Information About the Start of the Term
Tena Koutou Katoa
I hope you and your whanau are well and finding enough to do in your bubbles. It has been a very strange “holiday” period and although the weather has been great this has just created temptation and frustrations about the things we would all like to be doing but can’t.
Thank you all for your patience and communication towards the end of last term. This has meant that a lot of our communication and systems have worked really well. In saying that, we know that one way of communicating does not work for all families so while we will email and post this information it would be great if you could check with your friends and neighbours, and ask your children to check with their friends, to make sure everyone is getting information as it comes out.
As we move into “Term Two” we will be providing education through distance learning and this process began in the last days before the school shut down. Before their holidays teachers would have attempted to contact students through google classrooms, emails and phone calls. The point of this was to establish the best way to communicate to all members of the teachers class. If you haven’t had any contact made at all please reply back to this email with your students name and details about the best ways to make contact.
The rest of this message will have some details about what we will try to do to support learning, key dates and contact information and some details and information about the Ministry of Education’s Distance Learning Plan you may have seen details about come out yesterday.
Looking after each other
This is a stressful time for students, families, parents and also teachers. A key part of our planning is to try and keep students connected to school and their teacher, keep them progressing and keep them positive. We must be very realistic about what is going on in our community with uncertainty of income and employment and the number of people in households, and not expect that students will be able to sit down to a full school day of work.
All Deans, Counsellors and usual supports (including our Health Nurse Gwyneth@whanakeyouth.org.nz) are available and can be best contacted by email. If you feel that there is a family in our community who may be struggling please let us know so we can offer whatever support we can.
In discussions with other Principals and following guidance from the MoE as well as experts like Nigel Latta and Nathan Wallis, we are setting our expectation of 3 hours of school work per day for Year 9 and 10 students. For the first two weeks this will focus on English, Science, Maths and Social Studies.This will be set, supported and monitored by teachers using on-line tools and printed materials where we can get these to you. For students looking for more work or extension activities we will look to provide support and access for these. Note that correspondence courses will still run if your student is enrolled in one already.
Year 11-13 students will be expected to be able to do 4-5 hours per day and these programs will be run by their regular teachers. No NCEA assessments will be run via distance learning. The only exceptions will be for assessments that were already set and the teaching completed before lockdown and students can ask for an extension for these assessments if they can not complete them using the resources available at home. Note that correspondence courses will still run if your student is enrolled in one already.
There is a danger of overloading students, parents, teachers and systems on the 15th and I am keen to avoid people getting multiple emails and phone calls every day. Senior students will be able to manage this more easily themselves but for Year 9 and 10 students I have asked that teachers and departments follow a roster of making contact so that you get a maximum of two contacts (emails or calls) per day. This goes both ways, teachers will be answering lots of emails and also having to share connectivity with partners and their own children so please allow 24 hours for a reply to any e-mail that is sent. While timings will be flexible, it is important that students, parents and teachers are able to switch off so that working from home does not turn into working 24 hours a day. Teachers will be encouraged to share times when they are available for support and contact.
At this stage we are not sure that we will be allowed to distribute materials from school on the 15th.
As mentioned before, teachers have set up with students how they will communicate and it is worth checking this with your students. A number of teachers have (or will be) also inviting you as parents to join Google classrooms and this is a good way to keep informed.
The school app (Skool loop) is also a good way to keep track of notices.
When Schools Open
It is unclear when this will be although there are a lot of positive signs coming through the daily news briefings. What I do know is that the school will open for teachers and cleaning at least one, possibly two days before it opens for students. This will be vital in making sure the environment is clean, warm and safe and that teachers have a chance to prepare their classrooms. No access is permitted to the school while we are in Level 4. This has applied to all staff as well. This is monitored from a regional level and I have no discretion or power to let anyone in to pick up books, laptops etc.
IT Devices and Ministry of Education Announcements
Many of you will have seen or heard announcements from the Ministry about providing devices, connections and hardcopy work packs. We have used information gathered by teachers to let the Ministry know who we think is affected. The key points as I understand them are:
“To help make sure your child can keep up with their learning at home, the Ministry has asked for up-to-date information on your child’s year level, lockdown physical address and the resources your child will need. The Ministry will use the information to identify where devices and hard copy learning resources may be needed to be delivered. We won’t be able to meet everyone’s needs all at once but we will continue to provide as much as we can, as it is available.
We may be contacting some of you to check the details we have for you are correct. Resources are limited and it will take time to get them to learners who most need them, so the sooner we are able to get this information to the Ministry the better.
If your child is learning in and through te reo Māori you can register for a te reo Māori and Māori medium hard learning pack on Kauwhata Reo. We know that some whānau don’t have internet access, so anyone can register for a pack on behalf of a child, including their kaiako and teachers. No special permissions are required. The registration form can be accessed at https://kauwhatareo.govt.nz/mi/news-holder/ki-te-ao-marama-learning-packs/”
This is what the next few weeks looks like…
Dist Ed starts
|18th April||19th April|
|23rd April||24th April||25th April||26th April|
All the best for the new term.
Please contact teachers and Deans as you normally would with any course questions. For general enquiries including portal access please use firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to see the students back with us when we get back on site very soon.
Nga mihi nui