Weekly Update From Blyth Academy Etobicoke

Dear Students, Parents & Guardians,

It’s hard to believe, but as of the end of today, we have successfully completed week seven in our virtual classrooms. I counted – twice. For most, we’ve now got the hang of it, more or less, and many of those initial wrinkles have been ironed out. That said, I also know that some of the novelty is wearing off and we are missing those relationships and interactions that happen best in our school building and in our classrooms. This, coupled with the onset of spring and the end of the school year in sight, is starting to show on the faces of our students. I would ask that you all take a moment to regroup and keep your foot on the gas until the end of the year. We’ll do our very best to continue to engage your passions so that you can finish the year as strongly as you started it.

Next week is our University Experience Week for our Grade 12 classes. Tuesday through Thursday, Grade 12 teachers will be adopting a variety of university-style teaching/learning approaches in their classes through lectures, seminars, tutorials and labs. On Thursday, teachers and students will debrief on the experience in an effort to have students reflect upon and determine skills that they might wish to focus on over the remainder of the year in order to further prepare for university. Teachers will also share feedback with parents, anecdotally. On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., three Blyth ET graduates from the class of 2019 will host a Zoom session open to all of our students. They’ll share their first year experiences and provide tips and advice on topics such as scheduling, time management, study habits, and university living/life. There will also be an opportunity for students to ask questions.

As we are now in the home stretch of the school year, you may be thinking about options and activities for your child this summer. With many facing the prospect of cancelled summer camps and vacations, I wanted to share that we will be running Summer School at Blyth ET in July, with some of our full-time faculty team leading our classes. Classes will be face-to-face, either virtually through Zoom or in person if it is safe and permitted to do so. Classes will run from July 6 – 30 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, with afternoon office hours available daily. We offer a variety of courses in Grades 10 – 12. Details can be found on our website. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have questions or would like to register.

Finally, a very Happy Mother’s Day to all of our Blyth ET moms! I hope that you and your children have a wonderful day together, however you spend it! Until next time, be well, Blyth ET, and never hesitate to reach out. I am available for a call or Zoom meeting if you ever want to connect.

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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