Friday, Feb. 4, 2022
Dear Parents and Guardians,
This monthly Letter to Families is intended to keep you apprised of news that affects all students and families of Near North District School Board (NNDSB). The Letter to Families is distributed on the first Friday of the month.
In recent weeks there have been several weather-related bus cancellations, as well as delays due to driver shortages. We understand that cancellations and delays, especially ones that are announced later in the morning, may cause upheaval to some families’ plans.
NNDSB is a member board of a consortium that provides transportation services to schools. Nipissing Parry Sound Student Transportation Services (NPSSTS or the consortium) provides the service, not the board. The guidelines they have in place provide details of cancellations will occur. Cancellations are made to maintain the safety of NNDSB students and bus drivers.
When NNDSB receives notification that the consortium has cancelled a route or corridor, we post on the board’s social media accounts (see links at the end of this letter). Full details can be found on NPSSTS’s delays and cancellations page.
As students have returned to school, they continue to be expected to complete the daily COVID-19 self-screening tool. Occasionally, students may be required to self-isolate, as a precautionary measure. Considering these circumstances, NNDSB has developed a plan to support ‘short-term’ remote learning.
Central staff will work in collaboration with classroom educators to support students who may be required to access remote learning for short periods of time. Short-term (Kindergarten to Grade 8) remote learning resources include technology enabled synchronous learning experiences (or live events), facilitated by program coordinators, librarians and Indigenous cultural advisors.
Furthermore, after-school virtual/synchronous tutoring is now available to all (Kindergarten to Grade 12) students to support them in continuing their learning during short-term absences. To learn more about these short-term learning supports, please contact your child’s educator.
It is that time of year again when we look to welcome our newest and youngest learners into the NNDSB family! If you have a child who was born on or before Dec 31, 2018, they are eligible to begin school this September. Registration has never been easier: simply follow this link to our Kindergarten Registration page and complete the form. We strongly recommend that families register as soon as possible.
The Early Years Team is also offering parents three opportunities to learn about kindergarten programs in Near North. These virtual events will occur on Feb 10, 16, and 22, 2022, all starting at 6 p.m. Parents can register using the QR code found on our Kindergarten webpage.
These sessions will provide parents with an overview of the Ontario kindergarten curriculum, what kindergarten in NNDSB looks like and answer any questions parents may have. Your child’s school will also be conducting parent sessions this spring: stay tuned for more information or call your local school to find out more!
Tuesday, Feb 8 is Safer Internet Day. To support the safety and well-being of NNDSB students, we encourage all parents to attend the presentation ONLINE DANGERS: Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Cyberbullying. This is an online panel presented by Public Safety Canada, that will tackle some of the most difficult topics that youth, parents, and caregivers face today – cyberbullying to online child sexual exploitation. A panel of experts from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Kids Help Phone and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, will define the issues, tell parents and caregivers what to look out for, and discuss how they can talk to their kids.
Though this panel is tailored towards parents and caregivers, much of the information will be valuable for educators to learn more about these issues and how to better support families.
The English and French panels will be live at the same time on Feb. 8, from 6-7 p.m. Participants are encouraged to register for a session based on their language preference. Registration will close an hour before the event.
NNDSB has so much great information to share from the program team! Read on to learn about the launch of innovative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and coding Initiatives.
Near North Codes: In February, NNDSB math facilitators introduced a new teaching and learning resource to support STEM, science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) and coding in mathematics classrooms. Near North Codes is a monthly professional learning publication and instructional resource designed to support staff in developing familiarity with coding and confidence integrating coding into classroom learning experiences.
Each month, a new edition of Near North Codes will be released. Resources will be sequenced as a progression of coding tasks, designed to support educators with the implementation of the new math curriculum coding expectations for Grades 1-9.
Teachers will find helpful links to support their own understanding of the expectations, along with a series of highlighted tasks for each division. These tasks can be immediately implemented with students, using Scratch Jr (primary) or Scratch (junior & intermediate).
Live Coding Events: All NNDSB Grade 4 classrooms have been invited to embark on an exciting coding adventure with Real-Life Googlers in partnership with the Cobblestone Initiative.
This live coding event will take place from March 29-31. It will include a one-hour live, co-taught virtual lesson on March 29, followed by a 30-minute live lesson on March 31.
Participating educators will have access to a drop-in Q&A session on March 30. No prior coding experience or knowledge is required for staff or students to participate. This innovative model will allow teachers to access classroom-embedded STEM learning while students benefit from interactive coding experiences delivered by coding experts.
Tutoring: Tutoring services have been made available to students and families across the system. After school, small group, in-person tutoring is available in 12 elementary schools focusing on learning recovery for primary students in literacy and numeracy. Virtual, one-on-one after-school tutoring support has been available to secondary students. This support is available each Tuesday to Thursday. Starting January 2022 virtual, one-on-one after school tutoring support has been available to elementary students. Progress monitoring in the primary programs and number of tutoring sessions offered virtually demonstrate improved outcomes and high frequency use of supports.
Intermediate (Grades 7 – 10) Literacy Intervention: Grades K-12 program and special education staff continue to work in partnership to explore and identify resources that support intermediate literacy learning. In the coming weeks, additional reading resources and assessment tools will be shared with intermediate educators and students. New literacy tools will help teachers plan daily classroom instruction and assessment that are systematic, evidence-based and assess foundational reading skills, provide differentiated and personalized instruction, and set appropriate learning goals with their students. Upcoming professional development opportunities will ensure that intermediate educators understand how to access and apply tools and gather the information they need to address students’ reading learning needs.
NNDSB follows the direction of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the public health unit when devising COVID-19 plans.
Near North District School Board