All students back fulltime from next week (Tuesday 2 June) after the long weekend!
Thank you everyone for your help and support over the last fortnight with our Transition Plan. The last fortnight has been very successful. We have had the opportunity for staff to connect on a more personal level with students. This has laid a strong foundation of wellbeing and support, which will serve us well throughout the remainder of this term and into the second semester.A massive thank you to you all. Despite the challenges of the past two months, I feel that this school community will actually come out of it a stronger community. A community who affirms and supports each other. THANK YOU!
As a leader, I am constantly trying to improve and be present to the needs of the school community. During the last two months, I have been challenged like never before and to be honest, there were times when it was all becoming too much with leading the school, supporting staff, supporting families, supporting our students, along with my own personal life and supporting my wife and two primary age children. Being a Principal probably wouldn't have been a profession that I would've been recommending to anyone during the start of this pandemic. Like everyone, we had good days and very hard days. Thankfully I am so fortunate to lead an incredible staff group, have amazing students and such a supportive parent community. This got me through and now with students returning, I am so happy!
Being a leader it is important to reflect on my leadership skills. Those that know me, know that I can be very critical of myself, I place high expectations on myself (and the school I lead) and am constantly reflecting on my role. During this period, decisions had to be made quickly whilst still considering what was best for the whole school community. I am aware that perhaps these were communicated well and sometimes perhaps not so well. I am aware that my availability was sometimes limited with everything going on. I am also aware that some families were really struggling and perhaps as a school community we could've done more to support you. With all this being said, I would really appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete the survey below on my leadership and the support you received from the school. Of course, there were things that occurred that were completely out of our control, however, there were things in our control and I would like to make sure we learn from these and listen to the needs of our community. I appreciate your time to provide us with feedback.
Ensuring complete transparency, I recently asked the staff group to do a similar reflection on my leadership, whether they felt supported by me, listened to, treated fairly, workload balance and safety and wellbeing supported. I can let you know that collectively, staff felt positive about all of these issues during this time. This is important for me because with a strong team feeling valued, creates a positive and productive learning environment for everyone to reach their full potential.
Now with students all returning fulltime, we begin to forward plan and ensure we are well placed, if something like this was to occur again in the future. Whilst we sincerely hope no other disruptions occur to school attendance, we do need to be prepared and consider all scenarios. The success of remote learning we have just finished, was due to the fact that we were prepared and well organised.
As mentioned previously, we have many revised practice and procedures in place regarding hygiene and safety. To the full credit of our students, they have been amazing and all over it. Whilst we have everything well stocked with back up, we are conscious that with the whole school returning we are going to go through a lot of Antibacterial Wipes due to students wiping their desks, devices etc. We are wondering if, next time you are shopping, you could throw a packet in to send in with your child. We have purchased what we can but there is still some difficulty with buying in bulk. Any support and assistance would be greatly appreciated with this.
National Sorry Day - Tuesday 26 May
Yesterday was National Sorry Day. National Sorry Day is a significant day for all Australians, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities across the nation.
National Sorry Day marks the anniversary of the tabling in Federal Parliament of the Bringing Them Home Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families, on 26 May 1997.
Today on National Sorry Day we recognise the grief, suffering and loss suffered by the Stolen Generations.
Over the course of the coming week, we celebrate National Reconciliation Week. Students will participate in activities and experiences focusing on this. The theme for #NRW2020 – In this together – reminds us whether in a crisis or in reconciliation, we are all in this together.
Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation
Pick up and Drop Off Arrangements
Whilst we will still be continuing with the drop off and pick up arrangements (mentioned in separate section in this newsletter), we ask for your patience next week with everyone returning back to full time. You have all been amazing and it has been very smooth.
We will continue to have a staff member or two out the front assisting with Kiss and Drop. If you would prefer, or if the line is getting too busy, you can drive and park on the basketball court, hop out with your child and walk them to the crossing area and wave them off from there. I am conscious that the drop off might back up close to bell time and we don't want to block the road. Supervision starts from 8.20am each morning, so it would be great if people could come earlier to avoid the last minute crowded drop off.
Similar to pick up time. We are conscious of the line up that might occur with the drive through staff carpark option. Again, staggering when you come to pick up would be great. The first up at 3pm is always the busiest time, so perhaps try for more 3.10/3.15 once that first rush has gone. Again, if this is getting busy or you would prefer to collect your child from the basketball court, that is fine. There will be a teacher supervising at both sections with walkie talkies and we can radio the other teacher to send a child to the basketball court instead of the front of the school. It is a short distance and easy to manage. Kinder students and siblings will still go to oval pick up area as that is working well and easing some of the crowding at the front of the school.
These arrangements will continue for Week 6 and 7 and we will revise, under Health directives, what it will look like in week 8-10. Thank you for your support.
Important Notice - Absences
We have recently moved to Compass, which is a management system for us at school. Can I please ask that all absences are put through via the SchoolZine app and are done so first thing in the morning. The Front Office will be adding all absentees to the class rolls, so please avoid sending email notes to teachers regarding absences. Of course, emailing them to let them know what is happening for your child is fine, but if the official absentee notification can be completed through Schoolzine on the morning of your child's absence, that would be fantastic and save us double handling information.
Pentecost - Sunday 31 May
When we celebrate Pentecost, we are reminded that God is present with us. We know God is with us when we see holiness in ourselves and in others. The Holy Spirit gives us these holy qualities. They are called the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
When we see these qualities in others, we know that the Holy Spirit is at work in them. I wonder how the Holy Spirit is working through you today?
Enjoy the week ahead.
Until further notice we have started our revised drop off and pick up arrangements for all students.
Morning Drop Off
Parents please drive through staff carpark to drop off. Students are not to get out of the car until they reach the front of the school, where a teacher will assist. Staff Carpark is not an area for parents to park.
We understand that some children may be quite anxious for the first few days. In this case, please park on the basketball court and walk your child to the teacher at the front of the school (which will most likely be Mr Ellis or Mr Webb) and they will take your child and assist them to enter into school.
We are asking for parents to remain outside the school building.
Afternoon Pick Ups
All Kindergarten students and their siblings, will be walked, by a teacher to the oval pick up area on Tyrrell Circuit. Please wait at your cars and not walk to the school.
Singles (only child from a family at school), will be picked up via the staff carpark. Parents are asked to drive through (similar to morning drop offs) and pick up these children. A teacher will assist students getting picked up there. This space will need to be quick. Parents please remain in your car.
All other family groups will be walked by a teacher to the basketball courts. We will use our little side road to wait. Parents park as normal on the basketball court and students will walk to your car. It is important that parents are very conscious of road safety when driving in and out of the basketball court area.
Walkers and riders will go with the group of students (and teacher) based on their normal route home, whether they go the oval way, front of school or back gate. Any parents who meet children to walk home/ride home together, are asked to wait at the appropriate spot based on which way you travel (eg wait at end of oval area if you walk that way to your home etc).
It is important if parents can remain in their pick up areas and not walk to the front of the school. With a change in arrangements, our priority is moving students safely to their pick up area and having parents at the front of the school will hamper these efforts. Please be patient and please wait in your pick up area and a teacher will walk your child/ren to that area.
Any questions, please email Pat directly email@example.com
Religious Education Curriculum
Parables in the Bible
Parables were an important form of storytelling in the time of Jesus. In the Jewish community it was a well-known form of story. We today are also familiar with another type of story with a message – a fable, like Aesop’s fables. Some of Jesus’ most well-known fables are the story of the Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan. It is important when discussing these stories that we remember they are not events in the life of Jesus but rather stories he told for a purpose; to communicate a particular message. This does not negate their importance, nor does it mean they are not ‘true’ but rather that they must be read as the type of ‘story with a message’ they were meant to be.
We must ensure we understand the context of the story as well. I vividly remember trying to teach Year 2 in the Monaro about the parable of the Lost Sheep and for the life of them, the sheep farmers’ children could not work out how anyone would notice if one sheep was missing. Our Australian paddocks of thousands of sheep are very different to the smaller flocks shepherds minded in the Middle East in the time of Jesus!
Similarly it is important to understand the love/hate relationship that existed between Jews and Samaritans to fully appreciate the amazement Jesus’ initial audience would have had at his story of the ‘Good’ Samaritan.
Students in Kindergarten and Years Three and Four are currently exploring different parables told by Jesus. What a wonderful opportunity to relook at these well-loved stories with fresh eyes and learn something new from them ourselves.
Religious Life of St Michael’s School Community
Our Lady Help of Christians
Last Monday, 25th May, was a very special day in the Australian Catholic Church calendar. It was the Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians. She is Australia’s first patron saint and remains such even after St Mary MacKillop of the Cross was canonised and added as Australia’s first Australian born patron saint. Children at school this week are taking part in creating large scale ‘rosary beads’ in honour of this special day. Perhaps it is an opportunity for your family to pray the rosary one night this week and talk about the importance of Mary, Jesus’ mother and our spiritual mother too.
This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. We celebrate thebirth of our Church and the coming of the Holy Spirit into the Apostles and to us as well. Here is a short clip explaining this special day in our Liturgical Calendar:
Sewers Needed Please!
Thank you to Yurong Chen and Tanya Butler for the beautiful sewing completed lately!! We have some more stoles that are in need of hemming. They are used for our Year 6 Graduation and Blessing but I’m hopeful of having them finished before the end of September. If you are a sewer and can help out please contact Meaghan at school. Thank you.
Thursday 18th June is the CEO Sleep Out night. You are invited to join in this initiative to raise awareness of the hardships of homelessness, as well as money and Winter Woollies, to support St Vincent de Paul look after those in our own community in need. This year we will ‘Stay Safe and Sleep Out @Home’.
We will upload our Sleep Out @Home package of activities to the St Michael’s Remote Learning website just prior to the evening.
The evening offers opportunities to find out about homelessness and to experience in a small way the hardships suffered by the homeless. All families are most welcome to take part from home this year.
There is a button on QKR! for charity donations which we will send on to St Vincent de Paul Night Patrol to support their fabulous work in our local community. We look forward to seeing your family photos of how you become involved in this important initiative – there will be a post on our Facebook page on the evening.
Mini Vinnies’ Winter Woollies PJ Day
Friday the 19 June, following the Sleep Out @Home for many families, all students are invited to come to school in their pyjamas. Students are asked to bring in winter woollies for donating to St Vincent de Paul for this day. St Vincent de Paul tell us they are in desperate need of new warm socks, gloves, good condition pre-loved warm jumpers and jackets and warm blankets. Donations can be dropped to the Front Office to keep them in one consolidated area.
National Simultaneous Storytime
Today we joined more than a million students around the country as we read Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas. We hope you enjoyed taking part with your family!
You can listen to the story being read at:
Library Borrowing Update
As we prepare to return full time for next week, we ask that all students return their library books over the next fortnight. This will allow us to prepare for borrowing to recommence hopefully from Week 8. I look forward to seeing everyone next week!
How does nature effect our wellbeing?
As we continue in this last week of blended remote learning, I must say I’ve been outside more than ever. In my garden, bike riding and walking around my house. Making the most of the sunshine and warmth. There is something special about having your face soaking up the sunrays!
So how does nature effect our wellbeing? Science reveals that environments can increase or reduce our stress which in turn impacts our bodies. What we see, hear and experience at any moment is changing not only our mood, but the way our bodies function.
Seeing our loved ones in nature also strikes something within us. Try and spend some time outside, looking through the window or at a book or images of nature.
I’m a crazy plant lover so my home is filled with an indoor jungle. Here are some images I’ve taken.
I’d love to see what kinds of nature is around your environment?
Please send to: Shahenie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs Shahenie Burns
Student Welfare Officer
Remembering Our ANZACs
By Grace Armitstead
As part of ANZAC Day, my teachers, Miss Kapantais and Ms Younger suggested we write to a war veteran thanking them for their service. I thought that this was a great idea so I wrote a letter to Thomas Eccles Gardens in Yass. In my letter, I thanked them for their service and asked some questions about their life, including what their interests and hobbies were and what life was like when they were younger. I was so excited to receive a reply letter from John who served in the Air Force during World War II. John said it was a wonderful surprise to receive my letter. I found it really interesting when John talked about the Great Depression and what life was like when he was younger. For example, he would need to catch his food and take it home to eat so he could survive. We are so lucky that we can drive to the supermarket to buy our food! John also talked about how he would ride to school on a horse, that would be pretty cool! I am definitely going to write back! I think this was a great idea to connect with others during this time of isolation. If anyone wants to give it a try, my message is to give it a go, you might make someone’s day.
Congratulations to the following children who achieved a Harmony Award in Week 4 and will receive their award when they return to school. Well done!!
From Monica Culas, the Youth Minister in the North Belconnen area, working with Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish:
Unfortunately, due to the recent Covid19 happenings, all Masses including Youth Masses have been put on hold. Online Mass can however be found on Catholic Voice, live streamed every Sunday at 6am. Link can be found on: https://www.catholicvoice.org.au/mass-online/
Fr. Loi Viovicente live streams Mass from St Michael's Church, every Saturday at 6pm. The live stream can be found on our Parish's Facebook page at "Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish - North Belconnen" or you can type "@oLoPHNBelco" and it should bring you to our page.
Strategies surrounding Covid19 restrictions
Gospel Video Series
We cannot go to church at the moment, but we definitely can bring Christ to others! In this spirit, Fr. Loi and I have begun posting a video series based on each Sunday's Gospel. These can be found in our parish Facebook page, under a playlist titled "Gospel Video Series". It includes Fr. Loi's special homily meant for primary school children. The video also has Youth Minister Monica closing with a Christian child- friendly song. We hope that the videos will prove to be entertaining and educational. This series will run for the current primary school term. Feel free to share the videos. You can find the videos on our Facebook page. Check out our latest video on Ascension Sunday's (24th May) Gospel at this link:
Peace and love.
Youth Minister | Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn
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