Principal Report

19th August 
A very big thank you to all students and staff for the work that has taken place during the first full week of remote learning.

Our school staff and leadership team understand the challenges remote learning provides and I would encourage families to maintain regular contact with staff and leadership to assist.  Stronger Together is a key mindset that we are encouraging all of our school community members to adopt during these changing and unusual times.  By working together and caring and respecting each other we will not only get through these challenging times but also ensure that we continue to deliver positive results to our students.

Flexible & Remote Learning 2.0

Over the last 10 days we have been in flexible and remote learning (FRL) mode and it has been great to see an increasing number of students engaging with their learning via Google Classroom, WebEx and where required, hard copies of work.  Our teachers have been working around the clock to ensure that learning is engaging and meaningful for our students.  This will continue to include regular reflection on what students are undertaking, their progress and the next steps in learning. 

For our teachers, this is only possible when students engage in their learning as a two way process.  As such, we are asking all students (some with very explicit support from their parents) to actively engage in the learning opportunities in front of them.  This might mean speaking up and joining the conversation in a WebEx session, it might mean asking questions in the Google Classroom or it may mean sharing work samples before their final product is submitted.  All of these actions by our students engage them with their learning and allow our teachers to modify and adapt their planning to meet students at their point of need.  Again, by working together, we can be Stronger Together and ensure that all students experience continuity of their learning.

One of our important learnings from the FRL 1.0 was the need to keep parents regularly informed about student progress.  In order to support this in Term 3, we will be issuing all students with two interim reports, one at the end of Week 7 (28th August) and the other at the end of Week 10 (18th September).  We envisage that this inclusion will assist parents in supporting their children with flexible and remote learning.  Our Flexible and Remote Learning Rubric will also be released shortly to parents and this document outlines the key reporting areas and behaviours that parents can assist us to influence in their children.

Health & Wellbeing

As a school community we know and understand that the current situation can have an impact on one’s health and wellbeing.  We would like to take this opportunity to remind our school community that we have a wonderful and resourceful school Wellbeing Team here to support students and families.  In the last week we have had a staffing change within the team, with Amitpal Kaur joining us as a Student Counsellor and Sarah Thomson leaving the team.  On behalf of our students, families and staff I would like to welcome Amitpal to our team and equally wish Sarah every success in her new endeavours.

For most of this year, families have been navigating the ups and downs of a new reality involving remote learning, working from home and lots of family time. Young people may find this second lockdown more challenging than the first with many mental health professionals concerned about an increase in youth anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Adult carers are encouraged to take the lead by being pro-active in creating a scenario where everyone at home can be less anxious and better organised. As a family, it is important to focus on what worked, and what didn't work, last time.

Adult carers may see this as an opportunity to teach their kids the skills required to manage uncertainty in order to become more resilient. Communication will be key – finding out what they know, understanding what they need to feel safe and helping them focus on the things they can control.

Please consider, if you or a family member is struggling, consulting a medical professional.

Support is available through Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or via the website www.kidshelpline.com.au

Alternatively, contact the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service on 1800 51 23 48 or go to the website www.coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au

Expressing Gratitude

It is well known that expressing gratitude is a great way to support mindfulness, our own health and wellbeing and also brings a smile to those around us.  I would like to encourage students, parents and carers to take the opportunity to express their gratitude to our staff members at Wangaratta High School.  This could be via a phone call/message or an email to the staff member on our COMPASS system.  Please take the opportunity to recognise the great work that our staff are undertaking during these changing times.

Stay safe, stay healthy and we look forward to seeing you all back on site as soon as possible.

Bradley Moyle
Principal