SGDSB Transition from Quadmesters to a Semester Schedule

Dear Parents, Caregivers, First Nation and Community Partners,


I am writing to you today to notify you of a change to the high school learning model for the second terms of this school year.


Beginning on January 31, 2022, students in all Superior-Greenstone District School Board high schools will be returning to the Semester System which existed prior to the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  This means that students will now return to having four courses per day for a full course load, rather than two courses per day. This new model is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Education.


SGDSB has continued to monitor the current COVID-19 context in terms of safety for students.  Schools have been required to ensure that students are taking only two courses per day this year (and last) to ensure that their exposure to the larger school population was restricted and that they could easily move to various models of remote learning if necessary.  Currently, with many restrictions being lifted in Ontario, students are no longer completely isolated from each other as they were last year. Students now have a greater opportunity to mix outside of their cohort before school, during lunch, and in the evenings (during evening activities, jobs, etc.).  Therefore, daily cohorting into two classes no longer limits the exposure of students to a small group.


In addition, in speaking with many students and staff, new challenges have emerged due to the Quadmester Model for Learning that is in place this year, as it is somewhat different than last year, as there is no Study Hall Period each day.  The challenges that have surfaced consistently include the inability to access staff who are teaching all day (some staff do not have any Preparation Time during the school day), the length of the classes (seen as an advantage and a disadvantage, depending upon the class) and the requirement of classroom teachers to instruct for the full 300 minutes in a day.


We wish to reassure you that the numerous safety protocols that are in place, including daily screening, hand hygiene, masking and the tracking of movement in the school buildings, continue to be carefully engaged in.  Moving forward, in the next semester, additional tracking of movement in the school will be required in order to support contact tracing, if it is required.


As there have been a number of advantages identified in the Quadmester Model for Learning, we are planning on launching additional research into this model, and the potential enhancements that can be made that may eliminate the identified challenges.  For example, there are classes who benefited from the 150 minutes of dedicated time, such as Outdoor Education, Visual Arts, Music, etc. 


We thank you for your continued flexibly, understanding and support during these uncertain times. Please contact your child’s school principal/vice-principal if you have questions or concerns regarding the impact of this change on your child’s learning and/or well-being.


Yours in education,


Nicole Morden Cormier

Director of Education