A learning plan for the Grade 4s and 5s at Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw School. (Submitted)

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw School gets creative during COVID-19

The school near Port Hardy is working to engage students in online learning

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw School is getting creative during COVID-19.

With students at home, the school is distributing learning packages to houses, sharing learning plans online and holding contests with prizes to keep the community connection strong.

The first contest was a reading challenge with prizes of Subway and Fields gift cards. Michael George pulled names from a box and announced winners in video on the school’s Facebook group. “Expect a knock on the door between 11:30 and 12” they wrote in the post to the winners last Thursday.

READ MORE: Education looks different but learning continues under a new model

School support staff has been delivering learning packages to students, stated principal Reed Allen. “They go with a mask and gloves, knock on the door and sort of back away.”

The contests are being organized by teacher Jackie Hunt as a way to keep students motivated to learn while they’re at home. Next week’s challenge is a colouring contest, in partnership with k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation (KEDC). The school is working to collaborate with various band departments to put on the contests.

“Nothing can replace in class instructions, but we’re doing our best to provide learning opportunities and keep things going,” Allen said.

“The reality is, this is a pandemic. Our parents are doing the best they can, they know their kids best. There’s a lot of positive learning happening, but it’s a mixed bag.”

Each classroom has a weekly learning plan, posted on the school website.

“We’re trying to keep our plans realistic and manageable for our families,” Allen said. “Trying not to give them too much anxiety at home doing all this teaching.”

The school is an Apple distinguished school, so Grades 6 and 7 were already doing a lot of technology based learning. This will continue in coming weeks.

The pandemic has pushed the school to complete their website, which was already in the works.

They did a community survey to find out which students had internet and access to devices. Those who needed them were sent home with tablets.

Each weekly learning plan includes a few academic focuses, as well as cultural learning to share with family and ideas for games as physical education.

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