Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud - Maya Angelo
Our Distance Learning Plan, launched this week as a pilot program. It was devised as part of our ongoing commitment to the continuity of learning and the wellbeing of your daughter while we navigate these challenging times together.
Next week, you will be provided with the opportunity to offer your feedback on the model as we continue to refine and improve.
A remote mode of delivery is completely new for most schools across NSW. Ordinarily such a shift in models, in this instance from face-to-face to distance learning, would require an 18-month lead-in process with NESA’s School Registration Board.
The distance learning model has progressed with urgency and the deep commitment of educators due to the COVID-19 crisis.
I have been proud and in awe of our Danebank teachers and staff as they embraced this challenge. Danebank staff are going above and beyond to deliver quality learning to our girls through this new programme.
There is no less work for teachers and staff. In fact, there is more as they navigate new platforms and modes of delivery. Our staff and teachers are working extraordinary hours and are stepping up to this because they care.
Our girls and young women have similarly inspired me. They have displayed grit, determination and perseverance like never before. Student leaders across the School have thought of creative and innovative ways to connect, support each other and have some fun in the process. We have also been encouraged by our families, who have been supportive of Danebank’s approach and care.
Across our community I have observed:
- Courage to take risks and learn something new
- Foresight to perceive challenge in a positive light and always look for the good, or as the expression encourages us: “to find the silver linings in every cloud”
- Open-mindedness and integrity
Understanding and respect for one another
- A deep sense of compassion and responsibility to band together as a community.
We will emerge stronger as we place our trust in God, connect with one another and walk through this time together.
To do so, may I encourage us all to intentionally invest in and foster our personal connections and supportive relationships. Inherently, the student-teacher relationship is pivotal in the development and learning of our girls. Academic achievements, learning and growth have at their core the understanding that:
- Learning occurs mainly in the context of social relationships
- Social, emotional and academic domains are inextricably linked
- Our girls and young women learn best when they experience a sense of connection, belonging, personal safety and appropriate challenge.
Dr JoAnn Deak’s research confirms this, indicating that girls, in particular, tend to learn far more effectively when they are strongly connected and in a supportive and engaging environment.
Our teachers are keenly aware of this and have embraced new Zoom technology and other touch points to connect with the girls. I’ve been inspired by their creativity and new approaches such as Friday Fun Days (think, crazy hair days, pyjama days and lots more), a Bible verse for the week, singing songs together and various group challenges. It was thrilling to walk in on a few active Zoom sessions in classes with girls and be able to wave a hello to them!
In the time of physical distancing, let’s practice social closeness as a community.
‘Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you are also doing’.
1 Thessalonians 5: 11