What is distance learning?
The WRDSB has created a Mind, Heart Body approach to distance learning.
Many have asked and we want to clarify that distance learning is not meant to be the same as your child’s classroom experience. Connections with educators will take place through a variety of methods: phone calls, emails, Google Classroom, Desire to Learn (D2L) and Brghtspace, mailed packages, video conferences or other tools that educators have identified.
Distance Learning is not a “one-size fits all” approach.
What is our approach here at the WRDSB?
We have 64,000 students from many different backgrounds. With this in mind, our approach to distance learning is guided by the following principles:
- Reflective of the needs of our students, staff and families
- Working with teachers, administrators and students and families
- Designed so materials and approaches are simple to use and access for students and families and easily implemented by staff
What is my role as a parent/caregiver?
As parents and caregivers, you are key partners in your child’s learning.
As teachers work to establish new learning opportunities, we encourage you to work together as a family to think about when are the best times to engage in at-home learning. Families will commit to different amounts of time and support for learning at home – and that is ok. You and your child’s well-being needs to be the first priority.
Continuing to participate with your child(ren) in family activities like cooking, game nights – even watching TV together – will create meaningful opportunities to talk and learn together. If you are looking for tips and suggestions establishing a routine for distance learning, refer to our Tips for Learning at Home.
What is the teacher’s role?
Your child’s teacher or other school staff will connect with your child using a variety of online and communication tools, such as Google Classroom, Desire 2 Learn(D2L) and Brightspace, email, video conferences or phone calls.
You may contact educators via email or telephone. Email addresses are available on your child’s school website on the staff list, located under the About tab. If no email address is listed, you may call the school and follow the prompts to leave a voicemail, and your call will be returned.
In addition, there is a whole group working behind the scenes: special education resource teachers, educational assistants, designated early childhood educators, child and youth workers, social workers, psychologists and speech and language pathologists all with a focus on student well-being. They are supporting teachers in developing new learning plans, or in some cases adapting existing plans to allow access for all learners.
What does the Ministry say?
The Ministry of Education is the lead on distance learning and here are their guidelines:
- Kindergarten-Grade 3: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math)
- Grades 4-6: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies)
- Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies)
- Grades 9-12: three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work, per course, per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation)
What do I need to know about technology*?
We can help. We have launched WRDSB Tech@Home to answer your technology-related questions.
Devices are available from your child’s school for families who do not have access to technology at home. Please contact your child’s teacher to make arrangements to borrow a device. If at any time families have questions about the use of technology for distance learning, please reach out to your child’s teacher.
*Our Responsible Use Procedure, outlines the responsibilities of principals, staff, students and families while online as well as while using WRDSB technology.
How are we Supporting Student Well-being, Students with Special Needs or English Language Learners
Supporting student well-being is a priority, whether we are in our schools or learning from home. To support our students during this time, resources related to mental health and well-being are available on our website.
Special Education Resource Teachers (SERTs) and Department Heads are working closely with school principals, classroom teachers, educational assistants, child and youth workers and other staff to implement distance learning for students with Special Education Needs.
For our English Language Learners: Please use Google Translate to access our websites, including the learning activities on WRDSB@Home, in many different languages. This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your child’s language skills, while supporting their learning.
How will my child’s learning be assessed and what does this mean for their report card in June?
The Ministry of Education has made it clear that students WILL receive report cards in June.
What does this look like for elementary students?
- Final report card marks will be entered in June. Marks will be based on work done from September 2019 to March 13, 2020.
- Any student learning assessed after March 13, 2020 can only be used to improve a student’s final report card grade.
What does this look like for secondary students?
- For students taking Grade 12 courses – they will receive a midterm mark. These marks are reflective of a student’s progress up until March 13, 2020, including any additional assignments that were handed in before April 17.
- Students enrolled in Grade 12 courses, or other courses necessary for post-secondary admission, will receive a midterm mark because this is information that is needed for those students who have applied to colleges or universities. Please be reassured that the WRDSB will meet the timelines provided by universities and colleges to ensure we are supporting students as they graduate and move on to their post-secondary destinations.
- Grade 9, 10, 11, 12 students will receive a final report card in June using student work and learning completed up to March 13, 2020. Secondary teachers will continue to assign learning tasks and provide feedback. Any student learning assessed after March 13, 2020 can only be used to improve a student’s final report card grade.
- Secondary school exam days have been cancelled and have been replaced by instructional days.
- The Ministry of Education won’t require this year’s graduating students to have completed their community service hours and the Grade 10 literacy requirement.
How long will this last?
- We don’t know the exact date when schools will reopen but we are already hard at work for when that day comes. In our planning the health and safety of our staff and students is our number one consideration or priority and more information will be shared as it becomes available
Looking for more information?
If you don’t see the answer to your question here, please refer to our website or our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding School Closures.
Resources for English Language Learners
- At-Home Learning Activities (K-8)
- Literacy (Reading and Writing), Math, Healthy Active Living and Well-Being
- Activities can be translated into many languages
WRDSB Library Learning Commons
- Many resources to use with English Language Learners
- Reading: Tumblebooks and Capstone
- Science/Social Studies: Pebble Go and Elementary/Middle Britannica School (all with different reading levels)
Unite for Literacy
- Kindergarten to Grade 4 students (Beginner readers)
- Read and listen to simple books in multiple languages
- Kindergarten to Grade 8 students (Beginner readers)
- Read and listen to simple books in multiple languages
Scholastic Learn at Home
- Audio Books, videos and activities are available for Kindergarten to Grade 9 students.
Canada Crew (TVOkids)
- Learn more about Canada through videos and games
- Social Studies activities for Kindergarten to Grade 2 students.
Local Libraries: you may miss visiting your local library, these library websites bring the library to you:
Categories: Distance Learning 101