R.F. Staples School Community Update

Read the March 25, 2020 update to the R.F. Staples School Community from Principal Wayne Rufiange.
You can also view the letter in PDF format.

Dear R.F. Staples School Community,

Last week R.F. Staples staff worked to prepare for the task of providing education to our students under the current circumstances. Thank you students and families for your cooperation as students came into the building to collect their belongings and gather resources.

On Friday, March 20, Alberta Education provided more direction for school authorities. It answers some of our questions but also leaves many unanswered. I understand the decisions that have been made and will work with staff to provide learning opportunities for our students. I will provide some of the key directives (in italics) from Alberta Education and then the steps R.F. Staples staff are taking to follow them.

For all kindergarten to Grade 12 students, school authorities will offer at-home learning opportunities, either through online means or through other accommodations, such as course packages and telephone check-ins.

  • R.F. Teachers are ready to go and in fact were ready to go last Wednesday with all of our classes. It will not be perfect but teachers will start on Monday, March 30, following the regular school timetable. Students and teachers will be learning to work within this new framework and it will take time. Being adaptable, flexible and being ready to go with the flow will be our mantra.
  • Staff will monitor which students are contacting teachers and reach out to students that we have not heard from.
  • Students were able to sign out Chromebooks from the school last week and can continue to do so. Adult signature is required for the sign out agreement.
  • Teachers are ready to go and have been setting up students in online platforms like Google Classroom.
  • We are encouraging students to check in with their teachers according to the regular school timetable. Like teachers welcoming students into their classroom, I believe that making regular connections online is important.
  • Some lessons will be live, synchronous, and others will be recorded, asynchronous.
  • Students not able to participate in online learning will be given learning packages.
  • A schedule will be set for the picking up and dropping off of lessons at the school. When more is known about how many students will need this service.

Grades 7-9

Education content will focus on core mathematics, language/literacy, science and social studies curriculum outcomes. Teachers will assign an average of 10 hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

  • Work will be designed to be completed on average in 10 hours. Like in a regular class, some students take longer to complete work and some take less time.
  • 10 hours per week for four core classes equates to 30 min per day per course. As we move forward more time may be allocated to certain courses like Mathematics and Language Arts.
  • Social distancing and isolation can be strenuous on mental wellness. Physical Education is not something that will be focused on under current Alberta Education guidelines, but is going to be offered. P.E. teachers are being creative to get students active and engaged. Students are encouraged to participate not only for their physical health, but also for their mental health. Participating in P.E. is completely optional but strongly encouraged.
  • Students that picked up their band instruments are encouraged to continue playing. Ms. Shelton is also prepared to offer optional instruction.
  • As another way to stay connected, TAG classes will be scheduled at the beginning of each week. These are optional.

Grades 10-12

Education content will focus on specified and core courses required for high school graduation requirements, including language (English, French and French language arts), social studies, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics.
Content from other courses will be delivered where possible, and accommodations for students unable to complete courses are in place.
Teachers will assign an average of 3 hours of work per course per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

  • All classes are being offered.
    • Courses that require a lot of hands on learning (Foods, Carpentry, Automotives, Cosmetology) will have theory lessons with hopes of having some creative ways to complete the practical work.
  • Whether online or through learning packages, staff are able to continue educating students in all courses.
  • An average of three hours per week for one course equates to 36 minutes per day. This is average work per day as some students may take longer and some less time to complete the assigned tasks.
  • As a way to stay connected, TAG classes will be scheduled at the beginning of each week. These are optional.

High School Diploma Criteria

Students on track to receive 100 or more credits will still be eligible to graduate and receive a high school diploma. Principals have the ability to award up to 15 credits to students in Grade 12 whose program has been negatively impacted by class cancellations. For any courses that are started, schools will complete them with the student to the best of their ability, provide a final mark and award credits.

If the student is unable to complete a course that would have led them to achieving a high school diploma, such as a work experience or a career and technology studies course, principals have the ability to award credits to ensure the student graduates.

  • R.F. Staples is moving forward with all high school classes.
  • Accommodations are being made for online learning learning packages. Every effort is being made by staff to contact students and support them completing their courses.
  • Students are expected to make every effort to contact their teachers and work toward completing the courses they are enrolled in.
  • Work Experience students may be the exception as work sites are being shut down.
  • More information is needed from Alberta Education regarding principals awarding credits
    to students.

    • I do not want to make this an onerous task; however I also believe students are
      obligated to do what they can to earn their credits.
  • I will be working with school counsellors regarding graduation requirements for our grade
    12 students. We will be going student by student to understand the implications the
    current situation has for each one.

Provincial Assessments

All Grade 6 and 9 provincial achievement tests and Grade 12 diploma exams are cancelled. Under special circumstances, students can request to write a diploma exam. Students wishing
to do so should speak to their teacher and school administrator.
Due to classes being cancelled and current measures prohibiting gatherings, the administration of diploma exams will be cancelled for April and June 2020, except in extenuating circumstances, which are outlined below. (Listed as examples were homeschooled and Adult students)
Students currently registered to write diploma exams during the April and June sessions will receive exemptions, without the need to apply for one.
Students who paid a rewrite fee for April or June diploma exams will receive a refund.
Students who planned to rewrite diploma exams in April or June will receive an exemption from the diploma exam, if a new school awarded mark for the April or June terms is submitted. The new school awarded mark will be their final course mark.

  • No grade 9 PATs and 30 level Diploma exams.
  • More information is needed regarding students that would like to write a diploma exam. Currently the examples of when a diploma exam may be written included homeschooled
    and Adult students.
  • My understanding is that post secondary institutions are contacting students that have been conditionally accepted. Those institutions are letting students know that the diploma exams will not be a requirement and school awarded marks are sufficient. If you have questions please contact the specific post secondary institution.
  • Those wanting to write a diploma please contact me at the school. I will then inquire as to whether or not it is a extenuating circumstance.

R.F. Staples Summary

  • Classes resume Monday March 30. Follow school timetable to start. Junior high is day 4 and Senior High is day 2 following the TAG/Focus bell schedule.
    Senior High Start TimesJunior High Start TimesJunior High Start Times
    Days 1 and 2Days 1 and 3Days 2 and 4
    8:558:558:55
    10:15
    TAG - 1st day of the week
    10:009:55
    10:5011:0510:54
    12:5012:5012:33
    2:101:551:32
    3:00
    TAG - First day 1 or 3 of the week
    2:31
  • As we progress an alternate schedule will be discussed and may be implemented.
  • Need a Chromebook? Contact the office.
  • All students need to make sure they have received communication from teachers.
  • Can’t manage school work online? Staff will work to help you with print learning packages. Maybe there are other alternatives.
  • Pick up and drop off schedule yet to be determined.
  • No PATs and Diploma exams. Contact me if you believe yours is an extenuating circumstance and want to write a diploma. I will enquire on your behalf.
  • Students are expected to work toward completing classes. Teachers are streamlining their courses to meet current Alberta Education requirements. If no attempt is made to complete a course, it is not automatic that credit is given.
  • Most staff will be working at the school building after the break to deliver education services to our community. Working from home will be an option where possible.
  • Staff only in the building. Pembina Hills School Division has also closed playgrounds at school to help stop the spread of the virus.

I appreciate everyone’s patience at this time. Last week R.F. Staples staff were prepared to offer a full course load and on Friday, March 20th, it changed. We adapt as new challenges and conditions are given to us. I send this information out now knowing that it may change by the time classes resume on March 30th.

Health officials tell us that our actions today, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, will determine the future two weeks and even months from now. I ask, along with R.F. Staples staff, that families and students continue to make education a priority. Please stay safe and stay healthy, that goes without saying. It is possible the next 3 months may be completed from home. The learning in the next 3 months has implications for the years to come. R.F. Staff is working to make sure the remaining key learning outcomes will be taught and we encourage families and students to take these lessons seriously. Expecting a “free ride” is not a recipe for success. It is not going to be easy, but that does not mean it can’t be accomplished and successful.

Please contact teachers, staff, and myself if you have any questions. I am confident we can make this work.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rufiange, Principal
R.F. Staples Secondary School
wayne.rufiange@pembinahills.ca

Posted on: March 25th, 2020