Gawura During Lockdown – August 2021
6 August, 2021
Message from John Ralph, Head of Gawura
All of the Gawura staff send their love and best wishes to everyone who is in lockdown in Greater Sydney and beyond. We know times are hard, especially for parents, who are working and schooling at home.
We have been overwhelmed by the emails of concern and messages we’ve received for the Gawura children. We can feel your love and support for the kids in everything we do – thank you so much for your support.
The students at Gawura School are very fortunate to have such quality assistance and devices to help them through this period. We sincerely thank all of our volunteers and donors who have helped contribute in making these now essential resources available to our First Nations students.
The overwhelming majority of Gawura students from kindergarten to year 6 are engaging with remote learning really well. This is the 5th week of term and remote learning will continue at least until Friday 27th August.
Lockdown commenced at the beginning of the school holidays, so when school started on Wednesday 14 July we had already sent the Gawura bus out to all of the families delivering iPads and chargers for the kindergarten to year 2 children, and laptops and chargers for students in Years 3-6. Every student has their own device and two laptops were posted all the way to Narromine where two students are staying with their aunty, On Country during the lockdown.
The students are familiar with the various platforms which we use to teach on from the lockdown last year. These include See Saw (K-2) and Schoology, One Note and Teams (3-6) and we had continued to do the odd lesson here and there in case there was another COVID outbreak. The platforms allow teachers to place work in either Schoology or See Saw and then teachers can video conference with their class remotely via Teams. These are all secure platforms that allow students to engage safely online.
The Gawura bus went out on a second run in the second week of remote learning, visiting all Gawura families and delivering a resource pack that included stationery along with, for some year groups, a class novel, writing books, and grid books for maths work to be completed in. The One Note platform allows students to complete their work online and teachers can see what is being completed in ‘real time’. Just like in a classroom.
Of course school is still open during remote learning for children of essential workers or others classed as vulnerable who are not accessing or completing the required amount of work. We have 8 Gawura students attending on site everyday where they engage with remote learning at school with a skeleton staff of support teachers offering assistance. As remote learning continues into this term we expect this number to grow.
While students continue with their work at home they can still have their music tuition remotely, allowing them to keep up practice on their chosen instrument.
We are also so grateful that students who have specialist support such as speech and occupational therapy are still receiving this support in 45 minute sessions online through the Telehealth Conference system with our usual outside providers. Thank you for allowing our students to have this support.
Gawura’s secondary students are very well supported by Matt Hammond and Lavinia Williams and still have their Homework Centre with additional support being provided when needed by St Andrew’s Cathedral School staff.
I’d again like to say a huge thank you to all of our donors and supporters whose generosity has enabled us to provide the children and teachers with the tools to continue learning through lockdown.
I would also like to thank and congratulate the all of the students, staff and families for all of their wonderful efforts in these challenging times.
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