An Update From Your Principal

 

Dear Blyth Academy Yorkville community,

I wanted to extend my own best wishes to our community in this challenging time and provide a more campus-specific update as a follow-up.

First, some highlights of the past week:

  • The grade 11 English class has a new Independent Study Project, which involves the creation of a Covid Time Capsule, as a means of documenting, researching and communicating about the history that is happening now.
  • Our Calculus and Vectors class has formed a virtual homework club outside of regular class time.
  • The Data Management class is studying the numbers associated with the virus.
  • The students in Challenge and Change are holding discussions at the level of undergraduate seminars. I told them how impressed I was by their performance the other day, as we reflected on their capacity to process challenges in much more sophisticated ways that their Principal back in the day!
  • The grade 10 business class may be more engaged, in certain respects, than some of their physical classroom times. They are doing an outstanding job.
  • The grade 12 English class is discovering the timeliness of the themes addressed in Fahrenheit 451, a novel published in 1953, through their presentations on current events tackling issues of education, technology, mental health, government control &/or persuasion, peer pressure and social conformity.
  • Grade 9s are awesome, as always.
Before broaching more logistical matters, I encourage you to check in with your kids about how things are going, and what’s going on in class. You may be surprised to find that in these new circumstances, lines of communication can open up in unforeseen ways.

  • As some will have seen, we continue to take and report attendance on our close-to-regular schedule with prompt notices. I am happy to report that the students have been present and on time at truly impressive rates.
  • Students have also been submitting work of high quality and in a timely fashion. There are a thousand potential hiccups in this process, but again, the students have figured things out admirably, and Edsby is a hotbed of activity!
  • Where struggles are occurring, we are communicating with updates as always. Teachers and guidance have gone above and beyond in maintaining updates and will continue to maintain this highest priority of the school.
  • With more details to come, the end of term 3, exam, and the start of term 4 dates remain intact. Teachers are finalizing exam formats this week.
  • The faculty is plotting a return of extra-curriculars, with some old favourites and new offerings to come.
  • University counselling and timetabling continue apace.
  • We are adding virtual learning skills to our reporting on post-secondary preparedness at the end of the term. The virtual classroom has long been featured in university courses. So, in addition to the uninterrupted progress of their courses, our students are gaining valuable foundations for their future academic encounters.

In general, it has been sincerely heartening to see the work of our talented and tireless staff, students and families through the past two weeks. I feel extremely grateful to be able to move forward together with this incredible community. My visits to classes, faculty meetings, and Principal conferences are wonderful opportunities to share ideas, experiences and a little humour each day. Your notes of appreciation have been immensely helpful to the teachers as they have rapidly responded to current circumstances. We are privileged to have these educators with us.

So, it is looking like we will be in this virtual format for the foreseeable future. There are many messages of advice, expertise, motivation, and all other kinds of perspective on what is happening to our worlds today. I have little to add, other than to embrace the progress we’ve made to date, and to rely on our collective support to persevere.

To that end, I will continue to be available via email. You can also book times for phone calls and/or Zoom conferences through the following link: https://calendly.com/mbooth-2.

Best,
Michael

Effective March 17, 2020, Blyth Academy is remote organization in hopes of doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. We will be receiving all emails, phone calls, and voicemails and are dedicated to maintaining business as usual. Thank you for your continued support!

Though our doors are temporarily closed, the minds of our students will remain open. Our students will continue their academic journey through virtual classrooms, to ensure our students don’t miss out on valuable curriculum hours. Our small class sizes and individualized approach will continue in a virtual model, as will the structure that students need to be engaged and successful during the closure. Live virtual classes, office hours, guidance support and even extracurricular activities will continue through virtual tools. In these uncertain times, we believe that our students benefit greatly from the structure, social interaction and support their school provides them.

Our plans include continuing term three virtually, along with all of the usual processes for student report cards and information sharing with post-secondary institutions delivered on schedule. Planning for term four is underway with Principals and guidance staff working on finalizing courses and students’ schedules.

Blyth Academy is committed to providing students with personalized instruction and support, focusing on critical and creative thinking skills, and nurturing curiosity, innovation and student leadership. We are also committed to providing ongoing communication between the school and families.

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