Principals Message

Welcome Back for the 2020-2021 School Year at École Parkside School

If someone would have told me that the 2019-2020 school year would have ended in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I would have looked doubtfully at them and checked for facts to truly believe this.  The experience of abruptly changing the way we offer schooling to our children in Manitoba was challenging for all of us. 

As parents, you had to find ways to navigate your child learning from home, your own work challenges in light of COVID changes to the work world, and figuring out an ever changing normal for living in a pandemic. 

Our students had to figure out ownership for their learning, getting motivated to learn without the social supports of the school community, and coping with social isolation from their peers.

Our staff had to figure out how to develop and distribute learning from home materials and resources, navigate their own family situations and cope with missing their students at school.

We know heading into the 2020-2021 school year that we may likely continue to face challenges because of COVID and changes to how we can and cannot be together. 

Anytime we face an unknown challenge, it provides us an opportunity to learn.  My hope heading into this upcoming school year, is that we can see challenges with a problem solving mindset.  My hope is that we can say to ourselves - "We can figure this out.  We have the resources we need within us.  This experience will provide us a chance to get stronger and better at something we didn't know about ourselves before." 

My hope is that we can take our experiences from March through June of 2020 and learn from these experiences so we can support one another better when we face changes again.  

As parents, I hope you can discover that your child has a teacher they can count on for support.  If we learn from home again for periods of time this year, I hope you can use these two phrases to support your child:
1. Read your instructions carefully, what is your teacher asking you to do?
2. If you have a question, ask your teacher.

As a parent, supporting your child with learning from home can look like organizing a work zone for them to set up their learning, setting a schedule that helps them develop routines to stay on track with their work, and structuring daily time to exercise and take mental breaks. 

As students, I hope you establish these routines to help you be strong and competent students:
1.  Read carefully and ask myself - What is this saying?  What am I supposed to do?  Where will I start?
2.  Set up a daily routine with times laid out to help you get done the tasks required of you 
3.  Persist through challenge - if something doesn't make sense initially; reread it, try again, ask a friend how they are approaching the task or ask your teachers.
4.  Set up a system to stay organized so you know where your materials are and you are working in a logical order. (this includes paper and online systems)
5.  Remember that frustration, mistakes and challenges are a part of learning - stay with it - you can figure it out by slowing down, giving yourself permission to struggle and asking questions.

As for our staff, I hope they can use technology to enhance our students' learning - using it to help organize tasks, resources and assignments as much as using it to build and strengthen the social community we develop in our classrooms.  I hope they continue to keep expectations high for students so they do encounter struggle and have to persist to figure things out.  I hope they ensure our students are reading, writing and thinking daily to become stronger learners, better problem solvers and better citizens of the larger world around them.

All of this, requires us to work together to support our young learners.  Knowing and remembering what it is like to be a teenager will help us to approach our interactions with respect and clear limits for our students.  Knowing and remembering that our job is to support our teenagers in the step towards adult hood and growing independence will help us to be thoughtful that all of our interactions with our students teach them something - let's make sure the "something" lines up with what we want to teach them and leads to independence, respectful & healthy relationships, a healthy self-concept and service to the greater community in which we live.  

Leanne Braun