9 April 2020 - Newsletter (Vol 37 No 6)
When the going gets tough!!
Thank you, thank you and thank you, to all members of our community who have responded brilliantly over the past three weeks to ensure our students keep having the opportunity to learn.
As I write the final newsletter for Term 1, I want to acknowledge the staff who have simply been amazing in reacting to an ever-changing landscape at the College. Administration staff have taken on a variety of roles to respond to the needs of parents and students. Teaching staff, despite many hurdles, continue to ensure all lessons and feedback are available for our students.
The current situation in the world sees us all going through the bad, the terrible, the inconceivable and for some, utter despair before we can start to envisage what the other side of this pandemic looks like. In all of this, take care of one another, look out for signs of people struggling and most of all keep a realistic view of what needs to happen. Yes, the schoolwork is important, but be real, be measured and know that it is OK to take time out to focus on other things.
We don’t know what the future holds but we are planning on running a similar model at the start of Term 2. That is, schools will remain open for parents who need to send their children in and all learning will still be online for the foreseeable future.
Holy Week leads us to the greatest joy in Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I invite all of you this week to reflect on the daily readings and take time to pray to reconnect with God and to work on your relationship with Jesus Christ. I know it is something I have been working on during the season of Lent and I have been grateful for the time to do so.
He is Risen, Alleluia!!
"Vulnerability opens us up to God’s surprises. Mary Magdalene was surprised when Christ called her name. Peter and his fellow fisherman were surprised by the sudden pull in their casted nets. Thomas was surprised by the solidness of the person in front of him. The men walking the road to Emmaus were surprised by their guest at the table, later noticing the longing within themselves; ‘Were not our hearts burning within us on the road?’ We too recognise the Resurrected Jesus in these moments of surprise – in a familiar voice calling us by name, in unexpected abundance, in a concrete experience of God’s presence, in the breaking of the bread. These surprises are moments of recognition – when we know the Risen God is in our midst and that Easter is not a one-time event.
The wait is over and daybreak comes. Joy surprises, and everywhere resurrection is happening".
Elizabeth Eiland Figuera, Ignatian Spirituality.
Yes, we, like Jesus, must endure the pain of Good Friday but ultimately we are the resurrection people and alleluia is our song. I wish you all a blessed Easter and look forward more than ever to the time we will reunite as a community back on campus together.
CSO have prepared a Learning from Home website for families. Please take the time to read the valuable information on this site.
I remain so proud to lead this amazing team of people and am humbled at being the Principal of an incredible College.
During the week students and parents should have received an email regarding individual year group Google classrooms. This is a vital avenue of communication between the College and home. Please act on it as soon as possible.
To assist our wellbeing during uncertain times it can be important to remember what we can and cannot control. I stumbled across this article and poster from The Counseling Teacher which provides a good summary: How to relieve anxiety during times of uncertainty
Until next time I hope all have a safe and Holy Easter break
"Consider that you do not have to limp through this difficult time, but you can have the attitude of a victor. In fact, the Apostle Paul says you are “more than conqueror”. Why is this so? Because Jesus Christ won the victory already on your behalf, and all you need now is to accept it by faith.” - Yvette Stupart
Assistant Principal - Mission
Staff and Student Wellbeing
This week I have taken an excerpt from a Jesuit Post on how to celebrate Holy Week at home. In the era of remote learning at SJPC, this may be of use:
How to Celebrate the Easter Triduum at Home
The Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter marks the most solemn feast in the Catholic calendar. The rituals in this celebration make present the great mystery of Christ’s Resurrection, which is beyond what words can capture. The washing of the feet, the dramatized retelling of the passion, the pillar of fire, the processions, the silence, the incense, the music, all of it building to a staggering trumpet blast: He is risen!
What are we to do, however, in a time when we cannot go to a parish to celebrate these great and holy days? Many of us are looking for a way to celebrate the Triduum at home. Some will tune into a live-stream from their parishes. Others may wish to celebrate a Liturgy of the Word with their families or to pray the Liturgy of the Hours together. For those who are interested in adapting the Triduum rituals to the home, I have prepared liturgical guides based on the Roman Missal.
The liturgy is not only the realm of the ordained. It is a gift and a responsibility for all the faithful. The Second Vatican Council identified the family as “the domestic Church” in which parents are “the first preachers of the faith to their children.” Likewise, John Paul II called for families to extend the liturgical prayer of the whole Church into the home so that they may celebrate “God’s loving intervention” in their lives and in the life of the world.
Finding some creative ways to celebrate the Triduum in the home can be daunting. It may even seem awkward to lead your family or roommates in ritualized prayer. My hope in creating these guides is to remove some of that pressure and to bolster the life of the domestic Church. Though we mourn the fact that we cannot gather in our parish communities, perhaps these guides will help to make a meaningful and prayerful Triduum at home.
Families can click on the links below to see the guides for each day.
In closing, I would again like to highlight the added importance of our electronic resources our College subscribes to. The following resource will be used as a support for our current HSC students but is available for all students and parents at St John Paul College in regards to remote learning.
Our College’s subscription details to Study Skills Handbook are -
As was the case in 2019, we have access to the Elevate Education Student Portal. This online platform contains resources and useful study tips that all SJPC students will find effective. We encourage them to access this Student Portal and try some of the strategies. Students have the password to this site. The password can also be found on the Curriculum Noticeboard.
Have a Holy Easter and restful holidays.
Learning and Teaching
The college staff have put together this Easter prayer video for all our college families. Please engage with the video at a time that suits you – the video will guide you through the prayer.
On behalf of the college, I would like to acknowledge the challenging times we find ourselves in. Jesus Christ remains our unwavering constant and He is calling us to lean on Him. I pray that we all find hope in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the tomb.
May God bless our college community
Professional Adaptive Compassionate Resilient Creative Inspirational
These are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about how our staff have met the current educational challenges that Covid-19 has thrown our way. Over the past couple of weeks, teachers have spent countless hours learning new skills and adapting their pedagogy in order to ensure learning continues for our students. This past week has been a welcomed opportunity for colleagues to engage in further professional development to support online learning, such as:
I continue to be inspired by the perseverance and commitment of all our staff and feel so incredibly proud to be a part of such an awesome team of educators.
Your children’s learning is in the safest of hands.
We look forward to engaging with our students again in Term 2 and stretching ourselves to think outside the square when it comes to engagement and pedagogy.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all staff, students and parents a safe and holy Easter break.
Leader of Pedagogy
This is a difficult and challenging time for educators, parents and students across Australia.
With the emergence of COVID-19 and the move to social-distancing and remote learning, there are many questions about what are the best approaches to support learners, teachers and families, especially those working towards the HSC.
As you know the teachers and support staff of SJPC have been working hard to establish online and distance learning for our students, ensuring quality learning continues in the coming months. Evidence informs us that the best student outcomes are achieved when ‘systems’ are established that make use of a range of activities and that enable the flexible delivery of schooling. We understand that maintaining a strong teacher presence and support for students are also critical. Staff at SJPC have been accessing evidence-based advice on setting expectations around teacher availability as well as creating a supportive, online community for collaborative learning, using the Zoom conferencing tool, Google Classroom and various online resources.
We thank all those families who have given us feedback and support during this time. We understand that parents and carers play a critical role in setting up a home environment that is conducive to learning. The College and the Diocese will continue to offer support to families in regard to issues associated with ‘learning from home’.
Student Responsibilities - Years 10, 11 and 12
Year 10 and 11 students are continuing to work towards achieving their first academic qualification known as a RoSA.
This requires them to be actively submitting work online, as requested by their teachers, for feedback and evidence of their learning. The New South Wale Education Standards Authority (NESA) requires all students in these Year groups to engage with the curriculum and demonstrate their level of achievement across various outcomes.
Students studying HSC subjects are required to continue to follow their formal HSC Assessment Schedules, assessment calendar and College protocols. All students have access to the NESA updates via their Student Online account and NESA website.
All Year 10, 11 and 12 students have been informed of the College’s and NESA requirements, and their responsibilities in this changing learning environment via their Curriculum Matters Google Classrooms. This platform is also used to provide support material and links regarding study and organisational strategies amongst others. Any modifications to in school HSC assessment will be communicated to students via classroom teachers and LOLs.
Please continue to encourage your children to actively participate in their learning as required by NESA and the College as they work towards receiving these qualifications.
“It goes without saying that It is in all of our interests to respond well to the current crisis and to reflect on what the evidence tells us." – Laureate Professor John Hattie, AITSL Board Chair.
Leader of Curriculum
Year 10 Canberra
Great news - the postponed Canberra excursion has found a new date! The trip has been rescheduled for Week 9 Term 4, leaving on the evening of Sunday, 6th December and returning on Friday, 11th December at about 11 pm.
We appreciate that this plan may not suit everyone so:
- Could you please let us know whether your son/daughter plans to attend the trip or not by completing the google form below by Friday 8th May 2020.
Click here to let us know whether your son/daughter will attend or not.
- Further, If you wish to withdraw from the trip, please return the request for refund form attached to email@example.com for processing. This needs to be completed by Friday 8th May 2020 in order to obtain a full refund.
As per previous arrangements, students who do not go to Canberra will do Work Experience. This includes students who withdraw from Canberra.
The payment of the last instalment of $125 was due on 4th April. This date is now extended to a date to be advised.
Leader of Learning - History
Students also have access to eBooks and audiobooks via Sora, our online platform. Our collection is called ACEN. Search in the Available Now collection to find books that are ready to be borrowed.
What are some of our staff reading over the holidays?
Mr Carniato - Caught in the cross-fire - An Australian peacekeeper beyond the front-line
Mr Stubbs - Legacy : 15 lessons in leadership: What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life
Mrs Brennan - The five
Mrs Gennat - Dare to lead
Don't forget to relax and read a little every day. Email me a photo of you reading during the holidays and it may appear on our Facebook page or in our next newsletter.
One of our aims this year at St John Paul College is to improve our avenues of communication with our college community. Our new newsletter format was the first step. Next term we will be using the Schoolzine app to send messages to parents and students. All school information will be easily accessible in one place, including links to our newsletter, college website, documents and calendar. The third communication avenue will be our new updated college website which is currently under construction.
Please download the Schoolzine app onto your smartphone and be ready for the launch Term 2 Week 1.
Year 7 - 10 Sport Google Classroom
Whilst we are unable to hold traditional sport, it is vital that we all stay active, motivated and competitive. The Sport Department has set up a Google Classroom for all students in Year 7 - 12 to access.
SJPC Sport Google Classroom code - wi7ugjz
Please join to share in exciting activities and upcoming events!
Leader of Learning - Sport
I recently posted the following article to our Year 12 for students - To the HSC class of 2020 - your place in history is secured! It comes from the Sydney Morning Herald and is a unique view of some of the challenges senior students studying for the HSC are facing in these tumultuous times.
The piece of writing from Helen Pitt, examines our children’s current situation and also reflects on, and highlights, her own challenges with her son, a senior student as well.
I hope you’ll take a look at the article. Three quotes resonate with me when I talk with Year 12 - ideas about how we should be approaching senior school ‘Version2020’ and how to make this time work best for them.
The following two quotes are perfect examples of this:
“We don’t know what shape this year's HSC will take. You may think if it goes ahead, that’s unfair. But life isn’t fair. Just keep calm and carry on, as that 1939 British wartime poster says.”
“...And this is the lesson you will get that no other cohort of Year 12 students has had before …… It’s called resilience. They don’t teach it in textbooks or end-of-year exams. You have to live it and you are doing that right now. You are making history”.
What the 2020 HSC year looks like will be very different to all others. This will be something that we can possibly all ‘hang our hat on’ and reflect back and say - “Wow, that's the Year 12 that dealt with a global pandemic, blended and online learning, self-isolation, Zoom, and worst of all - no 18th birthday parties! (I can hear a few parents sigh of relief on that last one).
What the future holds no one knows, but I’m really confident and proud of our Year 12 students and the way they have handled themselves on this journey so far and look forward to catching up on all those things we have/may miss over the next few months (maybe not the 18th’s).
Remember - “You are leaps and bounds ahead of any of us who have gone before. Whatever happens in your life, how you deal with adversity or accomplishment, is up to you. Not your parents, not your teachers, just you. How you face this uncertainty will define you, for better or worse.”
I’d like to wish all the parents, carers and students of Year 12 a happy and reflective Easter.
God Bless and Stay Safe
Year 12 Coordinator
With the holidays upon us, as Counsellors, we are aware of the joys and challenges of this time. Many of our students have already been learning from home and now without school to occupy and provide some connection, staying at home during the COVID-19 restrictions provides a unique challenge for students and parents. We are noticing the creative ways that adults and young people are responding to this and wanted to share some ideas to help the wellbeing of our families.
This is a time to be grateful for those we live with and find ways to have fun, support each other with the stress, and perhaps take a break from each other too. The Parenting Ideas attached to the last SJPC newsletter had some useful thoughts including keeping up family rituals even if you need to modify them to include family not living with you at the moment. Staying connected virtually such as face timing while doing activities, using apps to play together, sing, and share are all ways young people and adults are exploring to stay connected.
It is still okay to be active, we are both finding how important this is now that we are at home more. We know the P.E. teachers have shared resources for keeping active. Students and family can try this out and even set challenges with each other or friends. We love the videos people have shared of dancing. Walking together, as well as doing some of the many fitness and yoga YouTube activities are other ideas to try to keep active.
Trying new things or picking up old things again
We are hearing about young people cooking and baking - maybe this is a time for young people to develop that signature dish/cake/bread they can prepare for the family.
Trying out some art - maybe students could do some of the art they have been doing this term or even last year with other family members. We are sure the art teachers would love to see what their students and families have been creating, and it would look great around the house or on your wall.
Try out some music - learn a new song, if you play an instrument great! If you don’t, try singing, there are even apps that allow you to do karaoke with your friends.
Gardening is a great activity whether you grow sprouts, vegetables or flowers.
Supporting each other
Giving around the house to our family. We are hearing about small and big ways that young people are contributing while at home around the house, with small monetary rewards or just for the love of it.
Making things to send to grandparents or other family and friends - as well as video calling our grandparents, creating something personal to send by snail mail can make a difference for those self-isolating at the moment.
We look forward to hearing what you got up to over your holidays when students return to school (blended) next Term. It certainly will be a holiday to remember. We wish you all a lovely Easter with family and a good holiday.
Enrolment Year 7, 2021
The Enrolment period opens on Wednesday, 29th April and closes Tuesday, 19th May 2020. An application form is now available to download from the College website. Please complete all necessary documentation and return via post or email only. Please note, no enrolment applications will be processed until all documents are received.
Due to Covid-19 the College will not be accepting application forms in person.
Post: PO Box 1334 Coffs Harbour 2450
Available from Term 2, Tuesday 28th April - Girls grey shorts $44.00
Please note the Uniform Shop is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 7.30am - 9.00am.