Thank you for your support of our school this week as we entered a state-wide regional lockdown. As you have likely heard today, the lockdown was extended in regional areas of NSW for another week to target a zero-case outcome for several regional areas such as ours. As I understand, currently there are no cases in our local community. As a result, we are still optimistic that we may be able to return to face-to-face learning before the end of this term. A separate, more detailed letter will go to boarding families for residential arrangements in the interim.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing remains our highest priority for students, and we are here to support all students who may need any additional support. The approach implemented this week will continue with dedicated time each day to focus on wellbeing and pastoral care of students at all age groups. If as parents you feel your child needs a break from screen time, please just advise the classroom teacher who will accommodate and support as best they possibly can. For students in Middle or Senior, I ask students to also liaise with teachers directly if this is a concern and to let their Tutor teacher know too.

Programs such as Morning Sit (K-6) will continue. In Years 7-12, students will have access to support systems such as Bright Sparks (Homework Club) for learning and pastoral care and wellbeing sessions, such as lunchtime hangouts. Chapel and Assembly will be Years 7-12 for ‘Afternoon Tea and Chit Chat’, where students will be given challenges and activities that will encourage our core values of CARE.

Miss Charlie Brown (SMGS School Counsellor – charlotte.brown@smgs.nsw.edu.au) is available for students and families via Zoom and is also looking to begin virtual mindfulness sessions for students who wish to participate; please watch emails closely for updates.

Virtual Learning

The arrangements that have occurred this week will continue, with just some adjustments to be noted. These are:

  • Kindergarten to Year 6 will continue the current timetable of virtual learning until lunchtime with self-paced tasks provided for the afternoon during non-Zoom time. Wednesday morning virtual learning will now be included with classroom teachers to determine the extent of the learning. The afternoon is designated for personal outdoor physical activity. Teachers will continue to upload their weekly overview to SeeSaw (on Sunday evening) so parents can assist their child’s preparation for lessons for the week ahead.
  • Year 7 to Year 12 will have an adjusted timetable to accommodate learning from Monday through Friday. With the exemption of Wednesday, each day will have 5 periods of learning across all curriculum areas. Dr Nelson will send adjusted timetables to each student via Coffee Shop and/or email.
  • For Years 7 to 12, Wednesday afternoon from lunch remains a time for personal exercise and activity, and we strongly encourage this to occur. Our PDHPE teachers and Director of Sport will be sending through ideas and challenges and are happy to be contacted to assist anyone with ideas or advice.
  • Optional Bright Sparks (Homework Club) will occur each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday during period 6, with teaching staff across the curriculum being timetabled to support students during this time. This will be an ideal opportunity for students to complete their assessment tasks with feedback.

Homework, Assignments, Tests and Examinations

From Kindergarten to Year 10, homework is under constant review, with learning consolidation, extension and total screen time all considered. For Years 7 to 12, modification of formal assessment tasks is being considered by teachers and curriculum leaders as required. Our highest priority for assessment is Year 12 along with, Year 11, as both cohorts are subject to much higher external governance by NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), and it is their final year/s of schooling. For Year 12, we are keeping abreast of the changing situation with major works or practical assessment tasks in Design and Technology, Visual Arts, Music and Drama. The HSC Examination is still planned at this stage and a detailed update will be provided separately to Year 12 students and parents soon from Dr Nelson to keep you informed. Year 12 should remain focused for their assessments ahead. Year 11 examinations are being discussed at present and information will also be sent to this cohort soon as we learn more. Again, students should continue to remain focused on their learning in preparation.

Students in Years 7 to 11 will still need to meet their learning and assessment commitments. Students will receive minor adjustments directly from teachers, such as if an assessment task is modified from being a practical task to an online task. Any major changes will be communicated via a dedicated letter from Dr Darryl Nelson, Director of Curriculum and Operations.

Wednesday Snowsports Day

The Wednesday on-snow program is on hold and will be guided by the lockdown orders. We will return to snowsports without delay when we are enabled to do so.

ESA Program Snowsports

Our ESA Coordinator will send out information separately to all members of the program, outlining arrangements and liaising with families to consider individual circumstances, which vary substantially.

Children of Essential Workers

Parents who are essential workers can have children from Kindergarten to Year 8 supervised at school while they undertake their virtual learning with their teachers as all other students are experiencing. We ask that only those essential workers who need this service send children to school during regular school hours as we have limited staff available for supervision due to staff teaching their regular classes.

Boarders

We are committed to ensuring the residential boarders are well cared for and supported with additional staffing rostered on throughout this period. A detailed letter is being sent to all boarding families. Please note that we will remain open in boarding throughout the school holiday period, and these arrangements are also being developed as I write and will be soon sent out too for those in need.

Further questions:

Please be aware various school leaders and staff will be communicating more directly with different groups to narrow and focus the information further. If you have queries at this stage, please direct them to contacts on the side of this page.

General Contact / All Matters

Kindergarten – Year 6
Ms Heidi Shvetsoff
Head of Junior School
e: heidi.shvetsoff@smgs.nsw.edu.au

Years 7 – 9
Mrs Jennifer Thompson
Head of Middle School
e: jennifer.thompson@smgs.nsw.edu.au

Years 10 – 12
Mrs Kelli Wilson
Head of Senior School
e: kelli.wilson@smgs.nsw.edu.au

Curriculum, Timetable, Assessment & Examinations

Years 7 – 12
Dr Darryl Nelson
Director of Curriculum
e: darryl.nelson@smgs.nsw.edu.au

Teaching and Learning & Quality-Effectiveness

Years 7 – 12
Mr Paul Horvath
Director of Academic Development
e: paul.horvath@smgs.nsw.edu.au

Sport

Kindergarten – Year 12
Mr Martin Philpott
Director of Sport
e: martin.philpott@smgs.nsw.edu.au

IT Support

Kindergarten – Year 12
Mr Craig Moore & Mr Issac Thompson

p: (02) 6451 2460
e:
techsupport@smgs.nsw.edu.au

Students can chat to Mr Moore (Craig Moore) or Mr Thompson (Isaac Thompson) using the Microsoft Teams app. Just search for their name and start chatting.