From the Principal

This week’s announcement from the Premier that we will begin a staged return to on‐site learning has indeed been a welcome relief for most students and staff. While we all agree that there is no genuine substitute for face‐to‐face learning and the critical social connection our presence at school provides, there have been many positives to come out of the experience of remote learning.

While it has been difficult in many ways for the students, I have had so many staff speak glowingly of how their students have adapted, developed, increased independence and resilience and taken responsibility for the higher levels of organisation demanded. While preparing, delivering, monitoring and assessing online learning brought significant demands on their time and flexibility, teachers have developed new skills in many areas. In a variety of ways, this has resulted in improved pedagogy as students and staff explored new ways of learning and teaching and perhaps most importantly, built even deeper trust in each other and their respective abilities.

As we acknowledge – if not exactly celebrate – Founder’s Day on Friday, it is pertinent to relate this remote learning experience to our Lasallian ethos. The nature of our student – teacher relationships in a Lasallian school is pivotal and provides a point of difference. De La Salle the man invariably viewed learning as a relational process. Lasallian teachers must be aware of and committed to their obligations as a role model and demonstrate commitment, competence and passion to the students before delivering content. The Lasallian student’s classroom is characterised by warmth, humour, interaction and rigour. Contemporary and relevant wellbeing structures, guidelines and processes create a school community of solidarity and fraternity – brothers and sisters to one another. This has certainly been evident during these challenging weeks.

I must also thank our wonderful parents for your faith and trust in the school, in our strategies and our staff as we worked as best we could to ensure the effective delivery of learning this term. The staff have been buoyed by the regular positive emails from parents commending them on how we’ve handled the situation and the level of care extended in supporting your sons’ learning, wellbeing and responding to various anxieties around the experience.

The Catholic Education Commission has essentially duplicated the Department of Education’s guidelines around the staged return to on‐site learning. I will write in more detail in the next day or so, but in essence:

  • Monday 25 May is a student‐free day to allow staff to plan for the return to on‐site classes. There will be no online lessons posted for the students on this day. This replaces the student‐free day we had set aside on Tuesday 26 May.
  • Tuesday 26 May now reverts to a normal day of classes – on‐site for Year 11 and 12 students, including VET and VCAL and Year 10 students undertaking VCE studies, and online at home for Year 5 – 10 students.
  • Year 5 — 10 students remain on remote learning, returning to on‐site classes on Tuesday 9 June.
  • For those students whose parents are in essential services or cannot be supervised at home, the existing model of onsite schooling will remain in place during the two‐week period from Tuesday 26 May to Tuesday 9 June. The current process that we are using to enable parents and carers to indicate the days or part‐days for which onsite schooling is required will continue for this two‐week period. The contact person is Ms Jess Alger, Deputy Principal — Students jalger@delasalle.vic.edu.au

A good deal of planning and preparation for the transition back to on‐site learning is now well underway. Preparing for a broad range of OH&S issues, learning, wellbeing and practical considerations is proving time‐consuming, but we will be well set up for a smooth and safe return for our Year 11 and 12 students on May 26.

Take care and stay safe and well.

Peter Houlihan
Principal

Back to The Duce Issue 2020 05 - 14 May 2020