April 9, 2020

A Community of Care Update from Peel District School Board's Director of Education

Dear Families,

We've made it to the end of week one of distance learning…together. As I mentioned in a previous message, we knew there would be a few bumps this week, and we did feel them, but that is to be expected. This is a new world for all of us—staff, students and families—and we remain committed to doing our best to work through these unprecedented times together.

When I arrived in Peel almost three years ago, I knew I was joining a team of dedicated educators and support staff—a community of caring individuals. Since becoming Director of Education, I have had the opportunity to see their impact first-hand, but the last few weeks have been extra special.

I have seen collaboration flourish and observed efforts that are above-and-beyond the limits from staff in every role in every building across the board. I have seen staff lead with their whole hearts because they care about Peel students, and want them to feel safe, included and welcomed in our new learning environment. And we want them to be successful.

We recognize that these are not normal times and that not all students are equitably well-positioned to learn from home. Some have limited access to technology. Others may have less support from family members because their parents/guardians are essential workers, and others may be struggling in other areas. All of this to say that educators understand the extremely difficult circumstances in which many of our families find themselves, and will assess and evaluate student learning, with care and compassion.

Our goal is to support every learner, not to penalize them for the circumstances that they find themselves in. At the same time, it is our expectation, and the Ministry of Education's expectation, that learning will continue and that students will do their best to complete all assigned work. We want students to be supported as they work towards their credits and be well-prepared for their next level of education. We will do everything we can to support all learners to be successful.

If you or your children/teens experienced challenges this week with the amount of work assigned or the level of support required for students to understand lessons and complete assignments, I hope that you've shared this feedback with teachers. They too are familiarizing themselves with distance learning, while juggling their own family responsibilities, and will need our support. Thank you for extending them compassion and grace.

As we continue to explore this new method of learning, we will listen to the questions and feedback we receive from staff, students and families, and update our Community of Care Plan and Frequently Asked Questions. You will find information on assessmen​t, evaluation and reporting in these online resources.

May this long weekend be filled with peace, health and restful moments for all of you. If you recognize Passover, Easter or Vaisakhi, my warmest wishes to you and your family.​

Peter Joshua

Director of Education

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