Issue 46, 22 July 2020

Head of College Update

Dear Colleagues,  

Welcome to the new school Semester and another season of ‘Heads Up’. It was a relief to have a break from what was an exhausting first Semester and it is my prayer that we can settle into a steady pattern that will take us through the remainder of the year. Thank you again for your support and energy.

Feedback from virtual learning

Many school communities are looking to review their first foray into virtual learning – particularly those in Victoria and NSW. It is a time to give support to our colleagues down south and I know that any contact is well receive as they go through another difficult professional and personal time.

I thought that I would share a few comments that have appeared on one platform that I follow and contribute to from time to time:   

We have just completed a survey of all our Middle School students and there seemed to be a common thread from what they were saying. "Slow the content down a bit and concentrate more upon the individual student (engagement) and how they are going". Some wisdom there!  


Really taking the time to greet your students when they enter your virtual classroom...the concepts you need to cover will still happen, the difference is that your students feel known and valued. I have also learnt a lot more about my students. As an example, one of my students who is in class because he knows he is supposed to be rather than really wanting to be there, is playing around with a raspberry pi zero, but had not mentioned this to anyone because he felt it wouldn't be accepted by his peers. I occasionally draw parallels between our math and programming in python. Not only have I now a real connection with this student, but I now have other students opening up about their passions outside the classroom. Win win situation!
Social time for staff is important too. I created a virtual staff lounge channel in zoom for anyone to use at recess time for some banter and camaraderie.

 

My reflection would be that many of those points learned in lock down also apply to what we do in a face to face teaching and learning situation. Control the content, engage the student or child in your classroom, know something about each student or child, look after and care for each other …... there is a comforting ‘sameness’ in all of this!   

Staff matters

Towards the end of September, we will farewell Mrs Marg Battle as she relocates to Melbourne to be with family. Marg has been an enormous asset to our school, and her experience in the classroom and in leadership roles as a past Principal, has provided a depth of support and knowledge that has been greatly appreciated over a number of years. We wish her well for the future and every blessing in this new venture.

As a result, we will be filling Marg’s teaching load for Term 4 and the role of Head of Department English will be advertised in the coming weeks with a start date of January 2021. I thank Wendy Bowen for being prepared to lead the English Department for the remainder of this year.

The Concordia Lutheran College Council is working towards Calling a College Pastor. Meetings have been held with the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Queensland and the process is moving again after a stoppage of activity last Term. I look forward to being able to bring further news in the weeks ahead as we look forward to again having a full-time School Pastor in place. Thank you to all staff across the Campuses for ‘filling the gaps’ as we open up the Worship experiences that are central to the core values of Concordia and all Lutheran schools.

Kindest regards,  

Adrian

Need to know!

Each year in Semester 2, we issue a short survey which supports the planning process for the next school year. 2021 budget preparation has already commenced, and the first version of the 2021 SSC timetable will be generated in early August. All staff are asked to please click on the relevant link below and submit your responses by Sunday.

Support Staff

Teaching Staff

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Lockdown Music – The sound that will be broadcast to advise staff and students of a campus lockdown is a classical piece by Mozart. A drill will be scheduled by campus Directors within the next few weeks. If you cannot hear the music, please advise your Director as a priority so speakers can be checked. 

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In accordance with the requirements of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, the College has lodged its Annual Report with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (Agency). As employees of the College, you may make comments on the report by emailing Melanie Foreman in Human Resources, or make comments to the Agency. Please refer to the Agency’s guidelines on this process on their website www.wgea.gov.au

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An important reminder of the professional obligations of all staff in relation to Social Media Use and specifically to not connect with students or parents through social media sites, and to not accept invitations from students or parents into your personal social networking site. The requirement for such professional boundaries are contained both within the Staff Code of Conduct and for teachers, QCT’s Code of Ethics and Professional Boundaries for Teachers

Staff Updates

This term we welcome back Glenda Challenor from a period of leave; and we welcome 3 new colleagues: Meg Goodman, Teacher at SSC; Simon Isakka, Cleaner at HSC; and Suresh Risal Sunar, Cleaner at SSC.

We are also pleased to announce that after a very challenging few months, Jess Balnaves and her husband have welcomed 2 boys, Max Geoffrey and Lucas John on 14 July. 

Important Dates

Date Event / Activity Attendance
Sunday, 26 July Deadline for staff intentions survey All staff

Support Sought 

A reminder that Sonya Holden, SSC Teacher will shortly commence her final research project for her Masters of Education (Guidance and Counselling) and is seeking the support of teachers.

I would genuinely appreciate the support of colleagues from any year level to share their experiences of supporting students who have test anxiety. We would need to meet, either in person or on Teams and your sharing of experiences and feedback will support my research into this specific area. You will remain anonymous in the final project; the time commitment would be up to 1 hour only and can occur at any time over the next 10 weeks.

Please contact Sonya directly via email. 

Visible Learning in Action

Brains That Do the Work Do the Learning: A Story of Two Classrooms, Corwin Connect

Adapted introduction: Eddie settled in with his back to the wall in his usual student desk in a classroom where time seemed to move sluggishly. This teacher had always seemed pleasant enough, but his monotone could put rocks to sleep. He seemed to love the sound of his own voice, a voice that had a soothing effect on Eddie and his classmates; they invariably went to a better place in their minds within a few short minutes.
But in a few minutes time, Eddie would walk into another classroom that seemed to inhabit a different planet. This rare world was one where Eddie and his classmates were more often than not in control. The tables in that classroom each held a group of four students, and the groups worked on various projects mostly on their own, coaching each other and other groups when the situation warranted. They moved, talked, questioned, pondered, reflected, researched, laughed, shared, and otherwise collaborated in an emotionally safe environment, one where negativity  had been shown the door long ago.

Escape for a moment...

Don’t underestimate the importance of the food that we choose to eat…Horticulture Australia is encouraging us to choose The Good Mood Food


Development Opportunities


Click HERE to read more about the speakers and register for this FREE exceptional professional development opportunity.

Technology

A reminder that the College has introduced a new visitor management system that replaces paper based sign in processes at all campuses, for both visitors and staff.

Importantly, if you have any member of the public coming to visit you, including parents, it is mandatory that they register their attendance. This is a requirement for the College’s Covid safe plan and will support us to ensure the safety of you and our students.

Staff are encouraged to download the Sine Pro app as this same system will now be used to visit another campus or leave your main campus. You are welcome to go the Reception desk at each campus and use the Ipad dock. Delmae, Carolyn, Marteen, Kate and Tricia are able to support you with any questions.

You can download the app here: Google Play Store     Apple App Store 

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Microsoft continues to introduce enhancements and new features to MS Teams and here is a complete overview of what is coming. A summary is below:

Together mode is a new meeting experience in Teams that uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like you’re sitting in the same room with everyone else in the meeting or class.

Large gallery view, where you can see video of up to 49 people in a meeting simultaneously, and virtual breakout rooms, which allow meeting organizers to split meeting participants into smaller groups for things like brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions.

Reflect messaging extension - The new Reflect messaging extension gives managers, leaders and teachers an easy way to check in with how their team or students are feeling — either in general, or about a specific topic like work-life balance, the status of a project, current events, or a change within the organization.

Chat bubbles - Currently, Teams users need to manually open a chat window to view the chat screen. Soon, however, chats sent during a Teams meeting will surface on the screens of all meeting participants, making the chat more central to the conversation. 

Speaker attribution for live captions and transcripts - While Teams already provides live captions as a way to follow along with what is being said in a meeting, soon we will add speaker attribution to captions so that everyone knows who is speaking.

Live transcripts - after a meeting, the transcript file is automatically saved in a tab as a part of the meeting.

Tasks app – The Tasks app in Teams, rolling out this month, provides a new unified view of tasks from across Microsoft To Do, Planner, and Outlook. Add Tasks as a tab in a channel and get your familiar Planner tab experience with the new list view.

Committee Updates

The Chair of the College’s BeYou Committee, Sonia Siebenhausen, Student Counsellor, will join with committee members to further introduce BeYou and specifically, the results of the survey completed in Term 1 in the coming weeks during Staff Forums.

Be You, and Beyond Blue Board Director Johanna Griggs, has recently extended a thank you to all educators across Australia for your commitment to mental health and wellbeing, especially during such a busy and stressful time.

Who was I?

Which colleague is related to Author Terry Hayes (Screenwriter for Mad Max 2/ Thunderdome); has served meals to Pauline Hanson and Shane Jacobsen (Kenny); met Ben Harper (musician) and Alastair McLeod (Chef); enjoys seeing live bands, including Violent Soho, Ben Harper and Blind Boys of Alabama, Flight Facilities, Peking Duck and Matt Corby; went to school with another member of staff; and had aspirations as a teenager to become a Forensic Pathologist or Coroner? 

Holly Kiehne, SSC Teacher

Who am I? 

Built…a mini home from a shipping container and lived in it for two years

Been awarded…full academic scholarship to university in the USA

Had dinner with…Broncos coach Wayne Bennett

Aspire to be…a chartered accountant

Last read…The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Most recent foreign city experience…watching a Golden State Warriors game in San Francisco

Library Update

Term 3 is shaping up to be very exciting in our three libraries! 


MS read-a -thon: Starts on August 1. Parents are responsible for signing students up to participate via the website. Keep an eye out for details via email/notices or see library staff for details.  

House reading challenge: By now you should have all received an invitation and some information about the House Reading Challenge. The points link is live and ready to go- it can be found at Gdrive > intercampus commons > library > House reading challenge points. It is a MS form that you can just check and submit.

If have any questions please let Glenda or I know. (Go Kessler!)

Reading for leisure: 

‘We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: Anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy” Neil Gaiman 

This term I am focusing on developing students’ interest and enthusiasm for reading for leisure, in particular helping them to identify what they enjoy reading and developing the confidence to find and select material that interests them. At SSC, we have been discussing what is on their ‘reading plate’ or what ‘tastes’ they prefer in their reading. Maybe they prefer non-fiction, biographies or procedural texts? Of course, our aim is for students to be reading meaningful and rich texts that support their learning, but sometimes they need a step up and focusing on their interests can be a positive introduction to reading for pleasure.

In my conversations with students before their borrowing time, I have been discussing the idea that having some USSR time is time for them and they shouldn’t waste it be grabbing the first thing off the shelf because they ‘have to’. We have been talking about how to find out what a books is about (reading the back or dust jacket), talking to friends about what they are reading ; essentially being more mindful about what they are choosing.

Checkout these articles:

https://medium.com/everylibrary/a-librarians-guide-to-choosing-the-right-book-for-you-e918f3209920

https://natlib.govt.nz/blog/posts/how-do-you-choose-a-book-to-read

And for a bit of fun:

 

Library space SSC: I have made some changes to the spaces in the SSC library. Chairs have also put at the end of the non-fiction stacks to allow students to use the PowerPoints on walls. Please don’t allow them to take bean bags near the metal shelving as they rip.

Due to ventilation concerns, we have made the decision to close the two back rooms to independent learners for the rest of the year.

Design Challenge: Have a flair for interior design? We have a very boring and uninviting library entrance at SSC and I am after some inspiration! Any suggestions or donations welcome! 

Heidi Edwards, Teacher Librarian 

Employee Benefits

All full-time and part-time staff can now access salary packaging services via Paywise as well as Remserv.

Concordia staff can salary package day-to-day Living Expenses (e.g. Mortgage, Rent, Credit Card account, etc. >$70,000 income – can save between $42 to $190 per month). 

Following are the current car salary packaging specials: Car specials

There are many misunderstandings about car salary packaging, Paywise reviews common myths in this article: Car myth busters

Superannuation salary packaging can be a great way to boost retirement savings so Paywise can discuss broadly how this works.

You are encouraged to contact Glen Thurbon, Paywise Manager QLD directly, on 0456097481, glen.thurbon@paywise.com.au  or web-enquiry. Glen will be visiting each campus in August. Further details will be provided shortly. 

Staff in the News

Gabe Robbie, HOD of HASS is the star new AFL recruit for the South Toowoomba Bombers, receiving well deserved accolades in both the Toowoomba Chronicle and Win Facebook page for his 9 goal contribution in the season opener. 

It was announced yesterday that 33 AFL matches will be played across 20 consecutive days commencing July 29. Equivalent to a Netflix binge for AFL lovers!

Education in the News

Teaching Students How to Solicit Feedback, Corwin Connect

Let’s continue our journey to developing assessment-capable, visible learners. At this point, students know what they are supposed to be learning, what success looks like, how they can monitor their progress, how to take on the challenge of learning, and how to select tools for their learning. The next step is to guide students as they learn how to solicit feedback. 


Health and wellness

As the Covid situation in Victoria escalates, finding and maintaining your own sense of personal control is important.

COVID-19 has understandably created heightened levels of anxiety, stress and fear in our community, which can impact on mental health.

Access EAP has this information sheet for you, and there are many  great places to seek help and to access reliable and up-to-date information.

Beyond Blue has set up a Coronavirus Mental Health Support Service that provides information, advice and strategies to support your mental health and wellbeing at this time: Coronavirus Mental Health Support Service

Be you has put together a package of resources for schools: Coronavirus: Supporting schools

Access EAP:  Free counselling and other mental health and wellbeing support. Call 1800 818 728 

‘Whatever’ Days

There are only 9 days left in this month to contribute to Plastic Free July – a global movement, that started in Australia, helping millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities.



Welcome to a new term of Heads Up. All content is welcome including shameless plugs and recommendations by emailing  newsletter@concordia.qld.edu.au