What a crazy week we have had!!  It is so wonderful to know that we have a God who loves us, sees us, and cares about every detail of our lives.  You all have been bombarded with information the past week from every direction.  This morning it is my desire to explain a few “housekeeping” details, but also share a little bit of my heart with you.  This is a brand new experience for all of us:  for students, parents, and teachers alike.  There will definitely be times when we (students, parents, teachers) are completely overwhelmed and do not know where to turn.  During those times, please take the time to stop, take a break, say a prayer, read the Bible, go for a walk, etc.

It is my prayer that we can all have a lot of grace for each other as we travel down this path that the Lord has trusted us with.   I understand that all families are in completely different situations right now and have different schedules.  Some families were already asking for work for their children last Sunday (March 15) and other families are still not ready to begin the at home learning process.  That is totally fine!!  It is up to parents to develop a schedule that works for their individual family.

On March 20, Alberta Education released three documents:  A letter to the parents from Education Minister LaGrange, an Education Continuity Plan, and a Question and Answer document.  I have attached all three documents in case you have not had a chance to review them yet.  We have worked closely with Association of Independent Schools and Colleges of Alberta (AISCA) this past week, who in turn has had regular meetings with Alberta Education.  Here are a few “takeaways” that AISCA has highlighted for us:

>Student learning is continuing. It is important for students and parents to know that they will be supported in completing their education for the year.

>There is flexibility built into the plan; a baseline of expectations is provided for across the grades, but there is recognition that individual school authorities will determine the appropriate approach to providing access to instruction for their communities.

>The Minister notes in her letter to parents that “your school division has flexibility to do what is best for your community.”

>Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma Exams are canceled; students can still request them in extraordinary circumstances.

>Students will receive final grades, and all students who were on track to progress to the next grade, or to graduation, will do so.

> Suggested content delivery for each grade is broken down as follows:  

-Kindergarten - Grade 3:  Education content will focus on language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy outcomes of the provincial curriculum.  Teachers will assign an average of five hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.  

-Grade 4-6:  Education content will continue to focus on language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy outcomes, and there will be opportunity to incorporate science and social studies outcomes through cross-curricular learning.  Teachers will assign an average of five hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.  

-Grade 7-9:  Education content will focus on core mathematics, language/literacy, science and social studies curriculum outcomes.  Teachers will assign an average of 10 hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

Teachers will be sending out work for your children today.  Remember when you or your children are overwhelmed, take a break!  We want you to know that we are here to support you.  You are welcome to email your child’s teacher anytime with questions or concerns.  Staff will respond to your emails between 10:00 am - 5:00 pm on Monday - Friday.

Also, after spring break if school is not back at school, we will be opening up times to do individual tutoring for interested families, if this is still permitted by Alberta Education and the Chief Medical Officer.

Staff begin each day with devotions and prayer for our DCS families, our staff, our country, and the world so please keep sending us your prayer requests.  It is an honour to pray for you all!!  “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26