PSB Message – May 20, 2020

‘It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ – E. L. Doctorow

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

Have you ever noticed when driving late at night that the road ahead is pitch-black? Even though our headlights are on, we still can only see a little ways down that road. This limited sight line requires us to stay attentive with our hands firmly on the wheel to navigate the part of the road we can see, so we can safely make the entire trip. The same can be said for how we navigate our lives and plan for the future during this pandemic. 

While we do not know what will happen in the distant future, we don’t need to. We can trust others for leading and caring for us, have faith in the contributions we can make, and navigate the unknowns as they arrive. We can successfully travel the whole journey through COVID–19 that way.

Our recent planning and navigating has ensured the Respite Program is off to a smooth start. The program is being utilized by 215 students and has been a welcomed support to their parents and caregivers.

Planning is also underway for some PSB staff to safely return to their work places. Custodians and cleaners started back to schools full-time this week and administrative assistants will be back part-time next week.

Operational plans allowing schools to complete essential tasks have been approved by the Chief Public Health Officer. These plans include packing up student items (desks and lockers) and working with families to distribute these items, providing Term 2 Report Cards to K-9 students who have not yet received them, collecting library books or other items on loan etc. Schools will communicate their detailed plans with families soon. Given the difference in school populations and layouts, things may be done differently at each school.  However, we can assure you that approved safety guidelines will be followed.

Additional activities and planning include, year-end student transition planning by our Student Services teams, exploring the use of Google Meet for some high school teachers and students, wrapping up Chromebook deliveries to over 1000 students, preparing for summer school, finalizing school supply lists and packaging Welcome to Kindergarten bags.

American novelist E. L. Doctorow’s quotation at the beginning of the message is our reminder that we don’t need to know everything in the future. We need only know enough to make hopeful, wise, and realistic plans. If together we don’t go too fast or deny the limitations, and we stay focused on the road directly ahead, the journey will be much more successful.

Thank you and take care,

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

Welcome to Kindergarten for our 2020-2021 K students


Dear families, Welcome to Parkside! We are excited to start the Welcome to Kindergarten program. The current kindergarten teachers Mrs. Drummond, Ms.MacDonald, Madame Lisa and Madame Stephanie will be calling this week to introduce themselves, talk about kindergarten and answer any questions that you may have.
Please mark your calendars for May 21st to pick up Welcome to Kindergarten bags at Parkside School between 12-2. The staff will schedule times for pick up and follow social distancing expectations. The doors will be clearly marked for French and English students. The Welcome to Kindergarten bags are awesome!

Parkside collects a supply fee of $45.00. This allows the teachers to purchase the supplies needed for the classroom and a school agenda for the school year. We try to make it simple and parents only need to purchase indoor sneakers, backpacks and lunch cans for September. To collect the supply fee we are asking parents to have $45.00 cash or cheque payable to Parkside Elementary on May 21st when you pick up the WTK bag. Please put the supply fee in an envelope clearly labeled with you and your child’s name and French or English Kindergarten. We feel this is the easiest option due to the circumstances.

We look forward to meeting you and your child, from a social distance, of course.

Here is more information about Welcome to Kindergarten:

The bag contains books and many resources that will help you interact with your child and prepare them for entry into kindergarten. We at Welcome to Kindergarten believe that Parents are the Child’s First and Best Teacher! You can also click on the link below for videos that will give you information about the program and how to best use the materials to maximize learning with your child.

https://www.thelearningpartnership.ca/programs/welcome-to-kindergarten/learning-throughplay-videos

Message from the PSB

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

Our teachers, administrators, support staff, branch staff, parents, and students are working incredibly hard to adapt to the new reality of at-home learning during COVID-19. The pandemic has presented challenges for many including parents working and balancing home life, teachers developing remote lesson plans to fit different students’ needs, and students looking for new ways to stay connected to friends and learning. There are many successes and members of our PSB community are meeting these new demands with determination and enthusiasm.

We all know how adaptable and resilient PSB students, parents, educators, and staff are in the best of times, and through these difficult times each group has shown this in more ways than ever before. We admire our teachers and other branch staff, parents, and students who are teaching us all lessons in perseverance.

Amazing examples of this include the food programs that have been supporting our families. PSB staff were able to deliver the Department of Agriculture food hampers directly to many families across the Island who did not have access to a vehicle. Our School Food Program provided 6,006 meals to 858 students last week, a 12% increase over the previous week.

Another success story is the Respite Program that began this week. Students who had been receiving individualized support at school from an Education Assistant, Youth Service Worker, or other Student Services Team Member may receive a 2 to 3 hour blocks of play/game based respite care on a scheduled basis. These examples of people coming together and working hard to help others is inspiring to all of us.

By following the public health measures, Islanders have also experienced success as a province in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases in PEI. In doing so we are seeing some of the public health measures relaxed. The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning will likely soon be making an announcement about the reinstatement of early childhood programs, including those for school aged children housed in schools, to assist parents who are returning to work.

As we move through the sixth week of at-home learning, it is an excellent time to thank students, teachers, parents, and staff for their ongoing commitment to learning together, while always remaining safe. Our shared goal is to ensure the successful completion of the school year for all students and to support students as they advance to the next grade, earn credits, and for some to graduate.

We all have an important role in keeping students motivated and engaged for these next weeks. Teachers continue to have high expectations for students and we all want students to continue to have high expectations for themselves. The work we are doing together is about helping students succeed and prepare for the future.

It is important to take time to reflect on how much we have all achieved thus far by working together. Be proud of your accomplishments. We here at the PSB are very proud of you.

Keep learning and take care,

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff;

Welcome to May!

Since COVID-19 reached Prince Edward Island, I have been separately reaching out to students, parents, and PSB staff through daily and weekly letters. As we usher in the new month, I am pleased to be writing my first joint letter to all of you. It seems very appropriate to do so as we have been coping with the pandemic together all along.

During his Thursday briefing last week, the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning, Brad Trivers recognized students, parents, and staff for their continued partnership in support of learning. He also said, “Our top priority remains the health and well-being of children and we will continue to look at ways to support children and families, address gaps and ensure all Islanders have the necessary tools and resources available to succeed now and as we plan for learning in September.”

Students, parents, and staff are encouraged to read the Renew PEI, Together document which outlines the guiding principles and phased approach to reopening businesses, services and public spaces in Prince Edward Island. www.princeedwardisland.ca/renewPEI  Further information is available on the provincial government’s response to COVID-19, including resources, program applications and important public health information by visiting: www.princeedwardisland.ca/COVID19

Public Schools Branch and the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning are committed to supporting students, parents, and staff during the final weeks of the school year. The safety of our students and staff is paramount and all operational plans for programs and activities will be reviewed and endorsed for their safety. All school-based services will follow public health guidelines that allow for physical distancing, hygiene protocols and the proper cleaning of schools.

I am pleased to share with you additional details around the announcements Minister Trivers made last week during his briefing. The details for some programs and services are still being worked on and we greatly appreciate the support and patience of everyone during this process. We will communicate further details when finalized.

Respite Care

Beginning May 11, several designated schools will open to offer a respite program. Families who have a child that is supported by an Educational Assistant (EA) or Youth Service Worker (YSW) while attending school, may be eligible for a few hours of respite care per week while schools are closed. Please email respite@edu.pe.ca or call 902-368-4997 if you are interested in receiving more information.

Learning Materials

Teachers continue to connect with students and support at-home learning based on a compacted curriculum, and learning resources are regularly being updated and made available online and in paper form. Chromebooks have been distributed to hundreds of students. Student Services Teams also continue to provide supports to students and families.

Ongoing Student/Teachers Connections

Since home learning began, students have been connecting with teachers in many ways. Beginning on June 15, students and teachers may have the opportunity to connect beyond phone calls, emails and approved technology, should they wish. Further details will be communicated in the coming weeks.

Transitions and Closings

During the week of June 22, and in consultation with students and parents, schools may offer innovative year-end and closing activities that will enable students to connect with their teachers and classmates and bring closure to the school year. This may include activities to support students who will be transitioning to new schools in the fall.

Student Well-being Teams

Student Well-Being Teams continue to connect with and support students and their families throughout PEI. The Student Well-being Team’s website has been enhanced to make connecting to a team member easier. If you need some support, please visit the link below and click on your Family of Schools: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/education-and-lifelong-learning/student-well-being-teams

Hand Head Heart Connections TV Shows

The Hand Head Heart Connections home learningTV shows are being very well received by students and parents. If you are not an Eastlink customer or do not have access to a television, you can find episodes of Hand Head Heart Connections on the Eastlink Community TV Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/eastlinktv/videos  

Please reach out by email or call our main number at 902-368-6990 if you have any questions or comments. We will respond to you as quickly as we can. Much can be accomplished when we work together. We are grateful to our students, parents, and staff for working together and supporting each other.

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools Branch

A message for Parents

Hello parents,   I wanted to remind everyone that we are aware that there are a number of families struggling financially through this Covid situation. It’s widely recognized across the province, that with the absence of school lunch programs, there becomes a financial strain placed on families. If you are a family in need, please contact the Support for Families line at 902-368-5155 OR supportforfamilies@edu.pe.ca


Meals are prepared at Kinkora High School and delivered to your door.  If your family is experiencing food insecurity, please call the number listed above or send an email to the email address above, providing your name and contact information.     Also, there have been many questions rolling in regarding the pick up of your child’s items that were left at school. This morning, principals met to discuss this matter along with many other items.  There are discussions happening with the Chief Public Health Office to come to consensus on an appropriate process of providing families with their child’s belongings.  As soon as the details are provided to Administrators, I will make an announcement to all Parkside families.

Thank you very much for your patience.   

Mr. Martin

Support for Families

Dear Parents,  

We, as a Parkside staff, understand that there have been many families who have been disadvantaged due to the Covid-19 situation. We are aware that there are families who are experiencing food insecurities and between our Parkside staff and Parkside Home and School, we would like to assist.
Please contact Nick Martin at nnmartin@edu.pe.ca if your family would benefit from some added support.  

Thank you.

Support

Parents and Guardians, Are you a caregiver who has a child that is supported by an EA or YSW while attending school?  If you are you may be eligible for a few hours of respite care per week during the time that school is closed. Some schools are opening within family of schools (with some families being combined) to meet this need. If you are interested in receiving more information please email respite@edu.pe.ca or call 902-368-4997.

Ask a PSB School Psychologist

Hello parents and guardians! Welcome to ‘Ask a School Psychologist’!

Wondering how to manage bedtime worries, what to tell your teen who wants to visit friends, or where to begin with structuring your child’s day? If you have any questions you would like to submit to our PSB Psychology Team concerning COVID isolation, academics, behaviour, or well-being, send them to askapsychologist@edu.pe.ca.

We can’t promise we’ll get to every question, but we will be posting anonymous responses to some of your questions on the PSB Student Services Facebook page.

This project is for information sharing with you and our broader parent and guardian audience. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call the Island Helpline (1-800-218-2885) or Emergency Health Services (911).

Please submit your questions by May 8th.

Message from the PSB

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students;

This is the fifth week of schools being closed since we returned from the March Break. This is also the third week of teacher led home learning. What education looks like on PEI now has been the culmination of the advocacy and teamwork of many. The efforts our educational leaders and teachers have made around home learning during this pandemic has allowed us to maintain connections with students and families. It has been our response to staying apart and supporting our communities and health care system. It looks and feels much different than what we are used to and we are all having to adjust. PSB students, parents, and staff have always responded in times of crisis and this time is no exception. We still have much to do, but we have accomplished much these last few weeks, and this success is thanks, in part, to you and your efforts.

We thank you for your support of the learning that has rolled out from teachers thus far, and we ask you to continue to communicate with them. We are all new to this, so we need to know if you require additional support. We have identified and are providing Chromebooks for our grade 12 students who need them most, so they can access on-line learning materials. We also have print materials and basic learning supply packages available. Please contact the Support for Families line at 902-368-5155 or supportforfamilies@edu.pe.ca to access supports we may be able to provide to assist with home learning.

Please refer to the chronology of COVID-19 education related decisions posted on our website https://tinyurl.com/chronologyeducationdecisions

Early in my teaching career, a parent gave me a poem called ‘Unity’ that had been written by an anonymous author. It was presented to me as a gift and the parent had framed it in their own calligraphy. The poem, which has remained on display in my classrooms and offices ever since, tells a story about the efforts of a parent and teacher working together to ensure the success of a child. I have looked at it often as a source of guidance and encouragement. It struck me that in our new reality, this poem has probably never been more appropriate than today.

UNITY

I dreamed I stood in a studio

And watched two sculptors there,

The clay they used was a young child’s mind

And they finished it with care.

One was a teacher; the tools he used

Were books and music and art;

One a parent with a guiding hand

And a gentle and loving heart.

Day after day the teacher toiled

With a touch that was deft and sure

While the parent laboured by his side

And polished and smoothed it o’er.

And when at last their task was done

They were proud of what they had wrought,

For the things they had moulded into the child

Could neither be sold nor bought

And each agreed he would have failed

If he had worked alone.

For behind the parent stood the school

And behind the teacher, the home.

Many people remind us now that we are in this together. From an education standpoint, I think we always have been. Thank you for your efforts in supporting learning at your home and for working together.

There are no words to express the level of sympathy that is being felt right now in many of our homes due to the horrific events in our neighboring province, Nova Scotia. Many people have been personally impacted and know family, friends, or first responders who were affected by this terrible tragedy. We are united in our grief and our condolences. Please take good care of family members and yourself.

Parker Grimmer

Director, Public Schools BranchNick MartinPrincipalParkside Elementary School
195 Summer Street
Summerside PE C1N 3J8
Ph. (902) 888-8472 
Fax (902) 888-8474   The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.  ~ Peggy O’Mara