26 February 2021 - Newsletter (Vol 38 No 3)
Ash Wednesday and Lent
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent in the Church, a period of repentance and renewal which leads to Easter. A period of 40 days which reminds us of the time Jesus spent in the desert fasting and being tested.
Lent is a time where we are provided the opportunity to focus more on our daily lives in 3 specific areas; prayer, fasting and giving to charitable works. We are challenged to think about our relationship with God and to focus on others less fortunate.
The College Community marked the beginning of Lent with our Ash Wednesday liturgy in the Hall. A different ceremony this year, where staff and students were invited to have the ashes sprinkled on their heads (COVID measures given from the Vatican) a time when we shared in prayer and reflections. Ashes are an ancient symbol of repentance and renewal. The blessed palms used in the previous Palm Sunday liturgy are burnt to create the ashes. They remind us of the uncertainty of human life and new beginnings.
This year Pope Francis gave Catholics around the world a different perspective on fasting, more than just the traditional form of abstinence. His words went something like this…
Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
Fact from anger and be filled with patience.
Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
Fast from worries and trust God.
Fast from complaints; contemplate simplicity.
Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
Fast from bitterness; fill your hearts with joy.
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate.
Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
Fast from words; be silent and listen.
There is much we can take from these words, even if we just focus on one line a day over the next 40 days. Or perhaps we focus on one or two lines for the entire period. Whichever way we want to engage, one thing is certain, at the very worst, we come out of this period as better people and hopefully in a closer relationship with God the creator of all of us.
I am continually grateful for my vocation as a teacher in a Catholic school and am challenged every day to see the face of Jesus in all my dealings with people here at the College. A challenge I hope to improve upon, especially during this Lenten period.
Last Wednesday saw the official beginning of Lent as we came together for a school service to mark Ash Wednesday. For many, many years Catholics have shown their willingness to repent for their sins by having a cross of ashes placed on their forehead. This year due to Covid regulations the Vatican instructed for ashes to be sprinkled on the top of our heads. Perhaps not an obvious sign of our faith but more of a private, personal connection with God.
During lent we need to remember what God asks of us. Sacrifice, giving and prayer should be a part of our Lenten journey. As well as the fasting and almsgiving, the third invitation of Lent is that we pray. However, there is a difference between saying prayers and praying. Yes, it’s important to be able to come to God in prayer, saying prayers that we have known since our childhood, but it is also important to pray with no words at all, with the hope of hearing something, to listen not with our ears but with an open and listening heart. As we continue our Lenten journey, may our prayer be:
Speak Lord, I am listening
Another example of a prayer is:
It is wonderful to begin this week
acknowledging that we need God's help in listening and hearing.
It is so powerful to ask for the "gift of integrity"
to express our desire for wholeness.
And, we humbly ask for light in the midst of whatever
might "shadow our vision."
This is the God who allows Jesus
to be transfigured before his disciples,
to prepare them for what they were about to face.
This is our God, who can give each of us
the change of heart we ask for.
And finally for those that are interested, attached are the Readings, Prayers and Reflections for the week.
Until next time:
"Lent is a good time for sacrificing. Let us deny ourselves something every day to help others." -Pope Francis
Assistant Principal - Mission
Staff and Student Wellbeing
Student Assessment Data in 2021
One of my aims this year is to provide our staff with a greater array of student data to assist with subject planning and assessments this year. Recently our Leaders of Learning and Executive Team spoke with the CSO Data team to review the student data and analytics resources on offer.
At SJPC we have contributed data to these sites via PAT Reading and PAT Numeracy assessments completed in October 2020 by the Year 7/8s. These assessments will continue to be completed each year to allow staff to review trends and hopefully achieve ‘one year’s growth’ for each student.
In addition to PAT data, SJPC will engage in Best Start testing this week for all Year 7 students. This information will give staff a quick snapshot of your cohort in both literacy and numeracy. This information added to NAPLAN results later in the year will allow our staff to have more information than ever before in order to aid student learning and growth each year.
Parents Students Teacher Conferences in 2021
Inline with the CSO COVID requirements, the College will again be hosting ‘face to face’ Parents Students Teacher Conferences. These will begin with Year 10 and Year 11 PST Conferences in Week 7 and Year 8 and Year 9 Conferences in Week 9.
Further information will be given to students and parents in regards to pre conference preparation but families are encouraged to consider the following for the night:
- How are you feeling about your progress in this subject?
- Have you tried hard to do your best?
- Have you been distracted/distracting?
- What goals do you have to improve your learning habits and effort?
- What strategies do you need to have in place to support your goals?
- Where can you put more effort in?
Our school’s access details are:
School’s Username – stjohnpaul
School’s password – 89success
In addition, our subscription to Elevate Education may assist in this area.
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.
Learning and Teaching
Ash Wednesday and Lent in a COVID world
The Vatican recently sent down the new rules to churches worldwide but the sprinkling tradition itself is not an innovation because of the pandemic. Rather, it is a practice that has roots deep in the tradition of the church and is to this day the customary practice of the distribution of Ashes in many other countries, including Italy and Poland.
While this year is different, the symbolism stays the same.
Ash Wednesday symbolizes repentance and mortality, marking the beginning of the Lenten season, a solemn 40-day period devoted to prayer, fasting and reflection, and leading up to Easter Sunday.
Our school will also be launching Project Compassion at our Ash Wednesday Liturgy. This year, Caritas Australia takes the theme of ‘Be More’ for Project Compassion 2021. It challenges us to venture into a new experience of compassion, and is taken from the invitation of St. Oscar Romero to “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.” This message invites us to step up and step out for those who do not have the essential resources they need for their survival; those whose needs at this time are far beyond ours.
During Lent we will be sharing five heroic stories of people who are stepping up within their communities and “being more” with the students, staff and community of SJPC.
This challenge to ‘Be More’ to our brothers and sisters in need is at the heart of the Christian message. Jesus, Pope Francis writes, “asks us not to decide who is close enough to be our neighbour, but rather that we ourselves become neighbours to all.” (Fratelli Tutti, No. 80) The work of Caritas Australia is a light in dark places and your generosity illuminates hope for those in dire circumstances.
A focus on Learning
This year we aim to increase CLARITY in our lessons by displaying and discussing Learning Intentions and Success Criteria in our classrooms. Throughout the year our teachers will have the opportunity to engage in a range of Professional Development activities to increase their understanding of why Learning Intentions and Success Criteria are important, and also to build teacher confidence in writing them.
Research shows that students who regularly receive this information in the classroom are:
- more focused for longer periods of time
- more motivated and active in their learning
- better able to take responsibility for their own learning
So what are they?
Learning intentions describe what students should know, understand and be able to demonstrate by the end of a lesson, a series of lessons or a unit of work. They focus on the learning, rather than the task or activity and assist teachers to give meaningful feedback. They answer the question “Where am I going in my learning?”. They give us the learning destination.
Success criteria states what students have to do to show they have achieved the learning intention.
They can be used for students to self assess their learning in order to improve achievement and are most impactful when students are engaged in their co-construction during the lesson. They provide the map which shows learners HOW to get to the learning destination.When your child comes home from school rather than asking them what they did that day, try reframing your question and ask them “What are you learning in (subject name)?”.
Leader of Pedagogy
As discussed last year, remote and blended instruction have forced an unprecedented review of teaching and learning practices. The result is an increased awareness of what works and what doesn’t and a renewed interest in what learning looks like and how we assess it.
At SJPC we recognise that learning and expertise are not static, they are continual processes that involve practice, adjustment, and refinement.
We have started by avoiding a sense of finality in grading. The NSW education system uses grades as indicators of the level of achievement of outcomes in each course. However, grades are only part of the discussion, they are not the discussion.
We are designing a more flexible, supportive approach to assessment in Years 7 – 9 with an emphasis on developing an attitude of continuous improvement and learning.
Our aim is to develop expert learners who are motivated, knowledgeable, resourceful and goal-directed. Learners who are focused on effective habits and routines as opposed to deadlines. As a result, students in Years 7 – 9 will have multiple opportunities to provide evidence of their learning and achievement of course outcomes across a semester. With feedback playing a vital role in student growth and improvement.
Besides receiving feedback on how they’re doing, students are encouraged to reflect on their learning and whether they have met each lesson’s success criteria, as well as determining which strategies they need to employ to improve.
Obviously an important step in this process is to educate our College community to ensure everyone understands what learning, assessment and grading ’looks’ like and what strategies students can use to allow them to grow and move to the next grade across a multitude of knowledge and skill sets. We are in the process of creating these resources to support the conversations, that are already occurring, between students, teachers and parents.
The College bases decisions on solid data and educational research. This research shows that fewer, more targeted, and more flexible assignments reduce stress for everyone and give time for reflection, revision, and deeper thinking. Thus leading to learning gains and improved grades, as a student’s ability to think, write, and problem-solve improves.
A student’s grade becomes a reflection of the evidence they have provided across different styles of tasks and learning opportunities over time rather than one or two examinations.
Please join us on this journey. We are excited with where this may take our community and we ask you to trust us to implement the strategies that international educational research has shown to be effective.
Here is a video you may find helpful when discussing how to study effectively with your children: How to study effectively with your children
Leader of Curriculum
Online bullying can have a devastating impact on young people, whose online life is a key part of their identity and how they interact socially.
Cyberbullying behaviour takes many forms, such as sending abusive messages, hurtful images or videos, nasty online gossip, excluding or humiliating others, or creating fake accounts in someone’s name to trick or humiliate them.
Bullying is never ok. It’s hurtful and can impact someone for a long time.
Resist the urge to respond
Stick to treating people the way you want to be treated online and offline
Before you block or delete, make sure you screenshot. If you’ve seen or been the target of mean or nasty stuff online, it’s really important you keep evidence of it. This might help you out down the track if they continue to be nasty and you need to report it.
Report and block
Most social media services, games and apps have a function that makes it easy to report and block online bullying. You can find reporting links for social media, apps, games and websites in the eSafety guide.
Talk to someone
Cyberbullying can make you feel isolated and like everyone is out to get you, but that’s not the case. Make sure you talk to people you trust and get support from mates or adults that have your back, and you’ll realise that you are not alone
Report it to eSafety
Below are some links with more information on how to make an e-safety report:
The BIG issues - Cyberbuylling
Year 11 continue to impress with the way they have approached their Senior education. With week 5 almost over it won’t be long before they complete assessment tasks across many of their subjects. In fact, many students actually did their first Studies of Religion assessment task today. However, it does concern me that many students are feeling overwhelmed with the increase in workload from Year 10 into Year 11. I would like to remind students that there is great support here at the College in the form of your homeroom teacher, school counsellors and yours truly. We are here to guide you through this difficult transition period into Senior School so feel free to use and abuse us!
It was also great to see our House Captains gain recognition this morning at assembly for their Leadership and House Spirit shown at the recent swimming carnival and at the Tuesday lunch time Volleyball House challenge. Keep up the great work!
Our SRC and House Captains are in the “picking a design” phase for their Senior Jersey which will be available in Term 4. May I remind all leaders of year 11 to email me their chosen design asap.
Finally, don’t forget parent/student/teacher conferences are in week 7 which is only 2 weeks away. This is an excellent opportunity for students and parents to sit down and engage with teachers to discuss how they are going in their subjects.
It has been a very busy start for the Year 12 group with 2 fundraising events held in quick succession. The BBQ at the school swimming carnival was very successful with nearly 600 sausages sold. The fundraising group would like to send out a massive thank you to Al at Big Country Meats who donated all the sausages and even supplied more when we ran out during the day. Also a huge thank you to Sharon at Hot Bake who donated all of the bread for the day. The generosity of these two businesses during difficult times was much appreciated by the whole year group. The work done by Ethan Sultana in approaching these businesses for support was a great example of a young person showing initiative.
The teachers race was also a great success with Mr. Furey taking out the honours with a perfectly timed race. Unfortunately, a lack of cameras at the start could not support the protest from Mr. Harrison that Mr. Fury dived in early, so we will have to wait until next year for the square up.
The recent Valentine’s Day fundraiser was a good learning experience for the group in regards to organization, planning, and working together as a team. The valuable lessons learned will only help the group with future event planning.
A big thank you to Lily-Rose Battaglia and Mr Carniato for organizing the cleaning of the venue, updating the appliances and making improvements to the senior kitchen which will no doubt be heavily frequented over the coming months.
Our Year 7 students have been hard at work learning the names of scientific equipment and making observations. This week we have been learning about making measurements. Practical lessons are always a highlight and the students get to use specialist equipment to learn how to make precise measurements.
Engagement has been high and we have been met with plenty of enthusiasm all round.
Here are a few photos of our students in action.
Can you recognise some of these faces?
Parents are an integral and valued part of the education process. Let’s face it, no-one knows a child as well as the parent / guardian. At SJPC we aim to assist parents in engaging with their child’s learning.
6 QUESTIONS PARENTS CAN ASK THEIR CHILDREN
- What did you do today?
- What did you learn today?
- How did you do?
- What did you do if you didn’t understand?
- How can you improve on your learning?
- What are you most proud of?
(Clarity by Lyn Sharratt)
When asking students what they did we are asking them to simply recall activities and actions. Asking what they learned requires students to explore reasons for undertaking the activities. Students can begin to make links between actions and learning and the bigger picture - the intended outcome.
Children love to know there is an interest in what they have learned at school and answering these questions helps children revisit and question their learning for the day and perhaps consolidate their understanding. Students’ growth and achievement is everyone's business and as a collective we can encourage our students/children to become more engaged in their learning and more able to reflect on and evaluate how to improve their learning.
Regional University Roadshow
This week our Year 12’s were fortunate to be visited by our four regional universities - Southern Cross University, University of New England, Charles Sturt University and Newcastle University.
The presentation covered topics such as: Why should I go to University and Why should I go to a regional university? How do I get into university? and How much does university cost?
Throughout the year, our Year 12‘s will have opportunities to explore their post school options be that university, TAFE, apprenticeships or GAP years.
Defence Force Recruiting
The Defence Force Recruiting team will be at SJPC during lunchtime on Monday 29 March to do a presentation on the pathways and careers in the ADF.
Students in Years 9 -12 who are interested in finding out about the Air Force, Navy or Army should register their interest to attend at the Careers Room.
White Card Course
CSU Explore Day - 10 March 2021
Students in Year 12 have the opportunity to attend the Port Macquarie campus of CSU to explore the range of study options that are available. Permission notes will be available soon from the Careers Room.
On Tuesday the Counsellors had the privilege of speaking with the P and F about their role and supporting students through transitions. For the counsellors open communication about the wellbeing of students is essential so it was great to see so many parents attend on a rainy night.
The parents and counsellors discussed what they have noticed helped their children through transitions. Parents mentioned things such as older siblings, consistent support from a Year Coordinator, listening and responding to the fears and hopes of their children, looking for ways to build their confidence, trusting their children with their learning, and communication with the school.
The counsellors spoke about noticing and responding to children and young people’s wellbeing. One of the ways of considering how students are going that the counsellors discussed was the BeYou Mental Health Continuum.
Children and young people fluctuate in where they are on this continuum depending on what is happening in their lives. At school we aim to develop the skills of our students to respond to the experiences which may affect their wellbeing and care for themselves and each other. We also provide support to students based on where they are on the continuum to help them move back to ‘Going Ok’ and ‘Flourishing’. For some students this might be one off support, for others they may need more intensive and coordinated care with family and community agencies (eg. GP, Psychologist, headspace).
We emphasised that as family and school communicate with each other about the wellbeing of students we can ensure that they are receiving the support they need at school and issues impacting on their wellbeing and learning are addressed.
If you have concerns about your child please contact their Year Coordinator and if needed they will include the College Counsellor. Parents are welcome to contact the College Counsellors if you have any questions about our service.
College Swimming Carnival
A spectacular day was gifted for our 39th College Swimming carnival. Once again our students proudly represented their houses and College in a multitude of events. The highlights of this year’s carnival was the high level of participation in the races, particularly the junior age groups and the outstanding behaviour of our students. In a COVID riddled year, all of us had to adjust to restricted areas, modified parent involvement and a changed format to the novelty events. Despite these measures, all had a wonderful day.
The results of the carnival are as follows:
|2021 Age Champions|
|12 Years||Wesley Pither||Liliana Marle|
|13 Years||Jaxon White||Cooper Andrews|
|14 Years||Riley Woods||Eliana Straw|
|15 Years||Cooper Marle||Riley Andrews|
|16 Years||Rhys Mulholland||Lily Betland|
|17 Years +||Lachlan Marle||Rebecca Booth|
The Diocesan carnival will be held in Lismore on Thursday 4 March.
A massive thank you to all the staff who made the day possible and for the excellent attitude and participation of our students. The 2021 SJPC Swimming carnival was successful on many fronts.
- Congratulations to Logan Lacey who has been awarded a 3 year League scholarship with the NRL Bulldogs. He will remain at home, continuing to attend SJPC and play in the local League. Logan will complete a Bulldogs Apprenticeship where he will travel to Sydney to stay at Belmore House, work within the community, train with my age group and with the NRL Squad. This is an outstanding achievement for an up and coming talent in League.
- Congratulations to all our students who are heading to Sydney to complete in the NSW State Lifesaving Championships. We have multiple students representing their clubs from Woolgoolga to Nambucca. We wish them all the best over the next two weekends.
- We have had a number of students across many year levels selected to attend the Diocesan Touch Football, Diocesan Football and Diocesan League trials. Congratulations and good luck to all our athletes over the next two weeks of trials.
Logan Lacey - 3 year League scholarship with the NRL Bulldogs
Multiple students representing clubs from Woolgoolga to Nambucca for NSW State Lifesaving Championships
CLOSING DATES FOR NSWCCC INDIVIDUAL ATHLETE SELECTIONS
Sign up and details - CSNSW Sport - Sign Up and Details
NSW CCC Individual Athlete Selections Term 1 2021
|Wed 3 Mar 2021||CCC Baseball selections - Blacktown||Online closes 26 February|
|Mon 8 Mar 2021||CCC Golf selections - Macquarie Links||Online closes 25 February|
|Wed 10 Mar 2021||CCC Volleyball selections - Sydney Olympic Park||Online closes 5 March|
|Mon 15 Mar 2021||CCC Water Polo selections - Ryde||Online closes 11 March|
|Mon 22 Mar 2021||CCC Hockey selections - Moorebank||Online closes 15 March|
|Mon 30 Mar 2021||CCC Triathlon selections - Penrith||Online closes 15 March|
|26 February||Sport selections for Yrs 9/10 Term 2 open 7am|
|2 March||Sport selections for Yrs 9/10 Term 2 open 9am|
|Diocesan Touch Football trials postponed|
|Year 10 - Inter-house Volleyball Challenge|
|4 March||Diocesan Swimming Championships, Lismore|
|9 March||Tennis, Tweed Heads|
|Diocesan Winter sport trials, SCU and Woodlawn|
|Year 7 - Inter-house Volleyball Challenge|
|16 March||Year 9 - Inter-house Volleyball Challenge|
|18 March||Year 9 - SJPC Cross Country event, period 5 and 6|
|23 March||Year 12 - Inter-house Volleyball Challenge|
|25 March||Girls League Tag gala day, Geoff King Oval|
|NSW Netball State Cup carnival, Coffs Harbour|
|Diocesan Open Basketball, Sportz Central|
|31 March||Year 7 & 8 - SJPC Cross Country event, period 5 and 6|
Leader of Learning - Sport
Each fortnight, the YMOs will interview a student or staff member. This week we have the college’s new Leader of Catechesis, Mrs Sarah de Byl. Welcome back to the college, Sarah.
What is your favourite movie?
The Castle - it reminds me of my family (a little bit) and I love the Aussie humour
How does it feel to be working at your old high school?
Very different and even though things are familiar they are definitely not the same.
Is there a particular Saint you are inspired by?
Mary Mackillop - she was a great visionary, a rebel and never took no for an answer when she could see the greater good. I love how she treated people and how she always stood up for what was right even when it meant personal sacrifice.
Why did you become a Religion teacher?
I wanted to share my love of the church and the Catholic Faith. To inspire my students to do great things and know that no matter where they go in the world they will always have a family (the Church) and someone who loves them unconditionally (God).
‘The best thing we can give our boys is our presence.’
What: Annual SJPC Yr 7 Men and Boys Camp Out.
Who: Yr 7 boys and their fathers (guardian or significant male in your boy’s life)
Where: SJPC grass netball courts next to hard courts (Bring your own tent and sleeping bags etc)
When: From 4pm (or asap after work) Friday 12th of March - 10am Saturday March 13th 2021
Why: A chance for the boys in yr 7 to camp out, have some fun and spend some quality time with their Dad or a significant male in their lives.
What to expect: Good company, dodgeball, Sausage Sizzle, Bonfire, marshmallows and more.
What to Bring: A tent for you and your boy to share, sleeping bag and camp mattress/stretcher
We try to avoid: mobile phones or other electronic devices.
*No alcohol please
Cost: $15 (covers cost of student and their parent/guardian)
- Permission notes will be sent home with boys next week and available from the Front Office.
If you have any questions, please contact: Tim Davis - firstname.lastname@example.org
WHS in Focus – Good Hygiene, Good Prevention
While Covid-19 is not currently a threat to our community, it may be an appropriate time to remind students and staff of good hygiene practices in our school.
Please see below advice from the Australian Department of Health and the attached posters.
How can we help prevent the spread of a virus and bacteria?
Practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating and after going to the toilet
- Cover coughs and sneezes, dispose of tissues and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- If unwell, avoid contact with others (touching, kissing, hugging and other contact).
- If your child is showing flu like symptoms please arrange a Covid test and keep your child home until they have received a negative test.
Change to Mobile Phone Policy
As with all policies, the College recently revisited its Mobile Phone Policy.
A strength of the College has been its stance on mobile phones being out of sight and use from the time of entry to the College until 3:20pm for all students (unless permission is granted by a teacher). This idea will continue. The major changes will be in the returning of the phone and the recurrence of using the phone while at school. Students who have their phone confiscated throughout the day will have it logged at the College Office and returned by a member of the Executive at the conclusion of the day either at the Office or at the Bus Bay. Should the student have their phone confiscated on a second occasion in a semester, they will incur a College after school detention.
The full Mobile Phone Policy will be on the College website by the end of the week.
We take this opportunity to thank all parents for their support with this policy and all areas of College life.