Launch of Distance Learning Plan 2.0: Our hybrid plan for the start of Term 2

Wed, April 29, 2020

This week—as Western Australia tentatively eases restrictions on gatherings and activities—we are excited to see some of our students returning to St Mark’s. We know, however, that keeping our community safe and well at this time means taking a cautious and measured approach to that return.

As part of our phased ‘soft opening’ in Term 2, for the first three weeks of term students will resume their distance learning, according to our refined model. Parents can choose whether to send their children to learn on campus or have them learn at home. Our Distance Learning 2.0 hybrid model will ensure that all our students continue to be taught by their classroom teacher and have equitable access to education.

Based on feedback from our Term 1 distance learning survey, the main adjustments in the revised ‘2.0’ distance learning plan are around communication, teaching and the timetable. In each sub-school, communication has been revised and streamlined; timetables have been adjusted to include extra break and wellbeing time; and there are increased live video opportunities for students to connect with their teacher and class. Please note the staggered drop-off and pick-up times in the Early Learning Centre, and the 2.45pm finish for Years 6-12 on Mondays and Fridays as part of these new arrangements.

We will continue to provide a combination of synchronous (live learning in which students learning with the teacher at the same time) and asynchronous (students learning independently at different times) learning, online and offline learning, and teacher-directed and self-directed learning. This variation and flexibility allows teachers to deliberately design learning to fit the learning purpose and to ensure that relationships are maintained, effective instruction continues, and feedback to students is provided. It has been amazing to see students build their autonomy as independent learners who use contemporary workplace technologies to collaborate and communicate with their teachers and peers.

Our teachers will be providing learning in one mode only, but we will be agile and responsive to our community, so this mode may change as and when class numbers increase towards a full complement. Last week’s survey told us that many of our Kindergarten and Pre Primary students, and Year 11 and 12 students, are intending to return this week, and so the mode of learning may transition to face-to-face learning for students in those years.

 Our ‘Distance Learning Hybrid 2.0 Plan’, along with other communications, is available on our website.

 By Dr Deborah Netolicky, Head of Teaching & Learning