School helps put food on table

Sir Joseph Banks High School teacher Lisa Pemberton, dressed as a NCIS character for a zoom science class, and school business manager Paul Basso with food hampers ready to disperse to families.

TAKING a leading hand with online learning and sharing their best practice platforms with others across NSW, Sir Joseph Banks High School is going a step further and ensuring families have enough food to put on the table as well as access to the internet to boost student learning.

Areas of food aid include hamper deliveries for those not able to leave home, meals, vouchers, low cost groceries and mobile community aid, with over a dozen families – out of the 810 student population – assisted just last week.
Principal Murray Kitteringham said he put out a call for support on twitter and was flooded with offers to help.
“We soon had Lakemba MP Jihad Dib and East Hills MP Wendy Lindsay doing some home deliveries for us, as staff are confined to the five kilometre-radius of our homes,” he said.
“The staff also raised over $1,000 to help with food purchases and vouchers, we received care packs from an Oatley agency and a large fruit and vegetable donation from a principal in the Riverina who wanted to help after Sydney was so generous during the bushfires.
“We see ourselves as the major hub in Revesby that is central in the lives of our students and their families and we are keen to fill any gaps in need in a respectful way that still ensures their independence.”
Students are able to let their teachers know if there are any needs at home and staff conduct regular well-being checks.
With all students having a laptop and given a wifi dongle if there is no internet at home, Mr Kitteringham is also thrilled with the levels of student engagement online.
“We conduct weekly engagement surveys and regularly achieve 95 per cent across all grades,” he said.
“It is exciting and a credit to the hardworking staff who have their finger on the pulse.”