What's Coming Up
Friday 6 December: Year 5 Leadership speeches & voting - at 9.15am under the COLA.
Friday 6 December: Reports published to Compass
Monday 9 December: Year 6 'Big Day Out' at TreeTops Adventure Park, Minmi.
Wednesday 11 December: 200 nights book party
Thursday 12 December: The annual end-of-year awards ceremony will take place beginning at 1.30pm in the school hall. Parents and other family members are welcome to join us.
Thursday 12 December: 'Carols By The Sea' from 4.30pm
Friday 13 December: School Swimming Carnival @ Swansea Pool , Years 1 - 6 only.
Tuesday 17 December: End of Year Mass & Graduation starting at 10am in the Church
Wednesday 18 December: Last day for students. 'Clap out' at 2.30pm
From the Principal
As we almost close the book on another year at St Patrick’s, we have a great deal to be grateful for.
I thank our dedicated staff here at St Patrick’s for the extra lengths that they go to in order to meet the needs of every student – spiritual, academic, emotional, social and physical. The wellbeing of the students are always our number 1 priority, and we spend a great deal of time and energy ensuring that they feel safe and loved here at St Patrick’s.
I thank our parents and volunteers at St Patrick’s. There are many people who work tirelessly to ensure that St Patrick’s is a safe and happy place. Those people include:
- The parents and carers who wash and iron school uniforms, prepare lunches, read with their children every night . . . the list is endless.
- Our volunteers who do so much behind the scenes, usually with no expectation of any reward or accolades. Many of them slip in and out unnoticed. Last Thursday’s morning tea was our small way of saying “thank you”.
- Our students who are the very reason for our existence! We are blessed to have students who genuinely care for one another and who demonstrate their kindness in small ways.
Three of our staff members will leave St Patrick’s at the end of this week, and I wish to acknowledge their contributions to St Patrick’s:
Casey Sharman has taught Year 3 at St Patrick’s for almost two years. She is a dedicated teacher who has always put her students first. Casey’s preparation for each day of teaching is very thorough, and the Year 3 classroom is not only a busy place but also an exciting place where students clearly love to learn. The Catholic Schools Office has also discovered that Casey has a great deal to offer, and she has been engaged by the CSO this year to write units of work for the new Science and Technology syllabus and the new Personal Development/Health/Physical Education syllabus. Casey has secured a 12-month position up the road at St Francis Xavier Belmont, again teaching Year 3. They are getting an exceptional teacher! I wish Casey all the very best in her new position.
Trish Aumuller joined us this year as our music teacher. Undoubtedly, one of the highlights at St Patrick’s this year (quite possibly, THE highlight) was “Quest: The Musical”. Putting 150 children on the stage is no mean feat, and Trish managed it very professionally, with a great deal of patience, and with a good dose of good humour thrown in as well. Trish has many years of experience in musical theatre, and we have been so fortunate to have had a person of her calibre on our staff. Apart from the musical, Trish has equipped our students with a broad range of skills in performing and composing, as well as a deep appreciation of music. Through the music program, Trish has encouraged her students to think creatively, to work collaboratively with their peers, and to take responsible risks in their compositions and performances. Beneath that crazy and extroverted exterior, there is no quiet side – just another crazy and extroverted person. We will miss the fun and laughs that she brings to our staff.
Will McMaster joined us again this year as our learning support assistant. Will, who is currently training as a teacher, brings a firm but gentle presence to his role. He frequently works with those students who require some intervention, and his patience and understanding, as well as his knowledge of the primary syllabus, are hallmarks of his work. Will clearly enjoys working with the students, and the experience that he has had as a learning support assistant will serve him well when he finally walks into a classroom of his own. In the meantime, Will still has further study ahead of him. I feel sure that this is not a final farewell to Will from St Patrick’s, as he and his family are very much part of the fabric of the school.
Next year St Patrick’s will embark on a process of conducting schooling that I anticipate will have a profound impact on the structure and culture of the school and the assumptions and practices of our teaching staff. We will frequently refer to ourselves as a Professional Learning Community, or PLC for short. There are three big ideas that will drive the work of our PLC:
- A focus on learning with a collective commitment to creating a school whose fundamental purpose is to ensure that all students learn at high levels (grade level or higher).
- A collaborative culture in which our teachers must work collaboratively and take collective responsibility for the success of each student.
- A results orientation in which teachers must use evidence of student learning to inform and improve their professional practice and to respond to individual students who need intervention or enrichment.
In reality, the teachers have already embraced these three big ideas. The PLC framework will not only formalise what we are currently doing, but it will also build an extra layer of accountability into our work. Our teachers will meet for one hour each week in a team which we will call a Professional Learning Team, or PLT for short. These meetings will take place on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday afternoons from 1.55 to 2.55. During that time, the classes will be taught by Karen Devlin, Rachel Wright, Emma Tanchevski, Lisa Connell and myself. This will not be a “babysitting” time – each of these “relief” teachers will be responsible for programming, teaching, assessing and reporting for a component of the syllabus.
I believe that this is a journey worth taking. There is ample evidence of improved learning in schools when there is clear purpose, effective monitoring and collaborative processes that lead to better results. I anticipate that our teachers will experience a heightened sense of professionalism and a resurgence of energy and enthusiasm while working together to accomplish what could not be done alone. These are interesting and exciting times at St Patrick’s! We will share the journey with you as it unfolds.
I will be taking leave form work from this Thursday until the end of the school year, so tomorrow will be my final day. My daughter Ashleigh will be married this Saturday, and next week Fiona and I will move back into our home which we have been renovating this year. In the following week, Fiona, my three children, their partners and I will travel to Germany to spend Christmas with Fiona’s brother. In my absence:
- Ben McCarthy will be the Acting Principal.
- Leanne Hyland will be the acting Assistant Principal.
- Cathy Dent will be the Acting Religious Education Coordinator.
I am confident that the school will be in very good hands.
I wish all of the St Patrick’s families a happy, holy and peaceful Christmas and a New Year that exceeds your expectations.
This Week's PBL
You Can Do It
During this term, our “You Can Do It” focus at St Patrick’s is on developing our students’ persistence. Discuss with your child examples of behaviours that they can practise to help them to become more persistent. For example: “This week, it would be really good if you were to keep trying to . . .”
- Finish your schoolwork before playing or socializing.
- Checking or proofreading your work when it is finished to make sure it's correct.
- Not being distracted by your devices when you have work to do.
- Continuing to do your homework / schoolwork even when it is hard, boring or annoying.
On Friday this week, the Semester 2 reports will be available on Compass. The instructions below are for accessing reports using a PC.
With the username and password provided earlier this year, log into the Compass Parent Portal https://swansea-nsw.compass.education/ . If you have forgotten your username or password, or believe you have not been issued with one, contact the school office for details.
On the home page, under each of your children, there is a link to ‘View Academic Reports’. Click on this link. It will open a list of all school reports. The latest report will be listed on top. ‘2019 – Semester Two. Clicking on this link will open a PDF version of the report for you to view, download or print.
In order to access this page from your mobile App version. Click on the three lines located on the top left hand side of the app home page and then select the option to ‘Open in Browser’ .