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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, classrooms and offices and are to be used upon entry and exit.

  • Increased hand washing routines throughout the day have been implemented.

  • Enhanced cleaning policies and procedures have been put in place for the school building, classrooms, school resources, and classroom materials.

  • Students will be with their homeroom cohort for all classes and activities throughout the day.

  • Students will not share technology or classroom supplies from common bins.

  • We have reorganized our spaces within the school to promote as much physical distancing as possible between students. 

  • There will be an increase in the number of classes taught outside in the open air.

  • According to our policy on 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 pants or skirt.

  • Masks: All students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 are required to wear a properly fitted non- medical mask or cloth mask while in school buildings. Reasonable exceptions will be made as required for medical or sensory conditions. Vented face masks are not permitted.

  • Students who remain in their class cohort while outside are not required to wear masks. Students must wear masks if mixing with other cohorts while outside.   

  • Parents/students must complete a daily health assessment via the REACH 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 or inter-provincial travel). 
     

Mental Health 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 reframing 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 2021 integrates wellness and recess breaks to support our students’ social-emotional needs.
 

Arrival and Departure Times  


Middle School students will arrive via the back driveway between 8:10 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. They will access the main building through the courtyard and Stairwell A, which has been designated for Middle School students and teachers only. Dismissal from class will be at 3:15 p.m. with students being picked up via the back driveway. On days where co-curricular activities are scheduled, students can be picked up at 4:30 p.m. from the back driveway.

For convenience, siblings can arrive together and supervision will be provided for those in the Junior School with a later start time.

There will be 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.
 

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. 
 

Weekly Schedule

  • The Middle School will follow a five-day schedule. 

  • Recess times will be staggered by division to reduce the number of students in the yard at one time. We will continue to have different areas designated for each grade.

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

  • Before and Aftercare will be provided to families who need the extra care. In order for us to abide by the 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 would like to apply for a space in Before or Aftercare should contact Jessica Ellis at jellis@pickeringcollege.on.ca.
     

Sample In-Person Daily Schedule


8:10 a.m. - 8:25 a.m. 
Drop-off

8:30 a.m. - 10:05 a.m.
Homeroom/Period 1/Morning Meeting

10:05 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Period 2

11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Lunch

11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Recess

12:25 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
Period 3

1:30 p.m. - 1:55 p.m.
Recess

1:55 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.
Period 4

3:10 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Pack Up & Dismissal 

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Co-curricular Activity
 

Food Services


Food remains an important part of our student experience. Aramark Food Services provides high quality food offerings and special dietary meals. Middle School lunch will be served buffet style in the Dining Hall. Middle School students will eat at a time separate from other divisions. A seating plan will keep cohorts distanced and students will sit in the same seat each day. Lunch will be supervised by teachers and PC staff.

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.  
 

Music Classes


The return to a comprehensive music program that involves singing and the playing of wind instruments will happen cautiously. Singing and the playing of wind instruments is permitted indoors within a cohort as long as a minimum distance of two metres or more can be maintained. When possible, music classes will be held outside. As an additional precaution, students will use instrument covers and vocal masks that are designed to reduce the spread of aerosols. These instrument covers and vocal masks are fitted with MERV 13 filters and will be available at the school bookstore. Music theory, composition, and other forms of musical instruction will continue to be offered.
 

Health and Physical Education


Physical education classes, the use of the gymnasium, change rooms, arena, weight rooms, indoor physical education equipment and shared outdoor physical education equipment are permitted with distancing. Masking is not required when playing high or low contact activities outdoors within the cohort. Masking is encouraged for indoor sports where they can be worn safely based on the activity. Our program will integrate physical activities that allow students to develop their fitness and stamina. Students will also develop movement skills through sports such as soccer, volleyball, badminton, as well as track and field.
 

Co-curricular Program


The ability of students to participate in activities outside the classroom is an important contributor to physical and mental wellness. All students are required to participate in the Co-curricular Program. Students will have opportunities to enjoy low-risk indoor and outdoor activities that promote an active lifestyle, skill development, and social interaction, while following the safety protocols outlined for Health and Physical Education.

A variety of activities will be offered, and we are excited to be able to provide an expanded slate of physical and athletic activities to students this year. For example, students can participate in badminton, table tennis, soccer, basketball, volleyball, running as well as physical conditioning. Grade 6 students will participate in these co-curricular activities as a cohort. Other activities available will include leadership groups such as the Student Committee, Youth Engagement Organization, Green Team, and other clubs.    

 

Co-curricular Options for Middle School -Winter Term


Competitive Sports

With the safety and well being of our students and staff in mind, the following competitive sports activities will be postponed, until further notice. 

U14 Boys’ Basketball
U14 Girls’ Volleyball

Recreational Sports and Clubs

With the safety and well being of our students and staff in mind, the following recreational sports and arts activities will be postponed, until further notice. 

Recreational Hockey (Grades 7/8)
Indoor Field Sports (Grades 7/8)
Basket Arts (Grades 7/8)
MS Debate Club (Grades 7/8)

Leadership Activities

Until further notice, the following leadership activities will be offered online during the winter term.

Jr. Student Committee  
Grades 7-8        
Supporting the Senior Student Committee, and running their own initiatives, the Jr. Student Committee will help bring spirit and leadership to the school.

Jr. Co-curricular Council
Grades 7-8        
This year's Middle School Co-curricular Council members can look forward to an exciting year ahead. Members will be involved in many events over the year including Booker's Run, Athletic Ceremonies, and Jump Rope & Hoops for Heart. Students who join can also expect to attend regular CC Council meetings and also help plan activities for the Junior School. Those interested in joining are required to fill out an application.

Jr. Arts Council 
Grades 7-8        
The Jr. Arts Council will help support the school in several initiatives such as Arts Night, Christmas Concert, and Spring Fest. If you are creative, and want to try something new, this is the perfect club to join.

Youth Engagement Organization             
Grades 7-8        
Students who are eager to be involved and ready to make a difference should join this club. Supporting many initiatives in the school from social justice to environmental, this is a great way to get involved.

MS. Green Team            
Grades 6-8        
The Green Team promotes attainable sustainability within the PC community by looking at current practices and finding ways to improve our environmental footprint.  The team works with the PC community to improve environmental awareness.
 

Excursions


Classes will be able to attend day trips, with a particular emphasis on trips that occur outdoors. Examples of day trips include visiting the Blue & Silver Farm, Fairy Lake and other local area sites. At this time, overnight trips are on hold.  
 

Attendance


Regular attendance is an important aspect of academic success and community engagement. In the event that your child cannot attend school, contact the attendance administrator at attendance@pickeringcollege.on.ca no later than 8:20 a.m. and inform your child’s homeroom teacher by email. Your child should check Edsby, our learning management system, to see what work was assigned while they are absent.

If your child is going to be away for a day or two, then follow the regular procedure of emailing the attendance administrator and homeroom teacher. In the event that your child is going to be away for an extended period of time, contact the director and they, along with the homeroom teacher, will co-ordinate a learning plan based on our Remote and Virtual Learning Policy.
 

Remote and Virtual Learning


We believe that an optimal learning environment and school community is one where students are present and engaged academically, socially, physically and experientially. To provide this experience, our return to school planning is focused on in-person learning.   

In some circumstances, specifically those beyond a student’s or family’s control, where students may be prevented from starting school in person, it is our goal to provide these students with a remote and virtual program that will allow them to seamlessly join their classmates when they are able to arrive in person.

Remote and virtual learning will be provided under the following circumstances:

  • International students who are waiting for their travel or study documentation
  • International students awaiting vaccination in their home country
  • International students who are in quarantine
  • Students with documented health conditions that prevent in-person participation (required consultation with our Health Care Team)
  • Students with other exceptionalities or extenuating circumstances that prevent them from in-person participation

Remote and virtual learning will not be provided for short term absences or as a matter of convenience.

Remote and virtual learning requests and learning plans will be facilitated through the divisional director and the learning strategies teacher.

Remote and virtual learning plans may consist of the following components based on circumstances, student needs and availability of resources:

  • Asynchronous (Remote) learning through Edsby.
  • Asynchronous (Remote) learning through resource packages provided by teacher
  • Synchronous (Virtual) learning
  • One-on-one check-in meetings with teacher

If a student stays home due to a short-term illness such as a cold or flu, or for appointments, virtual  learning will not be available. Under such circumstances, students will follow the regular procedures for missed classes by informing their teachers and accessing Edsby for class updates and instructions. The exceptional circumstances where remote and virtual learning would be offered for a short period of time, would be the following:

  • If a class or grade level is required to quarantine due to COVID-19
  • If an individual student is required to quarantine due to COVID-19
     

 

Virtual Learning Environment


We are designing our program to be flexible in responding to a changing situation. We are prepared to shift to full virtual learning should the need arise, and are fully committed to delivering a virtual learning program that reflects best practices in teaching and learning. In all Pickering College programs, we are committed to the following five principles of virtual 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.

Grade 6 Virtual Learning Schedule

Grade 6 virtual learning schedule

Print a copy

Grade 7 Virtual Learning Schedule

Grade 7 virtual learning schedule

Print a copy

Grade 8 Virtual Learning Schedule

Grade 8 virtual learning schedule

Print a copy


 

Synchronous Learning 


This is learning that happens virtually or in person, 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 virtual learning in the 2021-2022 school year, The Middle School will follow a live class schedule that is aligned with our in-person schedule. Our Co-curricular Program would also be delivered virtually for activities that can be offered in this format. Synchronous sessions in the Middle School would run from 30-60 minutes in length, depending on the subject, activity or learning task.
 

Asynchronous Learning


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 Middle School, asynchronous work will be assigned daily for the subjects on the student’s schedule. Other independent work in the Middle 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 our learning strategist teacher and may be done with small groups or individually, as needed.

Technology Platforms


Students in Middle School use Microsoft applications like OneNote, OneDrive, Outlook, and Teams, in addition to Edsby and other academic applications, such as Google. Students leverage OneDrive and Google Drive to save their work in the cloud and access their work on or off campus. The Teams application enhances collaboration among teachers and peers, allowing for teamwork in and outside the classroom. OneNote and Google Classroom provide an interactive virtual space and increase student engagement. With OneNote and Google Classroom, teachers organize course resources, activities and supporting materials like infographics, audio and video in one place. They can then share those materials with all students or use the appropriate materials to provide differentiated learning to certain groups of students to support their learning. Students have access to class information, timetable, assessments, feedback and groups /clubs via Edsby.

Questions about Technology?


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.
 

Communication


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 virtual 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 Virtual 

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 person or virtual learning, 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.
 

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 distancing between cohorts. Other special events, such as spirit events, guest speakers, and GLP celebrations will continue in a similar virtual format to our Morning Meetings.


 

School Roles and Responsibilities

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
Julie Clement, Director of Middle School

Julie Clement

Director of Middle School

  • Lead specific planning and implementation for the academic program within the Middle School
  • Lead planning for student wellness
  • Communicate with faculty and staff, students and families as needed
  • Share responsibility for the review and monitoring of classes, learning tasks, and activities
  • Oversee matters related to student conduct
  • Oversee assessment and evaluation practices

Middle School faculty

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 learning tasks, activities and lessons and best practice pedagogy, including differentiation, as needed
  • Social-emotional programming for student wellness
Danielle Sugar

Danielle Sugar

Child and Youth Specialist

  • 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
Group shot of students on a winter trip

Instructional Leaders/

Department Heads

 

  • Foster a dynamic and innovative program that delivers excellence.
  • Lead their respective division/department in all aspects of learning, including pedagogy, assessment and administration
  • Ensure the effective integration of technology into programs