Dear parents and carers,
It has been a week of rapid and alarming change and upheaval. On behalf of the teachers and support staff, I would like to sincerely thank our community for your messages and gestures of support. The emails, gifts, positive social media comments and the generous tab for coffee and sandwiches at Paper Cup have kept our staff feeling positive and valued through difficult and confusing times.
I would like to recognise the amazing efforts of all our staff members in recent days. The transition to remote learning has been incredibly rapid, and while there are a few bugs we are all ironing out, a huge amount of work behind the scenes has resulted in a strong continuity of learning for our students. We have transitioned to a rotating roster of on-site duties for teaching and administrative staff, with a significant percentage of staff members working from home on any given day.
I would also like to recognise and applaud the efforts of our parent community: those who are working from home while also supporting children’s education, an incredibly challenging task; and those who are working in frontline and essential services to ensure our society’s essential needs are met. For people who need to send children to school for any reason, the school is open and we have teachers onsite each day to teach the students who attend.
To parents who are supporting children’s learning at home: we understand that it is not easy. Please do the best you can under the circumstances you are in, and ask for help if you need it. Keep up the great work you are doing supporting your children’s learning, and seek ways for them to stay connected.
Please make a significant amount of time for kids to play. The learning that takes place at school is just as much about social interaction and fostering positive wellbeing as it is about academic achievement. Play is such an important activity for children’s development, and I encourage families to ensure that play is prioritised as much as work for our students.
Some teachers have been trialling videoconferencing to check in with classes and maintain social connection, and recording audio/video content relating to lessons in the Learning From Home Plans. These trials have been successful and we are now planning how to implement these tools across the school. Please be understanding of differences in remote learning tools and strategies used by different teachers as we provide professional learning and technical support.
It is becoming clear that we may be working this way for some time, and going forward we need to allow sufficient time to prepare lessons and resources and collaborate remotely. As of Monday, we are setting aside the working hours after 2:00pm for teachers to collaboratively plan and communicate. Teachers are on teaching duty from 9:00am and are available to respond to students and parents until 2:00pm. Please ask students to limit messages and requests after 2pm, responses to these messages will be sent the following day.
As we plan our next Learning From Home Plan, teams are carefully evaluating the first one and considering feedback from families about how we can improve. One recurring theme is the amount of screen time children are doing and we are working on how we can plan for more offline activities. Please understand that at this stage, we are not able to provide fully offline programs unless families do not have internet access at home. If your child does not have access to a suitable device, please contact the office to arrange a loan.
We are aware that with so much new technology being introduced in such a short space of time, there are going to be technical issues. Please contact your child’s teacher at the first instance if you are having difficulty. If they are not able to resolve your issue or are unable to get back to you as quickly as needed (teachers are dealing with a huge number of communications), please contact the school office and we will direct your enquiry to someone who can assist.
We are developing a bank of Learning From Home resources on our website. Here are a few new links which will be added there soon:
Google Classroom Support
And just in case you missed it, here’s the my video message.
Take care of yourselves and all the very best.
Until next week,