Week 9 Term 1
COVID-19 Updates Most weeks, the newsletter process is completed by various staff up to two or three days in advance of publication to allow for proof-reading and formatting to take place. Generally, my report has a little more time to complete than that, but I am conscious in writing this report that by the time you come to read it, the details will already be at least 24-hours out of date. And while that is generally acceptable in most instances, during this most recent emergency critical event, accurate information is crucial. For that reason, I urge all families to ensure you keep track of, and regularly check in on, our live publications of information via our Facebook page, through regular email transmissions and SMS notifications. For those who do not have access, or cannot for whatever reason avail themselves of these means, please ensure you are keeping abreast of all health authority and government advice on this. Information will likely range from ‘business as usual’, to ‘complete closure’ in a very short time. From an ‘all clear here’ message to ‘it’s time to stay home’ with very little warning. Rest assured however, that this College and its community are following ALL NSW Health, Catholic Schools Office and government agency directions very closely. Advice is provided daily to families who may be directly impacted, or who have personal circumstances that require clarification and direction, and to this point I must say that ALL families so far, have adhered to the correct guidelines. For that, and to all of our families, I am very grateful. So it is business as usual here at SPC, and we will continue to care for and nurture our students to achieve the best possible outcomes in the weeks and months ahead.
Feast of the Annunciation Wednesday was a special day in the life of the Church. The Feast of the Annunciation, nine months before Christmas, is a day we celebrate in the Church as one of the most important feast days. Like all solemnities, this feast is one of formal celebration and great joy. The Annunciation is particularly special to many Catholics because it brings together three Catholic beliefs that are intrinsic to our faith.
- The Incarnation of the Lord
- Our devotion to Mary
- Catholic Social Teaching
This last point is topical, this week, because it points us to, and reminds us of, the ‘Dignity of the Human Person’. During the outbreak of the past few weeks, I have spoken often to staff about the time to come when members of our College community, the wider Macleay and surrounds, return to key locations after having endured infection or isolation. Very little has been said in the media about how these people can be supported and nurtured. Rather, it has often shown the dark side of the human condition. As a Catholic Christian community, it is our duty to light the way for the rest of society and show how to bestow dignity and fellowship to people who, through no fault of their own, will be feeling particularly low and vulnerable. The events of the media, depicting ‘every one for themselves’ attitudes in shopping centres and gathering places, will not be welcome here. Jesus calls us to holiness in our everyday actions. This means that we embrace and support those who most need it.
Parents & Friends Association – AGM Last week, the P & F conducted its Annual General meeting to wrap up the preceding year, take stock of the great achievements of the members and to elect a new board to lead us forward into 2020 and beyond. I would like to thank all members of the outgoing board for their dedication and hard-work in supporting the College, its students and their education, through tireless fundraising and caring donations. Happily, I can announce that all members of the outgoing executive were re-elected into their roles for the forthcoming year, with some very new and welcome faces joining them. They will certainly be a formidable team. I thank and welcome the following executive members of the team:
- President - Mr Greg Sowter
- Vice President - Mrs Angela Bramley
- Vice President - Mrs Sarah Osborne
- Treasurer - Mr Peter Livermore
- Secretary - Mrs Jodie O’Loughlin
- Assistant Secretary - Mrs Deanna Peters
- Ordinary Members
- Mrs Marika Crilley
- Mrs Kylie O’Donnell
- Mrs Renee King
The works of the P & F may vary this year from previous. We are very aware of the difficult circumstances that businesses will face, and that most effective fundraisers involve gathering people together for an event, which will all prove difficult to achieve this year. We are committed to achieving great outcomes for our students, and are aware of the need for a refocus. Your thoughts on how this might look are always welcome.
Easter Raffle The P & F are again running an Easter raffle and is seeking donations of chocolates, eggs and small Easter toys from families to compile prizes that will bring some cheer to people during these tough times. We are also asking families to complete and return raffle books (five per family at $1 each) as part of the fund-raising to support much needed equipment and resources for our students. If you require extra raffle books please contact our office staff.
Kevin Lewis BEd (Syd) MEd (ACU) GradCertRe (Uon)
At this difficult time in our world, I am keen to emphasise with parents how important it is for students to stick to routines and continue with normal expectations in relation to learning and teaching at St Paul’s College.
Looking to the future, College staff are currently generating plans that will be put in place if the school needs to be closed for any length of time, noting that currently we will remain open until the scheduled holiday period begins on Good Friday.
Teaching and learning is continuing as normal and all excursions or staff absences to participate in Professional Learning opportunities have been postponed. Staff Professional Learning is continuing remotely, using Zoom, and some students will also be participating in Zoom meetings in lieu of excursions. This will be the case until at least the conclusion of Term 2.
Please find below guidelines for parents who have decided to self-isolate their children from school for a variety of reasons. Teachers will not be strictly adhering to these guidelines for cases of self-isolation, however, this is a good start for parental expectations of students who are being self-isolated from St Paul’s.
St Paul’s College Online Teaching and Learning Plan – Guidelines for Parents:
- Remember the School Values of Respect, Resilience and Hope
As a community anchored in faith we:
- Value every child’s education and provide opportunities that empower all
- Work collaboratively as we adapt, adjust and accommodate all emerging scenarios
- Remain optimistic and supportive of each other
- Establish Routines and Expectations From the first day of school closure or self-isolation, your child should begin their studies at 9.05 am and should be expected to maintain normal school day routines as far as possible. It is important that parents set these expectations for how students will spend their days starting as soon as possible after the decision to self-isolate.
- Define the Physical Space for Study We encourage families to establish a space/location where students will learn most of the time. If possible this should be a place that can be quiet.
- Communications with Teachers Teachers and students can communicate via Stile and Email. Teachers will answer emails when available to do so, but will be prioritising face to face teaching of students who are attending school. Parents are asked to encourage your child to be proactive in communicating with their teachers.
- Communication with the College If your child is unwell and unable to complete their coursework, please email email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or the relevant Leader of Learning, can be found in the front of your child’s diary. Staff will endeavour to respond to all communication in a timely manner.
For queries about
A subject, activity or resource
The relevant classroom teacher
A technology-related problem or issue
Submit a helpdesk
All other concerns/queries
- Begin and End Each Day with a Check-In It is important that students feel supported during this time. We encourage you to regularly check-in with your child to ensure that they are engaged in their learning. If you have any concerns, or your child needs assistance, you are encouraged to make contact with the relevant staff member via Email. Staff will respond to these email enquiries taking into consideration their priorities in face-to-face teaching.
- Take Breaks Which Include Physical Activity and/or Exercise Make sure students remember to move, take regular breaks and exercise. This is vitally important to their health, well-being, and learning. Breaks are an important part of the day and it is recommended that they are to be off-screen. during these break times.
School Visit by Steve Jeffery (Police Liaison Officer) We have been very fortunate to have had visits from Constable Steve Jeffery throughout the last fortnight to speak to students from Years 7–11 about some very challenging issues surrounding the use of Information Technology Devices (I-pads, computers, Smart phones) especially in the areas of Social Media Bullying and Sexting. He also spoke to the more senior students about drink driving.
Steve’s many years of experience in the Macleay Valley enables him to speak with authority to our children about the dangers they face in the areas outlined above, and we really value his input. Students were able to ask questions and received clarifications regarding the legality of very serious issues. I hope that they heed Constable Jeffery’s advice and be very prudent in their choices around the topics discussed at these meetings.
Year 12 Assessments All assessments being completed during the final weeks of Term 1 will already be notified to Year 12 students and I trust that they are preparing adequately for these crucial internal assessment activities. Illness/Misadventure forms are available from Student Admin and students must have medical evidence when applying for Medical Misadventure.
Lenten Reflections We are truly blessed to have Calissa Percival and Darcy O’Loughlin as our Youth Ministry Officers (YMO’s) for 2020. Darcy and Calissa have been producing Daily Lenten Reflections and I was particularly moved by todays.
Invitation to Prayer: Brothers and sisters, let’s pray together that we can turn our hearts, minds, and souls towards Christ.
Reflection: “Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God”. In times of stress and anxiety is it hard to remember how close the Lord is to us. He calls to us and beckons us to return to Him. The word ‘return’ can make it feel like the destination is so far away. But because the Lord surrounds us, he is already near and there is never far we have to go to find Him. Perhaps it is just our attention that needs to return to Him. Perhaps all we need to do is look up or turn around. I get so distracted and bogged down by my worry that to come out of that place feels impossible. But the moment I call the Lord to mind I know He is here with me. It is a daily conversion we must undergo – choosing God. And in times of uncertainty it makes it hard to possess the faith and hope the Lord desires from us. In this passage from Hosea, the prophet urges the Israelites to return to the Lord for He will be like dew: refreshing and bringing of new life.
We find ourselves now in the desert of Lent, and it is now, in this particular Lent that the whole world is experiencing, that we need to rely on the life-giving water of Christ. He will bring new life, He will quench our thirst, He will guide our feet, and He will make straight the path. In the Gospel for today, Jesus tells us that the greatest of the commandments is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. With our whole beings, and with every moment of our day, let us turn to God and live through Him and for Him.
Prayer: Oh Lord, in this season of Lent, help us to turn our minds, souls, and hearts to you.
Closing: Brothers and sisters, let us pray for one another.
Let’s all hope that the stress and anxiety caused by our current situation will soon be alleviated by steady hands and heads.
Mr Leon Robinson - Acting Assistant Principal
There is so much information in the media about the coronavirus, and the situation is and changing daily. We have to be quite flexible in what we are doing and thinking. I read a very interesting article from ‘The Conversation’ on ways to keep children happy if they are at home for a period of time. I am going to share some of the article with you: The advice compliments the actions the College have in place if this situation was to occur.
- Create a Routine Early Children and teenagers thrive on routine. Some children may also experience anxiety about what is happening, and a new routine can help provide them with a sense of normalcy.
Plan a rough daily routine with times for different activities: school work, exercise, chores, creativity or free play, and time on digital devices.
Research also suggests children be involved in negotiating their routines as this helps support their empowerment. Older teenagers, who may be used to managing their affairs, may only require minor prompts to help with their routine.
Where schoolwork is offered online, and you find yourself in the role of teaching support, a routine also allows children to know when your teacher hat is on and when it comes off again.
- Help Them Get Exercise Many sporting activities have been cancelled for this season. Yet exercise is critical for young people’s physical and mental health.
Think creatively about the activities children and teenagers can do when confined to the home. Opportunities for exercise might include a mini bootcamp in the backyard, an obstacle course through the house, physically active video games (dance, fitness, boxing), or kid-friendly dance and kids yoga classes on YouTube.
- Help Them Stay Social Social distancing measures reduce children’s capacity to socialise with friends. What this means may differ depending on the age of your child.
Deep emotional connections with friends are extremely important for teenagers and many will turn to social media to discuss their feelings. Yet recent research has shown teenagers who go online for emotional support may experience more worry. This may be because the quality of support they find there may be poor, and they may also experience uncertainty about some of the messages they encounter.
You can encourage teenagers to continue using social media to bond with friends and peers, but to take regular breaks and share their bigger worries with parents. If they hear any alarming information about COVID-19 from their friends, it’s important to remind them to verify the information by checking with reputable sources – like the Australian government’s website.
Supervised FaceTime, Zoom or Skype play-dates may also help provide this connection. And children can write letters or draw cards to then photograph and send digitally to friends and family.
- Think Beyond Netflix Harnessing your child or teenager’s interests is key to engaging them in new activities, especially when Netflix or video games are the alternative.
Talk to your child about a new skill they would like to learn or a place they would like to visit, and investigate real and virtual possibilities for accessing these. There are endless opportunities to learn new skills together through online platforms such as YouTube.
You could teach children games and skills you enjoy (such as cooking, chess, coding or science experiments). Virtual excursions promote interest and learning, and these are offered by many museums and zoos around the world.
You can teach children skills you enjoy. Children and teenagers are also strongly motivated by “achievable challenges”. Think creatively about challenges you could take together.
You could build a fort with every Lego block in the house, choose five board games for a family tournament or fix a neglected area of the garden.
Children’s ability to sustain and direct attention increases across time, so it is useful to plan these activities with your own child’s attention skills in mind. By rotating activities regularly, and aiming to complete one or two each day, it becomes easier over time to limit passive TV viewing.
Children and teenagers stuck at home may become bored, experience increased conflict with family, or express stress and frustration in unhelpful ways. When you observe lapses in emotion control (such as temper tantrums), it is important to place these in context.
It can be useful to acknowledge how your child is feeling, and help them develop resilient emotional responses by problem-solving a path forward together.
March 18, 2020 2.54pm AEDT
- Erin Mackenzie: Lecturer in Education, Western Sydney University
- Penny Van Bergen: Associate Professor in Educational Psychology and Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching, Macquarie University
Mrs Lesa Morrison - Leader of Pedagogy
Assessment Tasks and Student Absence As we get to the end of the term, students in all year levels have been and are continuing to complete assessment tasks in many subjects. Any students in Years 7–9 who miss an assessment task will need to make contact with the relevant Leader of Learning or myself. In the case of a known absence, such as a prearranged medical appointment, it is best if contact is made before the due date.
Students in Years 10–12 need to follow the usual Illness Misadventure procedures and fill out the appropriate form. A copy of this can be found in the hard copy assessment booklet which was issued to all students at the start of the year. A copy of this can be found on the SPC Resources page: https://sites.google.com/lism.catholic.edu.au/spc-resources/assessments-study-guides
Please see the link above for the latest updates from NESA. This includes information about HSC Exams, Internal Assessment, HSC Projects and VET courses including the following:
HSC Examinations NESA’s HSC illness/misadventure process is available to ensure students are not disadvantaged by illness, emergencies or natural disasters, at the time of the practical, oral or written exams.
School-based HSC Assessment If a student is unable to undertake an assessment task due to Australian or NSW Government COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) restrictions, this would meet the school’s criteria for illness/misadventure.
HSC Exam Projects, Submitted Works and Performances Students should continue working on their projects, submitted works and performances for the HSC examination. Schools should continue to monitor and record students’ progress to ensure that they are able to certify the work. This is particularly important for work that is completed outside the school setting.
For students who have an extended absence, schools should operate in line with their assessment policy and consistent with assessment and reporting guidelines for each subject.
Where students are working on group performances for the HSC examination, schools should ensure that they are following NSW Health and Department of Education advice in regards to hygiene and social distancing.
Mandatory Work Placement in VET NESA is aware of the impact of COVID-19 on the work placement service provider program, with a number of employers indicating their inability to continue providing work placement opportunities at this time. NESA is working with the school sectors regarding possible interim arrangements, and will provide further advice shortly.
Year 12 Parents and Students Most institutions that participate through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) have an Educational Access Scheme (EAS) for applicants who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage due to circumstances beyond their control or choosing, which has seriously affected their educational performance. A long-term educational disadvantage should normally be experienced for a period of at least six months.
If you think you're eligible, you should apply for EAS through UAC in addition to your UAC application for admission by downloading a copy of the application guide (https://www.uac.edu.au/assets/documents/eas/eas-application-guide.pdf) and applying online ( https://www.uac.edu.au/current-applicants/educational-access-schemes) or calling UAC on (02) 9752 0200 if you have any questions. Applications for 2021 admissions will open in April
NAPLAN School Readiness Practice Tests and NAPLAN Tests – Important Announcement The following information was communicated to schools on Friday 20 March:
Education Council agreed today that NAPLAN 2020 will not proceed to help principals, teachers and school staff focus on student learning during the outbreak of COVID-19.
This decision includes cancellation of:
- NAPLAN Online practice testing, 23 March – 9 April 2020
- NAPLAN Online tests, 12 May – 22 May 2020
- NAPLAN paper tests, 12 May – 15 May 2020.
|Important Diary Dates|
|Year 12/12 Minimum Standard Tests||Term 1 - Weeks 6-10|
|Year 10 Minimum Standard Tests||Term 1 Week 10|
|Years 7-11 Mid-Course Assessment Block||1-12 June|
|Year 12 HSC Trial Exams||18-30 August|
|HSC Practical Submission Dates||24 August - 14 September|
|Year 11 Preliminary Final Exams||14-18 September|
|Year 12 HSC Exams||15 October - 6 November|
Mrs Catriona Martin - Leader of Curriculum
Premier’s Reading Challenge Congratulations to those students who have signed up. User Names and Passwords should be available very soon. House points on offer!!! If anyone finds themselves wanting to sign up because they are at home searching for distractions, just send an email to email@example.com and we will get you started.
Overdue Books Need we say more?
Sora If you have not already discovered our vast eBook collection there is no time like the present, literally! Call up to the Library if you need help and we will set you on track. If you are stuck at home, send an email to the above address.
Seniors Only Juniors please note that this sign means just that. We do not put it on the door very often, but when we do we ask that you obey it.
HOLIDAY (Or HOME ISOLATION) READING Feel free to borrow up to five items (including DVDs) to stave off those “Boredom Blues”. We also have a huge range of withdrawn stock just yearning for good homes. Pop on up and have a look. You never know what you might find.
and remember…Wash Your Hands and Keep Your Distance
Mr Peter Garty - Teacher/Librarian
Week 8 and 9 have seen only two events take place due to the unfortunate cancellation of a number of sporting events outside normal school routine.
The Schools Cup Netball Gala day was held on Wednesday Week 8. St Paul’s nominated six teams and competed against schools from around the Macleay area. Students saw success on the day, with all six teams placing either first or second. They are now eligible to compete at the next level of competition for the Schools Cup event, which will be held in Term 2 at Port Macquarie. Congratulations to all of our students, and thanks to those who helped umpire on the day.
Two days later, our senior students also had their Fast 5 netball gala day take place. They were full of enthusiasm and keen to try something different. We had five teams in the Fast 5 competition and they were all competitive. It was a very social day, with the students enjoying themselves against Melville High School mixed teams.
Thank you to all the students who helped make this day possible.
Mr Heath Needs - Sports Co-ordinator