The Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) has been on a remote learning journey for more than 10 weeks. The transition to online instruction and interaction between students, teachers and families has required a collaborative and supportive approach.
In early April, staff checked in with families across the division to find out what LRSD could do to help them with the switch to remote learning. Access to internet and access to devices were two needs that were identified.
With that information, school staff followed up with 159 families who initially indicated they needed support accessing the internet. With many families making alternate arrangements during the interim, 17 families from 13 different schools were the confirmed as requiring divisional assistance for internet access. Each of the 17 families now has access to the World Wide Web, with the division assuming the costs.
Principals and vice-principals liaised with divisional staff to deploy more than 1,600 school devices for students to continue learning at home. This included an extensive configuration and sanitation process.
Many LRSD staff are also working from home during the indefinite suspension of classes, but communication and connection with colleagues and students was able to continue thanks to LRSD infrastructure and access to training. More than 400 devices were distributed to teachers and educational assistants, and since March 16, 1,029 staff members have taken part in 119 professional development sessions about online education technology.
Microsoft Office 365 applications saw a substantial spike in usage, too. The LRSD Educators Team, a collaboration hub for teachers on Microsoft Teams, was also created and currently has more than 1,200 active users sharing successes, learning resources and words of encouragement. Divisional email activity rose by more than 74per cent, with approximately 6.4 million messages sent, received and read. OneDrive, a Cloud storage application, had usage rise by 22 per cent and activity on Microsoft Forms rose by 196 per cent.
The move to this online world has not been without challenges, but LRSD’s students, staff and community members have continually showed a commitment to learning and adapting to this new reality.