Wednesday 26th August 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and Families,

It is so affirming to see the daily COVID-19 numbers dropping as each day passes, which is evidence that our efforts during the Stage 4 lockdown are having an impact. Given the challenges and difficulties this lockdown presents both personally and professionally, the lowering numbers are motivation to keep us implementing current practices in an effort to continue to drive the numbers down. We again thank you for your individual and collective contributions to supporting the Victorian Governments agenda of minimizing movement. Whilst schools have minimal students attending, we have again seen two special schools closed due to positive COVID-19 cases within the last week which continues to be of great concern.

With all staff working from home, with the exception of minimal administration, leadership and only staff supporting student attendance onsite, we are working closely via WebEx with all staff. We maintain daily connection through meetings, check ins and professional learning. One of our professional learning priorities is focusing on lesson structure in the virtual classroom. This work is exciting and we have been asked by the South West Region to provide a short presentation with a focus on;

How can we best support students who learn differently in changing learning environments?’ This session is designed for teachers and middle leaders in mainstream and specialist settings and will give in practice examples from a range of schools on how they are working to engage students in their learning. The schools presenting are Sunshine SDS, Hampden SDS and Black Hill PS.


On Tuesday we said farewell to Sue Paeglitis after 29 years of service to the Department of Education and Sunshine Special Developmental School. Sue has worked across various roles in our school during this time and has impacted on the processes, procedures and practices of the school. Most importantly Sue has developed strong and long lasting relationshiops with students, staff and families that will be remembered and treasured. We thank Sue for her dedication, commitment and contributions to our community and know that the legacy she leaves will be everlasting. We wish Sue the best of luck as she embarks on her next journey, retirement. May it be an opportunity to create new and cherished memories with family and friends!

The Association for Children with a Disability

The Association for Children with Disabilities (ACD) put together this summary of supports/options that are available to families of students with disabilities:

  • Families can have relatives or a friend come to their home to assist with the care of a child with disability.  This includes travelling more than 5km and during the curfew. (This is under Leaving premises for care and other compassionate reasons
  • Families can take a child with complex behaviour support needs for a drive to escape harm, including harm to themselves.  This includes travelling more than 5km and during the curfew.  They need to carry evidence of their child’s behaviour support needs. (This is under Leaving premises for care and other compassionate reasons
  • Support Workers can provide in-home support, including assisting with learning from home.  The NDIS have produced a guide for school aged participants in Victoria.

ACD COVID-19 page –

 Positive Climate for Learning Team News

Health and Wellbeing

COVID Testing for Vulnerable People with Disabilities

Getting tested for COVID is an anxious experience for anyone, however, if you have a child with a disability, the need for them to have a COVID test can be an extremely stressful time for them and for you. The Victorian Government is currently offering vulnerable people with a moderate to severe disability, and their carers, access to free in-home COVID testing by a health professional. This type of program is called Call-to-Test Service and requires a referral from your GP.

You can call the Victorian COVID-19 hotline on 1800 675 398 and select option 9 to find out if you are eligible for this service. If you require an interpreter you will need to inform the operator at the time of arranging the in-home test and one will be organised. For more information please call the COVID-19 hotline as above or visit:

Translated Health and Wellbeing Resources

Please find below resources in different languages on health and wellbeing from the Department of Health and CoHealth Community Health Services.

Community Partnerships

Making Waves Foundation (MWF)

Sunshine SDS and MWF have been working collaboratively over the years to provide opportunities for our students to become involved in sailing. MWF formerly known as Sailors with Disabilities is a registered not-for-profit organisation that, through sailing, becomes a catalyst for change in young people’s lives. Making Waves have launched an incredible raffle and they are seeking our help to spread the word to help support them to continue their work with young people.

While we countdown the days until our students have the opportunity to sail again with the wonderful crew that many of us have had the pleasure in meeting, Making Waves team is also counting down to the International Day of People with Disabilities on December 3rd, 2020 which is the last day of their first major raffle! If you would like to buy a raffle ticket to raise much needed funds to support their wonderful work please see go to this website.

Burmese Community Playgroup              
Last week the Burmese Community Playgroup meet via Zoom.  Families from Sunshine SDS and Mother of God (Ardeer) came together to connect during Stage 4 restrictions which has left many of is unable to visit family and friends.

The session comprised of initial welcomes and introductions in Burmese and Haka Chin.  The children sang songs with one of the parents on guitar followed by story time and then a discussion about how people are travelling during this second time of school closure.

This would not have been achieved without the support from VICSEG who provided bi-lingual facilitators and IT support.

As a result, we saw many smiling faces and were able to respond to challenges families are having either immediately or promising to get back to them.  We look forward to continuing this group over the coming weeks and feel it really captures the values of our school and about caring for all of our rich and culturally diverse community.

We look forward to continuing this group over the coming weeks and feel it really captures the spirit of our schools and about caring for all of our rich and culturally diverse community. If you are interested in joining a playgroup-let me know by email [email protected]

A reminder to call or email the school if there is anything we can support you with. Stay safe and well.

Kind regards,

Nicole Edwardes