In-Person Return to School
Since planning for our return to school in September, our primary consideration has been 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 have been closely following recommendations and guidelines published by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, and we will continue to do so.
Members of the Senior School community share the PC campus with students from the Junior and Middle 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 remain with their homeroom cohort throughout the day for all classes and activities.
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 increased number of classes being taught outside.
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.
Mental Health and Wellness
Student mental health and wellness are top priorities at PC, and are fundamental to a student’s ability to learn and succeed at school and in life. Our mental health and wellness team includes the health unit staff, school social worker for Middle and Senior School, our guidance counsellors and learning strategist. This team, along with your child’s teachers and Advisor, provides students with the individualized support they need to lead lives that are physically, emotionally, socially and mentally healthy.
In the Senior School, each student is a member of an Advisor Group, which becomes their ‘family’ within the larger Senior School community. These groups connect regularly to engage in planning, discuss challenges and celebrate successes. Additionally, they will participate in an array of fun team-building activities throughout the year that link to curricular themes, offer friendly competition with other groups and develop a sense of camaraderie. Advisors liaise between teachers, parents, and custodians to ensure student success and for our new students, the relationship with their PC advisor begins in the first week of school when they meet during orientation sessions as they support their transition into the PC community.
Through wellness breaks, bi-weekly Morning Meetings, outdoor recess, cohort lunches, student clubs and councils, and our Co-curricular Program, students have many opportunities to build healthy relationships and balance their academic experience.
Arrival and Departure Times
Arrival and dismissal times will be modified and staggered to support physical distancing in coordination with the Junior and Middle Schools.
- Morning classes and activities begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and at 8:45 a.m. on Thursdays. Classes conclude at 3:30 p.m. daily
- Senior School students should be dropped off for morning classes between 8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and picked up from their afternoon classes between 3:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
- Co-curricular activities will begin at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday and participating students can be picked up between 4:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.
Students will enter and depart from the school from two different areas, depending on their grade level:
- Grade 9 and 10 students should be dropped off and picked up at Egan House (east side of campus)
- Grade 11 and 12 students should be dropped off and picked up at the Dining Hall (east side of campus)
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.
Senior School students will attend daily in-person classes, following a Semester Timetable; the school year will be organized into two separate terms and students will study four courses per semester.
Semester 1 - September 8, 2021 - January 21, 2022
Semester 2 - January 25, 2022 - June 13, 2022
Our academic programming is designed to achieve the following objectives:
- Direct, in-person interaction between students, their peers and teachers
- Development of relationships, connection and sense of community within grade/class cohorts through a collaborative learning experience
- Development of a comprehensive foundation and preparation for students’ future educational experiences
- Maximization of health and safety benefits by minimizing interactions with other cohorts
- Manageability of organizational and academic requirements for students
The Senior School learning program will be structured in the following way:
- Monday through Thursday, students will attend four, 75-minute periods per day, which will include a variety of learning modalities (independent or collaborative work, simulations, lecture or demonstration, presentations, activities, discussion forums, labs)
- On Fridays, students will attend double periods for two of their courses - two, 75-minute blocks per course – alternating on a Week A/Week B schedule. Double periods for courses in Block A and Block B will be scheduled for Week A and double periods for courses in Block C and Block D will be scheduled for Week B. This alternating schedule may be modified from time to time to accommodate GLP experiences and will be communicated to students via email and through the school’s learning management system, Edsby.
- Students will enrol in a maximum of four courses per semester and earn up to eight credits during the school year (with the exception of out of timetable course options such as Music Repertoire, Radio and 11 Physical Education).
Sample in-person class schedule
Semester 1 - Classes - September 8, 2021- January 19, 2022
Final Assessments – January 20-21, 2022
No classes – January 24, 2022
Semester 2 - Classes – January 25, 2022 -June 9, 2021
Final Assessments – June 10 and June 13, 2022
Senior School students attending in-person classes will see a typical school day structured in the following way. These schedules may be subject to some modifications.
Grade 9/10 schedule
Grade 11-12 schedule
Food remains an important part of our student experience, but in this new environment, the delivery of meals will be different. We provide high quality food offerings and special dietary meals to Senior School students. Senior School students in grade cohorts will enjoy buffet-style lunches in the Dining Hall . We will have reduced capacity in the Dining Hall, with staggered lunch times and hot lunch items individually plated and served by Aramark staff to the students from behind physical barriers. Individual drinks will also be provided to the students, and packaged sandwich/deli/soup options are available. Hand sanitizing routines before and after lunch will be a part of the lunch process. There will be one-way traffic flow in and out of the Dining Hall as well as the use of physical barriers and floor signs to support physical distancing as students wait to enter the servery. Enhanced cleaning protocols in between the staggered lunch times will include sanitizing tables, chairs and other high touch-point areas. These enhanced protocols in the kitchen and servery also include the use of PPE.
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 through the school bookstore. Music theory, composition, and other forms of musical instruction will continue to be offered.
Health and Physical Education
Physical education courses, 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 within the class cohort outside. Masking is encouraged for indoor sports where they can be worn safely based on the activity.
Co-curricular experiences are a cornerstone of the student experience and all students are expected to participate in this programming which cultivates self-confidence, academic success and lifelong friendships as well as physical and mental wellness. Students will have opportunities to enjoy indoor and outdoor activities that promote an active lifestyle, skill development, and social interaction, while promoting health and safety. 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 soccer, volleyball, badminton, basketball, table tennis, running and physical conditioning. Other activities available will include club options, such as Debate, Music, Visual Arts, the Math Club, as well as leadership groups such as the Student Committee, Youth Action Organization, the Diversity Club and the Green Team.
Co-curricular Options for Senior School - Winter Term
With the safety and well being of our students and staff in mind, the following competitive sports activities will be postponed, until further notice. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the other online co-curricular activities being offered.
Senior Boys' Basketball
Junior Boys' Basketball
Senior Girls' Volleyball
Junior Girls' Volleyball
Recreational Sports and Clubs
Alpine Ski & Snowboarding Club (Grades 9-12)
Recreational Hockey (Grades 9-10, 11-12)
Free Skating (Grades 9-10)
Free Skating (Grades 11-12)
Fitness (Grades 9-10)
Fitness (Grades 11-12)
Yoga/Wellness (Grades 11-12)
Arts and Crafts (Grades 9-10)
Debate Club (Grade 9-12)
Online Board Games (Grades 9-10)
Until further notice, the following leadership activities will be offered online during the winter term.
Sr. Student Committee
Responsible for a variety of initiatives over the course of the year, the Student Committee is always looking for eager individuals to help out with dances, increase school spirit, run Morning Meetings and give the students a voice.
Sr. Co-curricular Council
The Co-curricular Council has a lot planned for this year. Booker’s Run, PUMA Challenges, Ceremonies, and planning fun events. It will be an active, and exciting year for the CC Council. Meetings will be bi-weekly.
Sr. Arts Council
The goal of this club is to promote the Arts both at the school and in the local community. Throughout the year it will support a variety of events at the school. There are opportunities for leadership roles within the council.
The function of the Music Council is to foster the spirit and presence of music within the school and our community. Members of this council are creative, enthusiastic and have a passion for performing, creating and promoting music.
Youth Action Organization
The Youth Action Organization (YAO) is a student driven club. Those with an interest in social justice issues gather to raise awareness and improve the school, local and global communities. Many campaigns occur over the year in which the club plans and runs activities for the student body, including the Thanksgiving Food Drive.
Sr. Green Team
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.
The Yearbook Executive will meet regularly to make decisions on the content, organization, and layout of this year’s Voyageur yearbook.
Students will be able to participate in day trips, with a particular emphasis on trips that occur outdoors; no overnight trips will be offered. Students will have opportunities to enjoy outdoor excursions to the school’s Blue & Silver Farm, local conservation areas, Fairy Lake, or outdoor camps as examples. Trips to indoor venues will be assessed carefully for risk.
Literacy and Community involvement graduation requirements
The literacy graduation requirement is waived for students graduating in the 2021-22 school year. The literacy graduation requirement will be restored for students graduating in the 2022-23 school year. Students in grades 10 and 11 and non-graduating students, are required to work towards the literacy graduation requirement through participation in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) or the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).
The community involvement graduation requirement has been reduced from 40 hours to a minimum of 20 hours of community involvement activities for students graduating in the 2021-22 school year. This requirement of 40 hours will be restored in 2022-23.
Regular attendance is an important aspect of academic success and community engagement. If students are unable to attend scheduled classes for a day or two, parents or custodians should contact the Attendance at email@example.com, in advance to provide details of the excused absence. In the event that your child cannot attend school, they will be supported to learn from home through Edsby. In the event that your child is going to be away for an extended period of time, you would need to contact the director who will determine your child’s eligibility for a learning plan based on our Remote and Virtual Learning Policy.
Attendance for Morning Meetings, advisor periods and special presentations are mandatory. Students who do not have a scheduled Period 1 class are expected to attend these sessions virtually. To accommodate physical distancing and maximum group size requirements, Morning Meetings for the 2021-2022 school year will continue to be hosted virtually.
Remote and Virtual Learning Policy
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
An overview of virtual learning
We are designing our program to be flexible in order to respond to changing situations. 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:
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.
In the remote and virtual learning, students can expect to engage in both synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences/activities.
With synchronous learning, classes occur virtually or in person, face-to-face with a teacher during scheduled blocks/periods with the use of technology facilitating synchronous classes for students in different locations and time zones. Live lessons can also be recorded for future reference in order to support their asynchronous work. Synchronous classes would include virtual classroom activities, video conferencing, instant messaging, interactive webinars, chat-based virtual discussions, and live-broadcast lectures and students would have direct access to teachers to ask questions and receive immediate feedback on their work. This also allows students to socialize and collaborate with their peers in class virtual discussions, and special presentations. As per Ontario Ministry guidelines, Senior School students would be provided with 300 minutes of daily synchronous and asynchronous learning activities
Virtual co-curricular activities following classes would be provided as available.
Asynchronous learning provides students with the opportunity to research, develop discipline-specific and interdisciplinary skills, collaborate and reflect on their learning. Students also have the choice and flexibility to complete work at a time and place of their choosing, developing their organizational and time-management skills. Asynchronous activities are learner-centered as the review, practice or project work is completed independently or collaboratively with peers and supports both course-based inquiry and Global Leadership Program projects. Students can ask questions and receive feedback from their teachers and peers through different forums such as email or messaging and teachers can 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 your child’s teacher, advisor and learning strategist, and may be provided in groups or individually, during tutorial periods or scheduled office hours.
Examples of asynchronous learning: independent reading, research, homework, practice questions, small-group collaboration, email, pre-recorded video lessons or webinars, virtual forums, and discussion boards.
Virtual Learning Schedule
In the event that we are unable to offer in-person instruction and would transition to a full virtual learning program, students in the Senior School would follow the schedule below. The virtual learning program and schedule is structured based on the following assumptions:
- Course instruction would continue through the four-course, semester structure
- Scheduled classes would occur synchronously on a daily basis and would be complemented by independent or asynchronous work and activities
- Students unable to attend classes for any reason would be able to review recorded video of synchronous lessons archived in Microsoft Teams
- Asynchronous activities and work (whether independent or collaborative) could be completed at a time and place of the students' choosing within the scheduled framework of course due dates
- Students and teachers would schedule meeting times for group work or academic support during morning and afternoon flex blocks as required
- GLP activities would continue virtually and would be scheduled into the Periods 2 and 3 on Fridays to maintain continuity of programming
Remote and Virtual Learning for International Students
International students unable to join us for in-person classes at the beginning of the school year as defined by our Remote and Virtual Learning Policy, will be able to engage in our remote and virtual academic programming along with community and wellness experiences. New international students will be able to settle into their school community and develop a study routine and classroom engagement so that they keep pace with their course work. They will work towards the same objectives and goals as their classmates who are on campus, will attend classes with them virtually, and develop those relationships that will facilitate their seamless transition to Pickering College life when they join us on campus.
In support of their transition into the Pickering College community, international students will
- Virtually participate in new student orientation activities during the first week of school
- Virtually connect with their advisor and participate in weekly Advisor Group meetings and activities
- Virtually attend Morning Meetings and other special events via Zoom
- Participate in community wellness sessions and co-curricular activities, synchronously or asynchronously
Through their remote and virtual academic programming, international students will be able to:
- Attend live synchronous lessons with the ‘tumbling’ class schedule providing them easier access to in-person attendance, regardless of their time zone
- Participate in class discussion boards, peer editing, collaborative projects, peer tutoring sessions and group activities in virtual breakout rooms
- Connect with their subject teachers for support with lessons and independent work assigned and attend tutorial sessions
- Access recorded class lessons, lectures and lab demonstrations, to view asynchronously as their schedule allows
- Meet with their advisor in support of academic planning and progress
- Meet with their guidance counsellor, the school’s learning strategist or social worker for academic and social/emotional support
- Participate in ongoing assessment and evaluation to ensure their academic progress and transition to on-campus classes
Technology is deeply integrated into the Senior School academic program and Pickering College provides secure technology environments to support and enhance student learning. The Edsby Learning Management System is our central hub for course information, scheduling, and resources. Microsoft Outlook, One Drive, and OneNote provide students with uninterrupted access to learning materials and the ability to engage in virtual collaborative activities, while Microsoft Teams will give students access to virtual lessons, virtual breakout rooms for collaborative learning both in-class and virtual. MS Teams will also house an archive of recorded live lessons and demonstrations for students unable to attend in-person classes for any reason, allowing them to keep pace with their classes. Students are able to access the technology platforms using the School recommended devices. .
If virtual learning is required in the Senior School, these platforms also enable teachers to attend to the differentiated learning needs and provide customized coaching and additional assistance to students through one-on-one or small-group sessions. To further enrich our students’ academic and collaborative learning skills, applications such as Zoom, Parlay Ideas, Adobe Creative Suite, WeVideo, Edpuzzle, Mathspace, ALEKS, IXL English Language Arts, Turnitin, Quizlet, Flipgrid, and Pear Deck will also be employed by teachers in their lesson design.
Pickering College’s one-to-one laptop programs allow families to purchase a fully-configured device from a vetted and reputable vendor. Each student in Grades 9-12 will need to purchase a school-recommended device with a three-year warranty and coverage for accidental damage. A separate communication has been sent out to parents with the details on how to procure hardware.
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.
In the Senior School, parents can expect to receive updates on important school information and other school happenings every two weeks through the Newsfile from the Director of Senior School. For academic information, parents can access Edsby to be apprised of their child’s daily class instructions, project and assessment information as well as weekly happenings and schedule modifications on the ‘Senior School Information’ page. Email will remain the primary communication channel between the school and home.
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 benchmarking against grade-level and discipline-specific standards. Whether in-person or virtual learning periods, assessment and evaluation requirements will continue to be aligned with Ontario Ministry of Education requirements, the school’s Assessment Policy, and will take a variety of forms from quizzes and tests to project-based assignments, presentations and performances or oral examinations.
During any virtual learning periods, evidence of student knowledge and skill development will be gathered through a variety of supervised virtual and independent learning tasks. Assessments will be managed in the following ways:
- Oral assessments and presentations will be conducted through MS Teams, voice threads or other recordings
- Written assessments and project work will be assessed through photo, audio, video and written submissions, primarily submitted through Edsby and, at times, MS Teams
- 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 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
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
Director of Senior School
- Lead specific planning and implementation for the in-person and online learning frameworks within the Senior School
- Communicate and liaise with faculty, staff, students and families
- Provide ongoing support to faculty, staff, students, and families
- Share responsibility for the review and monitoring of classes, learning tasks, and activities
- Oversee matters related to student conduct
- Oversee assessment and evaluation practices
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
Senior 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
Senior 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
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