Working together

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12 May 2020

Holy Child School, Dallas.At Holy Child School, Dallas, the entire school community has been working together to support students and families.

The school’s Literacy Leader, Vesna Curmi, writes about the ways teaching and non-teaching staff have been working together to continue the learning journey away from the classroom for their students. For a school with a high proportion of families from backgrounds where English isn’t the first language, a coordinated whole-school approach provided the best outcomes for everyone.

Holy Child School Principal Alan Smith wanted students and staff to be well-resourced and prepared for online learning at the beginning of Term 2. All families came to the school and collected learning packs and Chromebooks before the end of Term 1. The response was very positive and demonstrated the commitment of the school community in their need to support the children. This was attributed to the work of the entire staff in ensuring that the students would receive every opportunity to successfully complete learning online.

The school’s staff have had to be creative in their delivery of the curriculum and instructions, so that the students are enabled to complete their work. Classroom teachers, specialists, learning support officers (LSOs), leaders and family partnership workers voice-record explicit instructions for each lesson, as well as ‘how to’ tutorials about the use of Google Classroom and the computer. The purpose of this is to not only empower our students in learning online, but also parents and family members.

Staff are also supporting one another with the creation of video tutorials and location of resources. The school recognises the varied learning needs of the students, so classroom teachers are differentiating their Literacy and Numeracy lessons each day. There are three data-informed differentiated groups for both Literacy and Numeracy. Learning Intentions and Success Criteria are modified for each group. In addition, Religious Education, inquiry and specialist subjects are also taught during the day.

The LSOs, Literacy/Numeracy Intervention and New Arrivals teachers continue to support students daily with programs such as LLI, Reading Recovery, Maths support and specific interventions such as RAN and GREEAD. The school recently had three new arrival students and they are attending school for the first part of the morning, and receiving English support from the New Arrivals Teacher and Multicultural Aide. The Administration team in the front office provides translating support and communication to families, while also keeping staff informed of some of the particular needs of each family.

The Leadership team has been providing teachers with resourcing, so that they are able to deliver the curriculum and continue to offer support to families through meetings or by showing parents how to help their children log in to programs. The staff have also brought in food donations so that the Wellbeing Leader is able to deliver these items to families in need. Finally, we fulfil our work with our vision of Saint Mary of the Cross to ‘always remember to love one another’ (1881), and remain true to our faith by maintaining prayer at the start of each week onsite at school. Despite restrictions, our commitment to our Catholic faith remains strong.