Hamilton board still trying to reach 1,000 students

News Apr 17, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton’s public school board has been unable to contact about 1,000 of its 50,000 students as it rolls out online learning during school closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Education director Manny Figueiredo said the board’s social workers are trying to reach emergency contacts or neighbours to see if the missing students are OK.

He said it’s possible some may have gone on an overseas trip during the March break and not returned, while others may have lost a phone or changed contact information without notifying the board.

“That’s not a normal number in April because we always know if a kid’s registered, unregistered (or) if the kid’s an early leaver,” Figueiredo said. “It wouldn’t be uncommon in September as we’re starting up.”

Figueiredo said the board is still starting home learning in some cases, including because of educator training on software and the board’s online platform, known as The Hub, and the need to provide suitable digital devices to students who don’t have them.

He said the board hoped to complete distribution of about 6,000 iPads from redeployed classroom kits on April 17, using a protocol that had them sanitized and packaged for pickup at assigned times at schools.

Figueiredo said the board is also leasing another 1,000 iPads with internet access for families without service, and they will be distributed shortly.

Challenges aside, he said, the board is in “a fairly good position” because many teachers have already been blending online learning into the classroom as part of an initiative providing iPads to all high school students and classroom kits in Grades 4 to 8.

But some are new to online teaching, so grade teams will be helping guide them on best practices, he added.

“We have to be patient through this process and adapt as we go along,” Figueiredo said. “We’ll do the best we can under these conditions.”

Daryl Jerome, president of the board’s secondary teachers’ local union, said it’s difficult to gauge how online learning is faring because experiences vary by school, grade and classroom.

But, he said, it’s been a challenge for teachers to reach all students, possibly because some don’t see the need to keep learning given the province has said their marks can’t go down from where they were on March 13.

“I am hearing from (teachers) that they’re putting in a lot of work and, yes, they have kids that are actively logging in and doing the work, but it’s certainly not to the levels they’re used to," he said.

Jerome said that other than for Grade 12 students who need marks for post-secondary applications, he’d like the province to adopt a pass/no credit approach to courses to lessen students’ stress over marks.

Doing so would allow teachers to focus on key concepts in subjects like Grade 11 math and then address any shortcomings once schools reopen, he said, noting courses like auto and home studies are already limited because they normally have hands-on work.

“Let’s do what we can, salvage what we can, not focus on the grades. Pass, fail, move on,” Jerome said.

Jeff Sorensen, president of the board’s elementary teachers’ local union, said his members are taking a variety of approaches to online learning, with some uploading video lessons to The Hub and others being available for help during set hours.

But, he said, no one’s figured out a good way to teach subjects like art, music and phys-ed online, and teachers can only try their best and hope parents are understanding.

“You can’t replace teachers and students being in the same room for that immediate feedback, that immediate assistance,” Sorensen said.

“I think it says something to (Premier) Doug Ford’s plans to go to e-learning. We’re not there, nor maybe should we ever be there.”

Hamilton board still trying to reach 1,000 students for online learning

‘We have to be patient through this process,’ education director says

News Apr 17, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton’s public school board has been unable to contact about 1,000 of its 50,000 students as it rolls out online learning during school closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Education director Manny Figueiredo said the board’s social workers are trying to reach emergency contacts or neighbours to see if the missing students are OK.

He said it’s possible some may have gone on an overseas trip during the March break and not returned, while others may have lost a phone or changed contact information without notifying the board.

“That’s not a normal number in April because we always know if a kid’s registered, unregistered (or) if the kid’s an early leaver,” Figueiredo said. “It wouldn’t be uncommon in September as we’re starting up.”

Related Content

Figueiredo said the board is still starting home learning in some cases, including because of educator training on software and the board’s online platform, known as The Hub, and the need to provide suitable digital devices to students who don’t have them.

He said the board hoped to complete distribution of about 6,000 iPads from redeployed classroom kits on April 17, using a protocol that had them sanitized and packaged for pickup at assigned times at schools.

Figueiredo said the board is also leasing another 1,000 iPads with internet access for families without service, and they will be distributed shortly.

Challenges aside, he said, the board is in “a fairly good position” because many teachers have already been blending online learning into the classroom as part of an initiative providing iPads to all high school students and classroom kits in Grades 4 to 8.

But some are new to online teaching, so grade teams will be helping guide them on best practices, he added.

“We have to be patient through this process and adapt as we go along,” Figueiredo said. “We’ll do the best we can under these conditions.”

Daryl Jerome, president of the board’s secondary teachers’ local union, said it’s difficult to gauge how online learning is faring because experiences vary by school, grade and classroom.

But, he said, it’s been a challenge for teachers to reach all students, possibly because some don’t see the need to keep learning given the province has said their marks can’t go down from where they were on March 13.

“I am hearing from (teachers) that they’re putting in a lot of work and, yes, they have kids that are actively logging in and doing the work, but it’s certainly not to the levels they’re used to," he said.

Jerome said that other than for Grade 12 students who need marks for post-secondary applications, he’d like the province to adopt a pass/no credit approach to courses to lessen students’ stress over marks.

Doing so would allow teachers to focus on key concepts in subjects like Grade 11 math and then address any shortcomings once schools reopen, he said, noting courses like auto and home studies are already limited because they normally have hands-on work.

“Let’s do what we can, salvage what we can, not focus on the grades. Pass, fail, move on,” Jerome said.

Jeff Sorensen, president of the board’s elementary teachers’ local union, said his members are taking a variety of approaches to online learning, with some uploading video lessons to The Hub and others being available for help during set hours.

But, he said, no one’s figured out a good way to teach subjects like art, music and phys-ed online, and teachers can only try their best and hope parents are understanding.

“You can’t replace teachers and students being in the same room for that immediate feedback, that immediate assistance,” Sorensen said.

“I think it says something to (Premier) Doug Ford’s plans to go to e-learning. We’re not there, nor maybe should we ever be there.”

Hamilton board still trying to reach 1,000 students for online learning

‘We have to be patient through this process,’ education director says

News Apr 17, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton’s public school board has been unable to contact about 1,000 of its 50,000 students as it rolls out online learning during school closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Education director Manny Figueiredo said the board’s social workers are trying to reach emergency contacts or neighbours to see if the missing students are OK.

He said it’s possible some may have gone on an overseas trip during the March break and not returned, while others may have lost a phone or changed contact information without notifying the board.

“That’s not a normal number in April because we always know if a kid’s registered, unregistered (or) if the kid’s an early leaver,” Figueiredo said. “It wouldn’t be uncommon in September as we’re starting up.”

Related Content

Figueiredo said the board is still starting home learning in some cases, including because of educator training on software and the board’s online platform, known as The Hub, and the need to provide suitable digital devices to students who don’t have them.

He said the board hoped to complete distribution of about 6,000 iPads from redeployed classroom kits on April 17, using a protocol that had them sanitized and packaged for pickup at assigned times at schools.

Figueiredo said the board is also leasing another 1,000 iPads with internet access for families without service, and they will be distributed shortly.

Challenges aside, he said, the board is in “a fairly good position” because many teachers have already been blending online learning into the classroom as part of an initiative providing iPads to all high school students and classroom kits in Grades 4 to 8.

But some are new to online teaching, so grade teams will be helping guide them on best practices, he added.

“We have to be patient through this process and adapt as we go along,” Figueiredo said. “We’ll do the best we can under these conditions.”

Daryl Jerome, president of the board’s secondary teachers’ local union, said it’s difficult to gauge how online learning is faring because experiences vary by school, grade and classroom.

But, he said, it’s been a challenge for teachers to reach all students, possibly because some don’t see the need to keep learning given the province has said their marks can’t go down from where they were on March 13.

“I am hearing from (teachers) that they’re putting in a lot of work and, yes, they have kids that are actively logging in and doing the work, but it’s certainly not to the levels they’re used to," he said.

Jerome said that other than for Grade 12 students who need marks for post-secondary applications, he’d like the province to adopt a pass/no credit approach to courses to lessen students’ stress over marks.

Doing so would allow teachers to focus on key concepts in subjects like Grade 11 math and then address any shortcomings once schools reopen, he said, noting courses like auto and home studies are already limited because they normally have hands-on work.

“Let’s do what we can, salvage what we can, not focus on the grades. Pass, fail, move on,” Jerome said.

Jeff Sorensen, president of the board’s elementary teachers’ local union, said his members are taking a variety of approaches to online learning, with some uploading video lessons to The Hub and others being available for help during set hours.

But, he said, no one’s figured out a good way to teach subjects like art, music and phys-ed online, and teachers can only try their best and hope parents are understanding.

“You can’t replace teachers and students being in the same room for that immediate feedback, that immediate assistance,” Sorensen said.

“I think it says something to (Premier) Doug Ford’s plans to go to e-learning. We’re not there, nor maybe should we ever be there.”