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The School Newsletter Week 1, Term 3 2021

What's Coming Up?

  • Tue 13 July: Students return for Term 3
  • Mon 19-Thu 22 July: Students and staff will undertake the biannual lockdown and evacuation drills
  • Wed 21 July: Parent Engagement Group meeting. Topic of presentation: ‘How to support your child in teaching them to read’ 7:15pm Light refreshements for a 7:30pm start.

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From the Principal

Welcome back to another term at St Patrick’s. Although most of you have not been subject to COVID lockdown regulations, I expect that, for many of you, your plans to spend time with family and friends living in lockdown areas were put on hold. I understand that, for some of you, holiday plans were also cancelled. These are indeed very difficult times, and I understand that some of you might expect to experience some financial hardship in the weeks and months ahead. Please make arrangements to meet with me if changes to your financial circumstances are making it difficult to meet your school fees payments.

It is great to see the students back at school. Being so close to Greater Sydney, I can assure you that our teachers are relieved that we have not been forced into home learning again, and we feel very fortunate that we are permitted to work face-to-face with the students, rather than remotely via a screen. It is now incumbent on all of us to ensure that we follow the mandated practices that are in place :

1. Parents and carers must remain outside of the school grounds. Exceptions may apply regarding:

  • Vulnerable students.
  • Students with a disability.
  • Parents who must enter the school for an essential visit – (including late sign in, or early sign out).

2. If a parent or carer needs to enter the school for any of the above reasons, they must:

  • Wear a mask, and:
  • Sign in using the Service NSW QR code.

3. Parents and carers who collect their children from the church car park may continue to do so, but they will be required to maintain physical distancing.

4. Unfortunately, we are unable to invite you to our fortnightly Friday afternoon assemblies.

5. Our inaugural PEG meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday evening next week (21st July), will proceed, subject to any further advice. Those attending will be required to sign in using our Service NSW QR code, to wear a mask and to maintain physical distancing.

6. Staff providing essential support for student wellbeing are permitted on site.

7. The school canteen and the school uniform service will continue to operate with appropriate hygiene measures in place.

8. The Triple M breakfast show event at the school has been postponed to Friday 30th July, subject to COVID protocols at that time.

Most importantly, our spiritual health is just as important as our physical and mental health. When we practice positivity, gratitude and prayer, we are taking steps to become more spiritually healthy.

Positive thinking can increase confidence, reduce stress and promote healthy behaviours. We can draw upon the strength of others by intentionally connecting with them through phone calls, social media, emails and video calls.

Gratitude is about celebrating the good in every day. Every day since the beginning of lockdown, my daughter Ashleigh, who lives in the Greater Sydney area, has posted a Facebook message expressing something for which she is grateful. These messages have lifted the spirits of those who have read her posts. Gratitude has been linked to improved psychological and physical health. It also works wonders for our relationships.

Prayer is also an opportunity to lift up our concerns, hopes and needs to God. When we take time to listen for a response from God, prayer becomes a two-way conversation instead of a one-way monologue. I can hear God best when I intentionally slow down, escape the noise of everyday life, and focus on what God might want to say to me. The lockdown has provided me with the space and time to achieve this stillness.

I will continue to update you with COVID restrictions as the situation continues to evolve. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult. Be assured that we are prioritising the wellbeing and safety of your children while trying to keep everything at school as normal as possible.

Peter Green.

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FROM THE REC

1. Liturgical celebrations

During this term the school will be participating in a number of liturgical celebrations:

  • St Mary of the Cross MacKillop: 6th August.
  • Kinder, Year 1, 5 & 6 Mass: 20th August.
  • Fathers’ Day: 3rd September.
  • Year 2, 3 & 4 Mass: 10th September.

It would be lovely to be able to celebrate these events as a whole school community, but this will be subject to COVID-19 restrictions that are in force at these times. I will keep you informed as COVID restrictions are updated.

2. Religious Education

During this term, all of the classes will cover the topic of Prayer in their units of work in Religious Education. The lessons will aim to give the students a greater appreciation of prayer in their lives, as well as Catholic prayer traditions.

3. Mini Vinnies

Thank you to the many families who donated to the Winter Appeal during Term 2. The members of the Swansea St Vincent de Paul Chapter were very appreciative of our efforts and the donations will be put to good use in our local community for people who need a helping hand.

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ICAS ASSESSMENTS

During Term 3, the students in Years 2 to 6 will have the opportunity to participate in the ICAS Assessments, which are designed to target students’ higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills in English, Mathematics, Science, Writing, Spelling Bee and Digital Technologies. Participation in these assessments is entirely optional. The assessments will be administered during school hours on the following dates:

  • Monday 9th August: Writing: Years 3 to 6.
  • Monday 9th August: Digital technologies: Years 3 to 6.
  • Tuesday 17th August: English: Years 2 to 6.
  • Tuesday 24th August: Science: Years 2 to 6.
  • Tuesday 24th August: Spelling: Years 2 to 6.
  • Tuesday 31st August: Mathematics: Years 2 to 6.

Our school has signed up for the ICAS Assessments parent payment system (PPS). Through this system, parents and carers can pay for ICAS online. If your child will be participating in any of these assessments, please use the following details to register your child and to pay for the assessments:

  1. Parent page link: https://shop.icasassessments.com/pages/pps
  2. School access code for parents: JHR549

The due date for registering and paying for the assessments is:

  • Writing: Sunday 25th July.
  • Digital technologies: Sunday 25th July.
  • English: Sunday 1st August.
  • Science: Sunday 8th August.
  • Spelling: Sunday 8th August.
  • Mathematics: Sunday 15th August.

To ensure that we have enough devices for all of the students, the students of Years 5 and 6 will be required to use their BYOD devices for these assessments. Each student’s device must have the required locked-down browser. This secure locked-down browser is designed to do the following during the test(s):

  • Prevents students from accessing other applications, web pages, software or hardware features and only provides access to the test player.
  • Prevents use of operating system commands such as functions accessed by Ctrl-Alt-Delete.
  • Disables features such as the camera, spell check, screenshot, home, keyboard shortcuts, back and power buttons.

Please download the required browser onto your child’s device by Monday 2nd August to ensure that the device is ready for test day. The instructions on how to download the browser onto your child’s device are available at https://www.icasassessments.com/support/technical-requirements-locked-down-browser

If you require more information about ICAS, you may either contact me or visit https://www.icasassessments.com/products-icas

Peter Green.

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MARY MACKILLOP GAMES

Each year there are two feast days that hold special significance for our school: The Feast of St Patrick and the Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.

In 1866, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop founded the Sisters of St Joseph. The Sisters of St Joseph were committed to educating children, particularly children from poor families and children living in rural areas. It was the Sisters of St Joseph who founded our school here in Swansea in 1952, and for this we owe the Sisters a great debt of gratitude.

Saturday 8th August is the Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop – the anniversary of her death. On Friday 7th August we will have a full day of celebrations in her honour . . .

9.00: Assembly

9.15: Liturgy: The school community will assemble in the church to give thanks to God for the gift of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.

10.00: Opening Ceremony: We will assemble on the oval for the opening ceremony of the Mary MacKillop Games. The opening ceremony will include a march past, a prayer and an Acknowledgement of Country. Each of the students will represent a suburb or a town in the Hunter where the Sisters of St Joseph established a Catholic school:

  • Lochinvar 1883
  • Dungog 1888
  • Denman 1915
  • Cardiff 1917
  • Charlestown 1927
  • Belmont 1950
  • Swansea 1952
  • Windale 1959
  • Gateshead 1964
  • Kilaben Bay 1973

10.25: Let the Games begin! In their town groups, the students will be required to demonstrate proficiency in 10 skills involving throwing, running, kicking, jumping and hitting. They will rotate to various stations. At each of the stations their cards will be initialled by the adult supervising that station to verify that they successfully completed that skill. At the end of the day, any student who has demonstrated proficiency in all ten skills will win an ice block.

11.05: Lunch

11.55: Let the Games continue! The students will continue on their quest to complete all 10 skills.

1.35: Recess

2.00 Tug-o-war: The towns will compete against one another to decide which town is the strongest. Each member of the winning town will be presented with a gold medal.

Closing ceremony: This will be led by some talented dancers from among our students.

2.55: Home

Further information

  • The students will wear their sport uniforms to school on the day.
  • We will be using the Mary MacKillop Games as an opportunity to raise funds for a not-for-profit organisation called Mary MacKillop Today, which works with local communities in Australia and internationally to teach life skills to less privileged people in the areas of education, health and managing finances.
  • We will be seeking to raise money by levying every student $2 to participate in the Mary MacKillop Games. We will collect this money on the morning of the Games.
  • Pending Covid restrictions, parents, grandparents and friends of St Patrick’s are invited to join us on this special day as spectators. All spectators will be required to sign in using our QR code, which is displayed at various points at the school entrance and on the playground.

Thank you in anticipation of your support of this event.

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We hope to see as many parents as possible at our first PEG meeting.

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Triple M Breakfast Broadcast

Pending further Covid restrictions, the team at Triple M Newcastle will be broadcasting live from our playground between 6am and 9am, and serving up breakfast to students, staff and parents on the morning of Friday 30 July. If you can't attend, be sure to tune in!

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OUR DIO ATHLETICS REPRESENTATIVES

On Wednesday 23rd June we sent a team of athletes to the Catholic Primary Schools Regional Athletics Carnival at the Hunter Sports Centre. Congratulations to all who participated. Four of those athletes have been selected to represent the Lakes Region at the Diocesan Athletics Carnival on 28th July:

  • Florence: 8 years 100 metres.
  • Madison: 11 years 100 metres, 200 metres, 800 metres and long jump.
  • Jacob: 11 years long jump.
  • Evan: Senior high jump.

Congratulations to these students on their athletic achievements.

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UNIFORM SERVICE

The uniform service will be closed for face to face service until further notice. Orders placed on the Qkr! app will still be filled and sent home with children on a Friday .

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