Newsletter April 24, 2020
God of love and liberty,
we bring our thanks this day for the peace and security we enjoy, which was won for us through the courage and devotion of those who gave their lives in time of war. We pray that their labour and sacrifice may not be in vain, but that their spirit may live on in us and in generations to come. That the liberty, truth and justice which they sought to preserve may be seen and known in all the nations upon earth. This we pray in the name of the one who gave his life for the sake of the world, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dear Parents & Carers,
As we prepare to celebrate ANZAC day tomorrow we are very conscious that due to physical isolation the annual services normally held across many towns and cities around Australia will not take place. However we can all still participate in some small way, not the least by visiting the following website which will live stream the Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial and provides information about the ‘Driveway at Dawn Movement' that you can become involved in.
Week Two and Remote learning has become a reality for us all - staff, parents and students alike. Although at times, challenged by our remote learning program, the staff have been incredibly impressed with the manner in which parents and students are genuinely working to engage with this ‘new normal’. Patience, tolerance and respect continue to be the values we are trying to encourage as we work to come to terms with this new way of working.
The staff are contacting parents to touch base and see how you are going. The purpose of these phone calls is purely pastoral - we hope to maintain and continue to build the important relationship we have with you, assist you in feeling connected to the school and offer any support we are able to manage. These are so important in our ongoing partnership, especially during this time of remote access to each other. A short 5-10 minute conversation is all that is needed and please be aware that if staff are working from home they will have their numbers set to private. This means that you may receive a ‘no caller ID’ call.
As we move into Week 3, our teachers are continuing to adjust their remote learning programs to attempt to meet the varied needs being expressed and demonstrated through messages and posts via Seesaw and phone conversations. This is an incredibly challenging task, and they are to be commended for their desire to continue to explore the possible learning options for your children. Along with our learning support officers, they are also increasing the face to face contact with students through Facetime and Google Meets. Earlier this week I briefly joined in one of the senior school meets and it was a delight to see the enthusiasm and pleasure so obvious on the children's faces and in their voices as they saw their friends for the first time in many weeks.
We fully recognise that learning from home is at times a daunting and challenging task for families as you attempt to juggle, your own work loads alongside that of your children. We remind you again that you are in control of how you develop a family routine in order to achieve the best outcomes for your family. There will be days that things run smoothly and there will be just as many days that it all can be too big a challenge, days when all work is completed and posted and days where nothing seems to go right. On days when things are going somewhat pear shaped - be happy to say we gave it a go, but we are going to leave the remote learning now and go and do something else - plan and cook dinner, spend time in the garden while the weather is still reasonable, go for a bike ride.
We also recognise that for some of you there is a very real concern about your child’s progress and the worry that your child will go ‘backwards in their learning’ or that they will be 'below standard'. I share an article written by Professor John Hattie, a renowned and highly regarded education expert on his research findings regarding children’s learning following the Christchurch earthquake in 2011, Keep in mind that these students did not have access to any remote learning at all following the earthquake. Read John Hattie's article here. Very briefly he discovered that students’ results and growth did not suffer and their ‘performance actually went up'!
Further, I recently listened to a parent on radio talkback expressing her thoughts about the then potential learning at home model. She expressed the hope that during this time her children would learn to be kind, creative and curious. This time away from school provides an opportunity for our students to further develop skills that potentially will set them up for life. Being prepared to have a go, persevering with a task, decision making, problem solving, being more responsible and tolerant beings, becoming more independent are all skills that are only truly learnt through experience. Such skills are life giving and this time has the potential to allow our children to develop life skills that are best learnt through real life experiences.
This message was sent to school communities by the Victorian Chief Health Officer at the end of last week.
‘My advice to the Victorian Government was and continues to be that to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), schools should undertake remote learning for term two.’ ‘This is because having around a million children and their parents in closer contact with teachers and other support staff has the potential to increase cases of coronavirus not just in schools but across the community.’ ‘By having remote learning, it can contribute to physical distancing and therefore supports efforts to drive transmission down.’ ‘The transition into Term 2 has been demanding, but I can reassure you that your work is keeping our school communities safe and well.’
Please note that, as per advice from the VRQA (Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority), we are now required to record student attendance each day. Teachers will determine that a student is ‘present’ if:
- the student has actively contributed at least one piece of work as required in the Remote Learning Plan for their class e.g. a student has uploaded a required task to SeeSaw or through Google Classroom.
If your child is sick, parents/carers are asked to follow our normal procedure and notify the office or complete an absence notification via or PAM.
To ensure the health and wellbeing of all students and staff during supervised, on-site learning, each person is required to complete the Australian Government-approved symptom checker here.
If your child meets the criteria for on-site learning supervision and they will be attending school, please complete the google form sent out to all parents via PAM/SIMON Everywhere. This form can also be found here.
Please note, this form MUST BE COMPLETED EACH WEEK if attending onsite supervision, so that appropriate supervision can be arranged. You must make a booking for each child for the days they will be attending. This form must be completed by the Sunday prior to any attendance at school. If you have any queries please contact the school. We are working with a minimal staff but Gabe is at the school each day.
A Continuing Learning Plan Feedback Form can be found here. We really value your honest feedback about how you and your child are managing this new way of learning. Such feedback will help us address any issues and potentially improve the manner in which we continue to deliver our program.
Term 2 Fee Statements will be sent shortly. With this, please be rest assured that fee relief is available for families requiring genuine fee support.
Please see the attached letter outlining the fee relief available, along with a Covid-19 Fee Relief Request Form and the Catholic schools Family Fee Assistance Scheme brochure for families holding a means tested Health Care Card, Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or Veteran Affairs Pensioner Card.
Please return the form and/or a copy of your valid card to the office. Please contact Gabe or the office should you wish to discuss this further.
Please see below some wellbeing tips to support you through this experience from our Pastoral Care Worker, Vivian Lunt.
As we commence Term 2 with most students learning from home, we would like to share this video message with all of our St Brigid's families, from 29 representative principals from across the Diocese.
No masses until further advised due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Please see attached letter from Bishop Paul.