May 8th, 2020
Dear Koo Wee Rup Secondary College Community,
We have reached the end of week four Remote Learning and isolation. For many of us it feels like week ten!
It continues to be a challenging time for everyone connected to our community. I would like to thank the families for their support of our teaching staff and thank the students for their resilience, dedication to tasks and patience. I will not say that it has been a smooth operation and that it is not without its complexities. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my staff for their expertise and collegiality in supporting our journey so far. They have been very well supported by our technicians in helping support staff and families.
We continued to press on the department for much promised resources such as dongles and extra devices and were delighted when the dongles finally arrived.
In a better effort to understand the needs of our students we undertook a survey through their House Groups. We also be undertook a survey of families and will be surveying our staff to better understand their needs.
The survey results from our students and parents outlined continued support for the work being undertaken by our staff to support our students and has also highlighted some areas that we can focus on to increase that support. Thank you to all the families and students who provided valuable feedback for our college.
I would also like to thank my all of my staff for keeping me sane and coordinating the onsite and offsite programs.
For me this has been the most challenging time in my career and as a parent. It has also been amazingly rewarding in that I like many of us are learning new technologies and ways of interacting.
I think my new motto will be ‘Be comfortable being uncomfortable.”
I cannot give you a time when we will be back physically as a community, however, like you I await with interest what may or may not happen after May 11.
With regard to VCE/VCAL: We are still waiting on official advice from VCAA re dates/exam finishing times and will inform the community when we know. I would like to say to our Year 12 students we are with you and will continue to provide you with the best supports we can to realise your dreams.
Our building works are moving at a fast pace with few students around and we are hoping for completion before anyone returns.
Health and Wellbeing. It is important that as a community we keep checking in on each other and even more so when we all return. Of all the areas this is most high on my radar and has been highlighted by our parents in their survey back to the college.
Music and ANZAC DAY Tributes. I assume everyone has viewed and listened to them. It just goes to show what we can do. The Music piece has made it all the way to the Premier’s office!
Well done to our College Captains who presented a wonderful ANZAC day You Tube presentation. It came from their idea and was supported by our senior team.
Felix PATTON, Principal
THE LATEST INFORMATION FROM DET ABOUT DEVICES AND DONGLES
Dongles arrived earlier this week and have been distributed to students and we have now created a waiting list of students for when more arrive. We were told to expect a delivery of computers this week but as yet they have not arrived. If you are having trouble with a device please let the school know. It is week 4 and some students are only just now telling us that they have been struggling to do their schoolwork because of technical problems. We can’t always provide more hardware but we do have people to provide technical advice and a number of students have been coming to the school via appointment to get assistance. We have technicians onsite Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Appointments must be made so that we can observe social distancing and ensure that the technicians are free to assist you. They are working non-stop each day fielding concerns from students online and via phone calls.
WHAT IS HAPPENING WHERE STUDENTS ARE NOT FULLY ENGAGING WITH ONLINE WORK.
The student management and wellbeing team members plus the Assistant Principals have spent much time over the past 10 days ringing families where our records indicate that students are not engaging consistently with online learning. We do appreciate from our discussions with parents that many parents are working ‘above and beyond’ to assist their children but in some cases students are not willing to make the effort and some of these students are the same students who lacked motivation and organisational skills in term 1 before the lockdown. Nevertheless as the term moves on and online learning continues, we do need some students to make a much better effort to do their work, and to let their teachers know if they are ‘stuck’ or overwhelmed. If parents need more support, please do contact the relevant subject teacher or coordinator.
Please note that some coordinators are struggling to make contact with parents when they ring home. Sometimes numbers are blocked. If there is a better way for us to communicate with you, please let us know.
A HANDY REMINDER
When we sent out a Newsletter to all families in March advising you of the arrangements for remote learning, we included the advice below. It could be timely to see how things are now going in practice. The feedback we are receiving from many families is that having a routine at the start of the day is very important – or you may find that your teenager is reluctant to get out of bed at a reasonable time! With regard to House Groups, all students must attend them at 9am on Mondays and Thursdays. Rolls are marked and this is a really good time for staff to touch base with students on how they are going. If students do not feel comfortable talking in front of the whole group, they can contact the teacher after the session and have an individual chat through MS Teams.
SETTING UP A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
We recognise that every home is different. Where possible, it’s important to provide a quiet and comfortable learning space. Your child may have a regular place for doing homework under normal circumstances, but this space may not be suitable for an extended period of time. For some families, having all children around one table may work best.
Where possible, extended learning should take place in a space your family shares. For example, a lounge room or dining room. These spaces are preferable over a bedroom, where it can be isolating for your child and supervision can be more challenging.
It should be a place:
? that can be quiet at times
? that has a strong internet signal, if possible
? where you or another adult is present and monitoring your children’s learning.
ESTABLISHING ROUTINES AND EXPECTATIONS
? Start and end each day with a check-in.
? Encourage regular exercise breaks. Options could include exercise DVDs, apps, dancing, floor exercises, yoga, walking around the garden or using home exercise equipment. For example, a stationary bicycle, basketball hoop, or other sporting equipment.
? Encourage healthy eating habits and drinking enough water.
It’s important that you set these kinds of expectations as soon as learning from home begins, rather than several days later if you notice a child is struggling without a routine.
COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CHILD
We encourage you to start and finish each day with a simple check-in. These check-ins can be a regular part of each day.
In the morning, ask:
? What are you learning today?
? What are your learning targets or goals?
? How will you be spending your time?
? What resources do you need? What support do you need?
In the afternoon, ask:
? What did you learn today?
? What was challenging? You could come up with a strategy to deal with the same problem if it comes up again.
? Consider three things that went well today. Why were they good?
? Are you ok? Do you need to ask your teacher for something? Do you need help with something to make tomorrow more successful?
Regular check-ins throughout the day may also be appropriate. This depends on your child’s needs.
These questions allow your child to:
? process the instructions they get from their teachers
? help them organise themselves and set priorities.
USEFUL RESOURCES FOR PARENTS AROUND STUDENT WELLBEING
THE RESILIENCE PROJECT
KWRSC is part of the Resilience Project. At the moment the organisation is developing a number of resources to help students working from home and dealing with restrictions. This is a resource which they sent out recently.
This resource focuses on Mindfulness. Mindfulness is our ability to be calm and present at any given moment. When we are mindful we are better placed to appreciate the things we have (Gratitude) and actively listen to others (Empathy).
In the current situation we find ourselves it is completely normal to feel distracted, anxious and have an overwhelming amount of feelings. Spending time being mindful is crucial! To view the mindfulness activities click here.
IDAHOBIT Day (International Day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia) is on May 17th. The link below includes 4 articles and videos of parents of LGBTIQ children. They are sharing their experiences to help other parents support their children. The articles cover
? What to do if you think your child might be LGBTIQ.
? What to do when your child comes out.
? How to educate when your child is LGBTIQ.
? How to support and celebrate your LGBTIQ child.
MORE INFORATION ABOUT THE COVID 19 APP
The Australian Government has launched the COVIDSafe app to help health authorities quickly find and contain potential coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks.
This is the only tracing app approved by the Australian Government and all users will be asked to delete it at the end of the pandemic. See information below.