South Grafton learning and support teacher Nathan Martin, principal Kristine Pizarro and Page MP Kevin Hogan practise social distancing where a new outdoor learning facility will be built at the school.
South Grafton learning and support teacher Nathan Martin, principal Kristine Pizarro and Page MP Kevin Hogan practise social distancing where a new outdoor learning facility will be built at the school.

Teachers and students learn valuable lessons from lockdown

THE weeks of enforced separation due to the COVID-19 lockdown have taught students and staff valuable lessons says a Clarence Valley high school principal.

"The kids have found they needed each other and the staff have found they needed the kids," said South Grafton High School principal Kristine Pizarro.

"It's been quite noticeable since the children returned to school today how much they just want to get together and talk.

"It's actually been hard to get them to do anything else."

She said people who thought teenagers were happy to communicate on social media, would need to rethink that idea.

"What they're wanting to do most now is to sit around and talk face," she said.

Mrs Pizarro said the staff had also missed the students during the lockdown.

"The first week they were away they didn't know what to do," she said. "We actually made a dance video, which we put up on social media to cheer us up and make contact with the kids."

She said the school had also made some important changes during the lockdown by creating deeper contacts between the school and students' families.

The school found many families did not have access to the internet at anything like the level needed for home learning.

"In the beginning we handed out 70 laptops for kids to have access to online learning," Mrs Pizarro said.

"But we found many families had next to no internet access so we ended up handing out about 230 book packs."

The school also enlisted teachers aides to make phone calls to families up to three times a week to check in with students.

"We kept a log which eventually had more than 3000 entries," she said.

Mrs Pizarro said the improved contact this made between the school and students' families would stay as a part of the schools interaction with the community.

"It's important because it's given us a picture of where each student is up what we need to work on with them," she said.



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