As the term is essentially finished, I would like to thank you for your patience and support over recent weeks. We are well aware of the extra pressure being experienced by families. Things continue to change almost on a daily basis. What has not changed is the commitment of our parents and our staff to children, our belief in the value of schooling, and the knowledge and faith that the current situation will pass and that we still have much to be thankful for.
I thank the students who have just got on with their learning and for the creativity and courage, they have all shown. I also thank the staff at Holy Spirit, who have gone to extra lengths to ensure that our students have had the opportunity to learn and progress. I also thank you all, the parents, who have had to cope with children learning remotely and this ‘new normal’.
We are also mindful of families who have had their economic livelihoods affected and the recent experience of this follows on from the challenges at the beginning of the year. Further information regarding the fee structure moving forward will come out in the near future from Catholic Education. In the meantime, should any family be affected by employment or other issues relating to COVID-19, please contact me directly to assist in any way we can.
Term 2 Plans
Many parents have kept their children home, as per government and Catholic Education advice, over the last few weeks and we thank you for that. Some parents have had no option but to send their children to school due to their employment requirements, which, of course, we acknowledge and support.
At this stage, we do not know what is exactly happening next term. Until we hear differently, Catholic Education anticipates the present situation will be in place for the term. That is, remote learning will continue, where parents are encouraged to keep students at home if they are able, however, the school will be open for students who need to attend. Current status quo.
This is the current advice and is subject to change.
After our training next week, I will write to you with more details on what remote learning will look like at Holy Spirit. At the moment we anticipate that it will be a more structured approach with a Daily Plan provided each day. The Daily Plan will contain essential activities that must be completed based on Reading, Writing, Spelling, Maths and ‘Other’ which could be PE, Science, Health, Music, STEM, etc. Each activity will have a learning intention, instructions, resource links and approximate time allocations for how long the activity should take. We are aiming for 3-4 hours of work per day. There will also be optional activities for students and parents who want more work. There will also be regular timetabled online check-ins, etc, occurring throughout the day and week.
As previously mentioned, Resource Packs for each student to assist with remote learning from home will be available next week. Once the final delivery arrives, we will provide you with information about pick up times next week.
It has certainly been an interesting term and nothing like we intended. The main thing is that our staff, students and families are safe.
As we approach Holy Week and the Easter Triduum may we continue to be people of hope and compassion. In times of physical distancing may we care for our loved ones and be kind to each other.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.
Regards Brad Gaynor Principal
PUPIL FREE DAYS
03 Apr 2020
Just to clarify arrangements for next week.
Next week are PUPIL FREE DAYS for the Primary School. The ELC will operate as normal.
The PUPIL FREE DAYS are to allow staff to focus on intensive professional learning on Microsoft Teams in order to finalise our planning for remote learning in Term 2. Catholic Education has mandated the introduction of Microsoft Teams to ensure the online safety of all in our community. There will be further changes and challenges for staff, parents and students to learn, but they should result in safer and more effective remote learning.
There will be no remote learning or access to teachers next week.
Students at home are encouraged to keep working on their matrix.
If parents cannot make alternate arrangements for care, a relief teacher will be available to supervise the small number of students who need to be at school.
During the next week we will try to keep you updated on developments, and also offer some tips for keeping the kids occupied while at home. Please watch SZapp and consider checking out our Facebook page.
Today the Government announced free childcare for all families. Please can I ask that families do not ring or email the ELC at this time to clarify the information and find out what the ELC is doing.
I am directed by Catholic Education in this situation and until we have clear guidelines from all parties, I will notify parents ASAP with relevant information and clarity. As the director of the centre I am unsure what this looks like for families and what processes we need to put in place for all families.
I am sorry that I do not have any clear answers, however I am having a meeting late tomorrow afternoon with Catholic Education and hopefully by Monday I will have something for families. Hang in there and I understand it is a stressful time for everyone.
In order to maintain physical distancing and improve safety measures for staff, students and families, we ask that the following be adhered to from Thursday 2 April:
All students are dropped off at Drive Thu and not walked to class by a parent;
Any parent needing to enter the school premises during the day, please enter via the Front Office entrance and your needs will be attended to;
All students are collected from Drive Thu and not collected from the classroom;
Email teachers with any particular request or information.
Staff will be present to assist your child.
Early Learning Centre Families
Please follow the procedure already in place, being constantly aware of physical distancing.
Please understand this is for the safety of all our community members.
Regards, Brad Gaynor Principal
PLEASE READ - REMOTE LEARNING UPDATE
31 Mar 2020
This afternoon we received new information from Catholic Education regarding the last week of term, Monday 6 April to Thursday 9 April. Please read the letter attached, but also my information listed below.
In order to support all staff in Catholic schools to provide remote learning programs in Term 2, all Catholic schools will be providing all staff with professional learning for the last week of the term from Monday 6 April to Thursday 9 Apr
All Catholic schools will not be providing a remote learning program for next week for student Essentially, teachers will not be available for the entire week and will be unable to support online learning during this period.
All parents and carers are asked to make alternative arrangements for their children.
At Holy Spirit Primary School, we will engage relief teachers to supervise the small number of students who need to be at school. The relief teachers will supervise students and continue to support these students completing matrix activities. Classroom teachers will not be available.
Students at home are welcome to continue to work on activities from the matrix, but teachers will not be able to provide feedback and the support currently being offered as they will be undertaking intensive professional learning.
I am very much aware that this will create some issue for a small number of families. I understand that it has been frustrating and complicated of late regarding the care arrangements for your children, juggling work commitments and the learning for your children. I can only apologise and reassure you that you are not alone and we have no choice with what is happening at present.
The health and wellbeing of our staff and students are paramount, and the ongoing professional learning for all staff next week will ensure that we are able to continue to provide safe and quality remote learning in Term 2.
I hope that engaging a few relief teachers will provide the necessary support. We are doing all we can to support families as best we can given the current circumstances.
There is no need to contact me if you require this support next week, however, I am happy to answer any queries or questions to clarify the situation for you. Please email directly in firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, thank you for your support as we navigate these challenging times together.
Regards, Brad Gaynor Principal
REMOTE LEARNING UPDATE
31 Mar 2020
I hope Week 9 finds everyone safe and well. Thank you again for your ongoing support. The staff are enjoying seeing photos of student work, short videos the students are making, receiving letters and messages. Keep it up – it is very much appreciated.
In preparation for next term we are now calling it Remote Learning as we intend that what we provide next term will not be all online, but a balance of offline activities too.
As the situation progresses we have a small number of staff working from home. The message from Catholic Education remains the same in that, in line with the NSW and ACT Governments, Catholic Education encourages parents to keep their children home if they are able to. Those children that need to come to school, of course, will be fully supervised and supported in their learning. We are currently operating with between 10-15% of students at school each day.
It has been great to have students communicating with staff, sharing learning, seeking clarification and learning together. We are starting small, trialling and experimenting with different models to see what will work best for our community. I am proud of our students for their resilience and ability to take on new ways of learning. I am equally proud of our staff for all the work they are doing. We are trialling and developing a new daily plan for students that will provide activities to be completed each day, supported with links and resources. Teachers are working on some short videos and other resources to support students and parents.
We are also developing a Resource Pack for students from Kinder to Year 6 that will be available for collection next week. These will assist students with remote learning next term. More information will be provided about this later in the week.
Catholic Education and the school are currently exploring communication platforms other than Zoom. There are some privacy and safety concerns with Zoom, so we may also be trialling other options later this week. The safety, privacy and confidentiality of our staff and students are paramount in our necessary movement towards remote learning.
We are ahead of many schools because we are working very strategically through this situation and maintaining the students’ best interests in mind.
If there is anything else we can do or you need to know, please contact us. We are all learning together, making mistakes, being challenged and having many moments of success.
Stay well, stay safe and enjoy your week. Remember - we are all in this together!
Regards Brad Gaynor Principal
ELC Families COVID-19
30 Mar 2020
Please see attached letter from the Director of CE Ross Fox.COVID19.pdf
Thank you everyone for your continued support and patience during these hard times.