Thursday 26 March 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic presents significant challenges for us all as a health crisis, and now as a financial and general wellbeing, social cohesion concern. As the Principal of Marden Senior College, my promise to you is that we will continue to work with you and your child during these very challenging times to maintain continuity of learning and a sense of connectedness.
Like all schools we are grappling with how this will look over time, but as per Government direction we remain open with students able to attend classes. Our teachers, like everyone else, are being challenged at personal and professional levels to maintain services in this ever changing environment.
Having said that, our college is well positioned to maintain continuity of learning using online resources and strategies as each course already has a blend of online materials to support face to face teaching. If you imagine this ‘blended learning’ approach as a continuum, we are moving the focus further toward online learning.
Naturally this will differ from course to course, but our teachers are, and will, increasingly be working hard to better facilitate this shift in emphasis.
The South Australian government has announced that Week 11 (the four days before Easter from 6 to 9 April 2020) will be 4 pupil free days to support our transition to flexible teaching and learning ready for term 2. Details here. Subject teachers will be providing information to students about continuity of learning in their specific subject/course.
Maintaining continuity of learning
Key features of how learning and connectedness is to be maintained are listed below. This provides a structure for us to build upon over coming days and weeks.
- The main sources of course information, learning and assessment resources and lesson materials are available via Daymap and the subject Moodle. Teachers will use these as a repository of materials and as a base to navigate to other resources and learning tools. Teacher availability will be communicated on Daymap.
- The current timetable will remain and teachers will be available during scheduled times for each subject/course to support students in their learning. At present, students “attend” either face to face or online. Teachers are not expected to be available outside of these timetabled sessions.
- The modes of learning and communication strategies used in each lesson will vary.
- Teachers will not expect students to be online for the entire duration of the lesson, but may negotiate a specific time during the timetabled session.
- Students are advised to have a look at materials available prior to the lesson, this way they can best use the lesson time to engage in the online learning and ask questions, participate in collaborative work and connect with others in their class.
- Access to technology and the amount of data available at home varies from student to student. This will be taken into consideration by teachers (for example, online video access throughout each lesson not required). Please contact your teacher, or the college, if an alternative to online materials is required, or if you have access concerns.
- SACE subject teachers and VET course trainers are in the process of modifying programs and assessment schedules, including modifications for practical subjects. The extent of modifications as yet is unknown. However, the SACE Board and the VET regulators are providing advice and support regarding this.
We thank parents and students for the understanding you have shown to date – greatly appreciated. Please look after yourself and be kind to one another. The mental health and wellbeing of our young people is of paramount importance to us all and staff at Marden Senior College will continue to do our best to maintain continuity of learning and a sense of connectedness for students. The college counselling service continues to be available for students and can be accessed either face to face or via phone communication. Bookings can be made by calling 8366 2800 add details about website.
Lastly, for those students who attend school we will continue to provide the duty of care and access to learning as expected. This is likely to look different in some cases in response to class sizes. Like everyone everywhere, practices around appropriate hygiene and social distancing are expected. Our college has adequate supplies of standard health and hygiene products and is soon to receive increased supplies of wipes and other sanitising materials.
As new information comes to light we will continue to review and reassess our practices and processes and will continue to keep the Marden Senior College community informed.