Fort McMurray Catholic Schools Announces New Programs for 2020/21 School Year

(FORT MCMURRAY, AB – June 19, 2020)- Since before we made the move to off-site learning, Fort McMurray Catholic Schools leadership has been planning for the 2020/21 year. With safety always at the top of mind, how can student learning move forward with even more efficiency? We are immensely proud of the entire Fort McMurray Catholic Schools family for turning their modes of instruction on a dime and moving to a digital format in mid March. Now we continue to look forward to the 2020/21 school year. We’ve been consulting with our staff for months as we strive to have the best possible virtual opportunities for students who require this environment.

Alberta Education has provided direction on three possible scenarios as we prepare to embark on the 2020/21 school year. Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has publicly indicated that at this time, Scenario 1 is the most likely scenario, but an update will be provided by August 1st.

At Fort McMurray Catholic Schools we know this is a time of great uncertainty in the lives of our families. Making decisions is difficult at best during these unprecedented times. We believe that the best place for learning is in the classroom, but there are extenuating circumstances for some of our families.

For the 2020/21 school year we are proud to announce a Virtual Learning Academy, and Sacred Heart Outreach.

Virtual Learning Academy

The Virtual Learning Academy is a full-time online delivery program for Grade 7-12 students, set to launch in September 2020. This will be a teacher-directed program with a complete Alberta High School curriculum in an alternative setting and method to a regular school. The Virtual Learning Academy will allow students to work from home via virtual learning tools and remote access to content. The Virtual Learning Academy is a full-time program with a full-year commitment for those who prefer to learn in this manner.

*To enroll in the Virtual Learning Academy, you must be registered in a Fort McMurray Catholic School and participate in an intake interview.

We believe that our EEP and K-6 children learn best when they are in a school receiving face-to-face instruction with a teacher. Our Elementary schools will continue to support our students with their teacher(s) and administration should they experience isolation requirements due to COVID-19 throughout the 2020/21 school year.

Sacred Heart Outreach

Sacred Heart is a program that reaches Grade 10-12 students who need an alternative path towards high school graduation. Instruction is provided through a variety of methods, including: online, small group, and one-on-one instruction. Sacred Heart students meet with a teacher to receive help emotionally, spiritually and educationally as they work towards achieving their goals. Our vision encompasses delivering education through a variety of means in a flexible, thoughtful and caring environment.

*To enroll in Sacred Heart, you must be registered in a Fort McMurray Catholic School and participate in an intake interview.

“We are pleased to implement these programs for the 2020-21 school year. After in depth consultations with staff to provide the best learning, we believe the best place for learning is in the classroom. However, we also understand, with our current environment, there are a multitude of reasons parents may be uneasy or unable to have their children at school.” – George McGuigan, Superintendent of Schools.

“Given the diverse needs of our students, and the variety of scenarios that many of our families face due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, it is imperative that we are able to meet our families where they are. The ability to provide exceptional education opportunities grounded in our faith is essential to who we are and what we do, whether it is within our schools or with our students through virtual means. On behalf of the Board, I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to all of our staff and administration who have worked diligently to provide flexible options to our students and families, both over the last three months and moving forward in the 2020/2021 school year.” – Cathie Langmead, Chair- Fort McMurray Catholic Board of Education