We all acknowledge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world. While we are fortunate to live in a country that enjoys an outstanding health system, there is no denying that the impact on our community has been significant.
Many people have lost their employment and our society is widely impacted by the government restrictions. It is very strange to have a College without students and staff. To implement social distancing as a key priority is very different to the usual priorities of normal school life.
I can see a positive future with the recent optimistic messages coming from our Prime Minister, Premier and Chief Medical Officers.
Beaconhills College is a community school and our Christian values of integrity, compassion and respect have featured strongly during this time. Our goal is to support all those in need and build on the strong community values that have underpinned our local and international service programs for many years.
Now our community is suffering and this is where we are centring our efforts.
We know it is a very unusual time and all schools are asking families to supervise their children in home learning programs. I wish to acknowledge those families who have sent in their messages of support and congratulations to staff for the quality of our programs. We are all in this together and our staff appreciate the efforts of families who need to be highly engaged in their children’s learning. We have a commitment to delivering learning programs of the highest quality and keeping strong connections with students and parents.
I am pleased to see many Catholic and independent schools, including Beaconhills, have special arrangements for families who have been affected by this pandemic. Like our College, most are focusing on supporting those families in need and ensuring students can continue to learn. Our Board is acutely aware of the need to ensure families are well supported and is currently analysing all aspects of our budget to reduce the financial impact on families.
Little Beacons Learning Centre
During the crisis, Beaconhills has continued to provide the Little Beacons programs at both campuses, for early learning and before and after school care for those who need this service.
Blended Learning programs
We have a large number of families requiring the school-based program, many who work in essential services. We have a range of staff supporting this part of our program while our classroom teachers focus on the online learning. It is a very difficult time for everyone and I am so impressed with the way all our staff have adapted and they are all wanting the best for their students.
The brains behind the Online Learning Program
Our Deputy Head, Stephen McGinley, has led the transformation to online learning. What would usually take months of planning, trials and communication with staff, students and families has been completed in a matter of days. Although many aspects of our online program need to evolve we have received very positive feedback from families
Beaconhills Food Services: another Beacon of Hope program
Beaconhills Food Services teams are using our canteens to prepare food parcels for those in need in the local community. We have co-ordinated this with the Salvation Army and have called on funds from our sponsors to enable this initiative to happen.
Beaconhills’ new Community Garden, now under development, will also help provide significantly more produce for our own use and to distribute to local charities.
All our Beacon of Hope programs have a strong message that underpins our service programs: ‘From those who can to those who are in need’.