As a school division, we are thinking about planning for the fall. At this time, we know that we will be back to regular classroom learning for all students rather than optional supplemental learning. What we don’t know is whether students and staff will be able to return to school or what restrictions will be in place when they do, and we likely won’t know this clearly until August.
In the coming weeks, we will be working with teachers to ensure that no matter what the health and government restrictions are, we are able to take care of the learning needs of your children starting September 3rd when school begins.
I know that learning at home has not been easy for you or your children. This pandemic is a difficult circumstance for all with no playbook. We are all trying to do the best we can in a challenging and uncertain time. During this pandemic, we are travelling in uncharted waters. The Premier and the Chief Medical Health Officer have ordered the closure of all provincial schools to limit the spread of the coronavirus and, more importantly, to keep our children and our communities safe. We did not choose this, we had no choice. Once we are told it is safe to gather, we will gladly reopen our schools. In our schools with children is where we all want to be.
To date, this closure and learning from home has been effective in limiting the spread of the virus, but it is taxing and it is clearly not ideal. This is not how I want your children or my own children to learn. Provincially, behind the scenes, we are working on a plan for reopening Saskatchewan schools for the fall that will balance the health and safety of students and staff with the need of providing a strong education to our students.
Because we know it is difficult for families to have children at home, our fall planning will move forward. However, when our schools do open, there will be many necessary protective and hygienic measures that will need to be put in place to ensure student and staff safety.
We have developed a Parent/Caregiver COVID-19 Survey (emailed to families) to collect feedback on supplemental learning at home and to guide our planning for what reopening may look like in fall 2020. Please complete the survey by Friday, May 29, 2020.
We value what you are doing to help your children while protecting their health and safety. Please hang in there. Stay healthy and stay safe. You have been amazing partners over the past several weeks and we admire the support you have provided for your children and for the staff at Chinook.
We are committed to use the learning we have achieved to provide even better service for students in the fall. There will be bumps in the road, but your children are going to be okay. We can’t wait to see them when it is safe for them to return to school.
Chinook Preparing for Fall Reopening - Parents May 2020.pdf
May 7, 2020
Provincial Education Response Planning Team Update
May 6, 2020
The bad news... you won’t get to see your friends and teachers at school for a while as supplemental learning at home will continue until the end of this school year; the good news… our teachers have this covered!
Schools will remain closed and supplemental learning will continue at home until the end of June for all Saskatchewan students.
The Ministry of Education, Government of Saskatchewan and Chief Medical Health Officer have stated that limits on private and public gatherings must be respected, so Graduation activities are encouraged to be virtual.
Education for Saskatchewan’s students will resume in the fall and contingency plans (scenarios) are being developed and the format will be determined in consultation with the province’s chief medical health officer. There are no immediate plans for the full return of students to classrooms in the fall – all of this is dependent on the health and well being of the province.
May 6, 2020
Director Update to Families: Supplemental Learning and Next Steps
Hello Chinook Families:
As we continue with week three of Chinook Learning at Home, I want to thank parents and caregivers for taking care of our students. You are doing a great job in a very difficult circumstance. Remember, Learning at Home does not have to be perfect, our goal is to keep as many kids as possible continuing to learn. If you or your child need help, please ask us!
There are approximately seven weeks of teaching and learning remaining in our school year. As you organize your child's school day, I ask that you continue to show patience with their learning. Try to keep a schedule for them, but allow some flexibility in order to prompt the building of a few breaks into their day. Our weather is changing and fresh air is great, but please find time in the day to have your child work on the learning packages provided by your school.
Again, what will the new normal be? No one knows for sure. What I do know is that our staff is committed to helping you and your child. I encourage you to reach out to your students’ teacher for support, and in doing so, know that we are all partners in student learning. Children will need help and clarification about learning activities, just as you may also need help with teacher expectations. Please be your child’s learning conduit. Feel free to contact your child’s teacher for clarification and support via email, a phone call or you can even try a Google Meet!
Today, I bring to you two bits of good news. First, in a recent provincial survey of school divisions, Chinook had a remarkable 94% of students sign up for supplemental learning opportunities. Awesome!
Learning at home is a partnership; this is not the regular classroom everyone is used to. We need to use all available resources to keep our kids engaged and on track. This is not an ideal teaching and learning environment. Please remember, our main goal is to keep as many kids as possible engaged and connected to their classes. This will be better for your kids and their teachers next fall.
I am aware that some of you are putting in many more hours than you would normally with your children learning at home. You might feel frustrated that your child may not be working as hard or is as interested as you are. This also happens occasionally at school. However, please be assured that our teachers are working hard, trying new strategies, and are going above and beyond to engage with your kids. Thank you for your partnership and for your efforts to help your kids be successful.
Yes, there will be peaks and valleys over the next seven weeks, but remember that this is not a regular circumstance. We want to keep kids in classes because in the long run, greater content understanding and skill mastery is better than a higher mark with little subject knowledge. Learning now will better prepare your child for his/her future.
You know your child better than we do, therefore you will recognize when they can be pushed and when they need help. Right now, it is important to reach out to your child’s teacher when you need to. When in doubt ask for help. You are not alone.
Secondly, and not shockingly, we will not resume our “normal school operations” prior to fall. In the next few weeks, we are also providing schools, SCCs and Grade 12s with some options and parameters within which Graduation celebrations may occur.
As I look toward the fall, I cannot assure you that our schools will look the way they looked in September 2019. Chinook superintendents, the Board of Education and myself are presently working at creating return-to-work scenarios that include: continuing with at home learning, partial/staggered return to school and normal operations. We continue to work with the province, the ministry and with the province’s chief medical health officer. I want to ensure that schools are safe for students and staff before we will resume normal operations.
Please remember that everyone has a role and everyone has a responsibility in this unprecedented time.
This is a challenging time for you, but it is also challenging for kids. Most students are doing fairly well considering the circumstances. Parenting can be a challenge; it is often demanding when we are not in the middle of a pandemic. We all know our children and we know what we as parents can and cannot handle academically. Thank you for your commitment to your children’s learning. Thank you for your creativity, for being risk takers and for continuing to do what is best for your kids.
Stay safe, stay healthy and if you have questions or need help, please ask.
May 6 2020 - Director Update To Parents Supplemental Learning and Next Steps.pdf
April 23, 2020
The recently announced Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan states that long-term restrictions on high risk areas will remain in place for the foreseeable future, which includes the continued suspension of classes in all primary and secondary educational institutions.
Chinook School Division will continue the work and progress in supporting our staff and supporting students who are learning at home to complete the 2019-2020 school year.
For more information and the detailed plan, please visit Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan | Government of Saskatchewan.
April 20, 2020
Message to Chinook Families from the Director of Education
It has been just over one month since our communities were first impacted by COVID-19. This pandemic has been absolutely life changing and job changing for us all. We are now in the midst of an historical period and educationally we are “satisficing”: all of us, including you, are doing the best that we can for our children in the circumstance we find ourselves in. I sincerely thank you for your partnership.
As you know, the health and wellness of our students and staff is the top priority in Chinook. We believe that our division will continue to be a great place to work and go to school even if kids are not physically attending school in our buildings. By now, your child’s teacher has connected with you and your child. We know that solid teaching and learning is already taking place in several communities around the division. School in the COVID era will start up again this week. The last four weeks have been challenging for all involved as we navigate the emergent and rapid change that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been some very positive things that have come out of this crisis. For the most part you, me, and your family and my family are presently healthy. We have made plans with you to continue to work with you and your child on a Supplemental Learning Plan. In our division, just over 94% of our students and families have chosen to work on Supplemental Learning at Home. That is outstanding!! This really emphasizes the importance of education in the southwest.
The pandemic has brought a pause from the chaos that some of us live with as we follow our children around our communities, province and country in their various pursuits. There has been suspension of travel, our children’s activities have for the most part been cancelled and we are not racing around taking our kids from one event to another. Life has slowed. We now have time to read, make and eat family meals together, go on family walks, play games, watch movies or make TikToks.
I am sure that many families have appreciated teachers connecting with them and most will be extremely happy that supplemental learning packages and activities have arrived. Some parents will have a new appreciation for the work that teachers do. There have been plenty of jokes on Facebook and Instagram about parents expelling their students, quitting, or using corporal punishment while teaching their kids. Some children may be missing school, as teachers and support staff are positive role models in their lives. School is a safe, friendly, caring, consistent and welcoming place in their lives for six hours a day. I want to thank you for your work at home supporting your child’s learning: trying to establish structure and routines, establishing regular bedtimes, playing educational games, having them read, reading to them and working with your child while instilling some life lessons.
We are living in an unusual time. We are making history. We are maintaining social distancing to help our community and to help our health care workers. Embrace the opportunities to reconnect with school and, most importantly, embrace the opportunity to reconnect with your own family. Everything in this life happens for a purpose.
Thank you for your commitment to student learning, for your partnership as parents and for making Chinook Rock, even in unusual circumstances.
Director of Education
April 20, 2020 Letter to Chinook Families.pdf
April 3, 2020