A year-end message from Director of Education, Pat Daly.
As we come to the end of a very challenging school year, I wanted to take a moment to wish all in our HCDSB community a great summer. I know that this year, and the past few months in particular, have not been easy on our students, parents and staff. I hope the summer months will provide you with an opportunity for some down time for you and your family.
Typically at this time of the year, we reflect back over the past school year, taking stock of our accomplishments as we review the highlight reel in our minds. I know this year, it may be hard to remember beyond the last three months of school closures and distance learning. Our goal at the onset of the school closures was to do everything we could to help our students successfully complete this school year, while ensuring our families and staff remained safe.
As I watched the various virtual graduation ceremonies and end of year liturgies and celebrations roll out on social media over the past week and a half, I was struck by the strong sense of community our families, students and staff have managed to build in a virtual setting. We made the best of a very difficult situation by working together to create conditions to support our students as best we could, in spite of the extraordinary circumstances.
Planning for 2020-2021
At this point, it is too soon to know exactly what September will bring. We may be ‘back to normal’ and return to a conventional school/classroom setting. We may need to continue with distance learning. More than likely, we may need to implement a blend of conventional and distance learning as the 2020-2021 school year begins.
The Ministry of Education has indicated that the return to school plan will be finalized and communicated to school boards by early August. In the meantime, we have been planning for all potential scenarios so that we can be ready for whatever is required.
We will continue to share Ministry updates and information as they become available. We will also keep posting updates on our Board website and school websites to keep our families and staff informed.
Online Mental Health & Faith-Based Resources
Over the summer, we will continue to post resources to help support you and your family, as we transition to the 2020-2021 school year: Mental Health & Wellness resources
This year, in recognition of the significant impact of our current realities, the Ministry of Education has made it possible for Social Work Services to be provided to support students and families through the summer months. While service may not be provided by current school Social Workers, all School Social Workers at HCDSB hold a Master of Social Work degree and are registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. To access Social Work Services for your child or family over the summer months, please email us at: email@example.com.
As a Catholic faith community, we understand the importance of finding time for prayer and reflection. Our System Chaplain, Gillian Federico, has done a tremendous job of creating and posting daily reflections (she calls them “Grace Notes in Miniature”) throughout this period of school closure. These reflections are posted on our Board website, under Focus on Faith, and all are welcome to enjoy.
As always, please continue to follow the recommendations and advice of our Public Health professionals to keep yourselves and your families healthy and safe.
Thank you to all in our HCDSB community for your ongoing support throughout this past year. Whatever next school year brings, I know that as a system we will continue to thrive because of the vibrant partnership that exists between home, school and parish. Together, we will continue to meet the needs of our students, as we celebrate our faith, model Christ-like behaviour, while nurturing safe, welcoming, inclusive schools.
I invite you to take a few minutes to watch our HCDSB 2020 Year End Message that reflects back on our school experience this year.
I continue to hold the HCDSB community in my thoughts and prayers. Stay well, as you take good care of your loved ones.
Director of Education