PRINCIPAL’S GRADUATION MESSAGE
Last week we had our Grade 6 graduation and fortunately I had the chance to speak to our children in relation to Living with Hope for our future and living out the 5 pillars of our WSABI (Whole School Approach to Positive Behaviors)
One of the core principles of an emerging new time during COVID-19 is the resurgence of HOPE.
Hope being the expectation of positive outcomes, the cherishing of a desire for the future and celebrating each other. Now is the greatest time in the world’s history where hope and positive change will be the only way forward.
More than ever, the leaders and teachers in our Catholic Primary School are charged with working together in humanity to develop hope in our students, optimism in our communities and the understanding that together we can create a solution-driven future for all.
Learning how to make a positive difference in the world is how children can develop confidence, optimism and hope.
“I have said these things to you, that in my heart you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world” John 16:33
Three years ago we introduced our WSAPB (Whole School Approach to Positive Behaviours) to the student’s, staff and parents of St Ita’s.
Our WSAPB framework is designed to support everyone in our school community to develop a positive, safe and supportive learning culture at St Ita’s. It assists us to improve the social, emotional, behavioural and academic outcomes for all our children through the 5 pillars of Compassion, Inclusiveness, Respect, Resilience and Team work.
When our WSAPB is implemented well, students, teacher and parents have more time to focus on building healthy relationships and classroom instruction. All parties benefit.
One of the greatest WSAPB successes, was that we launched it prior to the onset of lockdowns and remote learning. Via the 5 pillars of Compassion, Inclusiveness, Respect, Resilience and Teamwork we were able to apply a glass half full, positive approach to the challenges that COVID-19 presented to us.
Please allow me to explain using each of the 5 pillars.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted almost every element of our lives, and the education of our children has been no exception. In the blink of an eye COVID-19 required teachers, parents and students to rapidly adjust to new modes of learning.
In a matter of days, schools had to find and implement viable alternatives to the traditional model of teaching in the physical classroom.
The St Ita’s staff were absolutely amazing, working collaboratively to develop and implement a model of remote learning with no blue print provided.
After the initial shock of what was expected, teachers worked within their teams to develop a model of remote learning that allowed parents easy access to both the work and to their child’s teacher via video conferencing. This was a great example of what teams can do in situations that are high stress and tough.
COVID-19 has resulted in a very different form of school-led remote learning that comes with considerable challenges for teachers, students and parents, including:
- reduced one-to-one engagement with teachers
- difficulty in ascertaining engagement levels of students
- restricted ability to monitor individual student progress
- increased level of oversight required from parents and carers (particularly for younger children)
- increased social isolation and reduced ability to support student wellbeing
- interruption to learning support for those children with additional needs
- Differential levels of access to technology, including internet and devices, to support learning.
As it became apparent that many schools would need to provide an alternative to classroom-based learning, our school went into overdrive to prepare and transition the students, the parents into a very different learning model.
This involved collating several weeks of learning materials, making hard copies available online, and the adoption of online systems to store content and manage interactions with children and parents.
In addition to this, the preparations involved a logistical exercise for school leadership, managing a workforce that would be split between the classroom and home, and where possible, avoid teachers being expected to teach in ‘dual modes’ full time both remote and face-to-face.
One of the greatest challenges through COVID was faced by you the parent. In a lot of cases you were expected to work from home, whilst stepping into the role of Teacher.
During the lockdowns and remote learning, I received numerous phone calls and emails from parents outlining the challenges and the difficulty that remote learning presented to them. And I say this with the utmost sincerity.
The Students, Staff and Parents are to be commended for the way you have worked through the tough times of COVID. We have all shown amazing resilience to get to where we are now.
One thing we know for certain is that the pandemic will have lasting effects on all of us. Our health system, our education system, how States govern, our economy and the way we live our lives will endure long-term impacts from COVID-19. It will not be possible for some time to simply return to how things were in the past.
The pace of change since the pandemic began has far exceeded what those in the “know” expected or predicted. Rules and mandates have been introduced by our Government and Health leaders that have changed our lives significantly.
Simple things we once took for granted have been taken from us. Division is evident throughout our communities, and there are heightened levels of anger and aggression towards one another.
That is why it is so important to show Respect for one another during these challenging times. We need to be respectful of everyone regardless of their views and stances related to COVID-19
As a developed country, have you ever stopped to consider how lucky we are that we have the opportunity to access medical support to deal with COVID-19? I often wonder what it would be like in some of the third world countries that can’t access the supports needed to work through the pandemic.
How many have died? How many have suffered? How many children have been left orphaned? How many people are experiencing isolation, fear, anxiety? How do they deal with the uncertainties and unknowns both now and the future?
Sometimes it’s important to stop and think what it would be like to walk in the shoes of someone like this, who is doing it really tough. The definition of Compassion literally means: suffering together.
When we feel and understand distress in others, compassion gives us the courage and wisdom to do something about it. It motivates us to help, to be kind, and to give support to others who are suffering because we know instinctively what they need to ease that suffering.
This is what we have seen in our school community over the past 18 months. Compassion has a powerful energy. When there is so much around us that remains unknown, it is our compassion, kindness and humanity that gives us certainty and safety.
We are all facing unique challenges at this time. The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is causing increased anxiety about the unknowns and potential longer-term implications. It is important that people’s wellbeing, diversity and inclusion need to be at the forefront of how we deal with the pandemic going forward.
We need to be flexible and respectful of the fact that everyone is facing their own unique challenges. It is important that we do not lose sight of others’ needs amidst our own fears.
Be mindful of how others are being impacted:
- For many, mental health concerns may be amplified. Those who suffer from anxiety are especially impacted.
- Going to work or school form a core part of social interactions for many individuals, so those who live alone are now more isolated.
- Our friends, family, and colleagues who have children may be facing enormous needs for childcare and home schooling.
- Those who are of Asian heritage may fear an increase in racism and bias (which has been reported around the globe) because of where the virus originated.
- Individuals who are in high-risk groups (such as the elderly) may fear an increase in inter-generational bias.
- Anyone with underlying health conditions, disabilities, will be managing a plethora of new challenges.
To be truly inclusive is to be accepting of all regardless.
So as we say farewell to our Graduating class of 2021 my gift to them is this. Please feel free to take the knowledge of our WSAPB’s 5 pillars on the next phase of their learning journey. They will serve our students well during their secondary education and more importantly, they will be of enormous value during their journey through life.
“How good and pleasant it is, when God’s people live together in unity." Psalm 133
FINAL DAY FOR STUDENTS
CANCELLATION OF CHRISTMAS CAROLS AND WHOLE ASSEMBLY
Due to the current COVID-19 cases in our local community, we have been advised by DOSCEL that we will not be able to run our Christmas Carols evening on Thursday, or our final whole school assembly on Friday.
Our final whole school assembly will now take place via Google Meet and we will make a copy of the assembly and attach it to our school website for parents to view.
We have deemed that the running of both these events would be too great a risk to students and families in the lead up to the end of the year. We apologise for the short notice, however, we are obligated to put in place the safest and most responsible practices for all those in our teaching and learning community.
At this stage the Grade 6 Big Day Out will still take place on Thursday, however we may not be able to access the pool due to poor weather. This event will be conditional, and could be cancelled if we have more student cases appearing in this class level.
We will keep all families informed of any changes that may need to take place via the Schoolzine App, in the meantime please keep the parents and children currently suffering COVID-19 in your thoughts and prayers.
PARENTS AND STUDENTS WHO CONTRACT
In the event that any parents, siblings or students test positive to COVID-19, please contact the school immediately and follow the directions below. Students must undergo a PCR test, and receive a negative result to gain an exit quarantine certificate before they can come back to school. Please be aware that tests using a Rapid Antigen Test Kit will not provide a certificate to gain entry back to school.
After Tuesday's transition, it is really important that if your child comes home disappointed that they don’t have their best friend or favourite teacher, that parents use this opportunity to build resilience in their child. Teachers have spent numerous hours discussing every child in the school and what is the best fit for their learning and we will not be making changes to any class structures as it creates a ripple effect across classrooms.
GRADE 6’s BIG DAY OUT
The Grade 6's will be attending Inflatable World in Moe and returning to school for games and a hot chip lunch. The Grade 6’s have exclusively booked this venue to reduce the possible exposure and transmission of COVID-19.
SCHOOL CAPTAINS FOR 2022
Amber, Aiden, Josephine and Cooper were selected from a very high pool of exceptional young leaders at St Ita’s, and a big congratulations to their teachers for the preparation and organisation.
GRADE 6 CAPTAINS FOR 2022
The following students have been awarded Captains for 2022
YEAR 7 TRANSITION DATES
The below dates have been scheduled for Grade 6 students who are transitioning into Secondary School in 2022;
Drouin Secondary College
Transition Day 1 - Tuesday 7th December
Transition Day 2 - Friday 10th December
FAMILIES LEAVING THE ST ITA'S COMMUNITY IN 2022
If there are any families that know they will be moving on from St Ita’s in the 2022 school year, it is important that we are informed of your intentions so places can be offered to those families who are currently on waiting lists. Please contact our School Admin if you are moving on 03 5623 7222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID-19 FINANCIAL SUPPORT - SCHOOL FEE CONCESSIONS
SCHOOL FEES & CONCESSIONS
School Fees for 2021 are now due and payable. All school fees must be paid in full by the end of December.
Please contact the school office this week should you need to discuss finalising your 2021 school fee payment.
If any families would like to set up a weekly, fortnightly or monthly direct debit schedule for next year, please complete the Direct Debit Form below and return to the school office prior to 17th December 2021 for payments commencing in January, or by Monday 31st January 2022 for payments commencing February 2022. For any assistance regarding calculations of payments, please contact the school Admin office via email on: email@example.com
For any families that have recently received a Government means-tested health care concession card, please forward a copy of your card to the office to check your eligibility, as a fee concession may apply. The card must be in the name of the parent/fee payer for a fee concession to apply.
If your current Health Care card is due to expire this year and your card is re-issued, please send a copy of your new card details to the office as soon as possible for the concession to be checked and applied for next year's fees, if not already done so.
FOUNDATION HANDS CHRISTMAS TREE
Our Foundation students have constructed a Christmas Tree made of paper cut outs of their hands, which is displayed in their classroom. They were very excited to share their masterpiece with the rest of the St Ita's Community.
SOME VERY SAVVY BUISNESS BRAINS
This year has certainly been a rollercoaster ride with lockdowns, and remote learning, but it has also opened up a whole new window of opportunity for two young St Ita’s students. During remote learning, Grade 6 students Rylee Piner and Emilia Trapnell started an online business Creations by R&M, selling personalised and custom items; including: Baubles, Height Charts, Santa boards, Glassware and Kitchenware, Cards, Mugs, Scrunchies...and lots more!
If your looking for that special personalised gift for Christmas please don’t hesitate to contact the girls via the QR code on their business flyer below.
JOHN TO JESUS
John’s violent agricultural images (Luke 3:17) would have had a great impact on the peasants who heard him. He imagines Israel as God’s plantation, which needed a radical cleansing, clearing out all the useless brush, cutting and burning the trees that did not bear good fruit and a great purifying judgement leading to a new situation of peace and fullness of life in the transforming power of God, the life-giving outpouring of his Spirit.
John was further anticipating someone who would come, “through whom God would carry out his ultimate plan. John didn’t have a clear idea who that would be, but expected him to be the definitive mediator. This person would not come to prepare the way for God, as John had. He would come to make God’s judgement and salvation a reality. He would carry forward the process initiated by the Baptist, leading everyone to the destiny chosen by each one through their response to John’s baptism: either judgement or restoration.”
The definitive mediator did arrive but, although Luke doesn’t tell us about John and Jesus meeting, we know with the benefit of hindsight that Jesus has an altogether more radical and extensive message in the context of God’s mercy. Central to Jesus proclamation of the Good News is the Kingdom of God where this faulty and as yet incompletely converted people encounter God’s judgement as the great gift of salvation. In this otherwise hopeless situation the people would see the incredible compassion of God, not his devastating wrath. (Pagola p91). So the question posed by the crowd, the tax collectors and the soldiers remains. “What shall we do? Pope Francis explains for us that John’s answers are about “concrete commitments to justice and solidarity,” steps along “the path that Jesus points to in all his preaching: the path of diligent love for neighbour.” [Pope Francis homily 13/12/15].
Deacon Mark Kelly
CATHOLIC PARISHES OF WARRAGUL AND DROUIN
CHRISTMAS MASSES 2021
CHRISTMAS EVE 24TH DECEMBER
7.00pm Marist Sion Hall
(Full vaccination required)
8.00pm outside at St. Ita’s Drouin
(No vaccination record)
CHRISTMAS DAY 25TH DECEMBER
9.00am St. Joseph’s Church Warragul
(Full vaccination required)
9.30am St. Ignatius Church Neerim South
(Full vaccination required)
10.30am St. Ita’s Church Drouin
(Full vaccination required)
RECONCILIATION BEFORE CHRISTMAS
As well as regular times there is to be a communal service for Reconciliation at St. Ita’s Church:
Tuesday 21st December at 7.30pm
For further inquiries please contact Thérèse on M: 0499 116 428
KRISTY TELFORD AUTHOR OF ANNABEL'S MUM
Books are available at $20 each. To purchase the book please email Kristy at firstname.lastname@example.org
ANGLICARE PARENTZONE NEWSLETTER - DECEMBER 2021
PIANO & SINGING LESSONS
DRUM AND GUITAR LESSONS