News From Royal Oak Middle School
May 5, 2020
Dear ROMS Parents and Guardians,
This week at ROMS we have been continuing our weekly food distribution for families in need as well as providing devices to students throughout the school district (every Tuesday from 9-2). Our teachers are continuing to provide approximately two hours per day of learning opportunities for students and we also have education assistants working with students who need extra support. I hope you’ve had a chance to have a look at our ROMS website as it is being updated each week with new virtual clubs - this week we’ve added Arts and Makerspace Club, and Film Studies!
I wanted to take some time to update you on the conversations we are having at ROMS, and indeed across the province, about assessment during this remote learning period. Please read the information on assessment provided below - I hope it provides some clarity about how we are encouraging our students to engage with their learning during this pandemic.
Here is the information regarding assessment and a few other items:
All COVID-19 District Information - This information is available on the district website. https://www.sd63.bc.ca/COVID-19
Parent Input into Class Placement due Friday, May 8th
Entering the School - For everyone’s safety, we are trying to minimize access to the school. If your child is in need of an essential item, please email our vice principal, Mr. Mark, at email@example.com to make arrangements.
ROMS Yearbooks Update - we still have a few yearbooks left! Please email Ms. Cottier to reserve a yearbook at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wed, May 6 Virtual PAC Meeting (go to the PAC website for the meeting invite)
Friday, May 14 Non-Instructional Day
Mon, May 18 Victoria Day
Assessment and Grading in the Midst of a Pandemic
Assessment in a pandemic is an entirely new phenomenon. When teachers assess students under normal circumstances in the classroom, there is a regular cycle of learning and assessment that occurs which includes:
direct teaching of new concepts through whole class and small group instruction
opportunities for students to practice new skills/concepts with ongoing feedback from the teacher
opportunities for teachers to assess student understanding, to re-teach skills or concepts that students have not yet acquired and to help students build, refine and broaden their understanding
Throughout this process, teachers provide ongoing formative assessment that informs their instruction and provides students with feedback on where to go next. As you can imagine, it is impossible to replicate a classroom environment in this new remote learning environment. Teachers have been focusing instead on building connections and relationships, fostering social and emotional learning and engaging students in reading, writing and numeracy activities at their grade level.
The Ministry of Education has indicated that all students will receive a final grade for each course they are enrolled in and successfully complete. Teachers will determine a final grade for students based on work completed prior to the suspension of learning in March AND the assessment of learning that will occur during the remote learning period. Special consideration will be given to those students whose learning needs or circumstances may require unique approaches to assessment. The focus during this remote learning period is on engaging students in their learning, rather than on accountability:
Provide flexible learning options
Replicate a classroom learning environment
Encourage and support student learning
Document and quantify student learning
Suggest resources and provide options
Mandate a specific resource
Suggest guidelines and timelines. Make adaptations when necessary
Require specific times, dates and deadlines
Focus on feedback and self assessment
When students are not engaged offer alternatives and seek advice from school based team
When students are not engaged, give them a zero
Accept that a smaller number of curriculum organizers will be addressed
Attempt to address entire curriculum to enable students to move to the next level
Focus on relationships and connection
Focus on curriculum
Teachers are working hard to provide feedback to students on their learning at this time. Students will receive a report card at the end of June based on their demonstrated learning up until spring break, and their participation in learning activities during the remote learning period. I hope that this information is helpful - we are learning as we go and we appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we do work through these challenging times. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have further questions.
Karen MacEwan, Principal