Friday, March 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.
School staff, students, and their families have welcomed the resumption of high contact and high-intensity extracurricular activities as permitted by the Ministry of Education.
Further to this, the Ministry of Health has recommended that individuals who have completed a five-day isolation period after testing positive for COVID-19, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or being identified as a household contact of someone with presumed COVID continue to wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings. As such, this recommendation is also being applied to the return of extracurricular sports and music activities. Until further notice, students who participate in high contact/high-intensity extracurricular activities must self-assess their individual situations and decide if the following recommended options apply to their situations.
When returning to these activities following a five-day isolation period it is recommended that:
1) Students choose to return to the activity on Day 6 and wear a mask during the activity (i.e.: basketball or hockey) for Days 6-10 or
2) Students choose to return to the activity on Day 11, following their isolation period.
The rationale for this recommendation is that the Omicron variant can still be transmitted up to 10 days after symptom onset (National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan). Parents are encouraged to speak to their children about these options and communicate with the school coach/team leader.
While many COVID-19 restrictions have recently been lifted by the provincial government, it is important for students and families to understand that schools adhere to guidelines from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and local public health units.
At this time, NNDSB’s COVID-19 policies around school visitors, spectators for sports and masking have not changed. As always, principals will share any important COVID-19 updates directly with students and their families.
The Ministry of Education recently announced that virtual learning will continue to be available for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 for the 2022-2023 school year. NNDSB has begun the initial planning for next year.
Further information regarding virtual learning and registration information will be sent to all families in the coming weeks and will be made available on our website.
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.
Your child’s school will be conducting Journey into Learning events this spring to share information about your child’s kindergarten classroom, program and school community; call your local school to find out more!
Kindergarten students may also be registered in French Immersion. That program runs throughout the district at Parry Sound Public School, Alliance and Sunset Park Public Schools in North Bay and Mattawa District Public School. Information about French Immersion at NNDSB can be found here.
The early years team is also offering parents the opportunity to learn about French Immersion kindergarten programs at a virtual event being held March 23 at 6 p.m. Families can register using this link. This session will provide families with an overview of the French Immersion program, discuss ways in which families can support their children at home, and answer questions.
NNDSB works in partnership with the Canadian Ecology Centre in Mattawa to provide a variety of full-credit courses that take place in the summer.
Students live and learn on-site, and courses take place over a two-week period. This is a great way for secondary students to get an early start on credits and participate in experiential learning.
Below is information from NNDSB’s program team:
Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and Right to Read report:
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released its Right to Read report Feb. 28, 2022, on human rights issues affecting students with reading disabilities. The report called for critical changes to Ontario’s approach to early reading, in areas such as curriculum and instruction, screening, reading interventions, accommodations and professional assessments. Here are links to the news release and executive summary.
In anticipation of this report, the NNDSB program team, in collaboration with the special education department, has been working over the past two years to grow capacity in comprehensive literacy assessment, instruction and intervention. Our central staff have conducted a review of current literacy practices and renewed our commitment to ensuring all students develop skills in service of reading, writing and communicating. Acknowledging that the Ministry will need time to synthesize the report and provide direction to school boards, we remain focused on preparing staff to achieve the recommendations included in the final OHRC Right to Read report and improving the outcomes for all NNDSB students.
EQAO: Grades 3 and 6 assessments of reading, writing and mathematics:
The Ministry of Education is resuming primary and junior EQAO assessments this year. The information gathered by these standard assessments in math and literacy will allow our education system to better understand the impact of the pandemic over time and inform investments in learning recovery and renewal. The EQAO assessments have been modernized and are now offered as an online, digital assessment.
Last week, EQAO released the new assessment framework for Grades 3 and 6, which provides a detailed description of the new online format of the primary and junior division assessments of reading, writing and mathematics. The assessment information has been posted on EQAO’s website. The framework details how the assessment is mapped to the Ontario curriculum.
Students, parents and educators have the opportunity to become familiar with the digital assessments and the e-assessment platform through EQAO’s online Grades 3 and 6 sample assessments. Accessibility features, such as a text-to-speech feature, are built into the e-assessment platform, and the platform also interfaces with other accessibility software tools commonly used by students. Other features (such as highlighting, line drawing and eraser tools) are available to all students as they write the assessments. Use these links to access the sample assessments: Grade 3 sample test and Grade 6 sample test.
We will continue to share information about the new EQAO assessments as it becomes available.
Grade 4 students learning to code:
Grade 4 students from across NNDSB will be embarking on a synchronous coding learning experience in partnership with Google and the Cobblestone Initiative. This live coding event takes place from March 29-31 and includes live events and a Q & A session for educators.
This innovative model will allow teachers to access classroom-embedded STEM professional learning while students will benefit from live interactive coding experiences delivered by online coding experts.
Indigenous Cultural Advisors:
In partnership with the Anishinabek Education System (AES) and Participating First Nations (PFNs), we are thrilled to announce that two cultural advisors have been hired (contracted by Moose Deer Point and Dokis) to establish connections and relationships with board and school staff, students, and local community, and to build, develop, and increase an understanding of Anishinaabe history, culture, knowledge, teachings and protocols.
Rodney Stanger and Tasheena Sarazin visit schools regularly to support capacity building and professional development, help develop and deliver cultural and land-based activities, facilitate special events, host socials and luncheons with staff and students, connect schools with local Elders/Knowledge Keepers and develop cultural resources and guidelines/protocols.
Check out this SWAY link for more information and to see pictures and videos.
Intermediate (Grades 7-10) PowerUp Literacy intervention:
K-12 program department and special education staff worked in partnership to acquire a resource to support intermediate literacy learning.
Lexia PowerUp has been launched in all schools with students in Grades 7-10. This resource is designed to enhance core English language arts instruction for non-proficient readers. PowerUp Literacy accelerates the development of both fundamental literacy skills and higher order thinking skills through personalized learning paths. PowerUp Literacy addresses the instructional needs of a wide range of students, from struggling to nearly proficient readers, by identifying skill gaps and providing personalized, systematic instruction in word study, grammar, and comprehension. These 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.
Each year school boards in our district work with the District Social Services Administration Boards to conduct a childcare viability survey. This year the survey is open from Monday, Feb. 28 until Friday, March 11.
The goal of this survey is to understand the need for childcare programs for school-aged children (ages 3.8-12 years). The survey results inform the number of programs that operate within our schools, so it is very important that parents take the time to communicate their childcare needs for the 2022-2023 school year via this survey. The survey can be accessed via this link.
Please note, NNDSB does not provide the childcare; the board works with community partners that are the service providers, often in childcare spaces located in schools.
In addition to staying informed via the board’s website, families can find NNDSB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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