b'40 2019-2020 | ANNUAL REPORT 2019-2020 | ANNUAL REPORT 41A COLLABORATIVE MOVETO AN ONLINE WORLD When the Louis Riel School DivisionSchool staff followed up with 159 families who initiallyWith many LRSD staff working from home during theThe move to this online world has not been without indicated they needed support accessing the internet.indefinite suspension of classes, the EdTech Mentorshipchallenges, but LRSDs students, staff and community (LRSD) started its remote learningWith many families making alternate arrangementsProgram and the expertise of the mentors was moremembers have continually showed a commitment to during the interim, 17 families from 13 different schoolsimportant than ever.learning and adapting to this new reality. Although we journey in March 2020, the transitionwere the confirmed as requiring divisional assistance fordont know what the future will look like, one thing that internet access. Each of the 17 families were given accessMore than 400 devices were distributed to teachers andwill not change will be the need for thoughtful plans of to online instruction and interactionto the World Wide Web, with the division assuming educational assistants, and 1,029 staff members took partlearning and to provide experiences where students find the costs. in 119 professional development sessions led by EdTechmeaning in their work, feel a sense of belonging, have between students, teachers andMentors about online education technology.opportunities to thrive, stretch their brains and feel a Teaching has always been an incredibly complex andsense of mastery, said Bourassa.families required a collaborative demanding profession, but during remote learning,Microsoft Office 365 applications saw a substantial spike and supportive approach. reaching students and supporting their needs has beenin usage, too. The LRSD Educators Team, a collaborationeven more challenging, said Warren Hart, Itineranthub for teachers on Microsoft Teams, was also created Instructional Support Teacher. and had more than 1,200 active users sharing successes, Creating an equitable learning environment was a toplearning resources and words of encouragement. priority. In early April, staff checked in with familiesPrincipals and vice-principals liaised with divisional staffDivisional email activity rose by more than 74 per cent,WE KNOW THAT NO TWO across the division to find out what LRSD could do toto deploy more than 1,600 school devices for studentswith approximately 6.4 million messages sent, received help them with the switch to remote learning. Accessto continue learning at home. This included an extensiveand read. OneDrive, a Cloud storage application, had to internet and access to laptops and tablets were twoconfiguration and sanitation process. usage rise by 22 per cent and activity on Microsoft FormsBRAINS ARE ALIKE AND needs that were identified. rose by 196 per cent. Through Microsoft Teams and other software programs,While reflecting on the move to remote learning, oneTHEREFORE DESERVE educators used video to engage learners in whole group, small group and one-to-one meetings. The live, face-to- LRSD teacher said, It has broken down barriers, createdPERSONALIZED PATHWAYSface interaction and chat space provided the ability forcommunity and given students the opportunity to truly teachers to collect evidence in a multitude of ways. explore their own creative interests in ways that amplifyOF LEARNING. THE ABILITY their voice in powerful and meaningful ways. Families that required more traditional paper and pencil tasks were also accommodated through drop-off andLRSD TechTalks, a channel on Microsoft Streams, wasFOR STUDENTS TO pick-up systems. Its all about providing opportunitiesalso established as a recourse for staff and was used to for students to show what they know in a way thatupload all webinars, professional development sessionsDEMONSTRATE WHAT THEY empowers their voice, said Thaddeus Bourassa, Itinerantand quick tips to ensure best practices and updates were Instructional Support Teacher. We know that no twokept at the forefront. This space soon filled with moreKNOW IN A MEANINGFUL brains are alike and therefore deserve personalizedthan 50 videos and became a popular channel where pathways of learning. The ability for students tovirtual on-demand professional development was availableAND REMOTE CONTEXT WAS demonstrate what they know in a meaningful and remote24/7 for educators to access and re-visit. We saw a huge context was clearly supported.increase in staff collaboration, said Hart. Through safe connections online, teachers naturally shared ideas, filesCLEARLY SUPPORTED.Both Hart and Bourassa are on the divisional Learningand talked about what was working for them. Staff came Team and are EdTech Mentors, a group of LRSDtogether in purposeful ways to build meaningful learning educators that guide staff in integrating technology intoexperiences for all learners. - THADDEUS BOURASSAboth their lesson design and everyday teaching.'