We are delighted to have our students now back on campus and we are all enjoying the opportunity to reconnect and feel the energy that has returned to the School.
I am appreciative to the great many of you who took the time to provide us feedback through the recent survey looking into our transition to online learning throughout the COVID–19 pandemic. Your insights have been incredibly important to us as we continued to modify the program to support the learning and wellbeing of our students at home.
There was an enormous amount of information which has come back to us as a result of 517 families providing feedback through the survey. The leadership team and I have summarised the main themes which have come through strongly in this feedback. We thank you for your generous feedback and your acknowledgement of the enormous amount of work which is being undertaken by all members of our teaching and professional support staff to maintain the learning programs for our students.
A summary of the key themes offered in your feedback follows:
What have been highlights or benefits to you and your family during this time?
- More time has been made available as a result of less road traffic and fewer commitments, e.g. Saturday sport.
- Spending time as a family and building on relationships, including better connections between siblings.
- Children are learning life skills and responsibilities, e.g. organisation, cooking, time management.
- Developing a greater understanding of their child’s education and teachings, including individual strengths and weaknesses.
What challenges have arisen for you and your family as a result of the COVID–19 crisis?
- Balancing professional commitments (parents’ jobs) with the care of children at home.
- High level of demand on parents to support students with online learning (instead of teachers).
- Lack of structure, motivation and discipline for students undertaking online learning.
- Financial impact on families.
- Loss of co-curricular activities and experiences.
- Mental health of children and families.
Which aspects of the online learning model is working well for your child and you?
- The use of teacher-directed conferences.
- Parents and students receiving lesson plans and access to work in advance.
- The curriculum is structured but also promotes independence, autonomy and self-management skills.
Which aspects of online learning do you find most challenging?
- Demand on parents to support home learning.
- Overload of information and tasks resulting in more pressure and extended time on screens.
- Lack of motivation and discipline.
- Issues with technology and the functionality of Canvas.
Do you have any suggestions for how the school might better assist parents to support their children’s learning at home?
- Organisation and preparation – send tasks ahead of the week including a checklist of work requirements.
How can we improve communication with you?
- Overall communication from the School has been excellent.
- Keep parents informed about the next steps regarding COVID–19.
- Promote more consistent use of Canvas and fix technical issues.
How can we improve communication with your child?
- General positive comments about communication with students.
- Increase one-on-one communication and more direct contact between students and teachers.
Which educational experiences have been most valuable during this crisis?
- Independent learning and the development of skills such as resilience, self-discipline, organisation and time management.
- Conferences with teachers.
- The use of Canvas.
- General comments of praise for teachers.
Are there any events or programs that we have run in the past that you feel are no longer important for us to continue?
- Information nights could be done online.
- Parent Student Teacher interviews could be done online.
Is there anything further the school could do to support families at this time?
- Parents expressed their gratitude for the way the School has managed the crisis.
I appreciate just how hard the last 11 weeks have been for everyone in our community for many reasons. We have been particularly encouraged however by the extent to which the dialogue has opened up between families and staff about the learning for our students. I was particularly encouraged too by the number of great ideas which have started to emerge for what we could be doing differently in the future to better support the operations of our school and build on the learnings as a result of our move to online delivery. This feedback will inform our next steps as we emerge out of the COVID–19 restrictions.
We look forward to developing many of these great ideas for the future with you in the months ahead. In Term 3, I will be conducting more open discussions and providing an invitation to you to support us in the development of a vision for our school, tapping into what it is that you love most about Carey along with your hopes and dreams for the future.
Supporting our community
I have been so heartened to see the overwhelming support within our community during the COVID–19 period. I extend my sincere thanks to all who have been able to contribute to the Carey Student Fee Support Fund. This Fund has been integral in helping Carey families experiencing financial hardship due to COVID–19 to keep their children at Carey. Despite government restrictions being slowly lifted and a return to onsite learning, the economic impact of COVID–19 will be felt for many months to come. As a community, we will work to prevent any families leaving Carey in 2020 due to financial stress.
We are still gratefully accepting any support our community can offer to our families in need. All donations to this Fund will go directly to supporting fee relief for current families experiencing financial hardship.
This week, we are also excited to launch the Carey Family Business Directory as another initiative to support Carey families throughout this difficult period. This service will allow current Carey parents to list their businesses for other members of the Carey community to contact for goods and services from within our trusted and connected community. You can read more about this initiative in this edition of the newsletter.