Dear Monty South Community,
The final two weeks of Term 3 are drawing to a close and I am happy to say, each day brings more daylight hours and a little more warmth in the sun. Spring is truly here and immediately it makes you feel so much better.
As a team we have decided that our focus for the next two weeks of term will be the social and emotional needs of our students as well as having fun. We want to make sure we make those connections we talked about so much at the start of this term.
Staff and students are weary and I can only imagine how parents are feeling as they have taken on a job that most were not qualified to do; be a home teacher. So to take the pressure off everyone, we are looking to reduce the priority tasks, organise some fun activities and ensure there are more social and fun catch-ups via WebEX.
We are also starting to plan some celebratory activities for Term 4, with the first being a Footy Colours Day and a Book Parade. We had earmarked these to take place in the week beginning 19 October. However, this is now dependent on COVID-19 case numbers. We will keep you informed.
We are definitely planning for 2021 to be our ‘Big Bang’ year. We have already booked in Kaboom sports (a multi-age tabloid sports event) in the first few weeks of Term 1, to welcome all students back and really focus on making sure we connect and have fun. We have also booked in the Resiliency Project to work across a number of year levels and we will again our focus on connection and social and emotional needs. It is going to be a fun year.
Roadmap for schools
Yesterday the Premier delivered his press conference where he outlined his plans for the state moving forward and being able to ease Stage 4 restrictions.
Since then, the Victorian Government has released its plan for easing coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. It includes the following decisions about school operations.
All schools will continue to provide remote and flexible learning for the remainder of Term 3, except specialist schools in rural and regional Victoria, consistent with current settings.
During the first week of Term 4, 5 – 9 October, remote and flexible learning will continue for all students, except in specialist schools in rural and regional Victoria.
VCE and VCAL students can only attend on-site for essential assessments during this week, including the General Achievement Test (GAT) on Wednesday 7 October.
On-site supervision for children of permitted workers and vulnerable students will continue to be provided consistent with existing guidelines.
From 12 October for schools in metropolitan Melbourne
Students in Prep to Year 2 return to full-time on-site schooling. The existing remote learning program will not continue for these year levels.
Students in specialist schools return to full-time on-site schooling. Schools can offer learning materials for students who continue to learn from home.
Year 11 and 12 students will now attend on-site schooling full time, and Year 10 students enrolled in a VCE or VCAL program will attend on-site for these classes.
Remote and flexible learning will continue for all students in Year 3 to Year 10, other than for children of permitted workers and vulnerable students.
Date subject to health advice
All students from Year 3 to Year 10 in metropolitan Melbourne will continue with remote and flexible learning. A date for the return of these year levels to face-to-face learning will be subject to further health advice.
During the staged return, outside school hours care will be available to students attending for on-site supervision and progressively for the relevant year levels returning to on-site learning.
Vacation care may operate during the school holidays but only for students who are eligible for on-site supervision at school in Term 3.
There will be further guidance for schools provided by the Department of Education, later this week, including a revised Schools Operations Guide for Term 4. We will certainly keep you updated as we go along the path to returning to school full time.
While you have all been off site, we have been working on our grounds and Year 6 area. There were a number of bricks that had been lifted up and stored when we were building near the portables. We have used as many as we can creating steps outside the Year 6 rooms and also the outdoor Year 6 space.
There have also been a number of plants replaced in the gardens that had been trodden on and mulch laid. We want to make sure we are looking good to welcome back our students in Term 4.
Victorian High Ability Programs.
Congratulations are extended to our Year 6 students Celine Rodwell, Judah Brady and Raph Hendry who have been selected to take part in the new DET Victorian High Ability Program.
The Victorian High-Ability Program will see high-ability Years 5 – 8 students across Victorian government schools participate in a 10-week virtual enrichment program.
Delivery will be through composite classes of students in Years 5 – 6 and Years 7 – 8, as follows:
- Primary mathematics for Years 5 – 6 students
- Secondary mathematics for Years 7 – 8 students
- Primary English for Years 5 – 6 students
- Secondary English course for Years 7 – 8 students
Celine, Judah and Raph have been selected to take part in the Primary English program which will focus on tasks that stimulate students’ critical thinking, problem solving and creativity – enriching their understanding of English. The program will not focus on accelerating students through core Victorian Curriculum content. They will certainly be challenged though.
We are so thrilled that they have been selected and we are very proud of them. Wonderful effort guys!
The Performing Arts team plans to film at the end of this term was not viable once Stage 4 restrictions were put into place. The next plan was to turn the attention to see what was possible for Christmas or the end of Term 4.
They now realise with social distancing and restrictions still be in place they have very little time to pull together a piece that takes thirty hours minimum rehearsal. At this stage, we are thinking of what alternative performances we can do and Jude, Emily and Andy will keep you informed.
It is indeed very disappointing but we will try and focus on finding something to do instead. It won’t replace the production but it will be something fun.
Diamond Valley community support
DVCS are available to support parents, families and other individuals who may require some additional support at this time.
Help is available by means of educational grants, food relief, transport assistance, prescription assistance, hygiene support, legal & financial counselling, tax help, referrals to specialist services and other support. DVCS can be contacted on 9435 8282 or https://www.dvsupport.org.au/
National eSmart week 6-12 September
This week is eSmart Week which is run by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. We are an eSmart school and usually would celebrate this week at school.
Jenny Hutchinson, our very clever ICT curriculum coordinator has planned some activities for every year level. With all the issues that we brought to your attention in our last newsletter with TikTok and Roadmaps and the posting of images without permission, we feel it is a very important issue. So we are encouraging teachers to do the activities.
Jenny will also provide teachers with some discussion questions such as, ‘Is your time between screens and other activities well balanced?’
We were very saddened to hear of the death of Jess Head’s father last week and also Justin Shears’ father. We extend our sincere condolences to both families at this very sad time.
I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Larissa Wilson who took over Jess Head’s class while she took leave to be with her father. It gave Jess great comfort knowing her class were being well looked after.
One of the more pleasant aspects of the COVID-19 lockdown has been more opportunities to read. Reading for enjoyment and also to grow my knowledge and perspectives. This term, a book was recommended to me by a colleague from both a parent and an educator perspective.
The book is called ‘Everyday Resilience’ by Michelle Mitchell and aims to show every family and educator how they can nurture and develop resilience in children and adolescents. It talks of seven key traits-courage, gratitude, empathy, self-awareness, responsibility, self-care and contribution.
The author answers questions such as:
– How can I help my child be more confident?
– What do I say when my child is rejected by friends?
– How can I help a child who is struggling academically?
– What do I say when my child says, “I can’t“?
– How do I help an anxious child or a shy child find their voice?
– What can I do to help them discover their potential?
The book is recommended as a practical and simple to follow resource.