May 25 – PCS Weekly Bulletin #9

I arrived at school this morning to find an email from one of our staff including some group reflection/devotion materials to start this week. There were a series of photos showing various stages in a hiking journey – from beautiful sections along an isolated beach to strenuous lengthy climbs. It reminded me of a devotional exercise I completed a number of months ago (pre Covid) that asked us as leaders to consider our lives using the metaphor of garden and to ponder what season we were currently in. With both metaphors (the hike and the garden), I think for many of us the challenge has been that there are moments of the Covid journey that seem to be beautiful moments of reflection on the beach and then abruptly and without notice we find ourselves starting a steep climb. Or using the garden metaphor (and having lived in Alberta) there are moments when the first sprouts of spring break through – only to be followed by a late season snowfall. Often glimpses of hope seem followed by new challenges and potentially despair.

One of the challenges of the Christian journey is to be confronted with these abrupt changes. As a Christian leader sometimes I feel the task is to hold the present lightly and to live ultimately in the confidence that He is sovereign and His will will be done. As a school we are committed to that. We may live in uncertain times, but in all that we do (regardless of the present challenge) we seek to see and follow His purposes for us.

Return to School – JuneDepending on grade level, somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 of PCS students are planning on returning for classes in June. The interest seems highest in the primary grades. We continue to work to be prepared to both continue with online instruction and provide in-class instruction on a limited basis as well as provide full time support for Essential Service Workers. Feedback on the online program we have been providing has been very positive, I would ask for your patience for our staff as we seek to switch gears to a multi-modal model. This is a new journey for all of us and for many it is akin to having just achieved some semblance of a beautiful walk only to be confronted by a new climb.

In this weeks Lewis’ Lens video, I interview Paul Turkin (Elementary Principal) and Lorna Herzog (Secondary Principal) asking them:

  1. What will the classroom configurations be? What will the days look like?
  2. Will we maintain the homeroom structure?
  3. How does this connect to remote learning?
  4. How are we ensuring the well-being of students and staff? What cleaning will be happening?

Both Lorna and Paul have done an exceptional job of leading in this difficult time, I’d encourage you to have a look.

Return to School – September
I’m asked with some frequency what September will look like. At this point we are hearing consistent messaging from the Ministry of Education that:

  1. Decisions around school will be driven by the advice of the Provincial Health Office.
  2. School will likely be at what the Ministry is describing as “Stage 1” – in-class full time for K-12 (the BC K-12 Education Restart Plan is available here).
  3. It is unlikely that schools will return to either stage 4 or 5 (full closure) moving forward.
  4. It is possible that schools could be directed to move to stage 2 or stage 3 (hybrid home/school) as circumstances change. This decision could be made at a local (versus a provincial) level.
  5. Schools are advised to plan for instructional models that provide flexibility.

PCS completed a re enrollment process in February. Over 95% of our families at that point we’re telling us they planned to return. That’s an exceptional statement of confidence in PCS. We’ve also been very encouraged by the feedback we’ve been getting around online learning. Clearly, people want to get back to in-class; however, we hear repeatedly what an amazing job our staff are doing. The vast majority of our families want to remain at PCS for the coming year. For some, their current economic reality may make this very difficult. As a school, we remain committed to doing everything we can to continue to journey with our families.

If you are unable to continue with PCS because of your current economic status, we encourage you to apply for assistance for the 2020-21 school yearAs a school we remain committed to do everything we can to support and continue this journey with you.

Some Updated Deadlines
June 5th – Deadline for applications for Financial Assistance for the 2020-21 school year.June 16th – 18th – Notification of Financial Aid decisions..June 19th- Deadline to withdraw from PCS for the 2020-21 school year without penalty’.

Darren Lewis