Continuous Learning at Woodleigh
20 March 2020
Dear Woodleigh Families,
As you are aware, Woodleigh School is implementing our Continuous Learning Plan from next week, following the decision of the School Leadership Team to close our three campuses to students this week. Senior Campus staff used Thursday and Friday to finalise preparations for the transition to the plan, with Minimbah and Penbank staff finalising their planning today and Monday. Over the past two weeks, our leadership teams and teaching staff have worked tirelessly to prepare for this transition, collaboratively planning units of work, engaging in professional learning, and designing rich learning experiences for students. These efforts position us well for the continuous provision of an innovative education for our young people that reflects our Woodleigh values and learning principles.
Woodleigh School is a compassionate, connected and resilient community. The success of our approach to continuous learning rests upon a strong partnership between school and home. In these uncertain and challenging times, we are dependent on the committed planning and skilful expertise of our dedicated staff, appropriate student motivation and engagement, and strong support from parents for this alternative approach to teaching and learning. Together, we can work to ensure the continuity of the rich, holistic learning that resides at the heart of our school community.
We know that for students to flourish, it is important that they forge strong connections with others, and have goals and a sense of purpose in their lives. We are very proud of the pastoral care systems and programs that operate at each of our campuses and, in moving to our Continuous Learning Plan, we recognise how vitally important it is that students maintain their connections with each other and with key staff. It is also important that a sense of routine is maintained. A great deal of thought has been devoted to how staff will continue to perform their pastoral care roles in this new space. At Senior Campus, for example, students will be expected to link in with their Tutors at Morning Meeting and Homestead session times, allowing Tutors to monitor their students’ progress and wellbeing. At Junior Campuses, class teachers will be connecting each day with their students. In this way, we aim to maintain the sense of community for which Woodleigh is renowned. As always, we invite you to contact us should you need to discuss any element of your child’s wellbeing.
We are pleased to be able to share with you the dedicated website that has been developed to support our community with the transition into continuous learning mode next week. The website can be accessed at https://www.wscontinuouslearning.com. It provides general information about the school’s approach to continuous learning, as well as detail specific to each section of the school. The site also provides an overview of our expectations in relation to daily routines for students, teachers, and families, as well as some helpful resources for parents.
For the final week of this term, teachers will focus attention on the design and delivery of asynchronous learning engagements. An asynchronous learning environment is one that does not require teachers and students to be online at the same time. Since we anticipate that the pattern of social disruption caused by the spread of COVID-19 will have an impact upon family routines and arrangements, this is an essential part of our Continuous Learning Plan. We will be using this initial phase to trial our systems and structures, test communication channels between home and school, and gather feedback from all stakeholders regarding their experience, as a way of working towards further refinement and improvement.
The second phase of implementation for the plan will include the introduction of synchronous learning engagements. A synchronous learning environment provides opportunities for students to participate in engagements with their teachers and classmates at an established time to allow for interactions in real time. Synchronous learning opportunities will provide an additional layer of engagement and interaction for students, including scope for the incorporation of innovative, experiential engagements aligned with our signature Activities and Community Partnerships programs. The decision to move from phase one to phase two of the plan will be informed by feedback from stakeholders, the evolving landscape for COVID-19, and its related impact on our school community.
Class teachers from our Junior Campuses will reach out to families via email on Monday to provide further guidance regarding the approaches they will be employing during the activation of our Continuous Learning Plan. Similarly, our secondary tutors will be sending ‘Direct Messages’ from SEQTA to their tutor groups on Monday morning, as a way of welcoming students into this new mode of learning and providing clear guidance regarding their expectations. We will also provide further program-specific guidance to all families by close of business Monday, with more detail about the learning experiences at each section of the school. The information for VCE Units 3 and 4 will be drawing on the latest VCAA updates.
More general information about the school, including status updates and community briefings will continue to be available through the school website and direct email communication. For clarity and safety, we will only use school emails and learning platforms to directly interact with students.
We have been very appreciative of the support and understanding of the Woodleigh community as we grapple with the COVID-19 outbreak. We look forward to the time when we a reopen our campuses. We will continue to monitor the situation in the days and weeks ahead.
We thank you again for your patience and understanding during this time.
Director of Learning, Strategy and Innovation
Head of Wellbeing