Monday, Dec. 5, 2022
Dear Parents and Guardians,
This school year is moving along quickly, and this is the final monthly Letter to Families for the 2022 calendar year.
There have been a few occurrences this school year of schools being placed on hold and secure and lockdown. It is vital that all stakeholders understand that these occurrences are placed in order to keep all safe; i.e. the plan is preventative, it is not necessarily a response to an imminent threat. Families are urged to familiarize themselves with school emergency procedures to understand when they are placed and why they are called.
Student and staff safety is a top priority and NNDSB will always take any and all precautions to ensure safety. The board’s Administrative Guideline Health and Safety: Emergency Response Plan outlines exactly what steps are to be taken to keep students and staff safe. This includes ongoing collaboration with community partners that includes reviewing and debriefing incidents, reviewing and revising current response plans and determining next steps to ensure the ongoing safety of students and staff at NNDSB schools.
Please understand that when an incident is underway or unfolding, the safety of your children is the top priority. We also want to be responsible and work with our community partners to make sure that the news we are sharing with families is accurate. NNDSB does not want to contribute to misinformation in the community.
Please speak with your child’s principal if you have questions or to receive more information about emergency preparedness plans for your school. Families that do not receive notifications from their schools and/or NNDSB may not have signed their Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) form that comes home with students every fall. Because CASL applies to school boards, NNDSB is prevented from communicating with families without their written consent. Once schools receive a signed CASL form, a family’s contact information will be added to a database to receive email and/or telephone communications.
We have been fortunate with only one inclement weather day so far this fall, but there will soon be more frequent weather-related cancellations of school transportation. Families whose children take the bus to school should have plans in place for days when there is no transportation to school.
Transportation for Near North District School Board (NNDSB) students is provided by Nipissing Parry Sound Student Transportation Services (NPSSTS), whose staff monitor the weather and make the decision whether to cancel buses. Cancellations are always made with safety as the top priority.
When buses are cancelled because of inclement weather, schools usually remain open. If schools remain open, students are encouraged to attend school using alternate transportation where possible; families are responsible for transportation to and from school if buses are not operating.
If weather or another event forces the closure of a school, there will not be transportation, nor will students be allowed in the building. In such cases, individual schools will be communicating directly with families.
When transportation is cancelled or schools are closed, families should look for communication from the school(s) regarding at-home work.
NPSSTS announces the cancellations of routes or corridors early in the morning. Families will find up-to-date information on NPSSTS’s delays/cancellations page, on NNDSB’s Facebook page and local radio stations announce cancellations.
For more information about transportation and inclement weather, visit NNDSB’s transportation page.
The program team is happy to provide the following information and resources to NNDSB families:
Passport to Learning: We would like to ensure that all families are aware that a student’s @nearnorthschools.ca account is a passport to learning. When students or staff login to our board website using their NNDSB username and password, they have access to digital tools that enable productivity, communication, collaboration and creativity. The NNDSB Passport to Learning features many learning resources to enhance learning at school and at home including, hundreds of educational resources, free downloadable Microsoft 365 software, online subscriptions, encyclopedias, research archives and links to Ministry of education resources.
DreamBox Learning – Grade 1-3 Math: NNDSB is pleased to share that all students in Grades 1-3 classrooms have access to DreamBox Learning (DBL). DreamBox is a digital math program that combines a fun and engaging math learning environment with curriculum-focused outcomes. DreamBox lessons are interactive experiences that promote active learning and independent critical thinking and respond to each student’s strategies and decisions in the moment. Because DreamBox dynamically adapts lessons and learning paths based on the needs of each learner, students always have just the right level of support when and where they need it. Students are encouraged to continue their learning with this resource at home. To access DBL at home, students simply login to Clever (using their NNDSB username and password). Click here to access additional information to support the use of DBL at home.
TVO Mathify – FREE 1:1 Grade 4-12 math tutoring with Ontario Certified Teachers! Families of students in Grades 4-12 have access to free online math tutoring with Ontario Certified Teachers in a safe and secure environment. Supports include interactive math lessons and activities, personalized learning, an interactive whiteboard and an online portfolio for saved work and tutoring sessions. Mathify tutors are available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m Monday to Friday and3:30 to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
To register students, click the link on the Mathify page of the NNDSB site or select Mathify from the LMS. A link is also available in Edsby’s Launchpad. Students create a username, password and select their grade, course and school board. After registration, students can access Mathify from these same locations. The LMS uses students’ NNDSB login and saves having to remember another username/password.
Literacy Learning: There is much to celebrate in literacy learning in NNDSB. The board has invested in exciting new resources like Acadience screening tools, the Flyleaf reading program and Lexia PowerUP, plus a variety of skill development resources. Acadience screenings ensure educators know what core literacy skills a student has mastered and what skills are still being developed.
Flyleaf decodable books and instructional resources support the development of core literacy skills in K-3 classrooms. Lexia PowerUp provides literacy instruction and activities for students in Grades 7-10 through a focus on word study, grammar and comprehension skill building.
Students are engaged in literacy activities that are based in skill building from recognizing letter sounds to word building in a myriad of ways.
The Medical Officer of Health of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, Dr. James Chirico, has provided a letter of support to Near North District School Board (NNDSB) and requested that it be shared with our school families.
The letter includes attachments from the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, in which the use of masks indoors is strongly encouraged. Dr. Chirico notes the local health unit is seeing emergency department visits for flu-like illnesses at twice the pre-pandemic three-year average for this time of year.
Dr. Chirico is urging NNDSB families to practice the following infection control measures to fight the respiratory illnesses of COVID-19, influenza and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that are resulting in emergency department visits:
- wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public spaces
- stay home when sick
- practice good hand hygiene
- frequently clean high-contact surfaces
Director of Education Craig Myles extends holiday greetings to all students, staff and families.
As we head into the final weeks of 2022, Director Myles thanks all students, staff and families for their perseverance over the past years of the pandemic, and appreciates their efforts in keeping NNDSB schools safe and members of our school communities healthy.
The Director hopes students, staff and families take time to enjoy what is important to them over the break, and wishes all a safe and happy holiday.
Near North District School Board