A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRINCPAL
This week our staff reflected on this prayer and I thought it pertinent to share with you.
The Other Side of the Virus,
An Opportunity to Awaken…
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
so that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic-
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
– Written by Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM, March 13th 2020
Thank you for your continued patience and responses to remote learning at Bethany. It would be fair to say that we have all been in a whirlwind of change and that the holiday period ahead is looking very different to what we would usually have expected. During these times there may be many questions that you have about your daughter’s education and wellbeing and this final communication of the term, is an attempt to reassure all members of the Bethany Community, that the College is open for remote learning and that education remains the focus as we adjust to new methods of delivery.
Although information may change at any time, at this stage we are planning for remote learning to continue into Term 2 and until further notice. Supervision remains on offer for students but there will be no direct instruction on site. This week we have spent our time planning for Term 2 and have listened to your feedback as well as that of the students and taken into account the workload of staff. Next term we will be looking at a planned approach where teachers will deliver work to students where they will know in advance what is being covered. Students will know when they will need to engage live with their teachers and when they need to continue with work at their own pace and off screen. It is hoped that such a delivery will lessen the demands on family time, ease angst for students and reduce screen time for staff and students. It is vital that students complete set work by the due dates which teachers will be quite explicit about. The College will be following up with parents if students have not engaged in lessons. During each timetabled lesson, teachers will always be available to answer student questions and provide feedback. Next term we will host homeroom twice per week to allow students to engage with each other at times and to listen to key wellbeing messages and as much as possible feel that sense of Bethany Community. As a way of checking in, various staff members will make contact with every student across a cycle to hear how they are progressing with remote learning.
The wellbeing of every person comes to the fore more during these uncertain times. Staff are not able to pick up on the usual cues of students such as body language or being able to speak with them aside from others. If you have any concerns about your daughter whilst they are learning remotely, please do not hesitate to contact the College. Our Year Coordinators, School Counsellor, Leader of Wellbeing and each teacher are here to support every girl.
The issue of assessment and reporting may be of concern to some students. Today, all parents and students will receive revised assessment grids with changes highlighted. These assessment grids are only as current as circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and as such are subject to change. Staff have had to think quite creatively about the best ways to assess students which is relevant and reliable. I ask that you engage in these documents with your daughter. NESA has stipulated that schools are able to change assessment policies according to the current climate and this is reflected in the revised assessment policies. Students will still be given the usual 2 week notification as a minimum for assessments. Most assessment dates have remained the same however any changes are reflected in the documents that will be sent to you today by Mr Conroy our Leader of Learning.
Reports will be published through Compass for Stage 6 students in Week 3 and for Stage 4 and 5 students at the end of Term 2. Reports are based on all student work not just assessment tasks. Students will need to be able to display their best effort in the remote learning environment just as they would if they were taught face to face by teachers.
NESA have published that the HSC is still going ahead in 2020. Education Ministers across our country have also made a decision that ATAR’s will still be released and that universities would have measures to take into account remote learning in their admission process. It is important that our HSC students do not get too caught up in what might happen and just be guided by actual decisions when they come through. At the moment the following modifications have been made to HSC Courses.
- Principal’s have been delegated the responsibility to change the type, number and weighting of assessment tasks in Years 11 and 12. Tasks which were completed prior to remote learning cannot have an altered weighting and those results stand. At Bethany, this is reflected in our revised assessment policy and grids.
- VET Courses – the usual compulsory work placement component has been removed. Students can still complete work placement but it is no longer mandatory. Currently many businesses are not able to take students.
- Dance – Core Composition has been changed and students must now dance their own choreographed piece of work. Using another person to dance this is no longer allowed. HSC Dance also has a change to Major Study but the component related to this does not affect our students. Bethany staff have communicated this to the Dance class and younger students who were rehearsing.
- Drama – The Group Performance has been removed completely as a mandatory requirement. This will now mean that the Individual Project and Written Paper will be of equal weighting. The Bethany Drama staff have developed a revised plan for Term 2 which reflects this major change.
- Languages – no changes.
NESA has a meeting today where discussion will take place about all HSC subjects which involve a project. At Bethany, this involves Visual Arts, Society and Culture, Design and Technology, Textiles and Design and English Extension 2. This will be communicated to you as soon as further details are released. There is no word on if changes will be made to the HSC written exams. At this stage the best advice that we can give to Year 12 is to follow your teacher’s advice and keep studying the syllabus.
Our ICT Technician is on site each days if students are facing any technical issues. Please report technical issues to the College if you experience them so that we are aware of possible delays in your daughter’s work. We are unable to assist if the issue is with your internet service provider.
As we end this term, I sincerely thank all of the Bethay Community, the parents for your continued support and feedback, the students for having the best intentions and giving of themselves to the best of their ability and to the support and teaching staff who have had to quickly adapt to the remote learning environment where hours more preparation is needed and feedback takes more time as it is written and not verbal each day. I thank each family for adjusting and am ever mindful of the education space coming more into the home arena. We will be attempting in Term 2 to have a smooth journey of remote learning and I pray that it will not be too long before the real Bethany Community can be together as one.
As we enter into our Holiest days of the liturgical season, we share with you resources which can help you to connect with our Church.
As we are currently not able to attend our usual liturgical celebrations this Easter and certainly for the short term, we are sharing with you a number of different resources that you might like to utilise to enable you and your families to stay in touch with what is happening in your parishes, but more importantly, to keep your faith nurtured and sustained during this time of uncertainty.
On the Archdiocese of Sydney website, you will find a list of parishes who are live streaming regular Sunday masses as well as all of the Easter celebrations. As a quick guide, within our area please refer to the following:
Archdiocesan Website with mass times:
St Declan’s, Penshurst
St Thomas More, Brighton Le Sands
Our Lady of Fatima, Peakhurst
As we know, attendance at masses is an obligation for Catholics, but at the moment, a dispensation has been granted for all Catholics worldwide. Should you like to read more information about this and how we can still fulfil our obligations, please access the Archdiocese of Washington website who have a very easy to read explanation of what the dispensation means and some practical things that we can do to undertake a “Spiritual Communion” while not actually attending mass.
You might also like to consider the use of apps. I currently use Sacred Space which is a free app and has daily prayers that are simple and easy to engage with. For students, the following might be useful:
Laudate – With this app, you are able to get the daily readings, daily bible verses, prayers, rosary, Saint of the Day, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Examination of Conscience and much more. This app is free, however, it requires internet to update the readings, saint of the day etc.
Confession – This app is a guide to help you prepare for confession, it is not a replacement for the sacrament of confession. It is passcode protected as you can log your examination of conscience prior to confession, it even helps remind you when you last went. The app has various prayers and a guide to help you with confession too.
Catholic Study Bible App:
Catholic Study Bible App (Ignatius Press Bible) – A FREE Catholic Bible app, great search features, highlighting, bookmarks and more.
The Pope App:
The Pope App – Connect with all the Vatican updates, live webcasts of the Pope’s messages, access to the Pope’s twitter feed, webcams live streaming all around the Vatican and more.
Pocket Catholic – Very similar to Laudate, this is used to have the various Catholic prayers on the go. To some, this may have slightly better aesthetics but generally used to find Catholic prayers quickly.
Universalis – A paid version of the Sunday and Daily Missals and also the daily prayers of the Divine Office. These books in total would cost hundreds of dollars, but you can purchase them all in an app – that doesn’t require data/wifi to operate. Great for using in a church with your phone on flight mode or overseas travel to follow Mass readings.
Word on Fire:
Word on Fire – With this app you can explore the richness of Catholicism with premium video series from Bishop Robert Barron.
Should you wish to pray the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, this linked document is a simple and easy to follow version.
During this Easter season, we pray that the hope and joy of the risen Lord will be shared by all.
Have a Happy and Holy Easter, may we never lose sight of the Easter message which is one of hope. I hope that you remain calm, safe and have a sense of gratitude of what wonderful opportunities have been presented to us amidst adversity.