created Continuing Learning Website can be found at: https://learning.burnabyschools.ca/. The resources on this site are intended to support students with self-directed learning activities across a wide variety of subject areas.
• The Ministry of Education has created a Keep Learning Website to provide resources where families can find ideas for everyday educational activities, annotated links to free learning resources, as well as how to help children learn and support their well-being while they are at home. This site is linked in our resources page, and can be found directly here: www.openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning/
The Focus This Week
This week school staff will be connecting directly with each of our 25,000 students and their families. This may be by phone, email, or through Microsoft Teams. It will be a chance to discuss what learning will look like in the coming weeks, as well as to check in about any unique needs your student may have, as we work to organize support for our school communities.
While school staff are reaching out and connecting, we invite you to access the web resources indicated above.
We are focusing on the following initial explorations on our new Continuing Learning Website https://learning.burnabyschools.ca/.
Grades 8 – 12
In my letter to families on Friday, I indicated that much of the work going forward will take place using a variety of digital tools and resources. Secondary students should focus their work this week on completing the online module “Digital Citizenship Quest,” which can be found on the Continuing Learning Website. They are also asked to check that they can access their district email address (please see more below).
Kindergarten – Grade 7
Elementary students and their parents can access and explore activities by grade level. These activities are organized by Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Applied Design, Skills and Technologies, Fitness and Extension Activities. They are a mix of both online and offline activities for students, and some suggest the participation of an adult in the activity. Again, I encourage you to use what works for your family.
Student Email Addresses – A Key Tool
All secondary students are requested to check that they can access their existing school district email address, so they can connect with their teachers through Microsoft Office 365. Some teachers of students in Grades 4-7 may also want students to use this. The district’s Continuing Learning Website provides instructions and guidance for students to set up their accounts, if they haven’t already done so. Their email addresses include their pupil number (email@example.com) – if you don’t have it, please let your child’s teacher know.
The focus in the parent resources section of the Continuing Learning Website for this first week is on setting schedules and routines with your children. We recognize that COVID-19 has disrupted all of our lives, and the information on the site is intended to act as a guide and suggestions for you to consider.
The Continuing Learning Website also includes a link to other resources online. While there are many resources out there that you may already be aware of, this curated list is organized by subject area. It includes some links to sites that you may access with the use of our district license.
Continuing Learning – Moving Forward
As teachers formulate plans for their classes and connect with students, more information will come regarding what they anticipate learning will look like. Moving forward, their ongoing engagement with students will include a variety of digital resources at their disposal – some of which they were already using with their classes before Spring Break. Some examples include email, blogs, Teams and Canvas, as well as video-conferencing tools such as Zoom. Each teacher will use a variety of approaches to connect with learners.
Supporting Students and Families
Life looks different for all of us at the moment, and so does your child’s learning experience. The resources above are not intended to be a direct replacement for regular in-class instruction – rather they are designed to be flexible and supportive.
We know that many of you are working from home, looking after other family members, and focused on the safety of those you love. Please know that everything we are creating is with a view to providing a sense of connection, normalcy, and routine that keeps your child engaged in their own education. We will continue to provide opportunities and resources as we strive to support families in the very best way we can.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to review our Continuing Learning Website and above all, for your ongoing partnership in supporting your child’s learning experience.
I wish you, your families, and the people you care about all the very best.
Gina Niccoli-Moen, Superintendent