I want to welcome you all back to Woodleigh for the start of the 2021 school year. In particular, I extend a warm welcome to those families who are new to Woodleigh.
It has been wonderful to see our students refreshed and ready to learn. Walking around the school, there has been genuine excitement to be back, which creates a terrific atmosphere. The school has been busy implementing the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, a new canteen, the first instalment of our Activities Program, and orientation activities to familiarise our students with Homestead life. Our staff and students have been busy establishing connections to get to know how they navigate a classroom. It was great to be part of the Homestead Swimming Carnival at The Pines Aquatic Centre recently. My congratulations go to Homestead 6 on taking out the title on the day. Well done to Ben Davenport and his team for the set-up and organisation of such a successful event.
After a terrific start to the year, we have found ourselves in all too familiar territory – back at home learning via our online platforms. This week, we have been reminded how COVID-19 can spread quickly. Our students and staff have moved to our Continuous Learning Plan like 'ducks to water.' There have been very few challenges reported, and I am proud of how our community has shown resilience, patience, and respect for each other throughout this transition. When we return to onsite learning, we will continue to approach the School year with a degree of caution. Our priority is to ensure our staff, students, and parents' health and safety through this pandemic. We will continue to promote a safe and hygienic environment for all staff and students and offer prompt updates to families as new information comes to hand.
The following provides an outline of our COVID safe practices and some reminders:
· It is essential to talk to your child before returning to school about personal hygiene practices – continuing to wash their hands regularly, socially distancing, and coughing into their elbow.
- Please do not send your child to school if they are unwell.
- Face masks are required to be worn inside. Masks are also recommended for use by staff and students when physical distancing of 1.5m cannot be maintained (this includes outside). All members of our community above the age of 12 are expected to carry a mask at all times.
- Masks are mandatory on buses and any public transport.
- There will be sanitiser dispensers located at multiple sites around the school.
- We will encourage our students to use space, get outside, and socially distance.
- There will be reduced sharing of equipment.
- There will be more options for gatherings like assemblies and school meetings, but with COVID-safe protocols in place.
· There will be environmental cleaning during the day.
LGBTQI+ Policy Launch
At the start of this term, Woodleigh launched its LGBTQIA+ Policy with a focus on providing a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. We see an increasing number of students telling us that they are transgender and asking to be called by pronouns. It is reflecting an emerging global pattern.
Schools are often where students first begin to explore or identify as trans or gender diverse. Some students only feel comfortable expressing their gender identity at school, while others only feel safe to express this aspect of themselves at home.
It is essential for us at Woodleigh to reaffirm our LGBTQI+ community through visual acknowledgement and creating opportunities to celebrate diversity. When you visit Senior Campus, you will see several posters like the one below publicly recognising our commitment to creating an inclusive School.
Woodleigh celebrates diversity, and I am proud to not only be part of this great school but to lead a future-focussed community. There are many exciting initiatives, and I look forward to being part of the next phase of this launch.
Today marks the end of Week 4, and what a week it's been! The international performance coach Michael Altshuler once said:
"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot."
It has been wonderful to witness our Woodleigh community approach their learning and the programs offered with enthusiasm. We continue to remind students that they will only get out of the program what they choose to put into it. The continued reminder that they are the pilots in control of mapping their learning journeys and their choices along the way is an important message, both at school and from you as parents at home.
I wish you a safe and successful term ahead.
Deputy Principal – Head of Senior Campus