Coming together to create community
When a new school opens, it always takes a bit of time for everyone to get to know one another and to feel connected as a community. Our new virtual elementary school, Blessed Carlo, faced the added challenge of doing this while connecting online. The team at Blessed Carlo tackled this assignment by coming up with innovative ways to gather and engage in student activities.
Coming together for a virtual mass
They began with a virtual school Mass in September. The school’s administrative staff attended in person at St. Elizabeth Church, and the Mass was broadcast on Facebook live so teachers could cast the broadcast to their classes. Parents were also encouraged to participate.
In his homily, Father Martin Ndyanabo spoke about the African concept of Ubuntu – the belief that everyone has something in them that is very special in the eyes of God. School staff are planning to incorporate this message into the new school motto they are developing.
Choosing a school mascot
In October, all classes have been working on a process to choose a school mascot. Each class submitted their mascot choice and the rationale behind it. A student vote resulted in three finalists: a bee, a turtle, or a wolf. On October 18, the winner will be announced, and all students will participate in a live synchronous activity where they will work with an artist to create a rendering of the new mascot.
Classes collaborate to develop weekly morning announcements. Each week a new class takes on this role so that everyone gets a chance to contribute.
Virtual field trips
Some Blessed Carlo students learn outside of Ottawa in places as far as China, India, and a Northern Ontario First Nations community. They will share their experiences in a Google Meet with their classmates.
Learning communities for staff
There is no staff room at Blessed Carlo, so to build connections between educators, all staff can come together for professional development on specific topics one day a month. During this time, all students and families are engaged in a synchronous activity as a whole school.