On the evening of Wednesday, September 2, we had more than 5,200 participants in our first ever Microsoft Teams Town Hall Live Event.
Over the course of an hour, my colleagues on the Senior Leadership Team and special guests talked about our Navigating the 2020-2021 School Year plan's critical elements. I know the pandemic has caused uncertainty and unease for many, so our goal was to provide additional insight and clarity about the plan for a safe return to in-school learning and continued refinement of the learning experience for at-home learning.
A small but dedicated team has been hard at work since July to get us into a good position to begin the school year on Sept. 8. It’s been a tremendous collective and collaborative effort. In the last two weeks, school administrators and support staff have joined the effort, and now all staff are together to contribute to the plan’s success.
One of the fundamental ways we’ve achieved so much in so little time is a strategic and distributed leadership. In July, we established a task force structure. I’m encouraging all 40 schools to develop a parallel system. We’re going to use this structure to navigate the next 10 months, and we used it to structure our Town Hall presentation. Updates from each of the 10 LRSD Task forces were provided.
At the live-streamed Town Hall event, we were excited and proud to announce that we will offer a robust and fully staffed Learning from Home School (LFHS)/L’École Apprendre-chez-soi option in English and French-Immersion for students who require it.
The LFHS will support students in kindergarten to Grade 12 who are required to learn from home due to a medical condition that affects them or a member of the household. If the above requirements are met, parents/guardians must contact their current school principal to further discuss their situation.
There were 635 students in kindergarten to Grade 12 who received registration information for the Learning from Home School this week. We expect this number to grow over the coming days.
Based on what our community is saying, I know there is a desire to offer this Learning from Home School to any student or family that wants it. At this time, we are obligated to follow the direction the Province of Manitoba has provided. We can only offer this option to those who have been advised by their physician to pursue accommodation.
Hopefully, our Town Hall Live Event reaffirmed the level of effort it has taken to make in-school learning as safe, productive and joyful as possible. Although it was hard work, it wasn’t unreasonably hard work.
We found the wherewithal to get the job done by listening to our community.
Much of the feedback our community has shared aligned with what we were working to accomplish over the summer to prepare for a safe return to school in September. From physical distancing, to learning from home opportunities to health and safety suggestions, we’ve been listening to your feedback every step of the way.
We will be publishing an FAQ to our website in the coming days that touches on some of the unanswered questions from Wednesday evening. You will also be receiving school-specific plans by Friday, so hopefully, that information will also bring additional clarity. If you have any further questions on what you receive tomorrow, please reach out to your student’s school principal.
The Town Hall honoured the tremendous collective effort that’s gone into our planning so far. Two words are at the heart of our efforts: kindness and community.
We want everyone in LRSD to thrive and every school community to flourish under these extraordinarily challenging circumstances.
The answer to navigating the 2020-2021 school year comes from seeing and seeking opportunities. It’s about resilience, agility, ingenuity, and an even stronger sense of community.
As we continue to rise to the challenge of the pandemic through individual and collective hard work and innovation, I do not doubt that this unique time will bring out the best in all of us and be the catalyst for positive and lasting change.
Although you may not have been able to join us on Wednesday evening, please respond to our exit survey
after viewing the recording
. Was this town hall of value? Do we want another Town Hall a month from today? If so, how can we improve on this evening’s town hall?
We continue to listen and to serve the community to the best of our ability.
Be well, everyone.
Superintendent and CEO