Back to School
The students have made a fantastic return to learning back at school. While schools still have a number of restrictions in place, it feels like we are back to normal with students in classrooms and out on the playground.
Teachers have found the students eager to learn and have enjoyed reconnecting with teachers and friends. Many thanks to our parents for supporting your child with transitioning back to school routines.
We continue to wait for updates of how the easing of restrictions impact the operations of schools. Our year 6 teachers and students have begun discussions around what may be possible for Year 6 Graduation celebrations towards the end of the year. We will notify parents as soon as we are able to make set plans. Of course we will celebrate, in some way, this milestone event for our students. I am sure we can be creative, and still ensure everyone is safe and following the guidelines.
Parents received notification via Operoo regarding Free Dress Friday until the end of term. Many thanks to Suzanne Currie for spending time last week sorting out uniform items in our second hand uniform shop. Parents needing second hand uniforms can contact the office to organise a time to visit the second hand uniform shop.
We have a number of virtual transition meetings set up for our new 2021 Foundation students. We have prepared a resource pack that will be sent out to each student. Brittney Wrigley, our foundation teacher will meet online with students for our first session next week (Monday 26 October at 9:15am). We are hoping with the possibility of restrictions easing we will be able to have small groups of students attend transition onsite before the end of the year. A virtual Parent Information Session will take place on Thursday 22 October at 7:00pm. Invites to this meeting will be emailed to parents this week.
New Governance Arrangements for Catholic Schools
The new governance arrangements will see schools owned by the Archdiocese, its parishes or associations of parishes in the Archdiocese of Melbourne transferred to a new company called Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools Ltd (MACS), which will be responsible for the governance and operation of the schools.
All 293 schools owned by the Archdiocese, its parishes or associations of parishes as of 31 December 2020 will be directly affected by these arrangements. This includes 262 parish primary schools, 26 secondary colleges that belong to associations of parishes and five schools that belong to the Archdiocese.
The changes follow the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) acceptance of Recommendation 16.6 from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that: ‘The bishop of each Catholic Church diocese in Australia should ensure that parish priests are not the employers of principals and teachers in Catholic schools.’
The changes also align with the Victorian government requirement for organisations providing services to children to be appropriately insured and incorporated. This requirement is scheduled to take effect in funding agreements for Catholic schools from 1 January 2021.
The governance arrangements seek to:
- build a foundation for the future that ensures archdiocesan schools offer the best education possible and are places to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth
- ensure all 293 schools owned by parishes or the Archdiocese are operated from a consistent and system-wide approach to the educational and operational compliance aspects of schooling
- lessen the increasingly onerous compliance burden for an individual who is asked to be responsible for the growing breadth and complexity of legislation and regulation associated with school governance
- provide a real opportunity to revitalise current partnerships, review and update a variety of system policies and procedures, embrace efficiencies, and strengthen reporting and accountability measures
- respond to contemporary community expectations regarding transparency, accountability, consultation and participation in the governance of entities which provide services to children
- give further opportunities to maintain and strengthen ties between parish and school, as the parish priest and the parish continue to play a pivotal role in providing the environment and faith community in which the school’s Catholic mission and identity can be expressed as ‘a summons to revive our hope’.
Schools are currently preparing for this change to take place, by liaising with Catholic Education Melbourne. In addition to the change to a new Governance structure, we are beginning preparations for a new administration system ICON. This new system will provide schools with more streamlined functionality, shared services and support of a Business Manager. All Catholic Schools in Melbourne will be using the new platform by the end of 2021.
AFL GRAND FINAL PUBLIC HOLIDAY- Friday 23 October
SCHOOL CLOSURE- Monday 2 November
MELBOURNE CUP DAY PUBLIC HOLIDAY- Tuesday 3 November
I SAW GOD!
Even with the most introverted of us the period of lockdown is beginning to wear off. But last Sunday I was able to go to the Botanic Gardens as it falls in the 5km radius allowance.
Firstly, Sunday was so beautiful. A typical Melbourne Spring day. The blue sky above the wonderful trees and plants was an image of the beautiful God we love.
It was just wonderful to see so many people enjoying the sun whilst they ate, drank, laughed and slept.
Two people caught my eyes.
The first was a small boy in a wheel chair, who I think had some form of cystic fibrosis (but I am not a doctor) and the second was a woman who was either the boy’s mother or carer.
The LOVE they showed towards each other moved me to tears.
The care that this woman gave to the boy as she helped him out of his chair. The massaging of the feet she gave him. The hugs they gave each other. The laughter and excitement on each person was so beautiful. At one point the boy walked in his particular way to another couple who were hugging each other. They stopped and acknowledged the boy with waves and voice greetings. It brought smiles to many people.
I am a great believer that there are blessings in disasters.
I experienced a blessing on Sunday. If one thing I have learned from this time it is the realisation I can rejoice in the smallest of things. Being able to focus on the plants which have begun to show their new leaves and the smiles and laughter of people are two things which brings energy to my heart, which at times has struggled with lockdown.
God is still so ever present. Yes, at times we have to work harder to find God. But God is still present.
On Sunday I saw God!
Edward Dooley (Mission and Faith Leader)
It has been a great start to our final term at school. It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces coming through the gates on Monday. All of our classes have had a focus on student wellbeing and settling the students back into the school routine after being at home over the extended period.
Teachers will be implementing brain breaks and meditation to help the students regulate their energy levels and concentration as they move back to the classroom setting. Throughout the week during recess and lunch breaks, staff have undertaken to organise activities for the students, including mindfulness drawing, Lego building, gardening, games and relays, books to read, as well as all of the sports equipment Mrs Patto has organised.
Being mindful of friends reconnecting and the development of new friendships, it’s important for everyone to be using the same language at school and at home. I have included again the 4 Friendship Facts from the Urstrong Friendology program as a reference. Fact 4 maybe something that many of our students notice as they realise things they had in common with their friends may have changed.
Over the coming weeks classes will be engaging in Social and Emotional lessons that will assist the students in reflecting on their emotions, ways to express gratitude, positive coping skills and problem solving as we return to school and re-connect. The following link has been taken from the Parenting Ideas blog and addresses ways to assist the students over the next few weeks as they return to school.
I have included a link to a wonderful book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” This book may provide your family with a way to check in with the students about their day at school. Asking how did they fill their bucket at school and how did they fill other student’s buckets. You may like to use it to acknowledge how your family members fill each other's buckets to bring about happiness to others.
Last week the Foundation and Year 1 students had a wonderful time settling back into the routine and structure of school. Mrs Hills and Miss Wrigley saw so many happy faces when greeting the students in the hallway!
The Foundation students have been focusing on identifying different emotions and how our emotions can change. As we read a variety of picture books throughout the week, the students discussed the different emotions we can all experience. We thought about how our body language can change as we feel these emotions as well. As a class we began thinking of different things that we can do for ourselves or others if feeling a negative emotion. The students loved reconnecting with their friends again and spent some time learning about the different qualities that make a good friendship.
The Foundation students had some wonderful responses about being back onsite at school
“I felt happy and excited because we went back to school” - June
“I felt happy because I am free of home learning”- Layla
“I feel happy because we can see our school again”- Dominic
“I feel surprised because I saw all of my friends”- Juliette
“I am excited because Covid is nearly over and we got to go back to school”- Zac
“I feel excited because I get the see my teacher”- Sofia
In Year 1 we have had a big focus on re-establishing our friendships and school routines. We have read a story written by Susan Verde called ‘I am Peace’ and the following link is the song created from the book. The students love to sing it. We have discussed how bubbles make us feel happy, calm and excited when we are looking at them and playing with them. The students have discussed how sometimes when we experience problems and troubles in our friendships it’s like bubbles popping. The bubbles pop and we talk about our worries and then we can blow more bubbles and move on.
On Monday we talked about what makes a good friend and revisited our Friendology Friendship Facts. After being away from school for so long it was important to highlight fact number 4 that friendships change and that’s okay. The students were very excited when they received their ‘Back to school buddy.’ These buddies sit on the students tables and come to the floor when the students feel they need a little companionship. We have also used them to help us focus on our breathing during our meditation and mindfulness sessions.
Another story we have read during the week was ‘Have You Filled a Bucket Today?’ The students created their own bucket to be displayed in the classroom to fill during the week. They can fill their own bucket when they have done something that has helped someone and others can fill their buckets as well. You might like to read it as a family.
A few Year 1 reflections at the end of week 1:
“Today I loved being back at school. It is the best, I loved doing art and sport.” Alexis
“I loved seeing all of my friends and I loved getting my back to school buddy.” Maggie
“My favourite thing about this week was playing with my friends because I haven’t played with them for a long time.” Cooper
“It was great being back to school and getting my back to school buddy. He keeps me so calm and he likes running.” Harry
“The best thing that happened this week was seeing my friends. This week in sport we did line tag, running and catching balls. I liked meditation because it is really so relaxing.” Lachie
Classroom Compost Bins
This week both classes were introduced to their new Compost Bin provided by Kingston Council. We were also very lucky to be given some fruit from Woolworths to enjoy! This gave us a great chance to put our compost bin into use and implement more sustainability into our classrooms.