It has been an unprecedented start to the year. I am grateful every day to work at Concordia and spend my days with our exceptional young people and dedicated staff. We talk a lot about the Concordia culture and being service focussed, and over these last few weeks of challenge, what has impressed me most about our young people has been their ability to keep a positive mindset and 'heart-set'. With hearts, minds and hands they have looked to support one another and our wider community, and have continued to focus on their learning. Beyond providing a strong academic program, it truly is the strength of character and community spirit that continues to set a Concordia education apart.
This community spirit was on display through the Student Leader initiated pyjama casual day. Lunchtime was a wonderful community event, with the students enjoying a German sausage sizzle while revelling in the vibrant sounds of the College Rock Band. The students were mindful of physical distancing but were still able to come together to support a worthy cause while enjoying the community spirit. This was a wonderful initiative which was indicative of the character of our student leadership group, who have been constantly seeking to strengthen the Concordia community feel through innovative ideas.
During recent weeks our teaching and support staff have continued to work with the online platform Microsoft Teams in a number of trial lessons in preparation for how we will support home learning. Teams is the interactive platform that works in conjunction with ManageBac, which together will provide a comprehensive learning experience for our students. Key to this learning success will be the continued sense of connection and care that students need to experience. The Concordia Pastoral and Wellbeing Teams have been working intensely in the background to develop online programs and resources which serve to ensure students will continue to feel appreciated and connected to a community that cares. Regular direct communication with parents will also be critical to the success of the students, so this contact will be a feature of our Pastoral Care program.
Concordia is a deeply spiritual, ambitious and loving community. Whatever the weeks ahead bring, staying connected will help all of us get through the challenges. The Concordia community may look and feel different, but rest assured we work harder than ever to maintain that strong sense of togetherness that is so important during these difficult times.
I thank you for your ongoing support in what are incredibly trying times. Best wishes and every blessing to all in our community. Our prayers and thoughts are with those suffering from this virus and with those who are guiding us with their expert knowledge.
I leave you with a prayer that I shared with staff during this week:
Lord, let me see your footmarks and in them plant my own;
That I may follow boldly and in your strength alone:
Guide me, call me, draw me and hold me in the palm of your hand.
In Christ alone. Amen.
Principal - Concordia Campus
Music remains an essential element in our daily lives. We listen to the radio to hear old and new songs, we play music at home to adjust the atmosphere, we watch TV and movies, the music within them playing a crucial role. Maybe, we even sing with our children as an expression of togetherness. Music influences us in ways we may not even be conscious of. It’s for these reasons, and many more, that we intend to continue to engage our students in music, even if the physical educational environment needs to change.
Given the necessary shift towards “distanced learning”, over the last two weeks, Concordia’s Instrumental tutors have been upskilling in their use of technology in order to be able to deliver “remote” instrumental lessons. Each tutor has been set up in a Microsoft 'Team' with their students, allowing them to connect despite being in different locations. To date, the feedback has been very positive, with many students and teachers appreciating the video linked lessons which enable tuition to occur each week.
I encourage parents to support this innovation at home, and maybe even sit in on a lesson with your child on occasion to see how it works. I’m confident you’ll be impressed with the learning and skill building that occurs.
The photo shows Amali (Year 6) engaged in a “remote” vocal lesson.
Director of Music
Thank you to all who have supported our efforts to keep some sport involvement in the students’ lives at a time when the COVID-19 crisis has shut down all community avenues for the same. Despite general absences rising as students have gone into voluntary isolation, numbers have been good and we are comfortable to continue providing the service accordingly. We have required the students to wash their hands thoroughly before commencing any training, and again at the end of training, Equipment has been sterilised regularly and we have focussed on non-contact, skills-based activities so social distancing can be more appropriately observed. We’ve been gratified by the number of parents who have expressed their appreciation in the knowledge that sport for their children provides an outlet so important to their mental health and general well-being.
While there have been no competitions to work toward over the last 3 weeks of the summer season and there are unlikely to be for some time going into the winter season, the students involved in practices have clearly enjoyed the opportunity. We are now moving to mainly winter sports but making sure to only use coaches who have been part of our summer program, and have the capacity to coach one of our winter sports. We will keep the trainings running unless further governmental restrictions intervene or other circumstances affect viability.
Head of PE/Boys Sport Coordinator