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Principal’s message

Our Response to COVID-19

1ST April – INFORMATION TO THE WHOLE SCHOOL COMMUNITY

Dear parents and carers,

A brief update of, and for the week:

Tuesday and Wednesday this week, all teachers and School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs) or teachers’ aides as you may know them – have worked the morning from home and the second half of the day on site. This has given us valuable insights.

Tomorrow, Thursday April 2, all teachers and SLSOs will work from home all day, and students attending school will be taught by regular casual teachers, Angela Vuki and Erica Phillips. Whilst children don’t always remember the names, the faces are certainly familiar.

Ms Sarah Newell (Library) and Ms Karen Alex (K-6 casual teacher) as well as front office staff and I, will be on site all day and available to all students as and if required.

On Friday April 3, all teachers who are able, will work on site with the log in and out and class interaction times as usual until 11am. From 11am all staff will be participating through Zoom and other connections with each other in finalising plans for all teachers to be able to work off site from next week as/when/if necessary. Checkout will occur as usual in the afternoon.

I will bring the community up to date with further changes or adjustments if they are needed OR as I am informed from DoE.

Linda Wickham, Principal

31ST March – INFORMATION TO THE WHOLE SCHOOL COMMUNITY

Dear parents and carers,

Thank you for continuing to support DHPS staff as we continue to learn how to establish new ways of teaching and learning. This Information Sheet provides an update on where we are, the FAQs we are responding to and things arising/ appearing as each new thing is rolled out.

1. Look at Schoolbytes/ SkoolBag every day. This is the only way to ensure that every family in the school receives the information of relevance to their children and the information relevant to parents and carers. We aim to have these messages provide solutions in advance.

2. If your child needs a device to engage with Learning from Home, please mail me linda.wickham@det.nsw.edu.au Loans Year 1 – Year 6 as required have occurred since last week. If your circumstances have changed and you need the device for students to access school, please contact me.

Jill Jackson, ES1 Assistant Principal, is coordinating requirements for Kindergarten but an email to me will reach Jill.

3. If you have difficulty providing connection for the technology, please email me and we will find a solution.

I understand the requirement to check in and out each day has been challenging for some families and hope the context and suggestions following may assist:

We established this procedure as teachers are required by the NSW Department of Education to record student absences, just as they do in the normal classroom environment. A regulated window for checking in and out enables teachers to record attendance, flag absences as we retain a duty of care for all students during a school day and trial practices that allow teachers to make judgements that students are engaged with the school’s programs of learning. This last being a new requirement from DoE as teacher remain accountable for student learning. The times we chose were designed to fit around normal school hours to minimise confusion and assist students to maintain a familiar routine.

As we have learned, the window is too small and from tomorrow, the sign in will be open from 8am until 10am. All students have the skills required to do this, some will need guided assistance for a few days. I am required to report staff and student attendance daily by 11am and the wider window facilitates that.

The checking out activities provide opportunities to complete a reflection or other response to aspects of the day’s learning similar to what occurs in many classrooms before the end of each day. This window has also been expanded from 3pm to 4:30pm.Students’ responses assist teachers in fine tuning future learning. As always, please email directly as a challenge, problem, concern arises. linda.wickham@det.nsw.edu.au

As you will appreciate, the volume of emails and phone calls is higher as we navigate new ways forward, but I will reply and it will be with a positive view to being part of a solution.

We will continue to learn in the new environment and I will keep you updated with changes and developments. I urge you to reach out to us for help when you need it; to be kind to each other and strangers; find one thing every day to be joyful about and ask your children to join in that daily activity as well. Your example of calmness will have a lasting and positive impact on your child’s capacity for resilience.

Linda Wickham

Principal

Below an offer for parents. You may remember I sent the link to Kidsnews home last week with some suggestions for use K-6. Cheers, Linda

FREE LEARNING FROM HOME LESSON PLANS Kidsnews.com.au is offering free daily school-day education tasks and fun activities for at-home learning during the coronavirus disruption. These free activities are written by qualified, practising teachers in accordance with/with reference to the Australian National Curriculum 2020 and are intended to be used as a guide for parents. The activities have been tailored into four categories for students in Prep to Grade 2; Years 3-4; Years 5-6; and Years 7-9 to allow for age-based learning. Kids News encourages teachers to share this valuable resource with the parents of their students. It can be found at kidsnews.com.au/learning-at-home

Kindest regards, The Kids News Team

24th March – SCHOOL CANTEEN CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Our school canteen will close at the normal closing time at lunchtime today 24 March and not re-open until further notice as announced by Department of Education today.

24th March – INFORMATION TO THE WHOLE SCHOOL COMMUNITY

Dear Parents and Carers,

Please find below communication from Department of Education received by me at 9pm last night.
Schools remain open

The health advice on schools remains unchanged. Our Chief Medical Officers indicate that our schools should remain open for education provision at this time.

The Government and Department are encouraging you to keep your child at home from Tuesday 24 March to contribute to supporting the community response to COVID-19. The school’s doors will remain open for those students whose parents are in the essential services or who are vulnerable.

As updated expert information comes to the Department, who are in constant liaison with NSW Health we will keep you informed of any impact on school operations.

Supporting continuity of learning for all students

Our staff have been working hard to develop a suite of learning resources and options for students to undertake from home. The Department has developed and will continue to develop resources and offer professional learning to help teachers with this task.

Whether your child is at school or at home, the aim is for all students to access the consistent learning content provided by our school. This may mean sending work home, either with physical materials or by email, or by making use of one of our online platforms at our school.

Support for students at home

I encourage you to access the https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/learning-from-home/advice-to-parents-and-carers resource which provides practical advice to parents and carers on how to best create and support a productive learning environment in the home.

FROM DHPS:

Today you will begin to receive learning from home materials for you to use this week.

Each stage Assistant Principal has prepared an overview statement for your information.

I am requesting that you refrain from sending emails to the class teachers unless they relate to health or absence information.

Should you require a laptop for your child, please contact me directly: linda.wickham@det.nsw.edu.au

Every adult of my acquaintance has a story to tell, a concern, a fear. All share confusion, frustration, anger, anxiety and fear about the future. This includes every single one of our wonderful staff. Please allow us to enter this completely new education environment with your support to trial and keep or trial and discard. We can’t possibly get it all right from this morning. We will make mistakes and learn from them. We will have successes and share them. “Together we inspire, create and learn for life”

Send your queries and comments, anything you need to send, to me at linda.wickham@det.nsw.edu.au I will ensure that class teachers are informed of all matters raised. This way, what are common threads will be able to be quickly addressed across the school and individual concerns filtered out for attention. Your support, to allow us to get on with the job at hand, will be very important and enormously appreciated.

Linda Wickham, Principal

20th March – INFORMATION TO THE WHOLE SCHOOL COMMUNITY

There are three weeks of the school term remaining and with schools being identified by the Prime Minister as an essential service, closure is not apparently imminent. Changes to NSW regulations permitting delivery trucks to operate 24 hours from today, may also go a long way to lifting our spirits.

Thank you for the messages of appreciation which have been emailed to me for our fabulous teachers and in fact, all our fabulous staff. Staff are here every day and doing their jobs with great collaboration and good cheer. Students are engaged in normal classroom activities and their questions and/or concerns are being treated sensitively and respectfully. I continue to be refreshed by the normal sounds of students and teachers interacting positively every day.

All teachers are fully engaged with preparing and delivering teaching and learning programs both at home and at school, as usual. This will continue whilst schools remain open. In the same way that businesses are open, this is where and how we are expected and are pleased to be able to present ourselves each day. As reported in the Information 17th March, we are preparing for potential closures and learning at home. This requires me to employ casual teachers for each class to allow teachers to work together, and as always we ensure that student learning is not interrupted. This week, all stages have had a half day to work together investigating the great resources being provided to schools through the department’s website and the lesson sequences planned for next term by DHPS teachers, coordinating these for grade and stage use. Also looking at Google platforms for continued and/or future use.

This is new territory for many teachers and professional learning is the foundation upon which we can build capacity. Next week, each stage will have a whole day to teach, learn, set up, practise, enhance digital skills in the context of providing learning from home opportunities if a closure is announced. Teachers are needing to completely change the way lessons will be available and we are embracing the challenge with commitment and enthusiasm.

I am requesting that you not email teachers to provide individual work for students at home. Every class has absences, but every class continues. Learning at home in the event of a shutdown is currently being prepared for as discussed already. In the broadcast yesterday afternoon, it was clear that schools are not expected to be operating in “dual track.”

Recognising both need and choice, I recommend to you the Department of Education website which has a wealth of high quality learning activities available. I encourage you to investigate and use these, to establish a routine which includes breaks and physical activity. At school we are mandated 150 minutes additional physical activity – there’s a challenge for you all! If you have children at home, for any reason, at this time: Learning from home

Please be reassured that, as far as possible, we are as normal as possible. In response to the Prime Minister’s requirement for 1.5m social distancing, teachers are attempting to make that work in the context of primary school classrooms, learning activities and playgrounds. As you may realise, many activities are designed for partner or small group engagement. Further, many classrooms are simply not big enough to permit the letter of the requirement to be achieved. Fortunately, in a live telecast yesterday afternoon, Department of Education Mark Scott responded to Principals’ concerns about the reality of the 1.5m. Mark Scott described schools’ “best endeavours” as appropriate and stated that he believed the Prime Minister recognised this himself.

What does that mean at DHPS?

Teachers will continue to teach, using their best endeavours to distance, appropriate to the classroom or learning space and the lesson. Our hygiene focus remains hand, cough and sneeze hygiene. There continues to be a good supply of soap and towel. Sanitiser is good at this time and the easing of delivery restrictions is expected to have a positive effect on stocks before we are due for replenishment.

The announcement of new and significantly higher standards of time allocations and increased numbers of cleaners with the required level of training, is yet to be actioned at the school. An announced commencement from 18th March happened before any provision for implementation was available or in place. Mark Scott said in the telecast to Principals yesterday afternoon, that teams at School Infrastructure are working with teams across the state in finding extra cleaners. Not easy to do, he said and he also recognised the need to “scale it up” – more cleaners, more time, especially focussing in high touch places.

Not wanting to let a chance go by, I take this opportunity to explain that principals and teachers, through Primary Principals Association and the NSW Teachers Federation, have for significant number of years, tried to highlight the regular shrinking of the state’s school cleaning budget. This is easily proved by the changed number of cleaners on the ground and the number of hours they work. To be fair, the contracts are clearly worth a lot of money and shareholders want their returns. However, on the ground the departmental officers have recognised a dismal state of affairs and are working to significantly upgrade standards of school cleanliness in the short term. Like many of my colleagues, I hope that we may see a sustained focus on the cleanliness of your children’s and my staff’s working spaces, not just in this pandemic situation.

I will conclude with this from Murat Dizdar, Deputy Secretary, Schools Operations and Performance, received this afternoon:

We wanted to update you on work we have been undertaking to ensure we can support education continuity for our students as the COVID-19 virus situation evolves. We have established educational continuity provisions to help students learn from home in the event of some schools needing to partially cease onsite operations, or temporarily cease onsite operations for an extended period of time.

Teaching strategies and resources, learning sequences, student workbooks and materials are being regularly added (to the site) for students Preschool to Year 12.

I want to acknowledge the amazing work of my colleagues in many parts of the department and specifically School Services, Curriculum Directorate, Distance Education teams among many others. In concert with what teachers are doing here at DHPS and in public schools across the state, your children will be very well served, if the call for closure is made.

Linda Wickham, Principal

Getting prepared for learning from home 19th March, 2020

‘Learning from home’ refers to the ways schools will maintain teaching and learning in the event of a directed, school closure. At Dulwich Hill Public School, we need to know the resources that families have, which will support learning from home, if required.

Should a hard copy of the survey be required, please contact the front office.

Click on the link below to access the survey which will take about 3 minutes to complete.

https://forms.gle/WQfp12Zf6gb5CHis7

Whole School Information 17th March, 2020

Dear Parents, Carers, Staff and Students.

At this time, the school remains open and functioning as directed by the Department of Education acting on current advice from Health. I am reminding and expecting that all parents, carers, teachers and students will employ thorough hygiene practices appropriate for any infectious disease. Please see health advice for our schools,

https://education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/school-safety/novel-coronavirus#Health6

I am absolutely aware of the anxiety which we are all seeing and experiencing; from our elderly parents, family and friends immunocompromised, children, work commitments, barren supermarket shelves, increased numbers of positive cases and those around us choosing to or having to self-isolate for various reasons. I was one of those from last Friday night because I am immunosuppressed and had what was identified yesterday as an upper respiratory tract infection.

Whilst my decisions or email replies may not always be as you want or expect, I continue to use the medical/scientific information provided to principals by the department to guide all my responses to the school community.

So what are we doing?

All teachers are fully engaged with preparing and delivering teaching and learning programs both at home and at school, as usual. This will continue whilst schools remain open. In the same way that businesses are open, this is where and how we are expected and are pleased to be able to present ourselves each day.

The school week provides two hours of RFF for teachers to work, usually individually on class and school related matters. However, from today, I will arrange time for teachers to begin preparation in case there is a direction to close schools in the future. We will begin with simply insuring all students have recorded their login details to our Mathletics, Mathseeds and Reading Eggs. Many classes already use these programs at school and/or at home.  Please check bags, particularly for younger students and if there are no log on details or your child experiences difficulties logging on from home, please follow up with the class teacher.

The department has provided a link for parents who have children at home,

https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/learning-from-home/advice-to-parents-and-carers

I suggest that everyone takes a few minutes to have a look to see what is available.

The wonderful teachers, both here and at schools all around us: Canterbury, Marrickville and Iron Cove Networks, are collaborating and sharing learning tasks. The time being made available to DHPS teachers provides dedicated opportunities to work together on grade and stage specific activities. If it becomes necessary, these will be able to be disseminated.

With current advice in place, it is vital that I protect every staff member in their own experiences in this unusual time, by ensuring that each is performing duties to the best of their ability, undistracted by additional expectations outside their current capacity to fulfil.

Please be assured that, whilst most public schools and their families have limited access to technology that would allow a semblance of whole class teaching at home, at DHPS we will fulfil learning opportunities expectations to the very best of our capacity if the need for that arises.

Because we are part of a community, outside agencies play their own part and act on advice best suiting specific organisations. The Special Ethics Education NSW (SEE) coordinators have asked for SEE to finish this week. Our own school coordinator has requested no SEE /Ethics this week and I subsequently I have cancelled Special Religious Education (SRE) /Scripture lessons this week as well. These lessons are suspended until further notice and I thank you for your understanding. Additionally, our First Nations’ student group will not be meeting until further notice.

I have suspended all Band and associated music tutorials from next week. They will go ahead as planned this Wednesday in fairness to our Band Master and tutors. The same will apply for the P&C organised Enrichment activities after school, they go ahead for the rest of this week and are suspended from next week.

Each school has been required to make decisions locally and this has had ramifications for Principals and communities. DHPS decisions have been in line with guidelines/ recommendations from Federal and State Government Ministers, National and State Health Departments and the NSW Department of Education, as they have been made available. I will continue to forward to the school community all the updates and recommendations I receive and to make my decisions in accordance with those recommendations received.

I am encouraging all staff to maintain calm, consistent and organised classroom practices which continue providing your children with consistent boundaries and learning expectations. This is unfamiliar territory to all of us and must be quite daunting for many of our students. Hearing and seeing them happily get about a normal day with their teachers and peers is recharging and refreshing every day. Your continued support of each other, your children and our staff is greatly appreciated.

Linda Wickham, Principal

Dulwich Hill Public School has an enrolment of 481 students within the Canterbury School Education Group. Students are in 20 classes and 43% are from language backgrounds other than English.

The 2018-2020 School Plan (available on the website) is our three year plan for improvement and demonstrates commitment from the staff in reflecting, reviewing, evaluating school practices and moving forward in identified areas, within the contexts of Department of Education initiatives and evidence based pedagogy.

Our programs are curriculum based and enriched by research based practices which include John Hattie’s Visible Learning and Dylan Wiliam’s Feedback research and related strategies, which are being practised in all classrooms K-6 as described in the School Plan. One identified goal of this professional learning and practising is to increase the engagement of students in knowing where they are with their learning and know how to achieve the next step in their learning. I warmly welcome you to be part of this transition to more individually student focussed learning in all classrooms K-6.

Music, dance and drama programs

DHPS has a long record of effective music, dance and drama programs across the school. These are not entirely funded through Department of Education staffing allocations and have been supported using some of the funds made available by Camp Australia which is the current before and after school and holiday care provider.

Currently Ms Jenny Gibson is the foundation on which the music programs are established. Jenny received in 2018, a Recognition of Outstanding Service to Music Teaching in a NSW Public School Award – very deeply deserved. Jenny delivers music lessons to classes as part of the Release from Face-to-Face (RFF) program at DHPS.

Students are also able to participate in recorder groups, ukulele group, string group and either the stage two or stage three choir. Parents can apply for their children to join the training band or the concert band, both led by Bandmaster Martin Taylor.

Sustainability

Sustainability has been a long held and ethical position held by the school and its community. Gardening lessons continue to be a regular feature of grade teaching and learning programs in all classes in the school, across every year. Learning about the land skills of the traditional owners of the land, The Gadigal people of the Eora nation, is a significant aspect of all key learning areas and particularly History, Geography and Science. There is a strong awareness of the importance of First Nations people and their importance and contribution to the learning at Dulwich Hill Public School.

Student outcomes

All staff are dedicated to the best outcomes for all students; social, emotional and academic. All staff has a role to play, understand that role and fulfil their roles with professionalism and generosity of spirit as they work positively with your children every day. This is true of every teacher. It is also true of the School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs previously known as teacher’s aides) who support student learning both inside the classrooms and also in playground settings in association with classroom teachers and members of the Learning support team (LST).

Our School Administration Support Staff (SASS) is our wonderful front office staff and general assistant as well as the School Administration Manager (SAM). These people monitor health care plans and their implementation, manage all calls, inquiries and administrative functions within the school and most importantly provide comfort and care to sick or injured students until recovery or your arrival – often that is the same thing.

Welcome to our school!

Linda Wickham,
Principal

Around the school

Thumbnail for No child will be turned away from school

No child will be turned away from school

25 Mar 2020 The NSW Department of Education’s advice regarding schools is very clear. No child in NSW will be turned away from school. Schools will remain open for parents who want their children to attend irrespective of their profession or working arrangements. The decision to keep schools open Read more

Thumbnail for New COVID-19 restrictions begin as schools move towards online learning

New COVID-19 restrictions begin as schools move towards online learning

23rd March, 2020 The NSW Government has taken significant new steps to increase restrictions across the state – triggering the next level of enforcement necessary to fight COVID-19. Following the decisions made by National Cabinet, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the shutdown to protect NSW citizens. “I understand many Read more