Well we made it! – the end of a semester of schooling, the likes of which we hope we will not experience again.
I know I expressed this in the newsletter yesterday, but I wanted to make sure that you really do know how much the whole staff have appreciated your care and support over this time. We have heard many stories of learning under adversity and triumph over challenges, amidst the experience of Remote learning and the return to face to face teaching. I cannot thank you enough for the trust you have in our school.
I would also like to express my thanks to our incredible staff. They have dug deep in recent months to do all they can to support our students and families. Whilst they are tired and ready for a holiday, they have had many messages from you to thank them for their dedication and care. As the principal of this great school I am grateful for how inspiring they have been and how fortunate we are to have such a wonderful team.
Our students have also been tremendous. Their resilience and willingness to grow and adapt in these challenging times has been inspirational. We love our beautiful children.
I hope everyone can take some time this next fortnight to breath, rest, relax and spend some fun quality time with their family and friends. I sign off for the term more certain now than ever, that the St Thomas the Apostle community and all we stand for and live out, has been experienced fully this semester. Thank you!
Best wishes for a safe and restful school break.
Virtual Cross Country Event
22 Jun 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
Because of the restrictions with COVID 19, we will not be having the usual Cross Country Carnival this year. However, all is not lost as we know that many of our students love running the Cross Country. Therefore, St Thomas the Apostle School is hosting a Virtual Cross Country. Please see the attached link for all the details. 2020_Virtual_Cross_Country.pdf
Kind Regards Matt Lowe Sports Coordinator
Parent Teacher Interviews and Reports
20 May 2020
Parent Teacher Interviews and Reports for Students
Kindergarten to Year 6
Semester 1 2020
In response to the changed learning circumstances in Term 1 and Term 2, Semester 1 2020 reporting processes have been modified to provide parents with specific information about their child’s achievement and progress.
As part of the process, there will be an opportunity for a parent /teacher conference over the coming weeks, as a 10 minutes meeting. This will provide an opportunity for parents and teachers to share of experiences and observations of the students learning.
This year, due to social distancing requirements, we will be conducting our parent-teacher interviews via Zoom.
To book an interview with your child’s teacher, please visit www.schoolinterviews.com.au and use the booking code: evhmn.As your interview approaches, your child’s teacher will email you with a Zoom link and password.
Bookings are open now will close on Sunday 24 May, 8pm.
In regard to what the reports will consist of:
The report will cover work completed in both Term 1 and Term 2.
Student achievement will only be reported for the three main core areas: Religious Education, English, and Mathematics.
Other subjects will have ‘Not assessed’ displayed. This means that, although the learning throughout the semester has been rigorous, it is not possible to make an overall judgement about the student’s achievement in relation to the reporting Outcomes or Achievement Standards against the Grade Descriptors.
A new section ‘Engagement with Learning’ has been developed to replace the ‘Personal and Social Capabilities’. The new statements are based on the Australian Curriculum: General capabilities, and target four key areas of learning engagement: Thinking, Communication, Responsibility, Collaboration.
There will be no General Comment. The inclusion of the ‘Engagement with Learning’ statements means that the General Comment section of the report is no longer required; the statements give detailed information on your child’s approach to learning.
Semester 1 Reports will be sent home on the Thursday July 2nd (Week 10). This will give teachers the maximum time possible for teaching, learning and assessment for the term.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further clarification on either of these matters.
Ursula Jamieson Principal
18 May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
We had such a great day today and there were smiles all around from not only the students but the staff as well. This is how schools are supposed to be, full of happy children.
Thank you all so much for your patience with the drop-off this morning and the pick-up this afternoon. This morning went well, though the afternoon had a few problems. It will take a little bit of getting used to, but there are a few things that will make it better.
Please don’t come early. We know you want to have your children with you as soon as possible but we had traffic backed up onto Boddington Cres today, well before the bell went at 3:10.
To help alleviate this, we are going to bring the children out 10 minutes earlier, so that we can spread the time of cars coming through over a longer time. So please to make this work, don’t arrive at school until 3pm. If you are earlier, you can park in the nearly sports field / Kambah playgroup carpark until coming into school at 3pm.
We will have the students in the pickup areas by 3 pm, so that we can keep cars flowing right from the start of cars coming through.
Tomorrow, the oldest in each family will be given two laminated family signs. These can be placed on your dashboard or sun visor (flipped down when coming through drive through). Teachers will be able to see the names on cars as they are approaching the pickup area and can call the children to come up ready to get in the car.
Please don’t rush to be at school at 3pm. We will run the pickup zones from 3 - 3:30 so if we can spread arrivals over that time, we shouldn’t have a bank up of traffic on Boddington.
Please be courteous and when entering the carpark, take turns and alternate entry between cars coming from different directions on Boddington.
If your child needs assistance with their seatbelt, you will need to come as close to 3:30 as possible. This will allow you time to assist your child in to the car.
We know it will take a few days to get this working well, so hopefully with the above taken into consideration, it will work better tomorrow.
Kind regards Ursula Jamieson Principal
Welcome back to school!
17 May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
We here at St Thomas the Apostle School are looking forward to having our students back at school tomorrow. Whilst there are a few students who, for various reasons, will not be able to return to school quite yet, it’s back to school for most. Please be assured that all staff are fully aware of the anxiety and mixed emotions students and parents may be feeling about coming back to face- to- face classes. For many it will feel like the beginning of the school year all over again. Much focus will be given over the next few weeks on our student's well-being. To start, it might be helpful to begin with a reflection for yourselves as parents and carers. COVID-19 presents us with opportunities to grow, support others, and become Christ-like in new and different ways. Where are you on this graph below? Where would you like to be?
Here are some suggestions to help support you and your family for a return to school:
Pay extra attention to your child’s emotions and needs:
As your child returns to school, they may feel a range of emotions, including excitement, relief, or worry. You may notice changes in your child’s behaviour, sleep, mood, interactions with others, or eating habits – these are all normal expressions of worry and by noticing and responding with care and support, you will help your child to feel better. As parents, it is important to be able to:
recognise signs of increased anxiety, stress or worry.
know that it is a normal reaction.
help children feel safe and supported.
Be aware of your own behaviour:
It is important to understand the effect your own behaviour can have on your child. If you react in a way that suggests you are worried about your child going back to school, your child may worry too! Try to remain calm and positive when talking to your child about going back to school.
Reassure your child it is safe to go to school:
During the Remote Learning time, your family, along with staff at St Thomas’, have helped your child understand that staying away from school was necessary to keep them healthy and safe. Your child may now feel worried about whether it is safe for them to go back to school. To help your child feel safe and less worried about this, have clear and calm conversations and tell them the facts, including that:
The decision for students to return to school has been made based on health advice.
St Thomas’ School is a safe place, there will be plenty of soap at school so that everyone can wash their hands many times a day. There will be hand sanitiser in each classroom.
Our school cleaner is doing extra each night, particularly with all touch surfaces’. School desks etc will be cleaned daily.
They will be allowed to sit next to their friends in the classroom and during group activities.
The Government is keeping an eye on COVID-19 – if it starts to spread again, decisions about what we need to do to keep everyone safe will be made quickly.
If anyone at their school feels sick, they will stay away from school until they feel better.
Prepare for changes to school processes:
Changes to our school’s normal processes are necessary to ensure physical distancing requirements for adults can be met.
With these changes, it will now mean that you are unable to walk with your child into the playground. We understand that this may be unsettling for you and your child, particularly if your child is anxious about leaving you. Know that staff will be there to reassure children if they are anxious. We want to ensure students are safe at all times, including getting from the school drop off and into the school grounds. Pick up arrangements for the end of the day have been changed so that everyone gets home safely. Teachers will go through how this happens with their class tomorrow. Teachers will walk their class to the pickup areas for afternoon pick up. We will be sending home surname labels to place on the dashboard or under the sunshade of cars to make it easier for staff to see what family is arriving.
Please discuss the morning and afternoon procedures with your child so they know what to expect. Remember your feelings and reactions can transfer to your child. Remain calm and positive when talking to your child about the changes to routine.
Establish a back-to-school routine
Preparing for school and getting into a routine with your child will help make the transition back to St Thomas’ a positive experience.
Prepare to return to school:
Get back into the routine of waking up, having breakfast, and going to bed at regular times.
Discuss any issues or fears your child might have about going back to school.
Talk to your child about what they like about school and what they have been missing.
Talk through the routine of what it’s like being at school.
Before the school day:
Involve your child in:
Organising their winter uniform so it is ready for the morning.
packing their bag – you might make a game out of it. A visual checklist can help your child remember what they need to take.
planning and packing their lunches and snacks. (The Canteen is taking orders via flexischools for Wednesday, Thursday ad Friday)
Try to have calm evenings and allow extra time to settle before bedtime if your child is feeling nervous or excited.
Allow extra time to get ready for school in the morning so that you are not rushing.
Talk to your child about their day, including what they enjoyed, what may have worried them, and what they found difficult.
Include some family time. Children may miss being at home with you during the day so it is important for them to feel close and connected with the family.
As I have said before, it is important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is by no means over. We will work closely together, staff, parents and carers to ensure that the return of students to school is calm, positive and as safe as possible for all of us.
We are all looking forward to seeing all the smiling faces of the St Thomas the Apostle School Community tomorrow morning.
Do you have a child starting school next year?
15 May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
It’s the Catholic Education Enrolment period for 2021 and I wanted to make sure that parents of our current students who have a pre-schooler, are aware that it’s time to enrol for Kindergarten 2021. These need to be lodged on or before Friday 22.
If you know any families intending to enrol for 2021, please encourage them to complete an online enrolment. They are also welcome to call the school to organise a video chat with me, so that they can ask questions and I can give them all the information they need.
Our greatest advocate for our school is you. It is heartening to hear the many positive comments our parents and carers have, when recommending our school to other families. We thank you for that!
Regards, Ursula Jamieson Principal
Return to Face to Face Teaching.
07 May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
First of all, I would like to express my deep appreciation to each of you for your support and loyalty to the school, during what has been a challenging time for you and your families. You have been outstanding, supporting your child/ren in their learning during this period. Staff have been resourceful and creative in the way they have adapted to provide a remote learning program in such a short period of time and we have all missed your children and their energy, humour and joy.
From an academic and welfare perspective, it remains our priority to return to face to face teaching when it is safe to do so. Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has continually informed us that it is safe for children and staff to return to school and for those who are not vulnerable. Health experts advise us that children are infected with COVID-19 at much lower rates than adults.
As I have said in previous correspondence, I would keep you updated with any announcements regarding schools. I am pleased to be able to give you information regarding a return to face to face teaching at St Thomas the Apostle School.
Following extensive discussion, review of the medical advice and guidelines, and considering the ACT context where there are now very few reported cases of Covid-19, the Director of Catholic Education has authorised a return to face to face teaching for all students (K-6) at St Thomas the Apostle beginning on Monday 18 May – Week 4.
This is also in line with ACT Government schools plan to return to classrooms from Week 4. If for any reason there is an increase in the safety concerns for the students and staff before the 18 May this decision will be reviewed.
As we prepare to have the children return to school for face-to-face teaching, it is essential that measures relating to personal hygiene and the health and safety of all members of our community are known and understood.
Below is some clear information on the arrangements and measures based on the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) guidelines, which aim to establish, where reasonably possible, best practice in relation to health and hygiene at schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We hope this will give you confidence in your child’s return to school and assist you in supporting the staff as we welcome students back into classrooms and to a COVID Safe School.
Extra hygiene and safety practices in place for when the children return to school:
Increased cleaning schedules and resources onsite during the school day to wipe down and disinfect high-touch areas, including classrooms and common spaces, in addition to regular daily cleaning.
Provision of extra hand sanitiser across the school.
Provision of extra hand soap for children to wash their hands frequently, particularly before and after recess and lunch time.
Frequent reminders to ensure children are practising good personal hygiene. This means, covering mouths and noses when coughing and sneezing or coughing & sneezing into inner elbow, frequent hand washing, not sharing food or drinks and minimising physical contact.
Please ensure your child brings a water bottle, pencil case (if they have one) and remote learning pack to school each day.
No child is to attend school if they are showing any cold or flu-like symptoms. They must remain at home, and stay away from school until they are no longer showing symptoms or have attended a GP who has instructed that they are fit and safe to return.
If your child, or family members or other close contacts are tested for COVID-19, your child is not to attend school until the results of those tests are known and are negative. Please advise the school if this situation occurs.
If your child has a medical condition that places them at greater risk from a return to face-to-face teaching at this time, please contact their teacher so that we can discuss their needs in greater detail and develop an appropriate plan for their circumstances.
We are attempting to minimise the number of adults coming onto the premises to reduce the possible risk of COVID-19 transmission. Please telephone or use email as the preferred method of contact with your child’s teacher or staff member.
Revised arrangements for drop off in the mornings and pick up in the afternoons. More details will be in the newsletter this afternoon regarding these arrangements.
At this stage, there will be no assemblies or large gatherings of students for the remainder of this term. An exception to this is any evacuation or emergency procedure that may be required. (Fire alarm etc.)
If your intention is to keep your child at home please contact their teacher so that we can discuss their needs in greater detail and develop an appropriate learning plan for their circumstances.
After 18 May, if a situation arises where it is deemed not safe by health authorities for students or staff to be onsite, we will be able to move back to our comprehensive remote learning program as required.
Next week (Week 3) will continue as currently planned with Remote Learning. If you can keep children at home, please do so. All children whether at home or school will be working on a Remote Learning plan. If the situation arises where you need to send your child back to school, please inform me either by phone or email. I will need 3 days notice of this happening, so that I can ensure we have the required supervision essential for students.
This is very good news for our school and again, I thank you for your ongoing support. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further clarification on any of these matters.
I continue to keep your family and the wider community in my prayers.
Ursula Jamieson Principal
Planning for the future.
05 May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
While there are no formal updates on a return to a normal school situation, I am pleased to let you know, that based on health and government advice, we are planning for a return to face to face learning in the near future. I am hoping and expecting information regarding this, before the end of the week.
You will be informed of how and when this will happen, as soon as Catholic Education makes a decision.
Thank you for your continuing support during these unprecedented times.
28 Apr 2020
Dear Parents ad Carers
As you know, over the past few weeks, our schools have been working in partnership with Catholic Education to develop a comprehensive remote learning plan to ensure all our students have continuity in their education, and are able to thrive in an online learning environment.
As we move into Term 2, our new remote learning system is Microsoft Teams. This software platform that has been built and customised to enhance the communication and collaboration capabilities of all schools across the Archdiocese.
We are excited at the possibilities that Teams offers in terms of supporting dynamic remote learning and Catholic Education has created some useful resources to support you in our partnership in learning in this new situation.
Teams is now available to all of our students. Below are some helpful guides for accessing Teams on any device, accessed by clicking the relevant link.
You will have received two emails directly from Catholic Education – one with your child’s user name and one with their password. These details will be their login for Teams and will enable you to support your child in accessing Teams.
Visit the Explorer Centre for Parents to learn about how you can support your child’s remote learning journey, what your responsibilities might look like in this new environment, and get access to helpful resources.
Schools returning to full pupil attendance has certainly been the hot topic of conversation over the past few days, in both the media and wider community. Please understand that we want everyone to be back here at school as well. When and how that happens will come from the advice and direction of Catholic Education and ACT Government. This advice on school attendance continues to evolve on a daily basis. At this stage, it remains the same, Remote Learning will be our mode of teaching.
Until then, we're working very hard to provide the next best thing we can; a high quality online teaching & learning program and support structures for students to access and participate in it.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. I will certainly keep you up to date with any changes as they are announced.
Update on Remote Learning
25 Mar 2020
I just wanted to give you a quick update on where we are at with moving to remote learning. The teachers have been working on this over the past couple of days and will continue to do so for the rest of this week.
Our plan is to trial remote learning as of next Monday. We will start with one session beginning at 9am (roll and check ins) followed by a lesson. We will learn from that experience and will be seeking feedback from both parents and students. More information will come from the class teachers in the next couple of days.
Meanwhile, the students can keep working through their take home learning packs, using Mathletics and Reading Eggs / Read Express, Sora and reading their library books. Don't forget to send in photos for the newsletter, of the learning that is happening at home.