Updates from Ecole Meridian Heights School

Online Learning for all Students Jan 4-8

Don’t forget, our provincial government recently announced that all students, K-9 will be learning in an online format upon our return from Christmas break from January 4th – 8th. Your child’s teacher will be sending information to you later this week with google meet times, schedules, class structure, passwords and logins…all of the information you will require to support your children.

We have learned a lot from the last time this happened and while we would all prefer to have our kids in the school, we want you to know that working together we can make the best out of this learning challenge. We have witnessed, over the past few weeks, how amazing our gr 7-9 teachers, students and parents are and how their learning has continued during our recent transition to online.

If you have any questions or concerns about this transition, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or any member of our Administrative team, Mr. Patras, Ms. Huisman or Mme Pirot.

Holiday Celebrations in School

Much like everything else during these Covid times, our Holiday activities in classrooms this year will look a little bit different. We made it work for Halloween and together we can do it again!

In order to provide the safest classroom environment possible, while still trying to provide a bit of Holiday cheer we are asking that parents be aware of, and follow, the protocols below.

– Please do not send in Christmas or Holiday cards or other items (e.g. Candy Canes, baked goods etc.) for your child to exchange with other students. We are asking this year that these exchanges not take place.

-We will not be having some of our usual Holiday meals and other class activities this year; however, parents are encouraged to send in treats and snacks for their own child to enjoy for the class activities on Friday. Please try to consider mixing in a few healthy choices where possible. Mandarin oranges are in season 🙂

-Teachers gifts – while there is, in no way any expectations around gifting towards staff, we know that some students want to thank their teachers and EA’s around the holiday season. We would ask you to consider donating to a local charity such as the foodbank or Kinsmen in place of these gifts. It’s a great opportunity to teach our kids about supporting their own community.

-In class activities – teachers will still be having in class holiday activities on Friday with their students, though the activities may look different. We will not be baking or sharing projects and materials for Xmas crafts and activities. Your child’s teacher will try to provide any necessary materials for individual students to do these activities and crafts. Where they are unable to do so, they may ask that you send in individual items such as a cookie to be decorated.

-Christmas Concert – while we are unable to host this in our typical way within the school gym, our amazing Music teachers, Mrs. Huedepohl and Mrs. Ausman are working with each class to record a performance. We will share this with our entire community as soon as we have finished.

Changes to your Powerschool Parent Portal

As you might be aware, starting on December 7th you will be able to access your Powerschool account and view not only your child’s attendance, but also his/her marks and assignments!

While teachers have been exploring this application during term 1, we still have much to learn and discover together with you. In the upcoming weeks you will receive information from your child’s teacher as assessments are posted. You can learn how to access this information in Powerschool in this short video.

As you can probably imagine, the use of this application will look quite different for a grade 9 student and a grade 2 student. As we consider the learning that takes place in a Jr. High classroom and the structure of many of these assignments, they likely lend themselves better to being posted with marks online.

When we look at assessment in our early years (K-4 classrooms), we recognize that much of the assessment is often not made up of paper and pencil tasks, but rather students performing skills and teachers engaged in purposeful observation and conferences with students. Those of you who had a chance to volunteer in your child’s Kindergarten class in previous years have probably seen this! Kids playing with the water table, play doh and sand…all at once!!!

Additionally, teachers will often conference with individual students to understand the progress they are making and the skills that students are exploring. While assessments such as these provide rich information for teachers as to what students know and can do and where to take the learning next, they do not necessarily lend themselves quite as readily to traditional marks and being posted online.

With all of this in mind, we recognize that this powerschool application will provide one more way in which we can work together to understand how our our kids are achieving. This new application provides one more tool for parents to stay connected with their child’s learning, however nothing replaces the conversations between teachers, students and parents so please do not hesitate to reach out at any time to speak to your child’s teachers.

That’s it for now, so on behalf of the staff of Ecole Meridian Heights School, we wish you a restful and safe Holiday Season.

Stay well,

Mr. S. Patras

About Shaye Patras

I am a husband and father of two fantastic girls. I currently work as the Principal of Ecole Meridian Heights School in Parkland School Division in Alberta, Canada. I am excited to be continuing my administrative career in this learning community!
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