Commentary – Students need networks of support

Richard Froese

Summer is already half over and students will be back in school in a few weeks.
Most local school divisions resume classes the week before the Labour Day weekend.
After three school years disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions, it will be more important that parents and guardians ensure their children are committed to their studies.
Since the pandemic and restrictions started in March 2020, students have been challenged by doing school online at home, then back to classes with restrictions, in school, online, in and out, back and forth.
Younger students in elementary schools suffered and struggled the most, according to child and education experts.
Pulling young children out of the classroom with trained teachers and access to other professional services had and has many negative impacts. Expert reports say the shift for students out of the classroom and learning at home put the students behind more months than they were out of the classroom. Some says it will take years for some students to get back on track and regain some of the effective learning that was lost in three school years of instability.
That’s where parents play a vital role in their child’s education after the restrictions. Parents and teachers have important roles in children’s learning, especially for children who have difficulties, let alone added stress caused by restrictions.
Teachers, principals, and schools are committed to providing quality education and want to ensure no student is left behind, left out.
Schools and educators want to work together with students to help them reach their potential through the education system.
Students who struggle, with or without COVID-19 restrictions, cannot be ignored by parents and teachers. When anybody falls behind in making progress in learning or other processes, it seems insurmountable, especially for young children.
Yet, it takes determination, dedication and desire from all involved to move forward to overcome challenges.
Those words were reflected by speakers at high school graduation ceremonies last May and June. Many expressed that working together as parents, teachers and students, each with a positive attitude, that a difficult and challenging situation can result in a positive and rewarding outcome.
High Prairie St. Andrew’s valedictorian Amellia Vanderwell said students valued encouragement and support from parents, teachers and others the past two years.
“What those long years have taught us is that we all need a network of people to support us,” Vanderwell says.
“Through the support of the school and wonderful teachers, we learned to deal with these new challenges together.”
She notes students couldn’t have done it with those supports.
Donnelly G.P. Vanier valedictorian Jayden Boucher thanked parents, teachers and others for their support and encouragement to students in a small school and community.
He says a small school allows students to truly develop relationships with teachers that resemble something more of a friendship.
Central Peace – Notley MLA Todd Loewen stated in a letter at the Vanier grad the value of small schools and communities.
“It’s truly a special thing to grow up in a world where so many support and care for you,” Loewen says.
As the new school year approaches, students and parents can access so much help and support.

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