Dear St John the Apostle Community,
Thank you to everyone for working together to make the most of the situation we find ourselves in together at present. Parents, students and staff have been fantastic in troubleshooting issues, supporting each other and learning together.
There's great news at the moment about how we are managing COVID-19 cases in the ACT. After hearing this, it's easy to want to rush into sending everyone back to school but, as the ACT Government recognises, we're not out of the woods yet.
Please be confident that we will more than happily welcome a return to regular school attendance as soon as we are given the all clear by the ACT Government and Catholic Education. We have been trying to communicate regularly with everyone and as soon as we have some news in this area we will let you know.
In the mean time, keep doing the great job you are.
NEW Student Learning Centre website
Today we launched a new Student Learning Centre website to bring together the various platforms and sites we are using of as part of the Remote Learning Program.
With the introduction of Microsoft Teams the feedback from parents, teachers and students is that it can be confusing to navigate all platforms. However, we know that one platform doesn't meet everyone's needs.
It is possible to access all the platforms through Microsoft Teams but some people have found that the links don't always work. So we have pulled together this site to enable students and parents to work in Google Classroom and other sites separately to Microsoft Teams if they wish. Students will need to use Microsoft Teams to message and video conference with teachers.
You can visit the Student Learning Centre by visiting our school website or by clicking on the picture below.
Please continue to call, email or Seesaw message your teacher if you need to clarify anything. We are more than happy to assist.
Catholic Education are also providing additional support through their helpdesk on 1300 232 448. I know parents have been using this line and found it helpful.
We have loaned a number of devices to families and been very happy to assist in this way at this time. We are unable to loan anymore at the moment because we also need to use devices with students who are being supervised in their Remote Learning Program at school. Next week we'll re-assess the availability of any devices to loan out.
Assessment & Reporting
Despite our best efforts, our usual teaching & learning practices can't be implemented as effectively as they ordinarily would. This means that we aren't able to assess and report on student progress in our usual way as well.
During this time of remote learning, teachers are keeping records and making notes of student work and participation in order to continue building their understanding of the growth and learning of each student. They are just young children. They are not receiving ATAR scores or applying for university. They are just continuing their learning in a remote manner. Sometimes teachers of older students may nominate a task as 'an assessment piece'. This simply means they want students to know this piece is important and they are keen to get everyone's submission to look at how they went with it and determine what they might need to teach them next. That's all......no Pass or Fail, just do your best with the task.
Prioritising time, energy and tasks
We continuously get mixed feedback about the amount and type of tasks provided on each class' remote learning program. Some will say "Is that all, can I have more?". Others will say "We can't possibly get through all of it!" Some will say "We want more print out sheets" while others again will ask for more "real life tasks". Teachers are working very, very hard to try to accommodate for every child. It's important to recognise that one person's experience is not everybody's experience.
It's okay not get it all perfectly right. In fact, there is no right. To help everyone take their own individual approach at home, teachers have begun indicating which tasks are 'most important' and which tasks are 'good to do' if they have more time.
If you're finding it is too much. Please just support your child with the 'most important' tasks each day. That will be enough to continue their learning. With the increased check-ins via video conferencing next week students will be able to rely much more on school staff to understand what to do and less on parents.
From next week, every class will have a video conference with their teacher at the same time every day:
9:15 to 9:45
9:45 to 10:15
10:15 to 10:45
11:30 to 12:00
12:00 to 12:30
12:30 to 1:00
2.00 to 2.30
Inclusion Assistants will also begin their small group check-ins with allocated students at scheduled times from Monday. They've made contact or attempted to make contact with all relevant parents over the last few days. They're really looking forward to working with students again.
We hope you have a lovely weekend. Please take the time to rest and enjoy some relaxed time together.
Thank you for you continued support. We miss you all very much.
Matthew Garton, Principal
Often we forget that the Easter season continues after the Resurrection. Today I have included a reflection on a painting entitled Les Disciples. I was quite overcome when I saw it and read some of the information. I hope you find it as powerful as I did.
God bless you all, remember ( I paraphrase from St Augusitne)..we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!
Religious Education Coordinator
Notices from the Parish
Happy birthday to Mason W, Huon H, Jacob P, Izabella H, Hugo G, Keijo K, Samson S, Vincent N, Awur A, Ameila F, Ronan H, Olivia C, Grace H, Zain G, Erin V, Rebecca C, Jedd W, Gabriela V, Star H and Aiden S who all celebrated a birthday over the last three weeks.
While we still have small numbers of students at school, please see below some details of how the Tuckshop is currently operating to cater for these students.
- Recess and lunch orders are now available via the QKR app from Monday to Friday. Due to low numbers they will be prepared at SFX and brought over.
- The Tuckshop will be open for counter sales during lunch time only for snack foods from Monday to Friday.
Successful close quarter living
The current physical distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for some time. This cocooned existence is a test of parental patience, children’s willingness to cooperate and a family’s ability to pull together.
So, if you’re about to enter the family cocoon, or even if you’ve been living in close family quarters for some time, the following tips will help ensure your children not only survive each other, but emerge from the cocoon with a strong sense of camaraderie, a greater appreciation for their siblings and knowledge that they belong to a rock solid family who can pull together in a crisis.
Get kids on board
Start your period inside the family cocoon by getting everyone on board. Give kids a voice in how they’d like their social isolation time to flow. Listen to their fears and worries. Empathise with any concerns about missing regular activities and contact with friends but point to the positives of having more free time than normal. Consider providing kids with family organisation roles – the music girl, games guy, food planner and so on – and swapping these regularly to maintain interest. At Parenting Ideas, we believe that it’s reasonable to expect kids to help at home and there are many resources at our website that help with this.
Many kids struggle with anxiety when routines break down, so ensure that you have a regular structure that brings predictability to each day. Parents and kids need their own routines starting with get up times, work times and in the event of at home learning, times for schoolwork. Break the day into different time zones that mirror their school days. A regular structure will make the days more workable, feel shorter and be more manageable. It’s important to keep daily foundation behaviours in place such as waking up at the same time, dressing for school and preparing for class as they trigger your child’s readiness for learning. Similarly, relaxing your routine on the weekend gives everyone a break from the structure of the school and working week. A regular family meeting provides an ideal way to give kids some input into their own routines and also a say in how family-life looks in the cocoon. If formal meeting are not for you, then ask for opinions and gain feedback in more conversational ways.
Set up activity zones
The Nordic countries with their long, dark winters lead the way in successful close quarter living. One of their major strategies for success is the establishment of living zones within homes and apartments. These zones differ from the usual sleeping, cooking and communal living areas that you may be used to. They incorporate areas for individual activities including learning, playing, chilling out and exercise. With consistence use children soon associate a specific activity with a particular zone making concentration and focus a great deal easier. Avoid having multiple activities in one space as this may lead to conflict, while diluting the impact of this whole zoning strategy.
Get moving, grooving and having fun
Maintaining children’s healthy exercise levels when organised sports and informal group play are prohibited is a major challenge for parents. Some organisation and creativity will help. Establish mini movement breaks during each day involving dancing, shooting hoops and exercise to movement. Remember that any activity that gets kids arms and legs moving is beneficial to their physical and mental health. Amp up the fun factor by incorporating music, dancing to online videos and playing simple indoor games.
Instil good mental health habits
As the old saying goes ‘prevention is better than a cure’, which is pertinent if your child is prone to anxiety and depression. With routine preventative measures such as playing and talking face to face with friends on hold, consider introducing regular mindfulness and breathing into your daily routine. At Parenting Ideas we recommend the resources at smilingminds.com.au as they cater for mindfulness for all groups and at any level. Schedule times for kids to digitally connect with friends so that they don’t experience the effects of isolation.
Know when to steer clear
It’s hard for family members who are used to doing things on their own to suddenly be thrust together in each other’s company for extended periods of time. Many family holidays end in sibling squabbles because family members aren’t used to spending so much time together in the same space. Encourage kids to spend some time alone each day so they can relax, reflect and draw on their own emotional resources. Time alone is an under-rated contributor to a child’s resilience and mental health.
And know when to come together
While time alone is important it’s also essential for your family to come together to connect, to have fun and to enjoy each other’s company. Work out your regular family rituals and make these non-negotiable. Evening meals, family discussions and at least one weekly movie or entertainment activity give children and parents the opportunity to come together on a regular basis.
This time spent with your family inside the cocoon at first may be difficult, as it requires changes of habit and behaviour from everyone. There are many positives to close quarter living brought about by COVID-19. Families now get a chance to connect with each in real time and bond with each other in deep, meaningful ways.
Parents also get the chance to establish the positive behavioural and mental health habits in their children that has so often been made difficult by the insanely busy lifestyle that we’ve all been living for some time now.
The roller coaster has stopped. It’s now time adjust to a slower pace and have the types of conversations and pleasurable times with kids that have meaning, have impact and leave lasting memories.
Dear Parents & Carers of Year 6 students,
Normally at this time of year I would be visiting the primary schools and talking to the Year 6 students about their options for high school. We would be hosting our Enrolment Information Evening, Open Day and Expo Day. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have had to cancel these events this year.
Last year we moved to an online enrolment form which is now available on our web site: https://sfx.act.edu.au/enrolments/enrolment-information-2021/ Also available on this link is our 2021 College Prospectus.
If you would prefer a hard copy of the enrolment form or have any questions regarding the enrolment process, please contact our Enrolment Officer, Jennifer Madgwick firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone the college on 6278 9040
Applications for enrolment close on Friday 22 May 2020.
We are hopeful that there may be an opportunity later this year to offer tours of the college. There will also be an Orientation Day in December for those students who are offered a place for 2021.
I pray that you and your family keep safe and well during this difficult time.