Pickering College - Learning For Life. Creating The Future.
Teacher smiling with students while they work

Middle School

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 Middle School community will be sharing the PC campus with students from the Junior and Senior School as well as with their staff and faculty, and will benefit from the following health and safety protocols being implemented:


Safety and Hygiene Protocols 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
  • To protect the health and safety of our students, classroom kits will be used so that students are not sharing resources. These kits will be assembled by the Hilltop Shop to ensure that each student has what they need for class. School supplies will not be brought to school by the students. The cost for this kit will be charged to the student account
  • Modified Dress Code - No blazer, dress shirt or tie required. Students may wear the PC golf shirt with PC shorts, pants, skirt or tunic
  • Masks: Students from JK-12 are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks while in school buildings. Faculty will ensure that there is enough outdoor time during the day to allow for breaks from mask wearing. Reasonable exceptions will be made as required for medical or sensory conditions
  • Parents/students must complete a daily health assessment via the Edusafe app for the student. Parents are asked not to send their child to school if they have any current common-cold, influenza or COVID-19 like symptoms (even if their symptoms are mild), if they have had symptoms in the previous 10 days and have been advised to self-isolate, or if there exists any other circumstances that pursuant to government orders or directive requires them to self-isolate (international travel)


Staggered Arrival and Departure Times  

  • Arrival times and dismissal times have changed and will be staggered to support physical distancing
  • Middle School students are to be dropped off at school between 8:00 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. at the following locations:

    Grade 6: Via the back driveway, between the portables and Egan House

    Grade 7: Via the front driveway, entering the school at the South entrance, to the right of the Pillars while facing the school

    Grade 8: Via the back driveway, between the portables and Egan House

  • There will be signs and greeters to help students with these arrival changes
  • Middle School students with classes on the third floor will use Stairwell A only (the south stairwell near Ms. Clement’s office)
  • Students arriving late to school must report to Reception through the front entrance (at the Pillars) 


Global Leadership Program

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.


Modified Schedule

  • The Middle School will implement a new five-day schedule, instead of the previous 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 on what types of activities will be allowed during recess and different areas will be designated for each class to try and minimize the interaction with other students in the school

  • There will be an increase in outdoor learning activities and experiences, both on campus and at the Blue & Silver Farm 

  • 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. This service is available for Grade 6 students. Parents who are in need of applying for a space in Before or Aftercare should contact Jessica Ellis at jellis@pickeringcollege.on.ca


Food Services

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 Middle School students. Middle 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. 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 

Students will stay in their homeroom cohort for all their classes and will be in classroom spaces that allow for physical distancing.


Music Classes

Music is an important aspect of our program and also 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. Middle School students will continue to engage in music classes in a blended way. Music instruction that is considered safe for in-person classes (theory, instruction, etc.) will continue to be offered that way. Practice of instruments and vocal music will be done online or through homework with recorded submissions. 


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 Daily Schedule


Middle School Notes
8:00-8:15 Arrival
8:15-8:35 Homeroom
8:35-9:50 Period 1
9:50-10:10 Recess
10:10-11:25 Period 2
11:25-11:55 Lunch
12:00-12:20 Recess
12:20-1:20 Period 3
1:20-1:40 Wellness Break
1:40-2:40 Period 4
2:40-2:50 Dismissal
2:50-3:50 Co-curricular



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:

Principle 1: 

We will establish and maintain regular effective contact with students and families. 

Principle 2:

We will create opportunities for student-centered learning and collaboration. 

Principle 3: 

We will create opportunities that have practical real world applications for students. 

Principle 4: 

We will provide continuous support for each student’s learning process and autonomy to help them reach their full potential.

Principle 5:

We will ensure all course content is readily and easily accessible to all students.

Middle School students learning live with their teacher online.



Grade 8 student performing EOS project virtually


Synchronous Learning 

Synchronous learning is learning that happens in real-time in a scheduled block of time with a teacher. Although learning is occurring simultaneously, students can be in different locations using technology. Lessons are recorded for future reference. Synchronous learning enables learners to ask questions and receive immediate feedback, while also having the opportunity to collaborate with their peers. Examples of synchronous learning may include virtual classrooms, live webinars, video conferencing, instant messaging.


Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning is more learner-centred. It enables students to complete their work without the constraints of having to be in a certain place at a certain time. Asynchronous learning provides students with the opportunity to research, practice skills and reflect on their learning. Students learn to organize themselves and work independently. Asynchronous learning still allows the opportunity for feedback. Learners are free to share thoughts and questions with their teachers and peers through different forums. Examples of asynchronous learning may include reading, research, homework, practice questions, small group collaboration, email, pre-recorded video lessons or webinars, online forums, and discussion boards.

In the event that our program moves fully online during the course of the school year, each student will be assigned a teacher as an Online Learning Advisor (OLA). This will shift from a homeroom focus and help facilitate the transition and support students needs when working online. Additional support will be provided to new students who did not experience our online learning program during the previous school year.

International Students and Online Learning

International students who are unable to attend our in-person classes will benefit from our comprehensive and engaging online learning program. Through this program, they will work towards the same expectations and goals as students who are on campus, thus allowing a smooth transition into the Middle School upon their arrival.

The online program for international boarding students will consist of:

  • Daily contact, via video conferencing, with a Middle School teacher, including class meetings throughout the week with their core subject teacher and the Learning Strategist 
  • A PC mentor student who is attending in-person sessions and will provide guidance on work and collaborate with the student learning online. This student mentor will also help the new student integrate into the classroom upon their arrival at the school
  • A focus on the core curriculum subjects and English language support
  • Access to live classes that will be streamed, and with the support of their student mentor, international students learning online will have the ability to participate in classes in real-time. In-person classes will be recorded and available for viewing when a student’s time zone does not permit them to attend live
  • Assignments and assessments that are consistent with the in-person curriculum  

Should there be a requirement for all students to participate in an online program (example: if school buildings are ordered closed by the government), our program will follow a schedule similar to the one below. The goal of this program is to provide synchronous and asynchronous experiences for our students. Traditions that are important to our community, such as our Junior and Middle School Morning Meetings, are maintained in the online program and there is a focus on wellness, with the introduction of wellness programming on Wednesday afternoons.


Online Learning Logistics

Middle School students can access the same learning management platforms used in-person while outside of school. This allows for a smooth transition to online learning should it be necessary during the school year.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
OLA Meeting
Language Arts
Morning Meeting
OLA Meeting
Morning Meeting
Social Studies
Faculty Meeting
(Catch up time!)
Social Studies

Learn to Learn /



Catch up


Language Arts
Language Arts


Teachers will structure each learning block to meet the needs of the students based on the focus of the curriculum at that time. 

This schedule allows students to participate fully in the live classes should they be located within a time zone that is close to Canada, such as Mexico. Students located in further time zones will be able to participate live in their early morning classes and access their late morning and afternoon classes in a recorded format. Teachers will be available to meet with these students outside of the usual schedule hours to support their learning. 



Technology Platforms

Technology is deeply integrated into the Middle School academic program. Edsby is our central hub for class information, communication and resources. Microsoft Teams will continue to be the platform used to engage in live synchronous classes. Students are able to access the online platforms using their Chromebook or Lenovo L13 (for those in Reach Ahead Math). Parents are able to communicate with teachers through Edsby and email.

Pickering College’s one-to-one laptop program allows families to purchase a fully-configured device from a vetted and reputable vendor. Each student in Grades 6-8 will need to purchase a school-approved Chromebook, Lenovo 14e, with a three-year warranty and full coverage for accidental damage. A separate communication will be sent out to parents with the details on how to procure the Chromebook. Due to the current situation, international students who are planning to attend school abroad/online in September 2020 may use their own device, until they are physically on campus.

Questions about Technology & Chromebooks?

Email IT Department


Technology Support

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.



Important updates will be communicated to parents via email and/or Edsby. The Director of Middle School will send home a communication every two weeks, in the form of a Newsfile.

During online learning, our platforms allow for efficient communication between our students and teachers. Using their microphone and camera, students are able to communicate with their teachers and peers during synchronous classes. Both Edsby and Microsoft Teams allow for messaging, while Microsoft Teams has a video conferencing/chat feature that enables students to meet in small groups or one-on-one with their teacher.


In-Person or Online 



Assessment and Evaluation

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 Middle School, evidence will be gathered through online learning tasks and assessment will be managed in the following ways:

  • Oral assessments completed through Microsoft Teams
  • Writing assessments completed through submissions in Google Classroom and Edsby
  • Mathematics assessments submitted through MathSpace or Aleks
  • Inquiry and Global Leadership work will be assessed through photo, video, and written submissions


Meetings and School Events

Our traditional school events are important to our school life and community. In order to keep our community connected, Morning Meetings will occur through live Zoom meetings; this way we can respect the physical 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.


Student Life and Wellness

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 learn well, live well and be well.

Health and wellness curriculum complements the 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 Middle School, mental health and wellness is embedded in the Health curriculum, Learn to Learn sessions and our Guidance Program. Our school Social Worker and Learning Strategist host wellness workshops on topics such as re-framing cognitive thinking, mindfulness, coping with stress and anxiety, the power of positive thinking and team building. Additionally, the Middle School grades are divided into homerooms, to build a family-like experience in our community. The homeroom groups meet regularly with their homeroom teacher to connect with each other and engage in their guidance curriculum. Our daily schedule for the fall of 2020 integrates wellness and recess breaks to support our students’ social-emotional needs. In the online learning environment scenario, each week will have a Wellness Wednesday session with a focus on different wellness strategies and activities.


Co-curricular Programming

In keeping with guidance from health professionals who recommend that students have opportunities to be physically and socially active, our program will transition cautiously to offering co-curricular activities, with students remaining in their cohorts. We will offer low risk activities that involve safe physical distancing, using indoor and outdoor environments. These activities offer exercise, skill development, and social interaction. Examples include: lawn games, running, net games, and sport specific skills training.

This year, Grade 6 will have their co-curricular activities after school, following the Middle School timetable. 

In an online environment, students can look forward to joining several different club activities, attend council meetings or can choose to be active during physical fitness as well as yoga sessions. Some online club options include: Science, Music, Strategy Games, and Book Club. Student Committee plays an active leadership role in virtual assemblies and promoting school spirit through a variety of initiatives.

If for any reason your child is unable to participate in co-curricular programming, please contact the Director of Middle School.



School Roles and Responsibilities During Continuous Learning 

Peter Sturrup, Head of School

Peter Sturrup

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
Janet Downer, Assistant Head of School, Academics

Janet Downer

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
Kim Bartlett, Senior Director of Teaching, Learning and Strategic Partnerships

Kim Bartlett

 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
Julie Clement, Director of Middle School

Julie Clement

Director of Middle School

  • Lead specific planning and implementation for the online learning framework within the Middle School
  • Lead the whole-school approach to wellness during online learning
  • Communicate with faculty and staff, students and families as needed
  • Provide ongoing support for faculty and staff, students, and families during online learning
  • Ensure effective implementation of the online learning framework
  • Share responsibility for the review and monitoring of learning tasks, activities and lessons
  • Oversee matters related to online student conduct
Middle 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
Penny Lawson-Cameron

Penny Lawson-Cameron

Middle 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 regular office hours and team meetings as needed
  • Social-emotional programming for student wellness
Danielle Sugar

Danielle Sugar

Social Worker

  • 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
  • Social-emotional programming for student wellness