3 September 2021 - Newsletter (Vol 38 No 14)
Once again I find myself desperately wanting the college to return to ‘normal’. It’s a word that is being thrown around in many circles and discussions, particularly as the time we spend in lockdown continues to be extended.
I don’t have a definition of what normal is, but what I do know is that it is different for everyone. In the last newsletter I wrote about what matters most around exams, study and looking toward the end of the year especially for our seniors.
My message for all families is simple; You know what is right for your circumstances, there is plenty of learning on offer for our students and this will continue to be the case whilst we are in the Blended Learning environment.
Young people are experiencing a range of emotions during this lockdown and my priority above all else is to ensure we can assist you in ensuring that our students are OK. Our pastoral team is a click or phone call away and our College counsellors are also available and for students who are vulnerable, they can come to school and get additional support.
I don’t want to presume for a moment we have all the answers, but I do want to let you know that whilst the classwork is important to keep up, the mental health of all our community is much more important and you as parents are best placed to gauge the level of engagement your child needs.
Please reach out if we can help with anything.
Here is hoping that we will be ‘back to normal’ soon.
Stay safe and God bless
Well we have been plunged into a different world without very much notice. As much as this was all going on around us, I don’t think many of us actually thought it would affect us. Affect us so suddenly and with such an impact on our school, our family and ourselves.
Many of us have been guilty of saying, ‘We’re all in this together’, ‘Things will only get better’, ‘Hang in there’ or 'Just do your best’.These can sometimes be thought of as ‘bandaid statements’, ways of deflecting or making someone feel better, but do they really help?
'Just do your best’ is one that can actually cause great confusion. What does that mean? How do you know it’s your best if you’ve never had to do it before? Do we compare our best to other people’s best? This can be very difficult for our children.
We say this with the best of intentions. We often say it to ease the pressure, to let our child know it is OK if they do not achieve the highest pinnacle of success, as long as they have worked as hard as they can towards it.
Of course, it is not bad for any child, or any person, to ‘do their best’ in any particular endeavor at any time. But is it fair or reasonable to ask for it in all areas, all of the time?
‘Do your best’ can be particularly tough on kids with anxiety issues and highly sensitive children. According to Lynn Lyons, a therapist who specialized in working with anxiety, anxious kids already struggle with the idea that everything has to be a certain way.
In particular, our school age children are suddenly living in a very uncertain world. They have been very suddenly removed from a very structured environment at school where there are timetables, structured lessons and bells. As much as parents try to recreate this, in reality it's near impossible and doesn’t happen. Structure and time management, however, can make a difference. It is important to remember that students have ‘down time’ at school and this should be also happening at home, preferably in the fresh air away from a screen.
Together with all this we and our children are missing contact with others. By nature we are social beings and many of us struggle with that not in our lives.
During this time we have seen so many ‘experts’ come forward with the views on how to best handle the complexities of lockdown. Not only now, but at other times my ‘go to’ is
https://parents.au.reachout.com/ . This site provides invaluable advice for parents, teachers and children.
In short, we need to be kind to ourselves and those around us and yes, we are doing our best.
Until next time here is so great advice from Pope Francis:
Assistant Principal - Mission
Staff and Student Wellbeing
The College is still running on the scheduled timetable for all lesson times throughout the day. This allows classroom teachers to schedule online lessons during their normal class times.
Teachers are making use of Google Classroom for classwork and Zoom video conferencing to deliver lessons. Teachers Zoom 1 lesson at the start of the week for their subject, so as to go through the week’s work and offer instruction. This work will then be completed by the student and uploaded to Google Classroom for marking and feedback.
Students are expected to attend this weekly Zoom lesson for each subject. Teachers will also offer an optional ‘catch up’ Zoom lesson if students need further assistance.
The exception to this is Year 12, who will work with their teachers to decide on the best approach regarding the number and timing of Zooms from next week forward. Each Year 12 Teacher will outline the expectations for their classes so as to properly finish off course content and/or revise for their external assessments in Term 4.
Parents and carers can support their sons and daughters during Blended Learning in a number of ways. Parents and carers should ‘join’ their child’s Google Classroom for each subject so as to get a summary report of submitted work for the week. In addition Parents and carers should engage with their child’s Google Classroom account and see the level of communication, weekly work expectations, the subject content/resources and submission due for the week.
Any student who does not engage with the set learning for the week is recorded and the Pastoral Team have been making contact with home to inform parents of the limited engagement across subjects. This will allow families to discuss any issues and work through options to support student learning during this time away from school.
I would encourage Parents and Carers to make contact with the relevant teachers or Leaders of Learning if there are any specific academic concerns whilst we are in Blended Learning.
Learn more this year about how to improve your results and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on www.studyskillshandbook.com.au. Our College access details are:
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
We hope that everyone is safe and well. Reachout.com have an article on Helping your teen with study stress during coronavirus that you may find helpful.
Below are some helpful links to support struggling parents/carers with blended learning.
Leader of Pastoral Care
Practical Elective for Year 10 2022 - Youth Ministry Class and Homeroom
At SJPC, we have a unique program available to our Year 10 students. Students can choose to continue to study Catholic Studies, or they can apply for the Youth Ministry elective. This class forms one of the 2022 Year 10 homerooms. Although there is some bookwork involved in Youth Ministry, the majority of the learning experiences are of a practical nature. Students will learn how to share the person and teachings of Jesus Christ through drama, music, testimony and engaging prayer experiences. Youth Ministry students lead small retreats in local primary schools and help run the Year 5 and Year 6 diocesan retreats (Exuro and Incitare). Seeing students grow in faith and confidence, through their time in this elective, has been a definite highlight of my teaching experience.
Year 9 students have been aware of this opportunity since the beginning of last week. Applications were due to close today, but are extended until next Friday (10th September).
I would like to particularly encourage Year 9 boys to consider this opportunity because in my experience, boys are often hesitant to choose this elective initially, but for those who do take the leap, I have seen huge growth from them as the year progresses.
For more information, including application instructions, please refer to these Google Slides. If you have any further questions, please contact me via email.
Ignite Conference - September School Holidays - Cancelled
Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions and border closures, our school will not be able to take part in this year’s Ignite Conference. 26 SJPC students were registered for this event. If you are one of these families, please complete the attached refund request form and email it to email@example.com.
The above information has also been emailed directly to the families involved.
Thank you and may God Bless all of our families at this time.
Interview with Patrick Whittaker - Youth Ministry Officer
Q1. What is your favourite item that you own and why?
My favourite item that I own is a necklace I got in New Zealand, from one of my Dad’s cousins. He makes necklaces and so the meaning behind it has just stuck with me ever since.
Q2. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself owning my own Barber shop with sports playing on the TVs and it being packed. I also see myself in the future with an amazing family.
Q3. Why did you choose to become a YMO at SJPC this year?
I chose to do YMO this year as when I was in Year 11 the YMOs that were here at the time had a massive impact on who I am as a person today and I wanted to have that same impact on students at our college.
Q4. Who has had the most influence on your faith?
The people who have had a massive impact on my faith would be the people of faith who surround me, like students, YMOs, Teachers and members of the Parish.
YMO Information Session for Year 12 Students
An information and Q&A session for aspiring Youth Ministry Officers will be held via Zoom on Monday 6 September from 4-5pm. It will be hosted by the Youth Ministry Development Officers and current YMOs. Zoom ID: 9348 0522 13.
Thank you to all our College community for being supportive, adaptive and open to the changes that have occurred over the last 3 weeks.
Students have received feedback on their Trial examinations and modified Trial assessments over the last 2 weeks. We thank all our families for making the contactless drive through pickup experience a success!
All NESA and Curriculum updates will be relayed via the HSC Curriculum Matters Google Classroom, as well as through students’ individual Student Online account.
NESA will release each student’s individual revised HSC timetable via this account.
We remind students of the following;
- Attend all class zooms as per your timetable
- Work with the feedback your teachers have provided
- Keep up to date with NESA Advice via the link below.
NESA advice for Year 11 and 12
- Access the Stay Healthy HSC hub- stay active and keep connected during the HSC with resources brought to you by the NSW Education Department and ReachOut.
This may seem obvious, but without the structure of school, some students struggle to engage with the activities created by their teachers to ensure learning continues via the Blended Learning model
All students are expected to engage with their course work, attend Zooms and continue to submit work for feedback via Google Classroom.
It is vital that you are organised in your approach as you complete the Year 11 course work. Create a workspace that is conducive to learning as you prepare to start your HSC course work next Term.
Years 10 & 8
We are currently working on the final lines for 2022. As you can imagine we have had to prioritise the changes in protocols and procedures that the lockdown has necessitated, ensuring that our HSC students are looked after, and that the transitioning to Blended Learning was smooth. We will endeavour to send out confirmation packs as soon as we are able. We will continue to keep you up to date, and encourage any student, whose intentions have changed for 2022, to inform the Curriculum Office as soon as possible.
ALL YEAR GROUPS
It is timely to remind students of their responsibilities as learners. Working from home is challenging, but the skills that you develop will set you up for success both on your return to school and life in general.
Your teachers are designing and setting activities that will help you develop the knowledge, understanding and skills that are important throughout life. Trust them!
Do the work,
ask for help,
create learning opportunities,
Leader of Curriculum
During the last few weeks of lockdown our Food Technology classes have been encouraged to continue their practical cooking skills at home. Students have been set a variety of challenges such as:
- Cooking foods relating to their Cultural heritage
- Using a maximum of 6 ingredients already in their pantry/fridge
- Giving a traditional dish a modern twist
It is great to see the variety of foods the students are preparing - though there is definitely a theme of sweet foods being the favourites!
A number of Year 9 classes had their much awaited Children’s Birthday Cake Practical assessment task postponed due to the sudden lockdown. However, some students took advantage of the interruption and used the extra time at home to conduct a test run of their cake designs. The cakes look fantastic and from all accounts they were a big hit at home too!
This year the Textile Educators Association ran a competition under the title ‘Textile Arts Piece Challenge’ with the theme for 2021 being ‘Journey’.
Year 9 Textile student Georgia Bath embraced the idea of furthering her textiles skills and enthusiastically participated in the competition.
Stage 5 students were given the design brief…
‘Design and produce a textile art piece that takes the viewer on a ‘journey’. The completed textile art piece will reflect your inspiration and creativity, and demonstrate your competence in textile construction and surface decoration. Your design should demonstrate a variety of textile construction, fabric manipulation, colouration and/or embellishment techniques. A minimum of 75% of the selected materials must be textiles.’
Georgia’s work is Titled ‘La Ragazza di Lipari (The Girl From Lipari)’ and includes the following explanation of her inspiration…
‘In 2019 my family travelled to Lipari, a small Italian island in the Mediterranean. My inspiration came from learning about my great grandmother Santina Loricco, who at 17 travelled a distance of 15,691kms, from Lipari to Melbourne, to seek new and better opportunities in Australia. I imagined the concerns and sadness of a young teenager travelling by herself to a foreign country. I thought that she may have kept a diary and written down her fears during the adventure. My project is a visual testimony to her courageous and brave journey.’
Submissions and judging take place during September, however we already know that Georgia’s work is amazing and we are incredibly proud of her attention to detail and dedication to telling her great grandmother’s story in such a beautiful project.
Students in Year 8 have been undertaking a unit of work exploring the aesthetics and origins of SteamPunk. Students have thoroughly enjoyed designing, constructing and applying surface finishes to their masks. From a varied collection of found, dismantled and discarded objects, students have pieced together these imaginative and engaging works. Here are just a few, the results are amazing!
IF WE CAN’T GET TO THE JETTY, THEN BRING THE JETTY TO ME!
Some of the tasks include investigating climate, sketching dune cross sections, and researching the history of the Coffs Harbor Jetty. They will also be considering the new Jetty Foreshore development and its impact on life and the environment in the Coffs Harbour area and surveying people about their feelings towards this proposal.
Students will then travel (virtually of course) to the Moonee Beach Nature Reserve where they will be guided through the smelly, muddy and midge infested mangroves to investigate why these ecosystems are so important to our environment, our economy and our way of life. No doubt they will be glad to know that Youtube doesn’t have smellovision and is still midge proof!
The Threatened Species Bake Off is an invitation to Australians to bake a dessert in the shape of a threatened species to commemorate Threatened Species Day on 7th September.
The Bake Off aims to build awareness in the community about Australia’s remarkable and unique threatened wildlife, and there are awards for individuals, schools and groups.
This year’s Bake Off will focus on ecosystem engineers and the important role they play in Australia’s terrestrial and aquatic environments.
What is an ecosystems engineer???
An ecosystem engineer is any animal or plant that modifies, maintains, improves, or creates habitat.
Upload an image of your baked creation to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram by using the hashtag #TSBakeOff and tag the Threatened Species Commissioner. If you are unable to enter via social media, please send your submission via email: tsbakeoff@firstname.lastname@example.org and c.c email@example.com
For more information regarding Threatened Species Bake Off click here
Leader of Curriculum
This term has had its many challenges for so many people. Now more than ever, it’s important to ask the simple question R U OK? Because starting a conversation could make a difference in someone’s life.
Jesus reminds us that all people are made in the image and likeness of God and it is our role as Catholics to look out for everyone in our community. This should be second nature to us.
Thursday 9 September is R U OK day. More information click here. It is a national charity inspiring and empowering everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life. Looking out for one another and lending support are key life skills for any age group. During our homeroom pastoral lesson students will be involved in activities around this day.
Leader of Pastoral Care
With the current lockdown being maintained, the sponsoring of students from our sister school continues to be difficult. It has been decided that we will maintain our Homeroom Challenge for 2 weeks when school returns to usual (whenever that may be). In the meantime, if there are any individuals/families out there who are willing and capable of taking out a sponsorship ($50) please don’t hesitate to contact the College Office.
Pam Bibby, Joseph Nolan and Maggie O'Brien
Kawalazi Development Project Committee
Here is a message of thanks from Anna Scott, a representative of Pete’s Place.
Hi St John Paul College,
I just wanted to send a note of gratitude for your generosity with the winter appeal. Our visitors happily grabbed some much needed tents, blankets, socks and food and there were smiles all round.
Thank you for your compassion. Your school consistently shows support for our service and our community and it doesn’t go unnoticed. People like you lead the way, showing that our community is stronger when we work together.
With sincere thanks – Pete’s Place
Payments made towards the Year 9 Elective History Sydney Excursion, Year 9 Elective SPES Sydney Excursion, Heron Island Excursion and Ignite Conference have been credited to your family account. Please complete a refund form (below) and return it to finance via email at your earliest convenience.