COVID-19 Update March 25, 2020 VERITAS Continuous Learning Plan

COVID-19 Update March 25, 2020 VERITAS Continuous Learning Plan

Education Plan Spring 2020
While it is not school as usual during these unprecedented times, students’ education will continue and, in many ways, be enhanced.
Our plan was developed over the past week based on research, best practices for boys, and consultation with many organizations, and is based on the principles of VERITAS and the Selwyn House Vision and Mission. It was developed with thoughtful input from our community, particularly the Selwyn House faculty.
Basic Tenets
Known and loved
Known and loved continues to be our guiding principle. Certainly in these times, as always, it is very important to maintain a connection to family, friends, and teachers. We will continue to introduce opportunities to connect in an age-appropriate and safe way.
Support for ALL
These are extraordinary times, and with so many varied family circumstances for students, parents, and faculty, we recognize the need to take it one day at a time and to adjust to a new and fluctuating normal. Support has been the most powerful approach for all.
Community and connection
Our online learning is a means to provide instruction and maintain community and connection with and among students. Boys’ motivation to learn is strongly linked to the relationship they have with their teachers. We want to continue to support this connection.
Optimizing computer time
Too much time on the computer is detrimental. It is not cognitively or physically healthy for students to sit at a desk and computer all day. We all need activity, and boys need to move! We are being deliberate in the amount of online time we require. It is important that students are physically active, contribute to their household in an age-appropriate fashion, and perhaps, learn a new skill!

Routine is important. Boys need structure, which means a consistent wake-up time and bedtime. Having a schedule that is partially fixed and flexible gives the chance to learn while providing a framework for the day, week, and school year. Knowing what is expected, and when, helps parents and teachers optimize time and plan around other responsibilities.

Continuation of education using a developmentally sound approach
The Elementary teachers are excited as they improvise and design lessons to continue your son's education and to keep your son engaged, creative, and enthusiastic about practising and consolidating their skills, with both new and familiar lessons. We realize that some families may choose to disconnect from school learning for awhile and that is alright — just reach out to your son's teachers so we know how best to support everyone.
In the Middle and Senior School, we want to prepare students for their next academic year. Therefore, we will move forward in the curriculum as much as we can. In these extraordinary times, teachers may adapt the curriculum to reflect and use current events. Boys appreciate knowing that what they are learning is real and relevant.

Online learning requires high levels of executive functioning skills. This is important for two reasons. We want to make sure teachers are ready for online instruction, and we have to put structures and tools in place to scaffold the organizational skills required by students. In some of the Elementary School grades, it means more demands on parents to help their son be online, and synchronous lesson time will vary based on the grade level.

There are benefits to this situation. Students will learn to use organizational tools like Google Calendar and they will be required to demonstrate a greater degree of independent learning in preparation for their future schooling.

How learning works
No one knows exactly how the brain learns, but to create this online learning plan, we divided learning into four steps:
1) We hear, see, read, or experience something new.
2) There’s a period of recollecting and sorting in the brain. How does this connect with something I already know? How does it get organized?
3) And then we have to work with the new information and actively recall it to ensure both that it is understood and retained in long-term memory.
4) We then are put in situations where we use the material.

Step 1 typically occurs with a teacher and is often more effective with a teacher. Students will sometimes do Step 1 on their own as well. Step 3 is independent work, hence the asynchronous part of our schedule.

Maintain connection with other components of school life
School life is about more than academics, although these components are more difficult to replicate online. In the Elementary School, Physical Education teachers will provide resources, and our Learning Strategists will reach out to student's families individually. In the Middle and Senior School online schedule, we have built in time with Physical Education teachers and the Experiential Education team.

Elementary School Online Learning
Faculty, student, and parent feedback has been invaluable this past week. We will continue to tweak our e-learning classrooms, and we will create a centralized site, currently in the making, to help parents and students plan their days and find resources. Teachers will continue to communicate with students and parents using various channels. Maternelle through Grade 4 will use Seesaw as our major platform to post messages, plans, activities, etc. and keep emails to a minimum. Grades 5 and 6 will use Seesaw and Google Classroom to provide lessons and activities to minimize emails.

Middle and Senior School (Grades 7 – 11) Online Learning

1. The plan includes a daily schedule that includes both synchronous (highlighted in yellow) and asynchronous lessons. During the synchronous lessons, teachers will be online using Zoom (or Google Meet). Students are expected to login and participate. The asynchronous times are when students should be working on the subject indicated, although the teacher will not necessarily be online. Just like with regular school, students will need to find other times to complete school work.

2. Morning classes are 40 minutes.

3. Teachers will take note of students who do not login and reach out to that student and his parents. Ms. Manning and Mr. Downey will be informed if a student misses more than two classes.

4. Students will continue to be accountable by submitting work to teachers. We have suggested that teachers request two homework submissions or other assignments per class per week. This will ensure they are keeping up with their work and understanding the material. Teachers will provide feedback, a crucial component for learning, and record grades, as students are often motivated by grades.

5. Report Card. Although the Minister of Education has said that students’ final grades will most likely be based on Trimester 1 and Trimester 2, we will issue a Selwyn House report card in June. This report card will not be a typical one, but will indicate your son’s progress in the last third of the year. In some grades and subjects, it may be mostly anecdotal.

6. Students and parents may continue to reach out to teachers via email.

7. All classwork will be listed in OnCampus for each class either under Topics or the Bulletin Board page. If you do not have an OnCampus login, contact Ms. Poulin (

8. All teachers are participating in an e-teaching seminar and are being supported pedagogically and technologically by the Senior Administrative Team.

9. Students will be expected to adhere to a set of online etiquette rules that will be distributed to them directly.
10. This schedule will also be sent directly to students and is available from the Selwyn House Covid-19 Closure Page.