It has been wonderful to see the return of all of our students in the last few weeks. They have all come into school smiling and ready to engage with their teachers, their learning and of course their schoolmates.
At this point, I would like to acknowledge and thank the entire staff here at Thornlands for their energy, optimism and enormous hard work during the last few months as we have responded to constant change and learnt to do things differently. They have worked as a cohesive team through it all and as always, that is the secret to the success of this school.
As much as it has been a team effort, I am sure the whole staff would agree that I must single out Tom Walters, our school technician, for special thanks and recognition, as he has worked tirelessly to mastermind the technical solutions to every challenge and request we have thrown at him during this time. He is an absolute guru and we simply could not have done it without him. Thank you, Tom!!!!
As you are aware, for our students, coming into school now, is a little different than it used to be, but the independence and confidence that is being demonstrated by all of them, as they come through the gates, greeting the teacher aide and receiving their sanitizer as they go, shows just how adaptable and resilient our children are. This is undoubtedly also a testament to the adults – both at home and at school- who are providing them with such positive role modelling.
I would like to thank you, our entire parent body, for all that you have done during the Home Schooling phase and most particularly, with the return to face to face schooling, for taking on board the changes to the drop off and pick up procedures. You have respected the measures we have had to put in place in order to ensure social distancing and the health and safety of all in our school community, and that is greatly appreciated.
Necessity is the mother of invention as they say, and as we have responded to so much necessary change this year we have had to be creative in so many ways, from structuring a practical and engaging Learning@Home program, to a complete overhaul of our playground areas to facilitate COVID safe play for all, to pick up and drop off processes that enable children, but no adults, to enter the school grounds, to hand hygiene that is pervasive from the moment the children come through our gates in the morning, to video conferencing for so many purposes (now including parent teacher interviews).
The latest initiative is a Virtual “Leap into Prep” (pre-prep) program, which is being developed, because in 2020 we will not be able to conduct our usual program, involving at least 80 children and their parents attending school on a number of days.
Instead, during Term 3, as parents enroll their Preppies for 2021, they will be given access, via our website, to a range of videos of our Prep teachers that are full of advice and ideas to prepare children for the transition to Prep in 2021. In addition there will be a range of other useful resources and ideas for parents. Thanks to Robyn Kwocksun (Deputy Principal) for coordinating this initiative, in addition to all of our Prep teachers and of course, Tom Walters, for his technical expertise. Working together they will make the transition to school a positive one for our littlest students in 2021.
For your awareness, Semester 1 Student Report Cards will be emailed to parents next week. These reports have been modified to reflect the changed learning conditions in Semester 1.
Due to current restrictions, face to face parent- teacher interviews, will not be possible, however we will be offering you video/phone conference interviews in Week 3 of Term 3 (Monday 27 July- Thursday 30 July). A detailed note regarding this will be sent to you very soon. These interviews are a most important aspect of reporting to parents, and enhancing the links between home and school, and perhaps in this disrupted year, they are more important than ever. I encourage you, as we move into Semester 2, to take up this opportunity to have a timely discussion with the teacher/s regarding your child’s learning. Working together in this way, the possibility of improving learning outcomes for all is further enhanced.
Also for your awareness, the annual School Opinion Surveys will take a completely different format this year. Traditionally the School Opinion Survey (SOS) for students, staff and parents, occurs during Term 3. For 2020 only, the SOS will be replaced with a shorter pulse survey that will take place this week and next week (Weeks 9 and 10 of Term 2).
These surveys will comprise a small number of questions about arrangements by the Department and this school during Term 2, in response to the COVID-19 situation, as well as a small number of the regular SOS questions that more broadly reflect the entire year.
As usual there will be three surveys – staff, students and parents. As soon as I receive the link for the voluntary parent survey, it will be sent to you directly. The survey form has been designed so that it can easily be completed on a smartphone. If required, it can be printed and a paper-based copy completed and returned.
All staff and our Year 4-6 students will also complete the survey before the holidays.
COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge for all of us, however working together as a whole school community, overall we have managed to come through the last couple of months calmly and positively. As you know, things are still evolving and changing and it is likely to be quite a while before we are back to “normal”, however we will certainly keep you updated as things continue to evolve and change.
Thank you as always for your support of our great school and I wish all of our hardworking staff, as well as your families, a well deserved break during the upcoming holidays.