Onslow College offers its International Students a supportive and caring environment while also providing outstanding educational experience.
Principal's Message - 24 March 2020
Kia ora tatou
We hope that you are all safe and well during this difficult time. Things have certainly moved quickly and I know it will take some time to get used to the new way of doing things. Neuroscience educator and child development expert Nathan Wallis reminded us today that;
There is no academic emergency this week, so don’t be so quick to set-up a homeschool. Our country is in a crisis, and we are all stressed and tired. Stressed adults can not teach stressed children. It is a neuro-biological impossibility. Try focusing on connections and feelings of safety.
Take some time to work together as families and talk about how students are going to focus on learning. Think about suitable spaces for learning to occur. Make sure that there are scheduled times when you talk about what learning has been set and share what is going well and what students may need to support with. Remember not all learning will be in front of a screen and there will need to be some monitoring of screen time.
The way that things have occurred concerning the move from Level 3 to Level 4 alert means that some of our staff are now trying to return to different parts of New Zealand to begin their isolation. We also have staff who are caring for young children and elderly relations. Please be aware that they may support learning at varied times and it may take them a few days to establish learning links. We do have staff ready to go and many are already working with you. IT issues can be directed to the following link https://tinyurl.com/rzqcwet or the QR code below to access IT Support.
Please remember that we will do our best but will only be able to work on issues connected with the school system.
I am in contact with the Ministry and I hope to be able to share with you more details of when school break begins and ends and what expectations you should have about learning over the next four weeks.
NCEA assessments during the COVID-19 lockdown
The main focus for staff during the next weeks will be to support students' online learning through the various tools we have at our disposal. We have received advice from NZQA that NCEA assessments may still take place during this period, and on how we can main the integrity of our assessment practices while students are learning from home.
We want to reassure students that the school is thinking differently about rest of the year, as is the rest of NZ. No students will be disadvantaged moving into next year, because they haven't achieved a certain assessment standard. Please bear in mind that most students are enrolled for more than enough standards to meet the requirements for NCEA, and that assessment can be reduced accordingly without compromising curriculum, the learning in a course, or the ability to gain qualifications.
Schools are also able to be flexible with how and when they can assess, and will adjust assessment programs according to circumstances.
NZQA staff are continuing to work through this period, and are maintaining regular contact with schools. Students are welcome to contact subject-teachers if they have questions relating to assessment. Teachers will keep students up-to-date with information.
We have places where you can source support for well-being on our website. There is also information on support for mental well-being on the covid19.govt.nz website.
The school is closed to all but students of essential workers today and tomorrow.
From tomorrow (Wednesday 25 March 2020) at 11:59pm it will be officially closed to everyone. No one should be on school site after this time.
At Onslow College we are committed to providing our students with outstanding educational experiences, opportunities and sport and cultural activities.
MESSAGE FROM ONSLOW GUIDANCE COUNSELLORS
Linda Eastman and Nicky Depree, the Onslow counsellors will be available during the school term time (weekdays 9-3pm) to help with any difficulties you or your students may be having.
Term Time - Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm firstname.lastname@example.org
School Cellphone 022 014 3650
Term Time - Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm email@example.com
School Cellphone 022 014 3676
We know it's an extraordinary and difficult time for everyone. Because the Covid19 pandemic is an unprecedented event we need to have ways to manage it and the fear, anxiety and worry that goes with it. FACE COVID is a brief animation on YOUTUBE by Dr Russ Harris that gives some very practical ideas of how to Respond Effectively to the Covid19 Crisis.
Get reliable info - check out Covid-19.govt.nz for the latest facts and also for more ways to deal with the new "normal". Take breaks from news updates, do things to increase wellbeing - eating well, taking light exercise, finding enjoyable ways to relax and chill out, staying connected to friends and family members - the people you care about - while staying in your bubble, keeping routines in place as much as possible, especially after the term break.
During the revised school break time the following Community Helping Agencies will be operating:
- Youthline, 0800 376 633 or free text 234
- Mental Health Helpline free text 1737
- Parent Helpline (Wellington) 0800 568 856.
- For more serious mental health issues contact your GP or Te Haika 0800 745 477 or if it is an emergency dial 111.
NCEA Assessments and Medical Certificates
A question has been raised about whether our current assessment practices are viable with COVOD-19 & the extra pressure on the Health System.
It has been our practice to require a medical certificate for students who miss assessments. Given that it may simply not be possible to obtain a certificate at the moment, the schools feels that we are potentially putting students at a disadvantage.
We have contacted NZQA for advice & decided the following as a school. For students who miss NCEA assessments due to illness/self-isolation, and who cannot obtain a medical certificate, an email from parents to the teacher concerned will be sufficient to explain the student's absence. Where possible another assessment opportunity may be given. We do not want students who are unwell to feel pressure to be here due to NCEA assessments. This policy adjustment will remain in place until further notice & may be reviewed as the COVID-19 situation develops.
Supporting Our Children
As parents of adolescents you will know unexpected things will happen and young people will all react differently.
Sometimes young people will want to talk to you or another trusted adult about how they are feeling. Let them know it is ok to ask for help and you are available to listen or can help them contact other support agencies.
Some signs to look out for are:
- Changes in behaviour (tearfulness, sleep patterns, eating patterns, up and down emotions or heightened anger or irritability, becoming suddenly calm or happy after being down, feeling hopeless orworthless, guilty, whakamā or ashamed.
- Losing confidence, or a downturn in school or sport performance.
- Becoming isolated or withdrawn from whānau, family and friends, things that are normally of interest (hobbies, sports, friends).
- Talking about depression and death – expressing dark thoughts
- Not coping with day to day problems, or becoming overwhelmed with usual activities
- Using drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings or thoughts
- An escalation of risk taking behaviours including self-harm or sexual activity or stopping taking medicine
- Giving away possessions, tying up loose ends,
- Physical symptoms that don’t have an obvious cause such as aches, pains, feeling sick
If you are worried about your child please contact the Guidance Counsellors during school hours Linda and Nicky on: 04 478 8189 extension 831 and 849.
Outside of school hours and term time:
You can also ring or text 1737
Youthline text on 234 (8am to midnight) or ring 0800 376 633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lifeline 0800 543354
Onslow College is an environment that encourages independence, self- discipline, and social responsibility with a student-centred philosophy.
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