Hello parents and students, I wish my term 3 welcome back greeting could be presented with greater clarity and confidence, that the term ahead was to be better for all students and staff and that a level of normality and safety had returned.
Unfortunately, we have returned with a dark cloud hovering over us all filled with confusion and uncertainty, resulting in a heightened level of concerns for our health and wellbeing.
What I can reassure parents and students on, is that teachers have developed, documented and are ready to implement a rich curriculum program to all students.
Our Year 11 and 12 and kindergarten students have already returned to on-site learning this week and have settled reasonably well considering the current situations.
Thank you to all staff that have hit the ground running with their curriculum and support to all students.
Our Year 12 students commence their final semester of study, and I would like to wish them all the very best. Our year 12 teachers are dedicated and committed in supporting all students to achieve their best possible outcomes.
As part of our preparation in returning to remote learning, we have reviewed all parents and student feedback and have used this information to make the necessary adjustments to develop a better curriculum that meets the needs of students and which supports parents more effectively.
I know that returning to remote learning requires greater parent assistance for all younger students, and I would like to thank all parents for providing this support and guidance to your children. We are very mindful of our expectations of you.
All wellbeing and support access and strategies will return for parents and students while on remote learning.
Continued support will be provided to all students on-site as well.
As a College one of the targeted improvement areas for 2020 is around “Student Agency”. Student agency refers to learning through activities that are meaningful and relevant to students at specific year level, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated with appropriate guidance from teachers. Student agency gives students a stronger voice and choice, in how they learn. Providing students with a choice between projects, writing tasks or assignments, or other activities could be an example of students agency. Research shows students who are offered choice in their work, results in them showing greater interest and motivation in their learning. It empowers students to influence their own path to learning more effectively. Our teachers will continue to slowly provide students with student’s agency learning opportunities moving forward.
As we continue to take cautious steps moving forward for the safety and wellbeing of all students, teachers and our greater community, it is imperative that we do this together.
If you or your children are facing difficulties or challenges with their learning or wellbeing, please contact the College.
We will continue to actively seek feedback from parents and students and make appropriate adjustments to our programs and curriculum as we learn, grow and evolve.
What I do believe is that we need to recognise that this way of learning could be around longer if the current health crisis and community transmission are not brought under control, with today recording 428 new cases.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, recently stated in his report to a world cabinet “We need community participation, strong leadership and collective solidarity and only through aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can we turn this pandemic around”.
We all need to do our part.
- In the interest of the health and safety of all students and staff, I ask that if your child can learn from home to please allow this, and please exhaust all avenues of this option.
- If your child displays any symptoms of COVID -19 keep them home and follow the advice of your medical practitioner and stay at home until their symptoms are gone, I know that every parent would want that for the safety of their child.
- Follow all hygiene practices of washing your hands or sanitise where available. Sanitiser is available in all classrooms.
- And Follow social distancing guidance where appropriate. ● Students attending on-site have the option of wearing masks if they choose.
I will continue to keep you all informed of any changes or updates that may occur. I look forward to continuing to work with you in educating your children and providing a safe and healthy learning environment will continue to be my goal.
Hello, welcome to the Junior School Term 3 newsletter, I’m Anthea Jamieson, the Junior School Principal.
It’s certainly been an interesting year for everyone and I hope that you and your family is all safe and well. As we move into the second phase of remote learning, we do so with more knowledge and experience about what works, what are the challenges for students, teachers and parents and what we can do to support and make the coming weeks more positive and beneficial for our students.
We have taken on feedback from students, teachers and parents and have devised our programs to better suit the needs of our students.
The written version of this address can also be found on our website.
I am going to highlight a couple of important changes that we are making to remote learning to help us achieve a more rounded curriculum that focuses on the holistic development of the child.
A major issue that has been highlighted during our lockdowns and remote learning is the impact that has been had on our mental health and wellbeing. For many people, adults, teenagers and children alike, it has had an enormous effect on the way that they feel everyday and how they cope with the increasing challenges that are thrown at them.
It is with this in mind, that has prompted us to make a big change in the way we guide the remote learning in your homes. Starting from next week, we will be implementing Wellbeing Wednesdays.
One of the things that was clear last term in our remote learning is that the areas that were not a priority for us because we were trying hard to perfect the literacy and numeracy sessions, were those opportunities and experiences for students that are normally provided in the classroom, to be creative and to provide personal enrichment.
In a normal classroom, we have the ability to provide many experiences that encourage creativity, singing, dancing, drawing, building, craft, problem solving etc and that also build on the requirements of the Victorian curriculum capabilities.
Creativity is linked to emotional development: it helps develop self-confidence, and alleviates tensions and emotional buildup. The purpose of Wellbeing Wednesdays is to focus on the importance of our children having a creative outlet and doing something that makes them feel good and increases innovation and encourages students to challenge themselves in a different way.
All of the activities to be provided are designed with the Victorian curriculum capabilities in mind, in particular Critical and Creative thinking and Personal and social capability. They are designed for the children to do on their own, thus increasing confidence and promoting independent learning, thinking and resilience. The only thing that you as a parent will need to do, is provide the resources, the list will be given to you the week before. The activities may include artwork, yoga, craft, cooking, exercise, problem solving etc, which are all optional, however highly encouraged. This is still important learning for your child.
If your child would prefer to continue their choice writing and publishing, reading their novel or catching up on school projects, then that’s ok too, however we cannot over emphasise the importance of developing these capabilities in a child’s development, particularly in challenging times such as these. We would highly recommend that this is not a day to be playing games on digital devices. There will be no structured WebEx meetings on that day, videos will be uploaded through Seesaw for the children to watch and follow. Please remember though that all children are expected to read for at least 20 minutes every day and record that into their reading log in their diary.
Our teachers have been very busy organising digital levelled take home books that should be available this week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday will continue to see the day start with the whole class and the teacher via WebEx. In addition to this whole class meeting, your child will be involved in a small group enrichment session at least once a fortnight, where the teacher will have the opportunity to offer your child specific support.
Please don’t forget that you can contact your teacher or our wellbeing staff via email. They will respond to you either via email or through a phone call. Please make sure you print out the list of wellbeing contacts that will be sent to you via Compass and is also here below, on our website.
Another important thing to remember is that when teachers post tasks, you will see that there is a recommended time frame. We understand that not all children will always fully complete a task and that is ok. Please allow your child to upload the work that they get to complete and that will assist our teachers to differentiate their program to support your child. It is not good for your wellbeing or your child’s wellbeing to sit for hours and be stressed over completing work. On the other hand, if you believe your child is completing their work quickly and without challenge, please talk about this with your teacher. Please do not place any additional pressure or stress on yourselves or on the children. Please seek support from your classroom teacher or specialist if you are struggling with any of the learning or have any concerns.
I would like to thank our teachers and support staff for the incredible work they have been doing, making videos and online resources and also establishing very clear processes to support each and every child to ensure that no one gets left alone. Let’s keep the 2-way communication going strong.
Please take lots of care and continue to enjoy the many hours of close family time together.
We are here for you when you need us.
Junior School Principal
Hello, welcome to the Middle School Term 3 E-newsletter, I’m Kim Donnelly, the Acting Middle School Principal.
It’s certainly been an interesting year for everyone and I hope that you and your family are all safe and well.
As we move into the second phase of remote learning, we do so with more knowledge and information about what works, what the challenges are for students, teachers and parents and what we can do to support so that the coming weeks are more positive for everyone.
We have taken on feedback from students, teachers and parents and have improved programs to better support your child through this time.
There will be a newsletter sent out on Compass that I encourage all parents to read. This will also be on our website.
The information within that newsletter is important in supporting you and your child with remote learning.
I’m just going to highlight a couple of important points that will help with this transition. To maintain some consistency, the online platforms that your child will use for their home learning will remain unchanged. Compass, Google Classroom and Google Meets will all be the main reference points for student learning.
Students should all be familiar with using these. As with the previous remote learning cycle, Compass is the first point of call for all remote learning information. All of the instructions for each of your child’s classes will be on Compass. This will usually refer students to the Google classroom post for that lesson. It will also include information for Google Meet times for each subject.
Attending the scheduled Google Meets is compulsory for your child. It is vital to their learning that they get the information that is provided by explicit teaching, online lessons and the opportunity to ask questions and seek support.
Teachers in all subject areas will be running Google meets with their students. Lessons for the week will all be posted on Compass by Monday morning.
One key piece of feedback that we received from students and parents is that there was too much work for students to complete in some subject areas, which created extra stress for many people. We understand that not all children will always fully complete a task and that is ok. They just need to submit whatever work they have completed during the given timeframe. This will assist our teachers to differentiate their program to support your child. We know that all students are learning at different rates, so some will complete more than others.
It is not good for your wellbeing or your child’s wellbeing to sit for hours and be stressed over completing work. It is important that you or your child contact the class teacher if they are struggling with the content or the workload.
A major issue that has been highlighted during our lockdowns and remote learning is the impact that it’s had on our mental health and wellbeing.
For many people, adults, teenagers and children alike, it has had an enormous effect on the way that they feel everyday and how they cope with the increasing challenges that are thrown at them. With this in mind, we have put some things in place to try to support your child’s wellbeing and help them stay connected with their friends and teachers.
Twice a week, home group teachers will be running online sessions. These will be short 15 minute check ins where teachers will run a game or a fun activity with students in their Home Group. This will be an opportunity for students to connect and talk to each other and their teacher in a more relaxed atmosphere.
We will also be running optional online clubs for students to participate in. This will allow them to connect with other students online and engage in fun, creative activities. There will be a lego club, where students can participate in fun challenges and share their creations with each other. There will also be cooking, language, art, fitness and mindfulness clubs.
All students are welcome to participate in clubs, but they are not compulsory. More information about these will be communicated next week.
Please don’t forget that you can contact your teacher or our wellbeing staff via email. They will respond to you either via email or through a phone call.
Please also make sure you print out the list of wellbeing contacts that will be sent to you via Compass.
This information, as well as more details will be outlined in the written newsletter Please refer to it to support you.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our teachers and support staff for the incredible work they have been doing, planning and preparing classes, making videos and online resources and also establishing very clear processes to ensure that every child is catered for and supported in their learning.
Please take lots of care and continue to enjoy the positives of the close family time together.
We will be working together to support every child through this time.
Acting Middle School Principal.