Dear Parents and Caregivers
Avondale College will be closed for school-based instruction until at least September 1 August.
While the College is closed, our staff will be working to continue with an adapted teaching and learning programme remotely. Here are some things that you can do to help us with this.
Communication with the College
Our teachers will be communicating with your child during this period using email and a learning management system such as Microsoft Teams. They will communicate clearly with your child what they expect them to complete next week and beyond.
It is important for you and your child to remember that teachers will be communicating with more than 100 other families, as well as caring for their own family at home. Any personal communications should be meaningful and short. You may also need to remind your child to be patient when waiting for support or feedback. If you have any concerns about your child’s learning please contact the teacher or the Director of the department. You will find a full list of our teachers and their email addresses on our website, on the ‘Our Team’ page.
If your concern is more general you are welcome to contact your child’s year level Dean or the relevant Deputy Principal. Their email addresses are also on our website, on the Our Team page.
Structure and routine
Our staff are ready to communicate regularly with your child and will be setting work for them to complete. Our expectation is that students will spend most of their school day engaged in their learning; however, we understand that families may be busy at times getting tested over the coming week so this might not be realistic for all students every day. You might like to set a timetable which roughly follows that of our school day – approximately fifty minutes of study followed by a short break where your child gets up and moves around.
Try to create a quiet and comfortable learning space. Your child may have a regular place for doing homework under normal circumstances, but this space may not be suitable for working in for an extended period of time. A space/location for extended learning should be a public/family space, not in a bedroom. It should be a place that can be quiet at times and have a strong wireless internet signal, if possible. Above all, it should be a space where you or another adult is present and monitoring your children's learning.
If your child shares an electronic device with another child or adult, consider setting up a timetable for that device so that all get a fair share of access to the advice, resources and content they need.
Communication with your child
We encourage you to start and finish each day with a simple check-in. These check-ins need to be a regular part of each day and start straight away. Not all students thrive in a remote learning environment; some struggle with too much independence or lack of structure and the check-ins help keep them on track.
In the morning, ask:
· what are you learning today?
· what are your learning targets or goals?
· how will you be spending your time?
· what resources do you require?
· what support do you need?
In the afternoon, ask:
· what did you learn today?
· acknowledge one thing that was difficult. Devise a strategy together to deal with the same problem if it comes up again
· consider three things that went well today. Why were they good?
· are you ok? Do you need to ask your teacher for something? Do you need help with something to make tomorrow more successful?
These specific questions matter because they allow your child to process the instructions they have received from their teachers and help them organise themselves and set priorities. Older students may not want to have these check-ins with parents or caregivers (this is normal!), but they should anyway.
Learning from home for an extended period of time will be a new experience for some of our students. To help them maintain a healthy outlook please consider the following:
· Encourage regular exercise in the home or backyard.
· Encourage your children to keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email or social media (where appropriate). Please try to monitor unproductive social media time.
· Encourage your child to follow current events beyond COVID-19.
· Encourage them to read books/novels that might not be prescribed by their teachers but might be a challenge for them.
· Encourage them to plan for healthy eating and to prepare meals for you and your family.
If you have any queries or concerns regarding student wellbeing, please contact your child’s Dean or a member of the Guidance team. These contacts are also on our website, on the Our Team page.
Finally, it is important that during this period of remote learning that we maintain safe and responsible use of information and communication technologies. This includes appropriate use of digital platforms, privacy and information protection, respectful communication and how to deal with online issues. Please remind your child that they have signed the College’s Data Use Agreement and that its conditions still apply.
If you need any further information or advice on keeping your child safe online, or if you or your child need to report inappropriate use of any digital platform or social media, please visit www.netsafe.org.nz.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Avondale College. We wish you and your family all the very best, at this challenging time, and very much hope that we will be welcoming students back to school in the near future.
Lyndy Watkinson PRINCIPAL