Ask any student, parent or teacher and they will tell you that the last month has been a learning curve for everyone. But thanks to a very supportive school community, Holy Redeemer’s delivery of online classes has been going extremely well.
“We launched our online classes on April 3rd,” says Principal Betty Churchill. “Since that time our staff, students and parents have been so supportive as we try to navigate these unprecedented times.”
Schools in Alberta officially closed on March 15th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After this, school divisions around the province worked in conjunction with Alberta Education to roll out the best and most supportive online classes that can be administered. HRH’s launch date was made by Living Waters School Division taking into account that Edson’s spring break ended on April 1st. Over the course of the last month, the online classes have been evolving to adjust to the needs and suggestions of everyone involved.
“We are constantly talking to our teachers,” says Acting-Assistant Principal Paul Tobin. “We hear from them what works, what things we can be better, and how best to help our students.”
Currently, the over 360 students at HRH are receiving online classes via Google Classroom. Teachers release lessons at the beginning of the week and are meeting with students throughout the week through texts, email and Google Meet. “We are constantly keeping in touch with our students,” says Churchill. “We don’t want anyone to be left behind.”
Not only are changes being made thanks to teachers’ suggestions, but also parents have had some great feedback as well. “We conducted a survey a few weeks ago and a vast majority of the comments were very positive,” says Tobin. “That said, we also listened to their concerns and implemented some changes to help both our students and their parents with managing the work at home.”
The past month has been a massive learning curve for everyone involved. “We had to totally rethink how we teach our classes,” says Tobin. “We basically had to change everything in a matter of days. And this could not have been done without our supportive school community.” Tobin also clarified the type of education that is happening. “What schools around Alberta have been doing is not homeschooling or online learning. It is emergent education. This was a scenario no one could have predicted, but now everyone is working extremely hard to make it work so our students can still have access to a great education, while giving them some positive stability in their lives.”
“Moving to an online platform has been anything but easy for all parties involved,” says high school teacher Melanie MacDonald-Winsor. “It’s a learning curve for parents, teachers and students, but I am so impressed by how well my students have adapted to online learning.” MacDonald-Winsor says that when in-person learning eventually resumes she knows her students will be better equipped for their future careers because of the technology skills they have been forced to learn. “My students have shown me just how adaptable, smart and resilient they all are,” she says.
But no matter how successful things have been, everyone will admit that it is not the same as being in class. “I miss my students every single day,” says MacDonald-Winsor. “And I cannot wait to see them again!”
HRH has also been busy making preparations for next year. “We are currently accepting new registrations for the 2020-2021 school year,” says Churchill. We pride ourselves in ensuring that our students receive the best education in a faith-filled environment.”
To get more information on registering at HRH, please contact the school office.