New CGR4M Virtual Summer School Course

Dear Students, Parents & Guardians,

I hope that this week has been a good one for everyone with the weather finally beginning to match the calendar! Speaking of the calendar, Blyth Academy will be following the advice and direction of the Ministry of Education and continuing with virtual classes to close out the school year. Not a surprise for most I suspect, but disappointing, certainly. That said, we have to do our part to ensure the safety of both our Blyth ET community and our Bloor West community.

With the recent announcement that overnight summer camps will be cancelled by the province this year, I know that many of you are looking for things to keep your child engaged this summer. We’ve been at work creating one of our specialized courses in partnership with Canadian Adventure Expeditions (Tim and Robin for the kids who have done one of these trips already)! Blyth Academy is pleased to offer students a virtual summer school course which will allow students to experience the majesty of Algonquin Park all from the safety of their homes or cottages. This specialized course allows students to earn their CGR4M (The Environment and Resource Management) credit through a unique partnership between Blyth Academy and Canadian Adventure Expeditions. At the same time as earning a Grade 12 credit that they can put towards their all-important “top 6” for University admissions, students will receive daily virtual instruction and experiential learning opportunities live and real-time from Algonquin Park!

This four-week course will offer students insight live from the field on:
1) forestry and timber products
2) minerals and petrochemicals
3) water resources and protection
4) wildlife, fisheries and the fur harvest

Opportunities to learn practical skills in the field abound: live explorations and wildlife tracking, field professionals visiting resource sites related to the curriculum while interacting with the class, and group discussions surrounding our resources, their management and their future. Students will explore each of these resources with focus on their management, use, and historical context within Canada from social and economic standpoints. Students will be guided through the course curriculum by an experienced and passionate Blyth Academy teacher and our field-guides; Tim Winegard – a scientist with degrees in Zoology and Geography who has collaborated with ivy league schools across the US; and Robin Tapley – an adventurer, naturalist and professor of Adventure Tourism at Fanshawe College; and a number of guest speakers ranging from researchers to prospectors.

Class size is limited so get in touch with me as soon as possible to ensure you get your seat at the front of the virtual classroom this July. Classes run daily, Monday – Friday with morning field instruction and lessons between 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and teachers available for 1:1 support and tutorials in the afternoon.

Be well,
Laurie Foley

Though our physical doors remain temporarily closed, the minds of our students stay open. Summer classes are continuing to meet on their regular daily schedules, in virtual classrooms with face-to-face instruction and peer interaction.  The Blyth Academy model of small class sizes, flexible scheduling and individualized approach have enabled us to remain faithful to our standards. Our commitment to ongoing and meaningful communication between school, teachers, students and families has been critical to this effort.

Although our students have transitioned into summer mode and COVID-19 restrictions have begun to loosen, we are looking ahead to what September will hold for our campuses and families.
We want to be clear - our preference and our priority is to get students back to our campuses, but we must ensure this is done in a safe and effective way. While we await official guidance from Public Health and the Ministry of Education, a "return to school" task force has been hard at work putting concrete operational plans in place for all likely scenarios. This includes a full return to campus with safeguards, a blended model of virtual and in-campus learning and the continuation of fully virtual classrooms. All scenarios will provide robust learning and live, daily instruction and interaction with teachers and peers. 
With ten campuses across Ontario, we realize that each one of our schools is a unique space and community. We will be implementing across-the-board policies on hand washing, facility cleaning and social distancing measures. Each school is also prepared to pivot individually based on the guidance of local health authorities and to best serve students and families. 
Our recent survey showed that over 80 per cent of Blyth Academy families are eager to return to campuses, and we are hard at work to prepare for this day. As September's scenario becomes clearer and more information becomes available, we will continue to communicate. 

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