COLUMN: WCPS grateful as school community comes together to continue learning through COVID-19

COLUMN: WCPS grateful as school community comes together to continue learning through COVID-19

‘On behalf of the division, I want to sincerely thank everyone for their commitment and understanding’

With everyone adjusting to the unprecedented changes ushered in as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all know that the school year looks different as a result.

In Wolf Creek Public Schools, our school communities, from students to parents and staff, have all responded with patience and compassion, and a dedication to moving forward through this crisis and ensuring learning continues. On behalf of the division, I want to sincerely thank everyone for their commitment and understanding. The school year does continue and so does learning, which is essential. A transition like the one we have had to make has not been easy, but it is through this school community cooperation that it has been possible.

Through this column, it is my genuine hope to give you an update on what has been happening at our division and school levels to ensure learning continued.

The Learning Support Plan (the model we are using for in-home, teacher-led learning) in WCPS represents a shift to a new delivery model of educational instruction for students. Over the past weeks, division office teams have been working hard to provide direct assistance to teachers and support staff.

Our technology department worked with schools to provide technology support to families needing such supports. That continues for those who may have technology questions regarding continued learning, and we encourage those who need assistance to reach out. Those efforts are immeasurable to ensure that no matter where you are across Wolf Creek Public Schools you can continue learning and receive the support you need.

School Social Workers have connected with all the students on their current caseload. They have connected students and families with community agencies where appropriate. Elders continue to hold a crucial role and continue to support students in Maskwacis and across the district, connecting with families and students by phone.

There have been some additional changes and we are following the direction of Alberta Education in many areas. Goals for Program Unit Funding (PUF) students have been adjusted to match the change in delivery model and plans with service partners have been developed. Students across Alberta enrolled in diploma level courses have been exempted from April and June diploma exam writing as per the announcement from Alberta Education. Our continued focus remains on carrying forward the learning goals in this new delivery model. Alberta Education released guidelines in this regard, and we have that information posted on our website at www.wolfcreek.ab.ca

Through our strong partnerships with the various post-secondaries across Alberta, we have been able to maintain the dual credit programs which our students have been involved in this year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a credit to our relationships we have with the various colleges and universities we are working with and will allow the learning to continue online using creative approaches to address the learning goals for students who are using these credits towards graduation and to enter the workforce in the near future.

More information around a district wide assessment plan during COVID-19 with the determination of final marks and high school credentialing for courses is being shared with staff and parents. This work is a result of many discussions within WCPS and Alberta Education on ensuring that learning continues and unique household concerns are respected within the situation our families find themselves in.

This is a difficult time, but please know that Wolf Creek is sincerely grateful for the support of our families and communities, as together we adjust through the COVID-19 crisis.

These measures will help ensure student success through this period. But, of course, we all hope for a speedy end to this crisis, and that everyone across Wolf Creek Public Schools remains safe and healthy for when we all can reunite together in our schools and across our division.

Jayson Lovell is Superintendent of Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS). WCPS serves approximately 7,300 students, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. WCPS employs approximately 412 teachers and 350 support staff in 30 schools, including five colony schools, throughout the Division.

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