Welcome to week 11 of Term 2, certainly the most unusual period of time I have ever spent in education.
I wanted to focus this bulletin on thanking and congratulating everyone in our community for the way you all took responsibility to look for the opportunities during an incredibly challenging time. Imagine being given four days’ notice that the entire school was closing down and everything we did was to be done from home. Given the seamless manner in which we have all returned to onsite delivery, it is easy to forget and move on from what was an amazing achievement.
Our students embraced online learning, then returned to onsite learning in a mature and focussed manner. They took it in their stride and rose to the occasion. I know there were many challenges along the way. There were students whose devices were not in good enough condition, whose internet was patchy or non-existent, there were students who had left equipment in their lockers and there were those who needed the connections day to day that only onsite school could deliver. There was a feeling of loss for camps, excursions, sport and events. The Musical Production crew now had to stop what was fast becoming an awesome show, and find a new way to rehearse and perform. Year 12 students may well have been questioning if the last day of Term 1 classes going to be their last school day ever. Year 12 students now had to contend with the stress of an uncertain assessment schedule.
Our parents now were faced with many challenges that our teachers deal with every day. Learning moved into the homes like never before, and supporting adolescents navigate their curriculum in the absence of a face to face teacher and the array of support staff FHC provide for our students was never going to be easy. I sincerely thank our parent community for their patience and their support. It meant a lot to us.
Our magnificent staff found the opportunities in the chaos. They quickly discovered skills they may not have realised they had. They found a way to teach from their homes. They found a way to collaborate with each other so we could proudly say we had a guaranteed curriculum that all students could access. Our staff found a way to run a library offsite where students could still borrow books, to run meetings to plan and collaborate, to provide interpreting support from their homes and to keep Student Parliament engaged.
What became abundantly clear was this community was not going to let Covid-19 beat it. The Forest Hill College community turns 30 years old this year, and in Term 3 we will return and spend some time honouring that milestone. However, today as we round out Term 2, it is only right and proper that our full attention should be directed to saying well done and thank you to everyone who made this difficult situation one that our community could thrive in. Take care, stay strong and stay safe!