Welcome to the last newsletter for Term 1, 2020. When I look back to my first newsletter this year, I never would have imagined the times we are now living in. Uncertainty has become a part of our lives and sadly we follow Coronavirus stories in the media with intense interest. I am hoping that some good will come of our situation, that people will learn to slow down, just do the things that matter and be kinder to each other. I am already experiencing a wave of kindness in our school community and in our local communities - we’re all in this together.
I was sent a lovely reflection titled One Hundred Years From Now:
One hundred years from now
It won’t matter
What kind of car you drove
What kind of house you lived in
How much money you had in the bank
Nor what clothes you wore
But the world may be a little better
Because you were important in the life of a child
Staff have been contacting families this week. Feedback is that some students are responding to online learning more easily than others. Many families seem to have established routines which is a great idea. Whilst it would be ideal if students could keep to their timetable this is not always possible in the real world of family life. Video conferencing has so far been restricted to senior students but we hope to do more of this with junior students next term.
Student wellbeing continues to be a key focus for us. PC teachers are keeping in touch with students in various ways. By now you should have received a fridge magnet with some helpful hints and useful numbers. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the staff if needed.
As previously emailed, we will not be running online lessons again until Tuesday, April 28. Staff across the archdiocese will be involved in online training next week to ensure that we offer the best possible experience for students. Until we are advised otherwise, the school will be open in Term 2 for those families who need to send their children.
In all the disruption, let’s not overlook the Easter season. Ms Devlin will be sharing various prayers and reflections for families as we enter this most significant season in the Church’s calendar. Easter is all about hope - let us truly be people of hope in 2020.
Dear Students and Parents/Carers,
The move to have remote learning may bring some uncertainty and challenges for some students and families. The routine of day to day school life along with regular contact with peers and teachers will be different during this time of uncertainty.
We are confident that the Hennessy staff are very capable when it comes to delivering online teaching. The Wellbeing Team remains available to provide support as necessary and as best we can in the circumstances.
If you have questions or require support in a pastoral/wellbeing sense, please feel free to email your child’s Pastoral Care (PC) Teacher, House Leader, the Director of Students or myself. We will try and answer your questions, assist you or direct you to the right people or organisations to provide support. We appreciate that students may be affected in different ways and at different times. Please do not hesitate to make contact with the relevant staff member if you need to.
PC Teachers will be available for students to connect with each Wednesday via a digital conference. This conference will take place during the timetabled PC lesson. Students will have access to a Google classroom for their specific PC and are encouraged to access it. PC Teachers will be checking their PC Google page on a regular basis. Students are not restricted to this time and should feel free to email the PC Teacher at any time. PC Teachers will respond within 24 hours during normal College hours.
If students are unable to participate in learning on a particular day, it is expected that they will email their PC Teacher and advise them.
We know and understand that the changes and restrictions implemented at this time, including attending school, participation in sport, community activities, and the ability to meet with friends and extended family may impact students in many different ways. With this in mind the team of Wellbeing Team will continue to monitor student involvement in the curriculum and pastoral elements of College life. To monitor wellbeing and curriculum support House leaders and KLA’s will be contacting home for students who have not accessed their Google classroom, Zoomed in or been in contact with their Pastoral Care Teacher.
The College Counsellors will remain available for students to access. They will connect with students (and parents if necessary) via telephone or online using the Zoom platform.
Appointments will be available during school hours on the counsellor’s usual working days in the College. Our counsellors will be continuing to meet with students, remotely, according to scheduled appointments. An email will be sent to students from their counsellor to advise of appointments times. It would be appreciated if students are not available at the scheduled time, that an email to cancel the session is sent.
If students feel they are in need of accessing this service, they can seek an appointment directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To ensure that privacy & confidentiality is maintained, students should ensure that they are in a private location for a counselling session, where others cannot hear the conversation or see the screen. This is the responsibility of students and the counsellor should be advised if this is not possible. Should the counsellor become concerned about student safety or the safety of another student, the usual limitations around confidentiality exist.
If students require immediate help they should consider external supports that are available.
- Lifeline – 13 11 14 or http://lifeline.org.au
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 or http://suicidecallbackservice.org.au beyondblue: 1300 224 636 or http://beyondblue.org.au
Additional youth support services include:
- Headspace – visit http://headspace.org.au for eheadspace or more information
- Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 or http://kidshelpline.com.au
- ReachOut – http://reachout.com
- SANE Australia – 1800 187 263 or http://sane.org
If necessary, students and parents should also consider making an appointment with a General Practitioner who will be able to provide advice about a 10-week Mental Health Plan.
One of the strengths of Pastoral Care at Hennessy is the proactive nature that students take in looking out for the wellbeing of each other in our community. This includes raising issues of concern about friends with staff and also reporting anti-social behaviour, such as bullying, or unethical behaviour. All students are encouraged to continue to make contact with staff, parents and other trusted adults to ensure that each member of our College community can navigate these challenging times in an environment that is welcoming and respectful. With this in mind students are reminded that they can report any bullying issues via Safeguard.
As we are all aware these are challenging and exceptional times but the College will continue to support all members of the Hennessy Community to ensure that until this time passes we remain a strong and supportive community. Please continue to support each other and let the College know how we can assist you.
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less." Marie Curie
Assistant Principal - Mission and Wellbeing
A big thank you to staff and parents for assisting with learning during this difficult time. There are no easy solutions here but we have all been very busy here developing the online platform for learning. We appreciate the efforts parents are also making and will have some infographics ready shortly.
But here are some suggestions for parents:
- Have a set space and establish routines with your child/ren each day
- Make sure there are times for rest, exercise and drink plenty of fluids (you and them!)
- Remember they may learn differently to you
- Lessons will appear as schedules but some work may be done over 2 lessons – it’s OK if they go ahead and finish earlier as it’s a chance for some productive down time – there are plenty of skills to be learnt at home too.
- Introduce some social games that limit screen time – the Monopoly board or a deck of cards might come out of storage for some.
- Contact individual class teachers if you have any concerns or need help - staff emails are available via the Hennessy website.
Most importantly, look after the wellbeing of your family – this comes first.
Next week there will be no formal classes running online, although some work may still be posted as revision, skills or holiday tasks for seniors. Staff will be doing additional training on different online learning tools so we are ready to go in Term 2.TeachinT
Below is a link to some important information regading keeping you child safe online.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the college.