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Message from the Director of Education and Board Chair
Message from the Director of Education and Board Chair

April 8, 2020

Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting During COVID-19
Dear families and students,
I hope you, your families and loved ones are all well. On the evening of Friday, April 3, the Ontario Ministry of Education sent out a memo to school boards outlining guidance on assessment, evaluation and reporting. This letter provides information for this week and beyond. If further direction is provided by the Ministry of Education regarding assessment, evaluation and reporting, the details in this letter will be modified where necessary and we will communicate that to you. 
Elementary:  Grade 1 to 8 students will receive a final report card at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Kindergarten students will receive the Communication of Learning. Assessment information gathered prior to March 13 will be used to inform the information in these documents. Elementary students will continue to be assessed throughout the remainder of the school year to support their ongoing learning.  Specifically, teachers will use a variety of approaches to gather evidence of how students are progressing in their learning. Teachers will provide feedback to students on their progress.
Secondary: All secondary students will receive a final report card at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Teachers will continue to assign learning tasks, projects and culminating activities that will be assessed to inform students about progress and marked for the purposes of evaluation. Teachers will communicate results of these marked assignments to students.  Results will be used by teachers to inform students’ final course marks.
Grade 12 Student Midterm Marks: This year, midterm marks are only required for graduating students. Teachers will use their professional judgement and interpretation of evidence of student learning when determining a midterm mark for potential graduates. Under the current circumstances, teachers are asked to use the full body of assessment evidence available to them based on work assigned up until March 13 to determine a midterm mark that reflects a student’s learning and achievement to date. The midterm marks will be submitted to the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) and the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) on April 23.  
Graduation Requirements: The Government of Ontario stated that no student will have their graduation compromised by COVID-19. The Ministry of Education continues to work with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to ensure that there will be no barriers to accessing post-secondary education.
Access to Technology: We know not all of our students have the technology they need to access online learning resources. We are working to get equipment into the hands of our students and their families in a safe and efficient manner. Secondary students will begin to access YRDSB technology this week, with elementary students receiving technology starting next week.
Learning from Home: As part of learning from home, most students and staff will engage in learning that is not required in real time. This means they will engage in activities at different times of the day and evening to best suit their individual needs. Teachers will develop learning opportunities (e.g., tasks, assignments or projects) for students that may involve engagement both online and offline.  Teachers will plan opportunities to assess student learning and provide feedback to students throughout the remainder of the school year. At this time, there is no requirement for teacher-led instruction with groups of students or classes online at the same time. Throughout all planning and programming processes, teachers consider the strengths and needs of students with Individual Education Plans. 
We recognize these are exceptional circumstances and learning from home can be very different for our students and families. We know parents and caregivers may be essential workers or working from home and not available to provide support for students. These are not normal times and as educators, we understand the challenges ahead. Our goal is to create online learning environments that are safe, equitable and inclusive, and support every learner, without penalty for circumstances beyond the control of our students. We will do our very best to support our students during this unprecedented time, and believe our students will rise to the occasion, presenting their best efforts.
Tips for Families: Teaching and learning online at home is new for our students, families and teachers. To help you support your children through this transition to learning from home, we have developed some tips for families available on the Board website at www.yrdsb.ca/covid19. You will also find additional information about community supports, learning and well-being resources and a list of frequently asked questions. The website includes a built-in translation tool that can translate content into over 100 languages. 
If you have questions about assessment, evaluation and reporting, or any other classroom or course-related questions, I encourage you to connect with your child’s teachers directly. We are learning together. Thank you for your support, patience and understanding. 
Louise Sirisko
Director of Education

March 31, 2020​

Earlier today, the Premier of Ontario announced that schools would remain closed until May 4, as part of efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We know that many of you have questions about what this means for your child’s learning, transitions, post-secondary applications and more. 

Learni​ng and Caring

While many things feel uncertain during these unprecedented times, we want to assure you that our commitment to your child’s learning and well-being has not changed. This week, families will hear from their children’s teachers as we begin to implement our Learning and Caring plan. Beginning next week, teachers will start providing some online learning activities and opportunities. This may look a little different for each teacher and your child’s teacher will share more information with you. 

Moving from face-to-face classroom learning to an online environment in two weeks is a significant challenge. We’ve been working to ensure technology and online learning platforms are available and accessible to all our learners, and to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of our learners. For more information, please see the video message​ to families that was posted to social media earlier today. ​

We have been working hard to change the way students learn and the way teachers teach. We are dedicated to providing our students and staff as much support as we can design and deliver.

We will also continue to update information on our website at www.yrdsb.ca/covid19 to help answer some of the many questions that you may have. The Minister of Education continues to provide reassurance that this situation will not affect our students’ ability to graduate or apply to post-secondary education. 

Supporting Our Community

We are all in this together and we’re doing our part to help keep our communities safe and healthy. We’ve redirected personal protective equipment that is desperately needed to our health care providers; and are redirecting the funds we use to serve breakfast programs directly to families in need.

All of the play facilities and parks at our school locations have been closed in accordance with the Provincial order and signs have been posted. While we recognize that this may be disappointing, we all need to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is critically important that you comply and not use the play and park facilities, and continue to follow the guidelines set out by public health. 

Stay Up​dated

We will continue to provide updated information on our website at www.yrdsb.ca/covid19 or you can follow us on Twitter @YRDSB. For public health information, visit www.yorkregion.ca/coronavirus or www.ontario.ca/Covid19.

A Caring Com​munity 

We know that these are challenging times that will affect each of our families in different ways. We are a part of a community that cares, and we want you to know that supports are available. We have a dedicated webpage at www.yrdsb.ca/covid19, where you will find information such as tips on speaking with children about COVID-19, links to learning resources and a list of community mental health, financial and government resources. 

While what we are experiencing may feel uncertain and difficult at times, we are also seeing a tremendous outpouring of care, support and virtual connection that is uplifting and reminds us all that we are in this together. 


We hope you and your families are finding ways to stay connected while staying safe and healthy. On behalf of the Trustees and all staff members of York Region District School Board we wish you well and are looking forward to seeing students in our buildings as soon as it is safe to do so. 






Louise Sirisko, Director of Education and 
Juanita Nathan, Board Chair   ​

About Loui​se Sirisko

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