Dear Fortians, Parents and Carers,
Home learning is over!
On Monday May 25, staff waited eagerly for all students to return to full time face-to-face teaching and learning, we were excited to have just over 96% of all Fortians on site for day one. It was wonderful to see how much our students enjoyed being back on campus with their teachers and peers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in our community for the wonderful way we have worked together during the COVID-19 isolation period.
Thank you to our parents and caregivers for demonstrating astonishing patience and understanding during the home learning period. We are so lucky to have a great partnership between parents and teachers at our school. Thank you to the staff at Fort Street. I am so proud of the outstanding effort, amazing flexibility and creativity our staff demonstrated over this period. The workload teachers have endured over the home learning period has been enormous, yet they embraced the challenge and overcame many obstacles to provide continuity of learning for our students.
Most importantly, an enormous thank you to our students! They have shown that children can be more resilient than we realise. Most students adapted very quickly to the changes to their learning environment.
At this time I would like to highlight the outstanding efforts of our Instrumental Music Program Coordinator, Matt Manchester. Throughout the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, Matt has ensured continuity of the program, as it has undergone a rapid digital transformation. He has worked with conductors, staff and the parent committee to curate a program featuring online learning for all ensembles, a ‘Smart Music’ online practice tool, a student mentoring program, and many other activities to increase learning outcomes for students. Matt also holds weekly “open door” meetings for students and parents to ensure the continued engagement of the IMP’s 340-plus musicians.
As a leading music educator, Matt has been invited to share his ideas and newfound technologies outside of the school, notably with a forum of band and orchestral conductors, who represent both public and private education sectors from around NSW. Matt and his team now face fresh challenges as students return to school.
I would like to thank Matt for his incredible leadership and adaptability during such a difficult time for the arts, in addition to going above and beyond his duty – all in the interests of the students. Matt’s leadership has assisted our extraordinary IMP students to continue with their musical development, whilst remaining connected with each other and their ensemble leaders, in what is a great achievement for the IMP community. Whilst the challenges are far from over and we await further advice regarding when face to face ensembles can resume, I am confident that the IMP program is now more resilient than ever and will continue to be a leading force of life at the Fort.
As we enter this new phase of schooling we need to learn to live with COVID-19. The school is serious about the health and safety of all members of our school community and will follow the Department of Education and NSW Health recommendations, whilst being mindful to ensure school is seen as a safe and happy place and not cause undue stress and anxiety for our students.
All students should attend school every day from Monday 25 May 2020 unless they are unwell. If you have a concern about sending your child to school please contact the school.
All students need to be at school on time each day. Sick students must not attend school. Please notify the school of any absences.
Reporting and Assessment:
Year 12 reports have been published to the Sentral Portal and all other year groups will receive a Semester 1 report either at the end of this term or early in Term 3. This Semester 1 report will look slightly different to previous reports. Some amendments have been made to assessment schedules. Year 12 schedules have been published and all other year groups are being published this week.
Whilst regular classes have resumed, the organisation for some school activities has changed:
- Assemblies and year meetings are cancelled until further notice
- Scripture has been cancelled until further notice and has been replaced with a 30 minute wellbeing session
- Extra-curricular activities will hopefully commence later this term, at this stage no external providers are allowed on site
- Sport will continue under the latest guidelines from NSW Health and the Department of Education. Tuesday sport has been integrated throughout the day separating Years 8, 9 and 10 so that we can maximise space and equipment on site for the remainder of Term 2
- All areas of the playground are open
- The library will be open for use and for borrowing
The school now receives additional cleaning, all classrooms and learning spaces have hand sanitiser and disinfectant available. Students will be encouraged to clean down their desks at the end of each class. Students are encouraged to use their own water bottle and avoid using the school bubblers.
The School Canteen
The canteen is open five days a week and we would encourage as many students as possible to order online. Online orders can be placed via https://www.quickcliq.com.au/
Maintenance and Project work
While students and staff continued to engage in teaching and learning more intensely than ever, the school has been a hive of activity getting on with as many works as possible whilst few people have been on site. Below is a list of some of the maintenance and project works that have been taking place during the students’ physical absence from school:
- All-weather outdoor volleyball court behind the oval has been completed
- Lighting upgrade in the hall has been completed
- Cricket nets upgrade has commenced and is in almost completed – the retaining wall has been repaired and recapped and the concrete slab has been laid and will be ready within a week for the synthetic grass to be installed
- Separate unisex change rooms have been added to the already refurbished gym change rooms
- The loose outdoor pavers in the fountain quad have been replaced and the soft fall around the tree roots in this area has also been repaired
- Extensive tree maintenance has been undertaken around the entire school site with a particular focus on building clearance and dead wood removal
- The tiered flooring has been removed from W25 in preparation for the new multi-purpose flexible learning space
- New bitumen has been laid in many areas around the school including outside the IMP cottage, in the upper Kilgour Quad and outside the Wilkins and Kilgour Buildings facing Parramatta Rd.
- The old learning centre has been cleared, painted and recarpeted and Iain Wallace our school archivist has begun the transformation of this space into the new Fort Street Museum.
School improvements continue to be a priority and as always the staff will work closely with the student and parent body to target the areas you see as a priority at Fort Street. Please contact the school P&C or student representative council (SRC) if you would like to see a particular initiative worked on in the school.