Superintendent Message

Charlie McCormack

In a normal year we would be celebrating the arrival of spring, preparing for Good Friday and Easter, some people would be travelling south or we would be gathering with our friends and family for a special Easter meal and celebration. Unfortunately, it is not a normal year.

 

Most people alive today have never experienced anything like what we are living through at this time. This is the first, worldwide pandemic in recent history. Despite my many years in education, I have never witnessed schools closed for students across the whole country during the school year.

 

Here at East Central Alberta Catholic Schools (ECCS) we are working our way through this crisis. We are most concerned with the safety of students and staff. At the same time, we are trying to ensure that student instruction and learning will continue. ECCS has adopted a hybrid model of digital, online and paper resources to deliver lessons to students. Overall, our plan is working well but we are acutely aware that it is not the same as our traditional, in-school instruction. I am especially concerned with students who have fewer resources and support at home.

 

To help as many students as possible, our schools are signing out Chromebooks to students who do not have a device at home. Teachers are available by telephone and email. So far we have been able to drop paper copies of weekly lessons to students who require this service. At the same time, our schools are open for staff and administrators to support the ongoing instruction of our students.

 

As always, in a crisis many people step up and go above the call of duty. I see this daily across our school division. Teachers are reaching out to all students. Some are taking extraordinary steps to search out students who haven’t been in touch. We recently issued temporary layoff notice to many of our support staff. Some immediately offered to volunteer their time to support students. School administrators have made themselves available on the weekends to join online planning meetings with central office. It is great to see how our staff has responded to this unprecedented situation.

 

Many others across our communities showed their caring spirit in the past two weeks. Schools shared cleaning supplies with other schools. School divisions all across Alberta are making their online resources available to all other school divisions. Just yesterday, Shelden Welch of Denwood Motors offered to drop off lessons to students if we needed the help. Schools are offering food hampers to needy students.

 

I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to our students and parents. We know your lives have been severely disrupted but you still work with your teachers and school to make the best of a challenging situation.

 

Take care and, as many people are pointing out, we will get through this and we look forward to the day when our classrooms are full of happy, eager students once again.

 

Sincerely,
Charlie McCormack

“We teach; we share; we learn; we care. We grow in Christ, believing that together we can make a difference.” Alberta Public Catholic Education. © 2020 East Central Catholic Schools. All rights reserved.