Return to Remote Learning
Before I could say ‘welcome to semester two’, we were back in lockdown last Friday. For parents of school-aged children this is particularly challenging. To work from home and oversee schoolwork is a juggle and (to continue the metaphor) sometimes we might drop some balls. This is okay. it’s important we recognise when we put ourselves under too much pressure.
I am also aware the challenges are different for everyone. There is a poem widely shared on social media (author unknown) that describes “We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat”.
Please know that if you are struggling with the remote learning schedule or it is not meeting your child’s needs, then do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher. If you have broader questions, I am always ready to support where and when I can.
So, while we grapple this time with so many exposure sites in Richmond (and surrounding suburbs) and some families may be in isolation, please reach out if you need. Working together as a YPS community is key to ensure our students are well supported to learn to manage their studies and wellbeing during this global health issue.
Staff Professional Learning Day
On Monday last week we had our second student-free day for the year (postponed from May 28th). Each year schools receive 4 student-free days (when student instruction does not occur) for professional development, school planning and administration, curriculum development and student assessment and reporting.
We began the day with a Wellbeing focus and participated in a fitness session with Tayla Harris and our very own PE Teacher, Lauren Thomson. Tayla Harris is an Australian rules footballer playing for the Melbourne Football Club in the AFL Women's (AFLW) and a professional boxer. The staff enjoyed this energetic beginning to the day! This was followed by a focus on reading, assessment and student learning goals. Yasmin and Cynthia expertly led our teachers through a process to analyse students’ Fountas and Pinnell (F and P) reading assessments to then plan for the next sequence of learning. ‘F and P’ is one of the resources we use to support our students’ literacy development. A key element of the tool is to focus on ‘systems of strategic actions’ which are simultaneous, coordinated thinking activities that occur in a reader's head. F and P identifies three ways of thinking about a text while reading:
Thinking Within the Text: Readers efficiently and effectively understand what is on the page—the author's literal message.
Thinking Beyond the Text: Readers make inferences and put text ideas together in different ways to construct the text's meaning.
Thinking About the Text: Readers analyse and critique the author's craft
Teachers undertake individual assessments with your child as their reading skills progress and then bring the data to plan with their teams. It’s complex and worthwhile work that targets the specific learning needs of students as well as develop their skills for success as they progress through school.
Many parents have sent both positive feedback and constructive criticism of this iteration of the remote learning program – Yarra@Home. I hope you have experienced our responsiveness to concerns raised as we endeavour to meet the specific needs of different families. We will be sending a survey for parents and students to complete next week to capture a community response and evaluate the overall effectiveness of our program.
We understand that online delivery cannot replicate the value of in-person learning and the social connections foundational to our approach to teaching and learning. In the meantime, we strive to deliver the best model we can and appreciate the resilience shown by our students.
Thank you also to the families that have taken the time to send messages of gratitude for Yarra. Your kind words are motivating and affirming of what is going well.
This week we went into a surprise lock down. No one was prepared but all the teachers handled it well. Students were a bit disappointed because they had so many fun activities going on at school this week, like the 5/6 Gala Day, Regionals Cross Country, and the ¾'s ScienceWorks excursion, which everyone has been waiting for for a while. Students are now doing home learning, but are having plenty of fun with the activities the teachers have organised. We are very fortunate to have such great teachers who have responded very well during this time of need. The lockdown will continue indefinitely and the students will continue with their given tasks until the lockdown is finished and we can go back to school. Everyone has found it tough, but we’ve done it before so we can do it again! Remember, to stay positive and have a growth mindset during this time. We know it’s hard, but it’s important that we do not give up!
What has been happening in our Student Voice Teams this term at Yarra Primary School?
Read a few of the SVT members' reflections below about their dedicated work representing the school and enjoy the ‘Heal Country’ artwork for NAIDOC week.
This term in SVT we have been looking at NAIDOC week. Along with Winnie and Kanishka, I have been planning to present on NAIDOC week through a google slides presentation. NAIDOC week is a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This year the theme chosen by the National organising committee is ‘Heal Country’.
We were enjoying gathering information to share. Hopefully, we can still do this when we get back to school. We plan to make our own flags and Heal Country posters promoting sustainability and looking after our land. We also want our school to learn about Indigenous history and culture.
By Olive in 3/4
In the past few weeks, the SVT team has been organising activities for NAIDOC week. A small team of SVT representatives has been working to create a slideshow and unique activities for every year level. It was awesome to see how much everyone enjoyed the activities! I also wanted to mention that we are working on making the school toilets cleaner. We are reminding everyone of toilet etiquette, and to try to go to the toilet at recess and lunch, instead of during lessons.
By Astrid in 5/6
NAIDOC week is something we celebrate to acknowledge the Aboriginals and Torres Straits Islanders. Here at Yarra Primary School, we have decided to do NAIDOC week activities, to celebrate the Aboriginals and Torres Straits Islanders. The SVTs at Yarra Primary School (Student Voice Teams) have arranged these NAIDOC week activities for everyone to participate in. One example of these activities is hand painting the Aboriginal Flag. Hopefully you can participate in your own NAIDOC activities once we are back at school.
By Jude in 5/6
We found some things that need fixing in the toilets, because we’ve heard that in the girls toilets, some of the locks don’t work, so we want to improve that. Some of the boys' taps don’t work, so we’re going to fix that. We’re raising awareness to stop disrespecting and start respecting the toilets today and the classes have discussed ‘toilet etiquette’. We hope this makes a difference to our students at Yarra Primary School.
By Louie in 3/4
Please remember to use your voice and speak to your SVT members about any issues or ideas to improve your time or celebrate important events at our school. In our next meeting when we can return, we will be finalising the SWPBS reward jars at the office. So keep displaying your school values so we can have a whole school reward once the jar is full!
Student Voice Leader
Join us Live on Tuesday July 27th at 6:30 HERE.
Come see ‘Why Yarra could be the perfect fit for your child’.
We will be holding a virtual open night which will include a tour of our facilities, summary of our approach to teaching/learning and time for questions.
See you online!