12 October, 2020 Academic

Leading the way with online learning

In Term 1 2020, with the threat of COVID-19 looming, St Michael’s began preparing for the School’s potential transition to an online learning model.

As a result of feedback from students, parents and staff, St Michael’s introduced the SchoL-AR (SchoL-Assisted Remote) Learning Program for all K-12 students. The program focussed on engaged and relational learning and the utilisation of new features in the School intranet and online platforms.

The School delivered asynchronous and synchronous learning via the new online learning platform and lessons were curated in an online learning framework.

As a new family joining the School community this year, we have been nothing but impressed by the way in which the School, and particularly its leadership, have responded to the COVID-19 crisis.Angela Hill, St Michael's parent
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    The Boys A Cappella Choir made an inspired music video from home
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To ensure that meaningful learning continued for all students, it was a priority to ensure that the School’s rich programs in wellbeing and co-curricular activities were also fulfilled.

The timetable put a focus on student health and wellbeing. Optional health, fitness and spirituality programs were introduced, with sessions such as yoga, boxing, home workouts, jazz ballet, hip hop, prayer group, and gratitude sessions.

Time was also set aside each day for students and parents to schedule appointments with teachers, and the Navigator mentor role was introduced. Every student was allocated a Navigator, who became central in helping review the student’s progress and providing pastoral care.

St Michael’s parent, Megan Quinn, felt that her daughter Missy in Year 12 greatly benefited from the personalised nature of the Navigator program.

The introduction of the Navigator system was inspired.Megan Quinn (Year 12 parent)
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    Co-curricular music lessons continued online
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    Year 12 students created the podcast Iso Tapes during the online learning period

St Michael’s vast array of clubs and commons continued online, with a focus on connection and belonging. There were competitions, House and School assemblies, broadcasts of student performances, and messages of encouragement from School Leaders.

Another key initiative was the Engagement and Wellbeing dashboard. Reviewed by Psychologists and additional learning needs staff, the dashboard included visual representations of engagement for each subject, ‘R U OK?’ flags, academic and attendance data, communication records and any additional needs strategies.

Throughout the online learning periods, St Michael’s staff demonstrated dedication to their planning, professional development and pastoral care to ensure that student learning and wellbeing remained at the heart of their work.

The School's proactive response to the pandemic and adaption to online learning was outstanding. The dedication, care and compassion shown by staff has been very comforting.Gerry Mellas, St Michael's parent
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    Leila from Year 7 sewing reusable cotton face masks for family and friends
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    Prep student Primrose wearing a shirt she decorated for a Mother's Day art activity

In a staged process over May and June, students and staff returned to campus for a short period of onsite learning. Now in Term 4, after a second lockdown in Melbourne, we are once again supporting our families as all students enthusiastically return to learning at the School.

While the St Michael’s community is happy to be learning together once more, the online learning experience has solidified the School’s knowledge of learning as a partnership between teachers and families.

Thanks to feedback from parents, students and staff, the best of the innovations, new practices and creative ways to remain connected are being carefully incorporated into the ongoing St Michael’s learning program.

I am so proud to be a part of St Michael’s. This time has really shown the school’s strengths.Joiwind Lowe, Year 9 parent
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    The School's historic Virtual Choir project
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    Instrumental accompaniment to the Virtual Choir project