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Distance Learning

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Distance learning began in April 2020 as our teachers supported students by: planning and assigning student work; engaging with students in a variety of ways that may include the board supported tools of MS Teams and The Hub (instructions); and providing feedback/assessment.

Learning from home may look different for each class, in each school, as many of our educators will seek to build upon existing online learning platforms their students already use. It may occur by email, phone, or video. Some educators may be ready to host online video sessions using MS Teams or work through our student-learning platform, The Hub. These programs are on our home page for students.

We know that some students have unique learning needs when it comes to planning and organization. To help parents with strategies to support this learning at home, Specialized Services has developed a new resource: Help your child learning at a distance: tips for parents.

As always, families should connect with their child’s teacher about specific lessons and additional supports required. Teachers will continue to take into consideration the needs of all students including those with special education needs (including accommodations/modifications as outlined in Individual Education Plans) as well as English-language learners.

  • Maintaining consistent communication with child’s educator(s)
  • Ensuring your child participates in some exercise throughout the day
  • Ensuring students have a quiet, safe space to work
  • Taking interest in what they are learning
  • Answering questions your child may have
  • Contacting your child’s educator if your child is having difficulty with the content
  • Contacting your child’s educator if you have concerns about your child
  • Asking the educator questions if you don’t understand what students are learning
  • Making sure students have a quiet, safe space to work
  • Taking interest in what they are learning
  • Answering any questions your child may have
  • Contacting your child’s educator if your child is having difficulty with the content
  • Contacting your child’s educator if you have concerns about your child
  • Asking the educator questions if you don’t understand what students are learning
  • Making sure students have a quiet, safe space to work
  • Taking an interest in what they are learning
  • Answering any questions your child may have
  • Contacting your child’s educator if your child is having difficulty with the content
  • Contacting your child’s educator if you have concerns about your child
  • Asking the educator questions if you don’t understand what students are learning
Tips for families:


Tips for students:

Equity of Access to Technology and the Internet

HWDSB staff from broad selection of departments have formed the Equity of Access Ad Hoc Committee. Members represent staff working in areas such as equity, community partnerships, learning resources, purchasing, school operations, information technology, program, research, school leadership, specialized services, facilities, human resources and more.

The goals of the committee are to:

  • identify barriers to students accessing online learning at home
  • identify strategies to remove barriers to students accessing on-line learning at home
  • identify barriers to Educators in providing on-line learning and communication with families
  • develop strategies and tools to assess the progress of online learning

HWDSB staff have worked towards a solution to support equitable access to learning at home for all students. Many, but not all, students have a device and internet access at home.

Staff supported our unprecedented distribution of more than 6,000 devices, so that all students can participate in distance learning. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all staff supporting this successful implementation. We are prepared if the demand increases over time, as family situations might change. Many of these are assistive devices essential for students receiving special education supports.

If you need a device or if your situation has changed, please contact your child’s school.

If you have yet to hear from your child’s teacher and wish to indicate your family’s need for a device or home internet, please reach out in one of the following ways:

  • call the Education Centre at 905-527-5092 and leave your contact information/child’s school on the voicemail
  • email HWDSB at info@hwdsb.on.ca
  • contact form on your school website (see elementary and secondary school listings)

Please be assured that students will not fall behind as they await technology and/or access.

Access to a Device (Only)

Outreach by HWDSB staff has identified families requiring a device, including specialized equipment for students receiving special education supports. These families can expect to receive communication as early as Tuesday, April 14, about how and when to pick up the device and equipment. Staff will be on site during the scheduled pick-up times. Please note that all devices have been cleaned and inspected by staff.

A protocol with instructions for device pick-up by vehicle and by walk-ups has been developed in consultation with Public Health Services and will be clearly displayed at the school. Families traveling in a vehicle can expect routes in bus loading zones or school parking lots, for example. Families who arrive on foot can expect tables outside the school with markers identifying physical distancing.

If you have not been contacted by the morning of Wednesday, April 15, please contact your school.

Access to a Device and Internet (Both)

Families that require a device and internet capabilities will receive further information next week. We are working with a current vendor to provide a tablet with cellular data (internet) access for families who do not have home internet. We will contact families as soon as our shipment arrives.

Virtual Classroom Guidelines for Privacy and Security

The privacy of our staff and students is always a consideration in physical and virtual settings. As we engage in virtual learning and use various platforms such as the Hub and MS Teams, we have created a Virtual Classroom Guidelines for Privacy and Security Fact Sheet.

Students and their families are required to follow these guidelines when participating in learning that is being done in “live” real time with an educator as well as during times when the student can do the activity or access the material/resource on their own.

Educators will monitor classroom activities to ensure these align with our expectations for privacy and information security and address any concerns directly with students and their parent/guardian, as appropriate. A student’s failure to respect these guidelines may result in a suspension of online classroom privileges. Should you have questions, please contact your child’s school.

Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting

The Ministry of Education has provided direction for the assessment, evaluation and reporting of student learning during school closures. HWDSB shares the Ministry’s expectation that students will do their best to complete all work assigned as learning resumes. The shift to distance learning should not negatively impact student grades. We want to ensure that students continue to be motivated through distance education to engage in this learning and improve their marks. As always, students and families should connect with their teachers if they have questions about assessment and evaluation.

Students’ marks will reflect work completed before March 13, 2020. When in the best interest of the student, teachers will consider learning completed during the school closure period in their determination of final grades. Again, their overall message is consistent with ours: for all grades, students should not be penalized due to the move to distance learning and that educators must understand the extremely difficult circumstances in which many of our families find themselves.

HWDSB’s commitment is to do what is in the best interest of each student as we attempt to balance the integrity of learning and marks for secondary credits, with the wellness of our students and staff. If you have any questions related to assessment, evaluation and reporting, please contact your child’s school.

Students receiving special education support

Students receiving special education support should receive appropriate accommodations where necessary and be provided with assigned work by teachers, as well as feedback or assessment. The student’s current Individual Education Plan should continue to be followed.

HWDSB’s Specialized Services team has prepared additional learning supports, named Learning4Success, which are tailored for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder or a Developmental Disability who are on an alternative program. These materials are for family use and may be used to supplement instruction provided by the classroom teacher. There are examples of learning tasks that can be done at home. Tasks can be adjusted to accommodate learners ages and interests, with the understanding that they may not be a perfect fit for each learner.

We continue to enhance and develop Learning4Success to meet the needs of students and families. You will see additional videos and resources posted weekly, so please visit the site often.

The Specialized Services team has developed a new website for deaf and hard of hearing students. The website hosts information for students, families and educators. Topics include services available at HWDSB and in the community, sign language, hearing equipment and Auditory Processing Disorder. We have posted a new parent guide for deaf and hard of hearing students. The guide answers some commonly asked questions and recommends resources to support your child’s auditory learning at home. If you have any questions, please connect with your child’s classroom teacher or school learning resource teacher.

Co-ops, dual credit and eLearning

Cooperative Education is a highly immersive form of experiential learning and plays a key role in programs such as Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP).

For students who are enrolled in Cooperative Education courses which involve a classroom component and a community placement component, their in-person community placements are suspended. These students can work with their co-op teachers to modify their co-op Learning Plans so that they may work through the curriculum expectations. We are working with our community partners to create distance co-ops and other experiential learning opportunities so that these learners can be provided with opportunities to connect virtually with industry partners on career exploration activities, and experiential learning opportunities.

Graduating students in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program unable to complete their SHSM requirements due to extenuating circumstances, including the impacts from COVID-19, will be supported through the override request process.

All Fennell campus dual credit courses resumed online beginning April 6. ENG4C/Mohawk Communications at Bernie Custis, Glendale and Westdale will continue. Because Welding Techniques cannot continue, students involved in the Welding program through the Stoney Creek campus will be able to continue their AutoCad class online. The Welding course will soon be replaced with Mechanical Maintenance.

Accelerated Level One AST and Truck & Coach Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs (OYAP) are not able to continue in their present form due to the practical nature of the courses. Information regarding a substitute course will be communicated at a later time as these programs don’t begin until the end of April.

eLearning courses continue to be available to students, but no evaluation of student learning is occurring.

Newcomer Admission and Adult Learning

Newcomer Admission

Welcome Centre staff are available to assist with both general and newcomer admission and registration questions. Newcomer students who need an English language assessment at the Welcome Centre or a Prior Learning and Recognition (PLAR) assessment for equivalency credits can call 905-521-2554.

Adult and Continuing Education classes and programs

As of March 23, 2020, Adult Day School for Credit and Hybrid for credit courses are continuing.

Students receiving special education supports How students can use The Hub How student can use MS Teams Expectations of learning, by grade

Updated on Thursday, November 05, 2020.
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