Dear Parents and Guardians,  

Since the beginning of the Term, I have had the opportunity to oversee, support and assist the implementation of Learning@Home for our ~770 students. Overall, this has been a resounding success, with some expected challenges along the way. 

Many families have been suggesting that we might like to continue to apply this form of learning. We do have an opportunity to explore future opportunities. Yesterday, our staff utilised a small portion of the Student Free Day to ask this question. We look forward to sharing responses with you in the future, as well as to ask you for some insights from your recent experiences.  

Returning to College next week for our students in Senior College will take some adjustment, for both staff and students. The following week, our students from Years 7 to 10 will also recommence. By having a week with our Senior College students on site only, we can assess the success of our planning for this cohort, allowing ourselves time to make adjustments, before the remainder of the College returns.  

After such a long break from facetoface teaching, we need to be mindful that a deliberate approach to transitioning our students back to the site needs to be considered. Most people, but particularly adolescents, crave connection, with many of our students feeling mixed emotions prior to the return.  

Last week was probably one of the most challenging for some staff. With high degrees of text-based communication, between teachers, parents and students, messages can be more difficult to comprehend, as opposed to facetoface and more personal contact that “normal” approaches previously provided. Messages can be misconstrued, misinterpreted, misunderstood and at times missed altogether! Overall, our communication outcomes have been positive as our community has been happy to affirm our practices.  

You may have noticed that I sign off with “in partnership” at the conclusion of my written correspondence. In our educational context, I particularly connect this concept of partnership with high levels of relational trust, always exercising in an unconditional positive regard for others, good will and mutual respect for all.  

Furthermore, from my experience, these ideals are best lived out by working together to achieve goals and positive outcomes, mutual openness to respectful and supportive challenges, sensitivity to other’s needs, thoughtfulness, consideration and encouragement At the heart of working alongside others, we can ask the question, “Do our behaviours reflect an interest in sustaining and building positive and constructive relationships with others?”  

The parent-teacher relationship is a very powerful agent to bring about the best outcomes for student learning. The best advice we can provide both teachers, families and students is to:  

  • Always assume goodwill 
  • Be trusting  
  • Seek first to understand before being understood 
  • Invest in the relationship   
  • Be empathic when listening  

As I look back on these pointsit is actually not the worst marital advice! And when we don’t get things right, the ability to be humble enough to apologise is also something we need to consider.  

In addition, these behaviours are healthy for us as a staff group as we interact constructively with one another. Considering that the single biggest impact on student learning is collective teacher efficacystaff relationships need to be positive as we work together to evaluate our impact on student outcomes.  

As adults, we have an opportunity to model our way of being to the young people in our lives. I can find that remaining patient as a father of a three and six-year-old can be a challenge. Any advice you have would be appreciated 

Last the weekend, our family walked the Postman’s Track from Sisters Beach to Boat Harbour. Theo and Harriet did a great job walking such a long distance. Theo is looking forward to returning to school on Monday.

Thank you for your partnership with us through, arguably, the hardest time we will experience as parents and school communities, working together to bring the best for our young people.  Your trust, empathy, positivity, understanding and partnership is genuinely appreciated. 

In partnership  

Gregg Sharman 

Acting Principal