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Captain's Log Stardate Week 3 - Beam Me Up

Beam me up Scotty’ was apparently never actually said in a Star Trek episode but is perhaps the most well-known phrase from the show. For the non-Trekkies, it refers to the teleporting of Captain Kirk and his colleagues from the Starship Enterprise to the planet, time dimension or destination of their mission. It struck me this week that the surreal nature of recent weeks and our transitional return to classes that commences next week is somewhat akin to being ‘beamed’ from one reality to another.

My hope is that it is a one-way trip back to ATC and that we will not be required to re-board the Starship ATC any time soon. The good news is that we are now much more familiar with our vessel should this be required in future episodes of our show and we would transition more quickly, more fully and more smoothly if there is a ‘next time’ in the ATCLearns@Home story. While using a fantasy program as a metaphor, I do hope that the reality plays out differently and while we need to continue to play our part in managing the pandemic, that progress remains positive.

‘Re-entry’ will be joyous, and hope filled, and we greatly look forward to the return of the boys. It will also be different, step by step and will require ongoing patience and co-operation. As I outlined in my letter earlier this week, there will continue to be numerous strategies in place to support good hygiene practices and safe teaching and learning spaces. Our school is blessed with plenty of outdoor space in a beautiful spacious setting so we are very fortunate in that our natural environment is calm and positive.

Our boys in Years 4 to 10 will continue with ATCLearns@Home for the next fortnight. This is a long mission but not as long as the one for which we thought we were potentially preparing at Easter. At the end of my first term at ATC, I went into the Easter break being advised that the process could be for as long as two terms. It was under this thinking that we first put together the ATCLearns@Home plans. How things have shifted and changed for the better! I sincerely thank the students and parents of boys in these year groups and all year levels for your dedication and support during this time. If you wish to register your son for on-site supervision in Week 5, please CLICK HERE to complete the online form.

Potential Return of all Classes Monday 25 May

Once classes resume for all year levels hopefully on Monday 25 May, it will not be possible for staff to continue to facilitate ATCLearns@Home in the current format as they will be leading face to face teaching across all year levels. There will be some vulnerable students who cannot attend school for health reasons, and we will support these boys through SEQTA. In the short term, this will be manageable as there remains 4 weeks of classes when boys potentially return and we are set up on SEQTA for this time, including assessment designed to be able to be completed remotely or at school for this term.

I strongly encourage all students, wherever possible, to return to classes when the Queensland Premier and Health Authority directive is announced. It is vital that we commence the re-entry process as quickly as possible.

If you are concerned about your son’s return as he is vulnerable or is living with a family member who is vulnerable, please make contact to register this with us so that our Learning Team can co-ordinate with families and teachers. I ask parents to contact the following Formation Leaders who will liaise with you pastorally and link information with our Learning Team and teachers:

Years 4 to 6 Mr Michael Stewart stewartm@atc.qld.edu.au
Year 7 Mr David Sullivan sullivand@atc.qld.edu.au
Year 8 Mr Matt Ribeiro ribeirom@atc.qld.edu.au
Year 9 Mr Bernard Wong wongb@atc.qld.edu.au
Connacht House Mr David Robertson robertsond@atc.qld.edu.au
Leinster House Mr Sam Brown browns@atc.qld.edu.au
Munster House Mr Paul Towner townerp@atc.qld.edu.au
Ulster House Mr Cam McConnell mcconnellc@atc.qld.edu.au

Returning to School Routine

We will place an emphasis on routine and structure for the boys on re-entry. Pastoral care and relationships will be central to our support of the boys and a part of this is a ‘bricks and bouquet’ approach. The bricks are the building blocks, the simple things such as haircuts, uniform, shined shoes, cleanly shaved and routines that signal to the boys that school is ‘normal’ again and to help them in their transition from being ‘beamed up’. The ‘bouquets’ are the great relationships we enjoy at ATC, the warm welcome, good humour, banter, patience and care. It is not assumed that everything will just ‘click’ or ‘snap’ back into normality for each young man, but we will work hard with he and his parents and caregivers to support as smooth a transition as possible. Something in the recesses of my memory tells me that sometimes Kirk’s teleporter failed to fully transport a crew member in full and I suspect this may be the case for some of our boys for a variety of reasons. We will work hard to make sure we get them back to ATC fully safe and sound and understand that it may take time.

It is important that we all understand that the management of the pandemic remains a top priority in our community. I certainly hope not but it continues to be a possibility that we may have a positive case within our staff, parent or student community and will need to action our management plan. Your continued communication regarding potential cases and testing, your son not attending school if unwell and being collected if he presents as unwell will need to remain in place. For the time being, informal and formal sport cannot recommence in schools. We await further advice on this in the coming weeks and are eager to reignite this vital part of life in a school for boys. Your assistance is greatly appreciated in helping your son to understand that a lunch time game of basketball and other games, which involve shared equipment, cannot happen just yet.

A reminder that from Monday 11 May, for all students on campus, we are transitioning to our formal uniform, including College suit coat, tie and badges. Staff will work with the boys from Years 4 to 10 who are on campus before 25 May to facilitate appropriate break activities as we have been doing. We believe it is important that we will begin to link our daily life at the College back to normal as much as possible. A further reminder that from 11 May, this includes a return to our usual timetable of classes each day as staff are now potentially carrying out face to face teaching, remote learning, and supervision of students on campus. This will operate with modified bell times in Weeks 4 & 5:-

Mother’s Day

I lost my Mum almost three years ago now and she obviously comes to mind especially at this time of year. In fact, she comes to mind every day and I have not lost her. I talk with her all of the time; I listen to her and listen for her. I call on her when I need a hand and laugh with her when I remember that she would have laughed when I was laughing. They are special people our Mums.

Like all great schools, our female leaders, supporters, and carers animate much of the life in our community. Women who choose the vocation of motherhood and are blessed with the gift of children have a special and sacred role in our families and communities. Women who yearn to be Mums and have not yet been blessed in this way also play these roles as they expand their gifts to others in different and creative ways. Motherhood does not define Womanhood of course and it is not every woman’s choice or gift, but it is a most unique and wonderful journey. Mary, the Mother of God, is the ultimate example of placing another before self as our Mothers so often do. Mary is the first Disciple, a servant leader, person of courage and Sign of Faith as we are called to be at Ambrose Treacy College. We celebrate our Mums and female caregivers on Sunday and thank them for their love, example, and care. Happy Mother’s Day to all ATC Mums in our parent and staff community.

God bless

Chris Ryan