HPEDSB kindergarten orientation turning virtual

The HPEDSB Education Centre. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)





The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) have been adjusting to the new reality during this pandemic in the best way they can.

One of the main focus changes taking place will offer an updated virtual kindergarten promotion and orientation plan to engage registered and incoming parents and students to make the transition process to school a little less stressful.

Monday evening during a Committee of the Whole meeting via a YouTube live teleconference, Superintendent of Curriculum Services for HPEDSB Tina Elliott expressed that strong personal connections with students and parents is one of the main focuses for this initiative. 

“Our first priority is really about promotion,” said Elliott. “How do we connect with our families and let them know we care deeply about their children and we’re here to support them in this milestone transition. It’s an incredibly important transition because it’s the first time our families and our children are connected to our school board and to our schools.”

In a normal school year families of HPEDSB would be able to stop by their schools and meet/visit staff and be able to see the school buildings. Unfortunately this is not a normal year and current circumstances block the opportunity for those personalized connections. 

HPEDSB’s plan had to turn virtual to keep those connections. By creating a virtual 360 tours and showing promotional videos through social media, individual school websites and the HPEDSB website families can go online and meet some of the staff through the videos provided.

Another part of the Plan that HPEDSB typically do for families was a question and answer period with staff. This will also be turned virtual in a Google Meet meeting in which any families that have just registered for kindergarten or families that have school aged children ready to start in September and are interested can join and be engaged.

“We will be asking schools to set up a virtual meeting and at this point Google Meet is the one most frequently used by all of our schools,” Elliott said. “So we’ll be asking our schools to set up a time for a Google Meet so any family that’s currently registered to attend kindergarten or any interested families that have school aged children ready to start kindergarten in September would be able to join that virtual meeting and engage. This will not be the same as being present in the same space and sharing a space with school staff but it’s a little bit of an interactive opportunity to have some conversations and meet some of the staff that would be in the school.” 

Elliott expressed that HPEDSB members have done their best in reaching out to families who have children entering kindergarten this fall so no student or families feels forgotten.

“Our commitment is once we start this outreach we don’t want our families and our incoming children to feel like we’ve forgotten about them,” said Superintendent Elliott. “If anything we’re thinking about them all the time and trying to figure out how do we connect in this new way of doing business and this new way of learning and so we are hoping to do some way of connecting each week in the way we have staggered all of the activities that you will see in the next steps.”

The next steps in this initiative will run from May 25 to June 12.

“This is different and something we’ve never done before,” Elliott expressed. “But we do feel that’s an absolutely vital part of making our families feel connected and for our staff to also feel connected for incoming families.”

To read Elliott’s full report please visit www.hpedsb.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Public-Committee-of-the-Whole-Agenda-May-11-2020-Package.pdf

To keep an eye for updates on the HPEDSB website please visit http://www.hpedsb.on.ca/