Wrap Up of Term 1 2020
In our final week of term, our students are completing assessment at home and our teachers are busily preparing for teaching online in Term 2. Certainly, for all members of our community, 2020 has not unfolded the way we thought it would. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented across the world. We are facing changes to the way we work or study, the way we interact socially and the way we exercise our freedom. The global economic outlook is uncertain and volatile.
In the United States Army, the concept of VUCA has been used as an acronym to describe a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world. Drawing on the leadership theories of Bennis and Nanus (1985), the concept of VUCA is well fitted to describe the current COVID-19 crisis.
How each of us personally responds to this crisis is critical to our personal well-being moving forward and also, to what happens when we eventually emerge from our cocoons. The importance of our own adaptability to changing circumstances can’t be underestimated.
Two weeks ago, the College was able to train the entire teaching staff in using our new blended online learning platform we have called ViT@L (Virtual Integrated teaching at Loreto) in one day.
Readiness trials, the creation of online assessment tools and even the implementation of a Virtual Holiday Hymn all successfully occurred within a very short time frame.
Joseph Micheli (2020) referenced Kayvan’s (2019) theories of leadership in his blog around how we deal with these times. Kayvan noted two questions for consideration:
If we find the common responses to these two questions, it may be easier to find direction as we move forward. Within our College Community (parents, staff and students), I have noted acts of kindness, expressions of gratitude and responses of courage often enacted with great patience. I have observed students finding the positives amidst the challenges we are facing. This fills me with optimism for our Loreto community.
Easter is a time usually marked by optimism and hope. As Lent draws to a close and we consider Easter, I reflected on Pope Francis’ “Urbi et Orbi” service which last year was held in front of over 8000 pilgrims. This year, I was struck by the iconic image of the Pope, alone, in a rainy and dark empty square. Pope Francis noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of fragility and disorientation in many. He reminded us, however, that it is our connectedness as humans that is (ironically) most important.
Finally, I share with our community, a message from the Board Chair:
On behalf of the Board of Loreto Coorparoo, I would like to express our warmest wishes to all members of our community in these very uncertain times. As every day passes it is becoming clear that no sector, no group and indeed no individual is going to be untouched the impacts of COVID-19. Hopefully, we all may avoid the physical contagion, but the economic implications are likely to touch all of us in some form. I’m sure you’ll agree that there is a palpable level of anxiety and concern in the air.
Be assured that the College is doing all it can to provide consistent teaching and learning to the highest possible standard – whatever the circumstances may be. These anxious times demand a trusted and reliable presence by the College in the lives of your family. So that in the face of events that seem to be changing daily, if not hourly, you can be sure that the nurturing care of the College will remain steadfast. The Board will ensure that all necessary resources are available to achieve this.
I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work being done by all the staff to develop and adopt the flexible delivery of the curriculum. The establishment of communications networks that have already allowed us to operate within the social distancing guidelines and will deliver the connectivity over the coming months, has also been outstanding. I would like to give special thanks to the members of staff who are working outside of their usual role to help deal with the many unexpected tasks emerging at this time.
Kim Wickham, Principal