We got this

Superintendent's COVID 19 Q&A - Grad 2020 Update

May 7, 2020 - Grad 2020 Update

Grade 12 students and parents,

This is an incredibly important time of year for you, our Grade 12 students, as we head into the commencement season. I have prepared a brief video message which outlines our district and school plans to celebrate this important milestone in your lives. This is the first of several messages to come about graduation. You can expect your school to be following up with you in the coming days.

We look forward to celebrating with you.

To ask Superintendent Dave Eberwein questions about Saanich School District's COVID-19 response and planning, please email

To view all previous videos, click here

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A Message for Parents from the Superintendent (May 8, 2020)

Good morning parents,

Earlier this week, Premier Horgan announced a 4-phase plan to ‘Restart BC’— to return to a more familiar economic environment.  There was some preliminary information for what this may mean for BC’s public schools, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what we know so far.  BC’s Restart Plan has four distinct phases.  You can find the entire plan HERE if you are interested in reading the document.  

I’ve summarized the plan below for your information:

PHASE 1 - Where We Are Today

PHASE 2 - Mid-May Onwards

PHASE 3 - PHASE 3 – June to September (assuming virus transmission rates remain low)

PHASE 4 - TBD

As you can see from the above charts, changes to public schools are anticipated in PHASE 3 of the plan (June).  I want to stress that at this time, there is no definitive date for restarting in-class instruction nor any detailed specifics on that reintegration.  There is some anticipation that students in Grades K-5 may return part-time in some form and students in Grades 6-12 may also be able to access some classes as needed.  But, we are waiting for more information from the government in some important areas, including:

  • Any updated health and safety requirements for re-engaging more students in our schools (e.g. physical distancing, cleaning, the spacing between desks, handwashing, etc.)
  • Specific guidelines on what returning part-time in school may look like for our students including the option of continuing in remote learning

I want to reassure everyone that we will continue to put as our first priority the health and safety of our students and staff.  Nothing is more important than ensuring we are following the required expectations from the Provincial Health Officer (Dr. Bonnie Henry) so that we can continue to provide your children with a safe, nurturing and productive learning environment.

I am incredibly proud of the work that our staff has done to provide an educational experience for your children during this tumultuous time.  I also want to thank all of you, our parent community, for your patience and understanding as we worked through this significant adjustment to teaching and learning.

I look forward to providing you with timely updates as we continue our journey through the months ahead together.

Sincerely,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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Food Provision Program in Saanich

In Saanich, we are pleased to come together as a community and help to provide additional food for families in need.  Any family can request additional support by contacting their child's school principal, Parent Advisory Council or Confederation of Parents’ Advisory Councils https://copacs.sd63.bc.ca/. Thank you to our community partners of Beacon Community Services and COPACS for your ongoing support of this and other critical initiatives. 

2020/21 Budget Consultation – Community Budget Meeting and Survey

The Board of Education of the Saanich School District invites you to participate in and contribute to the formation of our budget for 2020/21. Public participation in this process is important for the Board's adoption of a budget that reflects the values, beliefs and priorities of the community.

The Saanich School District is currently focused on supporting our community during this challenging and uncertain time through the implementation of continuity of educational opportunities, support for vulnerable students including food programs, and additional support for children of essential workers. At this time, it is also necessary for the Board to develop a budget for 2020/21 that reflects our best estimates of the impact of the pandemic and that reflects priorities for improving student success now and in the future.

The Board of Education is seeking your input through the completion of a survey and participation in a virtual Community Budget Meeting on April 29th at 7 pm. The survey will be the primary tool for gathering feedback and closes on May 1, 2020 (end of the day).  The background document provides information on the Saanich School District and the 2020/21 budget context and facilitates completion of the survey by those who are unable to attend the virtual meeting.

The survey is available at the following link: https://www.sd63.bc.ca/2020-21-Budget-Consultation-Survey

The virtual Community Budget Meeting beginning at 7 pm on April 29th can be accessed at the following link:  https://shorturl.at/GKMSZ

We look forward to your participation in this important process.

OUR FIRST WEEK BACK – SOME UPDATES (Mar 31, 2020)

Dear Parents / Guardians;

First, I want to thank all of you for your continuing understanding and patience as we build the Saanich Schools continuity of learning plan behind the scenes.  Many people have been working very long hours building a solid foundation from which to launch our new remote learning reality.  The purpose of my email today, is to outline some of the district-wide updates that pertain to that plan as well as give you some other information that you might find helpful. 

Remote Learning

I have heard some people describe this new learning reality we are entering as “On-line Learning”.  We are not heading into an on-line learning environment, but instead are looking at teaching in a new emergency remote learning reality (A phrase I heard used by one of my colleagues).  We have been tasked with turning an entire education system on-a-dime to something that looks very different than it did before Spring Break.  It is going to take different forms for different learners and different teachers – not just because we have students who range from 5-19 years of age, but also because we have different courses, programs, learning styles and student needs.  Some teachers are already using webpages, blogs and other electronic teaching tools, whereas others have been using more traditional means.  As we move into this new normal, expect to see a variety of approaches being taken to provide your children with an educational program that addresses their academic and social-emotional needs in their grade, course or program.  It is definitely a work in progress – but a challenge that we are definitely ready to tackle.  The energy and enthusiasm from our staff is palpable. 

Contacting Students & Families

As we return from Spring Break, teachers have been meeting with each other and their administrators to plan their approaches to this new learning reality.  Teachers and administrators will also be reaching out to families this week to have a ‘check-in’.  You can expect that every family will have been contacted by the end of the week.

Remote Learning Resources for Parents

In Saanich Schools, we have been busy developing an electronic resource library for our educators, but we have also not forgotten about our parent community.  We realize that parents may not have the expertise, knowledge or time to provide extended assistance to their children as we begin this new journey into remote learning.  As such, we have selected multiple resources that parents can access in one convenient location – resources that are available to you at no cost, aligned with many curriculum goals and objectives, and readily available to help you explore new learning with your children. 

On our new webpage, you will find resources on such things as:

  • Social-emotional Learning
  • Online books and Audiobooks
  • Math, Coding and Computational Thinking
  • Physical Activity
  • Arts and Culture
  • Science
  • Information, Videos and Games
  • Additional Resources

You will also be able to see the multiple resources selected for teachers.  Many of these are subscription-based and available only to our staff – however, we wanted you to see the library that we have been collecting.  You can access the parent resource library at the following public website: https://learn.saanichschools.ca/ .  Once at the webpage, click on RESOURCES and then PARENT/GUARDIAN.   There is also a quick link at the bottom of the webpage.  We hope that you will find this curated list of resources useful as we know you are also wondering how you can help support your child’s learning.  The list is being regularly updated. 

The Ministry of Education has also launched a resource site for parents called Keep Learning – Suggestions for parents and caregivers to keep their children learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.  There are some helpful ideas in this site as well.

bc211

A service provided by the United Way is now available to all BC families who have community-based questions about COVID-19.  Bc211 is a free, confidential help resource that connects people to local government and social services in our community – services like mental health supports, or income and financial assistance.  It’s available by calling or texting 2-1-1 or going online to bc211.ca.  This service is funded by United Way and is available 24/7, 365 days a year with phone service in over 160 different languages.

Provincial Government COVID-19 Website

The government has also launched a new website for parents that includes updates on COVID-19 and its impact on schools.  You can find it here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/program-management/safe-caring-and-orderly-schools

The Power of Why – My Blog Space

I have not been able to get to my professional blog (The Power of Why) as often as I have wanted to lately, but I did want to write on this current crisis we are confronting and what it means when you bring a team together in a time of crisis.  You can read my latest blog entry Sunshine in a Time of Crisis here: https://thepowerofwhy.ca/2020/03/31/sunshine-in-a-time-of-crisis/

Superintendent Q & A

I will be beginning a new Q & A section on our district webpage where parents, staff and students are able to write in to ask me questions about our new educational reality.  I am planning to select several of these questions and provide answers back approximately once or twice per week – likely in a video format.  Stay tuned for more information as we hope to launch it in the near future.

Thank You

Thank you for the kind wishes of support and understanding as we make this significant transformation in a very short period.  We are a community who cares for each other and will rally together in times of need.  I can feel the positive energy from our staff and from our community as we work to find our new normal.  As always, we continue to update our own district website with new information – be sure to check back regularly: https://www.sd63.bc.ca/ .

Together we’ve got this!

Dave Eberwein

Superintendent, Saanich Schools

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Statement from the Chair of the Saanich Board of Education

On this Monday after Spring Break, the students and staff of our Saanich schools would normally be gathering to share their stories and embark on their studies for the last term of this school year. Instead, given these unprecedented times and suspension of in-class instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I offer this statement on behalf of the Board of Education.

Registration for 2020/2021

Starting February 3, 2020 Registration for Kindergarten to Grade 5 will begin at the School Board Office, 2125 Keating Cross Road, Saanichton, and at the schools for Middle (Grades 6-8) and Secondary (Grades 9-12) levels.

See our Registration page for further information.