Dear Grade 7-12 Parents/Guardians and Students:
Happy New Year! I pray you all had a joyous Christmas and restful break. We continue to thank our staff, students, and parents for their resilience in responding to the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in, and we remain confident that CTR is doing an effective job of providing a robust education despite the challenges and disruptions.
We have made the decision to use a “no-fault” system in grading our January final exams for both Grade 11 and 12 students. What this means is that although all regularly scheduled final exams must be written by Grade 11 and 12 students, the students’ final grades may only go up and may not go down as a result of their performance on the final exam. In addition, Grade 7-10 final exams will proceed with a maximum weighing of 10% and teachers are to use their professional judgement in designing final exams, ensuring they are fair measurements of what was taught by the teacher.
The main reason we feel pressured to hold no-fault final exams for Grade 11 and 12 students is that we have learned in the last week that the majority of the Grade 11 and 12 student population in Alberta will experience similar no-fault policies on final exams. As a result, we fear our Grade 11 and 12 students may be at a disadvantage when competing with these students for scholarships, early admission to university based on Grade 11 grades, and admission to university based on Grade 12 grades. The other reason is that we have had more disruptions to learning than usual due to Covid, and the no-fault Grade 11 and 12 final exams will help alleviate pressure on students who have been impacted. The students in Grades 7-10 will also have pressure alleviated by a final exam with a maximum weighting of 10% and the clear knowledge that the teacher-made tests will be fair assessments based on that which was taught. We realize some of CTR’s students have had few disruptions to their learning due to Covid this school year, but we are making a divisional decision on this issue to promote fairness.
We would like to make it clear that we strongly encourage students to prepare well for final exams for a host of reasons: 1) Final exams can positively impact final grades: 2) Final exam preparation helps to consolidate learning; 3) Final exams give students experience mastering the exam preparation process they will experience for their remaining years of secondary school and post-secondary school; 4) Final exams are used by teachers as a source of information when making recommendations about which high school courses students should take; 5) Final exams are one of the many measures to ensure our students are learning and they also identify gaps in learning; 6) Final exams help us assess the effectiveness of our live streaming used to maintain continuity of learning due to Covid disruptions; and 7) The most common concern we heard from teachers and parents during last year’s Covid disruption was the desire for increased rigour and the concern about students “checking out” of learning; exams are one of many strategies, admittedly imperfect, to maintain student motivation and engagement.
Rest assured, our teachers will be using their professional judgement and take into account the unique circumstances of this semester and our students overall health and wellness to create exams that are fair measurements of what was taught in class.
No decisions have been made on whether CTR will administer teacher-made final exams for June, as we remain hopeful that we can mitigate Covid disruptions and maintain continuity of learning. We hope to learn a lot during the January final exam administration and are designing an exam reflection process to help identify areas we may need to address. We are confident the semester’s grading practices have been fair and effective, and we know CTR’s teachers have delivered their curriculums as robustly as any division in the province.
We pray that Christ, our Redeemer will continue to bless and protect us in this New Year.
Dr. Scott Morrison, Superintendent
Christ The Redeemer Catholic Schools
Dear Students, Parents, and Guardians of Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools:
The Premier announced yesterday (November 24th, 2020) that all Grade 7 to 12 students will shift to at-home learning, beginning on November 30th. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will continue learning at school. Christmas break for all students will occur as scheduled, with the last day of school on Friday, December 18th and the first day back on Monday, January 4th. However, all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 will learn at-home during the first week back from Christmas vacation from Monday, January 4th to Friday, January 8th. All students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 will resume in-person learning at school on Monday, January 11th, 2021.
When students are learning at home, CTR Catholic will continue to deliver full curriculum via live streaming or an alternate method of delivery as approved by the principal. Students will experience more comprehensive instruction during this disruption than they did during last spring’s shutdown. Teachers will be available throughout the school day to students. Here are the details:
Kindergarten to Grade 6 - At Home Learning (January 4th to January 8th): There will be a minimum of three, 30-minute direct instruction lessons in Language Arts, Math, and Religion/Wellness per day that can be followed by independent activities. For the remainder of the teaching day, teachers will be available to students. In addition, specialist teachers will offer optional drop-in times for Music, Art, and PE.
Grades 7-12 - At Home Learning (November 30th to December 18th and January 4th to January 8th): The students’ daily schedule will be delivered without any alteration to the timetable. There will be direct teaching delivered via live streaming beginning at the start of each period throughout the day, and teachers will remain accessible for the entire class. Regular breaks and lunch break will occur as normal. Students must ensure they are logged into the live streaming sessions without fail and treat each day like a regular day of school, following the regular schedule.
Schools are prepared to loan devices for students in need, and will share their loan processes as soon as possible. As well, schools will organize the distribution of materials to support student learning (textbooks, school supplies, personal whiteboards, library books, manipulatives, instruments, etc.). A toll-free technology help line is available at 1-800-319-5240. Please review live streaming etiquette and parent tutorials for more information.
Students will continue to be responsible for actively engaging in learning, diligently pursuing their education, and promptly completing all assignments. .Attendance will be taken each period at secondary and daily at elementary. Parents are encouraged to do their best to monitor and support their children’s learning.
One important note is that the Minister also announced that Grade 12 Diploma Exams are now optional for the remainder of the year. Teachers will assign all final grades for Diploma courses unless students opt to take their Diploma Exams. We expect most Diploma Exam teachers will choose to administer final exams, but these exams will be designed by the teachers who will also determine their weighting. The same holds true for most teachers in Grades 7-11.
Educational Assistants will continue offering individual and small group remedial programs, and they will play an expanded role in supporting teachers and students in responding when students are struggling with, or neglecting, their work. Our schools will also continue to offer counselling, therapy, and support programs to students as needed.
We understand that a move to this learning delivery for our students will be disruptive and difficult for some families, students, and teachers. We remain committed to providing students with the best learning experience in these difficult times and we will be available to assist in your child’s transition to at-home learning. CTR Catholic, its teachers, and all school staff will make every effort to maintain your child’s regular school routines, connect with your child, and provide human contact and support throughout the day. We know school is an important connection for your child and, through compassion and understanding, will continue to maintain a strong sense of school community. If you have any further questions regarding your child’s program, please contact your principal.
We pray that Christ, our Redeemer will bless and protect us all.
Dr. Scott Morrison, Superintendent
Christ The Redeemer Catholic Schools
Dear Staff, Parents and Guardians,
Effective November 2, 2020, Alberta Health Services has updated its symptoms list and has a new daily health check for students.
Please click on following links to read a letter from Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, explaining the reason for the changes to the daily symptoms check list for students: English and French. Please note the daily checklist for adults remains unchanged. The link to the daily check list for students is available here: Health Daily Checklist for Students.
At Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools, we have also updated our resources and the checklist on our website. You can visit http://www.redeemer.ab.ca/Covid-19Updates.php for the latest information.
We would also like to call your attention to another important document which may help parents in determining how long their child should remain at home if they have symptoms: How Long to Stay Home from School
We want to thank you for your continued patience as we work to bring you these provincial updates. Should you have any questions regarding these documents or any other Covid-related information, please reach out.
Dr. Scott Morrison
Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools
Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff, and Students:
Thank you for assisting with our re-entry this week. Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools began the week with a staggered start, and spent the last three days of this week with all of our students in their schools at the same time. Our re-entry plan worked well across our division and, as expected, we are addressing complications as they arise.
At the time of writing, CTR has 440 students who have transferred to online learning at CTR’s Centre For Learning@Home (CFL). This is 5.6% of our total traditional student population, and an average of about 30 students per school. Despite the enrollment declines in our traditional schools, CTR made the decision long ago to maintain all staffing levels in the traditional schools. This was because the students moving to the CFL would only slightly decrease class sizes at the traditional schools, coupled with the fact that CTR also wants to have sufficient staffing in place to welcome CFL students back to their traditional schools should parents/guardians wish to make this decision based on changing circumstances. (As noted in our re-entry plan, moves from the CFL to traditional schools or vice-versa should be timed to minimize disruption and interruption to the educational program of the students.) To accommodate the growth at the CFL, CTR is rapidly increasing staffing levels at the CFL through new hiring. This will be one of the main ways CTR utilizes the new money allocated from the provincial government through federal funding. Registration volume at the CFL is extremely high, but we have asked the CFL to dedicate special attention to recent registrations from resident CTR students.
I would also like to acknowledge the 150 teachers at CTR’s traditional schools who have volunteered to pilot live streaming. These teachers are teaching students in their regular classrooms while also live streaming their lessons to students who have chosen to learn from home. All the staff and students involved in the pilot will help CTR enhance the effectiveness of this mode of educational delivery. In addition, this mode of delivery may be a positive solution in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak in a classroom or school, so this early learning will likely benefit our entire division. It is our sincere hope that live streaming will maintain continuity and ensure a full education is not compromised in the event of another disruption.
We’d like to remind all of our families who have moved their students to the CFL, that they may still return to their traditional schools. Please contact your school principal if your plans are changing. We have seen several families already make this transition back to our traditional schools due to the confidence gained by our successful re-entry.
Again, we thank you for your continued compassion and patience as we embark on our second week of classes after the long weekend. We pray you have a safe and relaxing long weekend and look forward to seeing students return on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Good Morning Parents/Guardians,
As you know your school and Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools are currently ready to begin the school year with our Scenario One Re-entry Plan to offer regular programming with enhanced safety provisions.
This letter applies to all families, including those who have inquired or registered at the Centre For Learning (CFL) @ Home - CTR’s online school - using CTR’s online registration process.
We would like to clarify some of your school re-entry options as we understand that some parents are still uncertain about re-entry, and some need more time to consider the important decisions at hand.
Option One - Attending School in Person
Attend your school in person. If your student is registered at your school, we are prepared to teach your student full time in the regular classroom under the Scenario One Re-entry Plan conditions. We look forward to seeing you!
Option Two - Testing the Waters on Attending School in Person
Attend school in person from August 31st to September 4th. If you are uncomfortable with re-entry conditions at your school, CTR guarantees CTR students admission in the CFL up to September 8th, which is also the CFL’s first day of regular classes. Those CTR students wishing to transfer to the CFL after testing the waters at your school, will be able to access one of a series of mass CFL orientation presentations via Zoom during the week of September 8th. CTR students will also be given preferential consideration for registration at the CFL if they wish to register after September 8th.
Option Three - Those Already Registered or Inquired at the CFL
If your student has already inquired or registered at the CFL using CTR’s online registration process, and you do not wish to reconsider this decision, your student is guaranteed admission at the CFL and will receive all necessary registration and orientation information directly from the CFL. The CFL’s call and inquiry volume is intense and, by our own admission, response times are slower than usual. However, CTR parents can rest assured that if they have already inquired or registered at the CFL, their CFL admission is guaranteed. These students are also guaranteed a transfer back to your school from the CFL up until September 30th. After that date, transfers back from the CFL to your school are based on space and program availability at your school and are best accommodated after elementary and junior high reporting periods (and at semester break for high school). These students are also guaranteed enrollment at your school or the next CTR school they will attend in the 2021/2022 school year. Grade 12’s attending the CFL for all, or part of, the 2020/2021 school year may participate in all graduation exercises at your school. *Note if you have already registered or inquired at the CFL using CTR’s online registration process, but are uncertain and would like to trial a week of classes at your school, please contact your school on or before August 27, 2020 to indicate you’d like to attend in-person classes at your regular school from August 31st to September 4th. You can do this before definitively committing to attendance at one school or another.
Option Four - Participating in the Live Streaming Pilot – if available at your school
For both our current students and our students who have inquired or registered at the CFL, we have the following new option. Your school may be prepared to engage in a live streaming pilot program for students in certain grades. Select teachers are involved in this pilot, and the purpose is to use the pilot to learn more about how to transition to the live streaming method of delivery division-wide should conditions warrant it. It is not something that can be offered at every grade at this time due to the conditions outlined in the list below. Live streaming involves some students learning in the classroom with a portion of the cohort participating via live streaming at home. Parents interested in live streaming should thoroughly review CTR’s Live Streaming Guide, which outlines expectations, cautions, and caveats. This will involve parental supervision especially with younger children, but so does learning at the CFL. There is provision to move from live streaming at home to the regular classroom and vice versa, but this is a decision that should be made for an extended period of time and is not a day-to-day, or class-by-class decision. All moves must be approved by the principal. Contact your school to determine if live streaming is available.
The conditions your school met to warrant piloting live streaming at the selected grades are as follows:
1. Participating teachers have the unique background, expertise, and willingness to instruct in this way at the school and grade level(s) in question.
2. Your school has sufficient demand for live streaming at the grade level(s) in question.
3. Parents who have a live streaming option available, and choose it, understand and consent to the fact that this is a pilot project and there may be complications due to a host of factors. There is the chance the pilot will need to be suspended or altered due to a lack of success or declining demand.
Parents interested in live streaming in the grades available to start the year should contact their school as soon as possible and no later than Tuesday, August 25th. If you are currently registered we will manually make the adjustment to the live streaming classroom. If you have inquired or registered at the CFL, and if the live streaming is available for your student’s grade, contact your school to indicate you’d like your student to participate in the live streaming pilot as soon as possible and before August 27th.
Parents, if you have taken your child off the bus already and would like to test the waters at your regular school for the first week, please contact our transportation department at email@example.com as soon as possible to determine if there is space available. It will take time to add students back to a bus route if needed. Parents may have to make alternate arrangements to transport their children to and from school until bus service can be reinstated.
To the large majority of our families who have indicated they intend to continue with normal re-entry, we should also note that a significant, prolonged, and school-wide instance of absenteeism related to Covid-19 may trigger the transition to offering live streaming by every teacher in the school during the year, allowing families to make the choice about having their students learn in the classroom or live stream from with their same teacher(s) from home. In addition, all CTR students who choose normal re-entry and would like to transition to the CFL at any time this year, will only be admitted based on space and programming availability at the CFL, yet they will receive preferential admission consideration over non-CTR students.
Zoom sessions to respond to parent questions about all this information are being held at your school. Please contact your school for specific information and the link.
We hope you are all healthy, happy, and enjoying summer. It’s not quite over yet, so enjoy! Our team at Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools has been writing and rewriting our re-entry plan given the evolving situation, and we have a new draft for your review. To this end, please review the attached infographic which explains eight main ways CTR is enhancing safety in response to COVID 19. Also, a link to our detailed plan is on our website and located here.
What we hope becomes very clear as you read the infographic and the detailed plan is that CTR is not relying on any one measure to enhance safety. One measure is not enough. CTR is focusing on multiple ways to increase safety including the best physical distancing possible, cohorting in K-9, teaching and promoting respiratory etiquette, teaching and promoting proper hygiene and handwashing, enhancing cleaning, supporting students in Grades K to 3 who choose to wear masks, ensuring Grades 4 - 12 students and all staff wear masks, and supporting students and families in the regular screening and monitoring for symptoms of Covid-19.
We recognize not everyone is comfortable with a return to school and we are committed to supporting our students and staff in creating the best conditions possible. We pray that Christ, our Redeemer will watch over us, protect us, and comfort us.
Please contact your principal with questions. Please note, principals are on holidays, therefore, responses may be delayed and some specific elements of their school plans may not be finalized until August 25.
Dr. Scott Morrison
Christ The Redeemer Catholic Schools
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,
On Tuesday, July 21, the Minister of Education announced a normal return to school with added safety measures. If you missed the announcement by the Government of Alberta, please click here to view.
We at Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools look forward to welcoming our students back to near normal learning conditions with additional health and safety measures in place. CTR is closely following all of Alberta Education’s guidelines and will adapt as necessary if anything changes.
CTR’s current plan is available here, but we are updating it now based on the most current information and advice. We will have a revised plan on our website by August 5, 2020 and schools will have their specific plans posted by August 25, 2020. Parents will be notified when updates to the division or school’s plans are posted.
We’ve heard from the Alberta School Councils survey, that the overwhelming majority of parents support a return to normal schooling, and we will do all we can to ensure the return to school is safe, calm, and orderly. For those parents who are not comfortable sending their students back to school under Scenario One, please notify your principal as CTR can direct you to enrolling in the Centre For Learning@Home, CTR Catholic’s online school.
One other important note that is in the plan but merits special mention is about transportation. It is not possible to ensure reasonable physical distancing on buses. As a result, we earnestly implore any parents who can make alternative transportation arrangements to inform CTR’s transportation department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-938-8073 that they plan to do so, so we can remove them from the bus. Any applicable fees will be reimbursed.
Our parents, students, and teachers have risen to meet some extreme challenges since classes were canceled. We know that with continued diligence and cooperation, we can rise to the challenge of returning to near normal school operations.
We pray that Christ, our Redeemer will bless and protect you all, both this summer and when we return to school in the fall.
Dr. Scott Morrison
Christ The Redeemer Catholic Schools
As the school year comes to an end and we look forward to warmer months ahead with family and friends, CTR Catholic would like to again offer our sincere gratitude for all the hard work, dedication and resilience we have witnessed over the passed few months, not only with our students and teachers, but with our parents.
As you know, we are expecting an announcement from the Minister of Education regarding which scenario we will enter into in the fall on August 1st. Until then, we continue to work on our re-entry plan and its refinement. The plan is essentially complete and we would like to share it with you. Please note that it is a working plan and as we receive direction from Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education we will work to update the plan with new information.
Individual school Principals will work with their staff to adapt the Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools Re-Entry Plan to include the various safety measures specific to their building configuration, student flow, and classroom scheduling. The division plan is available to view on our website at www.redeemer.ab.ca along the top bar entitled Covid-19 Updates.
Individual and customized school plans will be updated and available on your school’s website no later than August 25, 2020. We hope that you will take the time to review your school’s re-entry plan. It is our desire to keep you as up to date as possible and our websites will serve as our main source of information. You will also receive regular email updates from your principals prior to the first day of school which is Monday, August 31, 2020.
Should you have any specific questions, the websites will also be complete with an FAQ section, mental health information and support resources, and prior parent communication letters. The website will also include a Screening Questionnaire which has been mandated by Alberta Health Services for parents to screen their child for illness prior to entering the school.
We will be in touch with you following the August 1st announcement. Until then, we wish you all a safe, happy and healthy summer ahead!
Dr. Scott Morrison, Superintendent Christ The Redeemer Catholic Schools
June 11, 2020: Update CTR’s Re-Entry Plan
The Minister released some preliminary re-entry guidelines on Wednesday, June 10, and we are pleased to report that all Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic School’s planning and preparation will proceed as previously announced. There was no information in the Minister’s letter that introduced a rule or restriction that limits our ability to achieve the goals outlined in our last correspondence.
Some of the thoughts we expressed in our letter remain possible based on the preliminary guidelines. These include:
It is CTR’s desire to educate as many students in traditional classrooms as is safely possible this fall.
Our primary focus is working together with our staff, parents and students to develop guidelines and make provisions for safety and hygiene.
We will be prepared to teach students both in school and at home using synchronous, interactive, live-streaming in the event of a significant, prolonged, and school-wide spike in absenteeism due to Covid.
In general, the Minister’s preliminary regulations are not about eliminating risk, as eliminating risk is not possible. However, mitigating risks is possible. Mitigating risks is about making plans and accommodations to ensure situations are as safe as is reasonably possible and this has been our focus.
Not only is CTR well into the creation of a divisional plan to mitigate risk, but we also even at the point of working with specialty teachers at all levels to determine how to mitigate risks in non-traditional classroom settings such as kindergarten, physical education, music, and foods.
We believe plans remain for another re-entry announcement from the Minister on August 1st, and all CTR’s plans are contingent on guidelines from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer and the Minister’s directives.
We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.
Sincerely, Dr. Scott Morrison, Superintendent Christ The Redeemer Catholic Schools
UPDATE: June 2, 2020: Communication to Parents on CTR’s Re-Entry Plan
First, let me start by extending our gratitude for all the work parents and teachers have done to keep our students learning and safe! Parental support in these challenging times signifies the strength of the partnership between home and school.
In May, the Ministry of Education asked divisions to be prepared for any and all of the following scenarios for the start of school in the fall. These scenarios are: 1) normal operations; 2) schools are open for classes with some health restrictions that affect operations; 3) schools remain closed for classes – at-home learning continues.
We are told an announcement will be made by the Minister on August 1st. In the meantime, Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic School’s senior staff and site-based administrators have been working to develop a re-entry plan for all scenarios.
It is CTR’s desire to educate as many students in traditional classrooms as is safely possible this fall and this desire is being overwhelmingly expressed by our parents. As a result, our primary focus is working together with our staff, parents and students on making provisions for safety and hygiene. To support our plans to be ready to accommodate as many students in school as possible, we are developing guidelines, procedures, and best practices that focus on these increased health measures. This is a comprehensive plan that we have already begun, and we will devote the next three months to its refinement.
CTR is developing one approach that can be applied to any and all of the three scenarios. Our teachers will be in their classrooms providing direct instruction to the students present. In the event the Ministry calls for total distance learning due to a second spike, or in the event that CTR determines there is a significant, prolonged, and school-wide spike in absenteeism due to Covid, our schools are preparing to transition to deliver live-streamed lessons to large numbers of students learning at home by necessity. The live-streaming delivery can be used in either scenario, and unlike our current methods, students will receive direct instruction and normal assessment on the full curriculum throughout the day with the possibility for more interaction, engagement, and support.
We must reiterate, live-streaming is only a delivery option in the event of a Ministerial action warranting it, or if CTR declares absenteeism is significant, prolonged, and school-wide; it is not an option we want to choose, nor is it an option we can reasonably use in response to parent requests or for individual cases of prolonged absenteeism. Parents who can safely send their children to school, should make preparations to do so. In extreme cases, where students are unable to attend class in-person due to Covid related reasons and/or by parental choice, other educational options may need to be considered as live-streaming lessons will not be made available in one-off situations. The reason is that livestreaming may be an improvement over what we are doing now, but it will also present challenges such as: 1) it is technically challenging for the teachers; 2) it relies on the use of teacher’s laptop which is used for many other instructional tasks throughout the day; 3) it will divide the attention of the teacher between students in class and students at home, reducing the quality of instruction for all; 4) it will be challenging for students to be online all day, especially the very young; and 5) some teachers may feel there are more traditional and superior ways to support students who are absent. As always, we will be benefiting from the collective professional judgement that our administrators and teachers demonstrate to provide the best education possible for our students.
Once we receive a formal announcement from the Ministry, CTR hopes to communicate our response as quickly as possible. Of course, all of our plans have to remain flexible as we need to be responsive to guidelines from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Alberta Education. Please don’t rely on media reports or word of mouth when it comes to enhancements or modifications to CTR’s re-entry plan going forward. We will always endeavour to communicate with our Board and parents first.
Thank you for your patience and your commitment to Catholic education. We continue to pray for your health and safety.