The last two weeks of learning have certainly looked different for all of us. As a principal I am extremely proud of the way our staff have adapted to this learning style and for all their efforts in putting together, what I believe, are quality learning experiences for your children.
I am also extremely grateful for the way that you are managing to juggle not only your own work commitments and family commitments but helping to teach your children as well. Without the commitment that you have shown to our online learning platform it would not have been anywhere near as successful as what it has been.
I have been amazed by the various work samples I have seen from children of all ages across their OneNotes – poems with incredible imagery, creative prayers, mathematically precise nets of 3D shapes and positive attitudes towards giving challenges a go.
There are many positives coming out of such hard times!
As you know, all children will be transitioning back to school next week. Children from Kinder –Year 2 will be at school on Monday and Tuesday and our primary students in Years 3-6 will return on Wednesday and Thursday. It is going to be great to see whole class groups be together again. The teachers are counting down the days until they see all the children back together again; they are that excited.
Our focus over the next few weeks will be to ensure that the children feel safe and secure. We will re-establish routines, procedures and expectations to help them begin to return to ways that are familiar to them. Do not worry if your children have not managed to complete all tasks that have been set for them on OneNote. Over the next few weeks the teachers will undertake activities that will help them to assess where the children are at in their learning in order to plan and deliver activities that are at their appropriate level.
We ask that when you drop your children at school over the next few weeks that you say goodbye at the Union St gate and let them walk in on their own. There will be staff both at the gates and on the playground to assist with this transitioning back to school each morning. Of an afternoon Union St gate will be open for parents to enter into the playground and collect their children. This is not the desired afternoon pick up arrangement – the most suitable would be Kiss and Drop however if you do need to come into the school we ask that you stay well apart from other parents in the playground and make your way out of the school grounds as quickly as possible through the Union St gate.
In order to continue to look after the health and safety of your children and our staff we are well supplied with hand soap, hand sanitiser and paper towel in all our rooms as well as the toilets and playground areas. We will have our cleaners coming in twice each day to clean high use areas and there will be regular reminders and breaks for hand washing.
Please do not send your children to school if they are feeling unwell. For any child that presents as being unwell we are required to call the parents to come and collect them.
Dependent on the weather, your children can wear either their summer uniform or winter uniform for Weeks 3-5. We ask that all students be in their full winter uniform by Week 6, Monday 1st June.
At present, the canteen will remain closed until further notice.
If you have a child who is due to start school next year please contact the office for a 2021 enrolment form. Once plans have been finalised regarding school visits and interviews for next year we will share this information with you. In addition to this, if you know of any other family who has a child due to start school we ask that you let them know to contact us and we can send them an enrolment form.
Last week our school counsellor, Alicia Gibson, commenced maternity leave. Alicia and her husband, Adam, welcome their first child in a couple of weeks. We wish them all the best as a family.
Whilst Alicia is on leave Sharon Beckett is taking over the school counsellor/psychologist role. We are very happy to welcome Sharon into our community. Sharon has put together a simple well-being program, titled, “Ride the Well-being Wave!” This program is presented in the form of Power Points and will be shared with all the children each week. I will also share these through Compass with you and encourage you to go through them with your children as a supportive way of helping them adjust to what’s going on around them and to transition back to school.
Please also read the attached document “Transitioning Back to School” written by our diocesan Early Learning specialist, Kim Moroney.
To all the mums, I wish you a relaxing and very memorable Mother’s Day. Let’s hope this sunshine continues and you have a wonderful day with your families.
Thank you to all those who were able to join us online today on Zoom for our Mother’s Day Liturgy. Even though it is very different to our typical school gathering and celebration, we had a beautiful moment of prayer together.
On Sunday, we celebrate those women in our lives who model God’s unconditional love for us. We also remember, in a special way our mothers who are no longer with us; those who have died and those who are separated from their children. On Mother’s Day this year we recognise and thank all the mothers and mother figures who inspire us, provide care, wisdom and generosity to those in their care. Have a very Happy Mother’s Day!
Month of May for Mary
Pope Francis has asked us to make a special effort in May to pray the Rosary. By doing so we will be united with believers around the world, asking for Mary’s intercession in stopping the coronavirus pandemic. “Contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary, our mother, will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial,” the Pope said in a letter addressed to all Catholics and released by the Vatican on 25th April. The month of May is traditionally devoted to Mary and many Catholics already are in the habit of praying the rosary at home during the month, he noted. “The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this ‘family’ aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.” “You can decide according to your own situations” whether to pray individually or in groups, he said, noting that “it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow.” (source - St Benedict’s Parish Bulletin, Sunday 3rd May 2020)
The May for Mary challenge: a list of prayer intentions for each day of May.
(source – MN Catholic Youth Facebook
How to Pray the Rosary
- On the crucifix, make the sign of the cross and then pray the Apostles’ Creed.
- On the next large bead, say the Our Father.
- On the following three small beads, pray three Hail Marys.
- On the chain, pray the Glory Be.
- On the large bead, meditate on the first mystery and pray the Our Father.
- On the ten beads after that, pray a Hail Mary on each bead; on the chain, pray a Glory Be.
Repeat Steps 5 and 6 four more times to finish the next four decades.
Say the Hail Holy Queen: Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Concluding Prayer: O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation; grant we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
The library is looking spic and span but I miss all my visitors each morning.
I know lots of people have taken this opportunity to read their books for the PREMIER’S READING CHALLENGE.
Keep up the good work.
There are hundreds of overdue books. As the children return to school please try and send their library books too. Hopefully we will be able to return to borrowing books soon.
The Diocese of Maitland Newcastle is very conscious of the significant financial impact COVID-19 is having on our families. Our number one priority is to support our families through this crisis and ensure your child has stability in Catholic schools. For ease of access we have attached the CSO website
In order to assist we are taking the following measures:
Part A –Defer Payment of School Fees until July 2020
To access this deferment, we refer you to our website where you can click on the link called ‘COVID-19 School Fee Deferral’. Please complete the form and submit it. Please ensure you complete all relevant fields thereby enabling us to monitor your postponed payment.
Fee payer’s postponement of school fee payments will include:
- CDF direct debit – contact the CDF (4979 1163)
- Centrelink - parents will need to contact Centrelink directly.
- BPay – suspend payment from your bank account.
Acknowledgement of postponement of fees will be recorded by the school as soon as practicable.
Part B – Request for COVID-19 School Fee Concession
In instances of ongoing financial hardship, fee payers can apply for a fee concession. This concession is accessed via the CSO website by clicking on the link called ‘COVID-19 School Fee Concession’.
Families are encouraged to complete this form if they require financial assistance.
Where to find the COVID 19 Fee Relief Forms