May 26th message from Parker Grimmer

We have been very impressed with the work of our teachers, who have migrated to home learning platforms with tremendous efficiency and creativity during this global pandemic.  Teachers have been very busy preparing lessons, providing feedback on learning, connecting with students, working through year-end transition processes and supporting the social and emotional well-being of students. Teachers have and continue to be available to students and families through various means of communication.

 

Like all Islanders, staff at the Public Schools Branch (PSB) have been very encouraged with recent messaging from the province and the Chief Public Health Office (CPHO), including the positive trend toward lifting restrictions on mobility and gatherings in PEI. As home learning continues to unfold, we are able to consider broader opportunities to connect and engage with students and families. We would like to provide you with an update.

 

In accordance with the provisions outlined in Renew PEI, new possibilities for staff and students to connect at their respective school will be available. With the easing of restrictions, PSB staff may be available to provide additional support to students.

 

As restrictions are being lifted, PSB staff are excited that there are greater opportunities to connect with students to support academic and well-being needs. Teachers will be reaching out to their students with options they can participate in.

 

In addition, Respite Programming will begin operating at all 56 PSB schools. Please contact respite@edu.pe.ca or (902) 368-4997 for more information.

 

Student Services consultants and specialists will be in contact with families as additional supports become available. For more information please contact supportforfamilies@edu.pe.ca or (902) 368-5155.
Schools are excitedly working on plans for High School Graduations and year end closing activities, within the public health guidelines outlined by the Chief Public Health Office.  While activities will not look the same as in previous years, schools are committed to offering a unique experience to mark the end of the school year and wish their students well.

Message from Parker Grimmer – May 13, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

Our teachers, administrators, support staff, branch staff, parents, and students are working incredibly hard to adapt to the new reality of at-home learning during COVID-19. The pandemic has presented challenges for many including parents working and balancing home life, teachers developing remote lesson plans to fit different students’ needs, and students looking for new ways to stay connected to friends and learning. There are many successes and members of our PSB community are meeting these new demands with determination and enthusiasm.

We all know how adaptable and resilient PSB students, parents, educators, and staff are in the best of times, and through these difficult times each group has shown this in more ways than ever before. We admire our teachers and other branch staff, parents, and students who are teaching us all lessons in perseverance.

Amazing examples of this include the food programs that have been supporting our families. PSB staff were able to deliver the Department of Agriculture food hampers directly to many families across the Island who did not have access to a vehicle. Our School Food Program provided 6,006 meals to 858 students last week, a 12% increase over the previous week.

Another success story is the Respite Program that began this week. Students who had been receiving individualized support at school from an Education Assistant, Youth Service Worker, or other Student Services Team Member may receive a 2 to 3 hour blocks of play/game based respite care on a scheduled basis. These examples of people coming together and working hard to help others is inspiring to all of us.

By following the public health measures, Islanders have also experienced success as a province in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases in PEI. In doing so we are seeing some of the public health measures relaxed. The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning will likely soon be making an announcement about the reinstatement of early childhood programs, including those for school aged children housed in schools, to assist parents who are returning to work.

As we move through the sixth week of at-home learning, it is an excellent time to thank students, teachers, parents, and staff for their ongoing commitment to learning together, while always remaining safe. Our shared goal is to ensure the successful completion of the school year for all students and to support students as they advance to the next grade, earn credits, and for some to graduate.

We all have an important role in keeping students motivated and engaged for these next weeks. Teachers continue to have high expectations for students and we all want students to continue to have high expectations for themselves. The work we are doing together is about helping students succeed and prepare for the future.

It is important to take time to reflect on how much we have all achieved thus far by working together. Be proud of your accomplishments. We here at the PSB are very proud of you.

Keep learning and take care,

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

2020-2021 course registration open for current 10-11 students

The 2020-21 course registration for current grade 10 and 11 students is now open! Registration will be completed online using Myblueprint, an online resource for senior high course selections beginning May 12th and closing on May 19th.
A google classroom has been created to assist students in their selections. It includes: a parent information overview, a post secondary presentation with links to admission requirements to some post secondary institutions, the Souris Regional School Course Handbook 2020-21, and instructions on how to use MyBlueprint. To access google classroom, please check your school email.

UPEI SCHOLARSHIPS

Here is the information from UPEI regarding Scholarships. Please share it with your staff and students as you deem appropriate.
  • We have been working closely with University of Prince Edward Island officials who are committed to ensuring that the transition for Island high school graduates to attend UPEI in the fall is seamless, and that they feel supported as they begin their post-secondary education journey.
  • UPEI understands that student grading may be affected due to the shift to home-based learning, and is being flexible with how it calculates its guaranteed entrance awards.
  • With regard to UPEI’s “Celebrating Student Achievement” guaranteed entrance awards, conditional scholarship offers were made to high school students based on first-semester numerical grades.
  • As we will be issuing numerical grades for the second semester, UPEI will calculate and award the scholarship amount based on the second-semester grades. However, if the second-semester numerical grades disadvantage a student, UPEI will use the first-semester grades as the basis for the award amount.
  • UPEI also continues to accept applications for the Fall 2020 Semester as they realize some students may have changed their plans given the COVID-19 situation. All are welcome to apply at any time at upei.ca/apply!

A Message from Parker Grimmer, Director of PSB

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

Welcome to May! Since COVID-19 reached Prince Edward Island, I have been separately reaching out to students, parents, and PSB staff through daily and weekly letters. As we usher in the new month, I am pleased to be writing my first joint letter to all of you. It seems very appropriate to do so as we have been coping with the pandemic together all along.

During his Thursday briefing last week, the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning, Brad Trivers recognized students, parents, and staff for their continued partnership in support of learning. He also said, “Our top priority remains the health and well-being of children and we will continue to look at ways to support children and families, address gaps and ensure all Islanders have the necessary tools and resources available to succeed now and as we plan for learning in September.”

Students, parents, and staff are encouraged to read the Renew PEI, Together document which outlines the guiding principles and phased approach to reopening businesses, services and public spaces in Prince Edward Island. www.princeedwardisland.ca/renewPEI  Further information is available on the provincial government’s response to COVID-19, including resources, program applications and important public health information by visiting: www.princeedwardisland.ca/COVID19

Public Schools Branch and the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning are committed to supporting students, parents, and staff during the final weeks of the school year. The safety of our students and staff is paramount and all operational plans for programs and activities will be reviewed and endorsed for their safety. All school-based services will follow public health guidelines that allow for physical distancing, hygiene protocols and the proper cleaning of schools.

I am pleased to share with you additional details around the announcements Minister Trivers made last week during his briefing. The details for some programs and services are still being worked on and we greatly appreciate the support and patience of everyone during this process. We will communicate further details when finalized.

Respite Care

Beginning May 11, several designated schools will open to offer a respite program. Families who have a child that is supported by an Educational Assistant (EA) or Youth Service Worker (YSW) while attending school, may be eligible for a few hours of respite care per week while schools are closed. Please email respite@edu.pe.ca or call 902-368-4997 if you are interested in receiving more information.

Learning Materials

Teachers continue to connect with students and support at-home learning based on a compacted curriculum, and learning resources are regularly being updated and made available online and in paper form. Chromebooks have been distributed to hundreds of students. Student Services Teams also continue to provide supports to students and families.

Ongoing Student/Teachers Connections

Since home learning began, students have been connecting with teachers in many ways. Beginning on June 15, students and teachers may have the opportunity to connect beyond phone calls, emails and approved technology, should they wish. Further details will be communicated in the coming weeks.

Transitions and Closings

During the week of June 22, and in consultation with students and parents, schools may offer innovative year-end and closing activities that will enable students to connect with their teachers and classmates and bring closure to the school year. This may include activities to support students who will be transitioning to new schools in the fall.

Student Well-being Teams

Student Well-Being Teams continue to connect with and support students and their families throughout PEI. The Student Well-being Team’s website has been enhanced to make connecting to a team member easier. If you need some support, please visit the link below and click on your Family of Schools: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/education-and-lifelong-learning/student-well-being-teams

Hand Head Heart Connections TV Shows

The Hand Head Heart Connections home learning TV shows are being very well received by students and parents. If you are not an Eastlink customer or do not have access to a television, you can find episodes of Hand Head Heart Connections on the Eastlink Community TV Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/eastlinktv/videos

Please reach out by email or call our main number at 902-368-6990 if you have any questions or comments. We will respond to you as quickly as we can. Much can be accomplished when we work together. We are grateful to our students, parents, and staff for working together and supporting each other.

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch