Dear Families, Students and Community Members,
I hope everyone is keeping well and staying safe as we continue to navigate these uncertain times within Stage 4 lockdown restrictions. We will get through this period of adversity together and we understand that everyone is doing the best they can in the current climate. Even though Stage 4 restrictions are to be reviewed in the lead up to 13 September, schools will most likely remain in remote learning for the rest of this term. As soon as I have any official advice about the transition back to onsite learning, I will let everyone know. We all look forward to returning to onsite learning. As previously communicated, please contact the College if you or your child have any concerns or questions during this period of remote learning. We want all of our students to be successful and will be available to assist in any way we can. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and the office will forward it to the most appropriate person to respond.
Parent – Teacher Interviews
I hope parents/guardians and students found the remote parent teacher student interviews last Wednesday to be effective and worthwhile. I did receive a few parent emails praising the school for how efficiently the interviews ran and how appreciative they were of the teachers’ preparation for them. It certainly was a taxing day for teachers, conducting over 60 Google Meet appointments over the day, however they also reported how enjoyable it was to connect with parents face to face. I hope it was also an opportunity for students to showcase their learning to their parents and teacher/s; along with discussions around areas to improve to achieve their personal best. If you were not able to attend the interviews, please don’t hesitate to contact any teacher you wish to speak to, to organise a time to speak on the phone. Assistant Principal Andrew Moffat will be sending out a short survey soon to gather your feedback about our online interviews and if they are preferable to the traditional parent teacher interviews or not. Some parents in their emails to me said how much better it was to not have to be in a crowd or line to see a teacher, with no movement around to different rooms and no noise to contend with.
Remote Learning 2.0 Feedback
Thanks to the parents and students who responded in our recent surveys regarding remote learning 2.0. We have discussed the results in our leadership team meeting this week and a number of actions will now be put in place in response to your feedback. Overall the feedback was very positive, however we are always looking at ways we can continue to improve. Staff are supporting students in a number of ways including Google Meet, chat, email and use of the breakout room function for small group or individual discussions. Our reading intervention program in Years 7 & 8 has re-commenced this week and will be occurring in the 20 minute gap between lessons on a rotating timetable for those students involved. A reminder that our typical 77 minute lesson has been reduced to 40-50 minutes for Years 7-10 and 60-77 minutes for Years 11-12.
To assist with student organisation, teachers are putting due dates onto Compass and/or Google Classroom. I encourage parents to have a conversation with their child about what they have learnt on any given day, how do they know when something is due and how are they progressing in completing the assigned work. Students can show parents their Google Classroom for each class they have so they can view what work has been set. Learning Area Leaders will discuss with their respective teams the process for submission of work to ensure it is clear to students, and the expected turnaround time for students to receive feedback on any submitted work.
Student feedback also highlighted some positives, including 67% of Year 7-10 students saying the workload is the right amount; peer connectedness and connection to the school community has improved since our last survey in Term 2; and 88% of students are aware of the wellbeing supports available.
The main areas highlighted by students requiring some support were motivation/concentration, staying up to date with classwork, meeting deadlines and checking/filtering emails. We will be focusing on these areas in the provision of a range of strategies and tips for success, in relation to each, for students in our home group/My Mentor sessions for the remainder of the term. Teachers will also be encouraged to emphasise these strategies in their own classrooms to support their students.
Year 9 Wellbeing Day
Year 9 and 10 survey responses highlighted that these year levels required the greatest support with motivation and workload. This Thursday we are holding a day focused on wellbeing activities for all of Year 9, and members of the leadership team will investigate what we can provide for our Year 10 students.
Thanks to Year 9 Level Coordinator, Simon Cummins, and Director of Student Engagement, Sally Mitchell, for organising the online program with some external providers for this Thursday. This includes for the girls: a session with Ang from Good Wheel Hunting, Ride to School session and a Yoga session. For boys: - Unpacking the Man Box presented by the Men’s Project, a presentation from a VIS athlete on the importance of physical activity and the opportunity to participate in a variety of training circuits, boxing and cardio sessions.
Year 12 SACs onsite and offsite
We are confident in our processes for the continuation of SACs to be conducted remotely. We are making some exceptions for practical subjects and, over the rest of the term, students, following strict guidelines, will be permitted onsite to complete the following subjects’ essential assessments – French, Visual Communication & Design, Drama, Product Design & Technology, Food Technology and Studio Art. A letter has been sent home by Director of Senior School, Jo Greenhalgh, outlining the requirements for attending onsite and the timetable showing when each subject is running their respective assessments.
Whole School Review
Given the current scenario of all school reviews this year having to be postponed to date, the Department has gone back to reviewers and Senior Education Improvement Leaders (SEIL) at region asking for any recommendations of schools that could do a modified review conducted all online. Steve Daly, our reviewer, and Leanne Marshall, our SEIL, both thought Mordialloc College was a standout for being able to do this if I was happy to proceed. Our self-evaluation report that we completed back in Term 1 is the best our reviewer has seen EVER!! The College is also held in high regard for the structures and processes in place. Therefore, instead of postponing until Term 4, we are now going back to 01 September and 15 September (which means next Tuesday is the first day!) There will be some fieldwork days in between. I will notify parents and students if there is the opportunity to be part of the online feedback sessions with the reviewer.
Facility Development Update
The architects have come within budget for the construction documentation of our new two storey building to house the Year 7 & 8 learning centres and additional science labs and we are now ready to put out to tender. However, this process can’t formally start until we are out of stage 4 lockdown, as construction company representatives who may be interested in putting in a tender application need to be able to do a site inspection first. We are still on track for a November start. The first action will be the removal of the current bike shed and construction of a new bike shed at the current Year 7 end of the school, and the removal of the cricket nets and current Year 8 locker shed.
Significant Events Celebrations
I am currently in discussions with Woohah productions about possible options we can explore to still hold our Year 12 Final Assembly on Friday 30 October and our Whole School Awards night on Thursday 10 December, given social distancing rules will most likely still be in place. There are a few virtual options we can explore, and further information will be coming out as arrangements are finalised, in liaison with Year 12 Coordinator, Tim Randell, and our Special Events captains, Claudia Lennox and Ricardo Provenzale.
Ms. Michelle Roberts