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The School Newsletter Week 9, Term 3 2020

From the PrinciPAL

This weekend’s Gospel reading (Matthew 20:1-16) is the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The landowner pays all of the workers the same wage, regardless of the amount of time that they had laboured. On the surface, this does not seem to make sense. Those who work a longer day should be paid more than those who work just an hour or two. When viewed in this way, the landowner seems unfair.

But the landowner paid on the terms that were negotiated, and has therefore acted completely fairly. In fact, the landowner is radically fair. No one is cheated, but a few receive abundantly from the landowner just as we receive in abundance from God. God, like the landowner, is radically just and abundantly generous. The workers who complain are made to look foolish as they complain that the landowner has made all workers equal. Indeed, what more could one ask for than to be treated as an equal at work or anywhere else?

The parable reminds us that although God owes us nothing, he offers abundantly and equally. We are occasionally tempted to think that our own actions deserve more reward, more of God's abundant mercy, than the actions of others. But God's generosity cannot be quantified into different amounts for different people. When we think that way, we are trying to relate to God on our terms rather than to accept God's radically different ways.

Have a good week.

Peter Green.

What a Blast!

Last Friday we were fortunate to have a visit from Ashley Mowbray, a development officer from Cricket NSW to St Patrick’s. Ashley worked with each of the classes in teaching the students some striking, bowling, throwing and catching skills. The children played some engaging games where everyone was able to have a turn and most importantly have some fun! Thanks also to the Swansea-Caves Cricket Club for sponsoring the day.

INTERIM REPORTS

On Friday this week, you will receive an interim report via Compass. This report will not give an assessment of your child’s progress in the seven Key Learning Areas, but it will describe your child’s efforts in respect to his/her personal and social development and work habits throughout Term 3. In addition, the students in Years 2 to 6 will undertake a self-assessment based on the same criteria that the teachers will report on. Those self-assessments will be sent home as hard copies with the students.

At the end of each report, the teacher will either request an interview with the parents or will indicate that he/she does not require an interview at this stage. If the teacher indicates that an interview is not required, but you wish to meet with the teacher, please feel free to contact the teacher for an appointment.

Please use the interim report and the self-assessment as a discussion starter with your children. Affirm them for their achievements and discuss ways in which they can improve in those areas that require attention.

P&F BY ZOOM

The next meeting of the P&F will take place on Wednesday evening next week (23rd September). 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 this meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) evening:

  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/98078961427
  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 182418.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

SWIMMING CARNIVAL & YEAR 2 SWIMMING PROGRAM

In last week’s newsletter, I advised you that our annual school swimming carnival has been cancelled, due to ongoing COVID restrictions. I have been advised by the Catholic Schools Office not to cancel the booking on Swansea Pool, in case restrictions regarding parent attendance are relaxed before December. Therefore, I have re-booked the pool for Friday 11th December, subject to the easing of COVID restrictions.

Unfortunately, we are still unable to run our two-week swimming program for the Year 2 students in November.

Peter Green

BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT

One of the principles that underpins our work at St Patrick’s is the importance of promoting partnerships with the parents and carers of our students. In order for these partnerships to flourish, all members of the school community are expected to engage with one another in polite and respectful ways which value the rights of the individual, prevent embarrassment and fear, resolve problems in a prompt and confidential way, and treats other as they themselves wish to be treated.

There will be times when parents disagree with the way in which we manage conflict between students. At times, it may look as if we are taking a soft approach. At other times, you may believe that we are being too tough. We do not get it right every time, but I can assure you that any action that we take in regard to conflict between students is done so after investigating the incident and determining the most appropriate way of responding to it. We do our best to address these matters within a framework of dignity, respect and truth.

There are often no simple solutions to many of these matters, and we often walk a fine line between families who have very different views on the management of children’s behaviour. Harsh punishment in the first instance will generally alleviate the conflict in the short term, but it also has the potential to build resentment between students in the long term. Ongoing bitterness will generally lead to the issues resurfacing at a later date . . . and we are then back to square one.

We have a number of programs and initiatives that aim to build the students’ social and emotional competencies. These initiatives include a counselling service, ‘You Can Do It’, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL), Zones of Regulation, ‘Seasons for Growth’, ‘Cool and Friendly’, ‘Cool and Brave’, social skills training, daily check-ins, and a buddy program for Kindergarten students. These initiatives aim to equip students with skills for improving relationships, reducing stress, reacting appropriately to conflict, and promoting wellbeing.

I respect the right of parents and carers to disagree with the manner in which we deal with student conflict. However, I expect our deliberations to be respectful. Yelling, interrupting, harsh demands, threats and unreasonable timelines have the potential to compromise the partnerships which underlie our purpose as a Catholic school. Accepting advice and criticism that is offered in a truthful and courteous manner has a better chance of achieving the outcomes that all of us want for your children. Thank you for your commitment to building this partnership.

Peter Green.

MESSAGE FOR A RECKLESS DRIVER

At 9.00am last Friday morning, you dropped off your child in the Kiss and Ride zone outside the school. After your child had alighted from the car, you pulled away from the kerb without indicating and performed an illegal u-turn across the double lines. It was sheer luck that a cyclist (not a student of St Patrick’s) heading east along Northcote Avenue did not T-bone your vehicle. Another near miss outside the school by a dangerous, impatient and irresponsible driver! Had you proceeded further east for a few hundred metres, you could have turned around safely.

In July I was informed that our school has qualified for a school crossing supervisor, who will ensure that pedestrians can cross Northcote Avenue safely. I am hopeful that the physical presence of the school crossing supervisor will encourage you to think more carefully about endangering the safety of other road users through your dangerous driving practices. I understand that the process of training and recruitment does take time, and I have contacted Transport for NSW to ask when the crossing supervisor might begin. I have also contacted Belmont Police to ask for a more regular police presence here in the mornings and afternoons.

The cyclist who you almost hit with your vehicle may be somebody’s child, somebody’s parent, somebody’s partner, or somebody’s friend. A road death will not only rob somebody of a life, but will ruin the lives of many people, including the driver.

Peter Green.

Canteen ROSTER

Focus on Positive Behaviour for Learning

HELP REQUIRED

As a caring community we would like to continue to offer our support to the Santamaria family after the loss of their dearly loved father and husband. If you can help to maintain their lawns for the rest of the year, it would be greatly appreciated. Please click on the link below where you will be taken to a lawn mowing roster, where you can volunteer to help on a particular Saturday.

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