Blyth Academy Newsletter Term Three 2020

 
The beginning of this term started out like any other; students were engaged in the classroom and the gym, the hallways were bustling, and experiential learning was happening in and around the campus. Today, we find ourselves in a much different situation — students are continuing their same classes and activities, but they now come together and connect with teachers and classmates through our virtual classrooms. While teaching and learning continues to be disrupted across the province, we are fortunate that our staff and teachers have worked hard to make Blyth Academy Downsview Park virtual classroom model a success. With the extended closure, we are committed to continuing the same small class sizes and personalized education that our students and families expect. Live virtual classes, office hours, guidance support, and even fitness and skills training have continued through our virtual tools. In these uncertain times, we believe that our students benefit greatly from the structure, social interaction, and support their school provides them.

Here are a few highlights from Term Three at Blyth Academy Downsview Park.


In and Around the Campus

Virtual Classes
All of our teachers across Elementary and Secondary have been working hard to provide engaging and consistent lessons throughout each subject. You will see the use of interactive material, use of different technologies, more one-on-one time and even students submitting video work from home! All students are encouraged to ask for a Zoom session with any of their teachers or staff if they have questions or concerns.
Wellness Wednesday and Weekly Challenges:
To keep mental health at the forefront students are given a new practice such as a short breathing exercise to promote relaxation. Each week students are also given a video challenge where they can have fun at home with their families. This past week we did the “Footshake” challenge and this week is the “Floss Dance” challenge.

Virtual Guest Speakers

We have recently kicked off a series of all-star guest speakers. We have put every effort into getting our student-athletes opportunities to continue to train, be educated and be inspired in their sports even during these times of social distancing. The speakers we have invited into our virtual classrooms so far have provided all of our students some excitement in times of isolation and seclusion.

Virtual Session with John Tavares — Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs

Recent Guest Speakers

John Tavares
Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs Joined our students for an amazing session talking students through his experiences as a student and athlete, what it takes to be successful and fun facts.

Ted Donato
Harvard’s head hockey coach joined us for an informative session on what it’s like to play on a D1 hockey team, while also talking about what is expected from student-athletes at a higher level (sports, academics, and personality).

Greg Vanney
TFC Head Coach spoke to our students about what it is like to be on and coach a professional team, attributes of professional athletes, daily routines, and advice.

Mike Galati and Rob Gherson
These Jr. A coaches come in and give our students weekly “coaches corner” sessions for both hockey players and goalies. There have been cool experiences like scoring goals by watching videos and plays, steps to get to Junior A levels, and much more.

Student of the Week

Elementary Student: Rafael G.
Rafael is our student of the week! He is enrolled in our soccer program and is excelling in academics, physical and mental training through our online platform. He goes out of his way to participate above and beyond our expectations. Keep up the great work, Rafael!

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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