Uncharted waters:’ teachers in school and students at home

Leader staff

We reached out to Living Waters Catholic School Division last week to find out how education for elementary school students is being handled.
According to superintendent Joanne Lanctot, the focus for the time being is narrowed down to three basic areas: literacy, numeracy and “the infusion of faith.”

There are all kinds of challenges in delivering lessons and helping the kids get through, them, obviously. Most have never done anything like this before.

“As we are still in the early stages of implementation, learning to use technology and putting structures in place to connect with all students has been a focus for many,” says Lanctot. “We have also given the parents and students an opportunity to give feedback on the delivery of programming, so we can make any necessary adjustments as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters.”

Some of the lessons are being delivered online. But not all students have that capability, so teachers are making paper lesson packages available.
These are picked up at the school by parents by appointment. Lanctot says when the completed work is returned, it is put in a bin where it stays for three days before being picked up.

“One staff member scans the work and sends it to the appropriate teacher,” she says. However, Lanctot adds, very few parents/students are using this method. As for the online lessons, they are a blend of one-on-one contact between teacher and student and “whole-class Google hangouts.” Some teachers are also recording video lessons, which their students can view when it’s convenient.

Lanctot says school staff has worked “incredibly hard to make the transition.”

One good thing that might come out of this unusual situation is an increase in parental involvement. School staff are “creating new opportunities for learning, making connections with students and families, and engaging parents in their child’s learning more than ever,” Lanctot says.

How will it all work out in the end? We’ll have to get back to you on that.

St. Francis teacher Neena Zacharia takes a break from online teaching for a selfie.

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