An Update From Your Principal

 
Dear Students, Parents & Guardians,

First, congratulations on some great Term Three results, Blyth ET! I continue to be impressed by the effort that students are putting into their virtual classes. Over the past week as I reviewed student outcomes with teachers, I was routinely in awe of the work that has been done by our classes in our virtual space. So please, give yourselves a pat on the back!

Next, I want to thank all of you – teachers, students, and parents/guardians – for making the start to our virtual Term Four an outstanding one! The feedback after day two is extremely positive, with many sharing their appreciation and support of the adjustments we’ve made to the assessment plans for the term ahead. Our team has been really excited to be designing their courses for this term knowing from the start that they will take place virtually. Part of our focus over Term Four will be to find new opportunities and methods to integrate increased experiential learning into our virtual classrooms, as this forms such a large part of our typical classroom approach to teaching and learning. Thank you for your patience and support as we work to make the learning space as engaging as possible for our students.

Finally, I’d like to thank those of you that took the time to reflect upon the Blyth ET virtual experience thus far and responded to my email last week, sharing your feedback. As a result of that feedback, over Term Four, teachers will be scheduling mandatory 1:1 meetings with students during office hours over the term. You let us know that some were not taking advantage of those opportunities to connect with teachers for support and so this is our way of giving kids a gentle push! Teachers will communicate further details on this to each class next week. We’ll allow students some flexibility to choose dates/times but we’ll also be booking on their behalf should they fail to do so. Teachers will let parents know if students are missing their 1:1 meetings so that home and school can work together to best support our students academically.

Until next week, stay positive and healthy, Blyth ET.

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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