High Notes, Vol 21 No 9, March 27 2020

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From the Principal

High Talent

Thank you to all the students and staff who made online learning possible for >1170 individuals at their first attempt and for the rest of what was a very challenging week.

Issues from the P & C Online Meeting on 23.3.2020

Mr Kay and I provided responses to the most common questions posed by parents.

1.       Attendance only matters if the school has been notified by parents as to their intentions. Students will be marked as ‘F’ if they do not attend. (Attendance reduced to 34 students by Tuesday 24.3 in response to the Premier’s request that they should remain at home. Attendance now is assumed to be online and marked appropriately. We will be monitoring for online truancy from class.)

2.       We are measuring outcomes and participation rather than physical presence in the classroom. (It is important that students do log on punctually when their timetabled lesson is scheduled to start. Many lessons, particularly in mathematics, are in synchronous mode and students need to be ready.)

3.       We are preserving our current timetable as long as possible to maintain orderly routines for staff and students. (We have found that sticking to the published timetable works well in regulating the online teaching / learning day.)

4.       Students are to be in communication with their teachers during scheduled lessons in ways chosen by the teachers for their lesson. (It may be that students are asked to log on to CANVAS and follow instructions or teachers may set activities or give feedback on work submitted. Many combinations are possible.)

5.       Students need internet access (which can be provided on application) and their BYOD device. 949 students surveyed said they had internet access. (We are ready to receive any requests for assistance at home with technology. We have found very few access issues in online delivery thus far.)

6.       We have decided not to run the Year 12 assessment tasks at school as scheduled. The English Advanced Assessment task will still run on Wednesday 1 April but has been converted into a task which is submitted online through Canvas by 2pm. Notification of this was sent earlier today. Other faculties will advise students of their plans when a decision has been made.

7.       Assessments for other years may have to be rescheduled, modified or abandoned in Term 2 as responses to COVID-19 evolve.

8.       The Premier has decided that schools are to remain open until the school holidays.

9.       If a student or staff member tests positive the school reports on the hotline and follows Department of Health instructions.

10.    Staff have been working on CANVAS all this term. There have been two afternoon training sessions, Faculty Leads in CANVAS had training one afternoon and an additional faculty meeting was held last Friday. Staff have been working on online delivery. (Faculties declared they were ready to go online before noon on 23.3. They will have additional time for the next two weeks to prepare)

11.    Face masks are not recommended by the Department of Health for use in schools.

12.    Arrangements are made by individual faculties and teachers to support HSC students undertaking major practical works. In the Junior School, practical components of subjects have been modified where practicable or omitted where necessary.

13.    Students who attend school are expected to wear appropriate school uniform.

14.    All faculties have submitted a plan for online learning until the end of term. In the last week of term, I will ask the Executive for faculty plans to the month of May. (If the school is in lockdown, other arrangements will be made for online conferencing.)

School Operation

Our school is fully operational in an online mode. Teachers report high attendance rates in online lessons delivered through CANVAS. Some lessons are asynchronous, with students logging on and following instructions and completing tasks. Increasingly, teachers have the skill to use synchronous delivery where the lesson occurs in real time and is interactive. Lessons resources are being posted online as a further aid in some classes. Since Tuesday, student attendance has been extremely low ie </= 15/ 1208 – a tribute I think to the confidence that our school community has in High’s capacity to produce high quality experiences online. Any families having difficulties accessing the online learning environment are urged to contact the school.

AAGPS COVID-19 Announcement

In light of the escalation of the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in the community, in the best interest of the safety and welfare of our staff, students, volunteers and the entire AAGPS community and our many family and friends, The GPS Headmasters’ Standing Committee has announced that all AAGPS 2020 fixtures will be suspended indefinitely effective immediately.

The current 2020 calendar will remain as per scheduled, with schools permitted to conduct fitness and conditioning programs within current Government health and safety guidelines in preparation for the re-commencement of sporting fixtures when it is deemed safe and appropriate to do so.

The AAGPS acknowledges that advice and the current situation has, and can change rapidly, and as the situation evolves, the AAGPS will continue to monitor, and act accordingly throughout the remainder of 2020.

For further information or clarification, please contact Mr Mark Ticehurst, AAGPS Chairman on 0427 990 761, or Mr Nigel Price, Executive Officer on 0497 012 143.
Dr K A Jaggar

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