Our Journey During COVID-19
As we prepare to welcome the Year 11 and 12 students back to face-to-face learning, I have reflected on the outstanding progress we have made as a school community in such a short space of time.
Knowing the importance of interaction with others on our social-emotional well-being, the College Leadership Team made the decision to adopt a platform which incorporated synchronous teacher- student interaction. In the space of less than two months, the College moved the delivery of its curriculum to a fully online experience where students complete their lessons through ViT@L (Virtual integrated Teaching at Loreto).
This week we analysed the results of student, staff and parent surveys regarding the experience. With 93% of students indicating that ViT@L has either met or exceeded their expectations, we were delighted with our students’ ability to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances. As with all innovations, however, we are conscious that we can still adjust our practices to improve this experience as we analyse the feedback from all stakeholders.
Of course, a school is so much more than attending lessons, doing homework and completing assignments. Knowing the impact that social distancing can have on our students, many other virtual activities have been put into place to support the girls: fitness challenges, virtual assemblies, training programs, virtual music lessons and recording of ensembles repertoire.
Even our students’ parents have the opportunity to participate – either through our virtual community choir, contributing to those in need in our community through LoC@L or experiencing another milestone in Loreto’s online environment: virtual Parent – Student – Teacher Interviews.
The feedback from parents we have received in relation to these interviews has been overwhelmingly positive, with many comments around the convenience and more personal nature of the experience.
Year Coordinators have looked for opportunities to engage students in fun activities and our Pastoral Team has provided many resources for the support of student well-being in our Parent Portal. Parents have been able to access webinars such as Danielle Miller’s work on connection when physically disconnected.
Through this time of physical disconnection, our staff and students have upskilled their own technological capacity in a very short space of time. It is this ability to adapt which lies is at the heart of resilience. While resilience won’t alleviate the emotions we may experience of physical distancing, it does help us see beyond today’s problems.
Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor, wrote:
Everything can be taken from a (hu)man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
While we are unsure when this crisis will abate, the return of our Year 11 and 12 students next week fills me with hope: hope for our students’ future, hope for a more connected Loreto community and hope for a more compassionate world.
Kim Wickham, Principal