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The School Newsletter Week 8, Term 1 2021

What's Coming Up?

  • Fri 19 March: St Patrick's Day Celebrations - Out of uniform day, $2 donation. Liturgy at 9:15am in the School Hall
  • Wed 24 March: P&F Meeting via Zoom - see details inside newsletter
  • Wed 31 March: Parent Engagement Meeting 6.30pm in the library
  • Thurs 1 April: Last day Term 1
  • Fri 2 April: Good Friday

From the Principal

It is with mixed feelings that I inform you that our learning support teacher, Rachel Wright, has accepted a position at the Catholic Schools Office as an Education Officer: Developmental Disabilities, commencing in Term 2. Mixed feelings because, on the one hand, this is a wonderful opportunity for Rachel to utilise her knowledge and skills to improve outcomes for many students throughout our Diocese. On the other hand, Rachel’s departure will be a significant loss to St Patrick’s. Rachel has had an immeasurable impact not only on the learning outcomes of many of our students, but also on their social and emotional wellbeing. Her understanding of a broad range of developmental disabilities, as well as her extensive network of contacts in the education sector throughout Newcastle and the Hunter, have served us well at St Patrick’s for over six years. A number of parents who have enrolled their children at St Patrick’s have told me that it was Rachel’s expertise in coordinating the provision of additional needs that led to their decision to choose St Patrick’s for their child. I know that I speak on behalf of every staff member at St Patrick’s when I say that we have learnt a great deal from Rachel, and that the processes and systems that she has initiated will continue to guide us in serving the needs of all of our students, particularly those with additional needs.

Rachel’s position is now being advertised. I am confident that we will be able to engage somebody who will continue to advocate for all students, particularly those at risk and those who require additional support. As Rachel will continue to work within our Diocese, she will be available to support her successor. I am very proud to have worked alongside Rachel and, on behalf of everybody in the St Patrick’s community, I wish her all the very best in her new position. She certainly deserves this promotion.

If you wish to offer your own messages of gratitude to Rachel, I am sure that she would love to hear from you. You may contact her at rachel.wright@mn.catholic.edu.au.

Have a good week.

Peter Green.

FROM THE REC

1. St Patrick

St. Patrick was born in Britain and as a young man was captured by Irish pirates and sold into slavery. After six years in Ireland he escaped, returned to his family and trained for the priesthood in Gaul. He returned to Ireland as a missionary bishop. Through his work, Christianity flourished and the Church became organised. St Patrick was known for his sincerity and pastoral care, especially caring for the human dignity of all people. There are many legends about Ireland’s most beloved saint, including his use of the shamrock for explaining the Trinity, and his banishing of all snakes from Ireland.

His story would be ordinary if it were not for his decision to return to Ireland as a well-educated and faith-filled priest to give something back to the country where he had such profound experiences of faith. Patrick used his own experiences of being enslaved, and then his position of influence as a priest, to overcome evil and to offer himself to serve others. He stands as a living witness for the fight against slavery, intolerance and the diminishment of human dignity in our own time. He was someone who made the world a better place.

As a school community, we will celebrate St Patrick’s life and his feast this Friday. We will begin our celebrations in liturgy, led by Kindergarten and Year 2 White. The liturgy will begin at 9.15am and will be held in the school hall. Parents are invited to attend this community celebration. They will need to remain socially distanced at all times. For a $2 donation, students are able to wear something green. Green food will also be available for purchase. All funds raised will be donated to Project Compassion and Rare Cancers Australia.

2. Fourth Week of Lent

This week’s Project Compassion story focuses on the story of Arsad. Arsad, an Indonesian farmer, had no toilet in his house, so he always had to walk into the forest. Not having access to a toilet made his family sick and often led to neighbourhood disputes. With the support of Caritas Australia, Arsad took part in hygiene, sanitation and financial management training. He then funded the building of a toilet in his house and helped other community members to save money to construct their own toilets.

Around 17 percent of Indonesia’s rural population, or 45 million people, practice open defecation – going to the toilet outdoors in fields, forests and other open spaces. Now, Arsad’s family is healthier, and his community no longer practises open defecation. Arsad inspired his community to ‘Be More’. If you would like to watch this week’s story and discuss it further as a family, go to https://lent.caritas.org.au/week-4

The St. Patrick’s community has always been generous when it comes to helping those less fortunate than themselves. The Caritas Australia Project Compassion Appeal is our community’s social justice event for this term. During this season of Lent we ask again for your generosity and compassion, by supporting the Project Compassion Appeal. You support will also encourage your children to show compassion for those may not enjoy the comforts that many of us enjoy.

Your child has brought home a Project Compassion box. Please encourage them to contribute to this worthy cause. The students are encouraged to return their boxes during the final weeks of Term 1. If you prefer to make a simple electronic donation, please contribute to the St Patrick’s Project Compassion fund raising page: https://lent.caritas.org.au/t/st-patricks-school-team-page

“Aspire not to have more, but to be more.”

Daniel Lockwood

Religious Education Coordinator

CROSS COUNTRY

A sincere thank you to all parents, grandparents and staff members who helped make our cross country last Friday at Swansea Heads such a success. Thank you to all students who participated. Everyone did such a great job running either 2 kilometres or 3 kilometres. It was great to see how many students participated and had such a fun time.

The following students will represent St Patrick’s at the Diocesan cross country event on Tuesday 27th April. At this stage the venue has not been finalised, but we will let you know as soon as we are told.

  • 8/9 years: Skye P, Mia P, Evie B, Sebastian K, Drew T, Oscar C.
  • 10 years: Sienna R, Lukah T, Sunshine W, Koby M, Aiden B, Jack A.
  • 11 years: Madison T, Lara W, Hayden W, Jack C, Banjo H.
  • 12 years: Tamika F, Emily J, Alicia S, Nate T, Ben M, Evan W.

We take the top three placegetters to the Diocesan cross country event, but those runners must finish the school cross country within a qualifying time. Hence, we do not have three runners in every event.

Unfortunately, I underestimated the athletic prowess of our Year 6 boys, who beat me soundly in the cross country. Congratulations Nate, Ben, Evan, Robbie and Jacob. Unfortunately, Elijah was unable to run due to an injury, but he spent the entire morning encouraging the other runners at the finish line. Great work, Elijah . . . I am happy to contribute to Rare Cancers Australia on Elijah’s behalf for the incredible spirit that he showed last Friday morning.

Thanks to Cathy Dent who also lost the bet. Cathy obviously thinks I am a faster runner than I had led her to believe!

Sincere thanks to those families who have contributed to this worthy cause. If anybody else would like to contribute, you may donate online at www.kosichallenge.com.au/my-fundraising/718/gemma-and-elliot-wisman-santamaria

We wish our Diocesan representative runners all the very best at this event.

Peter Green

BOOK CLUB

Issue 2 of Book Club has been sent home. All orders are due back by Thursday next week (18th March). Information on how to order and pay can be found on the back page of the leaflet. Book Club provides families with an affordable and convenient way to bring the best in children’s literature into their homes. Each issue contains curated, age-appropriate titles that have been carefully selected and levelled by a dedicated team of professional booklovers.

CANTEEN ROSTER

This week is the last week for canteen this Term. The canteen will be closed for cleaning on Friday 26 March.

UNIFORM SERVICE

PLEASE NOTE: As our uniform service volunteers are rostered to cater for Canteen this Friday, the uniform service will only be filling QKR orders, and not will be open for fittings or other sales.

EASTER RAFFLE

All families should have received a book of raffle tickets. Books are due back by Wed 31 March and the raffle will be drawn on Thurs 1 April. GOOD LUCK!

P & F Meeting

The next meeting of the P&F will take place on Wednesday next week (24th March). The meeting will take place via Zoom, beginning at 6.30pm. It has been scheduled to run for 1½ hours. Meeting via Zoom will enable you to contribute your ideas without leaving home.

If you plan to attend next week’s meeting:

  1. Make sure you have downloaded Zoom to your device.
  2. Use this link or copy it into your search bar: https://mncatholic.zoom.us/j/91563629084
  3. Click on ‘Open Zoom meetings’.
  4. Click on ‘Join with computer audio’.
  5. Click on ‘Start video’.
  6. If you are prompted to type a password, the password is 797939.

Please consider joining us next week to support the work of our Parents and Friends Association.

Peter Green.

PARENT ENGAGEMENT MEETING

ST PATRICK’S DAY

This Friday (19th March) we will celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Thanks to the families of our Kindergarten and Year 4 students who have agreed to supply some green food treats to be sold at lunch time and recess on Friday. Prices for green food will be between 30 cents and $1.00. If possible, please bring coins, not notes. The money raised from the green food sales will be split 50:50 between Project Compassion and Rare Cancers Australia.

With further easing of COVID restrictions announced last week, parents, carers and family members are free to come along to watch the children participate in the various activities. However, the following protocols must be observed:You must not attend if you are feeling unwell.

  • You must not attend if you are feeling unwell.
  • You must register your attendance by scanning the school’s QR code, which is located on the front gate at at the reception desk in the foyer.
  • You must maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres where practicable.
  • You must regularly use hand sanitiser while at the event. Hand sanitiser will be supplied at strategic places.

St patrick's Day Agenda

Out-of-uniform day: The students are invited to come to school dressed in something green. They will be asked to donate $2 which will be split between Rare Cancers Australia and Project Compassion, which is Caritas Australia’s annual fundraising and awareness-raising appeal that brings thousands of Australians together in solidarity with the world's poor to help end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity.

Art display: The school hall will be open all day for anybody to inspect the students’ artwork for our St Patrick’s Day art competition.

  • 9.15am: St Patrick’s Day liturgy
  • 10.00am: Crunch’n’sip
  • 10.15am: St Patrick’s Day activities, including: Shamrock salon; Build a leprechaun trap; Shamrock stomp; Potato and spoon relays; Shamrock relays; Irish phrase treasure hunt; Pin the shamrock on the leprechaun; St Patrick’s word find; Irish freeze; Find the coin; Pot of Gold toss
  • 11.05am: Lunch and green food sales.
  • 11.55am: St Patrick’s Day activities (continued).
  • 1.00pm: Class-based St Patrick’s Day activity.
  • 1.35pm: Recess and green food sales.
  • 1.55pm: Announcement of the prize winners in the St Patrick’s Day art competition and then to end the day a Tug-o-war competition.

WELCOME BACK TO OUR FRIDAY ASSEMBLIES

With COVID restrictions now easing, we remind you that every second Friday afternoon we have our school assembly in the hall, and we are very happy that we may now invite parents and families to our assemblies. We begin our assembly at 2.30pm and we finish at 2.50pm. Unfortunately, we will not have any more assemblies during this term, as this Friday we will be celebrating St Patrick’s Day, and the Friday on the following fortnight is Good Friday.

Next term’s assemblies will take place on the following dates: April 30, May 14, June 11 and June 25. There will be no assembly on May 28 as this is the date of our school athletics carnival.

Restrictions on singing have been eased, so we will be able to begin our assemblies with the school song and finish them with our National Anthem. It is a year since we have heard the students sing our school song, and we are very much looking forward to hearing them sing again next term.

CONGRATULATIONS COCO

Yesterday we received some wonderful news about Coco’s audition for the Victorian State Ballet production of The Little Mermaid. Coco, who has been dancing since she was just two years old, was selected to perform in the production. With just 40 dancers selected from 170 who auditioned, this is a remarkable achievement. We are very proud of Coco and we look forward to hearing more about her successes as a dancer.

PUPIL-FREE DAY

A reminder that there will be a pupil-free day on Monday 3rd May.

FACEBOOK

On Monday last week, a post was uploaded to Facebook, in which it was claimed that there are some St Patrick’s students bullying students from a local school on an afternoon bus. The claimant phoned me at school on Tuesday morning to report the alleged bullying incidents. I followed up the complaint by interviewing several students who are regular passengers on that bus. Following those interviews, I reached the conclusion that there was a lot more to the story than was initially reported. I contacted the claimant requesting a face-to-face meeting at the school, as I believed that I would have had a good chance of satisfactorily addressing the matter in this manner. In spite of the claimant’s Facebook pledge to meet with me (“I am going to see them tomorrow”), she did not follow up on my invitation. I left no less than five voicemail messages requesting her to contact me. These phone calls were not returned.

Without adequate collaboration with the claimant, the students and I put in place some interim measures in an effort to minimise the possibility of any further conflict on the afternoon bus. Those students demonstrated a great deal of common sense and maturity, and they are genuinely seeking a solution to the conflict on the bus. However, without the support of the person who made the complaint, I am unable to guarantee that these measures will be sustainable.

Facebook has the potential to be a wonderful way of keeping in touch with people and sharing good news stories. It can also be a toxic place which, on this occasion, has brought out of the woodwork:

  • People with an axe to grind against St Patrick’s.
  • People with an axe to grind against me.
  • People who believe that the most appropriate way of dealing with a bully is to give them a “good flogging” or to “break their nose”.

It can be tempting to criticise an individual or an organisation from behind our keyboards in the safety of our homes. It can be a little more confronting – but often more constructive – to express one’s dissatisfaction in a face-to-face meeting. It can be difficult to engage in rational discussion with keyboard warriors who seek their 15 minutes of fame on a social media platform. For this reason, I will not respond to the Facebook feeding frenzy. However, I am more than happy to meet face-to-face with open-minded people who are genuinely seeking solutions to a problem.

Peter Green

WebinarS

To attend this webinar please register using the link below:
To attend this webinar please register using the link below

SAFEGUARDING OUR STUDENTS, PT 6

In any investigation into misconduct or abusive conduct towards a child, the alleged victim and their parent/carer are given particular consideration during an investigation, including:

  • Being informed of the investigation’s progress. The investigator will set up an agreed schedule of contact with the child’s parent/carer.
  • Being advised of the investigation findings relating to the child. If there is more than one alleged victim in the investigation, the parent/carer will only be given information relating to their own child.
  • Being advised, in general terms, of the outcomes of the investigation.

The term ‘findings’ describes whether there is sufficient evidence to establish a particular allegation occurred – a ‘sustained’ finding. If there is insufficient evidence, the finding is ‘not sustained’. The term ‘outcomes’ describes key decisions the diocesan leadership makes when one or more allegation in an investigation is sustained. Outcomes can relate to the diocesan worker investigated, and operational or systemic issues.

For more information about the role of the Office of Safeguarding, visit https://officeofsafeguarding.org.au/.

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