Blyth Academy Newsletter Term Three 2020

 
So much has happened since the beginning of Term Three at Blyth Academy Ottawa! It began with a flurry of activity in and around our campuses: curling in physics, building a robot, skating on the Rink of Dreams, and cooking classes. We’ve since transitioned to virtual classrooms, where that level of activity is different, but equally engaging. One thing that certainly hasn’t changed is the enriching learning that’s happening, as our dedicated staff continue to ensure uninterrupted, live instructional time, ensuring everyone finishes off this term with the credits they’ve been working towards.


In and Around the Campus

Grade 7 and 8 Social Sciences: Exploring the West Block
Earlier in the term, we were out and about, exploring our city and making connections to the curriculum. Our grade 7 and 8 Social Sciences class explored the history, roles, art, and architecture of the House of Commons on a guided tour of the newly-restored West Block.
Grade 11 and 12: Curling in Physics
Canadian culture met classroom creativity with an introduction to curling at the Nepean Sportsplex. The Grade 11 and 12 Physics classes did real-world experiments on forces, energy, and momentum while exploring one of our most popular sports!
Grade 9 and 10 Foundations: Life Lessons
Our Grade 9 and 10 Foundations class certainly appreciated their own culinary skills during weekly cooking lessons, and in their spare time, also learned how to change a flat tire and check the oil in the cars they one day hope to have!
Winter Games!
Undaunted by the cold, we had a blast on the slopes and at the Rink of Dreams!
Hands-On Learning
In the physical classrooms, hands-on learning and support was as impressive and engaging as ever, with our teachers ensuring everyone gets the attention they need.
Robotics Club
Our Robotics Club also finished their build, just in time for the competition we never got to attend! The club is quite excited to expand on it once we’re back on campus though.

Virtual Classrooms

And once it was time for us to keep our students and staff at a safe distance, we didn’t miss a beat. Though we certainly look forward to chatting with our students on campus, when it’s safe, our virtual classrooms provide the opportunity to maintain the high level of teacher support, engaging learning, and the peer contact that teenagers (and their teachers) so desperately need. Our schedule hasn’t changed, the curriculum hasn’t changed, and our high expectations of student learning certainly hasn’t changed. We’ve all adapted quickly to our new virtual reality, and it would appear that we are THRIVING!
Virtual Lunches
As usual, the guidance and principal’s offices are always full, of students and laughter, at lunch!
Teen Medical School Club Meets Virtually
Our Teen Medical School Club continues virtually. This week, students learned about broken bones, how to tie a tourniquet and splint their own leg with items found at home.
Virtual Lessons
In our virtual classrooms, teachers are providing direct instruction and support, during our regular class time, and are meeting individually with students who require additional support during ‘office hours’. Students are completing group projects in breakout rooms, and maintaining the close peer interaction they are accustomed to. Virtual law, math and chem labs have never been more interesting!

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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