Kia Ora Parents/Caregivers, students and members of our school community,
This year is one we will never forget; where we lived, who we spent time with, the way our lives changed, and how, as a community, New Zealand has risen to the challenge to hopefully eradicate and banish Covid-19.
I am so proud of the way our Long Bay College community has collaborated to ensure our learners are not disadvantaged during this time. It has been a remarkable feat. From our parents and caregivers, to our students, our teachers, guidance counsellors, teacher aides and magnificent support staff, our core values of Care, Respect, Creativity and Community have never been so broadly demonstrated.
We took the early decision to hold a professional learning and development day with our staff and closed the doors to our students. In hindsight, this was the best move we could have made. It enabled our ‘digital platform team’ to work around the clock to prepare our staff and infrastructure to enable learning to take place remotely, if required. Just 24 hours later on March 25 at midnight, lockdown became a reality. Thanks to the work of Mr Mike Lewis, Miss Adrienne Bishop and their team, along with the willingness of staff to adopt a very different way of working, we were back on timetable and in classrooms, albeit online, by March 26. Remarkably, we didn’t miss a beat.
All of our staff have embraced the difficult challenge of ‘being at school’, while not actually physically being at school. Our wider community have shown depths of creativity that are truly inspiring in ways we thought were not possible only a few weeks before.
I have been heartened by the communication I have received from many in our community about the levels of care we have provided for our students. A particular note of thanks goes to the homestay parents of our international students who have gone above and beyond in opening up their homes and families to our students whose parents are many miles away. Similarly, our staff have been persistent in remaining connected with their classes and Atawhai groups as well as students’ parents and caregivers. They have offered and identified support where it has been needed.
Today, the government will announce Level 2 of our nation’s response to Covid-19 and how that will look in the near future. Our year has been disrupted and there may be some hardship for our community ahead. However, at Long Bay College we are adopting a growth mind set; we will be focused on what is possible, not what isn’t. We hope to throw ourselves into the remainder of the year, knowing that we are indeed lucky to have had such wonderful support from all of our people; I for one have been humbled by the combined efforts of all.
Mr CJ Healey