The greatest change since the foundation of the school

Bill Low

One week into online learning and Central Coast Grammar School (CCGS) Headmaster, Bill Low, has labelled the school’s transition to distance education “the greatest change since the foundation of the school.”

The school made the changeover on March 24, and according to Low, CCGS staff and students were well prepared to navigate these strange new waters.
“In response to COVID-19, CCGS, along with schools across Australia, began a very different mode of learning and delivery that was a completely new experience for junior and senior students as well as for teachers.
“Rapidly changing circumstances and advice to schools saw CCGS implement our Learning Continuance Plan.
“This was the greatest change in one day since the foundation of the school and a fundamental paradigm shift in teaching, learning and student wellbeing,” Low said.
“Whilst the speed of this transition was unprecedented, considerable investment in learning management technology, teacher quality and digital literacy, driven by the school’s Next Generation Teaching and Learning strategic plan, meant that we had strong foundations to support the incredible commitment of staff,” he continued.
“Teachers and students were already familiar with the school’s learning management platform, MyCCGS, and could quickly extend functionality.
“The Harvard Teaching for Understanding framework had given teachers a common approach from K-12, and they were able to collaborate in strong professional learning communities to support each other and their students.
“A long term focus on digital literacy meant that staff and students could confidently use technology for effective learning.
“Teachers rallied together to create comprehensive remote learning activities from K to 12.
“They received training and help on setting up new digital programs and were given help with tools to support a remote learning campus.
“ICT Curriculum Support staff worked around the clock to scale up our MyCCGS with additional pages, classes and functionality.
“The Information Technology team rolled out Microsoft Teams Education, creating almost 1,000 new virtual classroom and department teams, a project in itself that would normally take over six months to complete.
“Devices were configured and delivered to every student ensuring digital access across the community,” Low said.
“Its meant that remote learning has been able to transcend into everyday lessons, with the school community embracing online learning with gusto.
“Roll call on Microsoft Teams, fun Science lessons via video conferencing, Music lessons, Drama and English, Mathematics and Sport.
“At the heart of remote education is ensuring that learning is more than a set of transactional tasks.
“Learning needs to continue to be relational, responding to the needs of each individual learner to address their personalised learning journey and wellbeing,” Low said.
“One week in and each of our kids are teaching us all new digital skills!
“Every one of us has learnt a lot.
“There is no blueprint or map to follow on how we can best deal with this challenge.
“As a school, we are taking each moment step by step, learning from others around the world and listening to one another.
“The one constant we have is education and our joint commitment to that for our students.
“We don’t know the challenges ahead, but together we will face those challenges individually, as a family and as a school community,” Low said.

Website, Apr 2
Bill Low, Central Coast Grammar School