Winter is coming…

Regular school functions return next week for four of our year groups, and the numbers of other year groups are gradually creeping up as businesses re-open. We are slowly returning to normal.

It is timely to remind the community that terms 2 and 3 at Mary MacKillop are when winter uniform is worn. Can the transition please be made to the winter uniform as outlined in the college expectations here. Please note that in the Senior college, blazers are now a standard element of the winter uniform.

You will recall that we are looking to institute a winter formal uniform for girls in the Junior college, who do not have that option at present. A P and F committee have come up with some recommendations and I will be going through a process of consultation very soon. The plan is for these to be available for purchase for this year, once approved, but to NOT be compulsory for at least one full year. Many thanks to that committee.

Have a lovely weekend. Stay safe.

Mr Chris Gabbett

Principal

Site safety… a reminder

With four year groups returning to the site on Monday, I consider it useful to reiterate guidance regarding site access and site safety.

Access to/on the site:

We ask that parents and siblings do not get out of the car at drop-off or pick-up in line with the directive given by the Chief Medical Officer to ensure social distancing. Parents will not have the ability to go into students learning areas until further notice.

Only students attending school are able to enter our learning areas and if you must go to Junior reception please make sure there is only one person in the foyer at a time.

If you are coming on site for any reason, including dropping off forgotten items, please present to administration where a staff member will assist you.

Junior Drop Off:

P-2 

Students may be dropped off at the AM drop and go zone or Uluru from 8:00am and need to make their way to Billabong.

3-6

Students may be dropped off from 8:00am and are to make their way to Uluru.

Senior Drop Off:

To enable social distancing please use our drop-off zone.

Junior Pick-Up:

To enable social distancing please utilise our pick-up zones at Uluru or the AM drop and go zone.

Prep-2:

P-2 will be collected in the AM stop/go zone. The parking zone outside Prep will be cordoned off with bollards, and children will congregate there. This means the top circle area will be a pick up only zone and there will be NO parking available. From 2:45pm, Prep children will be available for collection. Years 1 and 2 will be dismissed and available at 2:50pm. If you need to park, please park in the Junior car park or on Highfields Road. Please do not leave your car if you are in the pick-up line.

If you have not collected you child by 3:00pm they will be seated outside Junior reception.

Years 3-6:

Years 3-6 will be in Uluru for collection. 

If you have Prep-2 and 3-6 students to collect please collect the Prep – 2 first and then make your way to Uluru.

Senior Pick-Up:

As normal in the Senior school.

Using the car pick-up lines:

Using the car pick-up lines increases social distancing, please do not come into the school unless absolutely necessary. If you must come on site please report to administration first and a staff member will assist you.

Birthday celebrations:

I recognise that this is a really lovely and inclusive practice, but I ask please if parents can stop sending in food for communal consumption. 

Medication

Please remember to send in any medications your child may need along with a completed Administration of Medication Form found on our website.

https://www.highfields.catholic.edu.au/current-parents/student-protection-wellbeing

I do understand that some of these rules hinder a quick getaway, but I want them maintained at this time so that we are doing everything possible to guarantee the safety safety of the children and wider community.

Thank you so much, take care

Mr Chris Gabbett

Principal

What matters the most…

In a previous podcast, I discussed a strategy for situations that are out of your control. When you can’t change something you can always change the way you think about it. Since my last blog post I have really focused on putting this into practice myself. I’ve stopped to reflect on what I’ve had the opportunity to notice, discover, and learn over the last month or so… what matters most to me and what really doesn’t matter! What supports me to be at my best and what holds me back or weighs me down. I’m wondering if you’ve been doing the same?

“I completely acknowledge the negative impact of COVID-19 on so many aspects of our lives, but I can’t help but also acknowledge some positives or silver linings to our enforced reset. Amidst the rush to return to normal, we should all take some time to think about what’s worth rushing back to.”

What have you had the opportunity to slow down and discover about yourself and your family?

What will you do differently as the current situation eases, to live more in accordance with your values?

What will you KEEP, STOP, and START doing??

Dr Jasmin Slack-Smith
College Guidance Counsellor

For more resources from the College Guidance Counsellors, visit their page via the link below.

Premier’s announcement – 4 May

You will by now have seen the statement by the Premier regarding a staggered return to school.

From next Monday (11 May), Prep, and Years 1, 11 and 12 will return to ‘normal’ school.

It is acknowledged that some parents of Prep, Year 1, Year 11 and Year 12 students may still wish to keep their children home from school due to concerns about COVID-19 and due to student health concerns. This is an acceptable decision and your child won’t be marked as being absent, rather that they are learning from home. In these cases, parents and carers remain responsible for their children. This includes ensuring their children stay at home and continue their learning.

The State Government operational guidelines indicate that the classroom teacher is not responsible for providing an alternative home-based learning program for students in Prep, Year 1, Year 11 or Year 12 where parents elect to keep children at home after 11 May.  However, if parents of these children contact the school, the teacher can discuss with them ways they can best support their child at home.

At this stage, the current processes for years 2-10 will be maintained until May 25. A new survey for week 4 will be distributed very soon, aimed at Years 2-10.

The Queensland Government has chosen Prep, 1, 11 and 12 for a number of reasons. Research shows that the early years of schooling is when the building blocks for learning occurs. By allowing young children to return to Prep and Year 1 schools can continue to provide them with the teaching and learning that enables them to grow into capable and confident young people.

The senior years of schooling are important as young adults make decisions about the pathways they will take after school. In addition, 2020 is the first year of Queensland’s new Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance (SATE) reforms and it is important that our senior students continue their learning at their school during this significant year.

Children of essential workers and vulnerable children from other year levels will continue attending school sites as they have done since the commencement of Term 2. 

To maintain safety at Mary MacKillop, the following measures will be maintained:

  • students and staff who are unwell must not attend school
  • physical distancing of 1.5 metres is required by all adults
  • adults must not gather in and around school grounds, car parks, school gates and outside classrooms
  • parents should use stop, drop and go rather than walking their children into school
  • students will engage in regular effective handwashing and hygiene protocols, including regularly washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser and covering coughs and sneezes
  • increased cleaning frequencies of high-touch surfaces such as light switches and door handles
  • technology such as video conferencing used for gatherings, meetings and assemblies

If you have any questions about this, please do contact the College. Have a lovely day.

Mr Chris Gabbett

Principal

Working the triple shift!!

For many of us, we are currently working double or triple shifts! We are managing the family home, we are working, and we are also supporting our children with their on-line learning. I don’t know about you, but for me this has been challenging. Challenging on a physical level but most notably, challenging on an emotional/psychological level. Don’t get me wrong – we have definitely had our wins and days when we feel like we are in our groove. I love knowing more about what and how my child learns and I feel I am now in a better position to support him and his teacher on our collaborative learning journey! I also know that challenges strengthen my brain via increased neural pathways! BUT there have MOST DEFINITELY been days when targets weren’t met, excessive caffeine was consumed, and some could say ‘the ball was dropped’. Times when I felt overwhelmed and far from effective!

However, what I am sure of is this. I am coping with an unprecedented situation and I am learning as I go – how I feel along the way is completely ok. I also know I am definitely not the only one. I know that in my attempt to juggle so many balls I need to be kind to myself when I drop one!  I also need to acknowledge that this is new and my struggle, although a normal part of this adjustment, is taxing. I need to take care of myself! SO DO YOU. Invest some time in reading our Resilience and Coping resource for parents, and also be sure to view the links throughout the document. More of these resources are available on the Guidance Counsellor web page.

Take care of yourself.

Dr Jasmin Slack-Smith

Virtual Assembly – Week 2, Term 2

Thank you for joining us for our Week 2 assembly. We hope this week has been filled with many learning opportunities for all students.

After assembly, please visit our Wellbeing page to see the next Weekly House Challenge, and the Week 3 Positive Learning Behaviours.

The trials of email…

Hello all. I hope you are well and looking forward to a weekend enjoyed potentially less than or equal to 50km from our front doors.

A memorable comment made to me once about email as a mode of communication was that it is almost always sent to protect the sender rather than inform the recipient. I am not sure that this is so true in more modern times and I am confident it is being used a lot more productively during the period of online learning.

I want to briefly mention the challenges of email during the partial shutdown. The volume of email to and from the College has increased significantly. One teacher reported to me recently that he received 121 emails in the course of an afternoon! This is probably 119 more than he would normally receive. This is a common story across the College, for all year levels.

I do think that in many areas we have hit our groove and a lot of communication is getting slicker. I do ask though please for your patience if emails are not immediately replied to. This is an issue of teachers dealing with increased volume, and ensuring that other elements of online learning and at times face to face supervision are maintained. I can assure you that my colleagues here are working harder than ever to keep learning happening!

I have asked teachers to triage email responses as much as possible and reply as quickly as possible; but if you do not get an immediate response we ask for your patience.

Again, thank you so much for supporting us here at Mary MacKillop. I hope you enjoy the assembly tomorrow morning.

Mr Chris Gabbett

Principal

Home access to the print library collection

We know how important it is for all students to keep reading, so would like to offer students, both Junior and Senior, who are learning from home an opportunity to access library collections. Please note that Home Readers are not available at this time. 

We will be using a library style ‘click and collect’ system. 

Please refer to the below link for instructions regarding how to access the Library Database and request resources. 

Senior students will receive an email regarding this information. 

All resource requests will be available to be collected from the Junior am Drop and Go Zone outside Prep.  

Resource requests that are placed by Thursday 4pm during Weeks 2 and 4 can be collected the following Monday and Tuesday. (Due to the Labour Day Holiday, Week 3 collection days will be Tuesday and Wednesday.) The book collection has been staggered so as to maintain social distancing. We would encourage adults to remain in their car while students collect the books. We are following recommended procedures in regards to sanitizing resources and limiting access. 

There will be a return trolley available during each session for any book returns. If anyone in your family has been unwell, please keep your books at home. All student loans have been extended during this time. 

In the circumstance of inclement weather, collection will not be available. Please continue to check the College app for updates. 

Collection Times  
Place order request by 4pm m Thursday 30 April Week 3Tuesday 5 MayWednesday 6 May
9:00 –    9:30 Family Surname A-D Family Surname M-P 
10:00 – 10:30 Family Surname E -H Family Surname Q – T 
12:00 – 12:30Family Surname I- L Family Surname U – Z 

Collection Times  
Place order request by 4pm Thursday 14 May Week 5Tuesday 18 MayWednesday 19 May
9:00 –    9:30 Family Surname A-D Family Surname M-P 
10:00 – 10:30 Family Surname E -H Family Surname Q – T 
12:00 – 12:30Family Surname I- L Family Surname U – Z 

Please note: Students who are onsite will be provided with an opportunity to borrow in Weeks 2 and 4. 

Happy Reading

Angela Irvine

Teacher Librarian

Making the most of the invitation.

Some parents will have received welfare check phone calls today from the College Leadership Team. This really is exactly as described – we just want to get a bearing on how you are all travelling and make sure that as a College we are doing all that we can to support you.

I want to share something fed back to me via a colleague today. One parent, in conversation with a member of staff, said…

This has been an invitation back to our child’s education.  It has shown us once again that we as parents have a responsibility with our child’s education.  The question is how do we continue this when school resumes to normal?

I know that there have been a lot of anxieties that have had to be managed over the past month. What a wonderful way to reposition those though! I hope that this sentiment will be one that is remembered well after the more challenging memories of this strange time have disappeared.

It is a question worth reflecting on. Inevitably, we will emerge from this period with some different perspectives and some enhanced skills. We may have been propelled kicking and screaming into online teaching but I have no doubt we will have stronger schools and better education as a result. And, more importantly, parents have had the chance to re-affirm their place as the first educators of their children.

Mr Chris Gabbett

Principal

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