On Monday, 30 March, St Luke’s College commenced our Remote Learning Program for the families in our community. Preparations for developing the College’s Remote Learning Plan actually began in February after the events of Cyclone Damien, through the devastation of having the school closed for a week came the opportunity to assess our online delivery methods. Over the last five weeks the staff have been working harder than ever before, training in different online platforms, mainly Microsoft Teams and One Note, to complement our SEQTA delivery of lessons. Students have become familiar with these platforms while teachers prepared them for the opportunity for learning online, with the likes of Mrs Hill teaching from the corridor.
Remote Learning presents its challenges to us all. For students, it creates a necessity for them to take responsibility for their learning. Not having a teacher watching their every move means accountability for their own development falls on their shoulders. For parents, it’s the juggling of their everyday duties while also ensuring their children are motivated to study. For teachers, it is developing whole new resources and methods of teaching to engage students. Answering individual questions on emails and the demands of being behind the screen all day has been more challenging than many expected.
Despite these challenges, there are many positives. Working and learning from home presents many opportunities for families to connect on a level they may never have had the time to do before. Simple things like having lunch, working or playing together daily, means families will spend more quality time together. Personally, I am looking forward to having the opportunity to spend more time with my son. Education has now become more personal, and students are provided with the opportunity to learn at their own pace. If they miss a concept, they can pause a video, go back to a past activity, or ask a teacher a question without the presence of peer pressure. There is flexibility with the timetable, where students can choose what lesson they engage in at a given time, and there is no one else in the classroom to distract them from learning. Although keeping on track and staying motivated for some students may be difficult at the moment, the life skills and self-discipline learnt over the coming months will provide great preparation for entering the workforce and higher learning in the future.
The College is aware that these are very uncertain times for our students and are mindful of their health and wellbeing. Staff have gone above and beyond to create several new initiatives that will be of great benefit to students.
The House Coordinators have been busy developing a Remote Learning Student Wellbeing Program. Each House has its own Teams group where students can ask questions or seek help.
- House Coordinators will provide a variety of daily activities, quizzes and challenges that will provide the students ‘ access to fitness programs, wellness activities, mindfulness opportunities and more. Further to this, involvement in such wellbeing activities will encourage the students to stay connected with each other.
- The Curriculum Care Team have created individual packs for 114 students with extra academic needs and will personally drop them off at family’s homes to explain the programs. Mrs Anderson and the teacher assistance are available to be the conduit between the family and staff, for those specific students experiencing difficulties across several subjects.
- The PE department has created fitness logs for students to keep a record of their weekly exercise routine, encouraging students to stay active. Activities and motivational videos will be updated regularly in SEQTA for their PE class and a Team has been created for each year group.
- Mrs Potter is continuing her Year 10 Careers classes creating a Team for Year 10 students to access important information that will support them in the future for choosing a career pathway.
Mrs Potter has also created Teams groups for students completing Certificates, as well as Year 11 & 12 General student groups (these include the Uni-ready students).
- Through Teams, Mrs Potter plans to monitor student progress and provide students with a forum to communicate and support each other.
- Year 7 Transition Coordinator Mrs Sladen plans to continue to develop the leadership skills of the Year 7s by beginning a Pen Pal program with Year 6s from their old primary schools. This will build the leadership capacity of our Year 7s while supporting the Year 6s in our community through a difficult time.
- Art teacher Mrs Montgomery is planning a virtual Zen Den where students can opt in to do art therapy, completing artistic activities and projects. Students can take photos of their work and submit them to be displayed on the College Facebook page.
- The College Leadership Team is also planning to call each family over the course of week 10 to check-in to see how families are coping with Remote Learning.
The College is very grateful for the support and understanding provided from our families over the past few weeks as we have all adjusted to this current health crisis. As a College, we have prioritised the health of everyone in our community, been guided by government and health authorities and sought to maintain a balanced approach to teaching and learning amidst a constantly changing context of new guidelines and advice. I want to thank the extraordinary number of families who have communicated their sincere thanks and appreciation for the efforts of the College Staff. In these difficult times, such genuine feedback is most heartening.
We will continue to work through this time together and support each other along the journey. That is what good communities do – and we are very lucky to be part of such an amazing and loving St Luke’s community.