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VP Newsletter 17 July 2020

VP Newsletter 17 July 2020 published on No Comments on VP Newsletter 17 July 2020

Message from the office
You may be aware that many teacher unions are calling for the closing of schools until the Corona V-19 virus curve has flattened. Their reasons for this call include the concern for the mental health of teachers, the number of teachers and learners who have been affected, and the call by the World Health Organisation to have no school open during the peak of the pandemic and only open until we experience a downward turn of the curve and fewer cases of infections are reported. The unions were meant to meet with the minister of education on Wednesday this week to discuss these concerns but this meeting has been postponed. It has been indicated that the education minister is in the process of consulting regarding this issue and we await the outcome.

We as a school have done everything humanly possible to implement all the safety measures required and it has taken many hours of thought and preparation to make this work. I believe that most other schools have done this too. Our teachers are teaching in the classroom, adapting their teaching methods and planning to make sure that teaching and learning can continue under the new normal. On top of that we are also submitting work (online and workpacks) to those who are still at home, whether it is because the grade has not yet returned or because the children are in quarantine or isolation or because their exemption has been approved. Our staff has been incredibly resilient and open to the many new changes that we have implemented, and they have been willing to step in when we have needed to support or fill in for each other.

We have been very fortunate that, up till now, we have not had any case that has directly impacted the running of our school and we want you to know that we are committed to educating and protecting your daughters. Whatever the outcome of the minister’s decision, we will follow the advice and instructions that we are given and we will continue to strive to work and serve your girls under these challenging times.

Exemplary VP Girl Badge
During the course of the first term we planned to introduce what we named the Indlulamthi Badge of Excellence. Unfortunately we were unable to do so due to the unexpected closure of schools and, on our return we did not expect to be implementing it this year. But our girls are still managing to shine their light even with our shortened days and limited contact. Below is the criteria for this badge and at Monday’s assembly we will present our first badge to the very first recipient:

Duration of keeping the badge: till end of the current year
Grade 1-7
How to nominate: One teacher nominates and then gets approved and discussed at a staff meeting by other staff members.
• Displays qualities of values promoted by VP ie responsibility, respect, resilience, trustworthiness, Compassion and empathy and citizenship
• Displays commitment to school work. (Works to the best of their ability)
• Committed to the extramural programme and displays commitment and perseverance in this area. (under the circumstances prior commitment will be noted)
• Dresses immaculately for all occasions.
How presented:
• At assemblies where girls will be given the special badge. Names will be put into the school newsletter that week.

We have been presenting assemblies via Zoom to the classes. We now repeat the same message every alternate week to accommodate our different groups. Our Grade 7s only have assembly every second week.

Mandela Day
On Thursday and Friday this week our girls had fun on the field and performed the ‘Mandela Jive’. It was so good to be in the sun and have some fun. We will be sharing our messages of thanks to the frontline workers and the video of our jive on our website in due course.

A reminder that we are also collecting donations for the SPCA during this cold winter time. Please send the donations with your daughter to school.

Spray bottles
If you have any empty spray bottles such as the Windolene bottles, please will you consider donating them to the school? They can be dropped off at the school office.

Message for the Intersen Phase
It is hard to believe that we have come to the end of a two-week cycle with the Grade 6 girls joining the Grade 7s. The colours of blue and green have indeed taken on a different meaning. Our Grade 6 (and R) girls were the first group to be introduced to this new way of teaching. The girls are indeed fortunate to be in smaller classes and that contributes to some interesting dynamics in the classes. The Grade 4 and 5 teachers are already preparing for the phasing in of their respective Grades. On the 27 th of July, we will be welcoming our Grade 4s, and the parents will be receiving letters containing valuable information. Please familiarise yourself with the content as this will make the transition from remote learning to school-based learning less stressful.

We have our once a week phase meetings on Tuesdays to monitor various aspects relating to the previous week’s activities in and outside the classroom. We have been looking at documents pertaining to the curriculum and assessment. We received directives on assessment and it is clear that we will engage in more formal assessments in Term 3 and 4. Reports will also only be issued in Term 3 and 4. School-based assessment will play an important role and count 80% towards the final mark at the end of the year. Exams will be replaced by tests. These tests will make up 20% of the final mark. Teachers will also select work from work done in lockdown and during this term and add these to the SBA mark.
It seems that the girls are enjoying their break times on Fergusson Field. Groups are formed on the field with the necessary social distancing adhered to. We have been blessed with some sunny days and the time outside allows the girls to soak up some Vitamin D. The teachers have also resorted to the field for their Phys Ed lessons. Our LSPA lessons are well received and Ms. Knott Craig (dance), Mrs. Jones ( music), and Ms. Featherstone (drama) are presenting the girls with some worthwhile experiences. Mrs. Coetzee is currently assisting in Grade 7 and Ms. Featherstone is adding great value to Grade 6 and 7 Afrikaans. Mr. Greyling has resorted to presenting some of his lessons via Zoom.

Next week we will enter our two-week cycle starting with Day 1. Our blue group will attend school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and our green group on Tuesday and Thursday. Girls are now allowed to take textbooks and workbooks home (no sharing). Please expect more homework activities as from next week- especially on their days when the girls are not at school. Parents are to please monitor these activities at home and to ensure that the girls record their homework. Have a lovely weekend with your families.
Mr Anthony Greyling- HOD Intersen Phase

FP Phase
On Monday (or Tuesday) we are looking forward to receiving our Grade 3s back. We welcome Ms Davies who has been appointed to take over from Ms Bruns. She has already made valuable contributions during the lockdown and her enthusiasm is evident. We have no doubt that her girls will quickly adapt and settle with their new teacher. Grade 3 hostel girls can arrive on Sunday between 14:00 and 17:00. Please contact Ms Miskin if you need to make alternative arrangements.

Drop and pick up times
It is essential during this pandemic, that your daughter arrives for school and is fetched on time. She needs to arrive at her screening point between 07h15 and 07h45 so that she arrives when the screening stations are open, and we request that your daughter is fetched promptly at the time she is released from school, the last group is released at 13h00. Please ensure that you communicate this with any transport that you organise for your daughter. We request that you also make sure that your daughters cross at the pedestrian crossing. We want our girls to stay safe!

A reminder to please send all library books back with you daughter when she returns to school.

Happy birthday to the girls who celebrated this week! Ammaraah Begg, Zinako Pikoli, Kayla O’Linsky, Lieschen Butterworth, Malihle Tima, Mika Davies, Limnandi Dyibishe and Akhe Songongo.

Warm regards
Mrs Michelle Rafferty

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