The Board of Trustees of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) passed motions during its regular public meeting on Saturday, June 12 to officially close Raymond Ward Memorial School in Norman Bay, Basque Memorial School in Red Bay, and Bayview Primary in Nipper’s Harbour. There were no students enrolled, and no staff assigned, to either school this year, and the District only recently confirmed there would be no students in attendance in September 2021.
The process for school closures is outlined in the Schools Act, said Board Chair Goronwy Price. That legislated process is now complete, clearing the way for the disposal of these surplus properties.
Saturday’s meeting included a report on the progress of the District’s Deep Learning initiative, which is an educational philosophy which focuses on the mastery of curriculum, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, citizenship, communication skills and empowering students through self-directed learning.
The work that is being done by the District has been showcased at national and international educational events and demonstrates what can be achieved through the power of student and teacher engagement, said Chair Price. This is a focus on learning where young people gain skills for the 21st century and develop into curious, independent, thoughtful, productive citizens. It’s setting the stage for future success in school and in life.
This is the second year of the Deep Learning initiative. A video highlighting some recent projects at schools in the District can be viewed here: Deep Learning Presentation.
The next regular public meeting of the Board is scheduled for September 25, 2021.
In accordance with the recommendation of Public Health officials (Western Health), schools in the St. George’s - Port au Port - Stephenville area will be open for in-class instruction on Monday, May 31, except for Stephenville Primary, where, for operational reasons, classes are suspended as some staff and students are awaiting results of testing conducted over the weekend. A further announcement is anticipated Monday afternoon.
The District has been advised there is no cause to alter any other school operations at this time.
We recognize concerns raised within the community whenever there is a report of potential Covid-19 exposure, said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. The District works closely with Public Health officials in these situations and factors their advice and recommendations into any decisions made.
In this instance, Public Health has indicated the majority of schools can open - which is, once again, a testament to the health and safety measures being implemented at all of our schools to mitigate the risk of transmission within the school environment.
If there are any changes to Public Health recommendations, the District will adjust operations as necessary in order to continue offering the best possible learning opportunities for students.
The complete release can be found at the link below.
All schools in the Central Region will return to in-class instruction tomorrow (Thursday, May 27), as planned, following reassurance from Dr. Monika Dutt, Regional Medical Officer of Health for Central Health, that there is no need to alter school operations due to the recent cluster of COVID-19 cases in the area. This was already the case, as noted by Public Health officials earlier this week.
Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, said the decision earlier this week to suspend in-class instruction for two days was a proactive measure, beyond what Public Health had recommended, designed to monitor and prepare for any unforeseen operational issues which might occur.
As always, the focus for Public Health and school district officials has been to allow maximum in-class instruction for all students during the Covid-19 pandemic through enhanced health and safety measures implemented within the community and at the school level, said Mr. Stack. I recognize this has been a challenging time for people in the Central Region, and I thank students, staff and families for making this unanticipated adjustment over the past two days.
In consultation with the Department of Education, several schools in the Central Region area will be closed to in-class instruction for two days (Tuesday May 25 and Wednesday, May 26) in response to an identified cluster of Covid-19 in the area.
While Public Health has not expressly advised that in-class instruction be suspended at this time, this action is being taken from a District perspective to address any operational issues which may occur in terms of teaching and support staff being directly advised by Public Health to self isolate.
If required, students will be able to collect any essential learning materials required from their schools on Tuesday, May 25, and online instruction will be available on Wednesday, May 26. It is expected that in-class instruction will resume on Thursday, May 27.
If the situation changes, families will be advised as soon as possible and the District will adjust operations as necessary.
The impacted schools are listed in the Backgrounder of the News Release linked below.
Meanwhile, as noted during the May 24, 2021 provincial Covid-19 briefing, the impact on schools in the area is limited at this time, due partly to a scheduled two-day professional learning session for teachers that led into the weekend. Students were not in school at that time.
An update will be provided on Wednesday, May 26.
High school teachers throughout Newfoundland and Labrador have been engaged in professional learning over the past two days to prepare for an enhanced ‘Scenario 2’ blended learning education delivery model for most high school students. The model, to be implemented Wednesday, April 14, is designed to maximize in-class instruction time while enabling a daily teacher-student connection.
Details around Scenario 2 are outlined in the Department of Education’s K-12 Education Re-entry Plan, and operationalized through the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District’s A Safe Return to School Reopening Plan, both released prior to September 2020. Both plans have been impacted by changing Public Health recommendations, the latest of which can be viewed at Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools (April 7). Under Scenario 2, students attend school on alternate days to reduce the number of students in class at one time. Those who are not physically in class on a given day will continue their learning from home. Scenario 2 has, however, been modified to allow the students at home to connect virtually with teachers and classmates for at least a portion of each class.
The District has been able to improve the Scenario 2 model to allow for a daily connection with each student, said Goronwy Price, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the English School District. That’s the ‘modified’ part of Scenario 2 - an enhanced virtual component which includes a direct daily connection between students and teachers, even if the student is not physically present.
This does not mean teachers will be juggling two different education delivery models each day, but rather one blended in-class/online education delivery model. There are different blended learning options and approaches within the model and teachers will have flexibility to determine what works best for their classrooms and subject areas. Meanwhile, online instruction will not continue as it did under the full-time Scenario 3 model. Therefore, students cannot opt to attend online only. In order for the blended learning model to be most effective, students must attend class when they are scheduled to do so.
We have watched the Covid-19 situation evolve and the resulting Public Health recommendations change since the school year began, said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education. But one thing has remained consistent - our teachers’ ability to adjust and adapt to provide the best possible opportunities for students. We believe in-class instruction is the optimal learning environment for students, both for their academic success and their social-emotional well-being. Teachers will make this work - because they are professionals and that’s what they do. Meanwhile, District staff will be on hand to assist wherever necessary and we ask that people have patience and allow teachers and students to work through any early glitches, find their rhythm, and continue teaching and learning under these new circumstances.
The District expects most high school students will be learning under Scenario 2 for the foreseeable future, although some will continue full-time in-class instruction, due to smaller high school populations in some rural schools. Students in K-9 will remain in school full-time, unless Public Health recommendations dictate otherwise.
For more information, including a Frequently Asked Questions document, see: Information for School Communities.
Following consultation between the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD), the Department of Education, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Public Health officials, NLESD is moving forward with plans that maximize in-class instruction for high school students while adhering to updated public health guidance.
Following updated public health guidance for K-12 Education, high school students who are currently attending online classes will move into a blended learning model. Under this modified Scenario 2 approach, high school classes will be split into two groups and students will alternate between in-class instruction and online attendance, with access five days each week. On days when students are not physically in class, they will be able to access the classroom remotely with their peers via Google Classroom.
These changes will take effect throughout the province starting on Wednesday, April 14. Educators will be provided two days for transition time and professional learning on Monday, April 12 and Tuesday, April 13, during which time the Easter Break will be extended for high school students currently learning under Scenario 3.
Under this new guidance, classes that are not able to maintain cohorts in a school setting, including high school classes, are required to divide students into two separate groups who will attend in-person on alternating days. This, combined with the requirement for students to wear masks in school, should maximize distancing while minimizing the risk of transmission in a school setting.
More information can be found in the backgrounder of the Provincial Government news release.
It is important to note that all classes for the Francophone School District are operating at full capacity under Scenario 1.
The Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Education and Mr. Tony Stack, CEO and Director of Education of the NLESD were available to speak with the media on Wednesday, April 7. Video is available here.
Our number one priority has always been to keep students in school when it is safe to do so. In recent weeks we have worked closely with Dr. Fitzgerald and her team and with the NL English School District to find a solution that supports this priority while reducing the risk of a further outbreak. We recognize the value of in-person instruction, and it is my hope that if we all remain mindful of public health guidelines we can maintain this approach for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.
Honourable Tom Osborne
Minister of Education
The Board is pleased to see high school students who have been studying exclusively online have the opportunity to access in-class instruction with their teachers and peers. Our trustees have advocated for ways to maximize in-class learning for students, recognizing it is the optimal environment to address students’ learning needs, as well as their social-emotional and mental well-being.
Board Chair, NL English School District
In consultation with the Department of Education and Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) is preparing to resume full-time in-class instruction (Scenario 1) for K-9 schools in the Avalon region. They will join their counterparts in Labrador, Central and Western regions, who returned to in-class instruction last week.
Meanwhile, high schools throughout the province which cannot operate in Scenario 1, due to an inability to cohort and recently revised Public Health protocols, will all operate under the Scenario 3 (full-time online instruction) model. This includes those in Labrador, Western and Central regions previously identified as entering a Scenario 2 model, with blended in-class instruction/at-home learning environment.
These models will remain in effect until at least Thursday, April 1, and will be re-evaluated at the end of the scheduled Easter Break on April 9.
After discussion with Provincial Government officials, it was determined that with the evident success to date of online instruction at the high school level, coupled with complications presented by the Covid-19 variant, the District will continue with full-time online instruction in all high schools at this time, said Goronwy Price, Chair of the NLESD Board of Trustees. The District will continue to adapt and adjust to Public Health recommendations as they evolve in order to maximize instructional time for students.
In Avalon Region:
- All K-9 students will begin full-time in-class instruction under Scenario 1 (near normal) on Thursday, March 18, with recently-updated health and safety protocols in place. These students will remain within their class cohorts throughout the school day.
- All high schools will continue to operate under Scenario 3 (full-time online instruction), with the exception of a small number of schools which can operate under Scenario 1, as students are able to cohort within a small school population.
In Labrador, Western and Central Regions:
- All K-9 students will continue in-class instruction within their schools.
- Schools with high school grades which can operate in Scenario 1 will continue to do so.
- All schools previously identified as operating in Scenario 2 (blended in-class instruction/at-home learning) will revert to Scenario 3 (full-time online instruction), on Thursday, March 18.
More information is provided in the Backgrounder attached below.
Please note: In schools where in-class instruction has resumed, teachers will be engaged in face-to-face instruction, and online classes will not be available.
The District will continue to work closely with the Department of Education, educational partners, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Public Health officials in the various regions of the province, to adhere to the recommendations and advice provided as the school year continues.
In consultation with Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Public Health officials province-wide, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) is preparing to resume in-class instruction for schools in the Central, Western and Labrador regions, in accordance with certain parameters and protocols outlined below.
For the Avalon Region, the ‘circuit breaker’ period has been extended for at least two weeks, up to and including March 12, 2021. Schools in the Avalon region will therefore continue to adhere to the Scenario 3 Protocols for Online Learning for different grade groupings. The only exception at this time is for students with complex needs, who will be able to access in-school learning if their families wish to avail of it. Schools will be following up with families to provide further information.
Central, Western and Labrador teaching staff will begin in-class instruction as follows:
- K-12 grades begin in-class instruction under Scenario 1 (near normal), where possible under newly-updated health and safety protocols, on Wednesday, March 3,
- The exception is at certain schools (e.g., some intermediate/high schools) where classes cannot adhere to newly-updated health and safety protocols around cohorts and physical distancing. These classes will begin instruction under a Scenario 2 (blended in-class/at home learning) environment, on Wednesday, March 3.
- Information on Scenario 2, and affected schools, is in the document linked here and below.
Public Health has updated recommendations to health and safety protocols for in-class instruction, including:
- All school staff will be required to wear a Level 1 medical mask and face shield at all times within instructional spaces and at any other time a two-metre physical distance cannot be maintained between students/other staff. A Level 1 medical mask is a disposable, non-surgical 3-ply mask.
- All students in Grades 4-12 are expected to wear a mask (not necessarily a Level 1 medical mask) at all times on the school bus and during the school day, including when seated in classrooms.
- Grades 7-12 students who cannot cohort (i.e., maintain a consistent class grouping throughout the school day) must maintain a two-metre physical distance at all times.
- Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are expected to wear a mask at all times on the school bus and are encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask during the school day.
In schools where in-class instruction has resumed, teachers will be engaged in face-to-face instruction, and online classes will not be available.
“While we are pleased to see a partial return to semi-normalcy in most regions, we recognize the additional health and safety protocols may take some getting used to,” said Goronwy Price, Chair of the NLESD Board of Trustees. “We ask that people be patient and understanding, and support our staff, students and each other as we move to this next phase of teaching and learning.”
The District will continue to work closely with the Department of Education, educational partners, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and Public Health officials in the various regions of the province, to adhere to the recommendations and advice provided - which are expected to be adjusted if Covid-19 circumstances change.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District has received a number of inquiries today (Wednesday, February 24) regarding the release of school-specific Covid-19 information, namely a list of schools where an individual connected to that school has developed Covid-19.
“To be clear, while we are aware Eastern Health has released some school-related information to local media, the District is not in a position to provide additional detail,” said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education. “This is information collected by Public Health. It is not routinely shared with the District. We have certainly expressed concern about the release of any information that could potentially impact on the privacy of students, staff, or families within a school community, but this is not the District’s information to withhold or disclose. However, we requested that Eastern Health allow us time to inform our stakeholders.”
In the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Health Guidance to K-12 Schools the following direction was provided:
"If a staff person or student in a school is confirmed by public health as positive for COVID-19, public health will work with school administration to determine what actions should be taken, including if any staff or students who have been in contact with that person need to self-isolate, and if other staff and students’ families should be notified... Public Health will provide direction if there are concerns regarding a case in school. Schools should not provide notification to staff or students’ families if a staff member or student becomes ill at home or at school, including if they display symptoms of COVID-19, unless directed to by public health."
It should be noted that just because an individual connected to a school has developed Covid-19 does not mean it was transmitted through the school or that the individual was contagious while in the school environment.
“We have seen how the Mount Pearl Senior High community has been the target of some very negative and hurtful public discourse in the past two weeks,” Mr. Stack said. “I do not wish to see a repeat of this for any of our other school communities. I would encourage media outlets and the public to recognize the trauma these students, staff and families have suffered, and are suffering, and offer only kindness, respect, and support as they navigate these difficult days.”
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District has developed a new webpage focused specifically on online learning during the ‘circuit breaker’ period, up until at least February 26, 2021, inclusive.
"These have been challenging days as we roll out online teaching and learning throughout the province - with the added complication of the Covid-19 variant forcing sudden adjustments to our original plans,” said Goronwy Price, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD). “I am encouraged to see how school administrators and teachers are rising to that challenge and supporting their students, families, and each other as we move through what is new teaching and learning territory for most."
The new webpage can be accessed at Information for School Communities and includes a section on School Community Resources which may be of particular benefit to families at this time. The webpage will be updated as further information becomes available.
Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education for the NLESD, said while there have been a few bumps along the way, there have been many more reports of a very smooth transition, with students engaged in both instructional screen time with their teachers and assigned offline activities and group work. Many of these experiences have been shared on social media. Province-wide Schools Lean Into Online Learning.
"I congratulate our teachers for being the consummate professionals they are; devoting themselves to student learning while also, in many cases, caring for their pre-schoolers and navigating the online learning of their own young children as well,” said Mr. Stack. “I hope everyone in the province will join me in acknowledging their creativity, dedication and ingenuity."
The complete news release can be viewed at the link noted below.
In-school classes are suspended at all schools under the jurisdiction of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board, effective Monday, Feb. 15 until at least Friday, Feb. 26, inclusive. This decision was made in consultation with the Provincial Government and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as part of province-wide efforts to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. All in-school classes in the Avalon Region were suspended last week.
During this two-week “circuit breaker”, school administrators will only be allowing the retrieval of a student’s personal technology device left at the school, or essential items required for health and safety (e.g., medications, medical equipment). Other personal items cannot be retrieved at this time.
Central, Western and Labrador teaching staff will begin online instruction as follows:
- High School and Intermediate grades begin online classes no later than Wednesday, Feb. 17.
- Primary and Elementary grades begin online classes no later than Thursday, Feb. 18.
For the Avalon Region, excluding St. John’s Metro, as previously communicated:
- High School and Intermediate online classes begin no later than Monday, Feb. 15.
- Primary and Elementary classes begin no later than Tuesday, Feb. 16.
For St. John’s Metro schools:
- High School and Intermediate schools have already begun implementing online classes.
- Primary and Elementary grades begin online classes no later than Monday, Feb. 15.
All sessions will adhere to the Scenario 3 Protocols for Online Learning for different grade groupings.
Students and families are reminded that most personal laptops, tablets, desktop computers and smartphones can be used for online learning. You do not need a Chromebook for online learning. If you have a compatible device, please do not request a Chromebook from the school at this time.
Please note, this is not the complete text of the News Release. The complete document is available at the link listed below.
The Avalon Region of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) was dealt a blow this week, with the outbreak of Covid-19 impacting schools in the region. But amid the anxiety and uncertainty, teachers throughout the region were rising to the challenge and making connections with students.
“This is Teacher-Staff Appreciation Week, and there is perhaps no better time to acknowledge the professional educators and school staff who are taking this in stride; embracing this challenge, and focusing on making it work for their students,” said Goronwy Price, Chair of the NLESD’s Board of Trustees. “I’ve been seeing a host of positive messages on social media which speak to teacher efforts and supportive messages from their colleagues and students from throughout the province.”
Schools used their own school-based social media accounts to share messages of encouragement to colleagues, students and families. Meanwhile, teachers at the District’s ConnectEd Remote Learning School, who have been navigating these waters since the Fall, were offering their tips and support for their colleagues. Pictures of these messages can be found here: Online Learning Takes Off.
“All schools developed school-specific plans for online learning this past fall,” said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education. “We hoped we’d never have to use them - but here we are. There may be a few glitches along the way, but we hope everyone will work together, with patience and kindness, to make this work for teachers, students and families alike. As I see so many of our teachers saying on social media and elsewhere - we’ve got this.”
More information for families is available here: Google Resources for School Communities.
With the support of Public Health, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District is suspending in-class instruction for all schools in the Avalon region. This action is effective immediately and will extend until Friday, February 26. A complete list of schools impacted is provided below.
All school staff, with the exception of those required to self isolate on the direction of Public Health, are required to report to work at their school on February 12 to prepare materials and resources needed for online instruction. Teaching staff will begin online instruction as follows:
- Intermediate and High School grades will begin online classes effective Monday, February 15.
- Primary and Elementary grades will begin online classes effective Tuesday, February 16.
- Sessions will adhere to the Protocols for Online Learning for different grade groupings.
Student Services staff will work with schools in the coming days to prepare for the in-school learning needs of students identified in school-based Scenario 3 plans.
“Given the large number of students identified for self-isolation today in schools on the Avalon, the District is making this decision, with the support of Public Health, in the best interests of student learning and safety,” said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education. “We know this is difficult on our staff, families, and our young learners and ask for your patience as we work through this process.”
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District is suspending in-class instruction for all schools in the St. John’s metro area, as well as those in Bell Island, Mobile and Witless Bay. This action comes on the advice of Public Health (Eastern Region) and is effective Thursday, February 11 to Friday, February 26. A complete list of schools impacted is provided below.
All school staff, with the exception of those required to self isolate on the direction of Public Health, are required to report to work at their school. Teaching staff will begin online instruction as follows:
- High schools effective tomorrow, February 11.
- Intermediate will begin Friday, February 12.
- Primary/Elementary will begin Monday, February 15.
The District is also cancelling all extra-curricular/co-curricular activities across the province at this time, again on the advice of Public Health. This is a precautionary measure which expands on the suspension of activities in the St. John’s area, announced earlier this week.
These measures are taken to allow Public Health to expand its contact tracing and testing into other school populations in the metro area, and to further limit all student interactions with each other and the community at large. Public Health officials will be working with schools directly impacted by Covid-19 in the coming days to provide direction with respect to any public health measures required.
“I recognize this situation is stressful for all involved,” said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education. “The District continues to adhere to the expert and prudent advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials and we are thankful for their tireless work. Their advice has held us in good stead so far and we will continue to work hand-in-hand with them as we move forward. Our priority continues to be the health and safety of our school communities.”
On the advice of Public Health (Eastern Region), the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District is suspending in-class instruction in St. John's metro area schools which include high school grades for at least two days, February 9-10. However, all school staff, with the exception of staff of Mount Pearl Senior High, are directed to report to work at their school, with teaching staff to begin preparation for online instruction.
A list of impacted schools is provided below. A further announcement regarding continued instruction will be made on Wednesday.
This measure is taken to allow Public Health to expand its contact tracing into other school populations in the metro area as a result of recent positive Covid-19 tests. All schools in the metro area which include high school students, regardless of the configuration, (i.e., 7-12, 8-12, 9-12, 10-12) are included in this suspension of in-class instruction.
This advice was conveyed to the District late this evening. Public Health officials will be working with the impacted schools in the coming days to provide direction.
At this time, Public Health has advised the District:
Students from all metro schools with high school grades should remain home and limit their contacts to their households.
Public Health is performing contact tracing of close contacts from across the metro area and will contact those individuals that need to isolate.
'I know this is difficult news for many of our school communities, including our staff and administrators,' said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education. 'The District continues to work closely with Public Health officials to ensure we take prudent, evidence-based action to protect the safety of our students and staff.'
Public Health officials will be working with the impacted schools to provide direction in the days ahead. This is early in the investigation and those impacted need not contact 811. If you or your child is considered a close contact of a person who has tested positive for Covid-19, you will be contacted by Public Health Officials. Public Health will be providing further information on Tuesday, February 9.
The complete release is available in the link provided below.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District has advised its administrators and school staff in the St. John’s Metro area to suspend extra-curricular and co-curricular activities in all K-12 schools, effective immediately.
This change is the result of a Special Measures Order issued today (Monday, February 8) by the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and is in effect for at least two weeks.
“This is an unfortunate measure, but a prudent step being taken in the best interest of student and staff health and public safety,” said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education. “The District continues to rely on medical advice from Public Health with respect to decisions made around the operation of schools during the Covid-19 health emergency.”
The District will continue to work with public health officials and school administrators to inform our school communities, and the public, of any updates as they become available. Resources and information are available from the District’s website www.nlesd.ca and social media Twitter feed (@NLESDCA).
As always, information regarding Covid-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador can be found at: www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/
The complete news release can be found in the document below.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District is clarifying some public misunderstanding around the rationale involved in complying with an ElectionsNL request to utilize some schools for polling stations in the upcoming provincial election.
"First and foremost, this is a one-time event that does not constitute a 'gathering' of people attending an event for an extended period of time," said Goronwy Price, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the District. "There would be a small number of ElectionsNL personnel on hand during the day, and individual voters filing through the designated polling area - physically distanced and masked - for a short period of time.
"This is not the same as typical in-school graduation events or sports activities involving larger groups of people gathering in a location for longer periods," Mr. Price added. "The District has already advised schools that if we can hold Covid-19 at bay, and in-class instruction continues, we can plan for indoor school-leaving events for the Class of 2021. As of this date, however, those in-school events cannot include visitors. If that changes, we will adapt."
... Complete text of the release continues and is accessible from the link listed below.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District has started to distribute Chromebook devices to students in Grades 7-12. The first 1,500 Chromebooks to arrive in the province are on the ground in Labrador and, after being configured by District staff, will move into the hands of students, beginning early next week.
“I am pleased to see this process unfolding for our students,” said Goronwy Price, Chair of the District’s Board of Trustees. “Since the Provincial Government provided $20 million to support digital learning, we have been working with suppliers and distributors, and determining the best approaches to getting these resources into students' hands. Despite the challenges, as distribution networks throughout the world have been impacted by Covid-19, we are seeing devices arrive and are moving forward with distribution efforts before the curtain closes on 2020.”
In July 2020, the Provincial Government funded the purchase of more than 5,000 laptops for teachers and in excess of 30,000 Chromebooks for Grades 7-12 students. The distribution of teacher laptops is near completion. The distribution of Chromebooks will involve multiple rollouts of devices as shipments arrive in the province. All devices must then be appropriately configured, catalogued, and prepared for shipping to schools. These resources will be provided for student use, but will remain the property of the District and be used to benefit all students as they move through the province’s K-12 public education system.
Meanwhile, the District is being proactive in preparing for any Covid-related circumstance over the holiday season.
“In recent weeks, we have become acutely aware of how quickly the Covid-19 virus can impact a school community,” said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education, Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. “As such, we are preparing to switch to virtual learning, in consultation with Public Health, in any school community or region where new, localized instances of the virus might create the need to alter normal school operations.”
Mr. Stack emphasized there is no expectation at this time of any suspension of in-class instruction in January. However, the District is being proactive in its preparation to switch to online teaching and learning if the need arises. Communication has been sent to schools and families with respect to preparations for the holiday break. That communication includes the suggestion that Grades 7-12 students take home resources that may be important for virtual learning in January should the need occur, and that Grades K-6 students take home school supplies (e.g., pencils, rulers, crayons, notebooks) they might need to engage in virtual learning - again, in case that is required.
As the District awaits arrival and configuration of the remaining Chromebooks for Grades 7-12, families are also being advised to contact their school if they do not have access to the Internet or a personal technology device at home.
The full release can be viewed at the link provided below.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Board of Trustees for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District was held today (Saturday, November 21) at the District Conference Centre in St. John’s. As required by the bylaws, trustees voted for the roles of Chair and Vice-Chair, as well as the Executive Committee of the Board.
The complete release and results can be found at the link below.
The following statement was released today by Tony Stack, CEO/ Director of Education of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District.
There have been some recent public comments around substitute teachers shortages which have caused the District some concern, as it has been suggested that extreme measures may be taken - such as routinely doubling up classrooms, or sending students home - because of staff shortages.
The District wishes to reassure families and the public that these scenarios, as presented in the public arena, would be an absolute last resort, and could not be undertaken in a manner which would violate current health and safety protocols.
We acknowledge there are substitute teacher shortages, in both urban and rural areas. School administrators have options available to cover the unexpected absence of a teacher if they are unsuccessful in securing a substitute teacher for a day. Depending on the situation, they can reassign a teacher who is not assigned for that period; they can reassign a teaching and learning assistant (if they have a teaching certificate), or ask the assistance of a specialist teacher. Some administrators have covered classes themselves, or come up with any number of creative solutions to ensure teaching and learning continues in a safe learning environment. Administrators throughout the province, in both rural and urban areas, have responded to day-to-day challenges around unexpected teacher absences long before the advent of Covid-19 and will continue to do so.
Meanwhile, the District continues to recruit regular and retired substitute teachers.
Over the past three years, through the Provincial Government’s Education Action Plan and, more recently, through special Covid-19 allocations, about 400 additional teaching resources have been deployed to schools in the District. This, in itself, has been very positive for the education system, but has impacted the pool of substitute teachers available. The Department of Education has also recently indicated it would allow additional substitutes to be hired on term contracts and a loosening of restrictions around the hiring of retired teachers. We believe this will help address our short-term needs.
Meanwhile, we will continue to work with the Department of Education, Memorial University, and the NLTA to develop both short-term and long-term strategies to address any substitute teacher shortages in our schools.
The complete release can be viewed at the link below.
Goronwy Price, Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board, today extended congratulations to two teachers in the province who have received one of the highest honours in the country. The Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and Teaching Excellence in STEM have been awarded annually to exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines since 1994.
For more information, please see the release linked below.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District will introduce volleyball and music to begin the return of indoor, school-based extra-curricular activities, effective October 13. These activities will be closely monitored with a view to gradually introducing other extra-curricular activities in the coming weeks and months.
The Board of Trustees of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District discussed this year’s school reopening, along with ongoing and upcoming challenges, during its September 26, 2020 public meeting, live-streamed through the District website.
Futher details are included in the attachment below.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District has released A Safe Return to School, a comprehensive plan for school reopening in September. The plan was released today (Monday, August 17) via a virtual news conference and broadcast live to the public over the District’s YouTube channel.
The complete media release can be viewed at the attached link below and direct through the District's deadicated website; Reopening Plans for 'A Safe Return to School', September, 2020.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District will release A Safe Return to School, its K-12 September school reopening plan, on Monday, August 17, 2020, through a virtual news conference.
The plan will reflect the direction and guidance provided through the Provincial Government’s K-12 Education Re-entry Plan (July 6, 2020), and from public health authorities. It also provides school administrators and families with direction and information to help them prepare for school reopening.
Further details on this event can be found in the document linked below.
The Board of Trustees of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) discussed preliminary plans for the resumption of teaching and learning in September during a virtual meeting today (Friday, June 12), live-streamed through the District website. A number of potential scenarios and related considerations were brought forward.
“Obviously our goal is to have all K-12 students back in classrooms, engaged in face-to-face learning with their teachers,” said Goronwy Price, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “That is what we all want. But we cannot predict with certainty how the Covid-19 health emergency will evolve over the next couple of months, and what direction we will be provided from public health and other government authorities with respect to protocols in classrooms, on school buses, and within the school environment in general.”
Chair Price noted that if the current situation prevails, with very low rates of Covid-19 identified in the province, many schools - particularly those with lower enrollments - could return to normal instruction with minimal change. Other measures are being considered to address schools with larger enrollments, including finding alternate locations to provide instruction. In any case, the District must be prepared for any scenario, and be able to pivot at any time to revert to a blended model of in-class and online learning, or even a complete switch to regularly scheduled online teaching and learning, complete with assignments and assessments. This would look very different from the continuation of online learning experienced between mid-March and June of this year.
More information on potential plans for September can be found in the complete released linked below.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District is reopening the online registration process for Kinderstart 2020-21/Kindergarten 2021-22. Registration will remain open throughout the summer, until August 31, 2020.
This action is being taken as fewer families than expected took advantage of the annual registration process held last month, likely because of circumstances surrounding the ongoing public health emergency.
Families whose child will turn 5 years old on or before December 31, 2021 are encouraged to avail of this opportunity to register, if they have not already done so.
Meanwhile, during a typical year, families would confirm their addresses in-person at their zoned school to complete the registration process. However, given the current public health emergency, all families will be contacted by their registered school in the fall (September/October) to make arrangements to verify registration information (e.g., address, MCP number). Confirmation of placement in Early French Immersion will also occur at that time.
Complete registration information is available on the District’s website or directly at: https://www.nlesd.ca/families/kindergartenregistration.jsp
The District continues to encourage safety throughout the summer and urges communities to follow the latest advice from public health authorities.
Complete information can be found in the release contained in the linked attachment below.
A growing educational partnership is helping some of our province’s most vulnerable youth connect in safe spaces while they must be apart. The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) have come together again to offer students a virtual opportunity to attend workshops and sharing sessions. Building on the relationship formed earlier in 2019 with successful in-person events, Virtual Forum: Free to Be Me 2020 offers an opportunity to learn and connect, re-imagined through the District’s Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI).
“Students have been away from their school communities since the middle of March but their safety and well-being has been our focus ever since, particularly for those who may feel the most alone,” said Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. ”The solid partnership we have built with CCGSD in recent years is not only helping to grow understanding and respect within our school communities, but now, when it is most important, it is helping us reach out and let those students know we are with them.”
Registration for the student-focused workshops and sharing sessions is already underway, with more than 40 junior high and high school students attending the kick-off event last week. Two more student sessions are being offered and a Keynote address for students and staff with Rahim Thawer of Affective Consulting will take place on June 11. Educators will also be able to avail of an opportunity to connect in a session on Sports Inclusion (June 17). Over 100 teachers have already registered. More information on these events can be found in the attachment linked below.
“For CCGSD, serving our communities means going where we are invited to help create safe environments for everyone,” noted Cameron Aitken, Executive Director (Acting) for the Centre. “During the global pandemic, that has evolved from in-person conferences and workshops into working even harder to find and support youth currently displaced from their usual support networks. We are so proud of our strong partnership with Newfoundland and Labrador schools to help expand programming in new and dynamic ways and our collective willingness to meet students where they are. Particularly during Pride Month, it is so important that we overcome the physical distance to create and provide safe digital spaces for all of us to collaborate, express challenges, and gain inspiration from speakers and peers attending.”
Students and staff interested in attending are able to access specific information from their school administration.
In recognition of what has been an unusual year in public education, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board has released a message for graduates from the entire Board of Trustees. The video is available on the District’s YouTube Channel and will be shared through its Twitter account (@NLESDCA) in the days to come.
“This year’s graduates have experienced a school year unlike any other,” said Goronwy Price, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Our trustees usually have the privilege of sharing in proms and graduation celebrations with our school communities. However, our current public health challenges have provided us all with the unique opportunity to step outside our comfort zones and to take a new approach to connecting with each other and our communities.”
The video message features all 15 current members of the Board from all areas of the province celebrating the District’s 2020 graduates and their promising futures. It can be directly accessed through the following link: https://bit.ly/NLESBGrad2020
“Graduation 2020 may not look like the celebrations of the past, but it is the reality for more than 5,000 students throughout our District,” said Tony Stack, District CEO/Director of Education.”Our District staff joins the Board of Trustees, and our school communities, in offering our best wishes to all graduates who, together with their school administrators and teachers, have found new and innovative ways to share this milestone in their lives.”
The full release is available at the link below.
Goronwy Price, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, today congratulated Richard Christopher (pictured), a physical education teacher and athletic director at St. Peter’s Junior High in Mount Pearl, for being named a recipient of the National Award for Teaching Excellence in Physical Education by PHE Canada.
PHE Canada is a national educational organization which focuses on physical education, healthy eating, and emotional well-being for K-12 students.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Christopher for this national recognition,” said Chair Price. “Our physical education teachers support the health, well-being and social development of our students day-in and day-out, and volunteer countless hours to ensuring young people have the opportunity to compete in a variety of sports activities. During these days of the Covid-19 pandemic, I know many students are missing those activities, which form such an important part of their overall school experience.”
For complete information, please see the full news release linked below.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District has developed a four-page printed resource which highlights ideas and activities to support continued learning at home. This resource, which is being delivered to all households in the province, can also be accessed online here: Learning at Home - Printed Resource.
This printed resource serves as a companion piece to the District’s Learning at Home web page at: Learning From Home, and is among the resources teachers can incorporate into their planning, discussions and ongoing work with students.
“The Learning at Home web page and the printed companion piece are excellent ways for teachers to connect well-being, literacy, numeracy and students’ individual passions for learning into their regular conversations with students,” said Goronwy Price, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “These are meaningful learning opportunities that make direct connections to curriculum outcomes and have been purposefully designed with a focus on engagement and learning for all students.”
This resource is being sent to all homes, as the District is aware that students may be spending their days with extended family members or other caregivers during the Covid-19 health emergency.
“The District hopes and expects this printed resource will be retained in homes, and referenced often, in the days and weeks to come,” said Tony Stack, CEO/Executive Director of Education. “It also provides another tangible resource for students and families who may have limited availability to internet connectivity and computer devices at this time.”
Mr. Stack noted hundreds of Chromebooks, iPads and laptops have been distributed to students with an identified need in the past several weeks, and more are being acquired and prepared for distribution as teaching and learning continues.
More than 100 Newfoundland and Labrador English School District school communities have come together in a musical video compilation designed to celebrate our collective strength and unity in the face of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NLESD Virtual Choir video was released today (Thursday, April 9) on the District’s Twitter account and Youtube channel.
“Since in-school instruction was suspended in mid-March, District staff members have been focused on finding new ways to stay connected; support school communities, and enable students to continue learning at home,” said Goronwy Price, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “This project is a prime example of how we can still be together, in a virtual sense, and continue to build relationships and strengthen bonds.”
After learning about a school-based virtual choir at Holy Heart High School in St. John’s, the District’s Fine Arts Program Specialist Jennifer Stanley teamed up with Holy Heart’s Choral Director Robert Colbourne to expand the project on a provincial scale.
NLESD school communities were invited to submit a video singing ‘O Canada’, as people across Canada are sheltering-in-place and staying home to help lessen the impacts of the global pandemic. The resulting compilation features over 300 participants representing all areas of the province; some notable Newfoundlanders and Labradorians - and a very special guest cameo.
“Music has the ability to bring people together when they need it most,” said Tony Stack, District CEO/Director of Education. “It is amazing what people can achieve when they get together behind an idea. I thank Ms. Stanley and Mr. Colbourne for spearheading this project, and our teachers, students, parents and special guests who jumped on board.”
The video can be accessed directly here: https://youtu.be/ShYcvPs2gj0.
The official release can be found in the link provided below.
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District is launching a common access point for students to receive assistance and guidance with their mental health and well-being.
NL Guidance Services is available to all students throughout the province. Recognizing the need to provide confidential, individual counselling services for students, a dedicated team of school counsellors have volunteered to be available to provide an innovative approach to guidance support.
The District wants all students to know that help is still close by and they are not alone.
As of today (Tuesday, April 7), students have two avenues to access NL Guidance Services;
- Call the toll-free hotline at 1-833-772-0007;
- Visit bit.ly/NLGuidance and complete the secure School Counsellor Referral form.
Please note, this service is not intended to replace ongoing counselling services with school-based counsellors or outside service agencies, but rather complement them in these unprecedented times. Students with academic and scholarship inquiries should direct their questions to their school administrators or in-school counsellor.
Students who call the toll-free NL Guidance Services line can expect to reach a trained NLESD school counsellor who will take their information and make arrangements for a member of the team to connect with them by phone during school hours. Counsellors will also have the ability to make referrals to community agencies as necessary and appropriate. At its onset, the program will make every effort to ensure a Student Services team member is in contact with students on the same business day that their requests are received.
Further information, including details on the District’s Learn at Home initiative and COVID-19 Information for School Communities resources, can be found at the District website.
The District's official release is available at the link below.