Blyth Academy Whitby Newsletter Term Three 2020

 
The beginning of this Term started out like any other; students were engaged in the classroom, 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 continue to be disrupted across the province, we are fortunate that our staff and teachers have worked hard to make Blyth Academy Whitby’s 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 extracurricular activities 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 Whitby


In and Around the Campus

The Kairos Blanket Exercise
At the beginning of Term Three, Blyth Whitby campus had a unique opportunity for all of our students to learn through a shared experience called The Kairos Blanket Exercise which demonstrated the history of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise program was a unique, participatory history lesson – developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators – that fosters truth, understanding, respect and reconciliation among Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
The Blyth Academy Whitby Eco Team
The Blyth Academy Whitby Eco Team, led by Natalie, has been working on initiatives to improve our campus’s environmental footprint. They meet weekly and have introduced initiatives to help us all recognize the small things we can all do to help improve the environment. We now only allow Uber Eats two days a week, after an analysis of our weekly waste. We now only allow reusable water bottles and coffee cups on campus. We have introduced a no printing policy at school and are looking to submit work digitally whenever possible. These initiatives have already helped to improve the amount of school waste each week.
The Eco Team assembled plastic-free/waste-free Valentine Candy Grams in February. Students wrote messages to the recipients and the Candygrams ere delivered on Valentine’s Day. 70 Candygrams were sold!
Grade 8 Science
Earlier this term, the Grade 8 Science class was hard at work building Class 1, 2 and 3 levers. Using mitre boxes, handsaws, hammers and other materials, the students need to make three different levers to get a tabletop tennis ball to travel a distance of at least one metre. While building their levers, the Grade 8 students are learning about mechanical advantage and the scientific meaning of work!
March Madness in Middle School
College basketball? Nope, we’re talking about books! Our Middle School teachers participated in a literary version of March Madness. Each Grade 6, 7 and 8 student recommended a book for their teachers to read. These books were paired randomly, to go head-to-head in the ultimate competition; which book is better? Students filled out their brackets, and those closest to the final results won a prize!
Winter Warmer at Flying Squirrel
Students and staff enjoyed a Winter Warmer at Flying Squirrel during Term Three. The venue was chosen by our Foundations group and enjoyed by students from Grades 6 – 12!

Virtual Learning

Virtual learning is off to a great start at Blyth Academy Whitby with both teachers and students embracing this new norm!

Student Spotlight

Early acceptance to Edinburgh University and The University of Glasgow
This month as early offers have started to be processed we celebrated some offers this Term. After rigorous application process including a full-day interview in both New York San Francisco, Allise and Arla were pleased to hear this week that they have been accepted into direct entry veterinary Medicine undergraduate programs at both Edinburgh University and The University of Glasgow.

Both degrees are accredited in North America and their intention is to start a practice here in Ontario after their five years of study. Edinburgh has spots for just 30 International students. It is quite an achievement to have two of our Grade 12 students obtain places! Allise and Arla have worked hard for this opportunity, both with respect to their academics and gaining relevant work experience.

In GLC2O (Career Studies) and GLS1O (Foundations) our students have been working on resumes and exploring both work, summer study, and volunteer opportunities that will help them be ready to put forth strong University/College Applications in the future.

Maddy W. received all five of her offers and accepted a place at Northern College to become a Paramedic – this has been Maddy’s goal since joining Blyth Academy in Grade 11.

An Update on Student Clubs

Summer Company Team
Ashley McBride, Summer Company Coordinator, visited our Summer company Team on Wednesday March 4th.

She gave the student’s a presentation on the program and success stories. The Summer Company Entrepreneurship program provides Ontario students aged 15-19 hands-on training and mentoring, plus a grant of up to $3000 to start a business.

Mrs. Shalkh and Mrs. Samaur are supporting 8 students whilst they develop their business proposals for submissions.

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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