Monthly Archives: April 2020

Catholic Education Week – May 4-8 – Igniting Hope!

Hello Parents,

Next week in our school calendar marks a very important week for Catholic Educators.  It is Catholic Education Week and our school community is very excited to share faith filled activities with you to support our Catholicism.  The theme of the week is Igniting Hope and our school Pastoral Team has come up with some ideas of how we can engage students and families in activities that help them to explore the theme more fully and to share what their faith means to them.  Listed below is a calendar of events that outlines the faith filled challenge each day.  Just as you did for our Virtual Spirit Week – you are encouraged to Tweet out your pictures to @StMichaelAngels or send pictures to your classroom teacher who will ensure that they are posted on Twitter for all to see.

Now is the time to celebrate and SHOW YOUR FAITH!  It is needed more than ever and I know that our Angel families can be counted on to IGNITE HOPE in others and continue to build a strong St. Michael Community!  Click on the link below to see the calendar of activities and challenges we have put together for our school community.

Show us your faith spirit calendar

Monday May 4th – Today we ask that students design, colour or create a candle to post in their windows as a sign of Igniting Hope – the theme of Catholic Education Week.  Classrooms teachers will also have candles templates for students to print off to colour if they wish.  In addition, Mrs. Papp will be reading a special story to you all – stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 5th – Today we ask students and families to pray the rosary together.  We are a People of Faith.  Students are asked to take a picture of themselves holding their rosaries!  There are also craft ideas/activities that your classroom teacher will share with you on how to create your very own rosary!

Wednesday, May 6th – Today we ask that all students participate in Christian Meditation.  Students can take a picture of their quiet, reflective spot in their home.  If they do not have a spot – they can make one!

Thursday, May 7th – Today is Tribute Day!  We are asking all families to light a candle and pray together as a family for all of the front line workers and those affected by CoVid.  We are also asking that you come outside at 7:30pm and join the rest of Cambridge by banging some pots/pans and making some noise as a tribute to our Front Line workers!

Friday, May 8th – Today we are asking students to send messages of hope to others!  You can make a poster or design a message in sidewalk chalk.  Even though we may be at a distance – we can share our hopes with those around us!  In addition, we hope that you will join the Bishop in a Virtual Mass on Friday, May 8th at 10 AM. More information can be found on the WCDSB Pray@Home site.

Don’t forget to Tweet using the handle @StMichaelAngels or send pictures each day to your classroom teacher.  I am so excited for our Angels to SHOW THEIR FAITH!!  

 

Take Home Device Support

If you are having issues with your Chromebook or any other WCDSB owned devices, please call the device support number below for issues like connecting to the internet or hardware issues.  Hours of support are 8AM to 4PM  Monday to Friday.

519-578-3677 Ext:2316

AMAZING ART FROM OUR ANGELS!

What a great way to end our Virtual Spirit Week!  We certainly loved seeing the pictures each and every day of the smiling faces and impressive talents of our Angel families.  I hope you enjoyed seeing them as well – and it made you feel a little more connected to our school community!  Take a look at some of the impressive art that was submitted on Twitter today!  Continue to check Twitter @StMichaelAngels for upcoming challenges and fun for our families!

Thank you again for participating – both staff and students!  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

                                  

Happy Friday Angels!

We are finishing off Week 3 of distance learning and we hope that it is going well for you, considering the circumstances.  We are hopeful that we can get back to “normal” soon and that we can all meet again at school to finish out the year.  However, with the Ministers announcement that we will NOT be back on May 4th, we are again focused on moving the learning forward from home.

We wanted to share some information with you to keep you informed. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

  1. Families who received a loan of one of the school’s Chromebooks for distant led learning are reminded to make sure that the children are taking great care of these device. Families are responsible for the safe return of these devices when we get back to school.  If you are having any trouble please communicate with your child’s teacher by email or through your class web page.
  2. The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit is available for families who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Here is the link: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue  agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html
  3. We are pleased to announce that His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins will be celebrating the province-wide Catholic Education Week Mass scheduled for Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. EST. All students, families, staff and the broader Catholic community are invited to participate “virtually” in this celebration of the Eucharist by clicking on the link at the scheduled time:
    https://www.stmichaelscathedral.com/live
  4. Kindergarten registry is still open: https://www.wcdsb.ca/kindergarten-registration-is-still-open/
  5. At this time of the year we are looking ahead to next year for class creation and organization. If your family is moving out of our areas and your child(ren) will not be returning to St. Michael’s in the fall we would like to know as soon as possible.  Please email or call the Principal, Mrs. Papp if your child(ren) will not be returning to St. Michael’s for the 2020-2021 school year. My email address is heather.papp@wcdsb.ca. As an alternative – you can call the school and leave a message at 519-653-3351.
  6. For those families who may be in need during this time, there are a couple of companies that are offering Free Learning Devices for students. These devices can be accessed at the following link:   Free Devices for Families in Need

Thank you for your attention to the items about and remember to reach out if you need it. We are here for you!

ARTIST DAY TODAY!

It is our last day of our AMAZING Virtual Spirit Week and we are celebrating all of the ARTIST’s out there.  Please take some time to share a picture or doodle of something that you have created, built, painted,etc.  Try to include yourself in the picture as well!  I know we have so much creativity within our families and I think we should take the time to showcase the talent we have!!  Don’t forget to post the pictures on Twitter using the handle @StMichaelAngels or send it to your classroom teacher.

Let’s go Angels – we must finish strong this week!!

 

WHAT A CRAZY HAIR DAY!!

Today saw our Angel families show their creativity in new ways!  We saw donut hair, Cousin IT hair, shaved heads and dyed hair to name a few!  We hope you got to enjoy having a little fun with your family all while you were connecting with our larger school community!  We have one more day yet to complete our Virtual Spirit Week and that is ARTIST DAY – which is tomorrow.  We ask that you share your drawings and/or doodles with us via Twitter using the handle @StMichaelAngels or send the picture to your classroom teacher.

Let’s finish the week off strong – what a week we have had thus far!  Take a look at some of the crazy hair pictures below!

                       

                                            

 

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR PARENTS

Hello Angel Families!

We hope that you are all keeping well and continuing to be safe and practice distancing, but please know that we are here for you and want to help if needed.  Please read the letter below from our Director to give you an update on a few items.

April 23rd, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates as we continue to navigate this time of school closure and distance learning.  Let us begin by saying that we truly hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive.  As an Easter people we pray that the hope of the season is alive in your homes.  But these are unsettling times for everyone and we believe it is absolutely OK to feel that you are not OK.  We know that each of us has a unique reality and that will position us differently in terms of our ability to walk through this time and to support our children’s learning journey right now.

For the past three weeks we have begun the journey into Educator-led learning and it could not have been done without the tremendous efforts of so many.  We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students.    We hope that every student continues to have contact with their teacher(s) and that each one knows that we care for and value each of them.  Your teachers are truly amazing and they are definitely here for you.  We will reiterate that our most pressing concern remains student well being – both mentally and physically.  As we have said before, it is not “business as usual”, but we do hope that students are connecting with their teachers as this is our “new normal” for the time being.

We wanted to provide you updates on a few different topics of interest to you and your children.  Know that this is a rapidly changing landscape and with many uncertainties, and as there are many players to both consult and work with, as well as others who provide us vital direction or information, sometimes full clarity takes a little time.

As always, on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found.  We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage as well as our FAQ page.  You can also follow the #STEAMDays hashtag where lots of fun and engaging activities are being posted.  With that said, a few updates:

Length of the closure: 

We are awaiting direction from the government and Ministry of Education on this point.  We expect it will be forth coming soon.  While it is unlikely we will be returning to our buildings in the short term, full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming.

Expectations During Distance Learning:

We realize there are different realities for all of our students and all of our educators.  For that reason, each student and teacher is held to the guidelines the Ministry has provided for minimum hours.  To review what we have shared previously – the suggested hours reflect both the time a teacher might use in providing formal instruction or guidance, as well as the time the student will spend completing the learning task or activity.  There is not a firm expectation that all students have to be “online” at the exact same time, although in some cases that might happen on occasion.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Equity has been a significant consideration in this new landscape as not all children are equally positioned to succeed to the best of their ability when learning from home.  We also know that students learning from home can place added pressure on a parent who may be juggling their own work or family related responsibilities.  For these reasons, assessment in elementary is taking the form of feedback or formative assessment, rather than grading.  Students can benefit and continue progressing through this feedback.  For our students in secondary, they will receive both formative and summative assessments – that is feedback and grades, but teachers will be working to support a student’s best outcome and will not be penalized if the current circumstances detract from their ability to succeed.  Marks will not drop below that attained on March 13th, when schools were declared closed.  There is however every opportunity for a mark to improve, and for learning and achievement to be enhanced.

Report Cards:

There will be a report card in June for all students and they will contain grades.  As noted above, those grades will be largely informed by the marks students had attained prior to March 13th, but there is every opportunity for those grades to improve based on any work submitted during this time of distance learning, if there is evidence of growth and/or improved performance.  In the case of graduating students, midterm marks were sent to the Universities and Colleges to assist with post-secondary admission.

Graduation:

We know that graduation is a significant event in the life of a student and his/her family. For this reason, this has been a difficult decision.  Our secondary schools have no option but to postpone graduation ceremonies as a result of venues not being available to us.  As you can appreciate secondary graduations are often large events and so they are not easily accommodated in alternate settings.  We have made the decision that all of our secondary schools will hold their graduations in the fall.  This will in no way impact a student’s ability to actually graduate from high school should they have met the requirements.  We are still in the process of finalizing our decision in relation to grade 8 graduations and will communicate that information as soon as a final decision has been achieved.

Thought Exchange – Your Voice

As most of you will be aware, we recently engaged our stakeholders in an exercise of asking them what questions or concerns they had after one-two weeks of distance learning.  Our survey closed on Tuesday April 21st in the evening and we are now starting to unpack that feedback.  We are thrilled that you took us up on this invitation.  We had just under 2000 participants and approximately 37,000 ratings from all our stakeholders.  We know that at a very high level elementary parents are expressing thoughts about the home learning environment and the types of tasks students are assigned, about feedback and assessment, and about equity.  Secondary parents are sharing thoughts about the nature of student and educator contact, and also about feedback and assessment, as well as issues related to equity.  There are roughly 14 sub-themes in the Thought Exchange feedback that we have identified and there is much more analysis we can do, and it will help to inform our thinking and actions moving forward.  A high level report on parent feedback is available at these two links, but much more will be shared in the weeks to come, that will map to themes and the take-aways from the feedback.

Parent/Guardian for an Elementary Student

Parent/Guardian for a Secondary Student

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Waterloo Region Public Health.  As a local and global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago.  As an Easter people we believe in the power of the resurrection and the promise of new life.  Certainly this signs of the season affirm that promise.  Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                  Bill Conway
Director of Education                                      Chair of the Board

 

Lifetouch photos

Dear Families,

If you would like to place an order for the Lifetouch school pictures that were taken earlier this year, go to mylifetouch.ca. Free shipping to your homes will be available until May 31, 2020, when you order on mylifetouch.ca with promo code SMILES. Locate your access credentials on your proof sheet if you have it or call 1-866-457-8212 and Lifetouch will help locate your credentials.

Just a reminder to use your credits for Lifetouch as we will be switching to a new Photography company for next year.  Thank you.