First wave of back-to-schoolers

First wave of back-to-schoolers

There was plenty of excitement in the air as younger students in grades prep, one and two and older ones studying VCE and VCAL headed back to face-to-face at school learning last Tuesday.

“This year has been challenging for our school and community in so many different ways and I’ve been incredibly proud of the way that our school community has continually risen to accept these challenges,” Orbost Secondary College principal, Peter Seal, said last Wednesday.

“Through our weekly phone calls home and regular follow up contact, we know there have been some individuals who have struggled with the challenges presented by remote and flexible learning and we have in place strategies to support these students and families. However, as a whole, our school has done incredibly well.

“We have learnt new technologies, found ways to solve problems together, continued to strive for improvement, challenged each other with respect and created opportunities for every person to be their best.

“It is for these reasons, that when we welcomed back our year 10-12 students on Tuesday, they were prepared for and accepting of the changes that we had put in place and immediately got back into the swing of face-to-face learning. We were proud of our students before yesterday for all that they had done this year to overcome the challenges of the fires and then remote learning, and this pride increased further this week.

“Well done to all of our year 10-12 students and thanks to all of our teachers for their continued efforts.”

Cann River P-12 principal, Bruce Spink, was pleased to see the excitement on the faces of the returning student cohort where it was more than just a return to school for the younger students.

“The students were very pleased to be back at Cann River P-12 College, with preps, grades one and two moving into the brand new classroom with a new playground,” Mr Spink said.

He said it was a very effective teaching day and moving into the new building, which was handed over on May 17, was a great effort. He thanked everyone for their assistance during the difficult time.

St Joseph’s Primary School principal, Marie Dodson, said early years students were delighted to reconnect with their friends and teachers.

“There were smiles all round as they greeted each other and discovered what others had been doing for so many weeks,” she said.

“Several children were heard to comment, ‘It’s so good to see all my friends’ while some even explained, ‘It’s easier to do my work when the teacher is here to help me’.

“Staff were so thrilled to have real children back that at recess times there were often as many adults involved in outside games as there were children!”

At Orbost North Primary School, principal, Jo Dacy-Broome, said “it was wonderful to see how happy they were and how keen they were to engage in work again”.

Also pleased to see students back was Newmerella Primary School principal, Stephen Mathers.

“Wow, it’s so much better having two of our classes as well as a steady increase with others back at school,” he said.

“Seeing the kids return after 10 weeks away and so pleased to be at school and see each other has really been a pleasure to see. To see the students settle so quickly back into their learning routine has been most impressive. As part of their adjustment and transition back to learning at school, students are engaging in a blend of online learning through Seesaw as well as collaborative classroom learning activities.”

“A huge thanks and well done to parents, students and our staff for their efforts, adaptability, understanding and support in such changed and challenging times. There have been some real positives that have come from this experience and its challenges.”

Mr Mathers said the school community is looking forward to celebrating the return of students in grades three to six on June 9.

IMAGE: Straight off the bus - Tom Hubble (centre back) greeted Nicole Rutjens, Frankie Trimble, Jay Jay Rutjens, Tash Rutjens and Lani Amputch as they returned to face-to-face learning at Cann River P-12 last Tuesday as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease across the state. Students were eager to be back in the classroom with their friends, teachers were pleased to be able to teach as they love to – in the classroom – and parents were no doubt happy to hand the teaching role back to them. (PS)