Welcome

Welcome to my Principal blog.

This blog is designed to provide the latest in news and updates on the happenings at Peak School along with information on a number of topics related to education.

Enjoy!

Bill Garnett

DISTANCE LEARNING UPDATE – JANUARY 11 TO CNY

Whilst we all hope for full days at school with all the children, the reality is that restrictions continue to be in place.

One bit of good news to come out of the announcement on Monday evening was that the EDB, as of January 11, will allow Primary Schools to bring in 1/6 of their student body for morning sessions.  Please note that only Secondary Schools can provide sessions in the afternoon and Primary Schools are only allowed to offer morning (AM) sessions. From what I understand, and have been told, the EDB are being very strict and consistent in terms of enforcing this across Hong Kong schools.

We had several models to explore in terms of bringing in 1/6 of the student population each day.  We could have decided to bring in 1 or 2 year groups only for the sessions until CNY, we could have gone with a model where each year group have 3-4 days in a row but ultimately we have decided to go with the model where we run a 6 day timetable and each year group comes in on a different day (please see table below).

New Model

We appreciate the challenges the above model will have for families, particularly those families that have children in different year groups but we simply cannot avoid this given the parameters that have been enforced upon us.  Each model had pros and cons but we believe the above model is the most equitable out of all the models we explored.

It means that the children will reconnect with the school, their friends and their teachers regularly until CNY which we think is important.  If we went with a 3-4 day block for each year group, it would mean that the first year group in would then have no opportunity to come into school until after CNY.  It also meant that if the situation was to worsen and schools were closed, those year groups yet to come into school, could miss out altogether.

FAQS

What about the buses?

I am meeting with the PTA tomorrow morning to discuss the logistics of the buses.  There is a lot to consider but we will look to get information out to parents regarding the buses by Friday afternoon.

What time do we drop the children off if we are bringing them to school?

Bus children, assuming we go ahead with the service, will arrive from 8.10-8.20am.  If you are dropping your children off, please drop them off anytime after 8.20am.

What time do we pick the children up in the afternoon?

We will call the bus children down to the buses at 12.10pm meaning that all the buses, assuming we go ahead with the bus service, will have left the grounds by 12.20pm.  We ask that all walkers and children being picked up by cars get picked up from 12.20pm onwards.

What about the timetable for the day the children are in?

Please refer to your child’s weekly timetable for more information regarding what is taking place on the day that your child is in.

If my child comes to school in the morning, will they have online learning in the afternoon?

Yes, it is the same as before where the children will have learning provided in the timetable for the afternoon.

The message from ESFC mentioned AM and PM classes, why are we only doing AM?

The EDB have been very clear that Primary Schools are only allowed to open for the morning session.  Secondary Schools can have a different cohort (group) come to school in the afternoon but Primary Schools are not allowed to.

What if I have another question to ask?

If you have more questions, please email them to office@peakschool.edu.hk and we will look to answer them all by Friday afternoon.

OFFICE UPDATE

We have had a few staff come and go in the past few weeks so we thought it was important to let you know who is currently working in the office.

Gabriela Frisinger – Gabriela’s last day is Thursday 6 January and at this stage we are yet to find a full time replacement.

Pam Stanley o In the meantime we have been fortunate to acquire Pam Stanley for 2 days per week.  Pam was the Office Manager at Glenealy School for many years and I was lucky enough to work with her whilst I was there.  Pam will oversee the office until CNY when we hope the successful candidate can start.

Miranda Smith – Miranda is heading back to Australia shortly so had her last day on December 31.

Mia Barnett has joined us at the Office Administrator.

We sadly farewell Gabriela and Miranda but welcome Pam and Mia.

Current Office Set up

Pam Stanley – Office Manager (temporary part time)

Leo Ng – Finance Officer

Mia Barnett – Office Administrator

Yoko Fung – PTA Administrator (part time – equivalent of 3 days per week)

 

DR HELEN STREET – PARENT WORKSHOPS

We are delighted to be offering a very timely well-being workshop for Peak School parents with Dr. Helen Street.  We know ESF are also running workshops by Dr Helen but we think it is important that we offer a workshop for our own community so we have more time to ask questions specific to our needs.  
 
Dr Helen Street is a trail-blazer in the development of wellbeing and social and emotional learning programs in education in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region (check her bio HERE).  Helen Street and her team at Positive Schools inform educators about up-to-date, evidence based research and practice that is relevant to their work supporting academic, social and emotional learning in schools.  In her session with Peak School parents she will be talking about parent expectations; what it means to be successful in school, how parents can better support success in their children at school and also sharing information about generally supporting your child’s wellbeing during these times.
 
Details:
Date: 11th January 2021
Time: 6pm-7pm
Meeting Link: https://peakschool.zoom.us/j/91046035651
Meeting ID: 910 4603 5651
**Please remember to ensure your zoom name is recognisable so we can allow you entry into the session
ESF have also organised Dr Helen to run some workshops for parents across the Foundation.
Connection and well being in the home – 16 December 2020 – 12.30pm & 6pm
Resilience – 6 January 2021 – 12.30pm & 6pm
Helping your child thrive at school – 13 January – 12.30pm and 6pm
For more information and to register for the workshop on 16 December – please click – ESF Parent Webinars-16 Dec 2020

HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES

Chiqui Colet and I worked on a resource for the July break that proved popular with some of our families.

Chiqui has spent time this week updating our Parent Resource Padlet for you.  It contains lots of activities you can do over the break while children are spending time at home.  If you would like to share anything through the padlet, kindly email Ms. Colet at chiqui.colet@peakschool.edu.hk
We are confident the children will find lots of fun/educational things to do.

NEW SCHOOL COUNCIL CHAIR – MALCOLM KEYS

On behalf of the school community, I would like to welcome Malcolm Keys to our School Council.  Malcolm is an ex parent of Peak School and his two daughters are currently attending an ESF Secondary School.  We are very lucky to have Malcolm join us as he has spent the last 6 years as the School Council Chair at Beacon Hill School meaning he has lots of experience and will add real value to our School Council.

Malcolm joined our School Council meeting this week as Chair and we look forward to having him lead our School Council into the future.

RSE UPDATE

ESF have reviewed the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) program across all schools.  A new curriculum program for RSE has been developed and the intention was for this to be introduced in Term 3 of last year but owing to the Hong Kong situation across the year, the staff training was suspended.  Hence we were unable to introduce it to our children in Term 3 as planned.

This year we are looking at training our staff in Term 2 with a view of introducing the new comprehensive RSE program in Term 3 this academic year.  We will provide parent information sessions next term so that all parents can learn about the new RSE program in greater detail.

The RSE program roll out is being led by Chiqui Colet and Rachel Roma.

The ESF RSEpolicy is informed by WHO guidance on Standards for Sexuality Educationand references material from the Victoria State Government Dept of Education and Early Childhood development,Australia

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in ESF is:

  • developmentally appropriate to the student’s level of understanding as informed by research and best practice
  • relevant to young people’s lives
  • based on a holistic concept of wellbeing
  • based on gender equality, self-determination and the acceptance of diversity
  • based on scientifically accurate information
  • cognisant of the Hong Kong and international context
  • sensitive to culture and values of families

 

PARENT SUPPORT – LUNCHTIME SUPERVISION

In case you missed the email from the office regarding filling in the Google Form for lunchtime supervision (once we are able to go to full days), please click HERE to access the Google Form.

The times we are looking for, in terms of parental supervision are as follows:
Year 1, 2 and 3 Rotation – 12.00 – 12.25 and 12.30 – 12.55

Year 4, 5 and 6 Rotation – 1.00 – 1.25 and 1.30 – 1.55

It would be great if we had more to help with Tuesday afternoon (Year 4-6) and Thursday afternoon (Year 1-3) but we have had a terrific response thus far with close to 50 parents signing up.  We will confirm times etc once we know more from the EDB regarding going full day.

We are hoping that we are able to have 3-4 parents per day per rotation (55 minutes in total).  You will always be supported by a member of staff.
We have had a terrific response from the parents regarding lunch supervision so we are ready to go once the EDB provides us with the green light!

EDB PLAN SUBMITTED

The EDB confirmed that they would accept revised plans from PS and having had to update/revise a lot of our plan, we were in a position to submit the plan yesterday (Thursday).

Hopefully we get a response from the EDB early next week.  We are expecting to have to make some changes as we are hearing from other schools, since our submission, that these schools need to change some of the lunch eating procedures before the EDB will look at the plan any further.  We have submitted similar lunch eating procedures so we anticipate that the EDB will come back to us with some required, but manageable, changes.

One concern at the moment is the level of URTI cases in Hong Kong which, is obviously bad enough to force the closure of Kindergartens for two weeks, but hopefully this does not affect their decision to allow us to extend the school day to 3pm.

I know it has been frustrating for some parents regarding EDB’s stance re allowing us to have snack in the classrooms but then not allowing us to have lunch in the classrooms.  I get asked “what is the difference?”  I cannot speak on behalf of the EDB so my job has been to focus on, and understand, what we can and cannot do and then work out ways to work around these.  Which, I believe, we are close to doing.

They have been very clear that they will not allow children to eat lunch in the class so we plan to turn the hall and the art room into “cafeterias” so that our children will eat in these areas during their lunch time.  This means the hall and art room cannot be used for anything else but this is something we can manage.  Chairs will be 1.5m apart to ensure safe social distancing.  This is all subject to approval.

Parental Help

I mentioned last week we are likely to need your help if the EDB approve the plan.  This is because we have 4 x 25 minute rotations to manage from 12.00pm – 1.55pm.  This is so the children get 20 minutes to eat and 25 minutes on the playground.  If our application is approved we will be asking parents, that are in a position to help, to come to Peak School to help supervise the children eating and/or supervise them play for a period during the lunch rotations.  You will always be with a teacher but with your support we are able to supervise all the areas necessary.  Please look out for an email next week, as if the EDB approve our application, I will be sending out an email requesting help.

I need to stress there is still a chance that the EDB will come back and reject our application or worse still, insist on conditions we cannot meet.  Whilst confident we can meet the requirements, I cannot guarantee their response will be a positive one regarding extending the school day but I know you appreciate and understand this.