I don’t know about you but this pandemic seems to have accelerated the year. It hardly seems any time since we were responding daily to the rapid developments as the coronavirus spread. Now here we are at the end of Term 2, half-way through the year. Normally we would publish an end-of-term newsletter wrap-up of the main events. However, there have been no main events to write about this term so we are just publishing a regular newsletter.
Term 3 activities
As restrictions have progressively been relaxed for schools, Term 3 will allow us to introduce a few more of our regular school activities, following the relevant Health guidelines:
Music tuition by our peripatetic instrumental tutors
After school extra-curricular activities in the Junior School, such as Drama, Dance and French
Choirs and bands
Weekly school sports involving external venues
Some inter-school events
Some excursions required for curriculum outcomes and where there is no or minimal community interaction
Canteen volunteers (except those who fall into the higher risk categories)
Second hand uniform shop volunteers. NB: Appointments will no longer be needed! However, there are still some systems we need to put in place to maintain social distancing when at school. We ask that parents/caregivers use the side entrance to the 2nd Hand Uniform shop (as has been the case over the past 4 weeks). Please note there is no entry through the front Reception. Hand sanitiser must be used on arrival when visiting the 2nd Hand Uniform shop.
Lakes Grammar Cross-Country and Athletics Carnivals – these will not be pathways to higher level representation this year but we wanted to give our students some fun days.
School photos – 21 September
Year 12 Graduation on the last day of term may have to take a different form than the usual. The Year 12 Formal has been booked for the end of the HSC exam period in November.
After-school activities procedures:
Instructions to parents for pick-up after activity:
Please arrive on time and wait outside. The provider/tutor will bring your child to meet you. Please don’t arrive early or late. Please maintain physical distancing from other parents or wait in your car.
We are following the guidelines for schools of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), NSW Department of Health and the NSW Department of Education. The latter determines the school activities that are permitted and other restrictions on access to schools. Consequently, we will still limit adults entering the school so will maintain our current restrictions on parents entering.
We will arrange for a Zoom P&F meeting early in Term 3. Events that involve large gatherings of adults are still prohibited at this stage.
At present assemblies are only allowed to be up to 15 minutes with no external visitors, so we are still running virtual assemblies and chapels.
All the above are subject to change according to changes in the AHPPC and Department of Health guidelines.
Please do not send your child to school if he or she is ill in any way. For all of the activities noted above we have hygiene and safety requirements we expect the providers to abide by and they also have their own to implement.
If you have been financially disadvantaged as a result of the COVID19 restrictions and have not yet requested assistance please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a link to an application form.
Two of our teachers are leaving us today:
Mrs Natasha Matthews has taught in our Senior School HSIE Faculty since 2011 and has been both a Year Adviser and Co-ordinator of the SRC. Mrs Matthews is taking on the challenge of working in a school for students who do not fit well in a regular school environment. We will miss her and wish her God’s blessing in her new venture. We are just about to appoint a replacement until the end of the year.
Mrs Karen Leslie teaches 4L this year and has been with us since 2017. Mrs Leslie has felt the call of the Navy. She has decided to follow her son into the Navy and she begins her training at the end of our school holidays. We also wish Mrs Leslie God’s blessing and protection as she begins a whole new career. Ms Veronica Butcher will teach 4L for the rest of this year.
Ode to Teachers
This week I listened to an episode of the podcast “Life and Faith” from the Centre for Public Christianity. It was very affirming of the role and importance of teachers and noted a renewed appreciation of this on the part of parents, after the COVID19 lockdown. One of the teachers interviewed commented: “What I’d really love parents to know is that most of us, we’re invested in your children. This is such an important job because you’re developing human beings. We’re here to develop the most important thing in your life, your child”. You can listen to it on www.publicchristianity.org or on Apple Podcasts, Episode 197, Ode to Teachers.
The latter part of this term for me has seen a whirl of emotions with the death of my father, followed two weeks later by the birth of our second grandchild, a beautiful little boy. It was a reminder of the cycle of life, that life is a gift from God and that we should live in the light of that knowledge.
Monday 20 July is a professional learning day for teachers. I look forward to welcoming our students back on 21 July.
Travel to Victoria
With the COVID19 outbreaks in Melbourne we are concerned that any families who travel to Victoria, and Melbourne in particular, may bring the virus back with them. Please be vigilant, maintain physical distancing and hygiene and if any symptoms appear please do not send your child back to school until two weeks after the symptoms first appear. You should also have your child tested if they have symptoms after visiting Melbourne. Thank you.
Mr Michael Hannah
KEY DATES FOR THE DIARY
During the School Holidays, the School will be closed to all parents and visitors, reflecting current COVID-19 restrictions.
During Weeks 1 and 2 of holidays (Monday, 29 June – Friday, 10 July), the office will be unattended, however, phone messages will be checked periodically so if you need to contact the school please leave a message and a staff member will return your call.
During Week 3 of holidays (Monday, 13 July – Friday, 17 July), the office will be attended and calls will be answered between 9am and 12pm. Outside of these hours, phone messages will be checked periodically and a staff member will return your call.
From Term 3 both the Junior and Senior School canteens will be accepting cash transactions again.
Thank you for your support of both canteens during this time.
Di Hattam and Leigh-an Kyle
What a term!
It’s not often that I feel lost for words, but today as I type this I am struggling to find words to capture the essence of Term 2 in 2020. For us at school it has seemed like Term 1 never really ended but just kept rolling on in some kind of weird and alien way. Each week seemed to blend into the next in a rollercoaster ride of adaptation, innovation and hours of extra work in the online environment. This then transitioned back to face-to-face learning for most students, but not all. Not everything has gone perfectly, but I am in awe at how hard our staff have worked to try and make it work. My admiration is for our students too, who on the whole, are just taking it in their stride the best that they can. Amazing!
The elevated state of anxiety, however, has had a massive effect on our community and the one word which keeps coming up in conversation is “exhausted!” Students and staff alike are genuinely worn out and the 3 week break is very much needed. Our Year 12’s are well and truly feeling the end is near with many of them mentioning how few the weeks are until the HSC. They are in need of our prayers at this difficult time…the HSC is hard enough in a regular year, let alone during a global pandemic.
Each week Pete and I have met to catch up and pray for you, our school community. Our love for you continues to grow and we are both filled with joy to be chaplains at Lakes Grammar. We have both had to learn new ways of being chaplain and the feedback from our students has proved invaluable in helping us to improve. This is especially so with our students all being digital natives in contrast to us dinosaurs who can still remember the Commodore 64. The learning never stops! My congratulations go to Pete too, who by the end of this term will have completed 6 years as our Junior School Chaplain.
So, we hope that in this crazy time, you all might find time to be family. That you will make time to rest, to rejuvenate and hopefully rejoice. We are praying that Term 3 will have opportunities for us to celebrate together and the separation we have experienced may come to an end. Both Pete and I are really missing our chapel times with the students each week and word on the street is that the students are too. Stay safe everyone and see you in Term 3.
JUNIOR SCHOOL NEWS
HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL
It was a pleasure to visit each of the classrooms both last week and this week to see our students and to hand out a number of awards. The children are amazing with the resilience and adaptability that they have shown to transition back from online learning into the routines of face-to-face leaning at school. They have loved being back with their teachers and friends and enjoying all that the full school experience offers.
One example of the students enjoying their learning has been seeing Year 2 utilising the STEM Room to use the Beebots as a part of their current Science unit on push and pull forces with toys. The students learnt to program the Beebots and created maps for them to follow.
We wish all of our school families the best for the upcoming holiday break. It has been a particular pleasure to work in partnership with one another this term as we navigated a set of unique circumstances together. Thank you for the way that we have been able to be patient, caring and positive with one another. Please also be mindful that many in our community are feeling jaded and worried with the ever-changing circumstances in our society. If you know of someone who needs assistance, or if yourself need help, I encourage you to reach out and connect with others, or to support a friend in doing so.
In Psalm 51: 10, the psalmist writes “restore me to the joy of your salvation”.
Whilst the recent and ongoing events in our world have brought about a sense of anxiety and even despair for many, we have been blessed to have worked together as a school community and more broadly as a society to help ‘smooth’ out many of our causes of worry at the moment.
The psalmist reminds us that in the middle of a sense of helplessness, that we can still have joy – the joy of our salvation that is freely given to us by God through Jesus. Our salvation in turn, gives us the freedom to live lives of loving service to our God.
The psalmist writes, ‘restoreto me the joy of your salvation’. Before 2020 came around the corner, it was relatively easy to take our blessings that many of us have enjoyed in our lives for granted. In our society, when all things are going comparatively well and we feel comfortable, it can also be easy to forget the joy of salvation.
As things can sometimes change in an instant, as we have seen with the recent pandemic, we are reminded that one thing lasts for now and into eternity, and that is the faithfulness of God and the joy of his salvation, so freely given to us.
Congratulations to all of the children on their achievements and determination this term. We will be delighted to welcome the children back in July for another exciting term at Lakes Grammar!
Mr Will Wallace
Head of Junior School
Overdues were sent out this week. We are asking if you could please check shelves over the school holidays if they are still outstanding and return books at the start of Term 3. Thank you to all parents, students and staff over this crazy term! We hope to have a more ‘normal’ Term 3.
Premier’s Reading Challenge 2020
We now have 35 PRC’S completed. A fantastic effort considering the major disruption to borrowing over the last couple of months.
JS Teacher Librarian
SPELLING BEE VIA ZOOM!
In Week 8 of Term 2, we held our Junior School Spelling Bee via Zoom. It was fantastic to have all our classes supporting our spellers in the comfort of their own classroom. It was wonderful for everyone in the classrooms to have a go at spelling each word along with the participants.
Thank you also to our amazing Spelling Bee Announcer, Mr Pete Oates!
Our Spelling Bee Champions for each grade are:
High Potential and Gifted Education Co-ordinator K-6
SENIOR SCHOOL NEWS
ACTING HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL
I think I am not the only one who will be glad to see Term 2 come to an end! Both our students and staff have survived ‘COVID shutdown’ and they returned to school with great resilience and determination to keep moving forward….. although I am very aware many are now very tired! It has taken a while for all of us to start to feel like a normal school again and next term, as in-school restrictions surrounding excursions and assemblies are hopefully slowly lifted, we will start to feel even more like we are returning to ‘the good old days’!
As we head into the holidays, I think it is right to remember everything our students have been through over the past four months and embrace them and give them time to unwind. This is especially important given that last holidays students were very anxious about what was happening in the wider world and were also spending their time trying to catch up on work and make sense of online learning. If you are a parent of a Year 12 student, I encourage you to keep them close to you these holidays and support them! I remember when I was in Year 12 (and even now), my mum’s cakes and a cuppa with her would always fix me any time I was feeling overwhelmed or a little stressed!
I recently read an article by Collett Smart, ‘What the Final Class of 2020 Needs Right Now’ on the website, Raising Teenagers. Although the article was a very good reminder about what our Year 12 students are feeling right now and what they have lost in their final year, there are some great takeaways for all of us as we try to maintain our students’ resilience and sense of joy in a very uncertain and sometimes scary world:
Listen to what they are feeling.
Offer kindness and compassion
Acknowledge what they have lost
Be their cheer squad
Communicate unconditional love and acceptance
Encourage times of rest, relaxation and fun
If you are feeling like you need further support for your child over the holidays, there are also some great resources on the websites: Reachout.org and Raisingteenagers.com.au. If you have any concerns for yourself or your child contact Beyond Blue or Lifeline.
A big thank you to all the parents who have kept their children at home when their children have flu like symptoms. This has assisted us to maintain a COVID-safe environment for both our staff and students here at school. Please remember that this practice, especially as we head further into winter, needs to be adhered to in Term 3 as well.
Our 7-10 Reports will be available on Parent Lounge by tonight. You will find some information that would normally appear on our Half Yearly Reports is missing.
For Semester 1 2020 the Student’s Overall Mark and Group Average mark will not be reported. On each report you will only see an A-E grade for each subject, Areas of Learning, Learning Behaviours and Teacher Feedback. This change recognizes that the COVID19 period of isolation and online learning introduced new opportunities and challenges for teachers and students. Teachers have determined the Grade by considering assessment results, student class work and teacher observations against the subject achievement descriptors. We will look at reinstating the Student’s Overall Mark and Group Average mark for the Yearly Reports.
If you have any questions about this please feel free to contact me and you can contact your child’s subject teacher if you would like to understand more about their overall achievement.
On behalf of all the teachers and staff in the Senior School, we wish you a safe and relaxing holiday.