September 2020 Newsletter
September 18th, 2020
Click each article below to read this month’s newsletter or read the PDF version.
Learning Without Limits
Welcome students, parents, and guardians to Vista Virtual School (VVS)! We hope you had a safe and enjoyable summer vacation, and that you’re rested and refreshed for the coming school year.
For families across Alberta and around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown academic plans into disarray. For Vista Virtual School, the pandemic has meant an unprecedented surge of demand for our distance learning model, and our staff have been working very hard to stay on top of it all. This year more than ever, many of you reading this will be joining us for the first time.
COVID-19 has had serious effects on all our lives, and not even this school has been immune. Our 2020 graduates had to celebrate virtually, and in-person field trips and other normal highlights of the school year have had to be cancelled and remain on hiatus for the foreseeable future.
Despite these challenges, Vista Virtual School remains, as always, a place where our students and families can always look for support. Together, this online educational community will continue to thrive into its 25th year in 2021. These are strange times indeed, but we sincerely hope VVS will be an anchor of stability for you amid all the uncertainty.
If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com. Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. We are thrilled that you have decided to make VVS your partner in schooling for the 2020-2021 school year, and we wish you a wonderful school year!
` Mike Loitz, Treena Bradbury, Frank McCallum,
Principal Associate Principal Associate Principal
Orange Shirt Day
Since 2013, schools and individuals have come together each year, in the spirit of reconciliation and hope, to learn more about residential schools, and to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying initiatives.
Orange Shirt Day at VVS is September 30. Wearing an orange shirt this day encourages Canadians to learn more about the history of residential schools. Wear orange this day!
AHS Back to School
It’s that time of year again–as kids get ready to hit the books, moms and dads face not only a new routine but a growing list of things to do. For families, it can get overwhelming. Alberta Health Services has created a health checklist to assist parents, guardians and children for the new year.
Typically, routine immunizations are provided for children in Grades 1, 6, and 9. More information is available through Alberta Health Services or contact your local Community Health Centre.
Calgary Campus Is Open
VVS’s Calgary campus has been reopened, while our Edmonton campus remains closed. That said, we are still discouraging students from visiting our Calgary campus unless they have a pre-arranged appointment there.
Due to this year’s extraordinary demand, some course materials are on backorder. We are working to have the materials delivered to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, please speak with the teachers as they will be able keep students engaged and on curriculum until materials arrive.
Timelines and Expectations
Our high school program operates on a semester system, following the traditional school year. All assignments for the first semester must be submitted prior to January 15 so that grades can be finalized by January 31.
High school students must also complete a short E-Learning and Learning Management Systems course (COM1255) by the end of September, if they have not already done so.
Elementary and junior high students should submit all assignments by June 15, 2021 at the latest so that grades can be finalized by June 30.
All students are expected to work regularly, submitting assignments according to the timelines provided by the teachers. Students who do not submit work in September and October put their continued registration in jeopardy.
Students are expected to put in around 30 hours of work on their studies every week.
Student Council and Parent Input
Although we do not have a formal School Council, we welcome parents, guardians, and students to provide input on the operations of the school. Your suggestions can be directed to Mike Loitz, Principal.
Student Parent Teacher Interviews (SPTs)
VVS’ Student Parent Teacher Interviews (SPTs) will be held this fall via Google Meet. More information on SPTs will be made available via teachers, social media, the school website, and in subsequent newsletters.
Monthly Events Calendar
Check out our monthly events on our website. We update this calendar as events are added.
Important Dates in September
Tips for Successful Distance Learning
It takes discipline to start a distance learning course because you are not required to be in a classroom during a specific time or specific day.
One advantage to distance learning is that you can complete your coursework when you have scheduled the time—it is more flexible—but it still requires significant time commitments and there are deadlines for completion.
Students should start their coursework immediately and follow a schedule for assignments and exams. As a general rule, students at all levels are expected to put in 30 hours of work on their studies every week.
Students are required to work regularly and diligently, following the timeline until the course is completed. In other words, you can’t put things off and complete everything at the last minute!
If you treat your course(s) like a job or an in-person class, then you will have a specific time that works best for you to focus on your course. It may even help you get more value out of the learning, as you have planned time to work on it.
Submitting Documents Electronically
As you become registered and start your coursework, please contact your teachers— they will be happy to help you get started right away.
Please note: all submissions must be provided electronically. Submitting through Moodle is expected. Learn more here about how to submit your assignments in Moodle.
New to the Team!
VVS is growing, and so is our staff. We have already added several new teachers and other staff to our team, and more are coming.
In addition, we have been pleased to welcome back several teachers who are returning to VVS after some time away.
To stay posted on our changing staff lineup, visit the staff section of our website, where new names will continue to be added in the coming weeks.