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Newman News Term 2 Week 2: From the Deputy Principal Wellbeing Secondary

08 May 2020

The staff and I have been very happy in welcoming back our students for Term 2. While Week 1 predominantly saw our Year 11 and 12 students on campus, Week 2 has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Years 7-10 students back on campus.

The start of Term has seen our Senior students completing revision exercises with teachers and beginning to move forward in their curriculum. While the past months have been trying for all, it is pleasing to see students reconnecting on campus and moving forward with their studies.

Our Years 7-10 students have started the Term with their remote learning programs and, on behalf of the students, I would like to thank the staff for the immense amount of work they have put in for this to be a success. While we have seen an increase in student numbers on campus this week, the remote learning program continues to operate effectively so that no student, whether on campus or operating remotely, is disadvantaged.

While large gatherings are prohibited from occurring, students will continue to engage in year groups and Guilds via remote platforms. This week, students took part in year remote group assemblies and it was pleasing to see that we were able to recognise and celebrate some outstanding student work. Our Wellbeing calendar will continue to operate, albeit in a different style. In the coming weeks students will remotely take part in Guild activities and wellbeing talks during their extended PCG.

As we continue to move forward as a community, I would like to thank all students, parents and guardians for their ongoing support and understanding. Please continue to direct any queries you have to the College.

Remote Learning – Student Reflections

“As I am in Year 7 and have only just started high school, remote learning has been challenging. Some experiences that were improved during the remote learning period were time management, learning independently, contacting friends online, spending more time with family and overall improving our technology skills. It gave me more time to complete my work and improve my organisation skills. Although we are used to face to face learning, remote learning was a good learning experience.” Daniel Miniello, Year 7

“At the end of Term 1 and the beginning of Term 2 we were required to move to remote learning. At the start it was a little difficult to get in a rhythm but after a couple of days I worked out what was to work well for me. I found that sticking to the structure of a normal school day by following my timetable was easier to maintain focus and cover all my subjects. I was able to use my sport periods, recess and lunch breaks to have downtime, get some fresh air, shoot some netball or do our sport drills before getting back into my timetable. It was important to make sure that I had enough breaks to keep focused and also keep time for normal homework, whilst making sure to finish at a reasonable time each day. I was needing to keep a balance between my school and homework and my mental health.

Afternoons also gave me time to reconnect with friends from both inside and out of school. This was via phone calls and facetime chats. It was good to experience the challenges of remote learning and developing a process to get everything done that worked for me. I can’t wait to get back to school and see my teachers and friends in person again.” Tayla Jack, Year 10

“During my remote learning experience I have really enjoyed using video conference calls with my teachers as well as working out a plan and structure for my day. However, I have found the experience challenging at times as I miss interacting with students and teachers. I have also found it difficult to keep my fitness level up but with the help of a few apps and YouTube links I have been able to create a couple of personal fitness programs for myself. Overall I have really enjoyed this experience and I feel that it has prepared me well for the future.” Josh Downes, Year 10

“My online learning experience came as a shock and took some getting used to. I had to work through various challenges such as difficulty to get in touch with teachers independently. I also found it hard staying motivated whilst in a home environment, but once I found an effective routine and took frequent breaks, I was able to complete all the necessary work. After a couple of lessons, my teachers and I developed a dynamic structure, and we were able to effectively work through all the content together. This looked different for every lesson but generally, we would complete the task and in the last 15 minutes of the lesson we would group call. I found Microsoft teams was the most effective way to video call teachers as a class. My teachers were a massive help in making sure we had work to complete every lesson and we stayed on track which in year 12, was particularly important for our studies and future. We had to ensure that we were up to date so when we returned to school, we were able to continue through our work in time for exams. Of course, due to these unusual circumstances, online learning was not ideal, however, I personally felt we made the most of the experience and am thankful we are back on track at school.” Natalie Scally, Year 12

Alternative Break Out Areas

As part of our support for student wellbeing, the College will use alternative break out areas at recess and lunch when required. Typically, this will occur when extreme weather no longer permits the use of our normal break out areas for student gatherings and alternative areas will be opened to keep students away from the elements. Information has gone out to students this week regarding how this will look at the College for the duration of Term 2.

Wellbeing Team

This week, students were provided with information on gratitude; which is a feeling of thankful appreciation. It is about appreciating and being thankful for the goodness in life. At times like this, when life seems a little out of control, gratitude can help to ground us and our children, providing a sense of calm and reducing the spiral of negative thoughts. Gratitude is also a mood booster as it helps us to tune into the good things in our lives that can easily be overlooked.

It can be a challenge to talk to teens about being grateful, however trying to connect on a regular basis about positives in their lives, even for a minute or two, can make a difference. Asking a simple question, such as “What is something that has made you happy today?”, “Who do you admire the most?” or “What are you enjoying the most at the moment?”, can start a conversation, or at least get your teen thinking about what they are appreciative for in life.

Click here for more ideas on how to talk to your child about gratitude.

You can also encourage your child to identify what they are grateful for in other ways, for example by using the Happyfeed app, which is a teen-friendly app and easy way to record daily gratitude.

College Uniform

Due to difficulties in meeting the high demand of winter uniform items, together with the restrictions placed on the Uniform Shop access, there will be an additional week where students will be able to wear their summer uniform. Students participating in Physical Education classes Y7-12 are permitted to wear their sports uniform on those days. The wearing of full winter uniform will commence on Monday 18 May. The College has recently updated the uniform requirements, and details can be found here.

Download Uniform Requirements

Pathways and Careers Update

Click here to see all of the upcoming list of events that may be useful for students and parents.