Hamilton school boards vow to do best on home learning

News Apr 03, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton’s public and Catholic school boards and their teacher unions are promising to do their best as their combined 78,000 students switch to formalized home learning through April and possibly the end of the school year.

Challenges for both boards include giving teachers the digital tools and training on software to provide lessons online, and ensuring equal chances to learn for students who don’t have a personal computer device or internet service.

Public board education director Manny Figueiredo said high school students are in a good position because they have school-issued individual iPads and were already using the board’s online learning platform, known as The Hub.

But he said teachers and staff have been assessing needs at the elementary level, where classroom kits of six iPads have been issued in Grades 4 to 6.

Figueiredo said the board is still determining how the classroom iPads will be provided to students without a personal computer and are exploring options to contract digital devices with internet access built into them for those without service.

Teachers have also been receiving training over the past two weeks to prepare for the month ahead and possibility schools will remain closed through the end of June, he added.

“Everyone’s got tons of tension at a time like this,” Figueiredo said, noting thousands of people have lost their jobs to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In our privileged positions in education, this is an opportunity for us to do our best to support students by keeping them focused on whatever learning we can, which helps their well-being and gives them something to consume their time.”

Catholic board chair Pat Daly said there will likely be “bumps and glitches,” but everyone is focused on making home learning work.

He said the board has been surveying families on whether they have computers and internet access, and has 900 iPads that were ready to be shipped out the week of April 6.

Daly said teachers will use a variety of ways to provides lessons based on their familiarity and comfort with technology.

“Many of our staff would have their own children at home and obviously any of us in our lives, our family is our first priority, so there’s going to have to be understanding that we’re all going to work together and do the best we can,” he said.

The Ministry of Education has set minimum weekly instructional guidelines of 3.5 hours in kindergarten to Grade 3, with a focus on literacy and math; five hours for Grades 4 to 6; and 10 hours in Grades 7 and 8, with a focus on literacy, math, science and social studies.

For high school, students are to be taught three hours per week, per course, for a single-semester course and 1.5 hours for a year-long one.

The ministry has also directed boards to provide graduating students marks by April 23 for applications for college or university and promised no student’s graduation or transition to post-secondary education will be jeopardized by the coronavirus outbreak.

Requirements to pass the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test and do 40 hours of community service to graduate have been waived.

Jeff Sorensen, president of the public board’s elementary teachers’ union, said his members are scheduled to safely visit their classrooms on April 6 and 7 to retrieve course materials — as are secondary teachers.

They will also unlock cabinets storing classroom iPad kits so the devices can be distributed to students who need them, he said.

Sorensen said teaching elementary students remotely will be challenging because it’s hard to keep younger ones on task and individual circumstances, like parental help and access to books, will vary, especially with libraries being closed.

He said he understands many parents are stressed by the situation and hopes they’re understanding.

“At some point, I got the impression that people were thinking there was going to be a situation where 23 students would log in and see a video of their teacher teaching live. We just don’t have the technology for that.”

Daryl Jerome, president of the public board’s high school teachers’ union, said previous calls for members not to use their personal devices are being relaxed because circumstances may make it the only viable option despite privacy issues.

But he said the board is giving teachers leniency to determine what works best for them and students, which could include uploading a videotaped lesson and one-on-one video chats to help students with a problem if they’re able to do so.

“A lot of this is just, ‘Let’s go slow, do the best you can',” Jerome said. “My members have been understanding, and they’ve been really wanting to make this work.”

Hamilton school boards vow to do best on home learning

Parents and students can expect some ‘bumps and glitches’

News Apr 03, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton’s public and Catholic school boards and their teacher unions are promising to do their best as their combined 78,000 students switch to formalized home learning through April and possibly the end of the school year.

Challenges for both boards include giving teachers the digital tools and training on software to provide lessons online, and ensuring equal chances to learn for students who don’t have a personal computer device or internet service.

Public board education director Manny Figueiredo said high school students are in a good position because they have school-issued individual iPads and were already using the board’s online learning platform, known as The Hub.

But he said teachers and staff have been assessing needs at the elementary level, where classroom kits of six iPads have been issued in Grades 4 to 6.

Related Content

Figueiredo said the board is still determining how the classroom iPads will be provided to students without a personal computer and are exploring options to contract digital devices with internet access built into them for those without service.

Teachers have also been receiving training over the past two weeks to prepare for the month ahead and possibility schools will remain closed through the end of June, he added.

“Everyone’s got tons of tension at a time like this,” Figueiredo said, noting thousands of people have lost their jobs to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In our privileged positions in education, this is an opportunity for us to do our best to support students by keeping them focused on whatever learning we can, which helps their well-being and gives them something to consume their time.”

Catholic board chair Pat Daly said there will likely be “bumps and glitches,” but everyone is focused on making home learning work.

He said the board has been surveying families on whether they have computers and internet access, and has 900 iPads that were ready to be shipped out the week of April 6.

Daly said teachers will use a variety of ways to provides lessons based on their familiarity and comfort with technology.

“Many of our staff would have their own children at home and obviously any of us in our lives, our family is our first priority, so there’s going to have to be understanding that we’re all going to work together and do the best we can,” he said.

The Ministry of Education has set minimum weekly instructional guidelines of 3.5 hours in kindergarten to Grade 3, with a focus on literacy and math; five hours for Grades 4 to 6; and 10 hours in Grades 7 and 8, with a focus on literacy, math, science and social studies.

For high school, students are to be taught three hours per week, per course, for a single-semester course and 1.5 hours for a year-long one.

The ministry has also directed boards to provide graduating students marks by April 23 for applications for college or university and promised no student’s graduation or transition to post-secondary education will be jeopardized by the coronavirus outbreak.

Requirements to pass the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test and do 40 hours of community service to graduate have been waived.

Jeff Sorensen, president of the public board’s elementary teachers’ union, said his members are scheduled to safely visit their classrooms on April 6 and 7 to retrieve course materials — as are secondary teachers.

They will also unlock cabinets storing classroom iPad kits so the devices can be distributed to students who need them, he said.

Sorensen said teaching elementary students remotely will be challenging because it’s hard to keep younger ones on task and individual circumstances, like parental help and access to books, will vary, especially with libraries being closed.

He said he understands many parents are stressed by the situation and hopes they’re understanding.

“At some point, I got the impression that people were thinking there was going to be a situation where 23 students would log in and see a video of their teacher teaching live. We just don’t have the technology for that.”

Daryl Jerome, president of the public board’s high school teachers’ union, said previous calls for members not to use their personal devices are being relaxed because circumstances may make it the only viable option despite privacy issues.

But he said the board is giving teachers leniency to determine what works best for them and students, which could include uploading a videotaped lesson and one-on-one video chats to help students with a problem if they’re able to do so.

“A lot of this is just, ‘Let’s go slow, do the best you can',” Jerome said. “My members have been understanding, and they’ve been really wanting to make this work.”

Hamilton school boards vow to do best on home learning

Parents and students can expect some ‘bumps and glitches’

News Apr 03, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton’s public and Catholic school boards and their teacher unions are promising to do their best as their combined 78,000 students switch to formalized home learning through April and possibly the end of the school year.

Challenges for both boards include giving teachers the digital tools and training on software to provide lessons online, and ensuring equal chances to learn for students who don’t have a personal computer device or internet service.

Public board education director Manny Figueiredo said high school students are in a good position because they have school-issued individual iPads and were already using the board’s online learning platform, known as The Hub.

But he said teachers and staff have been assessing needs at the elementary level, where classroom kits of six iPads have been issued in Grades 4 to 6.

Related Content

Figueiredo said the board is still determining how the classroom iPads will be provided to students without a personal computer and are exploring options to contract digital devices with internet access built into them for those without service.

Teachers have also been receiving training over the past two weeks to prepare for the month ahead and possibility schools will remain closed through the end of June, he added.

“Everyone’s got tons of tension at a time like this,” Figueiredo said, noting thousands of people have lost their jobs to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In our privileged positions in education, this is an opportunity for us to do our best to support students by keeping them focused on whatever learning we can, which helps their well-being and gives them something to consume their time.”

Catholic board chair Pat Daly said there will likely be “bumps and glitches,” but everyone is focused on making home learning work.

He said the board has been surveying families on whether they have computers and internet access, and has 900 iPads that were ready to be shipped out the week of April 6.

Daly said teachers will use a variety of ways to provides lessons based on their familiarity and comfort with technology.

“Many of our staff would have their own children at home and obviously any of us in our lives, our family is our first priority, so there’s going to have to be understanding that we’re all going to work together and do the best we can,” he said.

The Ministry of Education has set minimum weekly instructional guidelines of 3.5 hours in kindergarten to Grade 3, with a focus on literacy and math; five hours for Grades 4 to 6; and 10 hours in Grades 7 and 8, with a focus on literacy, math, science and social studies.

For high school, students are to be taught three hours per week, per course, for a single-semester course and 1.5 hours for a year-long one.

The ministry has also directed boards to provide graduating students marks by April 23 for applications for college or university and promised no student’s graduation or transition to post-secondary education will be jeopardized by the coronavirus outbreak.

Requirements to pass the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test and do 40 hours of community service to graduate have been waived.

Jeff Sorensen, president of the public board’s elementary teachers’ union, said his members are scheduled to safely visit their classrooms on April 6 and 7 to retrieve course materials — as are secondary teachers.

They will also unlock cabinets storing classroom iPad kits so the devices can be distributed to students who need them, he said.

Sorensen said teaching elementary students remotely will be challenging because it’s hard to keep younger ones on task and individual circumstances, like parental help and access to books, will vary, especially with libraries being closed.

He said he understands many parents are stressed by the situation and hopes they’re understanding.

“At some point, I got the impression that people were thinking there was going to be a situation where 23 students would log in and see a video of their teacher teaching live. We just don’t have the technology for that.”

Daryl Jerome, president of the public board’s high school teachers’ union, said previous calls for members not to use their personal devices are being relaxed because circumstances may make it the only viable option despite privacy issues.

But he said the board is giving teachers leniency to determine what works best for them and students, which could include uploading a videotaped lesson and one-on-one video chats to help students with a problem if they’re able to do so.

“A lot of this is just, ‘Let’s go slow, do the best you can',” Jerome said. “My members have been understanding, and they’ve been really wanting to make this work.”