Distance Learning K-12

Learning Together
While Safely Apart

Distance Learning for K-12 Students

Updated: May 12, 2020

Welcome to distance learning, as Rainbow District School Board provides continuity of education while schools remain closed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Students are encouraged to read daily and to take advantage of authentic learning experiences while at home.

We continue to support students to be physically active and mentally well.

While some instruction is online, students are not expected to be on a device to complete all of their learning.

As always, students will never be asked to engage in learning that puts their health and safety at risk. We continue to follow Public Health guidance.

Distance learning in Rainbow Schools may look different for each grade. Specific to Kindergarten to Grade 8, our focus is to provide learning experiences relevant to expectations that prioritize literacy and numeracy.

Elementary teachers are developing distance learning that is flexible.

Learning activities:

  • can be done at any point in the day
  • allow for student choice
  • do not always require online access

Planning for Student Success at Home

Teachers have planned for distance learning and are designing tasks for their classes. During the week of March 30, 2020, teachers connected with students/families to check in and determine needs. Technology has been loaned to students to support their participation in distance learning.

Learning opportunities are flexible, regardless of each student’s at-home learning environment. Teachers will always keep the well-being of students top of mind.

Teachers have developed learning plans that:

  • Reflect the number of weekly hours for students assigned to complete work.
  • Focus on the remaining overall curriculum expectations
  • Engage students in two-way communication and respond to questions that may arise
  • Provide opportunities for assessment that include ways for students to reflect on their learning, practice and get feedback
  • Identify how home/school communication will be maintained with families
  • Account for students’ requiring additional support, including English Language Learners and those with Special Education identifications

Distance learning began with initial activities and continues with careful consideration of accommodations required for students.

A Word about Privacy

Technology offers many opportunities to keep connected and is the primary means of communication with students and families during the school closure period.

Rainbow District School Board’s administrative procedures continue to apply while students learn at home.

Administrative Procedure: Privacy and Distribution of Personal Information
Administrative Procedure: Acceptable Use of Information and Communication Technologies

Seesaw, GSuite, and Lexia have been vetted through Rainbow District School Board staff to ensure compliance with privacy expectations and standards.

Teachers are required to vet any other third party app or extension through the same privacy expectations and standards.

If you have any concerns with apps or extensions, please contact your child’s teacher.

Here are the Rainbow District School Board’s Privacy Expectations for Students When Using a Digital Tool

  • The app must have the ability to maintain student anonymity.
  • The app must not ask for personal information (birth date, full legal name, etc.).
  • The rscloud gmail address is appropriate as a username, although students may use an alias.
  • The app must allow student content to remain private.
  • The app must not track student activity (except to personalize content for student learning).
  • The app must not use/provide a student’s personal information to another third party without student consent.

Online Safety

With school closures, children may spend more unrestricted time using technology. Families are encouraged to have conversations about Internet safety and to work together to develop strategies that encourage safe practices.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection offers a variety of resources to help children and families stay safe online. Learn more at the link below.

Canadian Centre for Child Protection -
Supporting you Through COVID-19

Responsibilities During Distance Learning

Student responsibilities

The Ontario Ministry of Education has directed school boards to offer teacher-led distance learning for all students. As such, there is an expectation that students will participate, with the support of their teachers, to the best of their abilities.

In some cases, students without access to the Internet will not be able to participate in an online environment. Schools are safely providing paper-based assignments to students and families who need them, while following Public Health guidance.

Along with the Ministry of Education, it is our expectation that students complete the assigned work. As always, students and families should connect with their teachers if they have questions or concerns.

During distance learning, students are required to adapt to new learning environments. Teachers will communicate clear expectations for students. Students should:

  • Establish daily routines and times for engaging in learning experiences
  • Find a comfortable, quiet space in their home where they can work effectively and successfully
  • Monitor communication with their teacher(s), to check for announcements and feedback
  • Do their best to complete assignments with integrity and academic honesty
  • Do their best to meet timelines, commitments and due dates
  • Communicate proactively with their teacher(s) if requiring additional support
  • Comply with Rainbow District School Board’s Administrative Procedures including the Code of Conduct and expectations for online etiquette and Digital Citizenship

Teacher responsibilities

Rainbow District School Board remains committed to enabling all students to reach their potential and to succeed. Teachers are central to ensuring this occurs and to meeting this challenge, always with the well-being of students first and foremost.

Parent/guardian responsibilities

The transition to distance learning may not be simple or easy for everyone. We know you will continue to provide incredible support to your child(ren), while managing a number of stressors. We want you to know that we do not intend to place an additional burden on families. We know that many parents are caring for elderly parents and young children, and many are still working during the day. To be clear, elementary students do not need to be online during a specific hour of the day. They can be engaged in learning at any point during the day. There may be occasions where a teacher will livestream in Grade 7 or 8, however, if your child is unable to participate in the livesteamed lesson, it will be recorded so that it can be accessed at a later time.

Learning activities will be assigned with careful consideration of grade level, and accommodations that may be required for students. If you have concerns, please contact your child’s teacher(s).

As we move forward with distance learning, we ask for your continued support as we explore innovative ways to engage parents/guardians at home. As a key stakeholder in your child’s development, your engagement with your child can play a crucial role during this time. To help families transition to at-home learning, we encourage you to consider these guidelines.

Distance Learning: Recommendations by Grade

Grade Level: Kindergarten to Grade 3
Key Focus: Literacy and math
Timeframe for learning*: Five hours of work per student per week

Grade Level: Grade 4 to 6
Key Focus: Literacy, math, science and social studies
Timeframe for learning*: Five hours of work per student per week

Grade Level: Grade 7 to 8
Key Focus: Literacy, math, science and social studies
Timeframe for learning*: Ten hours of work per student per week

Grade Level: Grades 9 to 12
Key Focus: Focus on achieving credits and graduation
Timeframe for learning*: Three hours of work per course per week

*These hours refer to the minimum amount of time that students are required to spend on the work assigned by teachers. ​

Method of Instruction

Teachers will provide links to materials or share materials directly using their chosen platform.

Resources vary by class and lesson, but will include links to videos, graphic organizers, texts/reading material.

In cases where online learning is not possible, arrangements will be made to offer a different method of instruction, e.g. printed packages.

Assessment, Reporting and Evaluation

Kindergarten to Grade 8 – Final marks will be entered in June 2020. Marks will reflect work done from September to March 13, and after April 6. Assessments done from now until June can be used to improve marks. Marks may increase if students demonstrate further achievement of expectations.

Grades 9 to 12 – Final marks will be entered in June, and will be based on work done until March 13, and after April 6. Summative and culminating tasks can be used for these final marks. 

Teaching and Learning Platforms Grades K-12

As much as possible, teachers in Grades K-12 will engage students using tools that they are already familiar with, such as Seesaw and Google Classroom.

Assessment, Reporting and Evaluation

These are unusual times and we recognize that not all students will be well-positioned to learn at home. Some have limited access to technology or the Internet. Others may have less support from family because their parents are essential workers. Others may be struggling in other areas. Please know that we understand the challenges. Our goal is to support every learner as best we can.

The Ministry of Education has provided clear direction for the assessment, reporting and evaluation of students during distance learning.

Students will be graded on work completed prior to school closures on March 13th and, more importantly, can improve their marks from April 6th to the end of the school year with teacher-led distance learning. No student will be adversely affected due to school closures.

For Elementary Students:

Student marks will reflect work done until March 13, 2020 (ie. prior to March Break) as well as from April 6, 2020 onward. Our expectation, and the Ministry’s expectation, is that students will do their best to complete all assigned work. As always, students and families should connect with their teachers if they have questions about assessment and evaluation. Final marks will be entered in June 2020. As per the Ministry of Education’s direction, all school boards will issue final report cards, including the Kindergarten Communication of Learning for all students.

For Secondary Students:

At the secondary level, exams are being replaced with culminating activities. Marks can only go up from what they were, so effort and performance count.

Student marks will reflect work done until March 13, 2020 (ie. prior to March Break) and from April 6, 2020 to the end of the school year. Our expectation, and the Ministry’s expectation, is that students will do their best to complete all assigned work. As always, students and families should connect with their teachers if they have questions about assessment and evaluation.

Grade 12 students – Mid-term marks will be entered for graduating students only by April 20, 2020, to meet the deadline to report grades to the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre and the Ontario College Application Service. Marks will reflect work done up until March 13, 2020. However, formative assessments completed from April 6 to April 16, 2020 through distance learning, can be used to improve marks should students demonstrate further achievement of expectations. Teachers will email mid-term marks directly to graduating students by April 16, 2020 and reach out by phone to those who may not yet have access to technology.

Grade 9, 10, 11, 12 students – Final marks will be entered in June, and will be based on work completed until March 13, 2020 as well as work from April 6, 2020 to the end of the school year. Summative and culminating tasks can be used for these final marks. Summative and culminating tasks are being provided with a focus to help students prepare for next year and to provide opportunities for students to improve their grades.

Graduating Students

The Ministry of Education has made it clear that graduating students will not have their graduation or progression to post-secondary impacted by the pandemic. As such, one of our key priorities is to support students who are scheduled to graduate this year.

Teachers of graduating students will provide marks by April 20, 2020 to OUAC and OCAS, on work completed by that time, in order to meet admission requirements for post-secondary education. Final report cards with marks will also be issued. No student’s graduation or transition to post-secondary will be jeopardized as a result of the school closure period.

The graduation requirement to complete 40 hours of community involvement is suspended for this school year. Community involvement hours that have been completed will be reported on the report cards of graduating students. Graduating students are encouraged to complete their hours, wherever possible, where the health and safety of the student can be assured.​

Alternatives to Distance Learning

Every student will have access to learning opportunities during school closures. We are working diligently to ensure all learning needs are met.

Parent/Guardian Communication

It is important to us that we keep the lines of communication open. Communication with students and families will look different across Rainbow Schools and will vary by grade, classroom and platforms. Educators and support staff may communicate with you through email, online learning tools (such as Seesaw and Google Classroom) and/or by phone.

Families are welcome to reach out to educators and school administrators by email. If you are unable to reach someone, please email info@rainbowschools.ca or call 705-674-3171 and leave a message.

Rainbow District School Board will continue to provide updates to families regarding COVID-19 and its impact on learning. Stay connected by:

  • Visiting the Rainbow District School Board website at rainbowschools.ca
  • Follow Rainbow District School Board on Facebook

Supports for English Language Learners

When planning for an online learning environment, teachers can help English Language Learners leverage their many strengths and skills by considering the language (oral, reading, speaking) and content demands in all curricular areas. Students in English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Literacy Development programs will continue to be supported by their classroom teachers and English as a Second Language teachers throughout the closure.

Support for Students with Special Needs

Teachers continue to provide learning opportunities that enable students with exceptional and non-exceptional Individual Education Plans to work towards the goals listed in their IEPs. Special Education Teachers and Educational Assistants will collaborate with Classroom/Subject Area Teachers and with students with whom they work to ensure they have the necessary support required to successfully continue their learning from home. Regular check-ins with students from Special Education Staff will ensure they have the support and assistance they require to be successful.

Where possible, students who were participating in the Empower Reading Program continue to have this daily instruction online from their Empower teacher.

Where possible, students who were participating in the Lexia Reading Program continue their work. Teachers will monitor their progress in Lexia and provide the student with necessary feedback.

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 who were not working with the Lexia Reading Program, now have access to create accounts to supplement their learning in literacy. These student Lexia accounts will not be monitored by staff but students are encouraged to use this useful tool. To obtain access to an account, contact your child’s teacher.

Students with significant special needs attending self-contained programs will continue to receive daily instruction from their teachers and support from Educational Assistants. This learning may take place through a variety of Apps (ie. TeachTown) as well as other learning activities that focus on literacy, numeracy, cognitive development and social learning.

Mental Health Supports and Responding to Urgent Student Needs

Rainbow District School Board’s Mental Health Team of Social Workers are available to offer service and support to schools, students and families.

Students Receiving Mental Health Services at March 13, 2020

Secondary students: Secondary students have been emailed to let them know their Social Worker is available. Those students have been given a phone number for their Social Worker. The Social Workers respond to concerns for these students as they emerge.

Elementary students: Social Workers will call the parents of students in the Elementary Panel who are referred and respond to concerns for these students as they emerge.

Information and navigation support line:
Parents may have questions about how to access services or where to get help, or even if help is needed. Please contact your School Principal for assistance and information.

New Referrals for Social Work Services:
New referrals for services will be reviewed and support will be given where appropriate. Concerns will be referred to Health Sciences North Crisis or Compass, as appropriate.

Community Resources for Mental Health:
A list of resources is available on the Rainbow District School Board website.

Mental Health Resources
Ministry of Education - Learn at Home Resources
Coronavirus (COVID-19)