Welcome to Term 2!
As I write this newsletter article sitting in a relatively empty school, I reflect that this will be a time that will no doubt be firmly cemented in our history, but will likely shape the future in subtle but measurable ways.
It is easy to be drawn to the negatives of the situation, indeed our brains are wired to often do so, but there has been some incredible positive elements as we work through this challenge together. I am reminded of the old adage, “Through adversity comes strength”.
There are many things to be proud of at this time, but the one that stands out the most is how our staff, students and community have come together. The effort, the persistence, the collegiality and the sense of community has been truly humbling.
As our staff navigate this new and unfamiliar territory, I am reminded that at times like this great pockets of opportunity exist if you remain focused on making the best of a situation. Like many schools, our staff have undertaken learning in IT and digital technology at an incredible rate, not only within our structured online learning system, but through additional and optional sessions on digital tools each Monday afternoon. Staff have engaged in sessions on video recording, screen capture and voice recording, and interactive tools to support learning.
One concern that has sat persistently with me during this time, is that the remote learning world is likely to widen the gap of disadvantage for some students. I have been impressed with the dedication of our Student Support Services team who continually reach out to families for additional support, and IT team for so diligently working to ensure all families can access a device. I have also been impressed with our teachers’ commitment to supporting all students, through their learning of digital accessibility tools (such as the ‘immersive reader’ in Microsoft Office), and their additional help and support for students through our video connections and via email. I strongly maintain that nothing will ever replace the human element we see in face to face teaching, but we hope some of these additional supports will assist our students at this time.
As we settle into our new, online learning environment, it is important we keep one eye on the big picture of our school’s improvement agenda. Last week we welcomed our new school council for 2020, and I look forward to meeting with them again this week and in another fortnight. We remain cognizant of our school review which occurred in Term 1, and remain committed to engaging with staff and students in the coming months, as we take the key findings of the review and establish a solid strategic plan which will ensure continued improvement across the years 2021-2024.
Indeed, it has been an unusual time that has challenged us all in different ways, but the commitment of our staff, students and community has never been stronger. I hope as we reflect on this time in the months and years to come, we remember much more than a time when students and teachers were forced away from our school campus. Rather, we remember that with change, comes growth. We remember that through challenge, we discover opportunity and innovation. And above all else, we remember that together, we can achieve almost anything.
Thank you for your ongoing support.