St John the Baptist Ferntree Gully Newsletter

Letter from the Principal

Tuesday April 21st, 2020

Dear Families

Welcome to our very different Term 2. Starting our school year I don’t believe any of us would have been able to predict that we would be learning remotely by second term. On Sunday the 23rd March it was announced that children would be finishing school early on the Monday for the school holidays. In only a few short weeks we have transitioned the majority of our school to remote learning. 

Parents have now undertaken the mammoth task of supporting their child's learning at home. This is no easy feat. We understand as a school how difficult the demands are on our families. You are juggling your own work commitments, trying to still be parents and now taking on the added responsibility of being the ‘teacher.’ Feeling tired? Is it any wonder? Our whole staff are incredibly grateful for the messages of support and the willingness of families to do their very best in these unprecedented times. We are lucky as a school to have such a supportive parent community. Please know that our hat goes off to you all. If all the learning that is set doesn’t get achieved for the day that is okay. Be kind to can only do your best. Your welfare and that of your children continues to be our highest priority. If the situation becomes unsustainable for you as a family we are here to support you in whatever way we can so please let us know. 

To our wonderful staff. They have been so amazing in their response to remote learning. We made a commitment as a team that we would continue to provide a quality education for our children (not just busy work), we would provide daily feedback on learning and that we would stay connected to the children so that they still maintained their sense of belonging to our community. Staff have been on a steep learning curve. Term 1 blurred into Term 2 with no real holidays in between. They have taken on this challenge without complaint. They have supported each other and worked together on the complex challenge of providing remote learning. Many have felt uncomfortable about listening to their own voices and watching themselves on video but they have pushed through because the children are their priority. I know from talking to families you agree...we have a sensational staff group. Each day I marvel at what a blessing our staff are. 

Our children should be congratulated on their efforts to their learning. Many have said they don’t think they will ever complain about going to school again! We miss them at school so much. The day we welcome them back will be the highlight of our school year!

Remote Learning Staff Structure

To support the welfare and wellbeing of our staff I have organised for them to be mostly working from home. I will be onsite each day supported by a skeleton teaching team so that we can teach the few children who need to attend school onsite. Our office staff will also be mainly working from home. Our office phone will not always be staffed so the best way to contact us would be via email :-

Please note that the day your child's teacher is onsite they may not provide as frequent feedback to their learning as the days when they are off site as they will be teaching at school. Your child’s class teacher will let you know the day they are working onsite.

Latest Advice from Catholic Education Commission of Victoria

There has been some confusion and speculation in the community about when schools will reopen. This is largely due to the different messages that are being given from our Prime Minister Scott Morrison and our Premier Daniel Andrews. The Prime Minister believes that schools should be open however our Premier believes it is important that schools continue to provide remote learning and that all children who can learn from home must learn from home. State governments have jurisdiction over their schools.

The most recent advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton, is as follows:

‘My advice to the Victorian Government was and continues to be that to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), schools should undertake remote learning for term two.’

‘This is because having around a million children and their parents in closer contact with teachers and other support staff has the potential to increase cases of coronavirus not just in schools but across the community.’

‘By having remote learning, it can contribute to physical distancing and therefore supports efforts to drive transmission down.’

Due to this advice St John the Baptist will continue to provide remote learning for the duration of Term 2. Should that advice change I will keep you informed.

Random Acts of Kindness

Mrs Costa has contributed to our newsletter this week with random acts of kindness that she has experienced.

The owner of the local IGA offered to text me when paper supplies arrived.

Also a gentleman in Coles offered to leave his goods and find kitchen paper for me.

In Mrs Costa’s words…"There are lovely people in our world."

Please continue to share any random acts of kindness that you have seen or experienced during this period of isolation. Let’s spread the message of hope and joy as we reflect on the goodness of people.

You can email me

I would love to share your stories!

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