St Catherine’s Boarders Shine During Online Learning Transition

When it comes to education and learning, the current COVID-19 pandemic has challenged schools across the globe. St Catherine’s School in Toorak, Melbourne is no different.

During this unprecedented time, the spirit of the School Community, its strength in diversity, and extensive planning has allowed the School to navigate relatively smoothly to their Learn@Home Program. Well supported by ICT staff, teachers undertook immense training to maximise the use of Microsoft Teams, and other portals placing students’ learning and wellbeing as the priority.

“In my thirty years of working in education, and presented with no other alternative, I have never seen such dedication, commitment and willingness than from the St Catherine’s staff as they prepared for teaching in a new landscape,” says School Principal, Mrs Michelle Carroll.

Stumbling blocks were minimised prior to the start of Term 2 as a result of forward planning. “The school has, over the last few years, invested heavily in developing online platforms that support delivery of the teaching and learning program.

Teachers and students are displaying great creativity to ensure our high quality lessons are not compromised,” declares Mr Robert Marshall Deputy Principal, Teaching and Learning.

Sarah and Annabelle Green, sisters from Albury, have been boarding at Illawara, the School’s Boarding House since 2018. Their smooth transition to online learning has been combined with missing their friends. “The transition to online learning has been quite simple. The school had been prepping us with online learning weeks prior to isolation,” says Annabelle, Year 10.

Sarah, completing Year 12 agrees. “I have found the transition to online learning very smooth. Microsoft teams was working efficiently so there weren’t that many problems when we started the term from home.”

“The School is mindful of reducing screen time as much as possible. We have created a ‘no classes’ on Wednesday afternoons. Our senior girls take over and organise a range of wellbeing activities,” says Mr Marshall.

“My friends and I have been adapting through online group chats and the School has implemented House activities that allow us to work together for a fun task,” says Annabelle.

The School prides its self with being a caring School which caters to the individual emphasises Mr Marshall. “Our girls have shown maturity, independence and a spirit of can do, embracing learning online with enthusiasm.

Teachers are commenting that the Learn@Home process enables greater differentiation in the classroom.” Boarding at St Catherine’s is about developing independence, resilience and the confidence to try different things. Navigating COVID-19 has certainly challenged our Boarders to do just that.

Prospective students and families are invited to visit for virtual tours of the School and Boarding House. To find out more please contact Registrar Ms Jeanette
Boehm on (03) 9828 3917 or email

Riverine Herald

Friday 15 May, 2020

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