St. Paul Education is shifting to an online synchronous learning model for grades 7-12 on Monday. The division was told about the upcoming shift at the same time as everyone else in the province on Tuesday afternoon, although superintendent Glen Brodziak does note they suspected something would be happening because they were invited to a confidential zoom meeting at 6:30 in the evening.
“The writing was on the wall that there was going to be some type of announcement. But I think to be honest and to be fair, we knew this was a fluid situation right from the beginning. And that’s why we had three scenarios ready to go at any time,” said Brodziak.
The three scenarios Brodziak is referring to are the different modes of education delivery the division had planned as part of the re-entry plan for the 2020/2021 school year.
In scenario one, in school classes resume near normal with health measures. Scenario two, in-school classes partially resume with additional health measures. Scenario three, teacher-directed at-home learning continues, students are not at school.
With the announcement from the province, the division is shifting to scenario three for grades 7-12 effective Nov. 30.
Winter break is from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3. All students from kindergarten to grade 12 will be at home learning for one week when classes resume on Jan. 4, returning to classrooms the week after.
Elsewhere in the Lakeland, Northern Lights Public Schools has released their guide for parents on what to expect starting Monday, while Lakeland Catholic schools have distributed information through each individual school.
Brodziak said to ensure learning success for all their students the division is making sure every student from grade 7 – 12 has access to technology they can access their course work on.
Teachers will be following their school timetables and livestreaming their classes in real-time for students. Brodziak said they will also be recording their lessons and posting them to Google Classroom so if a student is unable to join the lesson they will still be able to access it later.
“Having said that there is a challenge to really offer every class. Maybe a math class might be one thing, but maybe a challenge is offering a CTS class. How do I do a demonstration of a mechanic’s class? But we are going to make it work the best we can,” said Brodziak.
For students who don’t have sufficient internet access at home or who aren’t able to manage a full day online for school, Brodziak said there are also alternatives like paper and pencil work or USB delivery with pre-recorded lessons.
“It’s stressful times everywhere. So we have options to call the call the teacher and modify,” said Brodziak.
Asked if the province had been responsive to any concerns from the division, Brodziak said they had expected they would have to pivot on very short notice when school resumed and compared it to when the pandemic first struck last March.
“I think we got told on a Sunday afternoon that schools were closed the next day. This one we got three or four days notice, which we appreciate,” said Brodziak.
He said he respects what the province is doing and said at the end of the day “they give us our marching orders and it’s my job to follow them. But they have been respectful and they have been good.”
Full details of the learning plan for St. Paul Education students can be found on the division’s website: