A Window with a View
Week 9, Term 3, 2020
Friday was a beautiful day for being outdoors. Primary students spent the whole day attending ‘Bush School’. A variety of activities had been organised, including bushwalking, seed planting, weeding, playing with collage creations, weaving vines and flowers into armguards and crowns, collective chalk drawings of rainbow serpents, plants, beetles, mandalas. They talked with their classmates of how and when they have ever been awestruck by nature. The children were observably immersed in wonder, very chatty, and developing new skills throughout the day.
From Talulah: ‘This Bush School felt different to usual, with COVID safety keeping us in our class groups and with our class teacher for the day. Activities needed to be cleaned down or single-use. It felt a little quieter and slower, with a focus on the smaller details of our environment. The skies were grey, with occasional light rain which didn't bother the children.'
These changes brought new experiences. Teachers commented throughout the day on how much they enjoyed experiencing the activities with their class group, and the children connected further through their shared outdoor learning. Watermelon slices, prepared and served by Trish, provided a vibrant pop of colour and taste to the day.
Bush School always inspires, engages, surprises and exhausts us. We are so fortunate to be able to learn and grow in Korowal's beautiful gardens and bush, which will always be traditional Durag and Gundungara land- thanks, respect ’.
As one Year 4 student commented at the end of Friday, ‘There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like!’
Graduation and marking the end of school days
In Week 9 we celebrated our senior students’ completion of their Trial Exams. Year 12 are now one step closer to completing the HSC. With these behind them, they were ready to engage in conversation around what they would like to have as an interim farewell. They have opted for a series of activities with the staff and Year 11, or their final day next Friday.
Friday 25th September is their last day of school. In their honour, Louise will treat us to a slideshow. As their Year Coordinator for four years, Louise documented their journey. The students also compiled time capsules when they were in Year 7, and these will be returned to them. We will share a COVID-safe lunch, then play softball with staff v’s Year 12, as is our Korowal tradition.
Then in Term 4, at the completion of their HSC exams, we will hold a more formal Graduation Ceremony on Friday 13th November. We will update parents on the arrangements early next term. Our hope is that we can accommodate a restricted number of you on site, and live stream to friends and family.
The last week can be tiring
We hope that you have been able to relax and enjoy the weekend as we prepare for our final week of school. We regularly notice that the primary children are stretching their energy to remain focussed and engaged at this stage of the term, and tolerances can become frayed. Please encourage your child to take any little concerns that may arise to their teachers for further support if they are befuddled as to what to do.
A Window with a View
Week 8, Term 3, 2020
In Week 8 we were delighted to receive extraordinary news.
In the Week 7 posting, I mentioned that four of our Drama students had performed their HSC Monologues for the HSC Drama Examiners that week. This week we were notified that all four had been nominated for On Stage, the showcase for exemplar HSC Drama student works. This is no easy feat, and, in a COVID environment where they were robbed of audiences. It is a great accolade to their teacher Kelly, as well as the individual students- Domingas, Savannah, Jacinta and Connor. We are so proud of you all.
From here, the On Stage committee will view videos of all shortlisted students then create a program to showcase the diversity and unique creativity of the year. These pieces would usually then be performed in February at the Seymour Centre. Whether that will be possible for 2021 is yet unknown. Whether the students are selected for the final showcase is therefore yet unknown, but their nominations are well worth celebrating. Bravo and well done to you all!
These days when the weather permits, Morning Circles in Primary are conducted outdoors. They may also include a walk in our natural surroundings. Kindy have been observing the grand and the miniscule.
From Jodie and Kindy:
Here are some photos from our bush walks this week. We spotted two red triangle slugs and Aria found a stray branch with eggs (maybe butterfly eggs) on it. Aria carefully carried it back to the classroom and the rest of the Kindy class collected items from nature to create a habitat for them. We then found a box and made a home for them until they hatch. Photos are attached.
Usually we would be welcoming next year’s Kindy and their families into the School from mid-year. They would attend Kindy Orientation sessions and meet the current Kindy class and their teachers. This year we have needed to come up with a creative solution to the fact that we are not able to invite them onto campus.
Last week we filmed our current Kindy children showing their class and School to Kindy 2021 families. The students took them on a tour of their classes, grounds and activities. It is currently in final edit, but having seen a sneak preview of the film so far, I feel it will touch the hearts of all. Thanks so much to Kindy parents and students for consenting to participate in this. You will soon get to see your children in action at School, something that you have been recently separated from due to the current restrictions.
Soap and Thermometers
We appreciate you communicating with us regarding these concerns. We have received a few emails and had a few chats about the reactions some children are having to frequent soap use. The liquid soap in the bathrooms is not currently free from Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS) and Paraben and can cause redness and flaking skin. We now have an alternative in place and are emailing families about this, and our plans for the future.
As with the soap, we have received communications from some parents regarding the use of contactless thermometers. This is a more challenging matter to resolve. There is information circulating that the infa-red rays from contactless thermometers may cause damage. However, there is no scientific evidence of this that we have been able to locate. There is concern circulating on facebook, but that is different from scientific fact. We will continue to research whether there is evidence of harm being caused by using infa-red contactless thermometers. Further information about this is also being emailed to families.
As there is now a case of COVID in a local school we are reluctant to change our temperature checks, for the safety of all.
Again, thank you all for your support and understanding as we continue to respond to ever changing circumstances.
A Window with a View
Week 7, Term 3, 2020
A WINDOW WITH A VIEW
In Week 7, we saw Year 6 produce the most beautiful children’s story books, then read them to kindergarten, a captivated audience. Amongst the themes they wrote of kindness, and the illustrations complemented the narratives beautifully. Year 6 also buddied with Year 2 in accessing research for their focus study. They are looking at life 100 years ago.
We Learn Kindness Together
Every day, in many ways, we witness our values being lived in the role modelling and kindness shown across the school. Being constantly in relationship with others, learning, exercising and understanding the subtleties of social interactions, can be both confusing and confronting at times. In situations where things go wrong there is one simple question that can make a world of difference. Was that kind? So often this simple question cuts to the chase and allow us to resolve matters, remembering that mishaps or mistakes can be our greatest learning opportunities. As teachers we get to work alongside the students and assist them to develop relational skills and understanding of themselves. This is such a precious position to be in, and one which we highly value. It reminds us to be kind!
Pay it Forward
With only one more week left, Year 8 students are knitting scarves, beanies and socks for the Pay It Forward Organisation in Penrith. They hope to have 15 bags of donations available to 15 families by the end of the week. All donations are welcome.
DRAMA… but without an Audience
Our Pathways Drama students held their final preview for a few of us on Tuesday, then performed their HSC Drama monologues to the examiners on Thursday. The student’s monologues were deeply personal and finely crafted. As the performers connected with the content, the very small audience was moved to tears on several occasions. Focussed time, consideration, courage and effort has been brought to each Individual Performance project. Thank you for bringing these stories to us Connor, Domingas, Jacinta and Savanna.
Those who didn’t choose to develop Monologues for their Individual Project opted for scriptwriting and Directorial Concept. On Tuesday we are also treated to a script reading of a short play by James. The characters are mostly septaugenarians. The audience witnessed the tension between friends when they decide to play a prank on another. The moral dilemma unfolds- do the friends watch on knowing it will cause pain, or step out from the group to prevent harm and dob in a mate? Do they support the truth or enjoy revenge? There will be inevitable consequences either way! While exploring many human foibles, the play was both funny and sharp-witted, gentle and uplifting.
Xavier then graced the audience with his Directorial Concept for a contemporary production of Antigone. Set on a white stage, Xavier’s concept includes light-play and shadow. He also incorporates a comprehensive soundscape, with each character represented by an instrument, and the musical score accentuating tension, the rise and fall of status and power. When produced, the audience would be immersed in a sensory theatrical experience. As this stage the project is a directorial concept, presented as a pitch for a production, with all supporting design ideas, character ideas, research and so on. It would be great to see this unique concept realised on stage one day.
Both this project and James’ play have been submitted as Individual Drama Projects and sent to the HSC Marking Centre. Great works chaps!
All off our senior students will sit their HSC Trial exams on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Our IT Multimedia students have now submitted their HSC Major Work and we are eager to see these after marking.
Our Visual Arts students are finalising their Body of Works for HSC submission. We will see if a virtual exhibition is possible.
Along with their teachers the students continue to work with diligence, avoiding the distractions of COVID for as long as is possible. We think you are awesome!
May we all enjoy the Spring days ahead of us.
A Window with a View
Week 6, Term 3, 2020
A Window with a View
In Week 6 we have passed the mid- term hump, we are entering a change of season and we have noticed that the students seem to be tired. We miss having assemblies to celebrate their achievements and audiences to entertain. However, now that we have permission from families to film some student activities and share them with you, we will be able to reach across the divide.
On Friday evening the first live stream occurred when families and friends saw the HSC Drama students perform in real time, with students in the drama space beamed into their homes. They did a terrific job under extraordinary circumstances. Congratulations to the students, and to Kelly for remarkable facilitation. We wish them all the best for their HSC performance exam this coming week.
As the weather is conducive to being outside, we highly recommend that the students bring balance into their days by switching off and stepping out into the natural light for periods of time after school.
In these COVID times, there are many health experts highlighting the importance of being in nature to reduce stress levels, improve physical and mental health, absorb vitamin D, and just reconnect with oneself. We all experience that it can be difficult to remain clearheaded, or concentrate for long periods of time, without some break. It is ok to do nothing. Time spent on devices studying, producing work, gaming etc. is best complemented with time outdoors. It doesn’t take long to achieve a change in perspective, restoration and replenishment.
Some of the recommendations for maintaining mental and physical wellbeing include moving from strong to soft focus, breathing fresh air, observing the surroundings and feeling comfortable in the setting.
Natural light also assists with the production of melatonin, the sleep inducer.
‘The more time teens spend in front of an electronic device, especially in the evening, the greater the delay in the release of melatonin, making sleep a challenge. They may experience problems falling asleep as well as difficulty staying asleep. As a result, these teens sleep fewer overall hours; over time, that sleep deprivation can lead to symptoms of depression;’ Sleepfoundation.org. July, 2020.
Sir Ken Robinson
Early this week we heard that Sir Ken Robinson had died. The world has lost a great educator and philosopher. For Korowal, Ken’s insistence on the importance of creativity in education has been significantly influential on, and reassuring of, our practices and pedagogy.
‘You can be creative in math, science, music, dance, cuisine, teaching, running a family, or engineering. Because creativity is a process of having original ideas that have value. A big part of being creative is looking for new ways of doing things within whatever activity you're involved in.’ Sir Ken Robinson
We will write more on the significance of Ken Robinson’s work over the coming weeks and you can catch his Ted Talks on YouTube.
Now, it’s time for me to switch off and enjoy the remainder of the light!
We look forward to another week at Korowal.
A Window with a View
Week 5, Term 3, 2020
It was just another ordinary week. Mostly we gathered at the front of the school and welcomed each other, except when it was freezing cold and windy. Most days the primary children ran past us saying ‘hi’ or ‘good morning’ in a rush to see their friends or escort each other to have their temperatures taken. Creating landscapes of colour and with sequence imprinted bags, hats and jackets, they collected their backpacks and library bags, called out ‘see you later’ to their parents, and were off, connecting and imagining.
We rode with the blows of cancelled singing and recorder, cancelled vocal groups, cancelled formal and graduation ceremonies, cancelled audiences for trial drama exams. As staff were about to commence Friday shared lunches with people bringing in complementary dishes, this too was cancelled. Staff meetings moved to online meetings again.
Not to be deterred, we have replaced these activities with alternatives. All these new impositions highlighted the positives that exist for us. WE ARE GRATEFUL that we are still at school, where we can laugh and communicate directly, the children can socialise and learning is happening under the teachers’ guidance.
BEAUTY is generated and appreciated each day
Our HSC students can conduct experiments, rehearse group and monologue performances, generate artworks, engage in targeted learning conversations, make cups of tea, or play handball between classes. We have lessons indoors and in our grounds. Adam Goode’s story in the ‘Final Quarter ‘is the focus of important critical discussion in junior high. Kim has introduced composition and body percussion to his primary music classes. Neill continues with the jazz bands, minus the saxophones.
Then with the weekend came the snow, the icing on the cake. This provided both excitement and hush for us over the weekend.
As we continue the primary parent/teacher conversations on Monday in Week 6, this is our way of sharing what we see and know about your children and their learning. It as close as we can get to welcoming you into the classrooms at present, so we hope that you are all able to book the online sessions.
Yet again, I thank you for our community support in keeping everyone well, and safe.
Sending smiles across the space,
A Window with a View
Week 4, Term 3, 2020
At the end of Week 4, we highlight our marvellous Year 12 students. They, along with Year 11, are entering their final weeks of classes before commencing their HSC exams in October.
Traditionally, at the end of term 3 we would hold a Graduation Assembly for Year 12. Parents and guests of the graduates would join the school to celebrate this rite of passage with speeches, photographic mementoes and song. We would present Certificates of Achievement and Korowal Candles. These gifts are always personalised and decorated by Year 6, then presented to each graduate by our kindergarten children. Finally, we would be both entertained and teary as the graduating students made their thank you speeches.
In the current COVID climate, assemblies can only be held for 15 minutes and cannot include guests or family members. We met the students on Wednesday to discuss how to conduct both the Assembly and the Formal in 2020. The Year 12 Formal would usually follow the HSC exams as the final farewell. Students, parents and staff would share an afternoon or evening at a formal venue, and launch our graduating students into the adult world. Unfortunately, at present this too is not feasible.
After discussing the limited options, the students made the decision to postpone both of these celebrations until after the HSC exams. We may have more options available to us at that time and they are keen to include parents and friends in whatever capacity is possible.
I wish to acknowledge the common sense that was brought to this conversation and the absolute acceptance of the restrictions we are working within. These students are under greater pressure than we have seen in previous years, and yet they remain focussed. They are determined to enjoy their last weeks of school, and to wait and see if restrictions lift by mid-November. They are impressive, and it was unnerving to witness their resolve. All they ask for at the end of term is the student/staff skit and softball match. Hopefully we will still be able to manage these.
Our new classroom has been installed
On Saturday we received our new classroom. It will commence its days as our primary art room, and we will expand its uses as we assess our ongoing needs. The plumbing is still to be connected and stairs to be fitted, but it is well on the way to being ready for classes.
We have a few pictures to show the scale of operations that we witnessed.
Parent Teacher Interviews - Primary and High School (Yrs 7 - 10)
We are delighted to be welcoming you into conversations about your child’s learning.
High School teachers will continue into their second round of sessions this coming Wednesday using the ZOOM platform. We apologise that there were some hiccups in the first round last Tuesday and we hope these have been rectified. If you are unsure of how to work with this new mode of meeting, please call the school office for help.
Primary teachers will commence their conversations this week using the GOOGLE Meet platform.
Both primary and high school details for bookings were sent home through the SkoolBag App, and email. Did you receive it the email and have you got the links?
Once you have followed the link to make your bookings, a separate meeting link will be emailed home, so please check spam or junk mail folders if you are expecting, but have not received that link.
We could talk forever. However, in the interest of all, please observe the time limits. You can always request to book a further meeting at another time if you wish to have a long conversation or network meeting.
It is a great joy to welcome the students into the school every day. We are so grateful that our schools remain open. Thank you again for helping to keepus all COVID Safe.
A Window with a View
Week 3, Term 3, 2020
This week we take a moment to reflect back to you what are we noticing at School. As you are not able to enter the premises, you may be hankering for a glimpse or a snapshot of the current state of affairs.
Where are we up to? Are we ok? What are the indicators? What is happening beyond the turning circle?
Within the school grounds and classrooms there is a hive of industry, creativity and learning, with laughter, friendship and energy.
Although you do get to glimpse the casual happiness of the children gathering on the front lawn, the noticeable change is that we do not get to greet parents. You cannot experience the beauty of the school- see the children’s work, feel the ambience, witness the joy and so on. Inside it all looks pretty much as it did at the start of the year, with space maintained where it is possible
In High School
While we share spaces, the flow of connection is challenged as social distancing creates separation - between desks, queueing at canteen etc. We trip the COVID shuffle as we navigate the pathways, entrances and exits with 1.5m distance.
For the Staff
Our usual rituals and communing is interrupted by the need to restrict numbers within a room, like the staff common room for example. When there is sunshine, we collect at a distance in the courtyards and share experiences and stories. When it is wet and cold, we cannot gather. We continue to celebrate the joys and successes, and share concerns when things are not going smoothly, when a child falls and is injured, when an ambulance is called for a student, when asthma attacks are serious, or a student is in great discomfort, when we receive a distressed call from a parent. The teachers, assistants and admin staff treat the child or student as if they were their own. The care is phenomenal. As parents do not get to witness this, it is important to share with you how extraordinary the care is. When we know what is happening, the team responds. Be it Deb or Cassie, Caroline or Jess, Sarah FW or Talulah, Bec, Trish, Chris, Nathaniel, Helen, Robyn, or any other staff member, the child/student is the most important event of the moment.
There is no doubt that the changes we have needed to implement for COVID are an added burden. A cautionary awareness enters the consciousness when in company, and we move meetings outdoors wherever possible. Teachers, admin staff and students work within our guidelines to keep themselves and others safe. To date, this has been very successful.
Throughout these interruptions to regular routines, the teachers are holding the students to our usual standards and teaching to the curriculum. We acknowledge the circumstances, yet we do not allow them to excuse us from accepting the challenges. We are all in this together. This is the nurturing of resilience.
We recognise that the lack of incidental connection, of seeing your child’s workbooks on display and having a casual chat with the teacher, has been difficult for many of you. From next week, we are entering into a few weeks of feedback conversations with parents through our parent/teacher meetings. While we crave the return to our routine connections and hope that this limitation is only temporary, regrettably, we are still needing to operate within the ongoing health restrictions, and therefore all meetings will be conducted on Zoom. The booking links have been emailed to families in high school for Week 4, for this coming Tuesday evening. The second alternative session will run on Wednesday of Week 5.
Primary meetings will also be held from Week 5, and information about these sessions will be posted this week. We had really hoped that by this stage of the term we could run them on site, but sadly this is not the case. We will do our best to ensure that the quality of information shared is not compromised and we thank you for your understanding in this.
As the snow is falling outside my window, and I am grateful for the beauty that surrounds me, I leave you with this reflection:
“When our eyes are graced with wonder, the world reveals its wonders to us. There are people who see only dullness in the world and that is because their eyes have already been dulled. So much depends on how we look at things. The quality of our looking determines what we come to see.”
― John O'Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace
A Window with a View
Week 2, Term 3, 2020
We have been back for two weeks now. The School feels settled, and we are so happy to be on campus. Thank you all for keeping us COVID safe. The students are familiar with the routines of daily temperature checks on arrival, handwashing before class and eating, and cleaning their areas after use. We appreciate that we have not had children with colds at school as we aim to keep staff and students well.
How do we encourage high school students to go to the library, reserve books, read books, discover the magic of fiction? This has been a matter of discussion in high school for a number of years. We noticed that students were reluctant to read their English novel texts- preferring to seek an audio book or film. In the library, Maria noticed the drop-off from students as they left primary and continued into high. Plus, the increased use of I.T. both within and outside of school. Lisa Harding became our sleuth, investigating how other schools were handling this concern. She was introduced to ‘Renaissance Reading’. Intrigued as to its success, Lisa H and Kelly attended an in-service and were impressed with the feedback from all the schools involved. After a whole staff discussion, we decided to embark on this program. Lisa H, Kim and Maria organised staff training and arranged the internal systems to support the program. We now have high school staff trained in its use and monitoring systems and extend thanks to you all for embracing this, and assisting with the assessing and implementation of the program.
This term we have launched 20 minutes of reading a day, placed between periods 3&4 in high school. Students have been assessed for their reading stages and are encouraged to monitor their reading levels to track their progress. In the main, they have accepted the challenge. Regardless of the reading stage, be it with chapter books, young adult fiction, graphic novels, or non-fiction, the students have a regular time for reading each day. Years 11 and 12 students are using this time to read texts. The recommended book titles and levels connect with our library stock, and Maria continues to work around the clock to code the library for this.
Two weeks in, the anecdotal feedback is positive. We are impressed with the students’ acceptance of this initiative. A further update will be provided by the end of term when we will publish student’s thoughts about this program.
As many of you know, we have been bringing focus to the spoken word as well as the written. It is possible for a day or two to pass without every child being heard. Dialogic teaching encourages collective thinking and problem solving as teachers pose questions for discussion and reporting. It encourages active participation.
At our pupil free day at the start of this term, we introduced staff to further ‘groupwork routines’, and applied them to our SWOT analysis on remote learning. These new ways of engaging with each other through group roles are being applied throughout the school this term.
Imagine our delight when on Friday, Elise, our Year 6 teacher, was effusive with praise for her students. She has been steadily developing oracy skills with them, and teaching them how to either build on each other’s ideas or to respectfully present an opposing opinion. She had applied one of the exercises we had used as a staff. According to Elise, the level of listening, reporting, clarifying and extending of ideas was beyond her imaginings for a Year 6 group. When she shared this with them, the students asked if they were better than the staff. Not being competitive, Elise commented, ‘I wouldn’t say better, but certainly up there!’ But she did wonder! Such are the joys of working with children.
Year 10 Prepare for Senior Study
This week, following on from the Pathways Virtual Information Session held last term, Year 10 were introduced to the subjects on offer for their senior study. Our Year 11 Courses commence half way through term 4, and time is fleeting. Teachers discussed the course content and project options of the various English, Mathematics, Music, Drama, Visual Art, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, I.T. Multimedia, Business Studies, Modern History, Studies of Religion and Society & Culture courses with them.
Next week, students will submit their considerations. They will then meet with the Pathways Coordinator/s to discuss their pattern of study for Years 11 and 12. Most students in Year 10 can’t wait to commence their subjects, as the only mandated subject is English. The other five subjects (or 10 units) are of their choosing.
While we still cannot have parents on campus, we are doing our best to keep you updated on school life. We encourage you to make contact with your child’s Class Teacher or Year Mentor if you have specific questions or concerns.
In high school, parent teacher sessions will occur in weeks 4 and 5. We had hoped to have these on campus but unfortunately the health recommendations prohibit this. They will now operate through Zoom and Caroline will send further information to families about days and times this coming week.
Despite the COVID restrictions we currently operate within, may you enjoy the beauty and people that surround you.
A Window with a View
Week 1, Term 3, 2020
Week 1 of Term 3 went smoothly. After her first day at Korowal, one new kindy child
told her dad that she had ‘the best day of her life’. While there is a myriad of voices,
and first day experiences vary, I enjoyed hearing this!
On walking through the school, I witness joy more than any other emotion. Listening
to the outdoor morning circles is the highlight of each day.
This week, Kim introduceda new song to years 3 and 4. As he sang, he accompanied himself on the accordion. The students were totally engrossed and the adults were struck by the beauty of the occasion. Music, song, nature, children, all in harmony. It was breathtaking. What would we do without the arts?
While we hope that we will not return to remote learning any time soon, we have
commenced reviewing our response to COVID-19 and our educational offerings to
students from K-12. Our staff spent two days undertaking a SWOT analysis before
term commenced. We will now be inviting our parents to complete a survey for us, as
well as our high school students. Primary teachers will address this slightly differently
with their classes. We are keen to review our learning programs, as creating and
running remote learning is one thing, but setting it up and rolling it out in response to
a pandemic is another thing altogether.
We look forward to the day when we can again welcome parents and volunteers
onto campus. So that you can catch a glimpse of what is happening in setting up a
new primary art space, we have some photos to share. The new road to access the
Queens Road exit was laid on Friday and the classroom will be delivered in the next
few weeks. We continue to have discussions and receive quotes around solar
powering this building. As is our plan for 2020, this will be our first foray into solar at
Finally, a reminder to please stay with your car at drop off and pick up, and thank
you for approaching and departing the turning circle efficiently.
May you all keep well.
A Window with a View
Week 0, Term 3, 2020
Being grateful for the little joys has become a theme for 2020. This is a great coping mechanism for when things unknown, or out of our control could become overwhelming. Throughout the past few weeks I have remembered to look up at our sharp blue sky and the twinkling night canvas. I recall longing for the crisp clarity of the air throughout December and January, when all we seemed to breathe was hot and smoke filled. Seeing even metres in front of us was challenging. Being present, noticing the natural beauty and human kindness around us, as well as the assistance we can be to others who may be struggling, keeps us connected. We hope you have had a happy time together over the holidays, all things considered.
RETURN TO SCHOOL
Arrangements for Term 3 On Tuesday, students return to School for Term 3 and we are looking forward to stepping back into the routines that we established in the latter part of Term 2. As we remain cautious to the risk of a community member contracting Covid-19, we will be taking temperatures on arrival and have our COVID-19 sick bay in operation. Unfortunately, we are not yet authorised to welcome parents onto campus. Our refined health and hygiene handwashing practices will remain in place for the foreseeable future. We will review these each fortnight, or earlier if there is a perceived risk. Excursions, camps, assemblies and large gatherings are still not allowed at this stage of Term 3. We are currently planning for these to happen in Term 4, all being well. NAIDOC Week has therefore been postponed to November. One positive development is that we can now have sports coaches, Studio teachers, and therapists visit the School. Each visitor is required to read and sign the COVID safe document and have their temperature taken each visit. Our Vocalocity singing coach, (check vocalocity.com.au) Amanda, is back, and we are expanding Amanda’s scope to include a primary singing group this term!
STARTING AND FINISHING TIMES
We have reviewed these times over the holidays. To ensure safe pick up and drop offs, we will continue to stagger the primary and high school start and finishing times. This also accommodates our new reading program in high school, as we introduce Renaissance Reading time each day. (More information on this will be emailed to families). Term 3 Primary students - Start 9.25, Finish 3.15pm High Yrs 7-10 - Start 9.15, Finish 3.30pm High Years 11/ 12 - Start 8.30, Finish 4.20pm We will continue to greet and farewell students in the turning circle because we enjoy seeing you! Please proceed with caution.
We are missing our informal catchup opportunities such as drop off chats, Cuppa Under the Tree, and dropins etc. This means we need to be clear with our communications. We ask that emails are mostly used to arrange time to have a conversation. Daily communications to teachers can be overlooked if they are sent by email, as the teachers will not necessarily see them until after school hours. We endeavour to respond to emails within three working days. Please call the office for alerts, absences, altered arrangements. We request that you discuss your pickup arrangements prior to the start of the day and try to keep to what has been organised. Changes to plans can be disruptive for many children.
UNCERTAINTY AT SAYING 'BYE'
Some children may find it difficult to separate from their home and family after the break, especially as it came so soon after returning from remote schooling. If this is the case, please let your child’s class teacher know and they will work with you to plan a strategy for return. Some things that worked for many students last term include: seeing their friends on the front grass; seeing their teacher ready to welcome them; knowing that mum and dad were going to be just fine if they were at school; letting them run off without calling them back for a hug if s/he excitedly ran to friends; saying ‘see you later’ rather than ‘goodbye’- which can sound final; arriving with a friend; catching the bus.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
As we have many new families joining us this term, it seems timely to remind our community that these are available on our School Website. They explain the expectations and boundaries within which we operate. Did you know that there is a Student Code of Conduct? Many people don’t need to consult this until their child reaches high school and we are discussing a disciplinary matter. Likewise, the Wellbeing Policy, the Student Discipline Policy and the Anti-bullying Policy. When is ‘bullying’ categorised as bullying? You will find the definition in this policy. It is a term that is often misunderstood, when rude, harassing, mean, or disagreement may better define the behaviour. None of these behaviours are acceptable, and our Discipline Policy and Procedures outline the measures we take if we are aware that these are taking place. While we are compassionate and work with restorative practices, we do also apply consequences for poor behaviour.
We have been clearing space for a new demountable classroom for primary art. When eventually we have you back on campus it will be in situ! Further tree work and road works have been undertaken in the break, and Justin and Alex have again woven their magic. You will notice Justin and his helper Kiera’s work, in the turning circle.
We are welcoming ten new students to Korowal across the School this term. How lovely is that! Please welcome any new parents you see at drop off and share details if they are in your child’s class. This is the final term for our Year 12 students. Please hold them in your thoughts as they summon up the resilience to remain focussed, and the courage to adapt to the circumstances that may continue to arise. We will miss them, but have a little further time together in which we will share all that we have in common in this world.
A Window with a View
Week 9, Term 2, 2020
We made it through to the end of term, still standing! This is a major achievement and we congratulate everyone, students, parents, staff, supportive friends, family and mentors. Our Pathways students and teachers will attend immersion classes this coming week, and they look forward to the time to settle into their content and just be together. For the majority however, the holiday period has commenced.
What have we learned about ourselves over this time? What have we learned about our children? What have we learned about education? These are exciting questions that we can now spend some time reflecting upon as the business of each day subsides. It has not been perfect by any means, but it has been significant, and much has been altered by the disruption and our responses.
Thank you all for your support, understanding, cooperation and care over this past term.
As we are back on site, we are again developing skills in Oracy. This note came through from Elise and Year 6.
This morning, Year 6 completed a math lesson in a different form, where their peers became the experts. They worked with each other, using their Oracy Skills to ask questions, contribute answers, prompt and clarify, all to consolidate their understanding of converting fractions.
It was so great to see how confident they have all become, wanting to stand up in front of their classmates and walk them through quite a tricky concept.
They were patient and kind with each other, offering help and support to friends who may have needed it. They were all so upbeat and happy after the lesson, feeling that they had achieved something and for some, conquered their fear of getting up in front of the class.
Behind the scenes Trish and Nathanael whipped up delicious soup, minestrone, sourdough bread and brownies, warming the bellies and hearts of staff and raising funds for Blue Mountains Refugee group.
Just wanted to share a little happiness from our end of the school.
May you be safe and well, with time to relax and enjoy each other. See you again on Tuesday, July 21st.
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: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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,