Local schools see small uptake on e-learning options
BY DENNY SCOTT
Several local schools are reporting lower-than-anticipated tuition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though not all are participating in online learning.
Several changes in staff are also being reported at local schools, some of which have been tied to online learning caused by the pandemic.
Principal Dree Park of Hullett Central Public School told The Citizen that just under 10 per cent of the school’s anticipated enrollment has switched to online learning. He said the school anticipated 260 students this year, which is comparable to last year, but 20 students will be studying online, leaving daily attendance at 240. Park said many of the students switching to online learning are younger students in the primary grades.
Park said new staff at the school includes Deb McPhee, a TRA and Resource Teacher, who was formerly at Goderich District Collegiate Institute. McPhee will split her time between Hullett and another school.
Also new are Claudia Welwood and Peter Bartlett, two experienced teachers who will each be taking on a Grade 7/8 class. Welwood and Bartlett are taking over for John Coops and Sarah Gerber, both of whom moved to vice-principal positions within the board.
Principal Cathy Goetz of North Woods Elementary School said the school has eight students registered for online learning, bringing the school’s total enrollment to 150.
The school welcomes new French and prep teacher MaryBeth VanVeen and afternoon Grade 1 and prep coverage teacher Jennifer Bernard. Shelly Drummond has moved to teaching online courses, Goetz said.
Maitland River Elementary School has 30 students learning remotely, according to Principal Angela Cowley, and, like Hullett, most of those students are in Junior or Senior Kindergarten, Cowley said.
The school has also seen some significant changes to its staffing, some of it directly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and online learning.
Marg Stapleton, who taught Grade 1/2 has moved to teaching remote learning. Her class will be taught temporarily by Aisha Masaoka. Kyle Prout, who was to be shared by Maitland River Elementary and F.E. Madill School, was set to teach Grade 3/4 part-time this year, however he will be teaching remote learning. Michelle Zarytshansky will temporarily be filling that position.
Julie McCall, who taught Grade 3 last year, has transferred to another school so Adel Dowson, a new addition to Maitland River, will be teaching the class.
After having a Junior classroom removed, but then re-added in late August, Joanna Shaw will be teaching Grade 4/5 as a temporary position, Cowley said. Chris Moore will be returning to teach Grade 6 temporarily to cover a teacher on leave.
Teresa Farrell-Becker will be returning to the school as a part-time, temporary educational assistant (EA). Also joining the school as a temporary, part-time EA is Rikki Moffatt.
Melissa Grotenhuis, who was a part-time supervising EA last year, has joined the school permanently and, this year, will be filling in for Stephanie Carter, a child and youth worker, who is on maternity leave.
Jordan Morrison, the school’s part-time permanent secretary, is on maternity leave and Nancy Bozzelli is filling in for the year while also serving as a technical resource assistant while the school board seeks a permanent replacement. Kim Cooke, the former technical resource assistant, has taken a lead technical role within the school board.
HURON CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
Nick Geleynse, the principal for Huron Christian School, said 13 families have chosen not to send their students to school. Eleven new families have joined the school, so total attendance may be down a bit.
While those in the public and Catholic school systems have online learning, Geleynse said Huron Christian can’t provide those opportunities, but the school is providing texts and other learning materials to the families to help them cope.
The school has welcomed several new teachers this year.
Rachel Petrusma has been welcomed to teach Grade 7, while Stephen Van Breda is new to Grade 3. Tina Dekens and Alana Hodgert will be taking on Grade 1 together, while a new split Junior/Senior Kindergarten class will be taught by Marsha Van Essen. Geleynse said the school has a high number of Kindergarten students, necessitating the change.
Karen VanWyk, who was the Grade 1 teacher at the school, is now the Director of Student Services.