In addition to the significant on-site safety planning occurring at every school, the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board continues to plan for the delivery of full remote learning for those students who have selected that option for the fall.
The Board has appointed Dave Noble as Principal of the new RCCDSB Virtual School (Kindergarten to Grade 8). Over the past 10 years, Mr. Noble has been a principal and vice principal, most recently Principal of St. Anthony’s Catholic School in Chalk River.
Katie Edwards-Ethier has been named as Acting Principal of St. Anthony’s Catholic School in Chalk River.
“Students will access their grade-specific Ontario curriculum through our RCCDSB virtual school. All students who have opted out of face-to-face learning for September 2020 and have signed up through our Board’s survey will have access to our online learning platform,” says Noble.
The virtual school will be different than the emergency distance learning that was put in place in the spring, notes Noble. He will be incorporating experience gained as the RCCDSB’s Virtual Summer School Principal where synchronous and asynchronous learning was integrated to engage teachers and students in effective literacy and numeracy practices. “Our goal is to use those findings to help guide our virtual school,” states Noble.
Full remote learning will be five days a week and, in order to be successful, students will need to engage with the online learning platform and meet curriculum expectations as they would in a face-to-face learning environment. Each virtual classroom will have a designated teacher who will use a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning throughout the school day.
Synchronous learning will involve using text, video, or voice communication in a way that enables educators and other members of the school- or board-based team to instruct and connect with students in real-time. It may include students working independently and in small groups while engaged in a virtual classroom with the teacher overseeing their learning and being available for questions.
Asynchronous learning may involve students watching pre-recorded video lessons, completing assigned tasks, or contributing to online discussion boards. It will occur via various learning management systems (i.e. Google Classroom, Seesaw, D2L) depending on the class and grade level of the students.
The Ministry of Education has set expectations for minimum daily synchronous learning time for students depending on their grade level. Requirements for Kindergarten are 180 minutes, Grades 1-3 225 minutes, and Grades 4-8 225 minutes. At the secondary level, Grades 9 through 12 will be the higher of 60 minutes for each 75-minute class period or 225 minutes per day for a full course schedule. Asynchronous learning time is additional. The Board will work within Ministry guidelines while also being attentive and responsive to the needs of individual learners and cognizant of internet challenges in some parts of the county.
Once the virtual school has been fully staffed with a designated teacher for each grade level and classroom, schedules of synchronous and asynchronous learning will be shared with parents and students.
Should parents who opt for remote learning from home choose to go back to face-to-face learning at their school, the earliest opportunity to opt back in for elementary students will be November 16, 2020.
The Board will continue to update parents on the status of RCCDSB’s Virtual School as plans continue to develop. “I look forward to working with our students and families as the Principal of the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board’s Virtual School,” says Noble.