Dear Parents and Carers,

Thank you for your patience as we have prepared ourselves for the new reality of a full term of remote learning. As the Premier said, our new normal is that ‘if you can learn from home, you must learn from home’. Happily, as you are well-aware, we had anticipated this outcome, and much had been done to prepare our community for the term. Still, there are no doubt many questions from yourselves and your children, and we will attempt to address these so that your sons and daughters can continue to engage with remote learning in a meaningful way.

Students began online classes last Wednesday and all families should have received a copy of the learning from home poster with some essential tips and a recommended daily routine.  As mentioned in my previous correspondences, we understand that not every child in every family will be able to stick exactly to the schedule we’ve proposed which is why it is essential that this is mutually agreed upon between parents (as the first educators of each child) and the student.  The classes will be set up in such a way that students can work at alternate times if they need to, and they can always contact their teachers by email.

Penola Curriculum

Our staff understand that remote learning will be different than traditional face-to-face school experiences and have adjusted their curriculum accordingly. We have asked our teachers to focus on the quality of learning experiences and discouraged the distribution of ‘busy work’. Teachers will be asking students to complete some activities during scheduled class time whilst other tasks to be completed at other times (i.e. cooking your dinner for French class). Students will have some flexibility when they complete some tasks.

Often in education, outsiders get caught up in the focus on assessment and grades.  At Penola we have been consistent in our approach of focusing on growth and learning. Teachers have been asked to continue focusing on students having online learning experiences that are engaging, of high quality and promote a love of learning. The teachers will be focusing on formative assessment as the term progresses which involves feedback for learning and helps the teacher understand where each student has ‘come from’, where they are ‘now’ and where they are ‘going’ in relation to their learning.

Your child’s daily emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing will be something we will all need to work together to support.  From time to time, our student leaders will also invite students to connect with our community in various engaging ways. Please encourage your child to stay involved and connected to the College and their peers through some of the activities. Connectedness to school is a strong indicator of wellbeing and general resilience, and therefore something we all need to help foster this term.

It’s a time of learning for us all…

The days ahead are no doubt going to present their challenges as we attempt something we’ve never done before, with relatively short notice.  We are, as always, committed with you to ensuring your child receives an educational experience that brings out their very best. Whilst for the time being this cannot include a traditional ‘at school’ experience, we look forward to continuing this partnership with you and providing the stability and support that your child deserves.

Yours truly

John McKay

Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching