2 February 2017/6 Shevat 5777
Term 1 Week 1
Shabbat Commences 7.02pm/Shabbat Terminates 7.58pm
Welcome back to 2017!
Our staff and students have returned to school well rested and energised for the exciting year ahead.
Over the summer I had the privilege of attending a Principals’ conference at Yad Vashem to learn, explore and discuss issues relating to Jewish identity and the Shoah. Speaking to leaders in Jewish education from around the world was interesting and inspiring, and although there were 215 other Principals at this conference from a variety of Jewish Day Schools, I was unable to identify another school that shares Carmel’s special and unique characteristics; small enough for family feel, big enough to provide opportunity; excellence in both Jewish and General Education; steadfast on Jewish values while at the same time welcoming and catering to all Jewish ways of life; formal enough to generate appropriate respect and dignity, but comfortable and familiar to make school a second home for our students. Aside from learning a lot from the conference presenters, the experience reminded me just how lucky I am, how lucky we are, to have a school such as Carmel in our community.
We are in for an exciting year ahead! Here are some of the changes and initiatives coming up:
• Year 9 and Year 10 students be able to credit their Hebrew studies towards a Certificate II in Applied Languages, counting towards WACE graduation.
• New laptop program starting in years 5,6,9 and 10.
• Maths Pathways has moved into the Primary school.
• ST7 will be turned into a proper wet lab thanks to a generous donation from Mr. Asher Shapiro.
• Our first school musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ will be staged at the end of Term 1.
• A few students in Year 11 will study Year 12 Business Management, a subject that will count towards their WACE and ATAR.
We also welcome the following new staff to Carmel School:
• Suze Wills Johnson – Marketing and Communications
• Lisa Kaplan Winters – Enrolments officer
• Zuszi Shuhandler – PA to Head of High School
• Karis Taylor – Kindy EA
• Amy Zahra-Craig – Year 1 Teacher
• Naomi Doven – Year 4 Teacher
• Bianca Singer – Jewish Studies teacher in the Primary school
• Dionne Saddik – New Kindy teacher
• Tanya Bagnara – High School HASS and English
• Emma King – High School HASS and special ed
• Jane Ward – High School English teacher
This year there will be a focus on community service. Mrs. Debbie Katz, our newly appointed ‘Head of Community Service’ will help our students find community service projects that enthuse them, but it is up to us, parents and staff, to ensure that community service becomes part of our vernacular; that we ask our children what they are doing for others, which charity they plan to raise funds for and how they will do it, or which organisation they are planning to give of their time to. Community service builds leadership capacity, makes friendship bonds, builds self esteem and confidence. But this is not why we, as a school, are embarking on this journey. We give of our time and resources to others because it is right and it is good. Because we know that the world is not as it should be and we have the capacity and the responsibility to remedy it. As Rabbi Sacks states, being Jewish is about a ‘cognitive dissonance between the world that is and the world that ought to be’. And this year, Carmel School is going to play a greater part in closing the gap!
Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom,
Year 7 Induction Evening
This Wednesday night Year 7 students and parents attended a very special Induction Evening.
Students spent much of the evening with the Yr 11 Peer Support Leaders and the Year 12 Students Representative Councillors. The senior student leaders prepared and ran a program designed to further engage our new Year 7 students as the enter High School. The overarching theme being – what can I contribute! In reading the Year 7 feedback sheets at the end of the evening, it was clear that they enjoyed this session and we take the opportunity to congratulate the senior student leaders on an excellent program and more broadly on a very positive start to the year.
Parents began their evening with special session on ‘parent engagement’. This session focussed on appreciating what we as parents and educators can do collectively to assist the Year 7 students to develop and grow socially, emotionally and academically. By creating a strong nexus between home, community and school, we provide stability, consistency of expectation and an understanding that students need and thrive with structure. Together we began developing new relationships and this will be an important an ongoing process in the years ahead.
We completed the evening with parents being exposed to subject specific Heads of Learning Areas and Mentor Teachers. Parents were able to see, hear and feel what learning will be like for their children in Year 7 and beyond. Informally, parents also had the opportunity to meet their child’s Mentor Teacher. For many parents, this provided a remarkable insight into the daily lives of their children at school. We hope this will enable informed and regular discussion amongst family members about ‘the school day’.
Overall, it was an excellent evening. We take this opportunity to officially welcome our new Yr 7 families to the High School.
Mr Hall – Dean of Students.
Congratulations to Emily Cunningham !
Emily Cunningham, Carmel School’s Head of English, has recently been awarded a scholarship to participate in the National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative: Advanced Leadership Program. This program runs for six months and is tailored to support and develop female leaders within the education system. A description of the program is below:
The Advanced Leadership Program is an integrated development platform focusing on the interpersonal and behavioural dynamics associated with a senior leadership position. Delivered over an extended six-month period to ensure minimal disruption to participants workload, the program combines rich, multi-media presentations with user-friendly toolkits delivered via a cutting edge online learning platform.
During the program participants engage in a deep exploration of their own strengths, weaknesses
and opportunities as they relate to building and maintaining highly effective teams. The Advanced Leadership Program equips leaders with the insights, skills and confidence to accelerate their own career progression as they simultaneously strengthen the performance of their colleagues and their organisation.
Regularly engaging in highly interactive learning experiences, participants share their journey with like-minded colleagues across the country. In addition to delivering high impact professional development, the program sets out to create powerful, life-long professional networks.
The program employs an integrated learning methodology based around self-analysis, peer knowledge-sharing, experiential exercises, practical workplace application and reflection.
Throughout the program, learnings are related back to the day-to-day realities and challenges of each participant. This process is enhanced through participant-generated discussions and adaptive leadership challenges that unlock existing skills and experience within the group.
Getting to Know the Head of English - Mrs Emily Cunningham
Note: Each week we will feature a difference English teacher
Why did you choose teaching as a career path?
It was a happy accident, really. Growing up I’d always wanted to pursue a career in medicine and I took several science and mathematics units at University, so my minor is actually Science. When I decided to move to Australia I was unable to attend medical school here due to being classified as an international student (WA universities don’t accept international students in their medical schools). At university I had written extensively for our campus newspaper and had actually received an English degree, so it felt right to complete a teaching qualification here in Australia.
I’ve always found that writing comes very naturally to me --- essays and article writing that is…I’m not a creative writer! I was studying nutrition at university when I read a great opinion article in our campus newspaper calling on students to write for them. That began my two-year stint as a sports journalist. The perks were great…getting courtside seats and free food, but I soon found it to be a shallow and empty endeavour. By this time I had changed my major to English and I really enjoyed studying and discussing literature. My high school didn’t have a very good English program, so I’d never experienced that level of critical thinking and analysis before; I found it to be a really rewarding experience overall.
What is your favourite part about teaching at Carmel School?
The students and the staff. The people at this School are phenomenal. When I first started I found the students to be incredibly open and welcoming. They genuinely wanted to know more about me and to help me settle in. Carmel students have a fantastic work ethic and they are opening to learning and improving; as a teacher I couldn’t ask for anything more. We have a small staff at Carmel, but that’s what makes it great. Everyone is friendly and supportive – always willing to help out and concerned with your wellbeing. It’s a great place to work.
What is your favourite book?
I don’t really have ‘favourites’ in my life (e.g. food, movies, books, etc.)…but if I think about the book that had the greatest impact on me growing up, I would have to say Roots by Alex Haley. I was a big fan of historical fiction when I was younger; I read books about Marie Antoinette and Duchess Anastasia from Russia. I found the stories of these historical figures fascinating and I liked how authors would reimagine their lives in such detail.
What book are you reading now?
I’m in between books at the moment. I’ve got two sitting on my shelf that I hope to read soon: At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell and The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens. School terms are manic, so it’s hard to get a chance to read. I do most of my reading in the holidays.
What are some of your favourite educational tools to use in the classroom?
At the moment my students are really enjoying Education Perfect and Read Theory. These are individualised online programs that assess students’ ability in spelling, grammar, reading, etc. and then this allows me to assign different tasks to different students in order to help them progress at their own pace. I’m using both these programs with my Year 9 students at the moment and they are really engaged with them.
“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”
- John Steinbeck
This quote has always stuck with me because at the time I first read it, it epitomised a weakness I recognised within myself. I come from Northern Michigan in the U.S., and northerners are typically known as being curt, ‘tough’ people. Over the years I’ve really tried to work on being open, non-judgemental and kind as much as I can, but I’m still a work in progress. I often recite this quote to my students in the hope that they will take the message on board as well.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I ran competitively in high school and I completed a marathon four years ago. I had a lot of foot pain during my training and was eventually diagnosed with tarsal tunnel syndrome, which pinches the nerve and causes pain in the feet. I’m a stubborn person and I continued my training against the advice of my doctor. Unfortunately, this had long-terms ramifications so I’m unable to run anymore. It’s taken me awhile to come to terms with this, but now I primarily do Pilates and strength-training exercises at the gym for stress relief.
On a lighter note, I also have a collection of several hundred beanie babies that I amassed throughout my childhood. They now sit in my parent’s attic and I won’t let them throw them away because I’m still hoping one day they will be valuable!
Both Kindy classes had a great start to the year and Morah Deb and Morah Dionne could not be prouder!
Year 2 Investigations
Year 2 Investigations are in full swing! This week we employed active exploration and discovered how our learning links with creativity. We are writing scripts, drawing plans, synergising and creating a safe learning environment for all.