Posted on October 13, 2020 / Middle School
There was an extra level of excitement as we began Term 4 last week after the announcement by the government regarding the return to school dates for our students. If my calculations are correct, on Monday 12 October it was 116 days since our Year 7s have been on campus and it will be 130 days for our Year 8s and 9s when they return on 26 October. Who would have thought that we would ever have had a year where for a large majority of it, our students were at home more than they were at school, and yet as a community we were able to continue in such a positive and communal way. It certainly wasn’t an easy experience, but it has definitely been a fulfilling one.
Upon return there are many regulations that are in place regarding personal hygiene, social distancing, mask wearing, food, etc. that our community need to abide by to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our members. This is something I’m very confident we will all follow as the opportunity to be back on campus and learning face-to-face is something we are all grateful for.
The experts have highlighted that schools need to be aware how significant change can impact our students and the move from remote learning to face-to-face, albeit an exciting and welcome move, is still a significant change. For this reason, both our pastoral and academic staff will ensure that the return to school routine and workload will be done so in a scaffolded way that allows for social reintegration as well as the development of their academic routines. The mental health and wellbeing of our students is always at the forefront of our decision making.
With the reintegration of students back on to our campus there are a number of activities to look forward to this term as we move toward the end of the academic year. Our Year 9s have a week of Summer Expeditions beginning Monday 30 November to Friday 4 December. Currently this is scheduled to be the expeditions that we would hope: white water rafting, mountain bike riding, hiking, sea kayaking, etc., however, it is most likely that this will have to be an altered program that Ms Lowing has prepared. Regardless of the situation, our Year 9s will still experience an amazing week of activities that will help them to celebrate the end of their Middle School journey.
Our Year 8s focus on leadership this term with lessons in their pastoral time looking at aspects of leadership such as effective styles, successful leaders, etc. This is also when our current Year 8s apply to be the leaders of our Middle School for 2021. Another exciting and important event for our Year 7s is the annual Night of the Notables. This is something normally done earlier in the year, however, we have postponed it for as long as we can. Students will be researching in depth a person of interest to them that fits within the parameters given to them, finding out everything they can about this person and what they achieved in their life. Normally we would have an expo type evening for parents to attend and see their work, however, this year we will be creating a virtual expo that will allow the community to see all of the amazing work done by our Year 7s.
In the first week of Term 4 we held our Year 7 2021 Orientation day using Zoom. The session provided the opportunity for our incoming students of 2021 to get to know each other a little bit more before starting next year. A large number of the activities were run by our current Year 9s who did an amazing job in facilitating conversation, games and some fun.
We currently have 2 groups of Year 9s participating in a Global Youth Advocacy Forum where they are connecting with schools around the world to look at issues to do with Equity and Equality, as well as wellbeing. Mrs Bortolussi and Ms Lowing are leading these students through what is an amazing opportunity to connect with other students their age around the world and look at global issues that impact our world.
Another opportunity that has been presented to our students is the opportunity to be involved in the Global Social Leaders Global Goal Competition. This competition is aimed at developing students’ understanding of global citizenship and to turn their ideas into reality. The projects support young people to develop and action projects that help to achieve the goals of the United Nations. Mrs Fulton is mentoring and guiding a number of groups of students to participate in this competition. The program is a great opportunity for any student to get involved in and they are encouraged to reach out to Mrs Fulton if they would like to be involved.
The return to school is exciting, but not without it’s own challenges for our students. We are very excited to have the Year 7s back with us, and look forward to the 8s and 9s returning on the 26 October. As parents, please be aware of the impacts that significant change can have on your child/children and don’t hesitate to contact the school if you have questions or suggestions regarding the move back to on-campus learning.