Junior School Information

Sent to Junior School families on April 6:

Dear Junior School families,

To begin, I want to thank all of those in our community who are on the front lines in the efforts to battle COVID-19.

As we look ahead to implementing The SMUS Remote Learning Plan on April 14, I want to express my gratitude for your support and understanding during this unprecedented time. We know that it requires a huge shift in practice and mindset, and your partnership and flexibility is very much appreciated. As our entire faculty is learning new skills at a rapid speed, there will undoubtedly be trial and error as we launch and learn. We are all in this new learning process together and a growth mindset will serve us well.

The document available online intends to provide important information specific to Junior School students to set each family up well for success as we prepare for remote learning on April 14. An additional email will arrive between April 9-13 from your child’s homeroom teacher that will include helpful information personalized to that class.

While we are attempting to plan for a balance between on and offline work for students, please ensure that your child has a computer, Chromebook, or tablet with video conferencing capabilities (a microphone and a camera). If you do not have a device for your child, please email Delina Squire ([email protected]) by April 8 so we can prepare one for you to borrow until we are back in school. Pick up on April 9 will be coordinated to ensure social distancing. We are grateful to have received a donation from a Junior School parent of a class set of ThinkPads and we hope this will make remote learning possible for all.

Students will be using a SMUS username and password to log into SMUS email, Google Classroom, and Google Meet (video conferencing tool). The username and password should be known to Grade 3 to Grade 5 students. For our Kindergarten to Grade 2 students, parents will be emailed their child’s unique user name and password on or before April 9. Parent resources are shared in the attached document and more are being created to ensure you have the support you need to navigate these new learning platforms.

If your child has items left remaining at the Junior School that are required for remote learning, please email Delina Squire ([email protected]) by April 8. Some teachers are preparing packages for pick up and that information will be communicated directly from the teachers.

We believe that parents are a child’s first teacher. You know your child best and, as we navigate the first few days of remote learning, we know you will be sensitive to your child’s unique needs and adjust accordingly. There is a lot going on for children to absorb in their own way. The impact this change has on the social emotional well being of our children and, subsequently, their ability to learn is unknown so we must all be aware and ready to respond. Our intention is to keep our children engaged, connected and to continue your child’s learning from home during this time. We understand that some children will adapt and some may not so easily. We will work together. Your child’s wellness is the priority.

Thank you to our faculty for the work they have put into preparations for remote learning and your trust as parents. Driven by our care for your children, we will be doing our best to provide a meaningful and high quality learning experience for them during this uncertain and unusual time. We will also strive to create an engaging community experience to remain connected.

If you are interested and available, please log into your child’s Google account and join me for an optional Google Meet gathering on April 13. The goal of this time is to say hello as well as provide families an opportunity to test out this tool. Please remember, you will need to log in with your child’s SMUS username and password.

Join me using this link - http://g.co/meet/jsdirector at the following times:

  • Kindergarten - 10:00 - 10:15
  • Grade 1 - 10:15 - 10:30
  • Grade 2 - 10:30 - 10:45
  • Grade 3 - 11:00 - 11:15
  • Grade 4 - 11:15 - 11:30
  • Grade 5 - 11:30 - 11:45

Please do not hesitate to be in touch with me at any point in this process.

Warmest regards and best wishes,

Becky Anderson
Director of Junior School

Sent to Junior School families on March 20:

Hello Junior School families,

I hope that this email finds you in good health and in good spirits. Certainly, these are trying times for everyone so please know that SMUS is sending positive thoughts to our entire community. We realize that there are varying circumstances under which families are attempting to manage this challenging time and we are thinking of you all.

Over the past week, our teachers have been dedicated to envisioning and preparing for remote delivery to ensure that learning continues and our community remains connected.

We are ready to begin on April 14.

Some key points for you to be aware of are:

  1. Our hope is that all students will have access to a device with a microphone and camera with video conferencing capabilities. Please let me know if that is not the case. It may also be helpful to have a printer at home, but this is not required.
  2. The teachers have been engaged in preparation to deliver the curriculum to students remotely and this requires the use of different platforms. There will be more specific information sent to parents on April 9 to ensure you and your child(ren) are prepared and supported.
  3. On April 9, you will be sent a remote learning schedule that will identify the subjects that your child(ren) will have each day and how best to support them through remote learning.
  4. All classes will have set schedules where teachers will be accessible. There will be a mix of independent learning tasks and live video conferencing.
  5. Children will be expected to attend the scheduled morning meeting each day via video conferencing and engage with their teachers and school community using the online meeting and collaboration tools we provide.
  6. Core and Specialists teachers will be available for digital 'office hours'.
  7. Student support services – Learning Support and Counselling – will be available for students to access as and when needed.
  8. We will be considering creative ways to maintain our important community times with Chapel and Assembly.

It goes without saying that there will be hurdles for us to clear in the weeks ahead and many uncertainties for us as teachers, parents and for our children. Teaching and learning will look and feel differently. Please be open and ready to try new things and to learn and grow with us in this new environment. As we walk down the path towards remote learning, we feel confident in our abilities to deliver the curriculum and are buoyed by our understanding of the capabilities of our students.

This is merely a snapshot of the work that has been done to date and we realize that there are still many questions left to be answered. Having said that, please look for more detailed communication on April 9 which will offer suggestions for supporting success at home, expectations of children, resources to use, and our opening schedule for the week of April 14.

Until then, be well and enjoy the Spring Break in the best way possible in our new socially distanced world. You and your children are in our thoughts.

Warm Regards,

Becky Anderson
Director of Junior School

On behalf of the Junior School faculty.