Friendly Reminder: Jan 4-8 Return to School Update

Hello Thunderbird Families, 

We hope you have had the opportunity to unwind, recharge and find joy this holiday season. Although we are starting our new year from our virtual classrooms, we are excited to be back and doing what we love! 

From January 4th – 8th your child(ren) will be expected to follow their regular school day. All classroom schedules and expectations for your child(ren) to follow will be posted on their virtual classroom on January 4th. Please be sure to have a look so both you and your child(ren) know what to expect. 

Your child(ren)’s classroom teacher will be setting the schedule and expectations on Monday, January 4th. Our school start and end times will remain the same. The school day at St. Daniel’s begins at 9:10am, all students are expected to be in their Google/ D2L classroom at 9:10 am. Our day ends at 3:40. Please know that with the pivot to online learning, this experience will not be like the school closure period last spring. Some things to note are: attendance will be taken everyday; there will be periods of time where your child will be required to meet their teacher(s) face to face on their virtual learning platform; French and Planning time teachers will also meet with your child(ren) online and post daily work for them to complete.  Attendance will be taken as usual, if a student will be absent, please make sure to call into the office and let us know, as Mrs. Rossiter and Mrs. Weiler will be following up on all students that are absent.

Those students in our Empower or Lexia Program working with Mrs. McCann or Ms. Smukavich will continue this program virtually. They will reach out to these families with specific details that pertain to those students in this program.

For families that have students that require Education Assistant support, the EA that usually works with your child(ren) will be assigned to the regular classroom and will be online at times assigned by the classroom teacher to support your child(ren) as best as possible. Please be sure you have referred to your child(ren) Google Classroom/D2L for details. 

For those families with students in K-1 and the two 7/8 classes that were in quarantine, you will receive a call on Monday as to how you can pick up a Chromebook if you indicated that one was needed.

We kindly ask for your patience as we navigate this virtual learning environment. We recognize that there will be bumps along the way, but we are in this together.

Finally, if you have any questions please feel free to contact your child’s(ren) teacher. They will respond upon their return to school on January 4th. 

Thanks for your continued support as partners in learning.

Sincerely,
St. Daniel Staff

~ Nurturing ~ Encouraging ~ Successful ~ Thunderbirds ~

Letter from Director Loretta Notten – School Closure & Remote Learning Jan. 4-8, 2021

December 21st, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

As you know we have commenced our well-deserved Christmas Break and we hope that for each of you, it is starting as well as it can under our current circumstances.  No doubt you are likely also aware, the Premier of the Province has indicated that the return to school in January will be remote.  That is, on January 4th both our elementary and our secondary students will begin the new year learning virtually.  The decision is being made out of an abundance of caution.  We know our schools are safe.  The cases of COVID are not starting, nor are they spreading, in our schools, but we are a reflection of the community.  Closing the schools to in person learning for the early part of January will help us contain the cases that come into schools and ensure that when we return to our buildings, we are doing so in the safest manner possible.

Our elementary schools will return to face-to-face learning on Monday January 11th, 2021 and our secondary schools will return to face to face learning on Monday January 25th, 2021.

Just before we left for the break, we were given an indication that the government might choose a remote return in January.   Given the short timelines, we made a “best efforts” attempt to send home Chromebooks with all those students for whom we had a prior request through our comprehensive survey.  If there are outstanding orders that were missed, they will be deployed upon our return on January 4th.   Schools and Extended Day programs currently remain closed and unavailable to staff, students and parents.  All school staff and teachers are on a well-deserved break and will be available for questions and updates as of January 4th, 2021.

The move to remote learning will be different than last spring when the face-to-face hours with teachers was limited.  The school day will follow the bell times of your individual school and if not already received, you/your student will be given a clear indication of the daily schedule your child is to follow through your local school.  Again, we might expect that the first day or two back in January may not be perfectly smooth as we all adjust to the new reality.  St Isidore students will continue as per the usual schedule.

For our high needs special education students we would like to provide the following guidance.  In elementary, students with high needs will learn remotely as with the rest of your class and per the class daily schedule, but there will be “break-out” rooms where additional support is possible.  Your return to face-to-face learning will be January 11th 2020.  For secondary high need students, you will also leaning virtually for the first week back (again with breakout rooms) and by January 11th we will provide more detail with an option for transportation and face to face learning in your local school setting.

As of today, we are still planning to proceed with our Secondary Transition Survey regarding quadmesters 3 and 4.  The current decision to move to virtual is a short-term strategy and there will be a return to face to face learning on January 25th (as we near the end of quadmester 2).  Please keep in mind if you choose “face to face learning in the bricks and mortar schools” or if you choose “virtual” that is your choice through to the end of June.

Thank you for adhering to public health and safety measures that have ensured schools remain a safe place for our students and staff.  This will be more important than ever now – both for our schools and for our community at large.  During the upcoming Christmas Break we must adhere to the guidance to limit our contacts and social gatherings.  You can check the government’s holiday web page for more direct and up-to-date guidance on how individuals and families can plan for a safe holiday season, including suggestions for safer holiday activities for children and families.

Once again, we encourage you to visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in our community – but also please be aware that these could change depending on the most current public health advice. We also suggest checking out the WCDSB website https://www.wcdsb.ca/living-learning-looking-forward/   and Region of Waterloo Public Health website https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/2019-novel-coronavirus.aspx as they contain helpful resources and supports.  If you have any questions about what your particular school is doing, please let your school principal know upon their return on January 4th, 2021.

I will also take this opportunity to point out that mental health resources are available to students and families through Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.

This is likely not the Christmas any of us envisioned or desired.  These challenges are real and the hardships can be quite difficult for some.  But we can see the light in the distance.  We can also see the profound light of the manger.  Let us continue to be people of hope who celebrate the birth of a tiny babe who shared a powerful message of love and salvation.  Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #InThisTogether  #WeGotThis

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

Preparing for a Possible Pivot to Remote Learning

Hello Thunderbird Families:

An important update was relayed to Administrators regarding preparations for a possible pivot to virtual learning. To be honest, there is no certainty regarding a school closure and our actions over the break will make a difference in the decisions that are being made. Staying home and spending Christmas with only those in your household bubble can help to make a difference for our front line health care workers and will influence any final decisions made leading up to the return to learning on January 4th. We are all in this together!

In order to be prepared for virtual learning, we are taking some steps to ensure we are ready to support everyone’s learning. To make this happen, some materials will be sent home today.

Based on the data we have been collecting this school year, some families are in need of a Chromebook. With this in mind, on Friday December 18th, students in grades 2-8 will be bringing home a Chromebook in the event of a pivot to remote learning after the Christmas break. If you expressed a need, the school will have reached out to you on December 17th to confirm. Families of students in Kindergarten, Grade 1 and the two classes on quarantine will receive an invitation to pick up their Chromebook after the Christmas Break. There will be more information shared about this pickup the last week of Christmas break. 

Once we return to school and if your child(ren) has received a Chromebook or if they received a Chromebook during school closure last Spring it is expected that they come back and forth from home to school. 

Internet Connectivity:

  • Those families living in Cooperative housing that need the internet please refer to Connected for Success program. 
  • Those families currently receiving the maximum Canada Child Benefit are eligible for the Connecting Families program.
    Both programs offer $10/month residential internet service.

How to login to D2L: https://youtu.be/7UPBveCY9js

How to login to Google Classroom:

1. Go to wcdsb.ca/students

  1. Click on My Applications
  2. Log in using your WCDSB usual student login and password
  3. Click on Google Apps
  4. Once Google Drive is open, click on the waffle (9 dots in tic-tac-toe shape) in the   upper right corner 
  5. Click on Google Classroom icon (labelled “Classroom”)
  6. Click on the Classroom indicated by your child’s teacher

Finally, over the break please refer to our school website News section and your child’s virtual classroom (D2L or Google Classroom). This is where we will share details about how remote learning will look and what timelines can be expected.

As always, thanks so much for your continued support!

St. Daniel School Staff

Angel Tree Update

Hello Thunderbird Families:

A huge thank you to our entire St. Daniel School community for your support and generosity with our Angel Tree this Christmas. With all of the Cash Online donations we raised, $1335.00 for families in need within our community! Your kindness is simply awesome and truly celebrates the spirit of the season. THANK YOU!

Thank you for sharing the incredible gift of your child(ren) with us! We are looking forward to a wonderful Christmas Spirit week ahead!

~ Nurturing ~ Encouraging ~ Successful ~ Thunderbirds ~

Thunderbird Reminders

Hello Thunderbird Families:

Picture Day is tomorrow, December 8th:
All students will have the opportunity to have their individual photo taken on December 8th. To keep our students and staff safe, Lifetouch will be following our COVID protocols, plus their own protocols. To order online please visit: https://my.lifetouch.ca/mylifetouch/#/

NOTE: when ordering you will need the following code: QX010747Q0

COVID-19 Reminder:
We do want to continue maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for all our students, so we ask that all families and individuals use daily the Ontario governments screening tool before you come to school. The tool is available at: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

Screening tool in Arabic: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid19-cms-assets/2020-10/Arabic_Printable-school-and-child-care-screening.pdf

Screening tool in Spanish: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid19-cms-assets/2020-10/Spanish_Printable-school-and-child-care-screening.pdf

Christmas Spirit Week at the Thunderbird Nest!
We have all sorts of fun activities planned during the week of December 14th – 18th. Our goal is to spread joy, Christmas cheer and have fun! For a list of all the awesome activities please check out the link. A special thanks to Mr. V and the Student Activities Council (SAC) for organizing our Christmas Spirit Week! Link to Christmas Spirit Week

~NURTURING~ENCOURAGING~SUCCESSFUL~THUNDERBIRDS~

Thunderbird December News

Hello Thunderbird Families:

We cannot believe it is December already! We hope this finds you and your family well. 

As we journey through the season of Advent, may we pray for patience and for hope as we await the celebration of the birth of Christ. We continue to pray for those in our community who are ill and in need of prayers. Although Christmas may look a little different this year, we need to model the pause, contemplation and prayer in our school, families, and with our children so that they too will be reminded of the coming of baby Jesus, the true reason for the season. 

During this season of advent we encourage you as families to set aside a special time each week to gather together and light a candle on an advent wreath in your home. Use this as a time to slow things down and remind one another about the special gift that was the birth of baby Jesus. During these winter days with very little light, we are reminded that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12). This is especially important to reflect upon in what seems like, for many, times of darkness. During this very important time in our liturgical year, take the time together to be mindful of the true spirit of the season, and help our students, your children shift their focus back on the season of Advent.

Please find this Special Advent Blessing and Prayer from Fr. Tim & Sarah  from St. Anthony Daniel Parish.

Our Thunderbird family wishes to extend the warmest of Christmas wishes to you all. May God bless you and yours during this festive season and may you and yours find the Advent season a time of solace and peace. 

So you are in the loop, we hope you take some time to read our communication below. As always, thanks so much for all you do to support our Thunderbird Community!

Important! Winter Pick-up/Drop off:
As the winter weather approaches, we highly recommend you consider a new location to meet your child(ren) after school. Our experience has been that the field and path area are often very icy or muddy and not safe for you or your child(ren) to be walking on. 

In the morning, we suggest you use our kiss-n-drop area at the front of our school; the large church parking lot to park and walk to drop your child(ren) off at the front of the school, they can walk to the line on their own. After school, we suggest you make a meeting spot on the city sidewalk along the school yard fence on Midland Drive and park on Midland Drive or at the large church parking lot. 

Please Note:  the laneway, front parking lot and community centre is not open for parking. Due to hours of operations there will be times where the community centre will not have the snow/ice removed, please do not park or drop off in the community centre location, thanks.

Christmas Spirit Week at the Thunderbird Nest!
We have all sorts of fun activities planned during the week of December 14th – 18th. Our goal is to spread joy, Christmas cheer and have fun! For a list of all the awesome activities please check out the link. A special thanks to Mr. V and the Student Activities Council (SAC) for organizing our Christmas Spirit Week! Link to Christmas Spirit Week

Picture Day is December 8th:
All students will have the opportunity to have their individual photo taken on December 8th. To keep our students and staff safe, Lifetouch will be following our COVID protocols, plus their own protocols. To order online please visit: https://my.lifetouch.ca/mylifetouch/#/

NOTE: when ordering you will need the following code: QX010747Q0

Be sure to Check Out:
On our website be sure to check out our About Us section. Under that tab you will find another section called School Policies and Student Expectations. There you will find all sorts of tid-bits about our policies and procedures. 

Before your Child Comes to School: (This must be done daily)
Self-Assessment: All students need to complete a self-assessment each day prior to attending school https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

Cash Online Forms:
Have you filled out all of the Cash-online forms? Below is the list of forms that need to be read and completed by you ASAP:

  • Catholic School Advisory Council (CSAC), Nomination of Parent Candidate
  • Concussion Code of Conduct – Parent/Guardian
  • Concussion Code of Conduct – Student-Athlete
  • Critical Medical Alert
  • Emergency Dismissal
  • Walks Around the Neighbourhood-Education Excursion Consent 
  • Lunch Arrangement
  • Responsible Use of Technology & Electronic Data Access, Students Grades JK to 3
  • Responsible Use of Technology & Electronic Data Access, Students Grades 4 to 8 Consent
  • Student Image, Video or Voice Recording Including Media Use – Consent
  • Student Personal Information, Collection/Use/Disclosure Notice (Read Only)
  • Violence Threat Risk Assessment (Read Only)

Contact Information:
Is your contact information up to date? If you have a new cell/phone number, if your address has changed or if you have new emergency contact information please call the office to update all of your contact information, 519-893-8801.

Attendance:
It is super important that you call the school when your children will be away. When calling the school, 519-893-8801, speak clearly, and loudly, identifying your child’s first and last name, teacher’s name and the reason for the absence. If your child is sick, please list the symptoms your child is having and follow the COVID protocols as outlined below. Thanks!

COVID Update:
We have been advised by Public Health that healthy siblings are no longer required to be sent home to self-isolate , but are being asked to self-monitor.

In a school setting, we have designed our environment to allow students and staff to safely self-monitor by providing adequate physical distance, hand hygiene routines and the wearing of masks. 

Healthy individuals in your household do not need to be tested unless directed to by Waterloo Region Public Health or your healthcare provider. As always, please complete the daily screening tool and follow the instructions provided.

Please see this link with further details: https://www.wcdsb.ca/important-new-guidelines-for-siblings-of-ill-students/

Link to Public Health Guidelines: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JKoMYdA5u387LO5sju4Y63-o3wORNpeB/view?usp=sharing

Bus Students:
Families please remember to call the school before 3:00 or notify the teacher if your child will not be taking the bus home at the end of the day. We have a responsibility to put your child on the bus. Please contact the school if your child will not be taking the bus after school.

Also, be sure to sign up for the STSWR subscription service which allows users to receive notices about delays and cancellations to their email address or via SMS text. https://www.stswr.ca/parents/ (scroll to bottom of page for subscription service link) 

Umbrella Project:
Last month we focused our attention on building Grit and this month we are adding the skill that will help your child to be kinder to themselves in the face of failure and difficulties, Self-compassion

What will self-compassion do for my child?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that 75% of people treat others more kindly than they treat themselves. 

Self-compassion means offering ourselves compassion when we fail, make mistakes or are at fault. Self-compassion is the opposite of self-criticism and will help your child treat themselves like they would a good friend instead of continuously judging themselves harshly.  Like a bully that is with your child all the time, self-criticism actually reduces  self-confidence (just like an external bully would), making it hard for them to succeed.  

Self-compassion helps to reduce children’s feelings of isolation and instead recognize that struggle is a normal part of being human that everyone experiences. There is a  100% chance of rain at some point in every life so it’s important that we learn to weather these storms with compassion.

Do you often catch your child saying harsh things about themselves and their abilities ?

It’s vital that we help our children avoid getting caught up in the dramatic storyline of their struggle and instead recognize this normal part of life. Imperfections, rough days, mistakes, being at fault and failures are a part of being human and the better we are at accepting this, the easier it is to preserve our wellbeing through these challenges.

Listen as Dr. Jen’s introduces this important Umbrella Skill of Self-compassion 

POST 2

Stop judging yourself as a parent so harshly!

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Children don’t come with step-by-step instructions and there is a reason that millions of parenting books exist, all with different solutions to the same problems. Just like snowflakes, each child is completely unique and therefore responds differently to the world and our attempts to guide them.  How many times has an idea worked brilliantly for one of your children and not at all for the next? Every feel like one day you have this parenting thing nailed and the next day want to give up completely? Such is the nature of raising another human with their own agenda and parents deserve to treat themselves with a high level of compassion on the tough days.

Unfortunately, research and experience show us that this is not the case. As parents, we are terrible critics of our own best efforts to raise our children and we now know that the more we judge our own parenting, the more likely it is that our child will develop symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The solution – Less self-blame and more non-judgemental acceptance of our own parenting skills. In other words, show our children what self-compassion looks like in action. None of us are perfect parents, you will make mistakes and that’s OK!  

It sounds simple but remember that most of us have a very vocal inner critic, evaluating our every move. Start by noticing your own self-judgement and then try to think of what you might say to a good friend who was in the same situation. Say these words to yourself and remember, beating yourself up in effort to be a better parent is having the opposite effect on your child’s wellbeing. Instead take ownership of your feelings and choices, recognize when you make mistakes, apologize, keep learning and move on.  You’ve got this!

POST 3

Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend.  

Children who are low in self-compassion are often very hard on themselves. They can feel isolated and alone in their struggles and have a hard time moving on from failures. From a parenting perspective, it can be very difficult to convince children with low self-compassion that people aren’t judging them as harshly as they are judging themselves.

One of the easiest ways to help your child practice their self-compassion is to start one step outside themselves. Ask them to think about how they would treat a good friend who is struggling and then reflect on whether they treat themselves with the same care. 

This exercise is beneficial for everyone and most people are quite surprised when they take a moment to listen to what they say to themselves. The phrase “we are our own worst enemy” rings true here.

Here are a few simple steps to follow when you notice your child’s self-criticism is becoming detrimental to their wellbeing:

  1. Have them bring to mind a good friend or someone they care about and imagine it is their friend, and not them, experiencing the struggle.

  2. Ask your child these questions: What would you say to your friend in this situation?  How would you treat them? What do you think would happen if you said the same things to your friend that you are saying to yourself?  Would it help them?
  1. Help your child remember that they can be a good friend to themselves. Remind your child they should offer themselves the same amount of love, compassion, forgiveness and respect as they offer everyone else.

POST 4

Watch your language

Most of us get so used to the way we criticize ourselves that we don’t even know we are doing it. However, the words we say to ourselves have power and direct our attention. Our inner critic is really a misguided attempt to help motivate and protect ourselves. The research shows that our inner critic is unlikely to have the effect we are hoping for and holds us back from our happiness and success. Our brains like to be correct, so we unconsciously pick out the information from our environments that supports our beliefs. When we tell ourselves we are stupid, for example, we can’t succeed. When we carry broken beliefs, our brains select the information in the environment that matches this belief and so we live into our thoughts.  

In addition, when we criticize ourselves in front of our kids they begin to feel we may be secretly judging them as harshly as we are judging ourselves. It’s hard to convince them we think they are beautiful just the way they are if they see us critiquing ourselves harshly in the mirror.  

The messages we give our children directly are important too. The language we use around them creates powerful self-talk that can help them or hold them back, make them feel well or hopeless. Try to be specific when you address your children instead of making generalized comments. There is a big difference between saying “you did something bad” versus “you are bad”. The first creates self talk that can help the child take responsibility and move on.  The latter doesn’t leave room for growth or change and can leave our kids feeling powerless.  

The same goes with praise.  We want our children to feel responsible for their success so when we generalize and say “you are smart” instead of “you did very well on this specific thing” or “your hard work paid off” we can accidentally make kids feel that everything is evidence that they are either smart or not and create a lot of anxiety around failure. Their self talk becomes about avoiding anything that might risk them being proved unintelligent. Instead, praise the things your child can always control like effort and their umbrella skills.

In this short 3:30min video Dr. Jen talks about this concept of watching your language.

Additional Resources 

Interested in learning more? Here are a few more short and sweet videos about Self-compassion from Dr. Jen. 

Suffering is not failure

Instill the learner in your child 

All about our inner commentary

It’s not a weakness 

Be incident specific 

Tie to intentions (not outcomes) 

~ NURTURING ~ ENCOURAGING ~ SUCCESSFUL ~ THUNDERBIRDS ~

Dress Warm Today, Thunderbirds!

Hello Thunderbird Families:

We are back today!  School is open again!

We hope that you found some success in connecting to your child’s Google/D2L Classroom yesterday and completed the tasks that were there for them.  What an opportunity to learn from home!  We also hope that you found some time to get outside and enjoy the snow!  What an opportunity to celebrate winter!

Today, we are open again and looking forward to seeing you all.  Please remember to complete the COVID screening test before coming to school and when you do leave the house this morning, dress for the weather!  It is cold and snowy, and we will be outside for both recesses and the longer lunch recess.  Hats, mitts, snow pants, boots and layers will be so important today!

See you soon!

Weather Impacted Learning Day, All Buses Cancelled, All Schools Closed

Hello Thunderbird Families:

  • Due to the current weather conditions ALL SCHOOL BUSES, TAXIS AND SPECIAL EDUCATION ROUTES operated by the Waterloo Catholic District School Board and Waterloo Region District School Board are cancelled.
  • All WCDSB and WRDSB schools and sites are CLOSED and it will be a Remote Learning Day.
  • Students should visit their respective virtual classrooms or WCDSB and WRDSB Learning @ Home for resources.
  • All Extended Day Childcare Programs are CLOSED.
  • All programs and services offered by St. Louis Continuing Education and Adult and Learning Centre are cancelled.

Students will be provided with asynchronous student work by 10 am, as each classroom teacher has a Google Classroom or D2L site. Normal bell times will be followed to allow students to contact their teacher through the LMS or email.

St. Daniel School Angel Tree

Dear Thunderbird Families,

This year our Advent focus will be our St. Daniel Angel Tree. We wish to share the spirit of generosity that is part of the true meaning of the Christmas season.

The Angel Tree will be the primary symbol of our outreach activities during Advent. Due to the restrictions around COVID-19 we have had to move away from our traditional gift approach. In lieu of a gift, we will be accepting Cash Online Angel Tree donations. The denominations range from $5.00 to $100. 

If you would like to make a donation please see your child’s Cash Online Account.

For instructions on how to access your child’s COL account please see the link: COL Instructions Link

Our Thunderbird Angel Tree will run from Monday, November 23rd until Wednesday, December 9th. The money raised will be given to St. Vincent de Paul Society, where they will purchase gift cards for those in need in our community.

Thank you so much for your support and generosity!

~NURTURING~ENCOURAGING~SUCCESSFUL~THUNDERBIRDS~

 

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