Dear GHSS Families,
Well that was certainly a strange holiday period and I have to say that I am really enjoying being back at work and into the rhythm of the school term, albeit that it is still somewhat different.
We have had about a third of our students attending school – a mixture of full time and part time attendance - whilst half of our families are waiting to see what the Education Department review at Week 3 uncovers in relation to the return to school. The remainder of our families are looking at spending the term at home. If you have changed your mind, given the outstanding record WA is experiencing in relation to managing COVID-19, and are intending to return your children to school earlier than first thought, please let the school know in advance. Staff are currently on a rotational roster, taking mixed classes, to allow them time to teach face to face as well as have time to prepare lessons for those still at home and assess work being sent to them. We welcome your return however we want to ensure that we have sufficient staff in classrooms with students.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of the staff at Golden Hill Steiner School. Teachers are working to deliver a manageable distance learning program for those families who are at home, both hard copy and online, whilst also engaging children at school in covering the same content in the classroom setting, fleshed out with handcrafts, music, stories, verse and outside activities tailored to the mixed age groups they are working with. Kristy is working additional hours to manage a more intensive cleaning regime. Tegan worked through her holidays to set up our online platform for lesson delivery and recording of student work in one location, and Oona has been processing credits and managing invoice adjustments for families.
Thank you also to families for respecting our requests in relation to not gathering in the school grounds at pick up and drop off. We ask that you continue to communicate with the office and staff by alternative communication means such phone, email or note where you are able to, so that we are able to minimise adult interactions. Please note that, at this stage, assemblies, festivals and excursions are cancelled.
What is See Saw? See Saw is an online platform that allows staff to post work for all student in the class and allows parents to send work back to the teacher to view. It is a secure site and only the teachers can view the work of each child. The work is not shared with other families. The children themselves can access the platform and complete work on it – but do not have to if you would rather they remain screen free. Parents can print out or explain tasks and have children complete a hard copy. Then to post it to the teacher to view, you can take a photo and upload it to your child’s work journal.
Why should we use it? It reduces a tremendous amount of email traffic for staff – and the school server - as well as parents. When work is emailed, they must open each individual email, save work sent to individual student files and assess them separately. Using See Saw will greatly reduce workload for staff and parents. All tasks and work are located in the one place and are readily accessible. Staff can view all your child’s work and the work of the class, in one place and can provide feedback easily. It reduces email load on our server and in the inboxes of staff and parents.
As we see a relaxing of restrictions, many may wonder as to why we need to bother with See Saw now, given children may well be back at school in a couple of weeks? However, there is always the chance that if there is an outbreak later in the year, we may see schools return to students at home and having See Saw in place will greatly assist in a smooth transition to a distance learning model again, should it be required. We are also able to use See Saw for students who may be remaining at home as they are sick with a cold, flu, recovering from a tummy bug etc. Rather than returning to school too early, children can remain at home until they are fully well and still access work to complete at home so they don’t fall behind, which staff can post on See Saw. Or if, down the track, there is a COVID case in the schoolrequiring a temporary shutdown for cleaning and tracing, learning programs could continue over that time via See Saw.
At the moment many staff are using both email and See Saw and this is an increase in workload for them, not to mention the trouble they have to go to in keeping track of individual students with the overwhelming number of emails that they have coming in. It would be of great assistance if all families could use the platform to access the learning program and to share completed work.
See Saw access On Friday April 24th and Tuesday April 29th, all GHSS families would have received a text from the school office that contained a link with your individual student login code for See Saw. Click on the link in that text and you will open instructions on how to access See Saw along withthe unique login code for your child. See Saw can be downloaded for free as an app to your phone or tablet or accessed on the internet from your laptop or desktop computer. The sign in code allows you direct access to your child’s class where staff are placing work. Once work is completed – either online or as a hardcopy that you photograph and upload – staff are able to see and approve the work, leave feedback for your child and also assess the work within the program. For those unsure of how to upload work, simply click on the green add button. There are a range of options – feel free to have a play with the one that best suits. Uploading photos is the easiest. You are able to add text or notes and when ready, click on the green tick and it will be added to your childs journal for approval by the class teacher.
I am more than happy to consult with parents over the phone on how to access and use the program – even though I am learning too!
Things have continued to grow and change in the forest over the period of shutdown. It has been the Noongar season of Djeran, and during the holidays, after a heavy downpour, the creek (belatedly) began to flow again, as it always does during this season. Our Fungi friends, while less abundant than previous years, have been popping up in all their variety and colours throughout the forest.
The shutdown has also been a great opportunity to focus our attention on caretaking for the forest environment and upgrading our bush facilities. Kristi (with the assistance of her two ‘big boys’, Lachy and Chris) has rebuilt our Bush Kindy/School shelter to make it more durable during the wet weather to come, and has also prepared the Earth Station for the same. Before the creek started flowing, we did lots of ‘wood weaving’ of some of the eroded banks to give them extra protection from the wild flowing waters of wintertime, and also lots of weeding over the holidays of unwelcome invaders like Umbrella Rushes and Asparagus Fern.
Please note that the Bush School programme has been put on hold for the first three weeks of Term 2 while we operate with a rotational roster for teachers. Bruce has been working in Karri Kindergarten with Denise, as well as relieving Justin in the Bush Craft programme. The recommencement of Bush School will be reviewed in Week 3 along with the other arrangements currently in place.
If your children have been staying at home and completing their school work via distance learning, it would be appreciated that when they do return to school they bring with them the work that they have completed at home for their teacher to see and so that they may continue the work in class.