Teaching and learning now – CEWA schools delivering education in uncertain times
03 April 2020
As news about the spread of COVID-19 developed throughout Term One, CEWA schools and office staff were working to ensure that if and when the time came, teaching and learning would be able to be delivered remotely.
Much of the technology to support remote education delivery had already been adopted by Catholic schools across WA in recent years, as technology in the education sector as a whole advanced, through the hard work and insight of many school leadership teams and tech-minded educators, and through CEWA’s system-wide digital transformation project, leading lights.
By the time government requested that all parents keep their children home if possible from Monday, 30 March, Catholic schools across the State were ready for teaching and learning to take place remotely.
“Catholic schools across WA are enacting their remote education delivery plans, which have been developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CEWA Exeuctive Director, Dr Debra Sayce.
“While the current situation is changing the way our schools partner with parents in the delivery of a Catholic education, school staff are adapting to the current context to provide rich and engaging learning activities and strong pastoral support with the technology now available,”
A number of CEWA schools, particularly secondary colleges, had already undertaken successful trial runs with remote delivery for older students ahead of the government advice, so it was a matter of informing staff, students and parents that what they had tested would be the new norm.
Mater Dei College Principal, Annette Morey, said that the timing had worked well for their College; with the announcement coming after two days of testing on Thursday and Friday, they simply carried on from Monday, with most students, as well as most teachers, working from home.
System-wide access to and support for Microsoft Teams and Stream has meant that CEWA schools and colleges across the State have access to the same tools for connecting students and teachers online, while other schools, like St Anthony’s School in Wanneroo, have made support and resources available online for parents of younger students at home.
Some schools have also provided take home learning packages for younger students and those working without internet access.
To assist teachers in making the adjustment to working remotely, whether from home or from an empty classroom, support staff in the CEWA Teaching and Learning Directorate have created a Sharepoint site to share resources and connect educators across the system.
Along with teaching and learning support, the e-Pastoral Care and e-Wellbeing Team has been created, making available a range of tools and resources that have been developed to help school staff support student wellbeing online.
These resources include a new app called Reflect that allows teachers to make visible to them how students are feeling, and the Visible Wellbeing e-Program, providing wellbeing practices that can be adopted during online learning.
While the majority of students are now home from school, CEWA has committed to keeping schools open to provide care and continuation of learning for students whose parents are working in essential services, as well as any students who may be living in particularly vulnerable situations.
“Our school staff will continue to work on delivering education to students now and preparing to reengage them in classrooms when the risk to our communities of COVID-19 has passed,” Dr Sayce said.