Week 1 Term 2
Friday 24 April 2020
In this issue:
- Update from the Headmaster – tuition fee discount
- Outdoor Education goes online
- GrammarFit launches
Boarding - our door of opportunity
In over 30 years of working in boarding schools across the globe, nothing compares to the first term of this year.
To date, I have worked at a fog-covered school, where parents were unable to drive and collect their children at the end of term; I have been snowed in and remotely navigated the transportation of boarders to an equally snowbound Heathrow; and most recently, I experienced my first ever Queensland cyclone and a flooded boarding house. These events are insignificant in comparison to the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.
Without doubt, there are times when the enormity of the various challenges we are presently navigating cloud our ability to see the bigger picture. In a recent BGS Newsletter article about our response to COVID-19, I quoted Alexander Graham Bell and his assertion that “when one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
As our boarders left in a piecemeal fashion to return home, we were faced with an eerie residential community and the complexity of how to sustain our Boarding program. While far from ideal, the scenario presented an incredible opportunity for the team to review the value of our actions. Perhaps, in the midst of responding to COVID-19, a door of opportunity had opened for our community.
The outcome of our self-evaluation was the recognition that so much in boarding rests on the strong and trusting relationships between boarders, home and boarding staff. In moving forward, our goal was to sustain these relationships and strengthen the bonds that tie us together. At BGS, we heralded this new way of working as Harlin Horizons, recognising that most of our boarders would be living well beyond our immediate horizon of Spring Hill.
At BGS, we are fortunate that our evening Boarding Tutors are all members of the teaching staff. In addition to supervising Prep, they look after small vertical tutor groups, known as House Families, where they meet weekly to counsel and advise students. They build a strong connection with these students and ensure that as a community, get to know each boy for who he is and recognise what he brings to the collective.
For those of us who are not Boarding Tutors, our connection beyond the traditional year group meeting is somewhat more ad hoc. In essence, our conversations can be in response to a crisis, sometimes to deliver high praise, and every so often our interactions are no more than a word or two in the dinner queue. Our challenge has been to find ways and means of sustaining those all-important ad hoc moments.
I never thought I would film and produce a video of boys throwing a roll of toilet paper around the campus, yet that is what I did. Those ad hoc opportunities are still there, but we need to look for them.
The past few weeks have brought many emails to my inbox and a plethora of calls to the trusty mobile. From San Francisco and Saudi Arabia, to Stanthorpe and Spring Hill, these interactions have reminded me that each family wants to be part of the BGS Boarding community.
Of course, there are many ways to connect. We have begun to use our social media channels to share pictures of boys working from home and have just delivered our first online assembly. We have ideas for sharing recipes that work well for busy parents, especially those with growing boys, and much more along those lines. There is no guarantee that all of this will work, but we will do everything we can to support our boarding parents.
Finally, there are the boarding staff, and especially the residential team who live in the House. They continue to care and assist with the supervision of boarders and have sustained our activity program.
In discussing what the activity experience might look like moving forward, I was amazed at their commitment and creativity. Suddenly, we had images and videos being sent from all around Australia to share with our ‘boarding family’, and boys being challenged to plant seedlings and learn new skills. Without COVID-19, we would have continued to deliver our tried and tested program. Now, we find ourselves ready and energised by new ideas and innovations.
There is no doubt that the past few weeks have brought challenges, uncertainty and a fair degree of apprehension. However, it has also presented us with an incredible opportunity to grow our residential communities in the most trying of circumstances.
We would certainly prefer to have all students on campus, but it was exciting to see how our first week of home-based learning turned out to begin Term 2. It has been fantastic to hear many students are participating in our GrammarFit live-streamed workout sessions to begin the day, ahead of diligently logging on to learn from home.
At this stage, students will continue to learn from home until Friday 22 May. What happens after Week 5 is still unclear. My hope is that students return to school, and we can get on with the business of learning on campus and enjoying the benefits of being at BGS.
I want to reiterate my praise all students. The data we are collecting indicates that the vast majority of boys are actively engaging in learning. There are still some who are finding the transition difficult and Form Tutors will be making contact to offer guidance. Boys are encouraged to communicate regularly with their teachers during the Consolidation Period after lunch each day.
There is much to look forward to the while the boys learn from home, particularly our first Anzac Day virtual assembly, which will be available to students on Monday morning.
An exciting initiative we launched this week was GrammarWell – our digital Student Wellbeing Platform. Could you please encourage your son to visit this new platform, which will continue to be updated each week.
This week, the Board of Trustees decided to offer all BGS families a 10% discount on Term 2 tuition fees. Chief Financial Officer Mark Corgat will write to BGS families on Monday to outline how this assistance will be administered.
During this uncertain time, one practical thing we can all do is support BGS families and their businesses. Many of us feel powerless with the news of constant closures and would welcome an opportunity to make a difference.
Accordingly, we are offering to promote the goods and services offered by BGS families to the BGS community. The BGS Together initiative is now live on the BGS website. If you wish to promote your goods or services to the community, please click here.
For the latest updates from the School, please visit the COVID-19 Advice for BGS Community section on the BGS website.
We hope you are enjoing the new online BGS Newsletter. The responsive newsletter is published via the School’s new website, allowing for easy navigation on any device.
- Deputy Headmaster - Students | David Carroll
- Captain's Corner
- Outdoor Education
- Student Wellbeing
Form Tutors will be contacting parents over the coming weeks to check the progress of students’ home-based learning and ensure they are managing with the change. We also aim to identify and support measures required to assist levels of engagement.
Parents of boys in Years 9 to 12 will be contacted in Weeks 2 to 4, and parents of boys in Years 5 to 8 will be contacted in Weeks 2 to 5. Calls will predominately be made on Thursday afternoons. If it proves difficult to make contact via phone calls, Form Tutors will email parents to establish a connection and commence the process.
Please continue to contact your son’s Head of Year if you wish to speak to someone before the Form Tutors contact you.
Acting Head of Middle School Rebecca Campbell and I have created a short video outlining our focus for Term 2. You can view the video here. We welcome any questions and encourage you to contact us.
At our welcome back assembly, I raised the importance of boys continuing to respect their teachers and peers in the home-based learning environment. It is also important that boys continue to engage in class and community activities during this time. More than ever, it is essential that our messages at school are supported at home. Any concerns we have will be shared with parents to allow us to address the any issues together.
Term 2 Parent-Teacher Interviews
Having considered a range of options and alternatives, the Senior Leadership Team has determined that conducting parent-teacher interviews in the current circumstances is not viable. Instead, we will provide parents with an interim report outlining student progress in the home-based learning phase of this term. A suitable reporting format will be developed, and the School will aim to provide this report by the mid-term point. We will also provide the usual end of semester report in June.
Just before term break, the QCAA issued subject-specific direction on the nature and timing of the next internal assessment in General and Applied subjects for each learning area. This information has been supplemented with an extensive list of answers to frequently asked questions that BGS will use to make informed decisions that support our senior students. The QCAA continues to respond to the concerns about changes to learning and senior assessment by regularly refreshing the FAQs webpage for parents and students. The myQCE team is also available to respond to queries via the ‘Ask us a question’ form on the myQCE website. I encourage parents and Year 12 students to access these links.
Elevate Program | Years 11 and 12 Students
During Term 1, Elevate conducted a face-to-face program with boys in Years 11 and 12 to assist them in developing study and exam skills. This program will shift to an online module in Term 2, with links to be provided via year level pages on Teams. The online program will be completed during a pre-determined time.
Students who are not attending school are not required to wear school uniform. However, boys should be appropriately dressed when attending online lessons.
Students attending school on campus are to wear summer uniform until Friday 1 May. The winter uniform must be worn from Tuesday 5 May.
Welcome back to Term 2. I hope you, your family, and friends, have been able to cope with our current social isolation circumstance, and have been staying healthy and in good spirits. The BGS community is a strong one, so know that it is there to support you.
Our ability to stay connected has been tested greatly during the past few weeks. However, we have managed and adapted very well, and that is something to be positive about moving forward into this period of home-based learning.
For the student body, social media has played a key role in staying informed and involved. Platforms, such as the school spirit Instagram page ‘LDB.20’, have been used to share messages from King G, celebrate achievements, and post fun ‘quarantine challenges’. I encourage all boys to partake in these challenges.
Seeing the success of social media platforms, the GPS School Captains put forward a proposal for a ‘GPS Spirit’ Instagram page, which is currently under discussion. Due to regular involvements with the other schools being affected by social isolation, if this idea is put into action, it will be a great way to keep the GPS spirit alive.
Feelings of disappointment, uncertainty, and frustration due to the many changes this year are understandable, but it is important we move forward with an open mindset, embrace what we have, and make the most of what lies ahead.
Dean of CurriculumGreg Dabelstein
A reminder that all ICT support issues must be logged via the service desk on MyGrammar. ICT technical support can only be provided to students using their school provisioned Tablet PCs. These devices should be used for home-based learning.
Students are advised to read the BGS Home-based Learning Student Handbook, which was distributed earlier this week. This document contains protocols, rules, and recommendations for their involvement in classes and school activities during this period.
Director of Outdoor Education
Transition to online Outdoor Education
As of Week 2, boys in Year 8 will be able to engage in Outdoor Education via an online format. The online program aims to maintain students’ connection to Moogerah and continue to build on their experiences at Pepperina Hill and Bitenbar.
The four-week program also provides an opportunity for a shared student experience to connect the cohort and reflect on their online outdoor experiences. This social and outdoor connection is a valuable aspect of the program during a time of physical distancing and increased screen time.
Outdoor Education teachers will set tasks related to the outdoors each week. The tasks will focus on the core values of the Outdoor Education program, and the students are required to submit their completed task. The collated submissions will be used in the following week as a reflection of the task.
This challenging time is an important reminder of the value of outdoor experiences and connection with the natural world. We hope to have students back enjoying the experiences offered at Moogerah as soon as possible.
Director of Student Wellbeing Programs
SchoolTV: Dealing with Disappointment
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting families around the world and changing how we do things on a daily basis. In many cases, it has resulted in the indefinite postponement of many special, and often long-awaited events, such as milestone birthdays, sporting competitions, school trips and family holidays.
Disappointment can be a tricky emotion to deal with at any age, but particularly for young people whose world has been turned upside down in a matter of weeks. Although disappointment is a normal part of growing up, adults need to remember that children can choose how they respond to it. Their response will determine the impact on their future happiness.
Disappointment is considered a healthy and positive emotion that is essential to a child’s emotional, intellectual and social development. It is important to help children manage their disappointment to avoid stronger emotions such as anxiety and depression. Although your first reaction may be to fix the problem, it is better to encourage them to find the words to express how they feel.
In this Special Report, parents and caregivers will be provided with some tips on how to help a child process disappointment and look at a problem objectively.
Click here to view the latest special report.
It has been a big week for education, and the Art Department has been very busy. It is important to look for positives during challenging times, and there are many to be found.
QAGOMA has produced their first online art exhibition, showcasing winners of the Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Visual Art. BGS Old Boy Louis Umashev ’19 is one of 33 recipients of the award, which recognises the artistic achievements of senior students from across Queensland.
His artwork, Unhomely Home, captures a sense of isolation through the artistic techniques of chiaroscuro and juxtaposition. Read his artistic statement and artwork process here, or view the complete exhibition here.
Louis’ achievement is a source of inspiration and motivation for our Year 12s, who are preparing to submit their only body of work for the year.
We are also very fortunate that BGS Art Teacher Aid Maxim Varghese has designed and created a Virtual Art Gallery, shown in the video below. This allows teachers to take their classes on carefully curated excursions using our Art Department gallery space.
Our Art Extension activities have also transitioned online to allow students to continue their involvement at home. These include the Omega HB Society (Drawing Club), Photography Club and the Middle School Ceramics Club. Students are asked to check the Daily Bulletin for announcements.
Head of Art
I wish to begin by commending the boys on the start they have made to Term 2. Feedback from teachers indicates that the boys are engaging well with home-based learning and have enjoyed re-connecting with their friends, albeit through digital channels. I know many are looking forward to returning to school when restrictions are lifted, and this is testament to the strong sense of community that exists at BGS.
Maintaining a strong partnership between home and school remains critically important during the next few weeks. As of next week, Form Tutors and Heads of Year will be calling parents to check on student engagement and wellbeing. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the School.
At the end of last term, our Years 5 and 6 students were invited to write an Easter message for BGS Old Boys who are currently in isolation. The messages were very well-received and a special way for the boys to connect with the community and bring joy to others. Thank you to the students who participated in this activity.
In response to feedback received from parents and students in last term’s surveys, students in Years 5 to 7 now have access to an online student journal to help them manage their time more effectively, keep track of their learning and reflect on their progress. Boys can access the journal via OneNote.
All students will participate in guided study sessions each afternoon that focus on consolidation and preparation. Recording homework and consolidation activities in their online student journal should assist with organisation and time-management. Key aspects of the consolidation and preparation sessions have been outlined in the Home-based Learning – Student Handbook. Boys should frequently refer to this document to ensure they adhere to our home-based learning expectations.
As previously communicated, BGS remains open to children of essential workers, and any other children whose parents need to send their children to school due to the nature of their employment. If your current circumstances change, and you have not previously indicated that your son needs to attend school, please advise us at email@example.com.
At the end of our first week of home-based learning, it is pleasing to report that many of our students are staying active, keeping fit and taking advantage of the access they have to their Cocurricular programs.
So far, over 500 GrammarFit sessions have been logged by boys in the online training diary. While boys are certainly engaging, we have had feedback that parents are also enjoying these workouts. GrammarFit aims to provide a positive start to each day, for every boy. We are delighted at the growing following, and I know the Performance Development team has a range of exciting workouts and variations planned. There may even be some special guest appearances.
With GrammarFit launching in the past week, we have been rapidly evolving our platform for delivery. To access GrammarFit, boys must open Teams, locate the Cocurricular Activities Team (of which he is a member) and then find the GrammarFit channel within that team. From this channel, he can navigate through the tabs to access the session videos and the training diary.
Boys are asked to complete the training diary at the end of every training session (not just GrammarFit) throughout the home-based learning period. The current data from the training diary shows many students are also continuing their diligent training regimes in their chosen sports and activities.
If you or your son have feedback on the resources provided via the Cocurriculum pages of MyGrammar, the program leaders would appreciate hearing from you.
The extraordinary efforts of our Music and Drama staff this week have enabled rehearsals and tuition to continue, allowing our students to hone their talents and enjoy their cocurricular involvement.
BGS Activities, which are our special interest groups and internal clubs, are up and running, with teachers and leaders connecting with their groups via Teams. These groups are an expression of our broad liberal offerings, and we are pleased that they are able to transition and adapt to the home-based learning environment.
Term 2 is usually one of the busiest times of the year for BGS Music, with a myriad of events, including Grammar in Concert. While we are hopeful of featuring our musicians in concert later in the year, it will not be possible this term. Nonetheless, we will continue to make music, with some details provided below. I wish you all the best in these unfamiliar times and encourage you all to keep music special.
Before to the Easter break, a document was shared with the Music community outlining what lessons and rehearsals will look like in Term 2. These details have been made available via MyGrammar. Nothing has changed with these arrangements, and I encourage you to refer back to this communication.
A basic summary is:
- Group and private lessons continue online via Zoom.
- Students commitment to ensembles continues with conductors providing alternative activities for boys. OneNote will be predominantly used for these activities.
Please direct any questions to the relevant teacher or the Music Office at Music@brisbanegrammar.com.
Making music to stay connected
Making music is more important now than ever before. It is not only a wonderful way of clearing the mind and improving brain functions, but it can help us stay connected.
Our musicians should be playing and singing as much as possible. To encourage this, I am challenging all musicians – academic and cocurricular – to make some music, record it and be prepared to have it shared with the BGS community. Boys can make music individually, but it is preferred they collaborate with someone else using online applications. Examples include:
- Solo music
- Make-your-own ensemble by using an app such as a cappella
- Make an ensemble with other students by using an app such as a cappella
- Have an existing school ensemble produce something (with teacher guidance)
- Adding meaningful visuals to an existing recording
When ready, send them to your Music teacher, Ensemble Conductor or Music@brisbanegrammar.com. If suitable, we will share them with the BGS community. Good luck, and keep making music.
BGS has a proud tradition of recognising the significance of Anzac Day. Our Marching Band usually marches in the annual parade but, of course, this is not happening this year. Instead, boys will have the opportunity to experience an Anzac Day ceremony as part of a virtual school assembly.
I know many families are planning their own driveway ceremonies this year. If this is happening at your place, I encourage our musicians to play or sing as part of this. While a trumpet is the traditional instrument, any instrument can be used. Singers are also encouraged to find suitable songs to perform. Whatever the case, music can still be a part of the ceremony.
Below is some information from the RSL regarding ‘Music for Mateship’.
At 6.00am on Anzac Day, musicians are being called play The Last Post in their front yards. This initiative to commemorate Anzac Day is gathering momentum across the country. With traditional services and marches cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, RSL branches in every state have unanimously endorsed the gesture. It is anticipated that families across the nation expected will stand at their gates, or on their balconies on Saturday April 25.
Please join us and the rest of Australia in this special moment to remember those who have served and sacrificed for our nation. We may not be able to stand together as we usually would, but we can still stand united in spirit.
Anyone interested should download the sheet music via the music tab of the Music for Mateship website, start practising and notify their neighbourhood via a letterbox drop.
Head of Music
GrammarFit has launched
BGS students can access virtual guided workouts via the GrammarFit channel via the cocurricular activities page on Teams. Join us to get your heart rate up and racing through a 30-minute body weight, strength and core session. GrammarFit sessions are designed to suit all levels of ability.
The workouts are available each weekday at 7.00am. Remember to log your session in the training diary.
For more information, please contact the BGS Cocurriculum Office at Cocurriculum@brisbanegrammar.com.
Tipperoo Annual General Meeting
The BGS Rowing Support Group – Tipperoo AGM will be held on Monday 11 May, with further details to be provided.
The Tipperoo Club is a subcommittee of the Brisbane Grammar School Parents and Friends Association and supports the BGS Rowing program. It is a fantastic way for parents to get involved.
All interested parties are invited to apply for a position in the committee. To apply or nominate, please contact Tipperoo Secretary Tony Crilly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Tipperoo Club or details of the AGM, please contact Tipperoo President David Weightman on 0414 592 013.
- BGS Art Show
- 2020 Calendar
- Upcoming Events
- Volunteer Roster
- P&F Auxiliary | Connect - Care - Contribute
- BGS150 History Book
We are excited to announce that the BGS Art Show will be online as a virtual show this year. More information will be shared with the community in the next few weeks.
The Brisbane Grammar School Art Show has been a fixture on the School’s cultural calendar for more than 50 years. Art allows us to express ideas, challenge preconceptions, tell stories and record our history. It has a way of bringing everyone together – all cultures and all levels of our society.
The BGS Art Show is not a student exhibition but rather a collection of professional artists works available for sale. It is organised by parent volunteers in the Art Support Group. Many works held in the BGS Art Collection have been acquired through purchases at this event using funds raised from the show. Other funds are directed towards Art education at BGS.
We are fortunate to receive wonderful support from sponsors each year. Traditionally the BGS Art Show plays a significant role in our community – from inspiring students seeing the collection in the lead-up to the show, to parents and guests celebrating and purchasing professional art works on the Gala Opening Night.
In addition, the BGS Art Show demonstrates to the wider community during Open Day that BGS truly offers a broad liberal education that values cocurricular activities and the Arts.
It is a special event that brings the school community together to include past, present and future students, along with their families.
Angela McCormack - Head of Art
Bronwyn Jerrard - President Art Support Group
Tuckshop +61 7 3834 5229
Grammar Shop +61 7 3834 5347
Roster Secretary Wendy Smith - email@example.com
Grammar Shop hours
Weekdays 7.30am – 11.00am
Weekdays 7.00am – 2.00pm
Welcome back to Term 2. We hope you have had a nice break and are ready for the term ahead.
BGS remains open to children of essential workers and other parents who are unable to keep their children at home. However, we are expecting a low number of boys on campus. Tuckshop and Grammar Shop will remain open, but we won’t need any volunteers until all students return to school.
We will inform you of any updates. Until then, please stay safe.
The P&F Auxiliary is focused on ensuring it is able to provide a supportive and responsive service to BGS families. The Tuckshop and the Grammar Shop remain open until the end of term. However, there are changes to both shops due to COVID-19 regulations. These changes are detailed below.
The Tuckshop is open and serving staff and students with a selection of fresh salads, wraps, drinks and hot food. We will ensure safety guidelines for social distancing and hygiene are maintained. Until further notice, both shops will remain cash-free due to the risks of cash handling
The Tuckshop remains cash-free. My Student Account (MSA) cards can be topped-up online via My Grammar > My Student > Tuckshop Account. A low balance notification or automatic top-up can also be set via the Manage > Edit function.
The Grammar Shop will remains open on school days from 7.30am. If you or your son/s are unwell, please do not come to the Grammar Shop. Instead, you can call staff on 07 3834 5347 to discuss your needs. We will happily take your order and payment by phone. We can also arrange for collection or delivery on a case-by-case basis.
The Grammar Shop remains cash-free, but card payments can continue in-store or over the phone. Please call the Grammar Shop on 07 3834 5347 to arrange for a credit to be placed on a student's account.
Most blazers submitted for embroidery are ready for collection. There are also a number of other pre-paid items in the shop awaiting collection.
To check when your blazer or other items are ready for collection, please visit MyGrammar > P&F Auxiliary > Uniforms > Embroidered item pick up list. Payment can be made at the Grammar Shop.
Senior winter uniforms are to be worn effective Tuesday 5 May 2020 so all senior students (Years 9 – 12) will need a blazer and white shirts by this time. To maintain social distancing parameters of 1.5m, it is not appropriate for our staff to fit uniforms. If you would like to fit your son yourself, please call Grammar Shop staff to make an appointment.
BGS remains open to children of essential workers and other parents who are unable to keep their children at home. However, we are expecting a low number of boys on campus. Tuckshop and Grammar Shop will remain open, but we won’t need any volunteers until all students return to school.
Light Dark Blue: 150 Years of Learning and Leadership at Brisbane Grammar School is available for purchase. The beautiful 500-page hardcover book updates the BGS story with previously untold anecdotes, rare photographs and illustrations. With a limited print run, it is sure to become a sought after collector’s item. Standard edition and limited editions are available.
Click here to view all BGS150 merchandise – limited stocks remain.