Covid-19 and e-learning: Letters to parents

Kells updates are presented below in reverse chronological order and the blog post is updated as new letters are issued. Bookmark this page for easy reference.

May 15th, 2020 - Covid- 19 Update

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Thank you to all parents and guardians who filled out our E-learning survey. The survey results were very positive! Your feedback is extremely important as it provides us with suggestions and guidance to evolve and further improve the Kells online learning experience.

Since our survey, we are very pleased to see an increased level of student engagement through the use of cameras during online classes. Furthermore, students are settling into their routines and are becoming more comfortable with this new online environment.

As per my previous memo on April 28th, a reminder that the last day of school will be June 12th. Again, it is essential that students do their best to stay engaged with their courses in order to be best prepared for the upcoming school year.

In addition to our online classes, Ms. Ewanyshyn, Ms. Ali and I have held grade level assemblies to discuss best practices for online learning, mental health and well-being of students, assessment and evaluation for term 3 and upcoming events.

In regards to upcoming events; in light of Premier Legault’s announcement to close secondary school buildings until late August, we have decided to continue with the end of year celebrations, albeit online.

Given that the situation with the pandemic is changing every day and it remains unknown if social distancing will permit a physical gathering for a celebration like convocation, we have made the difficult decision to proceed with an online convocation. We feel that it is extremely important that graduates of 2020 are recognized and honoured in their final year of high school before leaving for post secondary education.

That being said, our online Convocation will be held on June 17th (time TBD). Parents, guardians and students can watch regardless of their location or time zone. A link will be shared with all members of the Kells community prior to the event.

During this ceremony, similar to previous years, we will have a guest speaker (Jonathan Jarry, Masters degree in molecular biology; most recently conducted research with Covid -19), a valedictorian speech, subject and special awards, diploma ceremony and a special student performance.

We have also ordered graduation caps with tassels which will be available for students to pick up from the school prior to convocation (schedule for pick up to follow). As well, celebratory diplomas will be available for pick up in the last week of June (again, schedule for pick up to follow). Finally, we are featuring 3 graduates per day via our Kells Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/kellsacademy/?hl=en).

In regards to Prom, if possible in August, we will offer a celebration (location to be determined) for students interested. Unfortunately, the situation with the pandemic remains unpredictable, so we cannot book venues or confirm locations at this time.

Finally, our Athletics Banquet will be held online on June 2nd, at 3:00pm. We will celebrate the year in athletics and honour student athletes, as well as recognize team and individual awards. We will email certificates to each participant, however, trophies and medals will be made available for pick up at the end of the school year (schedule for pick up to follow).

As always, I hope you are staying healthy, safe and active! Have a wonderful long weekend!

Best,

Mr. Banerjee
Principal
Kells Academy

April 28th 2020 - Covid-19 Update

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As you may have heard yesterday afternoon from Premier Legault, all secondary school buildings in Quebec including Kells Academy will be closed until late August, 2020.

The Ministry of Education has made clear that the school year is still running, so while we realize that every home situation is different, we remind you of the importance of student attendance during live sessions.

As we continue E-learning during term 3, I’d like to remind everyone that it is essential that students do their best to stay engaged in order to acquire fundamental concepts and be prepared for the upcoming school year. Furthermore, teachers are and will continue to assess and evaluate students in term 3.

I’ve mentioned in previous memos that we are continuously evolving and trying our best to improve our E-learning experience. In order to offer an online experience that is rich in interaction between the student and teacher, it is vital that students enable their camera so teachers can connect with their students, as well as provide feedback. Furthermore, the camera function allows teachers to see how students are progressing and engaging with class concepts and tasks.

That being said, as of Monday, May 4th, all students will be expected to enable their camera feature during live sessions.

If you are not comfortable with your child enabling their camera, please contact Ms. Ewanyshyn for grade 7 & 8, and Mr. Banerjee for grade 9 - 11.

In regards to the last day of school; we will continue until June 12th. Although we will not have an exam period, teachers will prepare formal assessments which will be held during class time until June 12th.

In my next parent memo, I will provide the Kells community updates regarding the end of year ceremonies, celebrations and term 3 report cards.

Parents with children in the Elementary school will be receiving an update from Ms. Perlman.

Thank you for your ongoing support during this incredibly challenging time.

I hope you are staying healthy, safe and active!

Best,

Neil Banerjee
Principal
Kells Academy

April 9th, 2020 - Covid-19 Update

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

We will be hosting virtual Parent Teacher Interviews on Thursday, April 16th from 9am - 2:30pm. As such, the regular school day will be replaced with interviews. This will be an opportunity for you to share feedback with teachers regarding our e-learning platform and inquire about your child’s progress.

As of Tuesday, April 14th at 7:30am, you will be able to log into the Portal to book your Parent Teacher appointment. The system will close at 4pm on Wednesday, April 15th. Once you have booked your appointments, your schedule will be available on the Portal.

Teachers will email you a Zoom link 5 minutes prior to your interview. Zoom can be accessed through a web platform or the Zoom application on a desktop. As well, Zoom can be accessed via the Zoom application on a mobile device. No account is required, simply click the link and it will prompt you to open the Zoom session. Please ensure you are using a device with a microphone.

If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, please see the instructions below.

How to join a Zoom Meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting

The link offers a quick video tutorial

Once you click on the link, at the bottom of the page; you can select the operating system you are using for specific instructions to download and set up your Zoom application.

As we navigate our first virtual Parent Teacher Interviews, a gentle reminder that many Kells teachers are also parents. Please be understanding if interviews are interrupted as they are doing their best to manage their home and professional life.

Please note that we have moved our PED Day to Monday April 20th, as such Friday, April 17th will be a regular school day.

If you have any difficulty booking appointments, please email Ms. Wang at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have any technical questions regarding Zoom, please contact our IT department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you would like to book an appointment with Ms. Wasserman (Guidance Counselor), or any member of administration, please email us directly to book an appointment by Wednesday April 15th.

Have a lovely long weekend and stay safe!

Best,

Neil Banerjee
Principal
Kells Academy


March 30th, 2020 - Covid-19 Update

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

Thank you for your valuable feedback and kind words of encouragement to the Kells staff.

Following our staff meeting this morning, we have made adjustments to our e - learning platform to provide more flexibility to students, families and staff. Our goal with these changes is to continue to improve and facilitate accessibility to remote learning from various regions, increase student engagement and reduce screen time. Furthermore, we have discussed the management of student workloads and will be adapting the amount and type of work being assigned to students.

The following elements have been adapted:

1. New Student Timetable

Our new timetable will begin at 9:00am and end at 2:30pm. Each period of instruction will be 60 minutes in length with a recess in between classes to allow for activity and health breaks. As well, lunch has been extended to 1 hour.

Revised School Schedule (Begins Tuesday, March 31st)

Period 1: 9:00 to 10:00
Recess: 10:00 to 10:15
Period 2: 10:15 to 11:15
Junior Lunch: 11:15 to 12:15
Senior (Grade 11) Recess: 11:15 to 11:30
Senior (Grade 11) Period 3: 11:30 to 12:30
Senior (Grade 11) Lunch: 12:30 to 1:30
Junior (Grade 7-10) Period 3: 12:15 to 1:15
Junior (Grade 7-10) Recess: 1:15 to 1:30
Period 4: 1:30 to 2:30
Homework Program (Mon - Thurs): 3:00 to 4:00

2. Transition to Zoom (online video conferencing tool)

Kells will be transitioning to the Zoom platform throughout the week to facilitate student engagement and learning. It offers teachers the facility to work one-on-one or in small groups of students. It also permits students to work digitally in small breakout groups imitating a classroom setting. Furthermore, it will also give teachers more control of the learning environment; specifically, they can moderate settings in a meeting, share their screen as though it is a whiteboard, watch videos simultaneously with the class, message each other in a chat forum and share files. We believe students will be more comfortable with this platform as it mirrors a classroom atmosphere. The Zoom application has been added to student iPads, however it can also be accessed via a desktop or laptop computer.

Teachers will apply the same format (as with Google Meet) to initiate a live session or support session. They will post a Zoom link for students in Google Classroom.

3. Evaluations

Teachers will continue to assess students and post grades for evaluation on Portal. These marks will be used to provide evaluation and feedback in our term 3 report card.

4. Academic Support

In order to provide additional support for our remote learners, we are offering online Academic Achievement Flex during Period 4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as the continuation of our Afterschool Homework Program, Monday through Thursday from 3:00 – 4:00 pm.

FLEX – Academic Achievement

This is an optional class designed to give students the opportunity to work on assignments and ask the Flex teacher questions in a supervised virtual classroom. Ms. Ewanyshyn will send a Google Form to parents to register their child. Students will be required to login to their Zoom class and attendance will be compulsory. Students will be able register for one of the following:

Middle School English & Social Studies with Ms. Donivan

Middle School Math & Science with Ms. Bartczak

Grades 9 - 11 Math and Science with Ms. Suvorova

Grades 9 - 11 Math with Ms. Karkaby

Grades 9 - 11 Social Studies with Mr. Gosselin

Grade 10 - ELL with Ms. Clark

Flex classes will begin Period 4, Thursday, April 2nd.

*Please note: Students who were registered for Middle School Academic Achievement, ELL Grade 10 prior to March Break will automatically be registered and are required to attend all remote learning sessions.

AFTERSCHOOL HOMEWORK PROGRAM

Students may also attend remote learning sessions afterschool, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. These are “open classrooms”. All students are welcome to login for support as needed.

The Afterschool Homework Program will begin Tuesday, March 31st.

MONDAY:
Grades 7 & 8 General Help, Math & Science with Ms. Sawchyn
Grades 10 - 11 Math with Ms. Ungureanu & Ms. Karkaby

TUESDAY:
Grades 7 - 9 Math with Ms. Ungureanu & Ms. Karkaby

WEDNESDAY:
Grades 7 & 8 General Help, Math & Science with Ms. Sawchyn
Grades 10 - 11 Math with Ms. Ungureanu & Ms. Karkaby

THURSDAY:
Grades 7 - 9 Math with Ms. Ungureanu & Ms. Karkaby
Grades 7 & 8 French with Ms. Florestal

Kells Academy is committed to providing an e - learning experience that is positive, easy to use and comfortable for students, parents and staff. Again, we thank you for all your feedback as we are doing our best to adapt and evolve our online platform to take everyone's suggestions into consideration.

I hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and positive. Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss further.

Best,

Neil Banerjee
Principal
Kells Academy

 

March 27th, 2020 - Covid-19 Update 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Now that we have experienced a full week of remote learning, we are going to take Monday, March 30th as a PED day in order for faculty to meet and take your feedback into consideration. It will give teachers the opportunity to share resources and strategies with one another in order to best meet the needs of our students and your families.

We appreciate your feedback and ongoing support which assists us in planning how to move forward and put best practices into place to evolve our e-learning platform.

This pedagogical day will also be used to offer our staff professional development on the Zoom video conferencing platform. We are piloting Zoom features to facilitate accessibility to students in other countries, create breakout discussion groups within a meeting, enable use of a digital whiteboard and moderate control of microphones, cameras and attendance.

Students are encouraged to use the pedagogical day on Monday, March 30th to complete assigned school work, organize digital materials and review lessons.

Again, the Ministry of Education has made clear that the school year is still running, so while we realize that every home situation is different, we remind you of the importance of student attendance during Live sessions. That said, we are so proud of all that our students have accomplished during the last week. You have shown us your commitment to learning despite trying circumstances.

We realize that isolation is difficult for everyone. We hope that you are able to get fresh air and exercise in order to stay calm and healthy. Should you or your child like to have a private chat at any time, please feel free to contact me. We are all in this together and we are here to help.

Best,

Neil Banerjee
Principal
Kells Academy

March 23rd, 2020 - Covid-19 Update

Dear Parents/Guardians

As you may have heard yesterday afternoon, all schools in Quebec including Kells Academy will be closed until May 1, 2020.

We would like to bring to your attention to the following important directives from the Minister of Education:

1. The school year will continue and, if the situation improves, the students will return to their classrooms in May 2020.
2. “Uniform” Ministry of Education exams will not take place this June.
3. Please note, we are awaiting further directives from the Ministry of Education as to how students will be evaluated for term 3 and final report cards. As such, I reiterate that the school year continues.

Given these directives and the fact that the school year is still running, we have prepared and mobilized our staff to ensure that students continue with online learning and stay abreast of the curriculum in the event that schools reopen in May. Although a challenging situation, Kells Academy will provide its students with every opportunity to maximize their learning so that they are not disadvantaged in their upcoming school year. The teachers will continue to instruct Term 3 content through e-learning classes to ensure that your child acquires the essential skills for their current grade level. We expect all of our students to participate in these classes and complete their assignments and projects with the same motivation that they brought to school each day.

Behind the scenes, the Kells administration, academic staff and the IT team have been in constant communication via Google Meet, emails and online correspondence to ensure the smooth operation of our online learning platform. We are piloting new tools and resources to coordinate e-curriculum plans, navigate technical issues, share online resources and expand our e-learning methods to best support students through this rapidly evolving situation.

As we move forward in online learning, Kells administration is also working on expanding the resources and the support available to students. These services will be wide ranging and will provide both academic support ranging from language proficiency, math problem-solving strategies, literacy skills or remedial support to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle or sharpening individual development through enrichment opportunities. We hope to share these online resources with our parents and students in the near future.

I would like to reassure you that I will be in constant communication with you and our students via memos, email, phone and videos on our Kells Facebook page. I would also like to invite students and parents to reach out to me to stay in touch and support one another. I know this is a very challenging time, but we are here to support you and we will get through this together!

This transition from classroom to online learning has been very sudden and we recognize that students will take time to adjust and may experience feelings of isolation and a lack of personal support and guidance due to changes in their routine. Please reach out to us so we can continue to support and personally guide your child through this situation.
We are fully committed to educating our students and supporting the Kells community. I would like to acknowledge our teachers who have been working incredibly hard to facilitate student engagement and provide meaningful learning opportunities. I would also like to thank you and the students for your commitment to learning and following our e-learning platform and for your continued cooperation and collaboration.

Stay healthy and safe!

Best,

Neil Banerjee
Principal
Kells Academy

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

Please click the link below for a video greeting and update!
https://youtu.be/uTufBzgqLqQ

Best,

Neil Banerjee
Principal
Kells Academy


March 17th, 2020 - Covid-19 Update

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

In an effort to continue educational services during the school closure for Covid - 19, we will be offering online instruction beginning Wednesday, March 18th throughout the duration of the school closure. We thank you for your cooperation and support as we navigate through this new learning environment.

In so far as possible, students will follow their regular daily schedule which is available on the Portal. During class time, teachers will do their best to provide lesson materials, notes, assessments, online resources for support and/or curriculum instruction. Please note that many teachers are also parents and as such, they will be tending to their children as schools and daycares are closed. Based on individual teacher circumstances (parental obligations, technological resources, video limitations at home, privacy of family members) teachers will provide curriculum instruction via Google Classroom.

As well, teachers will do their best to be available to support students via one of the following formats at their discretion:

Chat

Audio

Video

Email

E - Learning Student Schedule and Protocol

Students follow their regular school schedule on Portal (Wednesday March 18th: Wednesday 2)

Students log into respective Google Classroom for their course during that period

Students will check Google Classroom for course information posted by teachers

The course teacher may post a Google Meet link for the respective course group each period on Google Classroom

Google Meet Link posted on Google Classroom will allow interaction with the student and the teacher via 1 of the 3 features based on teachers availability:

Chat
Video
Audio

*If Google Meet is being offered by the teacher, he or she will post the link in Google Classroom for each session (A Google Meet Link will not be reused for upcoming sessions). When the Google Meet session is over, it is important for each student to hang up to leave the session.

 

Educational Support Services:

Ms. Wasserman will be available by email to continue offering guidance support.

After school ESL will continue via Google Classroom and Meet.

Math support will be provided every day from 8:30 - 4:00; Ms. Ungureanu will invite students to the Math support Google Classroom. She will post a Google meet link each morning for students in Google Classroom.

Students can access one Google meet per device or incognito window. (PLEASE DISABLE MICROPHONE IF YOU ARE LOGGED INTO MULTIPLE GOOGLE MEETS)

**Please note that all Flex classes will be cancelled during the 2 week closure.

Students E - Classroom Code of Conduct

The Kells Academy Student Code of Conduct remains in place for E - Classrooms.

If you are using live stream, chat or audio:

Be aware of your surroundings to ensure an appropriate setting

Students should be dressed appropriately

Be mindful of the way you speak; refer to the Student Code of Conduct. Inappropriate language will not be tolerated

If you enable your video feature; inappropriate gestures will not be tolerated

Students will follow the same guidelines as a regular classroom;

Speak in turn

Respect everyone’s opinion

Follow the teacher’s instruction

*Students are accountable to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct during E - Classrooms. Inappropriate behavior, language or gestures can result in being removed from an E - Classroom, loss of account privileges or disciplinary measures.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties; please email our IT team at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our IT team will be available to address technical difficulties to the best of their abilities. As we embark on this new format, please be patient and understand that we are doing our best to continue curriculum instruction and educational services.

Technical Guide for Students:

How to log into your Google Classroom on the iPad:

Go to your Gmail App and sign in using your Kells gmail account.

Once signed in, open up the Classroom app installed on your iPad.

Once you arrive on your Classroom app, you will see a list of all your subjects. You must click on the class that you are supposed to be attending at the correct time following your schedule.

On the class page you will see instructions posted by your teacher. These instructions may include:

Video Recording

Live Stream

Assignments

Test

Quiz

Post with Instructions

 

How to login into Google Meet on the iPad:

A link will be sent by either Gmail or posted on your Classroom page prior to your class. You must click the link and it will join you automatically into your assigned room.

If the link does not work, you can try the following steps:

Open the Meet app on your iPad.

Click on “Meeting Code”.

It will ask you to enter a code. The code will be sent to your email or will be posted by your teacher on the page of your Classroom. If you are having troubles connecting on your iPad, you will be provided with a phone number that you could use to call in from a cell phone or home phone.

Once you enter the correct code you will be put into a room with your teacher and the rest of your classmates.

The teacher may play a live stream of your lesson, a recording or may just be available to answer questions on the Chat.

 

How to log into your Google Classroom on your Computer:

Go to www.google.com and sign in using your Kells gmail account.

Once signed in, on the top right of the page you will see the apps icon . Click on the apps and you will see a list of different apps, scroll down until you see Classroom and click it. Alternatively you can type into your browser URL www.classroom.google.com and it will direct you to the Classroom app.

Once you arrive on your Classroom page, you will see a list of all your subjects. You must click on the class that you are supposed to be attending at the correct time following your schedule.

On the class page you will see instructions posted by your teacher. These instructions may include:

Video Recording

Live Stream

Assignments

Test

Quiz

Post with Instructions

 

If you are still having trouble getting into your Classroom, linked below is a tutorial video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfgqtCi7hdo

Best,

Neil Banerjee
Principal
Kells Academy


March 13th, 2020 - Covid-19 Update

Dear Parents/Guardians

As you may have heard this morning, all schools in Quebec including Kells Academy will be closed for 2 weeks as of Monday, March 16th.

As per my previous communication on March 12th regarding Covid-19, this Monday and Tuesday will remain as PED Days to allow for Kells Academy staff to prepare lessons and adapt to our E-learning platform.

On Monday and Tuesday, I encourage students to complete any outstanding work previously assigned, review lesson notes and ensure that they are able to access Google Classroom and Portal remotely.

In preparation for students to access E-learning, parents and students will receive an email by the end of the day Tuesday, March 17th with instructions and a schedule to log into our E-learning platform.

Our IT team will be all hands on deck to support any technical glitches that we encounter along the way.
Our goal is to have minimal disruption to learning and proceed with curriculum instruction beginning on Wednesday, March 18th.

Kells Academy is committed to maintaining educational services while prioritizing the safety of our students and staff. We ask for your support and patience as we embark on this new experience.

Rest assured, should there be any changes or new developments, we will continue to inform you of any updates.

Again, thank you for your support and understanding. Please stay safe and healthy!

Best,
Neil Banerjee
Principal
Kells Academy


March 12th, 2020 - Covid-19 Update

Dear Parents/Guardians,

In light of the ongoing information regarding Covid-19, as a preventative measure, we will not be holding classes on Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th. We will be using these PED days to plan and coordinate an E-learning platform in the event of prolonged school closure. We are doing everything possible to ensure that learning will not be disrupted.

In addition, you will receive a mandatory survey regarding travel info during the March Break which must be completed whether or not you or your child has travelled.

As per the mandate this morning from the Quebec Premier, Francois Legault; (https://www.cbc.ca/news/ canada/montreal/covid-quebec-march12-1.5494882)
If you or your child have been outside of the country during March Break, your child will have to self quarantine at home for 14 days. The same will apply to Kells Academy staff.

Please note that students will not be allowed to return to school unless the mandatory survey is completed.

As well, any students that show flu-like symptoms will be sent home.

In the interim, major events and school trips such as International Day, Ottawa Trip, WE field trip, will be postponed to a later date.

As we monitor the situation closely, we are doing our best to take preventative measures to ensure the safety of students and staff. We sincerely thank you for your cooperation and support in this matter.