Welcome to Rainy River District

Continuity of Learning Plan

continuity plan

Continuity of Learning Plan

To help guide our work during the school closure, the Rainy River District School
Board has developed a Continuity of Learning Plan.This document is aligned
with the Ministry of Education’s Learn at  Home strategy, and outlines how Rainy
River District School Board educators will provide lessons to students remotely to help
prepare them for the next step in their education journey.                                                    

Overview

As schools remain closed, the Rainy River District School Board is continuing the teaching and learning in classrooms now in a different way.  Starting April 6, 2020, our new model builds on our vision of “nurturing hearts and minds, to build a foundation for tomorrow, today.”   As an innovative community, the Rainy River District School Board, its staff and partners, are all working to provide distance learning:  while students and staff may not be within the same walls of a school, we are all working together in support of our students’ achievement and well-being.

Unlike traditional online learning, our distance learning model does not necessarily rely on the use of technology.  Instruction may be conducted online through our platforms of Brightspace/D2L and/or Google Classroom Suite, or offline to ensure access for those who have challenges accessing the Internet.  Whatever the method, our goal is to ensure that every student has access to learning during the closure, through a learning model that is flexible.  As we move forward, our students will continue to read, to communicate and to engage in authentic learning experiences, with minimal adult support. 

The Plan

During the weeks of March 23 and 30, 2020, teachers contacted parents/guardians and students by phone to determine each family’s technology needs.  With this information, schools have determined the best methods for distance learning, regardless of the at-home learning environment, and teachers have been busy developing a plan for distance learning for all students.  

In planning, educators are ensuring that distance learning

  • adheres to the number of hours per week and per grade, as established by the Ministry of Education;

  • focuses on the big ideas within the curriculum, as well as the remaining overall curriculum expectations;

  • allows students ways to ask questions, seek assistance and clarification, and receive feedback on their progress;

  • supports students with special needs;

  • creates accessible, relevant and respectful learning experiences for all students;
  • develops students’ learning skills and resilience during this uncertain time, while supporting student well-being and mental health needs;

  • provides guidance for at-home activities that consider student safety, including online safety.

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In addition, our partnerships are helping to provide learning activities to support teachers, students, and families during this time. 

Connected North continues with Connected North @ Home, providing opportunities to connect virtually with zoos, aquariums, artists, storytellers, and other amazing organizations. 

Author Sigmund Brouwer is also continuing his online video lessons, with new sessions released Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

Delivery Methods

To support distance learning, both synchronous and asynchronous, the Board has deployed the following:

  • For students in Grades 9 to 12, these students will continue to use the Chromebook assigned to them in September.

  • For students in Grades 1 to 8, these students will be assigned a Chromebook to use and/or share with other students/siblings within the home.

  • An iPad will be provided to Kindergarten students.

We recognize that areas within our District have little to no access to Internet service.  To support these students with asynchronous distance learning, the schools will distribute learning packages to students.  Our administrative staff has been developing plans so that learning packages and other school resources can be printed, assembled and safely distributed to the students who need them, all while following the guidelines provided by the Northwestern Health Unit.

As well, students without access to the Internet will be assigned an iPad with apps that do not require access to the Internet.  Please note that through our partnership with TBayTel, we have secured devices to be used to tether to cellular data, provided that the home has reliable access to cellular service.  The unlimited data plan will also be arranged for these homes through the Board, for the duration of the school closure.

Assessment, Reporting and Evaluation

We recognize that not all students will be equitably well-positioned to learn from home.   We understand the difficult circumstances in which many of our families find themselves.  Our goal is to support every learner, not to penalize them for the circumstances that they find themselves in.   As such, teachers will assess and evaluate student learning during the closure period. Students’ marks will reflect work completed up until March 13, 2020 and will only improve if students demonstrate further achievement of curriculum expectations after April 6, 2020.  Tasks will be assessed with a focus on improving student grades, given that distance learning is not an environment that is conducive to learning for all.

In other words, grades and marks will not go down from what they were on March 13th.  No student’s mark should be negatively affected by performance during the school closure period.   

At the same time, it is our expectation that all students will do their best to complete all assigned work. The intention is not to lower grades; however, in secondary, students must endeavour to complete work to help towards earning their credits. We will do everything we can to support all learners to be successful.  As always, students and families should connect with teachers directly if they have questions about assessment, evaluation and reporting, or any other class/course-related question. You can also direct questions to your vice-principal or principal, but please start with your teachers.

Report Cards

All school boards will issue final report cards, including the Kindergarten Communication of Learning, for all students in June 2020. Mid-term marks will be issued for graduating (Grade 12) students only by April 23, 2020.

Student responsibilities during distance learning

During distance learning, students will be required to shift and/or create new routines to support this new learning environment. Teachers will assist students in this important step. To support students, the following guidelines are provided:  

  • Establish a daily routine, with a designated time to begin the work each day.
  • If possible find a quiet and comfortable space for learning.  
  • Regularly check for announcements and feedback from your teacher(s).
  • Complete your assignments to the best of your ability.
  • Do your best to meet timelines, commitments and due dates.
  • Communicate proactively with your teacher(s) if you cannot meet deadlines or require additional support.
  • Comply with the Rainy River District School Board’s policies, especially 2.64 Digital Citizenship and Policy 4.16 Safe Schools.
Home/School Communication

Our staff reached out to parents/guardians and students by phone during the weeks of March 23 and 30, 2020 to touch base as we worked to continue teaching and learning across our District.  Going forward, our staff remains committed to supporting every learner and will do so while keeping students and families informed.  We are continuing with this commitment, with educators reaching out to parents/guardians at least once weekly for elementary students and at least once weekly for the next two weeks for secondary students.

As always, if you have questions about what your child is learning, please contact their teacher(s); we have two platforms to facilitate this regular contact:

  • For students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, SeeSaw.  To enrol on SeeSaw, please contact your child’s teacher(s).
  • For students in Grades 7 to 12, Edsby.  To enrol in Edsby, please contact the school principal.
  • For families that do not have access to Internet, we will continue to contact you by phone. 

As of the week of April 27, we will be reaching through an online survey to parents/guardians to make informed decisions and plans to support student learning, health and well-being during these unprecedented times. For more information, please visit the Board webpage.

Centrally, we will continue to provide Board updates to families regarding COVID-19 and its impact on schools. Stay connected by:

  • Visiting the Rainy River District School Board website at www.rrdsb.com/covid-19.  This should be your primary source for all Board updates on COVID-19 as well as updates from trusted health professionals in our District.
Copyright and Privacy Considerations

The CEMC Copyright Consortium has also developed and published the Fair Dealing Guidelines to help teachers and school administrators understand how to use copyright-protected work without obtaining permission from the copyright owner or paying copyright royalties if the use is considered “fair.”  The Fair Dealing Guidelines apply to non-profit K-12 schools and post-secondary education institutions and provide reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and the Supreme Court decision.  All educators need to consult the Fair Dealing Guidelines before copying materials and/or posting materials, including recordings where books are read aloud, to a website.

The Rainy River District School Board has a list of approved apps for use by staff and students to support distance learning.  Some apps and programs such as RazKids, have been specifically purchased to support educators during this time.  These apps have been vetted through our Privacy Impact Assessment to protect student and staff privacy. Please contact the Board’s Privacy Officer for more information on approved apps and/or how to assist with a Privacy Impact Assessment to add an app to this list.

Other Considerations

Transition to School Planning

Our community partners continue to work with pre-school centres, daycares and families in planning for school entry in the fall. As we move forward, we are arranging for meetings with parents/guardians and community partners to discuss supports needed for students entering Kindergarten.

Transition planning will continue for those students transitioning into intermediate grades (if changing school locations) and for those students transitioning to high school.


Gr. 10 Civics and Citizenship or Career Studies courses

The other half-credit course started during the week of April 6, 2020, with teachers communicating the change-over dates to their students.


Gr. 12 Graduating Students

The Ministry of Education has made it clear that Grade 12 students will not have their graduation or progression impacted by the developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, any student who is on track to graduate will be supported to graduate. Teachers of graduating students will provide marks for graduating students by April 23, 2020, on work completed by that time, in order to meet admission requirements for the colleges and universities admission process. Final report cards with marks will also be issued.

The graduation requirement to complete 40 hours of community involvement is also suspended for this school year.

In addition, for students in Grades 11 and 12 that wish to withdraw from a course without disclosure on their high school transcript, the deadline for full disclosure is May 6, 2020.


Co-operative Education

For students who are enrolled in Co-operative (Co-op) Education courses, the in-person community placements are suspended. Co-op teachers have replaced the on-the-job components of the course with work that can be completed online or through distance learning.


Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) and Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) and Ontario Youth Apprentice Program (OYAP) are continuing within our distance-learning model.  The experiential learning aspect of these programs is not possible, but we have found solutions to engage our students and to ensure that they are successful going forward.


Dual Credit Courses

We have worked with our partner, Confederation College to continue these courses, beginning on April 6, 2020.


eLearning

For students enrolled in an eLearning course, these courses resumed as of March 30, 2020. 


Other Alternative Programs

Students in alternative learning programs (i.e., Section 23, United Native Friendship Centre Alternative Secondary School, Learning Support Centres) will continue to receive support from educators.  As well, students enrolled in Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) will also continue to receive support from educators.


Full Disclosure of Grade 11 and 12 Courses

According to Growing Success, the Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Policy document, students can withdraw from a Grade 11 or 12 course no more than five instructional days after the first report card is issued in a semestered course.  In consideration of the movement to distance learning, this date has now been changed to May 6, 2020.  Schools will make every effort to reach out to students to communicate the deadline for dropping courses.


TechWays

Unfortunately, we have paused our TechWays program, which provides experiential learning opportunities and pathway guidance for students in Grades 7 and 8.

Supports for Students with Special Needs

During distance learning, we are committed to continuing to provide all students—including those with special education needs—the supports they need to succeed.

Staff within schools and within the Schools Support Services Department has conducted a needs assessment for students with special education needs considering our distance learning model.  Based on the information gathered through phone calls to families, we have developed plans and solutions to continue supports for students.   

Teachers will honour Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Lesson plans will continue to account for students who require additional support, accommodations and modifications based on their Individualized Education Plan. In situations where existing accommodations, modifications, or alternative programming are not feasible, schools are working with students and their families to find workable solutions.  For Alternative Programming, Special Education Resource Teachers are working with students and families to focus on skills that can be supported at home. 

Special Equipment Amount (SEA) equipment has been distributed to families, all while following the protocol provided by the Northwestern Health Unit. 

Our Speech Language programming is continuing for students who were receiving supports prior to the Ministerial order.  Our Speech Language Pathologist has reached out to parents/guardians of students receiving services to schedule for online therapy as per the College of Speech Language Pathologists.  Our Communication Assistants will help to support in providing speech and language resources for families. 

While our Reading Recovery Program is not currently continuing, our Reading Recovery Leader and Teachers are working to support classroom teachers in differentiating literacy learning activities for students in Kindergarten to Grade 2.

Mental Health Supports

Students may experience a range of emotions during the COVID-19 situation. As well, changes in routine, including time away from school, may create challenges for some students. We also understand that young people with pre-existing mental health problems may find their symptoms increasing in light of the current uncertainties. To assist, we have compiled resources to support students and staff during this challenging time. 

  • We have worked with our partner, Kenora Rainy River Districts Children and Family Services to continue our school-based counselling program.  For more information on how to continue with your child’s counselling or if you need a referral, call 1-800-465-1100 (toll-free) or 807-467-5437.
  • Through our online survey, our Mental Health Leader will be reaching out to parents/guardians who request additional support for their families’ well-being.
Technology Supports

For families with access to the Internet, a Board device will be deployed to the household.  In accepting this device, students are responsible for the care and appropriate use of the device.

In addition to providing Chromebooks for students from Gr. 1 to 12 and iPads for Kindergarten students, we are also providing iPads for students without access to the Internet.  These iPads will be loaded with special apps that help support learning in subjects such as literacy and math. 

For families that have reliable cellular services, we have purchased devices to act a “tether,” to support iPads/Chromebooks deployed to the household. 

A dedicated Help Desk to support students should any technical difficulties be experienced will be operational the week of April 27, 2020 and if parents/guardians need assistance in accessing Edsby.  If you need help accessing SeeSaw (for students in Kindergarten to Grade 6), please contact your child’s teacher and/or principal.

Our existing Staff Help Desk is available during regular work hours should technical difficulties or repairs be required. You can access support here.

For students who have forgotten their passwords, please contact your child’s teacher for assistance. 

Board and Committee Meetings

The work of trustees and our advisory committees continues as of April 8, 2020.  Please visit https://www.rrdsb.com/calendar for more details on upcoming meetings.

The Parent Involvement Committee has directed funds provided by the Ministry of Education toward two virtual sessions by Dr. Greg Wells, to occur on May 7th and June 11th.  Dr. Greg Wells, a noted physiologist, author, and public speaker, works with high performance athletes and speaks on ways to improve your mental health, prevent illness, and optimize your personal and professional performance.  RRDSB parents/guardians will be invited to register through our Board webpage.


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