In-Person Return to School
In planning for our return to school in September, our primary consideration is the maintenance of a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty and staff and by extension, our families and the broader community. To that end, we will closely follow recommendations and guidelines published by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.
Members of the Junior School community will be sharing the PC campus with students from the Middle and Senior School as well as with their staff and faculty, and will benefit from the following health and safety protocols being implemented:
- Hand sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the school and at all entrances, to be used upon entry and exit
- Increasing hand washing routines throughout the day will be implemented
- New cleaning policies and procedures have been put in place for the school building, classrooms, school resources, and classroom materials
- Students will no longer share technology or classroom supplies from common bins
- We are reorganizing our spaces within the school and re-examining our activities and physical movement, to ensure that students will be physically distanced throughout the day
- There will be an increase in the number of classes taught outside in the open air
- A new policy has been put in place for staff and student illness. Anyone showing signs of illness may not attend school
- Parents and guests will not be permitted inside the building to reduce exposure and risk to our students and staff
Modified Dress Code - No blazer, dress shirt or tie required. Students may wear the PC golf shirt with PC skort, shorts, pants, skirt or tunic
- Arrival times and dismissal times have changed and will be staggered to support physical distancing
- For convenience, siblings can arrive together and supervision will be provided
- There will be multiple entrances used for drop off and pick up. We will designate a specific entrance and drop off point for each grade
- We will have new signage to direct students through the steps for entry and exit of the school building, and throughout the school. Spreading students apart and into different areas, as well as using visual cues on the floor will help students with physical distancing
At Pickering College, every student, Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12, benefits from the fully integrated, enriched programming of the Global Leadership Program. Our teachers have made careful plans to ensure that Global Leadership Program activities this year will continue to teach students to deeply consider the global context, and to develop the skills necessary to effectively participate in this context. All projects, processes and outcomes are flexible to allow students to work in person or remotely.
- The Junior School will implement a new five-day weekly schedule rather than our typical eight-day cycle. This should simplify things for students and parents and assist with organization
- Recess times will be staggered to reduce the number of students in the yard at one time. New policies are being implemented about what types of activities will be allowed during recess and different areas will be designated for each class to minimize the interaction with other students in the school
- Junior School lunch will be served in the classroom in order to reduce the number of students gathering in large spaces. Aramark will continue to provide quality hot and cold meals and snacks for our students. Lunch will be supervised by teachers and PC staff
- Before and Aftercare will continue to be a service that we provide to families who need the extra care. In order for us to abide by the new physical distancing measures however, we will need to limit the number of students using the service this year and parents will be asked to submit a request for a place in Aftercare
Food remains an important part of our student experience, but in this new environment, the delivery of meals will be different. We will continue to provide high quality food offerings, choice and special dietary meals to Junior School students. Junior School hot lunch items will be individually served in dishwasher safe, reusable trays with lids and delivered to the classroom. Individually packaged drinks, fruit, desserts, sandwich/deli options and utensils will also be delivered to the classroom. Students will eat in their classrooms with their teacher. Hand sanitizing routines will be part of the lunch process. Daily individual snacks will be provided. Our Aramark Food Services staff will be implementing enhanced disinfection and sanitizing protocols in the kitchen and servery which includes the use of PPE as needed.
- Class size will be according to the Ministry of Education guidelines which is currently set at 15
- Junior School grades that have more than 15 students enrolled will be split into two groups
Music is considered to be one of the higher risk activities in a COVID-19 environment because the action of singing or blowing into an instrument poses higher risks of virus transmission. We are pleased to say that students at Pickering College will continue to have music instruction but in a new way. We have removed choir and band from our face-to-face classes, however there may be some element of this done online or through homework with recorded submissions. The music teachers will teach music theory, drama, musical theatre, percussion and will introduce some new instruments as well that meet the safety guidelines such as the ukulele or keyboard.
We recognize that this coming year is unpredictable and we will all need to be flexible. In the event that your child cannot attend school, your child will be fully supported to learn from home. If your child is going to be away for a day or two, then you would follow the normal procedure of calling the school and emailing the homeroom teacher. In the event that your child is going to be away for an extended period of time, you would need to contact the Director and they, along with the homeroom teacher, will co-ordinate a learning plan for your child to allow them to continue learning during their absence. The learning plan will consist of synchronous work as well as asynchronous work; attendance will be taken through synchronous learning and daily participation of assigned work. For students working from home, all work will be posted on Edsby and teachers will be in regular communication with students to ensure support is provided where needed. Additional support will also be available from our Learning Strategist teachers. Live streaming of classes will be available in most classes and in-person classes will be recorded for asynchronous viewing.
Sample In-Person Class Schedule
An Overview of Blended Learning
We are designing our program to be flexible in responding to a changing situation. It is our plan to have a blended learning model of in-person learning supplemented with online components, such as music sessions. We are prepared to shift to full online learning should the need arise, and are fully committed to delivering an online program that reflects best practices in teaching and learning. In all Pickering College programs, we are committed to the following five principles of online learning:
We will establish and maintain regular effective contact with students and families.
We will create opportunities for student-centered learning and collaboration.
We will create opportunities that have practical real world applications for students.
We will provide continuous support for each student’s learning process and autonomy to help them reach their full potential.
We will ensure all course content is readily and easily accessible to all students.
This is learning that happens in real-time, face to face with a teacher, in a scheduled block of time. Synchronous learning enables students to receive direct instruction from their teacher, ask questions and receive immediate feedback, while also having the opportunity to collaborate and socialize with their peers. In the event of returning to online learning in the 2020-2021 school year, the Junior School will run a minimum of three synchronous classes each day (indicated in orange in the chart below) to provide instruction and support, plus an additional fourth, optional, synchronous session each day (indicated in green in the chart below), which would give additional instruction and social time for students or parents who want more synchronous learning. This fourth live session would be a variety of club options, fitness classes, and story time with our librarian. Synchronous sessions in the Junior School would run from 30-45 minutes in length, depending on the subject and topic.
Asynchronous learning provides students with the opportunity to research, practice skills and reflect on their learning. Through asynchronous work, students develop their organization skills and learn how to work independently. In the Junior School, asynchronous work will be assigned daily with a focus on math and language. Other independent work in the Junior School would include research and work for inquiry projects as well as Global Leadership Program projects. Teachers will also provide a variety of enrichment activities for students who take an interest in them or wish to go beyond the expectations. For students who find asynchronous work more challenging, support will be provided by both the homeroom teacher and our Learning Strategist teacher and may be done with small groups or individually, as needed.
Sample Online Class Schedule
|2:00||Story Time 3-5||Story Time K-2||Fitness K-2||French Club K-5||Chess Club K-2|
|3:00||Math Club K-2||Math Club 3-5||Fitness 3-5||Arts & Crafts Club K-5||Chess Club 3-5|
HR Teacher = Homeroom Teacher
Students will be equipped with a school device. This device will remain at school unless we move to online learning. Each student in K-2 will be assigned an iPad and each student in Grade 3-5 will be assigned a Chromebook, in order to reduce the sharing of equipment, and allow students to be properly equipped for distance learning if the need arises.
In addition to having access to technology, students will require certain materials to complete work and to participate in certain clubs or activities from home. Kits of materials are being assembled by the school so there is no need to purchase any school supplies for the fall term. Some of the kits being assembled include:
- Student pencil boxes with supplies
- Art kits
- Music kits
- Elective kits for students in Grades 3-5
- Inquiry kits
Pickering College provides secure technology environments to enrich student learning. The following electronic platforms will be used by Junior School teachers to deliver curriculum: Edsby, Google Meets, Google Classroom, RAZ-Kids, Epic Books, IXL Math, and IXL Language. Email and Edsby are the primary communication channels between the school, parents and students.
Questions about technology?
Students and parents can receive one-on-one support, related to hardware and software issues, from a member of our IT Department. Requests for support are to be sent to IT@pickeringcollege.on.ca. A member of the IT team will respond to requests within one business day during regular business hours. The IT Department will host parent training sessions, as well as provide reference and training materials to support the use of technologies. These will be shared with staff and parents as needed.
Technology Support Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by email, IT@pickeringcollege.on.ca.
In the Junior School, parents can expect to receive regular communication every two weeks from the Director. Teachers will have regular communication to provide overviews of the work, to respond to questions, and to provide support where needed.
In-Person or Online
Assessment and evaluation are a critical piece of a student’s learning experience, providing important feedback to support improved performance and benchmark against grade-level and discipline-specific standards. Whether in a blended or online learning environment, assessment and evaluation requirements will continue to be aligned with Ontario Ministry of Education requirements, the Junior and Middle School Assessment Policy, and will take a variety of forms from quizzes and tests to project-based assignments, presentations and performances or oral assessments.
For online learning in the Junior School, evidence will be gathered through online learning tasks and assessment will be managed in the following ways:
- Oral assessments completed through Google Meets
- Individual reading assessments done through RAZ-Kids
- Writing assessments completed through submissions in Google Classroom and Edsby
- Inquiry and Global Leadership work will be assessed through photo, video, and written submissions
Our traditional school events are important to our school life and community. In order to keep our community connected, Mornings Meetings will occur through live Zoom meetings; this way we can respect the social distancing requirements and students working from home can participate. Other special events, such as spirit events, guest speakers, and GLP celebrations will continue in a similar online format to our Morning Meetings.
Our school’s commitment to health and wellness plays a critical role in developing and supporting each student as they grow and learn. The Pickering College Health Care team of experienced professionals provide students with the individualized support they need to lead lives that are physically, emotionally, socially and mentally healthy.
Health and wellness curriculum complements our academic program. When students are emotionally and mentally healthy, they are better equipped to develop competencies such as critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and collaboration skills. In the Junior School, mental health and wellness is embedded in our curriculum. These lessons are delivered by homeroom teachers and are incorporated through our Health curriculum and our Second Step Program.
We are excited that students in K-5 will be able to continue to engage in club activities again and students in Grades 3-5 will be able to continue to participate in electives, whether we are on campus or learning remotely. The activities we plan to offer have been carefully chosen in considering physical distancing and remote learning.
Students in Grades 3-5 will have the opportunity to choose an elective activity for the year, regardless of whether we are in-person or online. The electives are run once per month on Friday afternoons. In the event that we are required to move to online learning, kits for each elective will be delivered to students’ homes so that they can participate without worry of missing materials or tools. Instruction will be done virtually. The possible electives being offered for this coming year are; Culinary Arts, Woodworking, Sewing, Video Production and Radio Podcasts.
Following health and safety guidelines, students will have the chance to take part in a variety of low risk indoor and outdoor physical activities, with an emphasis on outdoor play. Primary students can expect to participate in fundamental movement activities where the focus will be on individual skill development as well as daily physical fitness. Some examples for Primary include soccer fundamentals, skipping, Karate and outdoor education activities. Junior students will have the opportunity to participate in sports skill development through drills and modified games. They will enjoy many outdoor education and low-organizational activities where physical distancing measures are in place. Students can also look forward to some less active club options, which may include Drama, Design and Build, and Arts Plus Club.
The online Co-curricular Program will offer students a chance to be active during weekly live physical fitness sessions. There will also be a variety of virtual club opportunities such as; Chess Club, Art and Crafts Club, and Math Club.
School Roles and Responsibilities During Continuous Learning
Head of School
- Lead the Senior Leadership team in ensuring continuity of learning
- Communications to staff, families, students and the broader community
- Maintain regular communication with other school heads and external organizations, including government and health authorities, the Canadian Association of Independent Schools and CIS
Assistant Head of School, Academics and Student Programs
- Lead the Academic team in ensuring continuity of the academic program and co-ordination between the three schools
- Support the whole-school approach to program, learning, and teaching
- Collaborate in the development of the online support and effective implementation of the online learning framework
- Communicate with faculty, staff, and students as needed
Senior Director of Teaching, Learning and Strategic Partnerships
- Share responsibility for the review and monitoring of learning tasks, activities and lessons
- Co-lead planning and communication for online learning and oversee implementation
- Support faculty in the development of online learning tasks, activities, and lessons and best practice pedagogy as needed
Director of Junior School
- Lead specific planning and implementation for the online learning framework within the Junior School
- Lead planning for wellness during online learning
- Communicate with faculty and staff, students and families as needed
- Provide ongoing support to faculty, staff, students, and families during online learning
- Share responsibility for the review and monitoring of synchronous classes, learning tasks, and activities
- Oversee matters related to student online conduct
- Oversee assessment and evaluation practices
Curriculum Leaders/ Department Heads
- Provide ongoing support for faculty, staff, students, and families during online learning
- Lead their respective departments in all aspects of learning, including pedagogy, assessment and administration
- Support faculty members who may require accommodation due to extenuating circumstances
Junior School Faculty
- Design and deliver learning experiences for students in accordance with school plans
- Communicate with and provide timely feedback to students
- Communicate with parents and families as necessary
- Collaborate with colleagues to offer consistent, engaging learning experiences
- Participate in professional learning experiences to hone skills particular to online learning
Junior Learning Strategist
- Provide support to students by being available to meet with those experiencing difficulty and recommend helpful tools and strategies to students and families
- Partner with faculty to support individual students
- Support faculty in the development of online learning tasks, activities and lessons and best practice pedagogy, including differentiation, through team meetings as needed