Principals message - 2021 Term 3 Week 8

Thursday, 02 Sep 2021
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
— Romans 12:12

Another two weeks of remote learning is under our belt and like any shift in our practices there are always difficulties and struggles but there are also opportunities for growth when comfort zones are stretched.

The phrase “comfort zone” is now in the modern day vernacular but it was only coined in 1991. Management guru Judith Bardwick noted that “comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.” 

I noticed that in the first two to three days of remote learning in Week 6 everyone moved out of their Comfort Zone. Students, parents and staff, no matter how prepared they were moved into the Fear Zone. There was a little uncertainty from all. This fear might have been expressed as frustration, anger, and disappointment or even just heightened anxiety but after another day or two almost everyone moved into the Learning Zone. ‘Leaving The Comfort Zone’ Toolkit

The Learning Zone is where we all learnt new skills and dealt with our challenges. We, as a result of this experience, extended our Comfort Zone. All the teachers were conducting zooms with their classes and each other. They were making class videos and presentations and responding to their students in this new virtual environment. The students, likewise, thought it was novel for a day or two and then missed their friends. The students, however, adapted to the learning environment and have been mostly motivated to complete their assigned and other creative tasks in lockdown. 

As Principal, I have been so proud to watch our community adapt to this lockdown. We learnt a great deal from our 2020 lockdown experience and this time has been a little easier for most. We look forward to welcoming you all back in as soon as we can. At the present time, the lockdown has been extended to 10 September and I expect to hear more from the government later next week. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep the communication lines open and to follow the government advice regarding this lockdown. Please know that you can communicate with your teachers via email while they are at home in lockdown. 

We appreciate your understanding and your patience in working with us to promote the best learning environment we can while not on campus. 

Keeping connected 

As part of our strategy to maintain connections with our families we have established the following:

Sharing Online: We are encouraging parents and students to share their photographs and videos of remote learning with us. Send to  Check out our online learning fun videos from Week 6 and Week 7 here, including book week, and stay tuned to our Facebook page each Friday afternoon for a weekly wrap up.

The aim of this sharing is to feel connected to the community even though you can’t be on campus. The Fathers’ Day P&F Stall will be a click and collect, the Fathers’ Day Video Competition, and the virtual Book Week activities were all designed to reach out to families. 

Our IT Department rang all stage 1 families to ensure they were connected, as many of these families are experiencing remote learning for the first time. 

Resource packages: We have also developed some resource packages for collection at the Kiss and Ride every few days across different age groups. This is specifically designed to keep students engaged and connected and not “set and forget”. 

 Online interactives: The online interactives of tutor house, year level and chapel zooms are focussed on engagement of students and staff. Building wellbeing blocks into the timetable are also designed to allow students time to refocus and to have time off their screens. Senior teachers are also working with HSC students on their major works to ensure they have access to complete works in line with both NESA guidelines and NSW Health restrictions. Many HSC students have taken advantage of this and spent a two hour session with their teacher to complete all assessment tasks on campus.

Deliveries: The BDC Barracuda bus is also getting ready to complete a delivery early in Week 9. This will include some remote learning resources and some wellbeing goodies for our families. Sorry I can’t tell you more. It's a surprise!

HSC Changes Date

The Minister of Education, the Honourable Sarah Mitchell MLC, announced last Friday that HSC examinations for 2021 will be rescheduled to start from Tuesday 9 November (Term 4, Week 6). 

The revised timetable will be provided by NESA in early to mid-September. I will be encouraging all of our year 12 students to remain focussed. The timeline has shifted a little but the goal is the same. 

New and Departing Families Information

The college has almost completed the enrolment process for 2022 and to avoid waiting lists in select year groups I would appreciate it if you could advise the college if you are going to withdraw your child at any stage in Term 4 this year. 

I also encourage families who have younger children that have not yet enrolled to complete their application as soon as possible for 2023.

Parenting during Lockdown: with special guest Maggie Dent

How can we parents best support our children during lockdown? This time will influence the rest of their lives, and yet it is also a time that many parents feel quite lost. Discover how to really support the development of healthy emotional wellbeing in our children during lockdown.

Join BDC favourite, Dr Arne Rubinstein, with special guest Maggie Dent to discover how you can support your children to be motivated, happy and communicative during lockdown compared with angry, shut down and depressed.

Free Facebook Live Event Thursday 2 September 7 - 8PM EST

Nick Johnstone