Gippsland Grammar newsletter: Aug 14, 2020

Aug 14, 2020 | Community News

Welcome to the end of another week of great learning and connection as we travel through this period of restrictions.

My ongoing thanks to all our community for your partnership with our Connect@Home program which has seen more than 200 families attend information nights via Zoom across all three campuses this week.

Research demonstrates the important role of high-quality early childhood learning experiences on our young learner’s development, especially in language. Parents at both of our Early Learning Centres (ELCs) were treated to some great ideas this week through our ‘Need to Read’ program this week from speech pathologist Michelle Sands. We are very proud of our ELCs and the fact both our Sale and Bairnsdale ELCs are rated as ‘Exceeding’ the National Quality Standards.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to connect with our new Gippsland Grammar Business Directory ( which we established this week as a way to help our Community, now and always.

In closing:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper

ELC Sale students recently enjoyed reading books and a morning tea with our Principal Mrs Leisa Harper.

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
In last week’s Fellowship, I asked the students to reflect on their strengths and the strengths of their teachers. The common strength nominated among our teachers was humour and a sense of fun, which is a strength we draw on to establish a safe and happy learning environment.

This week in our Wellbeing Wednesday challenge, I asked the students to think of ways in which they could connect with others during the current lockdown. Some suggestions included writing letters, notes, flowers in the letterbox, bake something nice, a friendly text and for our elderly in the nursing homes make a pompom so they know we care, and we are thinking of them (read more about our Pom Pom Challenge below).

With pride I share some lovely feedback about our Year 6 students, passed on to me by one of our Foundation parents. The parent noted that when Zooming with their Foundation buddies, the Year 6 student’s sense of care and understanding was acknowledged, along with their understanding of being a role model to our younger students.

This week we welcomed new student Beau to Year 4 Kurrajong. We wish Beau well at Gippsland Grammar and Beau has already been recognised in the playground for his fine basketball skills.

I sincerely thank everyone for a great week and note the excellent participation in our afternoon specialist sessions. Keep up the enthusiasm to learn!

As the weather warms up, enjoy your weekend activities together. And don’t forget that this weekend marks the start of The Big Pom Pom Challenge! There are two parts to the Big Pom Pom Challenge:

1. As part of our Wellbeing Initiative, each student is asked to make at least one pom pom for a resident at Bairnsdale’s Maddocks Garden Aged Care. This is a difficult and lonely time for any aged care residents as they are unable to see family members and friends as often as they normally would. We hope a pom pom hanging in a resident’s room will be a reminder that others care about them and remind us that we need to look after the well-being of others as well as ourselves.

2. We will have a competition over the rest of the term and the following prizes will be awarded to:

  • The student who makes the most pom poms by the start of Term 4 will win a bag of art goodies.
  • The family who creates the most original and creative display of pom poms at home, interior or exterior will win a bag of art goodies.
  • The class which makes the most pom poms will win a trophy for classroom display.

PLEASE NOTE: parental assistance and participation is encouraged.

 ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel

Learn@Home 2.0 Parent Information Session: On Monday August 17 at 7pm, we will be running our Learn@Home 2.0 Parent and Carers Information session via Zoom. An invitation will be emailed to families with the Zoom link attached. The 30-minute session will cover the essential elements of how St Anne’s is implementing Learn@Home 2.0. We will also have our Team Leaders Mrs Julie Jago and Mrs Rebekah Tayler on hand to share their advice on how families can get the most out of remote learning this time around. Our School Psychologist Mr Steve McAnulty will also be available to share his advice on wellbeing and we will also have a Q&A session to hopefully answer any questions families may have. This session is for all families who are after a deeper understanding of Learn@Home and how they can best support their child. A reminder for parents and carers to take the time to look at our Learn@Home resources on VOS. They include podcasts, our pre-recorded Fellowships and much more. School families can access these resources on VOS.

Fellowship: Our live Fellowship began this morning with our Campus Captains Gracie and Jonah sharing their top tips for our St Anne’s students during Learn@Home 2.0. This included the following:

  • Be respectful to your parents. They are also learning and, for many, doing this wile working from home.
  • We are all in this together, so let’s support one another.
  • Tell your parents (and siblings!) that you love them.
  • Join in the learning during Learn@Home. This includes being engaged and ready to learn each day. Make the most of our pre-recorded Specialist lessons – they are fantastic!
  • Do some physical activity each day. This could be a quick walk around the block, a jump on the trampoline or any other physical activity that you like.
  • Spend time away from screens. This includes video games and TV. We are all spending enough time on devices.
  • Finally, a big thank you to our teachers and staff who are doing a fantastic job during Learn@Home 2.0.

This morning we had a wonderful Fellowship from our Freeman students. Fortunately, before Stage 3 restrictions began the Freeman students pre-recorded their Fellowship. Their key message of friendship and what being a good friend is all about is more important now then ever. Freeman used the story of The Big Friendly Giant to describe how friends come in all different shapes and sizes. There is no ‘perfect’ friend however, Freeman outlined the following acrostic poem to best describe the attributes of a great friend. Thank you to Freeman, Mrs Howard and Mrs Noble for their Fellowship this morning. School families can watch the Fellowship on VOS.

N-ever be negative

Parent-Teacher Interviews: Our optional Parent/Teacher interviews for students from Foundation to Year 6 will be held on Tuesday August 25 and Thursday August 27. The purpose of these interviews is to discuss your child’s progress and to examine ways in which their future learning may be assisted.  We regard this as a significant occasion where a valuable exchange of information can take place from both a parent and teacher perspective. Given Stage 3 restrictions, interviews will be held using Zoom and families will need to log onto VOS to gain access to our teacher’s Zoom links. This will be available closer to the dates. We have already added important information about our Parent/Teacher interviews on VOS.

Students Being Responsible Online: Our Year 5 and Year 6 teachers have noticed some of our students in the upper year levels have been contacting each other via social media and email during key learning times. Just like in the classroom, it is important students are focussed on their learning when they are in class, regardless of if this is at home or at School. A small group of students have also been irresponsible while online. Can I please ask all parents and carers to discuss being responsible and respectful online with their child? These issues have been highlighted because we are spending more time online. My guideline is to ask students if they would you say or do this to the person face to face?

School Camps: Unfortunately, we have had to cancel our Year 3 to Year 6 camps for this year. School camps are a right of passage and we know our camps play an important part in our students’ school lives. Therefore we are collaborating with our Garnsey Outdoor Education department to create some camping experiences for our Year 3 to Year 6 students. This could include canoeing on our local rivers, long-distance bike rides, using camping tents and stoves on school grounds to name a few … more information to come.

This week Foundation students celebrated their first
100 days at School with their classmates via Zoom.

GARNSEY NEWS by Head of Campus Jan Henry

Years 7 and 8 Connect@Home: Learn@Home 2.0 presents challenges for us all in maintaining connections. Maintaining good communication with families is essential and on Thursday evening we had the first of our ‘fireside chats’ which we have named Connect@Home. Taking just 30 minutes for staff to share some key ideas – in this case about Learn@Home 2.0 and a few changes we have made to address wellbeing and learning issues – this event was well-attended, and it was great to have the support from families. Our Heads of Year 7 (Mrs Faye Kennedy) and 8 (Mr Glen Dihood) joined our School Psychologist Mr Steve McAnulty and myself to address the academic and wellbeing initiatives at these year levels as well as how we can support students and families when things don’t go well. I encourage all families to contact us, initially through Mentors if you have any questions or concerns throughout Learn@Home 2.0.

Year 12 Old Scholar Mentors: We continue to recruit past students from the Classes of 2014-2019 to support our Year 12s over coming months as part of our new Year 12 Support Crew program. If you know anyone from these year levels who might be willing to make contact with a Year 12 student and provide encouragement, advice and assistance, please encourage them to email

Quarantony Success: Recently, many of our families and students took up the challenge to create short videos in lockdown where they could sing, dance, act, perform in any capacity or make some short presentation through the Sale Theatre Company’s Quarantonys competition. The night was a fun, light-hearted way to enjoy the creative talents of so many locals. 

Congratulations to Aralai Aldred (Year 7) who created a fantastic animation about life in lockdown which won the Youth section.

Other notable mentions from our Gippsland Grammar community included: the Japhary family and their song, Staying Alive in Lockdown; the Maffra Gymnastics Club and their toilet roll antics; Ivy Johnson and her sister Bonnie and their take on Channel surfing in Iso; Ruby Young lending her vocal talents to a group who sang a song from Six the musical, and some of our musicians who appeared in the musical/band numbers.

Well done to everybody who was involved in such a fun community activity.

I wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

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