From the Principal's Desk:
As we all know the school days of 2020-2021 are drawing a close and what a year it has been. Each week during the school year, I prepare a memo for the Staff that we call the WAAG (Week at a Glance) and in the memo I thank individuals, I outline what is in the plans for the current week and then outline what lies ahead.
So I thought I would use that format for this final message of 2020-2021:
Thank you to our Pastors: Father Casmir who has been uniquely called to service our parish and school. Under his guidance, the Holy Spirit is leading us toward new horizons. We have really missed being able to attend Mass as a School Community this year and we hope that we will once again be able as a whole school community in 2021-2022.
Thank you to our volunteers: In a “usual" year, you were able to come into the school to work with students (e.g., reading programs), share your skills and/or knowledge but that was not possible this year but you found creative ways to volunteer your time (e.g., making modelling clay for the classrooms or preparing presentations for our students that you presented virtually). You have the given the precious gift of their time to help and we are so grateful for that gift. We hope to be able to have you return in 2021-2022.
To All of The Parents for your kindness, co-operation and continued support. It has been very strange not being able to have you into the school at all and we certainly missed the special events (e.g., the Christmas Concert and/or Graduations). We have had to rely on the use of notes, phone calls and in some cases Teams Meetings instead of face to face meetings and we thank you for your patience with that “new way" of doing. We thank you for your understanding as we had to make changes how we delivered instruction from in person to online and back again.
To Our School Council Executive And Our School Council Members for your ongoing and unselfish commitment to our school and students and for your financial support through your fundraising efforts. While we were not able to go on field trips out of the school, School Council generously supported us with funding to attend “virtual field trips" as well as provided funding for extra equipment for use outside for the students to use in their yard “zones".
To The Community for your support of our fundraising efforts and for your interest in our students and school.
To Our Wonderful Staff for their dedication and commitment to the well-being and education of your children – our students. They touch the lives of our children with loving care and dedication every day. When the Staff came together in August of 2020, we did not know how a school year with COVID would work – we had to be creative and find new ways of doing things that are part of our usual routines. Thank you for everything!!!
To Our Students for your readiness and willingness to adapt to new routines – wearing of masks, playing in zones, remembering to sanitize, adaptations to classroom setup and learning how to learn online. You amazed us (the Staff) at how resilient you were and you also showed us that you wanted to be here with your friends and that you could / would adapt to whatever was required. Well done!!
Monday, June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Throughout the course of the year the teachers have worked to raise awareness of the experiences of and the contributions of the Indigenous Peoples. During the year, we have participated in online presentations with some of the Elders and Knowledge Keepers who are working with ALCDSB. The teachers have also been discussing in a manner appropriate the age level of the children about the information that has come to light about the Residential School in Kamloops. The Board continues to provide us with information to present to the children during National Indigenous History Month. We will continue to work to honour the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Planning for 2021-2022: Each June, the staff comes together to discuss and start to plan for the class assignments for the next school year. We will be holding our initial meetings regarding placements on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The current teachers of the students usually meet with the teachers that the students are likely to have in the Fall and we formulate an initial “tentative" plan. The plans are tentative because a number of current students leave in June, and also because new students register in late August for September. Because families move during the summer months, we continue to juggle class groupings and class lists up to and including the first day of classes. Each year we encounter unexpected last minute changes.
Please know that when we are considering class placements we consider as gender balance, ability balance, class size, individual learning styles and peer dynamics. We usually try to include the student's preferences with respect who they would like as a teacher as well as what peer(s) they may like to have in their classes. We do our best to listen to the students' “voices" but we realize that sometimes you as parents would like to offer your voice as well. Should any parent wish to share information with us that would assist in our class list deliberations, please send a letter to my attention noting the pertinent information (e.g., specific learning needs, current assessments, learning style or preference). A lot of time and deliberation goes into our decision-making process but the underlying piece and our first priority is to ensure that we are fair to everyone. Any written requests from parents / guardians need to be received no later than Friday, June 25th.
Typically, by this point the year we know or have a fairly good idea who will be on staff but that is not the case this year. ALCDSB Human Resources will have to do some hiring in the summer months and the current “tentative" plan for teaching assignments may need to shift just as the class lists may (and likely will need to change). Until the vacant positions have been filled it is not possible to formulate a complete plan. We also recognize that this year we are making decisions based not only on the students that we had in the school during 2020-2021 (as I outlined above) but we are also about the placement of students who were part of the Remote School for the 2020-2021 (who in many cases we have not seen these students since March of 2020 when we first shifted to online learning). And, we are also planning for students who are returning to us from being Home Schooled. For all of these reasons, it is not possible to provide you with a list of teaching assignments nor class lists to anyone before the first day of classes. I fully realize that is not ideal but it is the reality of our situation. Thank you for your understanding.
Pick Up & Drop Off (June 23 & 24):
Last week I sent out communication about the Pick Up / Drop Off days. At a recent Administrative Meeting, we were reminded that we cannot have parents / students in the school. So the information that was shared previously has had to be amended. So please read these details carefully.
Remember Physical distancing
All attendees must maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres from anyone that does not live in their household. We will set up pylons to assist you in maintaining the distancing.
Wearing of a Mask
While on school property all people (staff, parents, students) must wear a mask (non medical is permissible for individuals who are not school staff members).
Pick-Up of Student Belongings
Student Pick-up of Personal Belongings will be available beginning Wednesday, June 23rd (Please see schedule below)
Wednesday, June 23rd
12 PM – 2 PM
Thursday, June 24th
2 PM – 3 PM
2 PM – 4 PM
9 AM – 11 AM
3 PM – 4 PM
11 AM – 1 PM
Families with children who have different last names can pick up an option based on any of the children's last names
We will only release your child's belongings to a family member.
Please know that we fully realize that once devices are returned to the school then not all of our students would be able to participate in live sessions. Therefore, in recognition of the need for equitable access we will be offering asynchronous learning opportunities for all of our learners for the 23rd and 24th of June. These activities will be made available to you early in the week of June 21st.
PA Day (June 25th):
As you know a lot of our Staff have been working from home since April, but some of us have been present in the school to allow us access to reliable Internet. On Friday, June 25th the Staff (other than those who will be reporting to another school site on the PA Day) will come together to get the classrooms / school ready for the summer as well as engage in a Year End Staff Meeting (likely will be held outside due to restrictions to gathering). We will likely also be engaged in some professional development activities.
What Lies Ahead:
We learned, on June 14th, that four classrooms and the office of the Special Education Resource Teacher and the universal access washroom are all to undergo significant HVAC upgrades this summer. Additionally, the Main Office and Staff Room areas are to be painted. As a result all of the areas listed above must be completely emptied.This work is to begin the week of June 28th so the scope of what we usually pack up at the end of the year has changed significantly and the timelines are tight. We have been told that the work could potentially take much of the summer to accomplish.
Please know that the School Office will close on June 25th and we will reopen on August 25th. The school email will be monitored occasionally over the summer months but access to the school itself will be very limited in nature.
In closing, I wish you a restful summer. It is my sincere hope that you have a chance to come together with your families as we continue to see decline in COVID cases. Please remember that vaccinations are now available for children ages 12 to 17 and you will find information about clinics in your child's report card envelope should he/she be age appropriate. It is also my most sincere wish that we will be able to return to some of our regular ways of doing in the Fall but time will tell.
Lastly, I know that there is some talk / discussions in the community that I am retiring. So, to set the record straight, I am sharing with you that I will be back at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School in September 2021.
Happy Summer Polar Bears!!! Take care of yourselves.
Please see below for information regarding picking up student belongings, Graduation and Report Cards.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION for OUR LADY OF MERCY FAMILIES:
Please read the following document carefully as it provides information about the pick up of student materials, Grade 8 Graduation, SK Graduation Plans / Report Cards / IEPs, Ways to Seek out and/or Offer Support as well as about School Council's clothing shop.
PICK UP OF STUDENT ITEMS / RETURN OF SCHOOL ITEMS We are able to permit limited access to the school to allow of the pick up of student belongings and the return of school owned materials and technology.
Prior to entry to retrieve personal items, the following must take place:
A Self-Assessment must be completed prior to accessing any board facility/school. Please use the Ontario Government online Self-Assessment tool available at this link Screening Tool
Every person must acknowledge with their signature on the log sheet when entering the building, that they have completed this Active Screening.
All attendees must maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres from anyone that does not live in their household.
Wearing of a Mask and Safety Precautions when accessing the School
Wednesday, June 23rd
Thursday, June 24th
Wednesday, June 23rd
9 AM – 11 AM
Families with children who have different last names can pick up an option based on any children's last names
Returning of Technology/ Library Books / School Resources / and/or other devices
We will require the return of any devices that are currently being used by ALL of our students. Please clearly label with child's name and the classroom teacher's name (and include any power cords)
There are tables set up in Ms. Balemba's / Mrs. Fitzgerald's room (Room 111) to drop off these items. Please place the items on the appropriately labelled tables. We will leave plastic bags, labels and a marker so you can label items accordingly (as appropriate).
Parent/Guardian responsibilities if provided limited access to the school
● Complete the Screening Tool (Prior to coming)
● Please arrive only at the time designated and please park on the school lot (church side)
● There will be pylons set up down the school side of the lot to allow for line ups / social distancing
● You will enter through the front doors of the school.
● Please use the hand sanitizer (located at the front entrance).
● Please sign the Active Screening log in sheet and proceed down the hall (staying to the right) toward the gym. Please listen and abide by the directions provided by the staff member(s) at the entrance. Please remember to keep a 2-metre (6 feet) distance from anyone else in the school to ensure physical distancing at all times.
● Please know that your time in the school is limited to 15 minutes or less.
● As you approach the gym you will be directed to Mrs. Fitzgerald's / Ms. Balemba's room (Room 111) to drop off materials and you can then proceed to the gym. Return all library books, school resources, technology and all other items to the designated tables.
● The students' belongings are on tables labelled with the Grade(s) / Classroom Teacher. Please proceed to the table(s) and retrieve your child(ren)'s belongings. The items are bagged and the student's name is on each bag. There are items beneath the tables that we are uncertain as to who owns them so please look there as well.
● There are some items in the gym for our SK Grads and Grade 8 Grads – they can be found on tables as you exit the gym and these items are clearly labelled as well. These Grad related items will be available for pick up on June 18th (see below, please).
● You will be exiting through the gym doors closest to the yard – you will need to sign out there (indicating the time that you are leaving).
● You will find tables with lost and found items outside the gym – please look for any other student items there – please be careful to touch only what is yours and take only what is yours.
● You will then exit the school property via the person gate closest to the church. Should someone else be arriving / when you are leaving, maintain the 2-metre (6 feet) physical distance and leave when they have moved on. When it is appropriate to do so please go directly to your car and immediately leave the school property. Please do not gather in groups.
It is not possible for us to gather to celebrate the SK students' Graduation to Grade 1. School Council has a gift for our SKs Grads and the school has diplomas for them. These can be picked up on the morning of June 18th between 11 a.m. & 12 p.m. (Noon). You can drive to the school (please park on the school side of the parking lot). The SK grad child can leave your vehicle to pick up their items (the pick up area will be located by the main office / staff room windows) and then proceed to the front of the school (beneath the school name) so a photo can be taken by a staff member (the photo will be emailed to you) and then the child can return to the appropriate vehicle. We are restricted to gatherings of 10 or less and we can not have people from different households gathering so we respectfully request that you do not take this an opportunity to visit with friends on school property. If you are not able to co-ordinate pick up on the 18th, these items will be available for pick up in the school gym as per the schedule outlined above.
Please know that since the Senior Kindergarten teaching staff will be busy with the activities outlined above on the morning of the 18th, all learning that morning will be asynchronous in nature and it will be shared in advance of June 17th.
Grade 8 Graduation
It is not possible for us to gather to celebrate the Grade 8 Graduation so it will be celebrated virtually on Thursday June 17th 6:00 PM. The link to the Virtual presentation will be via School Messenger in advance of the presentation (it will likely be sent to you around 5:50 p.m. on the 17th). School Council also has a gift for our Grade 8 Grads and we will have the Grade 8 Diplomas, Certificates for the Awards as well as any award keepers available for pick up on the 18th as well. I know that Mrs. Fitzgerald has planned some special activities for the Grade 8s on the morning of the 18th. Therefore, on the afternoon of the 18th between 2:45 and 4:00 p.m., you can drive to the school (please park on the school side) and the Grade 8 Grad can leave your vehicle to pick up their items and then proceed to the front of the schools (beneath the school name) so a photo can be taken by a staff member (the photo will be emailed to you) and then the child can return to the appropriate vehicle. We are restricted to gatherings of 10 or less and we can not have people from different households gathering so we respectfully request that you do not take this an opportunity to visit with friends on school property. If you are not able to co-ordinate pick up on the 18th, these items will be available for pick up in the school gym as per the schedule outlined above.
Please know that since the Grade 8 teaching staff will be busy with the activities outlined above on the afternoon of the 18th, all learning that afternoon for the Grade 7/8 class will be asynchronous in nature and it will be shared in advance of June 17th.
Report Cards / IEPs
The plan is that Report Cards / IEPs will be available for pick up on the 23rd and 24th of June as per the schedule outlined above. If you are unable to pick them up on those days then they will be mailed to you in early July.
Planning for 2021-2022
As each school year draws to a close, we are always looking forward to planning for the next school year. Since not all of our staff are working in the school, there is a need for us to meet as a group virtually. These meetings will need to occur during the school day with as little disruption to synchronous learning as possible but there will be times that we will need to provide work to the students that they can work on asynchronously. You will be advised well in advance as the day and time for these meetings and you will be provided with the asynchronous tasks before the meetings. Sorry for these small but necessary disruptions to synchronous learning opportunities.
We recognize that this has been a difficult time for all of us but please remember to reach out to us if you or your child is in need of support, feel free to reach out at email@example.com
Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic Education Foundation: since 2007, the Foundation has provided more than $360,000 in financial assistance to over 1,060 students and their families. Families are suppo rted through a discrete and timely process between schools and the Office of the Director of Education, on behalf of the Foundation. Our goal is to help families in our school communities needing urgent financial assistance, in times of challenge, with unexpected expenses such as eye glasses, medical supplies, food, clothing and transportation. Families requiring urgent assistance are asked to contact their school Principal.
How can you help?
Individuals, schools or community groups can make contributions to the Foundation through special events organized at school (Toonie Tuesday), direct donations and payroll deduction. Memorial Donations, in honour of a loved one, can also be made by request. For more information, please click here to contact the ALCE Foundation: Contact the ALCE Foundation .
To support the Foundation, you can mail in a donation or donate online.
Mail your donation to:
Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic Education Foundation , 151 Dairy Avenue, Napanee, ON, K7R 4B2.
Charitable Registration # 86534 4246 RR0001
Entripy – School Clothing
Please visit https://olmpolarbears.entripyshops.com to view the recently launched School Council clothing website. We hope you all love the new clothing line and website as much a we do! Until we see you in again, please continue to stay safe and enjoy your summer. Your OLM School Council.
Please register and report absences using the School Messenger APP, Website or Toll-Free Number
Frequently Asked Questions
-Parents - Please find the attached FAQ's.
on Remote Learning, Return to School Plans, Letters from the Director of Education, Resources and more.
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