Another week done of Remote Learning. Well done for everything you are doing. We really appreciated you supporting us during this time. We also really appreciate the St Michael's School Community trusting in us to do what is right for the students within our school. As you know, every school is different and has a different context. For us, the wellbeing of our students is something we prioritise and ensure everyone feels safe and supported. For this reason, we will continue to make decisions, in the best interest of the students at St Michael's.
There is much commentary at the moment
regarding kids not being at school and what that means.
We are all wanting things to get back to normal as quickly as possible. There is much to consider regarding a transition back to school and going from our current situation to full time attendance for everyone, we don't feel is setting our students up for success. We would consider a transition plan back to full time schooling a more effective model. This is (hopefully) a once in a lifetime situation that we have found ourselves in with the pandemic. We need to support our students to move back into the routine and structure of school. The focus should unapologetically be focused on wellbeing, connection and relationships.
Please trust us as the experts, this is what we do. This is our profession, this is what we are trained for, and this is what we are passionate about. Follow the learning plan that teachers have set, just do what you can and we will sort out where students are at when we get back to normal and continue to work with you in the best interest of your child. Just as a side, from an education point of view, some students have in the past taken holidays from school for longer periods of time than we are currently experiencing, we have 6-7 weeks off over the Christmas break and along with other breaks from learning and there aren't the claims doing the rounds like at present through the media. If anything, over this period all students have been doing more 'school' learning than they would have been doing over Christmas break or when they have taken extra family holiday times.
Once students come back, we will get through, back to normal sooner than expected. The leadership at St Michael's, the teaching staff and support staff all are committed, knowledgeable and passionate educators who will stop at nothing to ensure this occurs. Know that students will be learning a lot throughout this time, on top of the normal 'school' learning. Students at the moment are learning firsthand about community, responsibility, resilience and self-discipline. The importance of family, valuing those friendships that are sometimes taken for granted, appreciating school as a place of comfort and support. All of these things are skills,values and attributes that we strive for our children to learn and appreciate. Whilst we aren't all in the same boat at the moment, we are all in the same storm. We are all experiencing some level of discomfort, anxiety, fear and worries. We are all here to support you, your child and your family. Just reach out.
Some tips for this week.
1. Model for your children how to deal with this current situation. Model compassion and model taking care of yourself.
2. Help to maintain as much routine and structure as possible. Whilst you don’t have to follow a structured academic plan, it is important to still follow a plan each day for what fits in with your family.
3. Promote discussion, ask your child what they are learning and why. Support them to make connections.
4. Tell family stories. Every family has stories to tell. This helps foster identity and strengthens family bonds.
5. Write about what is happening. Allow journaling. It is important to speak at an age appropriate level for all children. Not talking creates increased anxiety and worries.
6. Be creative. Build, construct, explore and discover.
7. Read, read, read. If all you can do each day is one thing, read lots and read often. Read comics, books, digital books, whatever works. Make it fun!
Plan Moving Forward
An email was sent out yesterday informing parents that we are currently working on transition planning for student to return in the near future. For now, Week 3 will remain as the current situation. Remote Learning for those at home and at school. The current advice remains, if you can keep your child at home, please do so. We are working on our operational procedures to be better placed for increasing attendance when it occurs.
Our current transition plan would occur over a fortnight (once we get the greenlight for a start date). We would look to start Kindergarten as soon as we possibly could and get them back into the routine and structure of school. As you can appreciate, Remote Learning for a Kindergarten student could be quite challenging. We would also look to bring back all students for two days a week. Students across Years 1-6 would either come back Monday & Tuesday, or Thursday and Friday. These days would be determined by the school to ensure an even spread of numbers and even spread of student needs and abilities to ensure we are best placed to make the return for all students successful. The other 3 days students not attending school, will have remote learning at home. We are calling this a Blended Remote Learning Mode. This transition plan we are anticipating would last for a fortnight with then all students attending all 5 days to occur after that.
Of course, I must state that at all times we will follow government, health and CE directive and this could all change again quite quickly. The health and safety of all those at school is our first priority at this time.
Once all students are back, the second half of the term will look as normal as we possibly can, although the 'normal' class structure of the past would not to present until Term 3. Whilst we will return to face-to-face teaching this term sometime, we still may have staff working remotely or on leave, some students still learning at home due to their own medical or health advice and of course physical distancing and other safety measures in place. So whilst we will be back at school and 'face-to-face' teaching occurring, it will still be a little bit different for the rest of Term 2.
So our fortnight plan is in place and as soon as we are given the greenlight, we will roll this fortnight plan out and move forward with our transition plan.
Health and Safety Measures
Throughout this term, as we plan for
transitioning students back to school, we will continue to maintain our new safety and health measures. This is to ensure the health and safety of everyone at school, including the staff.
Drop off and pick up drive throughs only until further notice. This will definitely be in place for the remainder of Term 2. We will not be having any assemblies this term and we are requesting parents do not come into the school building. A teacher will assist at the sliding doors each morning and afternoon. We appreciate your support with ensuring that these peak times do not become gathering times. Likewise, with any increase of student attendance, we will need to make sure that our school carpark doesn't become a gathering place. Any parent who needs to access the school, will need to report to the Front Office and a staff member will collect what it is that is needed. The Front Desk now has extra tables in front and we would ask that you not lean over when communicating with staff. The sliding door student entry will be locked once school starts each day and will not be unlocked until student dismissal. Any parent/teacher meeting we will encourage as a Zoom or MSTeams meeting wherever possible.
We will continue with our detailed cleaning each day and will be installing permanent sanitiser stations throughout the school.
As our play equipment is fenced off to the public, our students will be able to start using it again on their return provided they use sanitiser prior. Our school bubblers will be closed, so students will need to ensure they bring their own water bottle each day. Any devices used will be wiped after use.
We will encourage wherever possible, physical distancing. We will also continue to have strict sick bay arrangements in place. At all times, should your child have a cough, runny nose, feel sick in the stomach, have a temperature or any other symptom, to please keep them at home. Any child who indicates this to us at school or is observed to display any illness related symptom, parents will be called and students will be sent home. We have a digital thermometer at school now and any high temperatures, students will also be sent home.
Whilst some may think these measures are too strict, we will not apologise for any strengthen health and safety procedures that we deem necessary to ensure a safe place for students to learn and a safe place for staff to work, especially during this time.
As you can appreciate, staff have been put under a lot of pressure of late and we have requested a lot of them in a short amount of time, I will need to ensure their working environment is as safe as possible as attendance is increasing, so they can fully support every student in front of them. I appreciate that there is much commentary on this, however, those on the ground, teaching in schools should be the ones to determine the safety precautions of that environment.
We are all in this together - let us know how we can further help if you need.
Again, a huge thanks to our amazing staff who continue to step up, innovate and show their commitment to every child at St Michael’s.
Just a reminder that it is enrolment time! We already have a dozen or so enrolments which is excellent with a few new families looking to join St Michael's. Just a reminder if you have a child looking to start Kindergarten in 2021 to jump on our website and complete an enrolment form.
Please spread the good news about our school. The best marketing a school can do is through their current families. Word of mouth is very powerful when it comes to families choosing a school for their child. Please recommend us and basically, talk us up please. I am starting to do personal zoom meetings with new families, taking them for a virtual tour and answering any questions they have. I am happy to do this for any new families’ wanting to know more about St Michael's. I can't talk enough about how great our school is, so easy for me to sell the school in the best light possible.
Don't forget, we are hosting our third 'Drive By' on Friday at 10am. This will be to celebrate our Mothers and all those women in our lives who help, support, affirm, challenge and love us. Please drive through the staff carpark from 10am (we will stay out there for 20 minutes) to say hello. We hope to see you then.
We hope everyone has a lovely Mother's Day on Sunday!
Please take care.
Enjoy the week ahead.
Religious Education Curriculum
This term the students in 1/2 will be exploring the story of Noah and the Great Flood in the bible. When looking at the World Behind the Text we first of all have to decide upon the Scripture being used. For the purposes of this learning, the Noah story will be taken to include Genesis 6: 1-9:17. In Genesis 6-8, there are two stories of the Great Flood. Flood stories were a common theme in the ancient literature of the Middle East. These stories have been intermingled and combined by editors to form the text commonly known as the Story of Noah and the Flood. The older of the stories is found in Genesis 6:8-10; 7:1-10, 16c; 8:6-12, 20-22. This story comes from 1000 BCE and may have Egyptian influence. The newer story is found in Genesis 6:9-22; 7:11-24; 8:1-5, 13-19; 9:1-17, and comes from 500 BCE with Babylonian influence. As a result, the edited story has a number of contradictions. We remember when we unpack Scripture that we believe the bible contains truth, not necessarily facts.
World of The Text. We know that the Noah Story is essentially a narrative. To help students explore narratives, students will focus on:
- Plot: What is going to happen?
- Setting: Where will the story take place? When will the story take place?
- Characterisation: Who are the main characters? What do they look like?
- Structure: How will the story begin? What will be the problem? How is the problem going to be resolved?
- Theme: What is the theme / message the writer is attempting to communicate?
To explore the World In Front of the Text we will ponder some very big questions. These could include:
- For whom might this text be relevant today?
- How might a modern reader gain a deeper awareness of this text?
- How might this text be used/applied in contemporary contexts?
Religious Life of St Michael’s School Community
In May we celebrate Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother too. *Why is May called “Mary’s Month”? Among Catholics, May is most well-known as “Mary’s Month,” a specific month of the year when special devotions are performed in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are many different factors that contributed to this association. First of all, in ancient Greece and Rome the month of May was dedicated to pagan goddesses connected to fertility and springtime (Artemis and Flora, respectively). This, combined with other European rituals commemorating the new season of spring, led many Western cultures to view May as a month of life and motherhood. This was long before “Mother’s Day” was ever conceived, though the modern celebration is closely related to this innate desire to honour maternity during the spring months.
In the early Church there is evidence of a major feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on the 15th of May each year, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that May received a particular association with the Virgin Mary. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “The May devotion in its present form originated at Rome where Father Latomia of the Roman College of the Society of Jesus, to counteract infidelity and immorality among the students, made a vow at the end of the eighteenth century to devote the month of May to Mary. From Rome the practice spread to the other Jesuit colleges and hence to nearly every Catholic church of the Latin rite.”
Perhaps this May it is our chance to dedicate the month to our Holy Mother. Mary was the first disciple of Jesus. She said ‘Yes’ to God in all that was asked of her. Can we make special efforts to say ‘Yes’ to what God is asking of us?
We wish all of our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and special ladies a very happy Mothers’ Day this weekend. May you be spoilt as you richly deserve for all that you do for the children in your lives.
Be sure to look at the prayer service for Mothers’ Day. It is found in the Religious Life tab on the remote learning site or by following this link: https://drive.google.com/a/cg.catholic.edu.au/file/d/1oNDAN6KXRGjA1MbZqmR9uIF5BckC8724/view?usp=sharing
Don’t forget there is always daily mass online available at https://www.catholicvoice.org.au/mass-online/. Our own Father Loi is celebrating Mass each Saturday evening and that is being streamed live on the Our Lady of Perpetual Help –North Belconnen Facebook site.
Virtual Cross Country - Launching next week!
School Sport ACT are offering ACT schools the opportunity to participate in a virtual cross country. Involvement is aimed at encouraging students to be active and set goals for personal improvement. If you would like to be involved in the 4 week challenge, please see the information provided in next week's learning plans for your child class.
COVID-19 Impact on School Sport
With the ACT Government cancellation of all school excursions and sporting activities from Monday 16 March, in response to the COVID-19 situation, School Sport ACT cancelled all regional and state sporting events for Term 1. With the transition to online learning for all ACT schools for Term 2, SSACT has cancelled all Term 2 and 3 regional and state events. School Sport Australia (SSA) has cancelled all 25 National Championships for 2020.
As a school we understand your disappointment and trust that 2021 will be a year of bigger and better sporting participation and achievement for our students.
Congratulations to the following children who achieved a Harmony Award in Week 1 and will have their award posted out to them. Well done!!
The school counsellor Jess is available during school hours on Wednesdays for counselling support to St Michael’s students and families. Jess is able to provide confidential counselling over email, over the phone, or via teleconferencing software Zoom during this time of Remote Learning.
Parents and carers are welcome to email Jess directly firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any questions and/or concerns about their child’s emotional wellbeing.
Remember to take it day by day and be kind to yourself!
Special wishes to those children who celebrate their birthday this week:
Zara KL, Phoenix 1/2B, Isabella 1/2B, Samara 5/6F, Akito 3/4F, Santo 3/4A, Jackson 3/4F, Matthew 5/6F and Liam 3/4FR
We hope you have a great day!!
The digital book is now available for $69.99 and is regularly updated with new offers.
Please click on the link below to order your 2020 Entertainment Book.