Message from the Leadership Team: To Hill Community, We are so proud of how well our staff and students have embraced every opportunity and have truly taken all changes and restrictions in stride. The HILL values and culture have remained strong as we have transitioned back and forth from in-person programming to remote learning and training, and we have witnessed continued growth and development in our student-athletes. We are so appreciative of all the support and feedback we have received from our parent community throughout this year. During this period of uncertainty, we feel it is extremely important to be transparent and communicate our plans moving forward. We do not know when or if our campus will be permitted to reopen this school year for in-person programming. As we have been all school year, we are prepared for many different scenarios and will be prepared when we have more information. With the end of the school year quickly approaching, as a leadership team, we have made some decisions. Our academic program will remain remote for the remainder of the school year. We are confident and extremely proud of our remote academic program. We believe that this is the best decision for both the safety and well-being of our students to not disrupt their academic routine one more time and finish strong in their academic calendars. That being said, if restrictions lessen, and staff and students are permitted to return to campus, we will prioritize in-person athletic and sport training while continuing the remote academic program. In June after the school year is complete, we will be conducting a full reconciliation of our programs and services. The reconciliation process will factor in: Fixed costs that remain the same include academic and athletic staff, utilities, building, property, and ongoing maintenance. Variable costs include arena/field rentals and services such as busing, food, sports game travel (that have not been absorbed), and lunch plan. Refunds will be determined on an individual basis and will be dependent on fees paid. We will make every endeavor to be as reasonable and fair as deemed possible. Those eligible for refunds will be given several options: apply as credit for the next school year, credit for summer programs, a donation towards tuition for families in financial need, or payment by cheque. We will be using the coming weeks to further review and consider any other cost savings that we can pass on to our families. We sincerely appreciate your continued patience and support. To end on a positive note, due to the generosity of our families, last year we were able to assist twelve (12) Hill students. We have communicated to you all the information that we know and we will continue to do this moving forward. Sincerely, Leadership Team
HILL Message (from Academic Director Rick Kunc): This week I had the wonderful opportunity to see what some of our teachers were doing with our students in their online teaching environment. We know that this learning platform and environment is good for some students, not ideal for others, and for some, it is an absolute struggle. As educators we are tasked with finding ways to engage students in an electronic environment in subject areas, we are passionate about. Some subjects are better suited to these adaptations and for others, it is less than ideal. With that said we wanted to ensure that we were clearly communicating what an electronic learning environment does and does not include here at the Hill. With all students, the focus is on engagement, academic progress and feedback, and well-being. Engagement – our faculty are working to create activities that engage our students in the subject material. This will include students being required to do online activities together like class discussions, small group work, and teacher lead activities. Sometimes these activities may appear to be games such as Kahoot or Jeopardy. These are tools our teachers will use to engage students in the material. They may also ask students to independently watch material on other digital or non-digital platforms that will further engage them in the subject. Academic Progress and feedback – We believe that students can continue to make academic progress in this model. It requires that faculty at times need to adjust classroom activities to individual student needs, however, they do this in the face-to-face model also. Feedback is a bit of a challenge in the online model. In a classroom, a teacher would have individual students working as they circulate around the classroom and provide feedback or call students up and meet with them individually or in small groups. When doing this in an online environment the teacher must allow students to “work independently” as they meet with other students. The challenge is monitoring that those students are on task as they are not in the same room. This is where we are putting our trust in the students to remain on task. Wellbeing – these are difficult times and we need to be mindful of our students' wellbeing. It is not healthy for students to be sitting in a chair, in front of a screen for 5 plus hours a day. More screen time is not what adolescents and teenagers need in 2021. While teachers will be available for the entire scheduled class, individual students will not need to be logged in for the entire time of each class each day. This does not mean that they should not be working. They will have work to do, it just may not be online in the full classroom setting. Of course, the model changes with the age and stage of our learners. Our Junior school students will have more synchronous learning while our Senior school students may have more asynchronous learning opportunities. For our Junior School students, you can access the coming week schedule as well as a week in review in the Junior School Newsletter. This is an outline of what the students have completed over the past week. For our Senior School students, teachers are posting lessons and weekly plans in their Google Classrooms and parents can review those with their child at any time. Quote of the Week: "Change and uncertainty are the only realities – constancy and permanence are but myths." - Unknown ___________________________________________________________________________
HILL Athletics (From Athletic Director Brodie Merrill): The Hill Academy athletic program will continue to maintain our high standards as we navigate through our virtual training. Below is a breakdown of a typical week in our remote platform. Strength and Conditioning: Providing live and prescribed at-home workouts with our strength and conditioning coaches to help our athletes stay on track physically. Guest Speakers: -Weekly prominent figures in sport or alumni to share perspective and provide motivation. Synchronous and Asynchronous Skill Development: -Hill coaches facilitating at-home practices to continue to help our athletes develop and refine their sport-specific skills. Athletic and Personal Mentorship: -Hill coaches available to provide support and direction through these challenging circumstances. Film Breakdown: -Analyzing past competitions to learn from various situations, players, and enhance overall game awareness and IQ. Providing Tools and Resources: -Resources like books, podcasts, videos, articles, training tools, or strategies to help overall improvement. Athletic Therapy: During the remote learning period, the Athletic Therapy that is provided at the school will be continuing for the students. Jennifer will be reaching out to all students that she is currently working with to continue with therapy through a virtual platform. She is also available to work with any other students that may have injury concerns. This remote learning period is an excellent time to work on any injury concerns and ensure that students are ready for when we are able to return to sport. This also allows for continued communication between coaches, Strength and Conditioning, and Athletic Therapy. As well, Athletic Therapy is a mental health resource for all students. We can provide resources and referrals to any students in need. We encourage our student-athletes to continue to stay committed and engaged. You have been doing an amazing job. We are willing and ready to explore live in-person options as provincial restrictions permit.
Other Notes and Important Information: Monday Morning Assembly: There is a Monday morning assembly on Monday. All students will tune in by clicking the Microsoft Teams link below at 8:30am: Monday Morning Assembly Graduation Requirements 2020-2021 Students who plan to graduate in June 2021 must complete a minimum of 20 hours of community involvement (reduced from 40 hours). Students must have their hours into Guidance before May 25th, 2021. If you are unsure if your hours are complete, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Parent/Teacher and Coach Interviews Tomorrow, April 26th during the day and Thursday, April 29th during the evening our teachers and coaches will be conducting parent meetings. Please refer to the link that was sent out last Thursday for sign-up, schedule, and the Google Meet link. Please note that all classes will be asynchronous tomorrow. Ontario Literacy Test 2021 (OSSLT) The EQAO has released the following statement: “EQAO will be field testing the online Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) from March 2021 until June 2021.” We have not received any information about how this will affect our students but will continue to keep you up to date if we are granted access to these tests. Mental Health Resources There are a lot of valuable resources available to families who are navigating this unusual time together. One such resource is the CMH page on COVID-19 Mental Health response found here. Our staff is also available and we encourage students or families to reach out to us. We are also building onto our Wellness Resources on the Guidance website her