A Window with A View
Week 8, Term 2, 2020
As we finish Week 8, we are happy and tired. We have all adopted the rhythms of daily routines and clear expectations with varying degrees of ease, and students are enjoying each other’s company enormously.
By the end of next week, they can stay in pyjamas for a little longer each day as the holidays will commence on Friday. The delight of this break is that people will be able to gather at each other’s places and go to the park as we gently emerge from our houses once again.
Our staff are sharing stories and encouraging words of wisdom to their students every day. In her role as our Wellbeing Coordinator, Sarah Farrell Whelan supports us all by checking on how we are going. To help us make sense of this strange time, we asked Sarah to say a few words in this week’s post.
‘Here we are coming to the end of the term at Korowal and what a time it has been.
I have numerous children's story books running through my head as some calm returns. Alice and Dorothy awake, or the Children, Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter fall back through the wardrobe from Narnia. These children all experience being quickly removed from their day to day lives and are not sure how to return. Adventure filled with beautiful things, dear relationships, new learning but also challenges, and uncertainty.
This world that we have returned to here at Korowal, all the staff, children and families have come together once more. We daily sit with the many emotions and experiences of readjustment. It is big work to land back through the wardrobe. Slowly, gently, day by day, making choices for ourselves and families that may be different from previous terms.
In my house, we are eating ice cream like never before’.
So far, the new arrangements for drop off and pick up have gone smoothly. On rainy days we have some queuing, but otherwise the flow is steady. We are now noticing that in Winter the angle of the afternoon sun hits the drivers’ eyes as you turn into the kiss and drop area of an afternoon. Extra care is advised at this time. It is hard to see blinker lights as the glare can be stronger than the indicator, but please proceed with extreme caution and indicate as you pull in and out of the area.
Senior Study at Korowal
We have two sessions coming up this week for Year 10 students preparing to enter our Year 11 Pathways system. At senior level, we encourage our students to choose subjects they enjoy and that expand and exercise their thinking mathematically, scientifically, creatively, societally, environmentally. As they are approaching adulthood, they are moving towards independence in thought and actions. While they are aware of some of the available courses of study and directions that they may undertake beyond school, they are not yet specialising. They may choose a specific subject as a prerequisite for university entry in order to keep their options open, but that is not always the case.
Research into the changing workplace identifies that ‘Enterprise skills’ are necessary future skills. They are also known as ‘soft skills’. They include problem solving, teamwork and communication. In studying the arts and humanities we glean insights into what motivates us. We develop an understanding of people and relationships, as well as skills in negotiation, persuasion, critical and comparative thinking.
There are many subjects that bring these to the fore. The culture, stories, artforms, and movements of society are examined in all of the following three subjects. In Drama for example, students are encouraged to think outside of the box and engage in collaborative projects. They will develop skills in group devising processes and become confident in creative and analytical writing or performance. They will explore what motivates a character or learn and apply the elements of design. Likewise in Visual Arts, in working with an open mindset, students explore their creative capacity, engage with others doing the same, analyse what works and what doesn’t, and then critically appraise each other’s art. In Society and Culture students explore intercultural understanding, beliefs, values and communication systems. The foundational skills they graduate with are transferrable to any situation.
Education is our core purpose. We maintain awareness of strategic educational initiatives and opportunities, as well as the future skills required for the workforce. Currently, we feel that our youth will be disadvantaged by the proposed changes to university fee structures.
At Korowal we value the liberal arts, humanities, creative and critical thinking. We also place great value on the sciences and mathematics. Yet never at the expense of each other.
All artists reflect the society and the time, and assist us to make sense of our world, the experiences and changes we encounter. They touch our hearts and minds in both form and presentation, and essentially challenge complacency as they reflect the beauty and the pain around and within us.
Of equal importance, historians’ question and document, and are imperative in keeping us accountable. Scientists, medics and mathematicians provide us with the facts, the data, to analyse and understand the natural world. The application of this knowledge takes us to greater places, for humanity and our environment.
Together, all of these elements examine the patterns and complete the circle of life.
If you are as concerned about the proposed changes to the cost of tertiary humanities and communications courses as we are, we encourage you to write to our local members, both Federal (Susan Templeman, MP) and State (Trish Doyle, MP).
Go gently into this final week of term!
A Window with a View
Week 7, Term 2, 2020
In Week 7 we have successfully settled back into routines and look forward to having more restrictions lifted for the start of Term 3. For the remaining two weeks of Term 2, we will continue as we are, slowly opening out as it is safe to do so. Again, we are grateful for your ongoing understanding and cooperation with our new arrangements.
Throughout this week and last, Jes has been posting samples of activities and work that students are engaging in at school on Facebook, so that as you are unable to enter the school, at least you can catch glimpses through the photos we upload. We have also been promoting some of the ‘virtual’ events coming up over the next two weeks. Some families do not engage with this social media platform, so we are highlighting these events for all families to share in this post. We also regret that we are not yet able to run these as live sessions on campus.
With 2020 almost half way through, it is time for us to run forums for 2021 Kindy, and Year 11 families. Our Pathways Year 11 courses commence in Week 6 of Term 4,2020, therefore considerations about senior study need commence this term.
School Readiness Talk
We're running a great Virtual Talk and Q&A next Tuesday 16th June at 4.00pm. It is relevant to families thinking of enrolling a child in kindergarten for 2021. Korowal staff will be discussing how to support your child's cognitive, self-help, social and emotional readiness for the transition to school. This is open to the public so please feel free to share this with any families you feel would benefit. Places are limited however so bookings are essential.
Senior Study at Korowal
1. Prospective Families:
HSC Pathways Information Session- Tuesday 23rd June, 5.30-6.30pm. This event is again open to the public. We will introduce new families to Korowal and outline the Compressed Delivery or Pathways model that we use for Years 11&12, then conduct a Q&A. Please extend an invitation to anyone you know who may be considering Korowal for their senior years.
2. For our current Year 10 families:
An HSC Pathways Information Session- Thursday 25th June, 5.30-6.30pm. This virtual session is for Korowal Year 10 parents and students. It will cover an outline of the HSC, the subjects on offer, and our Pathways model. Kim Poole will be commencing discussions about the HSC and subjects on offer with Year 10 this coming week. Parents will be emailed information booklets by the end of this week, so that hopefully you will have time to read through the information and discuss it as a family, then attend the virtual Information Session with questions.
To avoid missing the links to any of these sessions please book through: firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning the school office on 4758 7466 from 8.30-4.15pm
We have had many enrolment inquiries over the past weeks as interest in Korowal is increasing. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate all of the requests as some classes are at capacity. One area that we can expand however is in Year 11.
Term 2 ends for us on Friday 26th June. NAIDOC Week commences Sunday 5th July and goes through to 12th July, in our school holidays. As happened last year, we will be participating in NAIDOC Week Celebrations when we return for Term 3, and look forward to honouring our First Nations people, specifically the Darug and Gundungurra people of the Blue Mountains.
The theme for 2020 is Always Was, Always Will Be.
‘NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations. It’s about seeing, hearing and learning the First Nations’ 65,000+ year history of this country - which is Australian history. We want all Australians to celebrate that we have the oldest continuing cultures on the planet and to recognise that our sovereignty was never ceded. Always Was, Always Will Be.’ naidoc.org.au
Black Lives Matter.
Further information on the nature of events to honour NAIDOC week at Korowal will be available at the start of Term 3. If we are still unable to have parents on campus at that time, we will find another way to include you.
We are listening, reflecting and reviewing, as we educate to create a future of which we will be proud.
A Window with a View
Week 6, Term 2, 2020
We have been delighted by the sounds and activities surrounding us this week. From recorder circles and songs, to gym circuits, handball, hopscotch and bushwalks, to maths assessments and science activities, to staff lunch times and meetings outdoors while rugged up in our woolies, we have been soaking in the sun. Keeping physical distance has propelled us into the great outdoors and even meetings feel like a social event! We have risen to the occasion in Week 6 with (almost) everyone back on campus. Our School has never felt so alive!
One major disruption for us this week was the internet connectivity. Hazelbrook was down for a few days, and Korowal for a few more. There was intermittent connection and even though we had staff hotspots and other portable dongle access, the fluency was lost. We understand that our NBN connection is being fast tracked as we now have fibre to the curb, and we regret the disruption this has caused to students and staff. That said, there were creative ways around projects in high school and we have more visual displays of student work as a result of this.
Year 6 Oracy
Year 6 have been working toward building on their Oracy skills and the students have done such a wonderful job!
On Friday the class was split into small groups to become 'experts' on a specific Natural Disaster. The students sat in the sun and researched their Natural Disasters, talking and sharing amongst themselves to build on prior knowledge.
On Tuesday, we will come together as a class and learn from each other, the expert groups sharing their knowledge of Natural Disasters with the rest of their peers
After the months we have had, may you and your family have a relaxing and stress-free long weekend.
Let us take you on a journey of the week in pictures.
A Window with a View
Week 5, Term 2, 2020
Week 5 was possibly the greatest highlight we have had since COVID-19 entered our lives. We experienced the first sensations of something familiar, almost normal, as hundreds of students returned to campus. Having made the decision to bring students back for three days throughout the week in staggered fashion, the build of momentum was just right. For almost everyone from K-10 the experience was positive.
As we had anticipated, in primary some students had difficulty being back. Not to worry, as it will take time to build their school resilience. They may experience emotional upset at leaving their parents and possibly be teary at further changes until we settle back into routines.
Our senior students came back full-time and while they remained engaged in their online classes, they appear to be full of vim and vigour now that we are back. Keeping physical space between each other is the one big challenge.
From Monday, all classes are back on campus full-time. We are all looking forward to having a four-week block of classes with consistency for the students between now and the end of term.
Thank you all. Traffic flow on campus was steady throughout the week as families responded to the request for primary pick up from 3.05 pm and high from 3.30pm. Next week will be the real test here and we will have further signage in the drive way. You will notice that we have banners indicating the primary kiss-and-drop area and the high school zone.
We request that all high school families progress towards the old school bus zone for drop off and pickup, and that you wait until 3.30pm before entering the school for pickup.
Reconciliation Art Project
As we enter the final days of Reconciliation Week, with the theme of ‘In This Together’, our primary and high students will be creating an artwork from fallen leaves on the front lawn. We have chosen this area of the School so that parents can see the creation on pickup in the afternoon. Due to the current distancing measures in place, regrettably we are unable to welcome you to the event, but hope to share the result. Throughout the day classes will move in and out of the area to create an ephemeral artwork that over time, will alter, be tossed about in the wind and rain, and eventually disintegrate. Such are the cycles of life.
If you have flat fallen autumn leaves and can collect them before school, we would use them in this installation.
While we are opening our doors again, we are hypervigilant about our health and hygiene routines at School. Our staff are the people at highest risk of COVID-19 infection. We are appreciative of your support in reminding your children that they cannot come to school if unwell, as much as they want to!
Thank you all for communicating with us when you seek clarity. We really do feel supported by our community.
A Window with a View
Week 4, Term 2, 2020
As we end Week 4, we also end Phase 2 of our return to school plan. In Week 5, from Monday 25th May, we will move to Phase 3 where we welcome all students in Kindy to Year 10 back to campus for 3 days, and Years 11 & 12 for 5 days. The following week, from Monday 1st June, we will commence Phase 4 where all classes will be return to campus full-time.
We have written reams of communications already this week as letters to families, students and staff have been crafted to explain the systems in place, so I am not going to dedicate any more time to it here. Meaghan has created a beautiful picture book or social story which was sent to primary families of what the school day will look like, so that they can sit and read this together, and process questions about what it will be like, and how they are feeling about this development. So much has changed for everyone and it will help us all if we talk things through together and reassure each other that we are not alone, no matter what age we are. This experience is disrupting us all!
We are looking forward to some sense of routine within an uncertain time. The School is as ready as we can possibly be to provide safety for staff and students, our number one concern when looking at the Health advice.
In an interview with the ABC this week, Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish educator and scholar, reiterated that the most important thing for now is the experiences that our children are having through this time. He reinforced that they will forget what they learn quite quickly, and move on to the next thing, but that they will not forget their experiences or their feelings.
This is the most important aspect of the COVID-19 experience. Children will remember playing cards, going on walks, making installations from found objects, cooking, doing projects, singing and making music. They will remember their parents being with them, their teachers on line and connecting with their peers. Equally they will remember their parents’ mood and tone- whether stressed and anxious, worried or concerned about school and education, or relaxed and playful, calm and clear, listening and responding.
As we enter Phase 3 of our return, with schools open to all students, it’s time to place your child once again in the hands of our fabulous teachers. They will re-establish their classroom routines. and weave their magic. They are the experts and will know what is needed. The School will respond as the teachers identify the students’ needs.
It is important to also remember that you have choices here. Some students cannot yet return to campus for a myriad of reasons and that is ok. We will run remote schooling programs at the same time as on-campus classes, but the student experience will not be as rich as the in-class experience. Again, let’s remember this is still a time of great uncertainty.
At this point, I will hand over the remainder of this post to hearing from Cate Dudley. Cate is one of our a joyful teachers and an artist. While our permanent teachers have continued connecting with their class groups, we have employed Cate to be a consistent face for the primary students on campus as their numbers grew.
‘In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been coming in to be with the “Essential Workers Students” in primary. In a somewhat discombobulated school experienced of late, I’ve tried to give them the sense of being held in their Kindly Korowal Boat. I just wanted to share with you something lovely that’s been happening in these classes.
I’ve found that telling made up stories have a particular magic for them. Each child becomes a character, usually an animal, and we all have an adventure, a tricky time and use skill, bravery and kindness to get through it all. They then draw something from that story and if time explain their picture to the class.
It’s astonishing and often moving the way that they re-story what I’ve said in their own particular way. The stories we have in our culture, history, family and school are so important in how we make sense of life and in these times, they are extra important.
Wishing you all excellent stories’.
Everything temporarily feels good in the world when our students’ voices, laughter, energy and engagement surround us. We are the lucky ones and we love what we do, who we are with, and why we are here.
May you also enjoy having meaning in your lives,
A Window with a View
Week 3, Term 2, 2020
As we ended Week 3 of Term 2, all year groups had returned to classes on campus for one day. The test run of our new systems has been successful.
Let’s paint a picture of what each day’s arrivals were like from our perspective.
Every morning the gardens were abuzz with talking and laughter. All seemed good in the world, and we experienced the greatest relief of reconnection. Without a doubt, the most significant purpose for us all was to come together.
Whether sunny or overcast it was delightful to see you enter the driveway. As parents arrived in the turning-circle we witnessed a mix of hesitance, joy, smiles and gratitude. It is nourishing to have you back, even fleetingly. Our primary children came well rugged up with bags galore. Some reluctantly emerged from their cars and others rushed forward with huge smiles once they spotted their teachers and friends waiting to greet them. The students in Year 7 bounded towards each other and social distancing was briefly forgotten. Most students in the older years were quiet, deliberate and calm as they walked towards us for instructions on where to get their temperatures taken. It was only once they approached their class groups that their shoulders relaxed and nervous laughter broke the ice.
The corridors and grounds were once again alive with students and staff moving about the school, such an energetic shift from the previous weeks.
From Monday in Week 4, we will repeat the same pattern as we did in Week 3, with all classes K-10 coming on campus for one day. Only Years 11 and 12 will return for two full days- Thursday and Friday, this coming week. The playground equipment will be open again, and ball games can return.
All being well, we will steadily increase days on campus across the school from Week 5. The plan for this will be issued to families on Wednesday. We are being very cautious, re-establishing the health and hygiene practices necessary for us to observe when on campus. It is our priority that we all remain physically well and return to school on campus. It will take a few weeks to drill these routines so they become second nature and give us confidence. We encourage your help in this, especially around practicing safe coughing, sneezing and hand washing.
Our next priority is the psychological wellbeing of all. Teachers are stopping and listening. There are lots of questions about the virus, little comments that just pop up from time to time. Teachers and assistants are checking in with their groups and when they sense the need, they are taking the class outside to experience and explore nature. We all need time to process the changes that are continuing to be imposed upon us, and stepping out of the classroom is a necessary circuit breaker. Placing ourselves within our beautiful environment is very grounding.
When these things are all in place, when we settle, learning can happen. Right now, we need to know we are, and will be, ok. This week was a step in the right direction for us all.
Week 3 was healing. It has been extremely difficult to retain a sense of community and connection through this time. By no means are we through the pandemic, but this week our relationships became more tangible. We saw each other in person, waving, smiling, briefly talking to each other, having face to face (1.5m distance) chats with parents, staff and students. Even four weeks ago, the idea of students coming together and relaxing in each other’s company was but a dream.
This week we experienced joy! Let’s proceed gently now so that we can keep this bubble alive.
A Window with a View
Week 2, Term 2, 2020
As we prepare to welcome our students back to School campus, there are a few changes, and some very special sightings!
The Lyrebird is Korowal Schools Totem, and over the past few weeks they have been coming closer and closer. On Saturday, I spied four lyrebirds at the edge of the meadow. How special is that! A great welcome to all.
We are now entering into Phase 2 of our plan. Remote schooling programs will continue and we anticipate that there may again be a few hiccups as we transition between home and campus. None of us have ever done this before so we may need to fall back on humour!
As we return, we do so gradually and carefully. We remind our Kindy students that if they still have their domino, to bring it back to school the first day they return, whether that is this Monday or some day later. You will soon come together again as one class.
For a variety of reasons, some families are not yet returning to class on campus. We thank you all for completing the survey this week as this information really helps us to prepare for students. It has been a long time since we have seen many of our parents. We look forward to waving and smiling as you arrive to bring your children to School this week.
In preparation for moving around the School it would be of great help to us if you spoke with your child/ teenager about the need to hold space between us in order to keep each other healthy. We will be connecting in many ways, but not through hand holding or hugging.
While we have sent letters to families outlining the changes to expect, here are a few important reminders: We need to rug up for outdoors and open doors in classrooms; bubblers will not be operating so water bottles are highly recommended across all classes; the canteen is not operating so please ensure that students bring food for the day.
Finally, this year more than ever, we acknowledge the significance of our mothers, the wonderful job they do, the beauty they impart through heart and mind and the love and care they share. Thank you all, for generations.
So gently on our way back,
A Window with a View
Week 1, Term 2, 2020
in Week 1 of Term 2, we have managed to establish a whole new way of working in our primary school as COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to the wellbeing and health of all. Reliance on I.T. for our primary meetings and classes is not something that we have ever imagined for our students. Many people are working around the clock to try to make this intolerable situation tolerable for now, and to establish routines for our children. We progressed from Tuesday with the hiccups, interruptions and impossible linkups, through to Friday where students were attending classes and interacting with their teachers and each other with greater ease.
This system does not replace the face to face classroom experiences and children having their teacher alongside them to answer questions. It can be challenging for parents, seeing the confusion or frustration that your child is displaying and wanting to make things right for them. Especially when you too have your own work pulling you in different directions. We ask that we all be gentle, kind, understanding, and that we walk together and stay connected. When you make contact with us, we can iron out the glitches.
We are all in an impossible situation. There is no sugar coating that we can bring to this.
On campus we are planning ahead for a staggered return of students. We test ran our thermometers and arrival system this week and encountered a hurdle. To give an accurate reading, the contactless thermometers require a space at room temperature. We therefore found that temps taken in the turning circle can be irregular. For this reason, we are altering the arrival process. Parents are still required to farewell their child at the turning circle where they will be greeted by a teacher or assistant. They will then be directed to the hall for temperature checking.
On Friday afternoon we emailed all families our plan for our students’ staggered return to school from Monday 11th May. Please become familiar with this document and contact the office if you have not received this or have any questions.
Bec is currently coordinating the changes to campus with Alex and Caroline. Alex has been measuring out distance and beginning to mark the ground in shared spaces. We are reorganising staff facilities, common room access and so on to keep the required 1.5m distancing for adults. Caroline has created signage from the turning circle and across the School to remind us that things are not as they were. The canteen will not reopen until it is safe to do so. Steph is now employed to clean surfaces, door handles, staff and student facilities from 12.00 - 3.00 every day, after which the contract cleaners come on site. Felicity has become our full time COVID-19 First Aid Attendant and the sick bay for this is the senior study, situated at the end of the library, with access directly onto the library verandah for student pick-up. We have managed to locate hand sanitiser with thanks to individual parents and staff members on the hunt. Maria is assisting Jason with I.T, in particular with primary parents.
We are nearly ready to welcome classes of students onto the campus. The small numbers of students who currently come every day are familiar with these COVID-19 systems. When we have refined our processes for weeks 3 & 4 further details will be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, we all need to rug up for the cold. Please check that your child and teenager has warm and labelled clothing for indoors and outdoors. While we will use heating, all classrooms are required to be well ventilated, and many activities will be run outdoors until further health clearances are issued.
Finally, while we are all facing new challenges every day in our topsy turvy world, the children have been exceptional in their capacity to trust the adults in their lives and give these new ways a go. This is a tribute to their friendships, to you as parents and to our staff.
I would not want to be anywhere else or with anyone else, as the beauty of the people and our environment is our strength. May you enjoy connecting with a few loved ones this weekend.
This too will pass.
A Window with a View
Week 0, Term 2, 2020
We are looking forward to reconnecting as we welcome all families back to school for Term 2 on Tuesday. Being restricted in such a beautiful environment as the Mountains has had its benefits, and I have certainly walked more kilometres this month than any of the months previous. When we compare the air quality and beauty of Autumn to the thick smoke during Summer fires, the relief is expansive.
Over the two weeks since Term 1 ended, many developments and announcements have been made regarding schools and students’ education. The Premier and Prime Minister have clearly stated that they wish to see students returning to campus for classes, and advice has been received about the safety of students, staff and parents within a school environment during this pandemic. Our response to this is to proceed cautiously. We are aware that as we gradually move towards welcoming classes of students back to School, we also remain prepared to reverse this position if there is an outbreak in our area.
On Friday we communicated with families across all year groups via email and SkoolBag. Please become familiar with the content of these letters, timetables and handbook as we commence Term 2. We will continue to update you with developments as they are finalised.
Most cautiously, in order to keep you and our staff safe, we request that parents do not come on campus. There is a greater explanation of this in the communications we have emailed to our families.
May you stay well and keep in contact with us. There are special deliveries on their way for our primary students, and there’s a peek at what our staff have prepared for you below. Once again, I send thanks to all of our staff- teachers, assistants, grounds and maintenance, administration and executive teams, who have prepared well for this term.
In acknowledging that life is not all roses at present, Brene Brown puts it like this:
‘Hard days are real because this is hard.
Stay awkward, kind, and brave enough to rest and feel.’
Here we go into Term 2, awkwardly at times, with gusto, flexibility, resilience… and a cushion nearby!
A Window with a View
Week 10, Term 1, 2020
In Week 10 we settled into the rhythm of Remote Schooling, with its bumps, curves and straight patches. We have received some beautiful drawings, photos of maths activities, video clips of reading and exercising, as well as many work samples. The social distancing has started to be felt by many of our students and in primary, parents and students are making connections for playtimes or morning meetings.
How are our students?
As Kizz reported from her Year 7 class: ‘There was some honesty around how much students are missing their friends and social connection. It is clear, they are intuitive and comfortable (more than us adults often) with the online/technology stuff, but really missing their face-to-face relationships’.
Our Pathways Drama group this week learned that the Group Project 30% component of their HSC has been cancelled, and it landed like a brick. That, combined with the NSW Police Commissioner’s comment that we can expect this way of being to continue through to the end of June, brought tears to their eyes in our Google Meet. Kelly and the students sat through the sadness and discomfort before the black humour emerged. This is the stuff of theatre! Theatrical movements have emerged from times such as this. The Cabaret movement & Theatre of the Oppressed spring to mind. Our students are determined to create something in its place before the years end, so stay tuned.
Pupil free days
As you know, over the next four pupil-free days our teachers will all be working on reviewing program delivery and content for ‘Remote Schooling’ so that the education plans for Term 2 are sustainable and enjoyable. Future timetables will change to allow more time to settle into the work. The detail will become available to you as we finalise our plans, but this will require a few weeks of planning. Students can continue to work on their Education Plans themselves and teachers will be available to answer their or your emails from 3.00-4.00pm each day until Thursday. Friday is Good Friday and the first day of the school holidays. Thankfully the Easter break is nearly upon us so that we can rest and replenish for a short while.
We have seen constant communication between teachers and parents. This keeps us aware and alert as to what is needed for individual students. Thank you for your partnerships as we certainly cannot have eyes and ears in all places. The high school Learning Hub went online this week and many students have come into the Virtual Hub for additional support and guidance, as well as for human connection. Some further developments in primary this week include story times.
From Maria yesterday: ‘Well, it's technically not Friday, but my Saturday has been spent modifying a camera tripod to fit my iPad (preferred that to the digital camera), taking photos of every page of the book, recording voice over and tomorrow will present the book from the story time chair. The first one is always the hardest and it will get better but... can't wait until we can go back to loving books TOGETHER with the kids’.
Korowal Community Facebook group
Nathaniel Hunter has issued an invitation to all members of the Korowal community to join this group. It is there for members of the Korowal community to connect, share and request and render support. The invitation would have come to you though SkoolBag or by email. So families, staff and alumni are welcome to join.
The school holidays are usually something we look forward to. They bring a change to routine, a sense of adventure over planned escapes and trips away, catchups with family and friends and so forth. Of course, these holidays things will look and feel different. We recommend keeping some structure to the days at home, whether it is simply meal times together or board games of an evening. Talk about this as a family before the holidays are upon you and create a plan together. Committing to the expectation of shared time from the beginning will help to keep you connected.
As we head into the final week of term if you are concerned about your child’s wellbeing, please make contact with us.
Autumn is becoming chilly!
A Window with a View
Week 9, Term 1, 2020
We have all of our Remote Schooling Plans up and running in Week 9 where most students are working from home. On campus we supervise those children of workers who are doing the same Remote Schooling Plans as the students at home. Everything is all a bit discombobulating!
It is important to acknowledge that this style of learning does not suit everyone. This abrupt change, combined with the social distancing that many students are experiencing, may well be too much for them and also for you. Especially as you may now be working from home and needing to establish new routines and systems for accommodating work from home. Breathe…….
Many of us are grieving. We grieve that there is such an empty and rattling school which at other times is full of colour and life, laughter, squeals and smiles. We dearly miss our incidental chats and observations. These simple daily exchanges forge a sense of belonging. As many of you will be finding, the ways we communicate with each other while in the same physical workspace do not transfer to working from home. Just catching that person passing by to check in, to sense how they are going, to have a cheery exchange becomes more deliberate. We now more than ever are focussed on consciously reaching out to weave our community together.
If you and your child/ren are feeling overwhelmed at present and find the Remote Schooling Plans take you all to the next level of stress, pull back for a while and have a breather. We do not need to rush education. It is a lifetime endeavour. But we do need to nurture ourselves and each other. Keep in touch with your teachers.
Our psychological health is as important as our physical health. Enjoying each other’s company trumps all else when there is nowhere else to go. Expanding into the garden, digging, planting, listening to the birds, playing in puddles are all healthy endeavours. We can find peace in taking time to notice our beautiful surroundings and the wonderful transformation that we see in front of us. The landscape has transformed from parched dry earth to fertile green in a matter of weeks. We are still recovering from the intensity of the bushfire season, so we must be gentle on ourselves. It will take time for us to find our equilibrium.
When your children are ready to work on their education plans, incorporate them into the day. Routines at this time are such a significant stabiliser, creating structure in a chaotic world. Many students have embraced these, and are using the sample timetables and suggested work structures which we sent home for all classes. We have received some delightful feedback about students in Years 7-10 enjoying the Google Meets and morning meetings because they can fall back into routine and reconnect.
How are the senior students coping?
Our Years 11 and 12 students haven’t missed a beat. Many teachers comment that the students are more productive and engaged in conversation around their learning. Let’s hear from them.
Greg: “My main reflection is about my Pathways Standard English group. The whole class has been present for every online lesson, and they are completing the work and sending it to me each day. I'm really impressed with their diligence and the way they are adapting to the online delivery so well”.
Lisa: “Students have been so punctual to their online lessons. More punctual than on campus in some cases: Pathways students are engaging at a high level and sending through work regularly. Some more than others, but strong overall. Some quieter students are using the chat option and contributing in this way more than they would in class.
In my Yr. 8 English - online sharing of creative writing on Google doc has provided immediate feedback and implementation.”
Barb Hall: “Studies of Religion class had an online guest speaker on the topic of Buddhism. Feedback from the students the following day was unanimous in their appreciation of his talk, but also the breath mindfulness practice that he had taken them through. Some students had already used it to ease tension or to help them get to sleep after a day's study.”
Use of IT and exercise, Junior High
Striking a balance with the use of technology is at the forefront of our minds as we review this week. We are reminding students that our regular respectful and kind behaviours are expected, whether in a remote schooling class or on campus.
We are all aware that much more time is being spent in front of a computer.
Jason’s parting words to students at the end of his class were:
Jason: “There’s one last thing I need you to do. Students: What…? I need you to turn your computers off, stand up, and go for a walk!”
Kizz has uploaded many great exercising resources on to Google Classrooms for the students. These include a series of toilet roll exercises she has devised specifically for our current time.
“Kizz’s Toilet Paper Balance Challenge - appropriately COVID themed ;).
TP roll between the feet, how long can you hold the balance? I got to 30 secs then face planted!”
On Friday, Kizz reported back to us that Lola in Year 9 had been in touch with her throughout the day.
“Working very hard on 27 pages worth of impressive assignment! I know right! :)
I mentioned to her that it would be great to share part (or even all of her assignment) with our community as both an example of how hard some of the kids are working at home, but also as examples of how to stay moving and healthy in body and mind during this isolated time. She responded with:
Sure that would be great to share with families and staff, it's very important to keep fit. So yes, you can share it. I'm glad it's going well”.
Sharon: “Year 7 are working in Science on the water cycle. They submitted photos on creating a water cycle model at home. Science is happening for them”.
How are things with Primary?
Jodie of Kindy: “This is a new format for us all, particularly Kindy as we don't use any technology, but after my day today I am beginning to feel really connected with my families again and I can see that I will be very busy over the coming weeks. Today was a very special day for me!”
Anna of Year 2: “It is so nice to hear that students in year 2 have been arranging creative ways to stay in touch with their peers through online parties and gatherings! Parents have been sending inspiring and creative ways that they have been learning with their children – cooking, playing counting games outside and making patterns with leaves, writing about plants in the garden and making giant board games to practice number recognition!
We are lucky enough to be able to continue to exchange letters with our Year 2 Pen Pals in Western Australia and students have been sending me through photos of their creative letters, to send off. Such a lovely way to be able to stay connected and maintain their special friendships from afar!
More than anything, it excites me to hear that many students are continuing to find time to read lots of books and spend special time with their families”.
Karen of Year 3: “We are keeping in touch via email with all feedback being very positive and parents being appreciative of the home-school packs and ongoing support being provided. Some comments received so far include that they are getting into a daily rhythm of the learning timetable and how they are enjoying spending more time with their children such as shared reading time etc. Some creative ways that Year 3 students and their families are spending time together have included bike riding, writing letters to each other and delivering into letter boxes, cooking, gardening, dancing, creative artwork and painting a fence with a creative design!”
As you can see, there is a lot of industry. This is remarkable given that we have totally flipped our method of delivery for teaching and learning. We have plans to embrace this challenge and rewrite our programs to accommodate remote schooling delivery for term 2, just in case this extends for a prolonged period. It will take time, energy and commitment. However, given the talent on board, I have no doubt that we will only get better at what we do. I am privy to the conversations between staff and they are expansive, lateral, intelligent and creative thinkers! It really is a case of….watch this space! They are awesome.
Until next week,
A Window with a View
Week 8, Term 1, 2020
We have not experienced times like these previously, and as adults we are grappling with many competing dilemmas and decisions. Yet at school, the students bring us back to the here and now. Their laughter, cheekiness, effervescence and communications warm our hearts. They remind us to appreciate the beauty before us, and within each other- from a distance!
This week many students enjoyed being outdoors. Leaves are beginning to change, the grass and weeds are long and lush. Justin and our volunteer helpers embrace the battle to tame the growth and maintain our beautiful school. The bush regen group have cleared a section of the creek so we at last are able to see the frog eggs and hear the trickle. Thanks Otto!
Currently we welcome students to class each day. The decision to attend school or be at home under current circumstances is in your hands and some families have chosen to keep their children home for now. We have emailed high school students and parents the work programs for remote delivery. We have sent home folders with paper copies of stimulating activities and suggestions for all primary classes, apart from kindy. With kindy, we invite parents in so that we can talk through plans with parents on Tuesday morning after Morning Circle.
Nothing replaces having your class teacher by your side, but we will work together to do the best we can if schools are required to move across to remote or at home learning. No doubt you will have many questions, so now is the time to look at the parcels and emails we have sent out and then talk to us personally if you have queries.
We are not going anywhere. Whether on campus or at home, we will be advisers, guides, and available remotely. For Years 11 and 12, the teachers will run all classes remotely according to the school timetable. The trial day for this way of working is next Tuesday 24th when students will attend all classes from home.
We will all be taking the next stages of COVID-19 one step at a time. Importantly, we receive our advice from experts within their fields and we are not privy to the diverse factors that contribute to the decisions being made. As long as the request to keep schools open is in place we are open on campus. We take our advice from the Chief Medical Officer, the Health Department and the Federal Government. If there are changes announced we will switch to remote classes and programs as effectively as we can.
But as I write this I look forward to tomorrow and the joy the students and staff bring to each day. Please make contact if you need clarification about the current or the unknown. Your questions help us to clarify our thinking and our preparations.
How will we manage tomorrow? Well, I have bought chocolate for the staff! Our backbone of awesome strength.
A Window with a View
Week 7, Term 1, 2020
At times such as this, our mental health can take a battering. It is important to stay connected, to talk to friends, to express our concerns, to seek support if it is needed. If we cannot meet physically then relating through social media platforms, phone calls, or messaging can help us. We are social beings and need to belong. You may have seen the social media postings of streets in Italy ringing out with music. Neighbours are singing, playing piano accordions and tambourines, leaning out of their windows and standing on balconies of apartments with smiles and acknowledgement. They are lifting their spirits and connecting through music.
It’s time for us to think creatively and discuss our family plans together with our children. We did it for the bush fires, and we can do it for this. Maybe these questions can kick start a conversation:
- What are the rituals we can all establish for this time?
- What will bring the household together?
- How can we remain connected outside of the home?
- Where can we find or create humour?
- What projects can we undertake?
- It might just be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect.
Please continue to call or email the office to report absences and ask relevant questions. Efficient communication through this time is essential. As we settle into the weekend, we are hearing of further developments in the battle to contain COVID-19 from spreading so we remain light on our feet.
Communications - to keep you posted
Each week we have been emailing families our latest plans and again on Friday we sent an email to all families via SkoolBag App. We need to assume that all parents and carers are across the information contained within these emails, as we continue to refine our plans in the likelihood that a School closure may occur. Knowing who is coming to pick up your child if a sudden closure is declared is a high priority, for they will not be able to take public transport home. Ensuring that students have all of their equipment for work from home is going to be important as we will roll out programs of work for each stage of the School.
Community Picnic with Leanne Tobin is postponed
It will happen, even if at the end of the year! But for now, our community picnic scheduled for Friday 27th March has been postponed in response to the request to minimise social events at this time.
Kelly, Kim and our Pathways Drama students have worked hard to bring ‘Ruby Moon’ to an audience. We are still hoping to provide the opportunity for the performance to go ahead and have now reduced the audience size, however it is possible that the show may not happen this term. I want to take a moment to acknowledge that the students and Kelly received this information gracefully, with great regard for the current need to place the imminent health implications for everybody at the fore, while being quietly devastated at this development.
It is production week. The characters are formed, the shape of the play is familiar, the sound effects and lighting are being refined through the tech run, and it is all mapped out. So much work has gone into this. Original music and haunting sound effects have been created by Kim and his students. The ensemble of actors and techs is cohesive. In any other rehearsal period, this coming week would be the crescendo, for the energy builds to this week. The climax and ultimate reward is the giving and receiving between actors and audience.
The cry that ‘the play must go on!’ resounds in our ears, but unfortunately this situation is bigger than us. Whatever the next week brings, we are proud of you all. We will work together to resurrect Ruby Moon if our plans change course in week 8. Our greater focus as a community is to keep ourselves and each other well.
Our Remarkable Staff
From Kindy through to Year 12 our staff are all working around the clock to establish units of work that can be completed remotely. Our admin and finance staff are also establishing remote systems to support the efficient running of the school. It is a lot to undertake, but they bring singular focus to adapting programs and quickly adopting new technologies for this purpose. We are fortunate to have such great people pulling together for our students. Thank you all.
Using Google Meets
This week we have run a few trial sessions of remote learning through ‘Google Meets’ with our Pathways students and their teachers. Andy ran Biology from her classroom to two students at their homes, and Greg ran an English class from home to a classroom full of students at Korowal. Having the teacher and class at school and logging in from home was a breeze, according to Andy. The class demonstrated their experiments with the students accessing remotely, and they actively communicated throughout the experiment.
Running the remote classroom from home that was accessed by students at School was slightly more challenging. Students individually responded to an invitation sent by Greg and logged in through their computers. Greg then took his class. Whilst it was successful for the majority of students it highlighted that in the early stages of this form of delivery, the discipline and processes for this style of learning may take a few sessions to establish. It may need to be indirectly supervised at home. It is less dynamic than having a discussion in a classroom. However, if schools are closed for a period of time, we will need to continue delivery of HSC programs so that our students cover the course content. Classes will be delivered through ‘Google Meets’.
- We will be emailing families early in the week with overviews of our education plan for interrupted services. Each learning stage has a slightly different approach, depending on the developmental needs of the age group.
- We will also be sending home, hand delivered, our Strategic Plan booklet. We will send a SkoolBag message to alert you to ask your child for your copy. We are confident in it currency.
Important contacts to have at hand.
- Health Direct Hotline (COVID-19)
1800 022 222
Additional helplines available include:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 55 180
- BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636
- Mensline on 1300 78 99 87
That’s all for now.
‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’
A Window with a View
Week 6, Term 1, 2020
This week, Week 6 of Term 1, we share happy stories as we celebrate those rewarding moments when obstacles diminish and we exist in harmony. These anecdotes are by no means a summary of the week, but a snapshot of life at Korowal. We could all do with some good news stories at present.
Years 1 and 2
Our children have been learning about Folktales and Fables and identifying the morals in the stories. When Learning about the Fable, The Story of Johnny Appleseed, the Year 2 students insightfully and independently decided that the story is about recognising that kind acts can be completed without the need for praise or acknowledgement of those actions - being kind for the sake of kindness.
On the playground, students were overheard saying 'that's a really kind, Johnny Appleseed thing to do.'
Two students also surprised Anna, the Year 2 teacher, by staying back and cleaning their classroom during the break. When approached, they said "we just wanted to be like Johnny Appleseed. We saw it needed doing and so we did it - we don't want anything in return."
‘It's so lovely to see how Focus Study lessons can impact the students outside of the classroom!’ Anna.
Years 5 and 6
A few grateful parents of Years 5&6 students have shared their delight at seeing their children’s confidence blossoming through oracy activities. One commented that her daughter calls oracy time at home after dinner and then leads the family in generating stories and speaking without interruption at the table. They all settle in to listen to each other. The parents are observing an emerging confidence and connection that has never been present before.
Another parent commented that her otherwise shy child is conquering a fear of talking and openly sharing interests with the class. The rules are clear and it is a safe space, where people want to hear each other’s stories. This mother was interested in whether we are documenting the impact of this new program, as she believes it is life changing for her child.
Elise and Sarah lead oracy activities as part of their daily class routines and expectations. With clear ground rules established, everyone in these classes is engaged in the oracy program and together they are gaining confidence and skills in talk.
Years 7 and 8
‘Ridenation’ focusses on bike theory, safety, maintenance and riding. Even in the wet the program was run for Years 7&8 this week. Along with all of the PE programmed activities, Kizz is passionately introducing the students to a range of sports and experiences. The hope is that they will increase physical activity in their lives with confidence and skill.
Kizz has been encouraging us all to assist with supplying bikes for the Ridenation sessions, as many students do not own bikes, and a surprising number do not ride bikes. Year 7 had the wettest day. By Friday there were 15 bikes for our Year 8 students to share, a great result! Rain subsided for long enough that outdoor riding was possible.
There was jubilation when two students who had never ridden before conquered the challenge. Their surprise was met by their classmates and Kizz’s joy at seeing them overcome their reluctance and riding the bikes.
Equally celebratory was Year 10’s commitment to their lifesaving program as the sideways rain fell at Lawson pool. Not only did they win the swimming carnival, they turned up a week later with close to 100% participation in the cool outdoor pool. That is impressive!
Choir with Amelia
For two weeks now we have had Friday afternoon choir in high school. It is such a great experience. Currently fourteen students have learnt two songs with three to four harmony lines, and it sounds beautiful!
You will be aware that we emailed all families on Friday afternoon with information regarding the possible impact of COVID-19, communications and good hygiene practices. If this did not arrive in your inbox please contact the school office, or email us at email@example.com and we will ensure that we resend it.
This weekend is certainly board game weather! May be an idea to have a few at hand. Interestingly, an emerging theme throughout today’s musings is that none of the activities enjoyed by our students and staff involved electronic devices! They were about people enjoying people.
A Window with a View
Week 5, Term 1, 2020
At the end of Week 5, we farewell Summer and embrace Autumn. Year 5 received their new tangerine desks! This coming week we move into the hump week for Term 1 as we sit mid-term.
Generally, it is at change of seasons that we see an increase of flus and colds. For this reason, we emailed a Good Hygiene guide through Korowal SkoolBag to all families. We urge you to talk this through with your child/ren and practice the included suggestions at home. The more this is reinforced at home the easier it will be to have a unified approach at school.
TRAINS RETURN on Monday
We have been advised that on Monday, trains will again run through to and from Mt. Victoria. Students can therefore return to their regular travel routines. However, if you are unsure of processes and need to discuss this with us, please continue as you have been for the past few weeks and speak with the office to clarify arrangements. It may be particularly tricky for students who are more recent enrolments at Korowal.
On Thursday we held our High School Swimming Carnival at Lawson pool. The atmosphere was joyous and inclusive. Students donned wigs, kaftans, Hawaiian leis, and filled the space with a plethora of hats, umbrellas and shade houses. Every class entered into the carnival spirit. They were awesome. Kizz puts a lot of time and effort into organising and running this event, and the teachers support the students to galvanise their classes into action. Thank you all for creating such a happy and festive event. Thanks also to the support we had from the pool staff.
Congratulations to all students who attended and participated during the High School swimming Carnival. Every race was full of willing participants, despite the chilly start to the day. The sun came out for the high energy fun of the novelty events. All class groups were well represented but it was Year 10 this year who came away with a well deserved win!
Wayside “Side by Side” Conference - 7th Feb
“I found the speaker on LGBTQ informative and engaging. I also liked listening to Raja Yassine, a Muslim speaker who spoke about her positive experiences in her local community. She spoke of also dealing with her young son asking her “Am I a terrorist?” and how emotional that was for her.” Grace and Lisa
Following an excursion to the Wayside Chapel last year, Korowal was invited to send 2-3 students to its annual conference, “Side by Side”, at Sydney University. This is a forum where speakers from a variety of political and community-based sectors of our society come together to discuss how we can be a ‘better and more caring community towards a diverse population’.
Post event, our Year 10 students shared these reflections:
‘Hope doesn’t bring action, action brings hope’.
‘Respectful conversation is what is needed for compromising and meeting the needs of society, its youth and its different syndicates.’ Julia
Amongst the speakers at the conference were Malcolm Turnbull, Tim Costello, Emma Alberici, Cheryl Kernot, Lucy Clark and Raja Yassine.
The speakers integrated the challenges and differences of gender inequality, LGBT+ rights, Religious and Cultural expression, racism and more. They did so to convey the message that all of these notable matters fall under the category of individual expression and lifestyle choices.
‘We need tolerance for an inclusive, socially accepting society and this needs to be our goal as multicultural Australia’. Lisa
There were insights shared on how important it is to eat together, to sit together to really know another person.
Lisa reflected that our Year 10 students were mature and interested. They didn’t complain despite walking in pouring rain through the university and having to sit through some heavy financial and political talks. They were an excellent example of the compassion and care that is Korowal’. Lisa Taylor
Bikes Still Needed
As Years 7 and 8 commence their ‘Ridenation” program this week we are putting out a final call for bikes. If you can loan us a bicycle for a few weeks please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 47587466 asap.
Let’s embrace Autumn!
A Window with a View
Week 4, Term 1, 2020
Kindy, Years 1 and 2 are happy players. They did splosh about in the rain in Week 4 and were as content as pigs in mud. Meanwhile Year 7 students accepted physical challenges with abseiling, climbing, obstacle courses, the giant swing and more, while on camp. They endured having no electricity for their final day and sweated out the 33 degree heat in their cabins. Louise and Jason reported on the great teamwork and support the students offered each other, saying they were in good company for the three days. They also complimented the camp leaders at Yarramundi.
Bush Care Group
Thank you to the many people who signed up for the sustainability groups that we promoted at our class meetings. The first meeting for the Bush Care Group will be held this coming Monday evening at 5.00pm. If you are interested in participating in this area, you are most welcome to come along as Bec and the group begin planning. There is much we can do to improve the environment and attract fauna, especially around the creek.
Pre-emptive work by Alex and Justin saved classrooms from flooding
With the very heavy rain and storms that we have experienced over the past few weeks, the forward thinking of our maintenance team saved classrooms from flooding. The work Alex and Justin do for us, their energy and commitment to supporting us all, is second to none. It is rare to have two people whose combined skill set and aptitude cover the breadth of tasks that present themselves- especially in a school with old buildings and rambling grounds. Their capacity for problem solving saves us time and money. We are most grateful!
In our commitment to being sustainable wherever possible, Alex is currently recycling the science labs’ desks. Having ordered heavy duty desktops, she is replacing the old with the new, reusing the metal legs and smartening the labs. The chewing gum on the flipside of the old desktops may date back a fair few years, but going forward we know that today’s students are far more sensible with binning their gum. Especially when we have a ‘no chewing gum’ code!
This coming Thursday we have our high school swimming Carnival at Lawson pool. Parents and friends are welcome to come as spectators, support the students and see what makes our carnival unique. Sport is the winner as we engage in races against time and races for fun. Everyone can participate at some level, whether as time keeper, runner, or in the novelty races. All students from Years 7-10 are required to attend and participate in some capacity.
We are pleased to announce that we have two high school students, Darcy in Year 7 and Connor in Year 12, representing Korowal at the Western Area Swim Meet Qualifier in Orange on March 12th. We wish them well.
Acapella Choir in High School
This is new for Korowal. On Friday we will welcome Amelia Nell of ’Vocalocity‘ to create a choir in our high school. Students may self-select to join this. Choir will occur on Friday afternoons at co-curricular time, commencing this coming week. Any students wanting to come along and have a sing are welcome. Amelia works in a number of schools and has a great reputation. Her choirs have received awards in many eisteddfods. You may have heard her acapella choir with beautiful arrangements and harmonies at the Leura Festival last year. Please speak to Kim or Bec if you are interested in joining.
Keep well as the season is changing
As we enter the middle weeks of term, and the end of Summer, we are aware that there is a flu going around. Please keep your child/ren home if they are unwell. Given that many of us had a stressful Summer break, we may be more susceptible to colds and flus at this time. It was challenging to secure relief teachers last week when several teachers went down at once.
As we have now completed all of our class meetings and give thanks again for your support. We can announce that our return to school picnic, delayed by the rain, is scheduled for Friday 27th March from 3.30-5.30. Leanne Tobin, a Darug woman, artist and playwright, will be our guest at this event. A separate post will be sent to you closer to the date.
We are still calling for a loan of bikes for our Years 7 & 8 students participating in ‘Ridenation’ in the first and second weeks of March. Please contact Kizz, or the school office if you can help us.
May you enjoy the last week of Summer.
A Window with a View
Week 3, Term 1, 2020
In Week 3, our Kindy children completed their first full week of big school. For their first weeks, rain has prevented them from exploring the grounds, but this is about to change. Jodie, Clare and Anna, our Kindy, Year 1 & 2 teachers, have made the decision that the students need to be able to splash about in the wet. Enough indoor play! They just need to have a set of wet weather gear at School, complete with gumboots. Parents will have received a message requesting that spare sets be left at school, with names attached. Also, if your child has outgrown raincoats, gumboots, overalls and you can part with them, we will happily receive them. Let’s hope that the next week brings peals of laughter as they splosh about.
Year 7 Camp
In spite of the forecast for this coming week, Year 7 will venture off to camp at Yarramundi on Monday, so the same recommendations for rain gear apply for them. As we discussed at the class meeting, the activities are varied and the centre can rearrange the schedule according to the day. Spare shoes and clothing are essential for comfortable evenings.
Our Stand-Up Comedian
On Friday at lunch time the high school students and staff were treated to a stand-up comedy routine by Zac, in Year 9. It was delightful. It was a courageous and sophisticated act. Congratulations to Zac for a funny, witty and entertaining piece which was very well received by the entire audience. Maybe this is the start of lunchtime acts? We hope so!
Also, this week Neill Duncan brought us the news that there are now so many high school students wanting to be in the Jazz Band ‘Neill’s Armee’ that we will need to start a junior band! Our response without a doubt……go for it, Neill!
Can you loan us a bike?
Kizz has again been successful in securing a Sporting Schools Grant ‘to access specialised sports services as part of our PE program in Term 1, 2020. On this occasion we have secured funding to be part of an exciting new bike riding program. Our years 7 + 8 students will have access to specialised bike riding tuition, on-site and within the surrounding neighbourhood during their scheduled PE lessons in Weeks 6 + 7 of this term’, as quoted from Kizz’s letter to families.
However, many students do not have bikes and we are wondering if any of our families have bicycles that you could drop off at school for students to use under supervision over the two weeks. They need to be in good riding condition. They would be locked up for safe keeping during this time. If so, please let the office know and Kizz will be in contact with you.
Thank you to the high school parents and carers who came along to our class conversations this week. It is great to catch up with you and receive your feedback. We have now almost completed these, with just two remaining. Year 10’s meeting will be held on Tuesday 18th at 5.30pm and Years 11 and 12 (Pathways) at 6.30pm on Thursday 20th February.
Enjoy the calm,
A Window with a View
Week 2, Term 1, 2020
We paddled our way out of our first complete week of school for 2020, and we continue to
be saturated this weekend. So far today, we hear that the School is standing up well to the deluge, with the exception of the Pathways common room.
Take extra care
As we all return to our routines tomorrow please take extra care in and around the carpark, hold your children’s hands and look out for little ones who may have made a dash for the car. Arriving a little later for pick up will also keep traffic flowing so please wait until 3.30pm or later for high school pickup in the turning circle.
Also, send students in both primary and high school with wet weather gear. The bus stop does not have a shelter and computers and books in backpacks are vulnerable.
Thank you to all of our parents who have attended the primary class meetings over the past week. The connection between parents and teachers, having everyone in the same place to hear the one consistent message, is greatly appreciated. Thanks to our teachers for their attention. dedication, care and open communication.
We understand that it can be difficult to leave the children to be at the meetings. We have been asked if we could skype or use a social media platform to include those who cannot make it, and we did so at one meeting. It brings to the fore the reason we provide these meetings at the start of the year, so I will share our thinking on this:
Relationships and Community
The opportunity for sharing information that directly relates to your child’s class, and for us to receive questions and feedback from you, really only happens at the start of the year. We place such value on this that we have the class teacher, coordinators, deputy and principal at the meeting. This is where the Korowal story for the new year is told. It is the collective voice that is heard. There is an exchange of ideas, and we sit in each other’s company. We belong to the group.
There are currently few traditions that we have for coming together at Korowal. We do not have big assemblies, award nights and prize giving ceremonies, nor do we have many formal gatherings such as dinners. We do have a class meeting and a picnic at the start of the year. Hopefully we will continue to have a Jazz night to celebrate our end of year.
We place great value on the relationships we develop and the conversations that we share. Written communications from the school, such as this, are one way. So are the class newsletters that you receive. Cuppa under the tree is an opportunity to stop and touch down, ask questions, get to know each other. It is a pleasant yet more individual and informal arrangement.
We are keen to continue to meet you at the class meetings and strengthen our connections, and for you to meet each other. We have many new families and they want to know the community. They want to meet the parents of the children that will become friends with their child, exchange contact details and so on. That said, we are open to reviewing and discussing the best model for class or stage meetings going forward. If there is a way to foster greater networks, we would welcome hearing about them.
High School Class Meetings
In the meanwhile, High school class meetings are yet to be held. They are in the evenings this coming Tuesday for Year 8, Wednesday for year 9 and Thursday for Year 7, plus the following Tuesday 18th for year 10 and Thursday 20th for Years 11 and 12. We look forward to being with you then.
Cuppa Under the Tree will be held on Wednesday morning if the rain clears!
Have a great week mucking about in the rain!
A Window with a View
Week 1, Term 1, 2020
We had a beautiful start to the School year on Thursday. There were smiles all round, sharing of stories, welcoming of new families and deep outward breaths as sighs of relief that we have returned to routines. It is possible to settle once again.
Thank you for placing your trust in us as educators and mentors.
First Aid and Child Protection updates
For the two weeks prior to the children returning to School staff were planning, meeting, setting up, and refreshing our training. We had first aid training in CPR, Epipen use and snake bite response. Korowal now has a Defibrillator in the front office.
We also had a Child Protection Training workshop presented by the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) Wellbeing staff. In this confronting presentation, we were again reminded to remain alert to indicators when keeping our children safe. We feel it is important to share a summary of this with you.
Above all, to listen to our children; believe them; take action; notice any changes in their behaviour; trust your instinct.
The statistics for child abuse are still high and many incidents are going unnoticed. Often it is not only the child who is being groomed, but the family as well. Be alert.
Working with Children Check
All adults employed at Korowal are required to have a Working with Children Check (WWCC) clearance from the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian. This checks for any criminal charges for offences against children. All parents who are volunteers at School must also apply for the Volunteer WWCC, at no cost. Our aim is that all parents at school have clearance in the volunteer or paid worker categories.
Class and Stage Meetings
These will be held in the evenings over the next two weeks. Please come along and meet the staff and each other, introduce yourself to new families, hear about the year ahead and have any questions addressed.
Novel Corona Virus
Please keep an eye out for the regular updates we send from the Department of Health to our families. The current situation is that if you, a member of the family or a house mate, have returned or will be returning from China or Hong Kong, that you self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the day of arrival. In a domestic situation, children and/or partners of a recently returned traveller cannot attend school for the 14 - day period as stipulated. By the department of Health. Should this impact you, please keep us informed by calling the school office on 4758 7466.
Our Canteen is open from Tuesday
Steph will be tempting us with tasty sensations again from Tuesday so consult the menu that was sent through Skoolbag and place your orders on a bag or container on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Our delivery service My School Lunchbox, is available Mondays and Fridays by ordering through the following site. www.myschoollunchbox.com.au
Thankfully we have had three further classrooms fitted with reverse cycle air conditioners over the holidays. Now to go solar!
Have a great week,