Welcome back to term 2. A very different term indeed. I would very much like to introduce myself to you all. My name is Kirrily Lamers and I am the new principal of Rosanna Golf Links Primary School. I started at the school on Tuesday and as you can imagine the start has been a little bit different to what I am used to. It has been wonderful to meet a few staff and students but I am very much looking forward to a time when I can really get my hands dirty and work with all the wonderful young people in our community.
I have been working for the Department of Education for nineteen years now in various schools and settings. I commenced at Macleod College and have spent time at Concord School, Ivanhoe East Primary School, Laurimar Primary School and Arthurs Creek Primary School. In 2018 I was the acting principal of Arthurs Creek PS and in 2019 and term 1 of 2020, I was the acting principal of Concord School. I have a passion for inclusive learning and the outstanding job that RGLPS do to include everyone in their community was certainly something that drew me to the role here.
I am a true believer in lifelong learning and curiosity and have continued to study during my time in the profession. My background is in curriculum and I have worked with multiple schools to develop consistent, evidence based approaches in teaching and learning. The PLC at RGLPS was another area that drew me to the school as I have driven this approach through two different schools since the inception of the program.
Though I have extensive expertise in curriculum, having worked in a specialist setting, I also have significant experience in wellbeing. If you have any curly questions along the way I am always available and willing to assist. I am extremely pleased to be coming into a school with such a welcoming community and I am really excited to start the learning with the kids, even if it is only remotely at the moment.
The final thing that drew me to RGLPS was the instrumental music program. When I started school I was a violinist and then throughout my years of schooling I added other instruments to my skill set. I firmly believe that through my association with instruments I have learned discipline, technique and developed confidence and I am so pleased that we can offer those same opportunities to the students in our community.
I look forward to a long and productive working relationship with you all. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns or even just to say hello. Stay safe and well and I do hope to be able to meet you all face to face in the near future. Stay tuned to Compass as I will also be uploading a short video introduction soon so that everyone can at the very least put a face to the name.
On-site Learning Requirements
The evolving situation of COVID – 19 has been an extremely difficult burden for families to go through during the first week of remote learning. There have been many conflicting reports surfacing through the media over the past few days and I wanted to take this opportunity to clear these up and be as precise with the information as possible. Our Premier Daniel Andrews has advised that all schools will move to remote and flexible learning for Term 2.
All students will be learning from home, except for children on days when they are not able to be supervised at home and no other arrangements can be made. This means that all students who can learn at home must learn from home, with exceptions only in extremely limited circumstances. This is a very clear directive by the Victorian Government based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer. Premier Andrews has stated, ‘Kids whose parents still have to go to work can continue to attend school – and we’ll provide supervision. But I want to be clear on this: they’ll be learning remotely, just like everyone else. We absolutely don’t want any more students or staff than absolutely necessary at school.’
Thank you to all of the families who have contacted us to check if their child is eligible to attend school under the extremely limited circumstances. If your child is attending on-site we do ask that you send them with a pencil case and sporting equipment as we are endeavouring to maintain a sterile worksite for them. As the tasks are between 3.25 and 3.75 hours in length, it would also be helpful if you sent your child with something to do when they finish the tasks. We are providing addition screen time but it would be great if the students were away from the screen for a little time during the school day.
These are exceptionally challenging circumstances for us all but there has been some positive news lately as we have certainly made some progress with flattening the curve. As a government school we must adhere to the advice provided by the Premier, the Department of Education and the Chief Health Officer and while it is a very difficult time the decisions we make right now are for the safety of all Victorians.
Remote and Flexible Learning
It has been an excellent start to the remote and flexible learning program. All students have been engaged in the online program through our Seesaw platform. We have endeavoured to tailor our program to best meet the needs of our school community and acknowledge that this will be a challenging and new experience for our students, families and teachers. It is not anticipated that things will go perfectly smoothly and we expect to learn, adapt and improve as the need for remote learning continues. If you have any feedback regarding the process thus far we ask that you email through the school address. We value your input and would like to continue improving what we do.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Check In
Just as you set aside time for physical exercise, it is important to make time each day to check in on your child’s mental health and wellbeing.
It may take your child some time to adjust to their new routine for learning and key changes such as not seeing classmates in person. Every child will react differently to new circumstances – feelings of sadness, frustration, anxiousness and even anger are entirely normal.
You can help your child by:
* providing an opportunity to talk about how they feel and listening to what they say
* identifying some specific actions they can take by themselves or with you to address any concerns they might have
* asking how they are finding learning remotely, and if there is anything they’d like your help with.
If you have any other concerns about the health and wellbeing of your child, please contact the school directly.
Advice for Parents and Carers of Children with Additional Needs
If your child has additional needs, you should talk to their teacher about an individual education plan. This will help guide their learning from home.
The parents’ page of the DET website (www.education.vic.gov.au/parents) has several resources to help parents and carers support learning from home.
For parents and carers of children with learning difficulties, a comprehensive resource Understanding learning difficulties for parents: a practical guide can be downloaded from www.uldforparents.com.
This guide provides parents and carers with practical advice about learning difficulties as well as a list of recommended apps.
DEAF FACILITY NEWS
Thom has sent home an email to all Deaf Facility Families outlining changes to this term. Please check your email from him. If you did not receive this email, please contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hearing Australia visits have stopped while the school is undertaking remote learning. These visits will start again once school returns onsite. If you have any technical issues with listening equipment, please contact Hearing Australia or the Cochlear Implant Clinic. Cathy from Hearing Australia will be sending out new moulds from the impressions she took from her last visit directly home to families.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
It has been wonderful to see students engaging daily with their online learning tasks via Seesaw. This shift to Remote Learning has been a significant challenge for staff, students and parents and we are so pleased with how everyone is travelling under such difficult circumstances.
A reminder that teachers release daily tasks on Seesaw at 9am, however these can be completed at any time that is convenient across the school week. We are well aware that some students may be sharing devices with siblings or parents so may not have access to a device for learning from 9am on any given day.
All students are asked to submit samples of their learning on Seesaw as an Activity and not to the Journal feature of Seesaw. This helps classroom teachers keep track of what tasks have been completed as they can see task submissions at a glance. Additionally, our specialist teachers cannot access tasks students post to individual class journals. Tasks must be posted to Activities so that our specialists can see the work completed and provide feedback.
Another reminder that students are expected to complete tasks to a standard they would strive for in the classroom. Teachers have learnt this week that we need to be more explicit about our expectations so we will work on this as we continue with remote learning.
I’m sure you will all recognise the huge amount of work teachers have done in preparing for and managing remote learning this term. Our teachers have been learning to manage the enhanced features of Seesaw, how to create and upload instructional videos and are now experiencing challenges in managing the workload of feedback on large volumes of submitted tasks. The time involved in giving 3-4 sets of specific written feedback to 25 different students each day is immense and intense. As a school, we are currently discussing what is appropriate and reasonable for teachers to provide in terms of 1:1 feedback to students. We will be able to provide more information on the school’s expectation around this next week.
Despite the overwhelming majority of RGLPS students learning remotely, all Victorian schools have needed to remain open for students of essential services workers who cannot work from home, as well as some disadvantaged, special needs or vulnerable children. This necessitates a skeleton staff onsite each day. Please be aware that if a teacher is supervising students onsite, they don’t have the ability to provide feedback on submitted Seesaw tasks that day. As a school we are developing a roster of staff available to supervise onsite so this might happen for up to one day per week for your child’s teacher.
On a positive note, we expect students to come out of the COVID-19 experience with strengthened ICT skills and much greater independence. Parents and carers, please support your child to work as independently as possible. Teachers have tried to design learning tasks that students can complete with minimal support from an adult. If your child is unsure of what to do, encourage them to view the teacher video again or reread instructions, rather than ask an adult.
Finally, remember that this transition to remote learning has been exhausting for all concerned. As I mentioned previously, intense learning is taking place in ICT, independence and personal learning. Many children (and adults) may be highly anxious and thrown by the changes. When schools return to full scale onsite learning, the focus will again be on literacy, numeracy and other academic areas. Wellbeing, mental and physical health are key priorities at this point. Please don’t put extra pressure on your family or your child to work for 10 hours per day. We understand that completing all the tasks posted on Seesaw will be difficult for some. We just ask that parents try their best and do what they can.
Assessment and Reporting
Essential Learning updates on Compass present a number of difficulties at present. Teachers are limited in the instruction and formal assessments they can provide, the resources families have at their disposal are inconsistent and we are unsure of how much adult support has been provided to complete tasks submitted remotely. Hence it is difficult to teachers to assess actual learning student progress and achievement. School leadership is exploring what can manage in terms of assessment and reporting in these circumstances. We will provide more information on this once we receive further direction from DET and decide as a school what is achievable and appropriate.
Maths Olympiad 2020
I will be providing Maths Olympiad tasks and feedback using Seesaw for students on the 2020 Maths Olympiad Team. APSMO, who run the Maths Olympiad, have advised that the competition will run internally in schools and not as a national competition this year. Team members will still complete the five Olympiads but will only compete against the other members of our school team.
G.A.T.E.WAYS Enrichment Program
G.A.T.E.WAYS programs for Term 2 have been postponed due to limitations around social interaction. If programs recommence from Term 3, I will contact the parents/carers of eligible students with details of programs on offer.
As advised late last term, 2020 NAPLAN tests for year 3 and 5 students have been cancelled by the Australian Government due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Teaching and Learning Coach
Hello Parents and Students,
I hope that you all had a great Easter Break and that you all received far too much chocolate! As you may have predicted, I have the sad news of being formally emailed by our Division Coordinator that all Inter School Sport has been cancelled for Term 2. I know how disappointing this will be to hear for our senior students especially, who have gone through the team selection trials. Whilst we have not confirmed anything at this point due to the ongoing nature of the lock down, the PE teachers from Heidelberg District are looking at perhaps hosting gala days for the Term 2 Inter School Sports when we return to school. I have not heard if the Division, Region and State Finals will be rescheduled for the Term 2 sports, but I’ll let you know if this will be occurring.
I have started to send through PE lessons on Seesaw. I am going to provide lessons for the students that have equipment that most houses will commonly have such as basketballs, tennis balls etc so that hopefully you will not have to purchase anything. Please feel free to adapt the lesson to suit if need be – if you don’t have a basketball but you do have a bouncy ball or volleyball, then go for it! Considering that some kids may or may not have a lot of equipment, may live in a house or an apartment, have siblings or family to practice with or not, I am planning my activities to take these differences into account and if you wish to adapt them to suit your personal lives better, then I say go for it! The most important thing of all for sport at this time is for our children to try and be as active as possible and to get outside to enjoy themselves, so if a little change can help that happen, I’d love for you to do that.
Also, as you can imagine there are always some children who have very advanced skills in a particular sport because they play it on the weekend – if you wish to change the activity to be a more challenging version because your child can do it easily, then I am very happy for you to do that as it will keep them interested and excited! Normally during PE lessons, if I can see that a child already has exceptional skills in an area I will give them extension tasks to further excel them; no doubt you watch them play on the weekend too so use your instincts and feel free to change it up or to focus in on a skill they need to improve on.
PE and Sports Coordinator
Message from Commonwealth Bank
The health, safety and wellbeing of our communities and our people remains our highest priority. Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, the School Banking program will remain on hold. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed with any updates including how we will be managing Dollarmite tokens for students.
In the meantime, here are some handy online resources for parents who wish to maintain momentum with their child’s financial education:
- Start Smart: these resources have been created to improve children’s money management skills, and is aligned to the Australian Curriculum and the National Consumer Financial Literacy Framework.
- The Beanstalk: offers videos and fun activities for children to learn about money.
Dear Parents and Carers
Unfortunately we will not be able to run the canteen during this unusual period. If your child is attending school please ensure you have sent them with food for recess and lunch.
LUNCH TIME CLUBS
Due to the current circumstances, Lunch Time Clubs will be postponed until further notice.
Disclaimer: Rosanna Golf Links Primary School (RGLPS) does not endorse any product or service advertised in this newsletter. RGLPS takes no responsibility for the content of advertisements or the quality and reliability of products or services offered in the advertisements