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From the Concordia Campus Principal

Weinert PaulWelcome back to school for a new term. I hope you have had a restful break and enjoyed the opportunity to spend time together as a family amidst the challenging backdrop of social distancing regulations. It has been joyful and uplifting to see the students return to the College over the last week. The excitement of once again connecting with friends and feeling the warmth of being in a caring community has been lovely to see.

This has been an extremely challenging and intense period for the College, involving extensive preparation as we prepared to deliver our Connected Learning and Care Plans. The government advice has been moving quickly and we have had to make many adjustments through this period to ensure our operations and communications align with this advice. I thank parents for the patience and understanding shown through this period. Our overarching aim has been the safety of students and staff and hence we have always had the health advice at the centre of our decision making.

I commend the staff for their commitment and dedication in reorienting their learning programs in such a short time. They have worked with great diligence, always looking to support each other in ensuring that as a staff team the College can best serve the students in rapidly changing circumstances. Whilst there are challenges in any rapid change process, I firmly believe the students will benefit from the up-skilling and resource building which has been a feature of the intense professional learning which has taken place.

The first two weeks of this term have certainly looked different to our normal return to Term 2 as we have implemented a blended learning approach. This has enabled us to gain valuable experience and insights into delivering an adapted curriculum and unlocking new modes of learning that will position us well for the future. We have had to make adjustments to our plans to cater for the increasing number of onsite students, but we recognise that there will continue to be a contingent of students at home and that our learning program needs to cater for these students. 

Please be assured that the safety and wellbeing of students and staff continues to be our utmost priority. We will continue to promote and reinforce good hygiene practices, as well as maintaining regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces throughout the day. You may be aware that in recent days there has been an easing of restrictions around physical distancing in schools with regards to the 1.5m distance between students and the rule of one person per four square metres, which was previously in place. While these restrictions have eased, we continue to reinforce appropriate measures to keep our staff and students safe.   

The richness of our extra-curricular program is an essential aspect of our holistic approach to learning. With this in mind, we would like to recommence sporting practices and music ensemble rehearsals, all within the guidance of stringent health advice recommendations. These activities are wonderful outlets for the students as they seek to reengage in the fullness of the learning opportunities available at Concordia.  There are also many excursions and camps which have had to be deferred. We will look to reschedule as many of these activities as practical when the health advice allows us to do so.

At this point in time it is necessary to continue limiting group gatherings, and therefore assemblies and Chapel gatherings will be deferred for now and we will look at alternative ways of enriching the spiritual life of students and sharing information through Home Classes. As we move forward with increasing optimism, I have the utmost confidence that we will continue to provide an outstanding quality of education despite these challenging times. I thank you once again for your wonderful support.

In closing I thought I would share a prayer with you. God has been and is our refuge and rock in these precarious times, and in response to this volatility I wanted to share the following prayer…

Lord,
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have minimal risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of work
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children with choices
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have had to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear can continue to be the dominant emotion,
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours.

Amen

Peace and grace,

Paul Weinert
Principal - Concordia Campus

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Staying Connected in Year 8
How do we reach out to our community and stay connected when times are difficult?

When the Year 8 Pastoral Care teachers realised we were facing the possibility of schools closing and transitioning to Connected Learning for Term 2 and beyond, our ideas for keeping our students connected and taking care of their well-being during a prolonged period of remote learning gradually crystallised into a Pastoral Care Package to be sent home. To support students’ well-being, relationships and learning under the Connected Learning Plan, we included:

  • Something to help with learning and screen-free time – a BIC Shine 4-colour pen
  • Something to help with organisation – the Connected Learning Guidelines poster for display and reference
  • Something as a reminder to take breaks and have fun with your family – a pack of Uno

One of the events planned for early Term 2 was a visit from the Gideons who work hard to place Bibles in society where people might be feeling lonely and in need of spiritual support. Our contact, Norman Heaney, told us that Year 8 Concordians have been offered a pocket New Testament every year since 1963 and we were keen to follow through in spite of restrictions.

We reminded students of the importance of having GEMs in their day – gratitude, empathy and mindfulness – and assured them that by following the Connected Learning advice with a daily routine, having breaks for physical activity and screen-free time, and keeping up their personal interests they could have an excellent term progressing their learning and development.

We are thankful that so far we have not had to experience full-scale remote learning with all staff and students working from home, but we know that we are as prepared as possible should the need arise in the future. Meanwhile, we hope our gesture has been an encouragement to both those able to return to school so far this term and those at home.

Louise Thomas
Year 8 Pastoral Leader

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  • Victoria Thomas with collated PC packages
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Year 9 Pastoral Care '9PIC' Challenge

During this time of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 situation, the Year 9 Concordia - The Rite Journey Team created a fun way of engaging our students. Collectively, the Team created a competition called 9PIC. The game is a point system, engaging and challenging students in their Home Classes to attempt multiple ways to add points, such as juggling, playing chess or backgammon, learning a language, building a tower with a deck of cards, and so on. 

The scores are based on achievement levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Students were emailed the challenge in the holidays and this initiative by the Year 9 Team has proven to be fun, with much laughter as we gathered face-to-face and online to review how the other classes are scoring. It was great to see the motivation in our students as they engaged with the challenge, showing competitiveness with kindness, and taking on a range of activities that allowed all students to achieve at some level.

Year 9 Pastoral Team

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