I hope you all had a wonderful Easter with your families! I also hope you have managed to get a break from your usual routines and found some ‘down time’ in the midst of the current world chaos.
Easter is a special time in the Catholic Church. It’s a time of renewal and beginnings. Let’s pray that this Easter signifies for us the birth of positive new beginnings for us.
This Easter break has certainly provided us with time to think and reflect upon what is important in our lives. It has also put a new perspective on the busyness of our lives and given us a chance to take a step back from that.
Next Tuesday our school term will commence in a similar fashion to the way it concluded last term. Students, who are able, are encouraged to learn from their home environment, with learning tasks provided by their classroom teacher. Tasks will include a variety of digital, pencil and paper and ‘hands-on’ activities.
Our classrooms will also open on Tuesday for children of essential workers and those who really need to send their children to school, either full-time or part-time. It has been directed that these families do not congregate when picking up or dropping off their children, so as to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Our face-to-face classes will run in Stages, except for Year 2, (where larger numbers where indicated in last term's survey), to allow for social distancing regulations to be applied to our classroom and school spaces. Teachers will work on a rotating roster. This will give them the opportunity to plan and mark work and correspond with their remote students. They will be able to work part of each week remotely, allowing us to maintain social distancing regulations for staff as well.
Please note that your child’s remote learning teacher will not be available to provide feedback on their face-to-face teaching days.
At this stage, the NSW Premier has said that students will may begin to return, in a phased and managed 'staggered' fashion, from the beginning of Week 3, Monday 11 May. We will provide more information about how we intend to implement this at St Mary's soon.
For the first two weeks of Term Two the following teachers will be sharing Stage face-to-face classes:
Kinder/Year 1- Rachael Cummins and Alison Cummins
Year 2- Ashlee Picker and Karen O’Keefe (Sue Branson teaching remote learners)
Year 3/4 - Claire McCormack and Therese Skelly
Year 5/6- Linda Walsh and Sally Croker
We welcome Claire McCormack to our full-time staff. Claire will be teaching 3/4 face-to-face and running the Year 3 Remote Class. Mr O’Kane is currently on leave.
Remote Learning Materials
To reduce the amount of printing required all students will be provided with a text book for spelling and maths mentals practise. These texts, and the other print materials our students require for remote learning, will be available for pick up on Tuesday 28 April from your child's tray in the Old Hall. We have chosen this space as a pick-up and drop area as it is large and will give us the ability to comply with social distancing regulations.
After Tuesday 28 April, materials will be available in the Old Hall each Friday for the following week and your child’s work from the week can be left for your child’s teacher to view and mark. This process will occur for as long as remote learning is required.
We ask that you do not bring back the text books or student work books when you drop back work. These will be needed at home. You can either mark your child’s work (answer pages are available) or leave the pages unmarked for the teacher to do at a later point.
Remote Learning Log
There will also be a Remote Learning Log in your child's tray in the Old Hall. This sheet will list the minimum work requirements. Please tick the work completed during the week, make comments, if required, and sign before picking up the next pack of work. This document will assist staff with monitoring attendance.
Social Contact for Remote Learners
It’s been recently highlighted, due to COVID 19 and our change to schooling, that schooling isn’t just academic, it’s social as well. Student collaboration forms a large part of our development as learners. Keeping this in mind we are introducing a new platform for correspondence - Microsoft Teams. This platform will allow us to ‘chat’ as a class and school community. It also gives us the opportunity to video conference, when required. Microsoft Teams is a very safe environment.
To log into Microsoft Teams go to https://teams.microsoft.com/ and use your child’s school email address and password. The Teams environment will also give you access to your child's Google Classroom.
Microsoft Teams can be used in a browser or downloaded as a desktop or mobile app.
During the holidays our school 'Teams' (classes) will be created by the Catholic Education Office. Once this has happened information about how to use Teams will be sent home to families.
Morning Club and Maths Club
Due to COVID-19 social distancing measures and reduced onsite staffing, Morning Club and Maths Club will not resume at the start of Term Two. If this proves to be a problem for your family please contact me.
Reducing the Spread
St Mary’s Staff is dedicated to reducing the spread of germs and maintaining strict social distancing and hygiene measures. We ask that students are not sent school displaying ANY cold and flu symptoms; cough, temperature, dry or sore throat, runny nose etc.
We also ask that parents or visitors do not enter the school displaying those symptoms and we will ensure that our staff do the same.
In classrooms and other shared spaces staff and students will be asked to stay a safe distance from each other.
Students will also have access to, and will be encouraged to use, hand sanitiser and washing facilities.
Show Your ANZAC Spirit
(Excerpt from https://www.rslnsw.org.au/anzac-spirit/)
When times are tough, Australians have always relied on the distinctive qualities of mateship, humour, ingenuity, courage and endurance to get us through. Known as the ANZAC Spirit, these five qualities have defined Australians ever since the first troops landed on the beaches of Gallipoli in World War I.
In the current climate, we’re reminding Australians that we all bear these qualities within us, ready to come to the fore when we need them.
How You Can Commemorate ANZAC Day 2020
There’s no doubt that ANZAC Day 2020 will be very different to ANZAC Days of previous years. While we will not be gathering at services or marches, there are still ways to acknowledge ANZAC Day and ensure Australian servicemen and women are appropriately remembered.
1. Record yourself reciting the ode or sharing a message of support for veterans. Respond “Going” to the ANZAC Day 2020 Facebook event. Then use the hashtag #ANZACSpirit and share how you’ll be commemorating privately, as well as who you’ll be remembering this ANZAC Day.
2. Light up the dawn. At 6am on ANZAC Day, go to the end of your driveway or stand on your balcony and listen to a brief commemorative service. Together – even while apart – we’ll remember those who served and sacrificed. You can sign the pledge to light up the dawn at rslanzacspirit.com.au
3. Tune into live services and virtual commemorative services. The ABC will be broadcasting a 5.30am service from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. There will also be a 10am service from the Anzac Memorial in Sydney that will be broadcast on ABC and streamed live.
4. Reach out to someone who might be alone. Many people are alone during this time of isolation. It’s an opportunity to invoke the ANZAC value of mateship and check to see how a mate is doing.
5. Donate to the ANZAC Appeal online at anzacappeal.com.au. Donations support Australian veterans and their families in need. Donations in New South Wales support services provided by RSL Defence Care and Veteran Sport Australia.
In Term 2 we transition into our winter uniform. We allow two weeks at the beginning of the term for students to still wear their summer uniform if the weather is warm. Please be aware that if your child chooses to wear their summer uniform it must be the complete uniform, not parts of both.
In preparation for the cooler months, you might like to order our school coat, which is a warm bottle green parka style coat, from our Uniform Shop. No other coats will be permitted.
Some other reminders about our school uniform- hair accessories must be in the school colours only, earrings must be sleepers and studs and no nail polish is to be worn to school.
Term Two Calendar
At this stage, our Term Two calendar is clear. When our current regulations get lifted events will be rescheduled. You will be notified about these through our School Newsletter.
We Will Teach Because We Care
To finish on a light note, the following 'Cat in the Hat' themed meme sums up the dedication St Mary's Staff have to teaching your children this term... (thanks Reane for sharing!)