Friday, Jan. 7, 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 May 2021, we shared the decision that NNDSB was continuing with the octomester model for the 2021-2022 school year based on direction from the Ministry of Education and local public health units. After consultation with students, families and staff, we are pleased to share with you that NNDSB is planning for a transition to the quadmester model on Jan. 31, 2022.
Recently the board retained Nanos Research to conduct a survey and gather feedback from stakeholders in NNDSB on their experiences with the secondary octomester timetabling format should NNDSB not be able to return to a traditional semester timetable. The results of the surveys are available for viewing here: parent and student. According to feedback from students and families, most would prefer a quadmester model for the second half of the school year.
Since we are unable to return to the semester model due to the current instability of COVID-19, we will move to quadmesters. The quadmester model will see students take two courses a day – one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. This decision was made in consultation with public health and our own research.
NNDSB appreciates the time that students and families gave to respond to the survey. The feedback is important to the board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan pillars of excellence in communication and excellence in relationships.
Students and families can expect further communication from their school on timetables and school-specific details.
NNDSB continues to place a high priority on supporting our students’ mental health during this latest period of remote learning. The board’s mental health team is reaching out to the students/parents that they are currently supporting to provide check-ins and make arrangements for continuity of services.
Our educators also have several mental health resources at their disposal and will be sensitive to the mental health needs of their students during on-line learning. The mental health team continues to accept new referrals for students who are seeking support during remote learning. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or principal/vice-principal if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s mental health.
There are many other resources and tools for parents and caregivers which can be accessed on the SMHO website https://smho-smso.ca/parents-and-families/.
Kids Help Phone offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. Students can call 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868.
Secondary schools are holding their information nights virtually, and families are invited to attend to learn more about NNDSB schools and their programs.
More information about the six secondary schools, with links to their open house meetings, can be found here.
Every year, the four local school boards collaborate to establish a school-year calendar which aims to promote student learning, success and well-being, and to minimize the impact on the schedule of their families, staff and members of the school community, all while respecting Ministry of Education standards.
The school-year calendar must consist of 194 compulsory teaching days, a maximum of seven (7) professional development days (pedagogical days) and a maximum of ten (10) exam days for secondary schools.
The coterminous board teams have carefully selected professional development opportunities for staff which align with Ministry of Education priorities, the proposed 2022-2023 school year calendar will include seven (7) professional activity days.
Although the number of school days available between Sept. 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023 are limited, we can offer our school communities a few options. We will invite you to indicate your preferences in the school-year calendar survey that will be open from the middle of January for 10 days. You will be sent the link via school messenger, and it will also be available on the board website.
Preferences and comments received will be taken into consideration in developing the final version of the 2022-2023 school-year calendar. Trustees from every school board will adopt the recommended 2022-2023 school year calendar prior to submitting it to the Ministry of Education for approval by March 1, 2022.
We look forward to your participation and collaboration in the upcoming school-year calendar survey.
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