The province of Alberta shut down all schools on Monday, March 16. Students are no longer attending classes, but education will continue at home.
One local school has a distinct advantage in this area. Lakeside Outreach School already uses distance learning.
“Because all of our students learn online,” vice-principal Jessica Sachs-Cardinal says, “they already have access to all of their course materials through the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC). We will spend our time calling students, providing support and instruction when needed, and hopefully, do a ton of marking! We’re so grateful to the ADLC. This situation would feel impossible without this service.”
Elizabeth Lund is the principal at Slave Lake Koinonia Christian School.
“We just want to make sure the learning continues,” she says. There will be “lots of squeaks and tweaks along the way.”
Last week, the Koinonia staff were learning an online platform. The school plans to train the parents. The first class will just be the kids talking with each other and the teacher online. Classes will be staggered, because many families have more than one kid, but only one computer.
Roland Michener Secondary School principal Lisa Palko: “We’re exploring the possibility of using technology such as teacher tutorial videos or on-line chat Q & A sessions, but we need to first ensure we have the tech capabilities to offer this.”
Slave Lake, Smith, and Kinuso Schools are part of various school divisions.
Aspen View School Division Chair Candy Nikipelo says, “every school is very unique.” Smith School has different challenges than Athabasca. The situation continues to change. The schools and teachers are preparing for online teaching, which should be up and ready by the end of Spring Break, March 23 and 27.
Nikipelo’s best guess is that teachers will be working from home.
At High Prairie School Division (HPSD), the situation is similar.
“Teachers at all of our schools are reaching out to students and their families to assess the current technology level in each household,” says HPSD Communication Officer Kyle Nichols. “Staff are still working in schools to provide a continuity of education, but as this situation is very fluid, details may change as this continues to evolve.”
“It’s a whole new world,” says HPSD chair Joyce Dvornek. The HPSD administration has been working “flat out” since the school closure announcement. The teachers are also “up to the plate”, working to get set up, and very upset that their students aren’t at school.
Jo-Anne Lanctot, Superintendent of Living Waters Catholic Separate School Division (LWCCSD) sent out a media release on March 20.
“LWCCSD wants to assure students and families that we are in the process of planning a method of delivering continued programming during these unprecedented times. Our plan is to provide programming that is clearly linked to the program of studies, is predictable, sustainable, and accessible to all of our Living Waters students. It is imperative that we work as partners in the continued education of our students; we are in this together.”
Most of the schools’ plans require the internet and can be used on personal computers, laptop, iPad, or a mobile App. The school divisions are working to get people without internet or devices access through other means.
Related articles coming soon
Check out the April 1 Lakeside Leader for an article about an award-winning Slave Lake teacher.