Dear CSPS Families,
I hope you have all been managing as well as possible under these challenging circumstances. We are aware there is a great degree of variation in family circumstances in our community and these holidays will be very different for many. I remind you that our school email is being monitored for messages from any families experiencing difficulties. Our wellbeing team may be able to assist or help to connect families with others who may be able to help during these extraordinary times. I’m very grateful for parents holding off on queries until you receive this message which will hopefully contain the answers.
As you now know, all Victorian government schools will transition to flexible and remote learning arrangements for Term 2 commencing this coming Wednesday 15th April. This is to support the increase in physical distancing across the population and try to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Therefore, all students who can learn from home must learn at home.
This mode of learning will be a very different experience for both students and teachers, and certainly for parents and carers. No doubt there will be many challenges. My advice to everyone is to hasten slowly, work together (from a distance!) and be patient and supportive of each other. We are all working outside our comfort zone and in a way that is unfamiliar so it will take time for everyone to adjust. Teachers will need to adjust to the concept of working remotely as they have a passion for working directly with children and this will be a foreign experience and not necessarily a comfortable or preferred one!
There are many competing pressures for families where parents may be working from home and managing the complex needs of siblings. This is also true for our teachers, many of whom are also juggling babies, pre-schoolers and/or supervising the learning of their own school-aged children, or caring for other family members, similar to our CSPS parents. Everyone is managing isolation from extended family and friends, and myriad other complexities. We’re just going to have to do our best and I am sure that is exactly what we will do! I guarantee that our CSPS teachers will give this new mode of teaching their best shot and do their level best to support our CSPS children and their families through this unsettled time in education, in the community and more broadly.
Our teachers have been collaborating over the break via the connective platforms available, working hard to prepare engaging remote learning for our children.
On-site School Attendance
The Department has stated that all students who can learn from home must learn at home. Schools will provide on-site programs for students who are not able to be supervised at home and for whom no other arrangements can be made during regular school hours. On-site programs will also be provided for vulnerable students whose health and safety would be at risk without access to a suitable learning environment.
There is an official Department of Education and Training application form which must be completed by parents who wish to request student attendance on-site. This is only if there are days when children are not able to be supervised at home and no other arrangements can be made, during the period of remote learning for Victorian Government schools. If a request for school supervision of students is submitted, it should be accompanied by supporting documentation such as a letter from your employer. Please note that teachers should not be contacted directly regarding on-site attendance. Supervision will be made available for children of parents who cannot work from home and no other supervision arrangement is possible, as well as vulnerable children, which includes:
- children in out-of-home care
- children deemed by Child Protection and/or Family Services to be at risk of harm
- children identified by the school as vulnerable (including via referral from a family violence agency, homelessness or youth justice service or mental health or other health service and children with a disability).
The Victorian Government has taken this serious measure in all Victorian government schools to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that all students who can learn at home must learn from home. This is a very clear directive from the Victorian Government based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer.
Out of School Hours Care
TeamKids will offer before and after school care for students who fit the same criteria for on-site school attendance and parents should go through the usual booking arrangements with TeamKids for this service on days when students are accepted to attend school on-site only.
About Flexible and Remote Learning, Communication and Feedback
All class teachers will send through an outline of the week’s learning tasks prior to the commencement of each week (similar to the home learning packs given out last term). In the first week of term, parents will receive a weekly outline by Tuesday evening (14th April). The same proforma will be used by every year level to make for some consistency for parents. It is our aim to hasten slowly, evaluate the needs and modify the program as we all learn together.
Teachers will provide a range of ‘optional extra’ resources for families to support their children’s learning opportunities. Information from DET with including resources has also been shared with parents.
The following online learning platforms will be utilised for remote learning (and these will be reviewed, added to/amended as we move forward):
- Google Apps for Years 2-6
- Essential Assessment
- Studyladder for students who have already been using this
- Epic! for junior school in lieu of home readers
Seesaw enables teachers to upload videos and lesson prompts. This may be utilised for instruction with the remainder of the task to be completed by the student off-line to help manage screen time. Some student work will be requested to be posted onto Seesaw for teachers to review. Last term, each year level received individual year level instructions re platforms/work/specific expectations etc.
Teachers will communicate with their class as to how and when they will check in with students during the week. Information will be provided over time by the class teacher.
Please contact your child’s teacher via email should you be experiencing any difficulties or if you have any queries. Each teacher/year level will give further specific information in this regard as we move forward. We will also be seeking feedback via a questionnaire after there has been some time to settle into our new mode of learning.
Please be assured staff will work to respond to your communication as soon as they are able. However please remember, just like when we are at school, staff may not be able to respond to you immediately but they will reply in as timely a manner as possible. Responses may be by phone or email. We are aware that each family has its own circumstances and parents may wish children to work through the tasks in a manner and time that suits their own family situation. For example, there may be a need to catch up on the weekend or outside regular school hours when parents may be able to provide greater support. However, in order to ensure teacher workload is manageable, teachers will not be immediately available to respond outside school hours.
Any queries or feedback of a general nature may be emailed to the school email: firstname.lastname@example.org Parents may wish to attention queries to Bianca, Gayle, specialist teachers or office staff depending on the nature of the query or just simply send a general query and the appropriate person will answer.
Teachers will be available for class-related work with your children as far as possible, between the hours of 9-3.45pm as per any other school day. Within school days and after hours, teachers also have planning time, meeting times, lunch breaks and other duties that will continue to take place behind the scenes. We do need to remember that all staff have multiple roles they are fulfilling, including being parents of children who are also remotely learning, caring for other family members etc. So, consideration, patience and kindness are the order of the day for us all to ensure our teachers can continue to do their job.
How parents may support children’s learning (if, when and where possible!)
The following link to the Department website contains much information for parents to support children in setting up a suitable environment, suitable routines, learning supervision and expectations, with the knowledge that every home is different.
Home and on-site learning programs
The learning program for students undertaking remote learning will be the same as that delivered on-site for students where this is necessary. These guidelines do not look like a normal day at school. The following guidelines are from the Department and are for all government schools during this time:
For students in Prep to Grade 2, schools will provide learning programs that include the following:
- Literacy activities that take a total of about 45-60 minutes
- Numeracy activities of about 30-45 minutes
- Additional learning areas, play-based learning and physical activity of about 30-45 minutes.
For students in Grades 3 to 6, schools will provide learning programs allocated as follows:
- Literacy: 45-60 minutes
- Numeracy: 30-45 minutes
- Physical activities: 30 minutes
- Additional curriculum areas: 90 minutes
Access to Technology
One of the biggest challenges of remote learning is the need for an internet-connected device to access the learning program.
The school has a limited number of devices which we will be making available to families where there is a need. It is expected that in many families children will share devices. This is already a challenging time and we do not want parents to feel pressured into purchasing additional devices. The devices at school are, in normal school circumstances, shared across the school with sufficient devices for one or two classes to use at any given time and therefore there are limitations on what can be loaned out.
Our process for determining allocation of loan devices will be as follows:
- Email the school by midday on Tuesday 14th April, email@example.com providing details of family circumstances that necessitate a loan device.
- The needs of the community will then be assessed to determine whether we have sufficient devices for all applicants.
- If necessary, a further process may be undertaken, depending on the number of requests.
- Parents will receive information about device distribution.
We will strive to manage this process in the most timely way possible.
Parents should continue to advise absences for illness so teachers are aware your child won’t be participating in that day’s learning. It would be appreciated if this could be done by 9.00am daily.
Finally, the world is going through a challenging transition right now and we all need to tread lightly with each other so I reiterate my message that everyone remembers we are all in this together and please try to:
Be patient with each other
Be kind to one another
Appreciate the simpler things in life
Stay safe and healthy
Stay at home and…
We all wish you the best of luck, knowing this time will pass and if everyone remains vigilant, we’ll all be back at school together as soon as possible.
Gayle, Bianca and our CSPS staff