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Siena College was nominated as one of eight finalists for Best Remote Learning Program in the 2021 Australian Education Awards. These awards bring together hundreds of applications, recognising leading performance and excellence in educational achievement. The overall winner will be announced in August 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a seismic shift in the delivery of education. As a faith based community, our charism shaped our decision making as we developed Siena Connect, a fully integrated program of learning and wellbeing in the Dominican way. Our learning model embraced the opportunity to re-imagine curriculum delivery whilst holding at its core, considerations of student wellbeing. Siena Connect offered a variety of rich learning experiences as teaching staff turned challenges into opportunities.
We elected to continue with our normal timetable, albeit making adjustments such as fifteen minute breaks between periods to allow staff and students to “reset” before each class. Each day, we delivered six periods of synchronous lesson delivery via Microsoft Teams, with students uploading assessments to our learning management system as per normal practice.
Wellbeing is essential to our physical, mental and social health and as such, comprehensive Wellness and Spirituality resources were developed. Siena Connect included weekly Wellness lessons to teach our students about the importance of self-care, sleep hygiene, positive goal setting, and creating and maintaining friendships in the changed situation. Through this considered approach, students were provided with the opportunity to practise gratitude and kindness towards themselves and more importantly, others.
In the spirit of collaboration, the Wellbeing Team and the Mission and Identity Team created a series of lessons that deepened our students’ understanding of “Dadirri”, the deep listening to Country that is sacred to our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
"Siena Connect is a fully integrated program of learning and wellbeing, in the Dominican way. We are people of Truth, Veritas. We believe excellence in our truth seeking is found in a daily rhythm and integration of learning and relationships with each other. Online learning has taught us that Siena girls can and do achieve great things when they connect and commit to excellence." Elizabeth Hanney, Principal
As remote learning continues during lockdown periods in Melbourne in 2021, we remain committed to our students learning and wellbeing.