News

Year End Report Card and Item Pick Up/ Drop Off

ATTENTION Bears!!! Coming soon, the week of June 22!

Access to the school for year end pick up including Report Cards, as well as textbook, library books,  chromebook and equipment dropoff .

It will also be another fun theme week like this week!

Thanks for your patience as we get the plan in gear, more info to come!

 

By |2020-06-05T09:39:38-04:00June 5th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Year End Report Card and Item Pick Up/ Drop Off

Schools Closure Update

The Government of Ontario has announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of this current school year.

We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Please visit https://wcdsblearnathome.wcdsb.ca for all the most up-to-date information.

Here is the official announcement from the Minister Lecce: Letter to Parents May 19 Announcement FINAL EN FORMATTED – SIGNATURE

As noted above, when more information becomes available we will notify families as soon as we have it.

We thank you for your patience and commitment to the education of our students during this unprecedented time.

 

 

By |2020-05-19T19:39:08-04:00May 19th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Schools Closure Update

Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We hope that you found ways to enjoy the Mother’s Day Weekend despite the less than spring-like weather and that fact that many of us were unable to celebrate in the more traditional ways that have characterized years past.  It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates.  As always, we sincerely hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive.  We want to commend our WCDSB community for the impactful and joyous ways we managed to still celebrate Catholic Education Week.  Few of us could have predicted how appropriate or needed our theme of Igniting Hope would be.  It was truly heartening to see the many videos, messages, artwork, pictures and reflections of hope in our schools and homes.  Truly we believe we all feel the importance of our faith and our community at this time.

 

We are now settling into our journey of educator-led distance learning.  We know that for some it will be going well and that for a variety of reasons, for others, it may still be a challenge.  Our realities are each different and at Waterloo Catholic we are working hard to ensure the best possible experience for our students.  You may recall the invitation we gave our stakeholders in the week of April 14th to 21st to engage in a Thought Exchange where you were invited to share your concerns and questions.  We have now processed all that feedback and we would like to share with you what you said and how we would like to respond.

We are pleased to report that we had over 1,900 respondents, 1,700 thoughts and 37,000 ratings.  We had a broad cross-section of voices and the number of respondents from each group was a good representation of that stakeholder group.  Parents in general did reflect that they appreciate the efforts of their children’s teachers and we could certainly not be prouder of the hard work of so many to connect our students with learning at this time.  Elementary parents told us that they can be over-whelmed at times with balancing their own responsibilities and their children’s learning, that sometimes they need better clarity on what is optional and that they would appreciate a better sense of routine.  Perhaps most of all – they desire that connection between educator and home.  Secondary parents are also looking for clear communication and want to remain involved in their child’s learning.  They would like to see the inclusion of synchronous (‘Live”) learning or video conferencing.  And there remains a concern about their children’s report cards and post-secondary impacts.

We would like to report that we have heard you.  We continue to provide our teachers with further guidance and clarity about assessment, evaluation and reporting during this time of distance learning.  We have also worked on staff communications that are intended to strengthen consistency and clarity of expectation, while also looking at ways to solidify our collaboration with one another as staff.  We have heard you that a sense of routine is important and we will be working to reinforce that message.  We are also providing further professional development on good practices connected to synchronous learning, which remains an option in a teacher’s toolkit.  No student should be adversely affected as a result of COVID-19 school closure and we are working hard to ensure that is the case.  We know that equity issues matter to you and we are doing our best to bridge gaps, but providing resources and supports where they are needed to the best of our ability.

We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students.   One common theme regardless of stakeholder group-  was the desire for connection.  We miss one another – and that is both heartening and normal.  Schools are remarkable places where relationship and community are forged, and maintaining that strong sense of connection is hard work.  We hope you will agree with us that our staff have certainly risen to the occasion and we know that each one has put their best foot forward in support of our students.  The sense of care and the love for their students is evident.  The physical, mental and spiritual well-being of our students remains our priority.  That said – we will continue to prioritize this work and the strong sense of family that we have as the community of Waterloo Catholic.

Thought Exchange Thoughts and Themes

We know that further clarity about the length of the closure is likely to come later this week.  Full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming, but we are committed to sharing those details when we have them.  We also know that seminal spring events such as communions, confirmations and graduations are currently being re-imagined.  We are hopeful that we will be able to have fall convocations for our graduates.  We know that you are missing the opportunity to celebrate this spring.  There are some virtual and media events which will assist in the short-term.  Communions will be re-scheduled in the fall, parish by parish, as we are able.  Similarly, once we are able, more information will follow about confirmations, as we learn about the availability of the Bishop and/or Vicar, and balance that with the size of the confirmandee class.  There is an intention to proceed, once we are able.

As always, on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found.  We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage as well as our FAQ page.

Finally – as we have said before, we do encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health.  As we have reflected before – we are apart but never closer.  Let us commit to being there for one another.  Reach out to us through your local school.  While our Thought Exchange is done for now, we are still interested in hearing from you and walking with you.  Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                           Bill Conway

Director of Education                             Chair of the Board

By |2020-05-12T11:03:58-04:00May 12th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

Kindergarten Registration is Still Open!

Dear Families

We could use your help in spreading the word that Kindergarten Registration is still open! Please do not wait for the last minute rush in September to register your child. All the information on how to register is in the above link “Entering Kindergarten”.  Registrations can all be done remotely during this time of distance education.

Thank you for your continued support and take care!

Mr. Petrella

K registration

By |2020-04-29T19:49:54-04:00April 29th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Kindergarten Registration is Still Open!

Friday April 24 – Bear Challenge, Backyard Scavenger Hunt 

It has been a great Earth Week Bears!  Thank you for sending us your pictures, we love to see your smiling faces and what you have been up to at home! We have had a cold week for this time of the year, but today we are finally going to get some relief from the cold!  As such, we have spent a lot of time indoors and staring out our windows during self-isolation. Why not learn a little about what is growing around our homes?

Bear Challenge identify different plants, trees, flowers and more that are in your very own backyard. Be a nature detective, what is the coolest thing you learned on your scavenger hunt? Take a picture of your backyard, tell us what you learned, and please send a picture to your teacher (indicating permission to use your picture online) or tag us on Twitter @BSKbears.

Look for our video, which we hope to have posted by the end of the weekend, celebrating our love for Mother Earth  and all we have done this past week!

By |2020-04-24T08:16:26-04:00April 24th, 2020|News|Comments Off on Friday April 24 – Bear Challenge, Backyard Scavenger Hunt 

Letter to Families from the Waterloo Catholic District School Board

April 23rd, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates as we continue to navigate this time of school closure and distance learning.  Let us begin by saying that we truly hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive.  As an Easter people we pray that the hope of the season is alive in your homes.  But these are unsettling times for everyone and we believe it is absolutely OK to feel that you are not OK.  We know that each of us has a unique reality and that will position us differently in terms of our ability to walk through this time and to support our children’s learning journey right now.

For the past three weeks we have begun the journey into Educator-led learning and it could not have been done without the tremendous efforts of so many.  We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students.    We hope that every student continues to have contact with their teacher(s) and that each one knows that we care for and value each of them.  Your teachers are truly amazing and they are definitely here for you.  We will reiterate that our most pressing concern remains student well being – both mentally and physically.  As we have said before, it is not “business as usual”, but we do hope that students are connecting with their teachers as this is our “new normal” for the time being.

We wanted to provide you updates on a few different topics of interest to you and your children.  Know that this is a rapidly changing landscape and with many uncertainties, and as there are many players to both consult and work with, as well as others who provide us vital direction or information, sometimes full clarity takes a little time.

As always, on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found.  We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage as well as our FAQ page.  You can also follow the #STEAMDays hashtag where lots of fun and engaging activities are being posted.  With that said, a few updates:

Length of the closure: 

We are awaiting direction from the government and Ministry of Education on this point.  We expect it will be forth coming soon.  While it is unlikely we will be returning to our buildings in the short term, full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming.

Expectations During Distance Learning:

We realize there are different realities for all of our students and all of our educators.  For that reason, each student and teacher is held to the guidelines the Ministry has provided for minimum hours.  To review what we have shared previously – the suggested hours reflect both the time a teacher might use in providing formal instruction or guidance, as well as the time the student will spend completing the learning task or activity.  There is not a firm expectation that all students have to be “online” at the exact same time, although in some cases that might happen on occasion.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Equity has been a significant consideration in this new landscape as not all children are equally positioned to succeed to the best of their ability when learning from home.  We also know that students learning from home can place added pressure on a parent who may be juggling their own work or family related responsibilities.  For these reasons, assessment in elementary is taking the form of feedback or formative assessment, rather than grading.  Students can benefit and continue progressing through this feedback.  For our students in secondary, they will receive both formative and summative assessments – that is feedback and grades, but teachers will be working to support a student’s best outcome and will not be penalized if the current circumstances detract from their ability to succeed.  Marks will not drop below that attained on March 13th, when schools were declared closed.  There is however every opportunity for a mark to improve, and for learning and achievement to be enhanced.

Report Cards:

There will be a report card in June for all students and they will contain grades.  As noted above, those grades will be largely informed by the marks students had attained prior to March 13th, but there is every opportunity for those grades to improve based on any work submitted during this time of distance learning, if there is evidence of growth and/or improved performance.  In the case of graduating students, midterm marks were sent to the Universities and Colleges to assist with post-secondary admission.

Graduation:

We know that graduation is a significant event in the life of a student and his/her family. For this reason, this has been a difficult decision.  Our secondary schools have no option but to postpone graduation ceremonies as a result of venues not being available to us.  As you can appreciate secondary graduations are often large events and so they are not easily accommodated in alternate settings.  We have made the decision that all of our secondary schools will hold their graduations in the fall.  This will in no way impact a student’s ability to actually graduate from high school should they have met the requirements.  We are still in the process of finalizing our decision in relation to grade 8 graduations and will communicate that information as soon as a final decision has been achieved.

Thought Exchange – Your Voice

As most of you will be aware, we recently engaged our stakeholders in an exercise of asking them what questions or concerns they had after one-two weeks of distance learning.  Our survey closed on Tuesday April 21st in the evening and we are now starting to unpack that feedback.  We are thrilled that you took us up on this invitation.  We had just under 2000 participants and approximately 37,000 ratings from all our stakeholders.  We know that at a very high level elementary parents are expressing thoughts about the home learning environment and the types of tasks students are assigned, about feedback and assessment, and about equity.  Secondary parents are sharing thoughts about the nature of student and educator contact, and also about feedback and assessment, as well as issues related to equity.  There are roughly 14 sub-themes in the Thought Exchange feedback that we have identified and there is much more analysis we can do, and it will help to inform our thinking and actions moving forward.  A high level report on parent feedback is available at these two links, but much more will be shared in the weeks to come, that will map to themes and the take-aways from the feedback.

Parent/Guardian for an Elementary Student

Parent/Guardian for a Secondary Student

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Waterloo Region Public Health.  As a local and global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago.  As an Easter people we believe in the power of the resurrection and the promise of new life.  Certainly this signs of the season affirm that promise.  Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten  – Director of Education

Bill Conway  –  Chair of the Board

 

By |2020-04-23T16:13:58-04:00April 23rd, 2020|News|Comments Off on Letter to Families from the Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Thursday April 23 – Bear Challenge, Upcycle Trash into Treasure

Hey Bears!

We throw away so many recyclable items such as milk cartons, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, egg cartons, cans and more. Why not get your creative juices flowing and upcycle! Upcycling means to repurpose an unwanted item into something new. Bear Challenge use your imagination to come up with inventions and art projects with the materials that you would normally discard. Take a picture of what you ‘upcycled’ and send a picture to your teacher (indicating permission to use your picture online) or tag us on Twitter @BSKbears to share.

  • North
By |2020-04-23T09:50:33-04:00April 23rd, 2020|News|Comments Off on Thursday April 23 – Bear Challenge, Upcycle Trash into Treasure

Wednesday April 22 – Bear Challenge, I can do 50!

Today marks Earth Day’s 50th anniversary! Even though we are in self-isolation at home, we can still honour this important day.          Bear Challenge – if it is safe to do so, walk for 50 minutes instead of taking the car OR exercise for 50 minutes at home with your entire family! Take a picture of you and your little Bear Cubs participating in the “I can do 50” challenge in recognition of Earth Day and send a picture to your teacher (indicating permission to use your picture online) or tag us on Twitter @BSKbears to share what you are up to.

By |2020-04-22T10:19:37-04:00April 22nd, 2020|News|Comments Off on Wednesday April 22 – Bear Challenge, I can do 50!

Tuesday April 21 – Earth Week Bear Challenge, The Great Gulp

The Great Gulp is when people come together as a household, or virtually, to take a synchronized drink of tap water from a reusable bottle, glass, or mug. This can then activate learning into issues surrounding water and the importance of reducing single-use plastic waste. Bear Challenge – organize a Great Gulp with members of your house, or virtually with your friends!

  1. Take a photo or video showing how you and your and your household are participating in The Great Gulp
  2. Post it on Twitter and include the hashtag #TheGreatGulp (or send a picture to your teacher indicating permission to use your picture online) 
  3. Tag EcoSchools Canada @EcoSchoolsCAN, SodaStream Canada @SodaStream_CA and @BSKbears
  4. Include Blessed Sacrament Catholic School Kitchener
  5. Fill out this contact form so we can get in touch with you if you win (optional)!

 

By |2020-04-21T09:54:23-04:00April 21st, 2020|News|Comments Off on Tuesday April 21 – Earth Week Bear Challenge, The Great Gulp