Edition 158 - Friday 17th September 2021

From the Principal

Thank you to our teachers and students who have been working so hard to keep engaged, learning, complete assessments and support each other. One of the goals of our strategic planning has always been to increase collaboration of all parts of our community, it is so wonderful to see this is action. Parents, please encourage all students to have their cameras on. It is mandatory but we know some students’ internet does not sustain the video. However it is so important for both students and teachers to see each other.

This week our Year 8 and 9 sport classes were treated to a guest presentation by our very own Olympian. Kaia Parnaby, daughter of Mrs Parnaby, our Sports Coordinator, competed as the pitcher in the Australian Softball Team. Kaia presented to the students who were “inspired” by her resilience and flexibility in working towards her dreams. A huge thank you to Kaia and Mrs Parnaby for allowing our students to have this experience.

After surveying our students in Years 7-9, we moved to a slightly different model of lesson delivery this week by reducing some subjects by one lesson per fortnight, focusing on concepts that are essential for future learning and asking students to complete work during the assigned lessons. We were concerned students were “burning out” and becoming disengaged. Students who were a little behind in work have been guided by teachers on how to catch up. When learning from home it is very important to balance school work, work on assessments and leisure. We are encouraging all students to complete the 10000 step challenge and also ensure they log their PE activities for their PDHPE lessons. We have begun to see an improvement in engagement in learning since these changes.

On Monday and Tuesday this week, all Year 10 were interviewed and counselled in relation to the subjects they wished to do in the senior school and their careers. A discussion of their Morrisby testing report often revealed their aptitudes and interests and helped stimulate the discussion. Having the chance the speak one on one with Year 10 was one of the best experiences I have had this term. I was energised by their enthusiasm and positivity. Most reported doing well in lockdown but of course were missing real interaction with their friends and their extra curricular activities.

Year 11 began online exams this week and they have been going well. Thank you to each family for supported these exams and they are vital practice for students and we need to replicate a real exam as much as possible before these students begin Year 12 next term.

Year 12 finished their Practice HSC papers and last assessments and are now in class finishing off the last of the content in each subject. It has been very difficult for Year 12 students, teachers and parents living with the uncertainty of the HSC. Once NESA gives us a final decision we will meet as a group of students and parents and plan the next 6-7 weeks of learning and studying to ensure we enable students to peak at the right time. Students have been encouraged to take a break at the moment, completing class work and getting feedback. Hopefully many of our students take this time to also work on their scholarship and other applications.

With our return to school scheduled in November we are hoping all students in the appropriate ages will be able to access at least the first dose of the vaccine. As our students live all over Sydney we will not know what this return to school will look like until closer to the time.

It has been very pleasing to see almost 100% attendance in every lesson every day as we learn from home. Please see below of a chart of engagement in the various tools we are using. Microsoft teams and the LMS are our main modes of communication.

I was also pleased to see that most of our students this week have been active in these learning platforms during mostly school hours. We would like our junior students to completely break from schoolwork once the school day finishes but of course seniors may need some more time. (Data was for Monday 30/8/2021: Years 7-10)

Please keep safe and well, enjoy our beautiful spring weather and this time with your beautiful child or children. On the flipside of lockdown this has been a rare opportunity to spend time with our families.

Have a wonderful fortnight ahead

Megan Connors