eNews 18 June


Message from the School Council President 

This year I was elected President of the Laburnum Primary School (LPS) Council just as COVID-19 changed so many aspects of our school community. Recent months have been a challenge for LPS in adapting to Learning from Home, in addition to the many impacts of COVID-19 on all of our lives. Such unprecedented circumstances have tested the strength of our LPS community.

 

This week, School Council held its regular meeting and took some time to discuss the large amount of community feedback on the Learning from Home experience. We were joined at the meeting by the Whitehorse area Senior Education Improvement Leader, Clayton Sturzaker, who oversees 31 schools in the area.

 

Our discussion was mostly focused on the approach LPS took to adapt to Learning from Home, and we were able to hear more about how other local schools managed the same challenge. Mr Sturzaker highlighted to us that we should be proud of the entire LPS team for their professionalism and commitment to supporting the whole community with a clear strategy, and for the way teachers, students and parents have managed throughout this challenging period.

 

We also discussed feedback relating to school communications and engagement more broadly; it was clear that more could be done to increase trust and transparency. We are committed to providing greater visibility to the school community of the Council agenda, discussions and decisions, and to encourage a wider range of voices to be heard.

 

As such, please look out for the following:

  • LPS Learning from Home Experience Survey. I encourage you to take the time to complete this survey which will seek feedback specific to the LPS experience.
  • School Council Updates. Regular updates in the newsletter will (where possible) share Council decisions and areas of focus.
  • Communications & Engagement Strategy. The next phase of our Communications & Engagement Strategy is under development. Expect opportunities to participate in forums in the coming weeks and months.

At any stage, of course, we welcome informal input and suggestions from the school community. Feel free to reach out to any of the School Council members so we can continue to represent the views of a broad range of families on Council.

  

Finally, I hope you manage to find time for rest and relaxation in the upcoming school holidays.

 

Regards,

Michael Johnson

School Council President

 

LPS School Council Members:

 Parents:

 Michael Johnson

 Tom Harper 

 Philip Grainger-Smith

 Georgina Raudon

 Robert Stilling 

 Ghazal Taghdir    

 Jonathan Teow  

 Sean Watt       

 Fiona Wynn

 Department of Education and   Training:

 Kim Dray

 Jo Braden

 Kathy Verbi

 Narelle Sime

 Michael Mottershead

 


And more from the Principal

 

With the term almost over, and in the absence of any new DET advice about staggered pick up and drop off, we have planned arrangements for the final day of term. As school finishes at 2:30 p.m. on that day, students will not have an afternoon recess on Friday 26 June and pick up times have been moved forward by an hour, as follows:

 

Time for parents to pick up

Group

Notes

1:45 p.m.

A-L Pakenham St singles (no siblings at school)

 

Parents stay in vehicles or socially distanced, as per map below

1:45 p.m.

A-L Janet St singles (no siblings at school)

1:45 p.m.

A-L Blacks Walk singles (no siblings at school)

1:55 p.m.

A-L Pakenham St siblings groups

1:55 p.m.

A-L Janet St siblings groups

1:55 p.m.

A-L Blacks Walk siblings groups

2:00 p.m.

All OSHClub students to hall:

OSHClub starts at 2:00 p.m.

No students waiting at the office.
Parents to pick up students from OSHClub.

2:10 p.m.

M-Z Pakenham St singles (no siblings at school)

 

Parents stay in vehicles or socially distanced, as per map below

2:10 p.m.

M-Z  Janet St singles  (no siblings at school)

2:10 p.m.

M-Z Blacks Walk singles (no siblings at school)

2:20 p.m.

M-Z Pakenham St siblings groups

2:20 p.m.

M-Z  Janet St siblings groups

2:20 p.m.

M-Z Blacks Walk siblings groups

2:30 p.m.

Any remaining students sent to OSHClub

No students waiting at the office.

Parents to pick up students from OSHClub.

 

We're hoping these fine, sunny days will continue, to support the staggered pick up, drop off and breaks, and allow students outside to run around, play and get some fresh air during those breaks. There has certainly been a frenzy of running around in the extra space available to students at the moment. Although DET has emphasised the need to promote fresh air flow indoors and maximise use of outdoor learning areas during COVID-19, this is something LPS has been incorporating for the last two years in our classrooms. This term, we have been working with DET to try to replace more of the windows in relocatable classrooms that cannot be used, as we also did in 2018. 

We continue to use the Clever Classrooms model for setting up learning spaces, because it makes a difference to children's learning. One of the most important elements of Clever Classrooms is maintaining air quality and replenishing oxygen in classrooms, so children remain alert, not drowsy. Even though some of our students are still wearing shorts and shirts to school, our heaters are also working as needed to maintain optimal temperatures. Parents can now read more about Clever Classrooms on our website here, as part of this year's Annual Implementation Plan.

In the words of one of our school captains at School Council on Tuesday, hand washing has become 'just something we do'. During remote learning, we installed additional new soap dispensers to ensure hand washing could be thorough and routine. Additional cleaners during the day refill these when needed. The cleaners also sanitise high touch-point areas, including play equipment, tables, sinks, under chairs and especially door handles. Fortunately, most of our classroom doors can be left ajar, where classrooms open onto corridors, verandahs, covered ways and decks.

It has been an incredible term with mostly 'remote students'. Our School Improvement Teams have been reflecting on what worked and what we would change if we did this term over again. Teachers have also been observing students to identify those who may need support to re-enter the social and academic world of onsite schooling. Today, staff have their next opportunity to work again with Therese Raulin, a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and trauma expert, in considering what else may be needed for students.

Teachers have also tried to capture and explore the curiosity that was sparked by children's venture into Learning from Home. For example, Year 5R questioned why they could see the whole week's  learning during LFH, but only one day's Learning Intentions at school. After a rich discussion about how teachers plan, and how students used the 'full week' plan in LFH, Mrs Richards has made available a full week's planner for her class. Now these students can not only see what they are learning today, but how that will build and be adapted throughout the week. Such a relevant example of student agency in learning – let us know how that goes 5R!

 

This is our last 'official' eNews for the term, unless something unexpected needs to be conveyed next week. We will also be sending a link to our LPS Learning from Home Experience survey as soon as that is ready. Please contribute your opinion so we can get a sense of every family's views, to help inform the school's next steps in remote learning, just in case. We are hoping to provide the survey in all our community languages.

 

LFH was a time where we learned so much. In the last week, we've seen that your children are resilient and their teachers are noticing and attending to their needs. Please feel proud of everyone's efforts over the past couple of months, and reassured by this excerpt from a recent article by the pre-eminent world expert on teaching and learning, Professor John Hattie:

 

Lessons learned from teaching in changing times

Imagine trying to get ethics committee agreement to abandon in-class teaching for 10 weeks, and make every teacher to teach remotely into 20-30 homes, teach the parents/carers how to be involved and how and when not to be involved, doing all this with a few days or weeks’ notice, and then bringing them all back, in some cases teaching in and remotely, in others having them all return to in-class. Would never be approved! But it happened.

 

Some students were less distracted by peers via remote, some parents learnt that there are skills in pedagogy, some students were turned onto learning more via remote, some students were more prepared to discuss errors and what they did not know, and many teachers discovered new ways of working such that students did not have to be in front of them all day listening to teachers talking. We need to capture these learnings and incorporate them into the new normal.


There is a large corpus of research on the effects of school outage and most is based on no schooling at all, unlike COVID. The effects, on average, are very small, indicating that for most it does not matter too much if students are remote or physically present. Most students will not fail, go backwards, or turn off schooling – indeed many will take the change in their stride, the reboot on return will quickly make up for lost weeks, and we will again discover that students are much more resilient than many consider them to be.


Of course, there will be some who do not refocus, do not make the needed gains and in the first weeks back we need to be vigilant to identify these students. Do not presume they fall into the more well-understood categories of disadvantage. We need to be more attentive to those with lower self-regulation, the lonely with few or no friends, and those who are more reluctant to get back on task. Excellent diagnoses for all.

 

...we need to learn from what went well, which students went well and which thrived, and what did we learn as educators that went well.

 

Laureate Professor John Hattie 2020

I hope all families have a safe and relaxing break. School resumes next term on Monday 13 July, with the same pick up and drop off arrangements we are currently using, unless DET advice changes in the meantime.

 

Kim

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