Diary of a Principal in a “changing school landscape”
Dear diary, it’s Monday 23rd March 2020 the world is rapidly changing, what was recently the bushfire crisis in our little valley and school now has a new name, COVID-19. All communications from key decision makers tell me it is ‘school-as-usual,’ we are safe, schools are safe, work as usual. As the day commences our happy children in their blue uniforms arrive, the majority of our St Pat’s kids are at school ready for another day of learning. Our amazing teachers are present, centred and ready to teach. Emails are coming thick and fast, information, news, resources, closures, postponements. What will tomorrow bring?
It’s Tuesday 24th March 2020. School is open and parents can ‘choose’ to keep their children home, we have half our students at school learning, the other half are at home for learning. Our teachers are talking, wondering, planning … have we planned enough for our learners at home …. our remote learning plan is taking more shape. Action stations are being taken – we need learning ‘packs’ for every child to support learning for the rest of the term. Busy, busy, busy collaborations. The photocopier has never worked so hard! What will Wednesday 25th March bring? I am never surprised by the staff at our school, in the last 4 years we have faced multiple deaths, floods, droughts and bushfires and we have stayed strong, courageous and united. The mantra has always been, and continues to be ‘We’ve got this!’
Wednesday, school is open, parents are now ‘encouraged’ to keep their children home and move them to remote learning. We now have a quarter of the students at school. They are curious about the dwindling numbers of classmates and school mates, and of course what learning will look like for them. The teachers are amazing, welcoming, supporting, encouraging the children who are present and now talking more about their see-sawing with their remote learners. An email or two from parents have me smiling briefly – words of thanks and words of increasing admiration for the daily work the teachers do!
Thursday, we have just over 10% of students at school. Remote learning and teaching is looking more real than ever. Inbox still filling fast. Questions, questions, questions on the ground. My network of principals and leaders are providing rapid information, support and sharing resources. I share the good things our teaching community are creating. We are busily learning SeeSaw and practising our Zooming!
Today is Friday 27th March. Less than 10% of students now at school. Thank you to the parents who are able to move their children to remote learning. Thank you to the parents in the essential services for the amazing work you are doing – your children are happy, safe, cared for and learning with us. We have been talking today about the further moves for staff to be remotely teaching, we face each new question and challenge front on. We recognise there are still questions we don’t know we need to ask!
THANK YOU to the amazing staff, student and family community that makes us St Patrick’s Bega. Last year we had just celebrated our 150 years. Was it only a week ago we celebrated our 151st. Let’s stay strong together.
A beautiful prayer for all to pray:
A Prayer to finish today
May we who are inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors, remember the most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home, remember those who must choose between preserving their health and paying their rent/mortgage.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when our school moves toward remote teaching, remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips, remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who settle in for a time of quarantine at home, remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose kindness. And more kindness.
When we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our family and neighbours.
We congratulate Mrs Catherine Smith on being appointed the new Office Administration role at St Patrick’s. Catherine will commence in Term 2.
And some Good News comes, Brodie finally received his well-deserved medal and hoodie for SENIOR BOY CHAMPION at the Regional Swimming Carnival.
UNIFORM SHOP NEWS
The uniform shop will be closed for the remainder of the term.
Should a parent require uniform at this time please email email@example.com and arrangements will be made to fulfil the order.