Dear Parents and Carers,
Although Term 3 didn't really go as expected, by comparison to many in our world, we are okay. I say this with an understanding that there are people within our community who do it tough every day and that's one of the reasons why we aim to develop an 'others' focus at Holy Name. The students and staff really do try to keep our motto of 'Concern for Others' at the front of our minds, and in our words and our actions each day. I see this in the way our students work in the garden and care for the chickens that provide food for our Catholic Care Community Kitchen, in the engagement of students in creating messages of kindness and sharing them with others, in the students who give up some of their playtime to connect with others in lockdown or to make improvements to their playground environment, in the way our staff planned the many different options for students and reached out to those who found home learning difficult, and in the way our support staff took on the challenge to continue to provide specific intervention to students during the home learning period. I also saw this same level of concern in the way you, our parents and carers, supported our staff and your children through this latest lockdown. We know how tough these times can be for our families, in the loss of work, closing of businesses and additional responsibilities of supporting students through their learning programme. As Principal of Holy Name, I would like to say thank you for your support, because as tough as it was for our staff to plan, deliver and provide feedback in the classroom and online over the last 5 weeks, we always knew that we had your support.
Moving into Term 4, I imagine there could be other periods of lockdown and restrictions on how we go about our business. We will think as creatively as we can to ensure students have as many of their regular experiences as possible and that you feel as connected to our community as is possible within the guidelines. The main thing is that our community remains as safe as possible so that we can continue to access those things that maintain our wellbeing. As educators, we are required by the current guidelines to be vaccinated by November 8 and our staff are already well underway to make sure we are all vaccinated by this deadline.
Middle Leadership Flourishing at Holy Name
A couple of months ago, a request came from the Australian Council of Educational Leaders (ACEL) through our Catholic Schools Office, for the leadership team of Holy Name to present at an upcoming professional learning experience entitled, 'Flourishing in the Middle'. We were a little overwhelmed by the request but said 'yes' and are so pleased that we did. The experience and motivation gained to continue to build the capacity of every single member of our staff and to provide the opportunities for middle leaders to flourish was well worth the effort.
The following excerpt from the overview describes what participants in the ACEL professional learning would experience.
'This online interactive workshop is designed for middle leaders, teacher leaders and those supporting these important formal and informal leaders. The role of teacher and middle leader is complex yet highly significant to the positive development of teacher capacity, motivation and moral, organisational reform, and student learning. To successfully lead, they require support, appreciation, resourcing and strategies to work in collaboration with teachers and leaders to empower and increase collective agency.
This workshop explores research, tools and strategies teacher leaders, middle leaders and senior leaders can utilise to enable and positively influence their learning organisations.'
Professor David Gurr and Dr Kylie Lipscombe explored the research on middle leadership roles, responsibilities and practices in a keynote and Holy Name staff led one of the two workshops on the practical tools and strategies utilised to enable positive teacher and middle leadership to impact student learning.
The entire experience was a real tribute to the work of our staff team over the last 18months and a boost to our belief in our approach to improvement. The strength of middle leadership across the entire teaching, support and administrative staff of our school has been acknowledged throughout our preparation for this event. It was great to see Mrs Monks, Mr Hassett and Mr Pomplun stepping up to this platform and for Professor David Gurr to make comment that Holy Name was an excellent example of an Australian primary school and that he would love to visit...we obviously took the opportunity to invite him to come! My hope for our presentation was that the 155 participants would be able to feel the energy and commitment of our dedicated team, and by Prof. Gurr's comment, I took it that they did.
Perpetual Day of Remembrance
September 15 is an important day in our Diocese. It is known as the Perpetual Day of Remembrance and on this day, we pause to remember that children have not always been as safe as they are now. Lots of things have changed since then. It is important that all of us do our part to make sure everyone in our school – students, staff and families – feel safe, respected and supported. On this day we focus on Jesus and pray that we will keep changing and growing and behaving in ways that allow all people in our community to be safe, to be respected and to be free to learn and grow. The prayer below is called ‘Shine the Light of Christ’. We pray this so that Jesus will be our light, helping us to see how to love and respect each other so that our school community radiates the love and compassion of God.
Ode to the light of Christ
God with us,
you have made us in your image
and filled us with your love.
Through the life of Jesus
you show us the way to live a good life.
Where people are ‘put down’
may we shine the light of your strength.
Where there is dishonesty and denial
may we shine the light of your truth.
Where there is fear
may we shine the light of your courage.
Where there is judgement
may we shine the light of your compassion.
Where there is disrespect
may we shine the light of your love.
Where people feel silenced
may we shine the light of your word.
Where people feel excluded
may we shine the light of your acceptance.
Where there is sin
may we shine the light of your forgiveness.
The important message of this day is to always 'shine a light' on the protection of children, on the growth of our Church and the absolute commitment to put in place the many positive changes that ensure our schools and Churches are safe places for chidlren to flourish.
I take this opportunity to wish you well for the holiday break. If you own businesses, I hope you're run off your feet, if you work for a business, I hope that you get plenty of shifts, if you're in health, I hope you find time to nurture yourself and that you have people in your lives who are caring for you, and if you are in education, I hope you take the time to rest, recover and enjoy the downtime.
Term 4 resumes on Tuesday October 5th due to the Public Holiday on Monday 4th.
With warm regards,
Well that certainly was a Term!!! I would personally like to sincerely thank all my colleagues at Holy Name for the huge amount of work put in during the home learning period to ensure our students had access to learning tasks across several Key Learning Areas. Also thank you to all the students who managed to stay on track with their learning and to you parents who gave them wonderful support.
National Child Protection Week
Last week was National Child Protection Week across Australia. Even though many students were learning from home, students were able to access lessons, such as the Biggest Online Safety Lesson through the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, R U OK Day resources and resources through the eSmart Commissioner.
Year 6 were lucky to participate in a webinar called Be and eSafe Kid which gave some great tips on being safe online. This week the Year 6 children also participated in a webinar on Peer Pressure through the Kids Helpline. The Kids Helpline website has some great resources to assist children in dealing with some of the challenges they may face.
ICAS Assessments were to be held during Weeks 1-3 of Term 4. I haven’t had an update regarding the ongoing lockdown situation; however, I will give you an update as soon as I have the information.
I sincerely hope you get to spend some quality time with your families these holidays and that the weather is kind. It is a beautiful time of the year to be out and about in our beautiful region. I am taking Leave in Term 4 due to my husband’s illness; however my thoughts and prayers will always be with our staff, students and families. Please offer up some prayers for my family if you have the time.
Socktober Mission Month
Our Socktober celebrations were postponed this week due to the current COVID guidelines. Holy Name has its fingers crossed that next term the guidelines will be eased and as a school community, we will celebrate Socktober.
To our new families, our school’s Vision Statement is Belonging, Learning and Serving in His Holy Name. Our school’s intention to be involved in social justice comes from our belief that we are participants in building God’s Kingdom through our action for justice. As a school community we stand in solidarity with the poor and marginalised.
Holy Name raises money for Catholic Mission each year. This year the money we raise will go to Thailand. More on the Socktober will come in our next school newsletter.
Bishop Bill Wright's Health and Ministry
Bishop Bill has been unwell since the end of June with a respiratory condition. With a heavy heart, Bishop Bill has written to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, submitting his resignation as bishop, for he can no longer fulfil a bishop's role or duties. Bishop Bill in the interum will have Vicor General, the most reverant, Andrew Doohan continue in his place. Bishop Bill was grateful for the "get well' cards our students sent him. Please keep Bishop Bill in your prayers.
To all parents, carers, and extended family of Holy Name School, I wish you a happy, safe, and restful holiday. May we continue to support each other in faith and love through all life’s challenges. Looking forward to seeing your children return to school in Term 4.
Religious education Coordinator
Even though we’ve been in lockdown we can still affect change. Out students are learning little things can have a big impact. Mini Vinnies have led the way together with students from all grades we have continued on our Kindness Mission making and creating felt kindness hearts, kindness cards and word birds. We have delivered them to the Catholic Care Kitchens in Forster and Taree, Fr. Peter accepted a box for the Parishioners and a box went to Sunrise Supported Living for the residents and staff. You can see from the photos that even though the volunteers are wearing masks they are smiling, you can see it in their eyes. I love sharing these photos with our makers and creators at school. They can see how they have simply brightened someone else’s day. They love being able to identify their own birds that they have made, their smiles realizing this makes my day. It’s like a magic ripple!!
We were so excited to participate in Aspire’s The Kindness Project recently and even more thrilled to be selected as an outstanding creation to receive a $50 voucher so we can purchase art supplies to continue to make to give.
This week we welcomed so many happy faces back to breakfast club. Warm milo, toast, music and sunshine were the perfect way to commence our final week of term 3. Our Mini Vinnies helpers have continued in their ‘good deeds’ showing up to help out with toast, pouring milo and cleaning up.
Our 5c Friday collection is steadily growing, we have raised over $250 and early next term Mini Vinnies will meet to decide who to donate this fundraising too. We are very grateful and appreciate all the 5 cent pieces that have been sent into each classroom. This shows again that little things can have a big impact. Thank you for helping us help others.
Pastoral Care Worker