Alumni newsletter volume 1 issue 2 15 Dec 2020 29 Kislev 5781

From the Principal

Andrew Watt, Principal

Having just finished Term 4 of what has been a radically different and challenging year, there is much that we can reflect on, in terms of the impact of COVID-19 on our School community. Our response to adversity, as educational leaders, teachers, parents, alumni and students, tells us much about what we value and hold dear.

Whilst the long term educational and wellbeing outcomes are yet to be known, many key takeaways have emerged over the past nine months:

With limited parental access to our campus, plans for our celebratory, milestone events were modified to online events, with limited live (student/staff) audience. Nevertheless, each event has provided a personal touch, and online access has proved to be convenient to many, with viewings occurring both at home and at work. Several families enjoyed events from overseas locations – a first!

With extended infection control restrictions around our assemblies, Shabbat celebrations, sport, music, camps and excursions, our creativity and adaptability has been sparked. For example, in-school camps, with links to online speakers and virtual events, have offered an alternative program that has still been attractive to and engaging for our students.

The constant barrage of negative news around the impact of COVID-19 has impacted the morale of our community, often generating both fear and uncertainty. The introduction of ‘mood lifters,’ such as mufti-dress days each Friday, online activities and competitions, student-led cross-stage events, community service activities and student choice of music for our period bells, are all examples of engaging and maintaining student agency.

The experience of almost a term of remote learning opened up a range of new possibilities around the application of ICT across our pedagogical practices. During this period, our teachers received a wealth of professional development on online teaching, learning and assessment, much of which will remain relevant when restrictions are lifted. Our eyes were opened to how Zoom, software and data analytics can be used within both the virtual and live classroom.

It is my hope that there will come a time when our community can look back on the COVID-19 experience as a time of personal growth and renewed appreciation for the many blessings that we enjoy.

Andrew Watt, Principal