As a school we are very aware that our students have had varying degrees of success or engagement with the recent remote learning. We acknowledge that everyone has done their best with learning at home, though some of you may be worried about whether your child has fallen ‘behind’ or will not be at their stage appropriate standard. Rather than think about average, above or behind I would like to encourage you to think in terms of positive and negative impacts.
For some students, remote learning will have had limited impact, negative or positive, on their academic achievement. Others may have found it harder (or easier) to learn in a ‘non-school’ environment. As a school, we are strongly committed to increasing the ‘positive impacts’ for our students. We have a highly professional team of teachers who are skilled at identifying individual learning needs and implementing interventions, where needed, to help each student be their best. Our first steps over these past two weeks of return to full time face-to-face teaching have been to ensure that the children’s return to school, and learning, is a supportive and positive experience.
We are very interested in hearing the parent voice regarding your children’s home learning experiences. For this reason, we invited you to complete ‘Insights’ via the Compass App. As a community, we value the responses from parents, as we will use them when looking at how our school can continue to grow and develop. To this point in time, we have had only a small number of people complete the reflection. Please take the time over the weekend to do so as we are very interested in hearing your thoughts and receiving your insights. For more information and instructions on how to complete the Insights please access Compass or read the attached documents. Remember, when you are entering your insights you need to open the browser.
Your children’s readjustment to returning to school and ‘normal’ times can be further supported by the re-establishment of routines at home. We hope you find the following suggestions useful
As our children are returning to their normal school routines, their emotions and fatigue levels may escalate. The school environment is a busy place with lots of stimulus around. This may be quite different to what you and your children were experiencing over the COVID-19 lockdown time.
Some focus areas which may help to 'keep the calm' in re-establishing day to day routines include:
- Recognising the importance of sleep
- Keeping communication open
- Establishing some family downtime / fun times
Recognising the importance of Sleep
The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person. Typically however, meeting our sleep needs impacts significantly on our ability to positively function to our potential in the school and work environment.
For a student to reach their learning potential on a day to day basis in the social and academic environments, they require their sleep patterns to be of an adequate timeframe, regular and as routine as possible.
Listed below is the average amount of sleep a child requires. Obviously this changes from person to person but generally:
- 1-3 year olds require between 12 to 14 hours per day.
- 3-6 year olds require between 10 and 12 hours per day.
- 7 to 12 year olds require between 10 and 11 hours per day.
- 12 to 18 year olds require between 8 and 9 hours per day. During adolescent growth spurts, sometimes more.
Having a bedtime routine will help your child’s body learn the triggers which mean sleep time is approaching.
Try establishing or re-establishing a set routine in the activities leading up to their bedtime where bedtime routines may not be clear.
Keeping the sleep environment calm, quiet and a place to relax, is imperative for our bodies to settle into a sleep mode. The light, air flow and activities available all impact on our ability to relax.
Keeping Communication Open
We have been through a lot of change and there are some confusing messages out there. Some of which your children may have heard or processed in different ways. They may be feeling worried, confused or excited about why they weren’t been able to attend school and / or why they are now allowed to return to their normal learning methods, but with changes to some school practices. They are certainly very excited about seeing their friends once more.
By having regular conversations with our children, we give them opportunities to feel comfortable in talking about their feelings. Whether they love to play, draw, chat or write, as parents, we can use these opportunities to connect with our children and help them process their emotions.
During this time, meltdowns may be more prevalent for no apparent reason. Fatigue, over excitement, frustrations and feeling overwhelmed are some of the emotions connected to a person's meltdown. Keeping calm and giving children their own space during their times of emotional outbursts can help them return to a comfortable state sooner. When they are more comfortable and the emotional outburst is over, they may be more interested in communicating with others about their feelings. Don’t try to deal with the meltdown at the height of it as you will only end up feeling like you are going to meltdown!
Re-establishing usual family downtime / fun times
Over recent months, families have spent significant time together. It's one of the biggest benefits to come out of our COVID-19 experience. When speaking to both children and parents it is one of the most highly commented upon, and one of the most popular, changes to their lives. Your children may crave this when their everyday routines return. Re-establishing how to continue to fit family times into your busy schedules will be important. Whether it be board games or park play, PlayStation or cooking in the kitchen, bike rides or craft activities, keep doing everyday activities together, remembering how good doing these types of things together makes you all feel.
Many of our children are fortunate enough to engage with external providers here at the school to learn music, singing and Mandarin. A number of children also receive support from external occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. At the moment, all these providers are still unable to come into the school to provide these services. We are hoping on our return to school in Term 3 this will change and the children will be able to resume their sessions with these providers. The only external providers that are able to enter our schools at the moment are those who deliver part of the formal curriculum. This, however, does not apply to any of our providers.
We have been reflecting on our home-school communication throughout this term, particularly as we experienced a different type of communication happening with the use of OneNote Collaboration Spaces throughout the home learning period this term. It has been suggested that the fortnightly newsletter is a little obsolete in the current format as the ‘news’ can now be shared much more efficiently via Compass on an as needs basis. To help us review our communication practices please take some time to think about what you would find beneficial and what you would access and read, and we will share an online survey next week to seek your thoughts.
Some things to consider:
Do we continue to have fortnightly newsletters as is or do we change to perhaps two newsletters per term with photos of the children and information from each class about what they have been doing?
Do we send announcements or requests etc once a week via Compass or as the need arises?
Do you prefer to read letters attached as PDF’s in Compass or would you rather read the letter straight from the News Feed on Compass, even if it is a lengthy letter?
Would you like to see the Parents’ OneNote Collaboration Page be used to connect the parents and teachers?
Do you have any other thoughts on what you would like to read about in our home school communication, the frequency or format of it etc.?
All families who have returned their 2021 enrolment forms should now have received a letter explaining what is happening regarding our enrolment practices for next year’s Kindergarten. If you have not, please contact the office.
If you know of any families who have a school ready child for next year, please encourage them to contact our school for an enrolment pack. We plan on offering our 2021 places to families by the end of this term. We also have new school brochures available for anyone who would like one, or if you know of some families who may be interested or even if you would like some to leave in a central place. Please contact the office to arrange collection.
Continue to stay safe and enjoy your family time,
School Photos and Video
We have a new provider this year for our school photos, Newcastle School Portraits. Our school photos will be taken on Tuesday, 15th September (Term 3, Week 9).
Newcastle School Portraits produced a video for our school. It captures our school community in a very special way. Our Facebook page has a shorter version, but when you have a moment, please check out our school website for the extended version www.merewether.catholic.edu.au
Refugee Week actually started in Australia, in 1986, and is now a global celebration. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the wonderful ways in which people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds enrich their new communities. Refugee Week is a chance for ordinary people to welcome, thank and celebrate their neighbours who have come seeking safety. As part of the History unit, Year 6 have been learning why and how people are displaced from their homeland and what we, as a community can do to welcome them and support them. For more information please see Refugee Week
Refugee Week is important because we are encouraged to continue to welcome refugees from other countries into our own. People who are refugees make our community stronger because they bring a wider variety of culture. For many refugees they have had many challenges in their lives and Australia is welcoming and provides for their needs. As a country we should continue to support those families so that they can feel safe and welcome. - Eleanor Phillips
Refugees choose to come to Australia because they know it is safe and nothing bad will happen to them here. In our History lessons we have been learning about where refugees come from and the treacherous journeys they have had to take. For many, there is such desperation to find safety, they are even willing to risk losing their own life. Australia celebrates Refugee Week because it’s an opportunity to recognise how they have made many positive contributions to our communities. - Kaden Stewart
The Student Council had a meeting on Thursday. It was an opportunity to discuss what life back at school was like and what improvements we could continue to make. These are always great discussions! Students had suggestions over new music for the bell, playing games other than soccer on the field and adjustments to bike racks so the wider tyres can fit.
There has been a renewed love for skipping across the school and the Student Council supported the idea of a skip-off in Week 10. Each class is going to pick their top three skippers. This is based on how long a person can skip for. On the last day of term, students will gather in three stage groups (Years K,1,2 and 3,4 and 5,6) and watch these class skippers compete in a skip-off. We wonder who will be crowned the champion skipper in each of our stages?
ICAS will return to St Joseph’s this year. We encourage you to consider entering your child in ICAS. This fantastic assessment program allows students to challenge themselves and be recognised for their academic efforts. The assessment is now fully online and sitting dates will commence in Term 3. Further information will be posted on Compass next week
18th August 2020
27th August 2020
1st September 2020
ICAS Spelling Bee
3rd September 2020
Every year, all schools in Australia participate in the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD). The NCCD process requires schools to identify information already available in the school about supports provided to students with disability. These relate to legislative requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005, in line with the NCCD guidelines (2019).
The NCCD provides state and federal governments with the information they need to plan more broadly for the support of students with disability.
The NCCD will have no direct impact on your child and your child will not be involved in any testing process. The school will provide data to the Australian Government in such a way that no individual student will be able to be identified – the privacy and confidentiality of all students is ensured. All information is protected by privacy laws that regulate the collection, storage and disclosure of personal information. Further information about the NCCD can be found on the NCCD Portal
If you have any questions about the NCCD, please contact the school.
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Friday 19th June 2020
Prayer to the Sacred Heart
O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you and will a lively sorrow for my sins.
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.
Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;
give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within your heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.
Find out all about attending Mass at the St Benedict’s Parish website and how to register for Mass https://www.newcastlecatholic.org.au/
St Vincent de Paul COVID Winter Appeal
Now, more than ever, is the time for us to come together to support those experiencing hardship. This year St Vincent de Paul (SVdP) launched the special COVID-19 Winter Appeal. Mini Vinnies will help our school organise events this term to support SVdP to continue making a difference for people whose lives have been turned upside down by the recent COVID-19 Pandemic. SVdP have seen a tremendous increase for assistance in our community, many of whom have never had to approach the Society before. This winter SVdP will endeavour to provide support for all in need in our community. Information will be sent out on Monday regarding the material and food goods we will be collecting to support the Winter Appeal, as well as a fun CRAZY CLOTHES day.
Year 4 are studying Christians beliefs about the Trinity. We examined artwork portraying the Trinity. We discussed what we see in the artwork using an Art Analysis Guide Strategy and what we think each person and symbol means. We examined several artworks and iconography representing the Trinity. We described and explained the features presented and compared these images. We then sketched and designed our own artwork representing our understanding and views on the Trinity. Here are our great impressions with detailed analysis.
The bird tweeted as it flew through the gap in the cloud enclosed cave. As God prayed, a flame flickered above his head along with his golden halo. In my picture, I focused on showing the Holy Spirit and God. I also focused on showing rays of light from the dove, connecting with God, that symbolises that the Holy Spirit is connected with God. - By Daisy
My painting depicts the Trinity: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I focused on trying to have a feeling of gentleness. Using a soft pink background, I have hopefully made the figures of great importance, stand out. The Son stands with the cross behind Him and beside the Father is the globe, the flame and the triangle that represents the Trinity as one. Above the Father and the Son, is the dove, symbolising the Holy Spirit. The dove shines on the two holy people as it hovers gracefully, encircled by light. - By Eleonor McConkey
Term 2 Sporting Guidelines & Cancellation update from the Catholic Schools Office:
For the remainder of Term 2, competitive contact sport or physical activity is restricted:
- Inter-school sport competitions such as Diocesan and Regional sport, state-wide competitions and knockouts, gala days or inter-school carnivals are not permitted.
- School carnivals such as athletics, cross country and swimming carnivals are not permitted.
- Full contact and semi-contact sports are not permitted.
- Until further advice, schools cannot attend external indoor venues such as gyms, bowling alleys.
The following Diocesan sports events have been cancelled for Term 3:
Diocesan sports leading into the Polding/ NSWCCC events have been cancelled as there is no event to progress to with the cancellation of CSNSW events. The following Diocesan sports to be cancelled include:
- 23 July Dio PSSA Chris Gangemi Gala Rugby Day
- 4 August Dio PSSA Athletics Championships
- 12 August Dio SSSA Athletics Championships
- 5 August Dio SSSA Rugby 7s
The Diocese is providing further consideration to the following SSSA Dio activities: golf, netball and basketball. A notification regarding these sports will be provided in the next few weeks.
The School Sports Unit has advised the following cancellations Catholic Schools NSW have confirmed the following sport event cancellations for 2020:
- 23 July NSWPSSA & All Schools Cross Country
- 27 July NSWCPS Golf Tournament
- 27- 29 July NSWPSSA Netball state championship
- 1 – 2 August NSW All Schools 15s touch football trials
- 10 August NSWCPS 10 A Side Knockout
- 10 August NSWCPS Girls Rugby 7s Selections
- 18 August NSWCCC Netball Championships
- 18 – 20 August NSWPSSA Boys Touch state championship
- 19 August NSWCPS Hockey Gala Day
- 19 August NSWCCC Rugby League Cup
- 25 – 27 August NSWPSSA Rugby Union state championship
- 28 August Polding Cricket Selections
- 31 August – 1 September NSWPSSA Girls Rugby 7s
- 31 August – 2 September NSWPSSA Golf state championship
- 1 September NSWCPS Netball Carnival
- 1 – 2 September NSWCCC Football Knockout Semi Finals/Finals
- 3 September MacKillop Girls Cricket Selections
- 3 – 4 September MacKillop Boys Cricket Selections
- 7 September NSW Champions School Basketball Tournament
- 8 September NSW Schools Football Challenge Cup
- 8 September NSWCPS Netball Carnival
- 8 – 10 September NSWPSSA Boys Softball state championship
- 8 – 10 September NSWPSSA Girls Touch state championship
- 11 September Polding Athletics Championships
- 17 September NSW All Schools Netball Challenge
- 18 September NSWCCC Athletics Championships
- 21 September MacKillop Athletics Championships
- 22 – 24 September NSWPSSA Girls Softball state championship
In addition, the following Sports events have been cancelled for Term 4, 2020
- 13- 16 October NSWPSSA Boys Cricket championships
- 19 – 22 October NSWPSSA Girls Cricket championships
- 24 – 25 October CPS Basketball Challenge
- 26 – 27 October NSWCCC Junior Boys Basketball Championships
- 28 – 29 October NSWPSSA Athletics
- 5 – 6 November NSWCCC Junior Girls Basketball Championships
Further information and updates are available from the Catholic Schools NSW website.
Further updates regarding school sport, including contact sports, will be provided ahead of Term 3.
Learning in the Library
In our library lessons, student are learning how to research. These skills include clarifying a question to ensure understanding of what is being asked and linking this to existing knowledge, as well as locating relevant information, presenting that information in the best format for the audience and finally reflecting on the research task to ensure that the question has been answered and identifying any ways in which their research could be improved in future.
This term the focus has been on locating information. Students have evaluated websites to ensure the information they are collecting is timely, relevant, accurate, who the author is and the purpose of the website. They have also discovered the best ways to navigate around a website to locate information. Finally, students have used sample texts and videos to locate information related to specific questions.
Next term our focus shifts to the presentation of their findings. Students will still use all steps of the research process, however it will be the final product that is the focus of new learning.
Premier’s Reading Challenge
Congratulations Adelaide Fitzgerald, Archie Doyle, Liam Doyle, Joseph Cootes, Anthony Huggins, Hannah Webber, Isaac Moran and Eva Cootes for completing your PRC reading list. Don’t forget to find your photograph among our Challenge Reading Stars. Great work everyone.
Library Borrowing has resumed. Blue classes borrow on Mondays and Gold classes borrow on Fridays.
The library is open every day between 8.25am and 8.50am for extra borrowing if required.
Our school bubblers are still turned off due to COVID 19 restrictions.
Please make sure that your children bring filled water bottles to school.
School fee statements have now been issued to all families. For those families that have requested deferral or concession this statement is for information purposes only.
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
Unless otherwise stated, the advertisements placed in this newsletter are placed by independent third parties who have no legal relationship with the Diocese. The activities or services of the advertisers are not supervised or controlled in any way by the Diocese. The Diocese is not in a position to endorse the advertisers or the services provided and makes no representation about those matters. Accordingly, the Diocese cannot accept any responsibility for the advertisers or the activities or services that are the subject of these advertisements