COVID-19 – 18 September Update 1

 

Dear Parents/Guardians,

 

Term 3 2020 has certainly been different to what we imagined it would be at the beginning of the College year. While we have had many challenges thrown at us, the resilience and sense of community shown by all staff, students and parent/guardians has been truly inspiring.

Thank you to our teachers and auxiliary staff who have continued to offer quality learning experiences to our students in very trying circumstances. Thank you to our parents/guardians for working alongside us to ensure their sons/daughters continue to engage with their teachers and their learning. And, lastly, a huge thank you must go to our student community. I am sure all of you have done your best to continue to engage in learning remotely. While this year has not turned out as we all hoped and planned, you have proven to be a resilient and strong group of young people, of whom I am incredibly proud.

As we head into the term break, I have a couple of important matters to highlight:

  • From Monday 5 October to Friday 9 October (the first week of Term 4) remote and flexible learning continues for all students, including our VCE students.
    Wednesday 7 October is the only exception to remote and flexible learning for those VCE students sitting the General Achievement Test (GAT).
  • For students completing VCE (Unit 2 and Unit 4) subjects, there will be no classes running on Wednesday 7 October.
  • On-site supervision for students of permitted workers and vulnerable students continues in line with existing guidelines.
  • From Monday 12 October students enrolled in a VCE or VCAL program will return to on-site learning.
  • All students from Year 7 to Year 10 will continue with remote and flexible learning. A date for the return of these year levels to on-site learning will be subject to further health advice, but will occur as soon as they are safely able to do so.

 

I wish you all a relaxing holiday and hope you all manage to find moments of joy.

God bless!

 

Kind regards,
Rory Kennedy
Principal

National eSmart Week 6-12 September: Connecting Safely

Our school has registered to take part in National eSmart Week. eSmart is an initiative of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and is all about building supportive and connected social environments both on and offline.

This year’s National eSmart Week theme is Connecting Safely. The week from 6-12 September celebrates the work schools and families have done to connect safely while navigating remote learning.

If you would like further ideas about how to continue to work safely online please click on the links below.

eSmart resources for Students
eSmart resources for Parents

Child Protection Week 2020, 6-12 September

Protecting children is everyone’s business. As a school community, we acknowledge the importance of Child Protection Week and the role every adult has in ensuring children in our care, in families and our schools are safe, cared for and protected. We are actively committed to fostering communities that safeguard the right to a secure and safe environment for all children and young people. School staff are often early identifiers of family concern for children. We continue to engage in child-centred practices.

If you would like to know more about how to play your part, please follow the link below.
NAPCAN Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect Tips

Information for parents/guardians:
Child Safe Standards Victoria
Child Safe Standards Guidance 2017

Further resources:
NCPW2020_CommitmentPoster_COLOUR_B
NAP20_ChildrensWeek_tipsheet_FINAL_GENERAL
NAP35_ChildrensWeek_A4Poster_FINAL_NATIONAL
NAPCAN-Commitment-Statement-FINAL
NAPCAN-NCPW-COMMUNITY-poster-photo-ONLINE-nodate-1

Thank you for your ongoing support in ensuring that children are safe and protected.

Capable, confident critical thinkers 

The advent of the internet has changed our lives and we must all respect and take responsibility for the online world in which we find ourselves. The importance of being media literate so that we may function consciously, critically and ethically in the media world, requires the assistance of the whole of society.

Everyone plays a role in helping the younger generations judge and sort the information that is bombarding their online existence and reinforcing their positive digital citizenship as they reflect their personal values within their online world. Parents, guardians and teachers alike have a role to play in the development of critical thinking, so that students are able to discern truth from the misinformation and misleading sources of information that are portrayed by the media as news.

Critical thinking can commence by holding open discussions revolving around what is being portrayed online with thoughts such as:

  • Does this look real?
  • Does this sound credible and accurate?
  • Is this demonstrating any bias?
  • Who is really saying this or behind this thought?
  • How can I verify this information?
  • Is this relevant to me?
  • When did this happen?

Why is this critical thinking important to us all? We all like to be informed and we need our news sources to be truthful and honest, portraying life as it really exists. Business behind the media and providing our news are just that, a business that needs to operate with profitable incomes. When sharing news and forwarding it on your social media platforms ask yourself, are you passing on misinformation, or have you been media literate and a critical thinker?

COVID-19 – 31 August Update 1

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

Thank you for your support of our virtual Student Progress Interviews held last Thursday and Friday. Despite the unique circumstances and unusual process of delivery, the feedback has been that parents/guardians enjoyed the opportunity to speak with their son/daughter’s teachers and found the Zoom meetings or phone calls worked well despite the odd technical hitch.

Thank you, too, to those parents/guardians who completed our Remote Learning 2.0 surveys. The information gleaned from these surveys will inform us of what is working for our community and what could be improved to make the experience better for all concerned.

Over the coming weeks some of our Year 12 VCE students will engage in some of their School Assessed Coursework (SACs) remotely. This is something new for the College and presents a range of issues in regards to the authentication of student work. We thank, in advance, the students and their parent/guardians for the strict adherence to our processes and procedures that will ensure this system remains fair and transparent.

As we move towards the end of Term 3, we are beginning to receive queries from our community about what will be occurring regarding our response to COVID-19 and remote learning in Term 4. While we understand the concerns and would enjoy some certainty about what will happen next, we do not currently have the information many of you are seeking; we, too, receive information after it has been released to the wider community through the relevant media briefings. Please rest assured, however, that as soon as we know more, we will respond as quickly as possible while ensuring that what we share is accurate and continues to be in the best interests of our College community.

 

Kind regards,
Rory Kennedy
Principal

eSafety while Learning and Communicating Online

As stage four restrictions have brought us to an extended period of remote education, it is important that students remember eSafety while learning and communicating online. Students’ efforts so far are to be commended, with teachers reporting that high levels of dedication to online Zoom classes are being put in by most. However, students should stay alert and continue to practice an eSmart attitude, being aware of their actions and the actions of others in online spaces.

This starts with keeping engaged and setting up a study space appropriate for video conferencing, online Zoom classes and calls. Students should ensure they are appropriately dressed, are ready on time and are sitting in a quiet space, ideally with a blank wall behind them before beginning their classes. This will protect students’ privacy and give them the best opportunity to engage with their school work.

Students should also remember the College expectations when learning online. Rules on behaviour, participation and completion of work in the online environment are the same as those in the physical classroom. Similarly, students should treat each other with respect and dignity online, just as they would face-to-face.

If students are feeling overwhelmed or threatened online, it is essential they stay calm and reach out for assistance so they do not have to deal with the situation alone. This can be done by talking to a parent/guardian, trusted adult, staff member or by making a report to the eSafety Commissioner.

For more tips and resources on how to be eSmart, please visit the eSafety website. We look forward to your continued support and another successful term of eSafe online learning.

 

 

 

Wellbeing – Important Mental Health Helplines

   

Kids Helpline:

CALL: 1800 551 800 (Available 24/7)

CHAT: Chat with us online (Available 8am – 12am AEST)

VISIT: https://kidshelpline.com.au/

A free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.

 

 

 

Headspace:

CALL: 1800 650 890

VISIT: https://headspace.org.au/

Free online and telephone service that supports young people aged between 12 and 25 and their families going through a tough time.

 

 

 

LifeLine:

CALL: 13 11 14 (Available 24/7)

CHAT: Chat with us online (Available 7pm – 12am AEST)

VISIT: https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Confidential telephone crisis support for all ages.

 

Beyond Blue:

CALL: 1300 224 636

VISIT: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get- support/get-immediate-support

Confidential telephone and chat support.

 

 

1800 RESPECT:

CALL: 1800 737 732

CHAT: Online text chat

VISIT: 1800respect.org.au

All ages support if you, or someone you know, is experiencing sexual assault or domestic and family violence.

 

Suicide and crisis support

If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000.
Suicide Call Back Service – For ages 15+
Provides immediate telephone counselling and support in a crisis.
CALL: 1300 659 467 (Available 24/7)
CHAT: Chat with us online (Available 24/7)
Visit: suicidecallbackservice.org.au

 

Other support and helplines:

There are also other organisations and help lines that may be tailored to your needs.

  • eheadspace

o CALL: 1800 650 890

  • Family Relationship Advice Line

o CALL: 1800 050  321

  • Mensline Australia

o CALL: 1300 78 99  78

  • QLife

o CALL: 1800 184 527

  • Support for families from Refugee backgrounds, The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture

o CALL: 9389 8900

 

  • REACH OUT
  • The SANE Help Centre provides counselling, support, information with high levels of psychological distress. They also provide support to the family or friends who care about them.

 

Mindfulness apps:

  • Calm
  • Sitting still
  • Stop, Breathe & Think
  • Headspace: meditation and sleep
  • Smiling minds
  • Go noodle
  • Breethe: Meditation and calm

 

Suicide and Self-harm support Apps:

  • CALM HARM:
    • Helps lessen the urge to self-harm. The urge to self-harm can be said to be like a wave, this app helps provide support strategies to help you ride the wave until the urge passes
  • Beyond NOW
    • Suicide safety planning app helps you stay safe if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings, distress or a crisis
  • VIRTUAL Hope Box
    • contains things that remind you of positive experiences, reasons for living, people who care about you, and coping resources

 

Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service: https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/?utm_campaign=hp_banner

Media literacy: What does it mean?

Media literacy: What does it mean?

According to the Australian Media Literacy Alliance (AMLA), the newly formed agency to champion media literacy education in Australia, ‘media literacy is the ability to critically engage with media in all aspects of life. It is a critical form of lifelong literacy that is essential for full participation in society.’

What does this mean for the students at MacKillop College?

Media is a very powerful force in the lives of students and has a strong influence on how they see the world. In order to be engaged and critical media consumers in study, work, lifestyle and in the community, students need to develop the skills and habits of media literacy. They need to develop the skills and ability to:

  • access media technologies on both basic and advanced levels in a variety of mediums whilst maintaining awareness of and reflecting on the personal, social and ethical impacts of their choices
  • analyse in a critical manner based on key concepts such as influence and impact on people and society, realizing that media construes reality in other ways
  • evaluate the media based on that analyses to critique and use the variety of media formats
  • create, manipulate and manage media to produce their own media to achieve personal objectives

Media literacy builds upon the foundations of traditional literacy and empowers students to be critical thinkers, effective communicators and active citizens utilising all forms of communication.

For more information about the AMLA please visit https://medialiteracy.org.au/index.php/about-us/

Student Free Day
Tuesday 4 August

As per the announcement on Sunday 2 August, Tuesday 4 August will be a student free day to prepare for all year levels returning to remote learning – until the end of Term 3 at this stage.

COVID-19 – 3 August Update 1

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

Yesterday, the Victorian Government announced that, on the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, metropolitan Melbourne will move to Stage 4 restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

These requirements apply to all schools in metropolitan Melbourne.

The changes to schools’ operations will come into effect from Wednesday 5 August, following a student free day for all students on Tuesday 4 August, and are likely to apply until the end of Term 3.

As outlined in the Chief Health Officer’s advice on Sunday, schools remain safe for staff and students – but these steps are critical measures to reduce the movement of students and families across the state.

There are several implications for our College, and for families in our school community. A summary of what these changes mean for schools is below.

Year 7-10 Students

  • Year 7-10 students will continue with remote learning
  • The criteria for students that can attend onsite has changed as follows:
    • students whose parents/guardians are permitted workers. The Victorian Government will provide further advice about this over the coming days
    • vulnerable students in out of home care, students known to child protection and other agencies, and students the school identifies as vulnerable
    • students with a disability who also fit one of the above two categories
  • The college will ensure sufficient staff are available for necessary onsite supervision.

Senior Secondary (VCAL, VCE and VET)

  • All VCAL, VCE and VET students will move to remote learning
  • The GAT will be rescheduled from Wednesday 9 September to Wednesday 7 October
  • The schedule for the VCE examinations and release of results will remain as previously advised
  • Further information about consideration of disadvantage and COVID-19 will be provided shortly.

Timeline

  • Monday 3 August will be a ‘normal’ day of school under current arrangements, with students asked to take all their necessary learning materials home
  • Tuesday 4 August will be a student-free day across Victoria to enable teachers to prepare for remote learning and provide possible time for all students to catch up on any work still outstanding
  • Wednesday 5 August will be the first day of new arrangements for all schools across Victoria.

 

With yet another change underway, we thank you for your understanding and support as we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 within our community.

Kind Regards
Rory Kennedy
Principal