Gippsland Grammar newsletter: Aug 7, 2020

Aug 7, 2020 | Community News

Dear families,

I would like to thank you all for the support that you have provided the School in what has been an extraordinary week. It started with us all getting used to wearing masks, a quick transition on Tuesday as well all re-grouped back to working and learning at home and then, seamlessly, into Learn@Home 2.0 for the remainder of the week. I think I speak for many of us when I say that, at times, it’s felt like much longer than the five days it has been in reality.

During Learn@Home 2.0 we will continue to publish our weekly newsletter but instead of publishing a specific version for each of our three campuses, we will merge these newsletters into a single whole-School newsletter. This will allow us to streamline any important COVID-19 messages across all campuses and it will also help to connect our entire School at a time when connectively is more important than ever. During this time, we also hope you enjoy reading news from other year levels that you may not have previously been able to read. As usual, our newsletters will continue to be published on VOS and our website at 3.30pm each Friday.

We are also hoping a series of social media posts on our School’s Facebook page during Learn@Home 2.0 will help our School and wider Community to feel connected. Each weekday of these current Stage 3 restrictions we will publish a ‘Learn@Home 2.0 Diary’, which will become a light-hearted way to record this time in our history with a range of anecdotes, photos and messages of encouragement from every single corner of our School. We hope you all enjoy reading these posts as much as we are enjoying seeing how our Community is teaching, adapting and thriving.

At yesterday’s Executive meeting I asked our team to write as many words as they could to describe the staff at Gippsland Grammar. I have put the words together in an image (pictured below) for them all to see and I wanted to share this with you too as Gippsland Grammar is blessed to have the staff that we do as part of our Community.

During the week, one of the School’s connections in Rwanda contacted me via email. In our conversation I asked how the Principal was and he told me that he was worried about his students, his teachers and his School. The school closed in February and hasn’t been able to open since. It was a stark reminder of how fortunate we are.

Please keep an eye on the COVID-19 page on VOS as we will continue to update it as new information comes to hand.

Importantly, please take time to stop and refresh this weekend. Enjoy the time with your family.

Warm regards,
Leisa Harper
Principal

BAIRNSDALE NEWS, by Head of Campus Virginia Evans
The change to our learning space this week has been smooth on all accounts. With great commitment, our teachers have prepared and organised an engaging online program and will continue to work with families to ensure success.
Our expectations: On Wednesday afternoon families were invited to a Zoom meeting with each teacher to further understand the online program and the expectations around learning online. All students are to engage and participate in all required sessions unless previously communicated to the teacher. Our specialist classes will begin next week on each afternoon. All specialist teachers have put a great deal of effort into creating learning tasks for whole-campus activities as well as for varying levels when appropriate. I consider it very important for our students to remain connected to our specialist teachers and value the hour allocated for each area. I encourage the tasks to be finished on the allocated day, unless otherwise unable, due to personal circumstances.
Continuing programs: I am very pleased to announce that Tournament of Minds (pictured below) will continue during Learn@Home 2.0, as well as our Extension Digital Technology class. Thanks to Mrs Penny Rankin and Ms Sharen Cameron for enabling these classes to continue.
Wellbeing Wednesday: We began our Wellbeing Wednesday this week with all students planting nasturtium seeds with the purpose of our students nurturing and caring for them during the six-week lockdown. It is our hope that our students also grow in both their learning and resilience during this time as we all share in the importance of educating our students, your children.
Fellowship: Fellowship will continue to take place at 9am each Friday. We invite all parents to join us via Zoom as a way to stay connected with our Community. 

The Bairnsdale Campus Tournament of Minds team meeting over Zoom.

ST ANNE’S NEWS by Head of Campus Jie Van Berkel
Our School Community should feel proud of our ability to transition to Learn@Home 2.0 with only two days to prepare. Through conversations with families and teachers it’s clear we have all demonstrated resilience and a positive mindset during this time. At St Anne’s we have some students completing their Learn@Home lessons onsite and I’d like to share a big thank you to those families who have been able to make changes and support their children at home.
Learn@Home refinements: As stated in communication earlier in the week, we have made refinements for Learn@Home 2.0, which include:

  • Greater flexibility for students to engage with their learning. This includes utilising pre-recorded lessons, Zoom and independent activities.
  • Focus on Reading, Writing and Mathematics. From 8.50am to 12.30pm, students will have uninterrupted time with their teacher, focussing on these three key areas.
  • Flexi-Learn – from 1.30-3.15pm each day students will be able to engage with pre-recorded specialist lessons via VOS. This will enable flexibility for students and families to engage with their learning but to also fit this in when it works best for them. Some students may choose to complete their pre-recorded specialist lessons all on one day, or early in the morning, or later in the afternoon. Some families may choose to complete these lessons on the weekend.
  • Music plays an integral part in our Gippsland Grammar education. From this coming week, we are integrating our choirs and ensembles during Flexi-Learn. Please refer to the table below, and students are to access the Zoom addresses via the VOS Music news items.

Group

Time

Staff

Year 2 Strings

Thursday

1.30-2pm

Miss Evans

Year 3 Group

Thursday

2.15-2.45pm

Mrs Germaine

Year 4 Training Band

Wednesday

2.15-2.45pm

Miss Chilcott

Mr Cruikshank

Mrs Shaw

Concert Band

Wednesday

3-3.30pm

Mrs Germaine

Miss Chilcott

Mr Cruikshank

Paganini

Thursday

2.15-2.45pm

Miss Evans

St Anne’s Singers

Friday

1.30-2pm

Miss Richardson

Fellowship: Our Kingsford-Smith students demonstrated exceptional creativity and resilience as they pieced together their Fellowship this week. The focus on being brave is quite significant in our current environment. Sophie and Ebony played a beautiful processional on their clarinets. There were a range of special guests who spoke about examples of when they have been brave. Kingsford-Smith’s Fellowship also included a picture storybook about being brave, titled ‘The Lion and The Mouse.’ It was rounded off with some prayers and a blessing from Chaplain Jackie. School familires can watch the Fellowship on VOS.
Jeans for Jerry: Many people in our School Community would have heard of the very young Jerry Ong, who was born with a very rare genetic disease. Today we are supporting ‘Jeans for Jerry’ by wearing jeans, whether we are at school or home. At St Anne’s, we are supporting Jeans for Jerry because we want to help the Children’s Medical Research Institute discover new treatments and cures, to give Jerry, and children like him the opportunity to live long and healthy lives. We had hoped to collect money at School today however as we have course returned to Learn@Home, I encourage families to donate via this link: https://www.myjeansforgenes.org.au/jeans-for-jerry

When ELC students celebrate a birthday they share the fun with their peers by lighting candles
on a pretend cake and by wearing the famous ‘birthday hat’ for the entire day.
Today it was ELC student Ettie who wore the hat after turning five yesterday.

GARNSEY NEWS by Head of Campus Jan Henry
This week was supposed to be about the transition to wearing masks and we certainly started well. There was a lot of mask making last weekend and by Monday students embraced their responsibility and there was not one single request for exemption; every student was wearing a mask (pictured below). They were a bit uncomfortable at first but I was so impressed by the way our students fulfilled their responsibility throughout the day and their understanding of why it was necessary.
The pivot to Learn@Home 2.0: The true test of any community is not when things are going well but when we face challenges. COVID-19 presents a challenge to us all and to the many communities to which we belong. Last week we remained optimistic that we would continue to teach ‘face to face’ however by Wednesday this week, we had launched Learn@Home 2.0 and while there can be no doubt that the decision to move to Stage 3 restrictions is correct, the impact is real.  We must prevent growing community COVID-19 transmission and we must protect our community especially vulnerable members in our regional communities. Returning to remote learning has led to some feelings of sadness and anxiety. We cannot deny our feelings, nor should we hide our concerns, but I do have confidence that we have implemented an excellent Learn@Home 2.0 program, addressing some of the challenges we faced in Term 2. Learn@Home 2.0 will ensure that authentic and valuable learning will continue throughout the remainder of this term and that it is balanced with student and staff wellbeing priorities. I am confident that:

  • We know what to expect and we have experience in the challenges of remote learning.
  • We know our Learn@Home program works.  Our surveys suggested that most students enjoyed the opportunity to become independent learners. If, however, your child did not, or they need more support, please talk to Mentors so that we can provide additional support in Learn@Home 2.0.
  • We have refined the timetable to make further improvements. This is particularly evident in Years 7 and 8 who will have a more structured FlexiLearn program.
  • Finally, there were many positives to the last remote learning period, especially for families.  Many of us enjoyed life slowing down, more family-centered activity and quite simply spending time together. Please embrace this again.

Year 7 and 8 Learn@Home Flexi-Learn arrangements: We have made some amendments to the Year 7 and 8 Flexi-Learn program. Students have been provided with a 10-day timetable template to fill out and a corresponding Flexi-Learn timetable. Students at these year levels will complete three x 35 minute Flexi-Learn private study sessions after lunch each day. Next week, learning assistants and staff will provide some support to groups and individuals during this time but we believe this new structure will better enable independent learning at this time. There will be no homework in addition to this. Our surveys last term indicated that this may be more easily managed by the Years 7 and 8 students. Families may access this Flexi-Learn timetable via VOS.
Year 12 post-VCE information night: A well-attended post-VCE Information Night was held online on Wednesday. In addition to the excellent presentation by our Careers Adviser Mr Justin Henderson about VTAC’s application process, scholarships, SEAS applications and support , we were fortunate to be joined online by a number of other speakers.
Ruby McNeil Johnson (Class of 2019) who is studying a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne spoke about her experience from exams to university highlighting the importance of different pathways to gaining entry to your dream career. Adam Gray (Class of 2019) who is an apprentice refrigeration mechanic in Bairnsdale shared how he pursued and achieved an apprenticeship. Mr Guiseppe Marino from Federation University shared study options and pathways as well as services and supports at Federation University. And finally University of Melbourne’s Principal of St Hilda’s College Dr Brenda Holt spoke about the advantages of college life. Congratulations to all involved on a most informative evening.
Resources: Each week we will provide links and information about wellbeing. This information will be placed on VOS and we will provide more information about this next week. The following resources may be helpful:

For Year 12 families Beyond Blue also has a great resource page with tips on surviving the year: https://healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/healthy-homes/supporting-study

Every single student at Garnsey embraced wearing masks at school on Monday before we moved to Learn@Home 2.0

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