Today Parish Priests, Principals and Religious Education Coordinators across the diocese joined virtually to listen to the Archbishop identify and explain Pope Francis’ most recent book as a defining objective for our communities and schools. “Let us dream” is a text that addresses the mission of synodality. This term effectively means to walk together, reconcile differences and work together in harmony and unity where we acknowledge that we are all different and valued. Let us hope that this is something we can work to achieve in our families, schools, communities, nation and world. These imposed isolation and restrictions that are challenging our lifestyles give us the time to reflect on the issues that confront us – limitations, fear, conflict and sickness. It is something worth aspiring to achieve.
As we look down the barrel of at least two more weeks of restrictions and remote learning we are very aware that this is far from an ideal way to learn for our students. There is not an expectation that the parents are the teachers but more of a support to their child/ren. Our teachers are trying very hard to specifically cater for different student needs and to provide appropriate lessons and we have an expectation that students will engage with their work and try their best. Teachers are spending a lot of time providing personalised feedback to help students move forward and we are hoping that students are willing to try the activities and lessons, take risks, make mistakes and learn from them. As a school we recognise that parents and students find this a very challenging situation but we hope it will be over soon and we appreciate that our families are trying their very best to meet all the needs of their child/ren. If at any time it becomes overwhelming please contact the school and we will strive to support you to navigate this time.
As a school we are trying to find the best model of remote learning that will fit most students and families. This is a major challenge across a K-10 school where the NESA recommendations are for a reduction in time demands and it varies across our range of students and classes. To this end our Primary teachers are providing a reduced load for the morning session with scheduled TEAMS meetings. Our Secondary teachers are operating as per the usual timetable for ease of routine and scheduling of explicit teaching and checkin times. Managing the amount of work to provide is a delicate balance because of the diverse needs of any one class. Some children are overwhelmed by the workload whilst others are not as thorough in their engagement. The idea is essentially to continue to meet some outcomes but not all and to provide independent learning activities with support. We have maintained the normal break times to allow time away from the screens but also to allow some flexibility if students would like to complete work for a later class in the day – thus allowing them to finish earlier. Teachers are aware that Secondary students may not complete work at a specific time but will adapt to the needs of the family and workload. Students are reminded that they can contact teachers at nominated times but to avoid contact before or after school. Teachers however will provide feedback when they get a chance and it may appear in the next day’s feed. Please encourage students to remove devices from their bedrooms at night or turn off notifications until the next morning. Thank you for your support.
Unfortunately, we have had to cancel many activities for the final weeks of this term. This is disappointing because our staff and students were very excited about the different opportunities that this would provide. Our Infants Swimming program, the Year 8 Tathra excursion, the Small Schools Rugby League Grand Final, the 2022 Transition Term 3 dates for Kinder and Year 7 have all been postponed. Numerous other activities are also on hold until such time that we can safely reconvene. This is disappointing but we are hopeful that we will be able to hold them in Term 4. We are currently sorting through monies already paid for many of these events and what will happen. The money will be transferred back onto your fees when we are able. Thank you for your support.
There is still much to enjoy about our lifestyle despite the current situation. Take time to spend in the sunshine, to walk, to read a book or to enjoy your family’s company. We are built for relationships and companionship and these restrictions are not natural. Be kind to yourselves and each other and hopefully this will be a time to look back on and reflect about how life is actually pretty good. Let us hope and pray that we find the joy in every day, because it is definitely there!
Take care, be safe, be well and be kind!