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The School Newsletter Week 6, Term 2 2021

What's Coming Up?

  • Wed 26 May: P & F Meeting
  • Fri 28 May: School Athletics Carnival - (details inside newsletter)
  • Mon 7 June: Kinder 2022 Meetings
  • Fri 11 June: Semester 1 Reports Published on Compass

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From the Principal

Yesterday, our school captains, Lacey and Ben, accompanied Liz Walker and me to Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton, to attend a liturgy celebrating 200 years of Catholic education in Australia. Our school, St Patrick’s Swansea, has been part of that history for almost 70n years, having been founded by the Sisters of St Joseph, Lochinvar.

Our school was opened on Tuesday 29th January 1952 with 30 students in attendance. The parish priest at that time was Fr Leo Boyle. Built at a cost of 5,500 pounds, Swansea Parish was part of the Archdiocese of Sydney. It was not until 1st January 1966 that the parish was incorporated into the Diocese of Maitland.

In those early years, St Patrick’s School was staffed by the Sisters of St Joseph. Its founding principal was Sr Virgilius Perkins. In those early days the nuns, who lived at Belmont, travelled to the Black Neds Bay wharf by rowboat, where they moored the boat, and walked to the school which, at that time, was located on the site of what is now the McDonalds restaurant in Swansea. Local legend has it that, on more than one occasion, the boat capsized and gave the Sisters an additional bath for the day!

In 1971, the school was rebuilt on the original site at McDonalds. In 1977/78, the school was relocated to its present site on the shore of Black Neds Bay. The church, classrooms and cottages were transported on large trucks from the original site. Sr Ellen Shanahan was the principal at the time of this move. It was Sr Ellen who developed our present school logo and school motto, ‘Grow In Hope’.

In 2006 the school was demolished to make way for the buildings which we currently occupy. The new school was blessed and officially opened by Bishop Michael Malone on 23rd February 2007.

The words of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop have a powerful resonance for us at St Patrick’s: “Gratitude is the memory of the heart . . . Be full of hope in God who has been good to us all.” Indeed, we owe a great debt of gratitude to the Sisters of St Joseph and the early parishioners of Swansea, who saw a need for a Catholic school and allowed it to grow. The Gospel message calls us to “Grow In Hope”. With a rich tradition of Josephite education, the future of our students is filled with hope.

For me, it is a privilege to have served St Patrick’s as its principal for the past ten years. I have, however, decided to retire at the end of this school year. I have made many friends among the community of parents and carers, and I hope that there will be opportunities for me to thank each of you personally between now and the end of this year.

Have a good week.

Peter Green.

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ATHLETICS CARNIVAL

Our annual school athletics carnival will be held this Friday (28th May 2021) at Fearnley Dawes Athletics Centre, 120 Smith Street, Newcastle West. It is an all-weather track.

  • All students from Kindergarten to Year 6 will be attending the carnival.
  • The students will be transported to the venue by bus, departing from the school at 9:15am and returning by 2:55pm.
  • The carnival will commence at 10:00am. The students will rotate around six stations in their age groups and will participate in running races, long jump, shot put and novelty events.
  • The students will wear their sport uniform, but are welcome to wear a T-shirt in their house colour. (Blue, Gold or Green)
  • There will be no canteen facilities available. The students will need to bring:
  1. Morning Tea
  2. Lunch
  3. Water
  4. Hat
  5. Sunscreen
  • At the conclusion of the carnival, parents and carers are welcome to take their children straight home from the venue, but the students must be signed out by the class teacher before leaving. – only one bus has been booked for return to school.
  • For the carnival to run smoothly, we need volunteers. If you are a registered volunteer (i.e. you have completed the registration process), please respond with your availability and preferred duty using this link. Please reply before Wednesday next week (25th May).

Volunteer Registration Process

If you are not yet registered to volunteer, please read the volunteer handbook and return the following forms to the school office:

  1. Registration form (page 16)
  2. Volunteer policy declaration (page 20)
  3. Code of conduct declaration (page 25)
  4. Statutory screening selection tool (page 26) and, if required, the Working with Children Check Clearance (page 27).

When the above forms have been sent to the Catholic Schools Office, you will be sent a National Criminal History Check to complete. This will be sent to you via email from VerifyNow and must be completed within 5 days of receiving the email. Please also note that the process for registration can take longer than 1 week.

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS FOR THIS FRIDAY’S ATHLETICS CARNIVAL

Whenever we organise an event such as an athletics carnival, we are required to develop a risk assessment to ensure that everybody – students, staff and spectators – are safe. The precautions that the students must take will be communicated to them throughout this week.

Some of the precautions that parents and carers will need to consider are as follows:

1. Travel sickness

  • If your child is prone to travel sickness, alert their teacher, so that they can be seated at the front of the bus.
  • If travel sickness medication is required, ensure that it is administered prior to the morning trip.
  • If your child requires travel sickness medication for the return journey, place it in a sealed envelope with your child’s name printed on the envelope, as well as any instructions required for administration of the medication. Give the envelope to Bronwyn Sartori before the bus departs.

2. Sun protection

  • The students will be required to wear hats while they are not competing. Please ensure that your child brings a hat.
  • Please ensure that your child brings sunscreen.

3. Cold weather

  • Please ensure that your child brings adequate warm clothing in case the weather turns cold.

4. Hand sanitiser

  • Hand sanitiser will be available at the entry point and is recommended for use by all adults entering the athletics centre.

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FROM THE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION COORDINATOR

Pentecost Sunday is the birthday of the Church. The word Pentecost comes from the Greek word meaning fifty. It signifies the ending of the Easter Season. In Jewish tradition, on the fiftieth day after Passover people gathered to celebrate the blessing of the harvest. This was one reason why the disciples, Mary and some of the other women were gathered together.

The coming of the Spirit filled them with the courage and strength they needed to go out and evangelise. They went out, led by St Peter, to preach about Jesus Christ and the salvation to be found through him. They went to continue the ministry of Jesus, gathering followers and believers who in turn spoke of the Good News of Christ. Pentecost Sunday was the founding day of the Church, the day that Jesus’ promise of sending the Spirit came true. For the disciples it was a day of enlightenment, when they came to full realisation of the Spirit that Jesus had breathed into them.

That same Spirit is received in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Christ sent the Holy Spirit to give his people the strength and courage to continue to carry out his mission. Is that still happening here today? Christ called both men and women to follow him and be his disciples. This challenge is here for all.

Daniel Lockwood

Religious Education Coordinator

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News from the library

Last week the students went on an intergalactic adventure for the National Simultaneous Story time. Dr Shannon Walker (NASA Astronaut) read the book ‘Give me some Space’ by Philip Bunting from the International Space Station. The students loved seeing what life is like from the space station. They even watched a rocket launch into space.

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CATHOLIC SCHOOLS CAMPAIGN & KINDERGARTEN 2022 ENROLMENTS

Yesterday, our Catholic Schools Office launched a campaign inviting parents to consider enrolling their children in one of our 59 schools throughout the Diocese. Our school – as well as St Brigid’s Raymond Terrace – were profiled in the campaign as schools that embody the campaign slogan – It’s School + So Much More. The slogan alludes to something greater and beyond education such as faith, community, values and outreach projects that are hallmarks of our Catholic school system. Margaux, Lara and Millie feature prominently in the campaign, as well as a brilliant cameo performance from Ahlia!

If you would like to look at the YouTube clips featured in the campaign, here they are:

I am hoping that the campaign will work well locally for us here in Swansea. Feel free to share these links with your contacts.

I will be inviting the parents and carers of the Kindergarten 2022 children – as well as the children themselves - to meet with Kerry Cumming (our new learning support teacher), Liz Walker (our current Kindergarten teacher) and myself on the morning of Monday 7th June. The purpose of these meetings will be to get to know each child and to discuss how we can work in partnership to bring about the best possible outcomes for each of them. We are very much looking forward to these meetings.

Peter Green.

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BIKE SAFETY TO AND FROM SCHOOL

Last Tuesday afternoon I was approached by an elderly gentleman who was wheeling his bicycle outside the school just after the students had left for the day. The gentleman told me that he had been knocked off his bike by a St Patrick’s student who had been riding four abreast on the footpath, heading eastwards away from the school. It appeared to the gentleman that none of the students were paying any attention to him approaching them on his bike. With four students riding abreast, the gentleman was unable to avoid the students, one of whom collided with him. Both the student and the gentleman were knocked off their bikes. The rear derailleur on the gentleman’s bike was bent, and it looks like it will need to be replaced. (See photo below).

The following day I spoke with the student who had collided with the gentleman. The student confirmed that he had been riding on the right-hand-side of the footpath, racing against the other students. Clearly, this student – and any other students with him who were riding in an unsafe manner – need to be accompanied by an adult when riding in public places. I have made that recommendation to the student’s parent.

I hope that the collision will serve as a lesson to the students that they should:

  1. Ride in single file
  2. Ride to the left-hand-side, and:
  3. Pay attention to other cyclists, pedestrians and other people using the bike lanes and footpaths.

The gentleman was very understanding. His primary concern was not for the damage done to his bike, but for the safety of the students. He has not asked for monetary compensation for the damage to his bike.

The gentleman also told me that he frequently sees St Patrick’s students riding west along Northcote Avenue in the mornings on their way to school. Some of these students, who ride on the footpath, do not look out for vehicles as they cross the streets intersecting with Northcote Avenue. Again, the gentleman is extremely concerned for the safety of these students. He believes that it is a matter of time before one of these cyclists in involved in a serious accident.

Parents . . . If your children are not aware of the precautions that they must take when riding their bikes, they are not ready to ride without adult supervision. If that is the case, please accompany your child while they ride on roads, footpaths and bike lanes.

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MATHS INVESTIGATIONS

This week we are introducing Maths investigations into the Years 3 to 6 Math lessons that will provide an extra level of challenge for students who have been identified as needing extension in this area. We are using the iMath resource as a basis for these investigations. The iMath program fosters inquiry by immersing students in real-life Maths investigations. For example, students might design surfboards, go on adventures around the world, or create their own breakfast cereal – all in the name of Maths!

Each investigation will run on a 2- to 5-week cycle, depending on how long students need to complete the investigation. Mrs Curk will be responsible for setting up the program and running the students through the investigation so they have an understanding of what is involved. She will then check in with them every Wednesday to monitor their progress, to answer questions and to support them through the investigation. This program will supplement each classroom teacher’s Maths program, and the students will be given time to work on their investigations during Maths lessons.

Whilst this program provides students with a ‘discovery’ approach to Maths content, it also requires and fosters independent work skills. Mrs Curk will work with students every Wednesday to help them to develop independent work skills that focus on organisation, time management, planning, research and communication. These skills are required for the successful completion of the iMath investigations.

Watch this space for some work samples from the students. The students are very keen to get underway and to show us what they can do!

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MINI VINNIES WINTER APPEAL

Every night in Australia a child asks “Where are we going to sleep tonight?” and Mum and Dad don’t have an answer.

Before COVID-19 hit, more than 25,000 Australian children under the age of 18 were facing homelessness each night. Today, that number is much higher. Child homelessness is the most painful reminder of the importance of ‘the hand up’ offered by St Vincent de Paul Society. When hardship affects families, whether it be through unemployment, chronic illness or an impossible housing market, they can always turn to Vinnies for help.

St Patrick’s Mini Vinnies group are collecting items to assist the homeless to stay warm and clean this winter. Each family will receive a large Vinnies plastic bag, we are asking families to fill with donations of warm, clean clothing and blankets. These warm winter donations can be placed in the collection bin on the Year 6 balcony.

This year we are also making up hygiene packs to be distributed to the local homeless community. We require donations of the following items:

  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothbrush holders or covers
  • Toothpaste (small travel size)
  • Cotton buds (small travel size)
  • Deodorant (small travel size)
  • Shampoo (small travel size)
  • Shower caps
  • Soap
  • Soap holders
  • Tissues (purse size packs)
  • Hand sanitizer (small travel size)
  • Combs
  • Emery boards

If you are able to contribute any of the above items, please place them the collection box in the school office.

All of the items collected will be given to the Swansea Chapter of the St Vincent de Paul Society for distribution to the homeless in our local area. We thank you for your generosity in giving to people in need in our local community.

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Canteen Roster

The Canteen is desperately in need of volunteers this term. If you are a registered volunteer and able to offer some of your time, please contact Belinda Newell.

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P&F Meeting

At last Wednesday’s meeting to decide the future of the P&F, it was decided unanimously to dissolve the P&F for a period of one year, so that we may trial a new model of parent engagement called “Parent Engagement Group” (or PEG).

Tomorrow evening (Wednesday 26th May) will therefore be the final meeting of the P&F. Please note that the meeting will begin at 7.30pm - one hour later than we used to begin the meetings. The meeting will take place via Zoom, and 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/98313954923
  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 667211.

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

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Unless otherwise stated, the advertisements placed in this Newsletter are placed by independent third parties who have no legal relationship with the Diocese. The activities or services of the advertisers are not supervised or controlled in any way by the Diocese. The Diocese is not in a position to endorse the advertisers or the services provided and make no representation about those matters. Accordingly, the diocese cannot accept any responsibility for the advertisers or the activities or services that are the subject of these advertisements

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