New ways to reach higher - Corpus Christi Catholic High School

Working online: Corpus Christi Catholic High School has created an enriched learning experience for students during COVID-19.
Working online: Corpus Christi Catholic High School has created an enriched learning experience for students during COVID-19.

When COVID-19 began to impact Corpus Christi Catholic High School they were all worried about how to transition from the classroom to online.

However, with a little thought and only minor additions they realised that their current teaching and learning approach was already conducive to learning via remote access.

"This transition period allowed us to extend these ideas into other areas of our school, including gifted education," leader of Gifted Education, Fiona Croft said.

"Our gifted students are offered a mentoring program to personalise their learning and extend their interests beyond the school curriculum. Moving this program online has allowed us to look outside our community for expertise specific to the skills and interests of our gifted students.

"We have been able to secure a robotics technologist at NASA working in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as well as an award winning photojournalist, an astrophysicist and a surgeon as mentors for some of our gifted students.

"This is an amazing opportunity for these students to see that their dreams are possible."

During the isolation period, Corpus Christi staff offered remote learning which included individual wellbeing check-ins, regular opportunities for classes to receive feedback and check for understanding via Zoom conferences, video lessons and online submissions.

The HSIE, PDHPE and Languages faculties engaged a new online learning platform - Education Perfect - to enhance student learning experiences during this time.

After staff adapted their lessons to suit remote learning, many saw benefits and have continued to integrate these elements into their lessons since returning to school.

"Continuing with these adjustments once students returned to school means that we will be ready in case we need to return to isolation and that students who are absent due to illness have access to lessons," Fiona said.

Ongoing COVID-19 practices include staying home when ill, or are required to self-isolate, wiping down desks and chairs at the start of each lesson as well as using hand sanitiser.

"Due to the technology used in our classrooms every day, our students have been used to working online with the programs that were necessary for learning remotely, making it a smooth transition for them," Fiona said.

The school year has been impacted with cancellation of excursions, field trips, sporting carnivals and large assemblies.

This has been disappointing for students and staff, however staff have been very creative in enriching student learning by offering modified adaptations of extra curricular activities.

"We had a group birthday celebration for year 12 with cupcakes for all the 18th birthdays that were missed due to isolation," Fiona said. "Students have also been engaged in school based orienteering activities for sport."

Moving forward from COVID-19, Corpus Christi is looking towards incorporating more of what they learned during the isolation period.

"This includes implementing the Design Thinking model into how we plan and execute teaching and learning experiences," Fiona said.

"We will continue to look for ways to offer more personalised learning and help open new doors to explore possibilities for students to reach higher and aspire beyond any self limiting beliefs, so that they may realise their full potential."