The anticipation and excitement about students returning on Monday is very tangible. Staff are finalising their “welcome back to school” preparations, teachers are finalising their lesson planning and our uniform shop is almost at capacity, as orders are flooding in, given the unexpected growth throughout the longer-than-anticipated lockdown. It almost feels as if it is the start of a new academic year, but with Christmas just around the corner, it’s also feeling very strange. There is comfort though, in knowing we are all traversing this together.
With Kindy, Year 1 and Year 12 back on campus this week, I have delighted in visiting classrooms every day and rejoiced in the sound of children in the playground again. Parents of some of our youngest students arrived in Kiss n Go on Monday morning greeted by a beautiful WELCOME BACK sign, very kindly donated by Jessica Peirpoint and Sign Fairy Hawkesbury. Thanks Jessica! If you are yet to see photos, please visit the College’s Facebook or Instagram accounts. They are sure to brighten your day.
As you enter the final weekend before all your children are back on campus, soak up every minute with them. Keep reminding them that their teachers know them well and will be here to support them as they transition through the many (sometimes competing) emotions about returning to school.
I am praying this for our whole College community over the coming week, that you would know the peace that Jesus speaks of in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Felicity Marlow Principal
Mind the Gap
Fears and phobias have rarely been a feature in my life, especially as a child. I have always been largely unfazed by heights, the dark, needles and creatures that crawl or slither. It was not until I became a parent that suddenly the world took on a new dimension where previously innocuous things like corners of furniture, pots cooking on the stove, power plugs and even stairs became hazards to be navigated with caution.
This was particularly true when travelling on public transport with four small children; manoeuvring little legs and a double pram and the enormous gap between the platform and the train, that I had rarely noticed before, was suddenly a significant feat! “Mind the gap” was an understatement; every entrance and exit off the train felt like a death trap waiting for one of my offspring to stumble down a deep perilous cavern.
Hyperbole aside, what had once been an easy gap to negotiate by keeping my eyes up and one foot in front of the other suddenly took on a whole new perspective. So too, the return to campus learning may suddenly feel like a perilous leap of uncertainly, with many parents, educators, researchers, and commentators concerned about the gaps in learning that may now exist as a result of Online Learning. Despite the diligence of both teachers and parents to maintain an awareness of where students are up to, the gaps that exist are likely invisible to many, but felt as a genuine challenge for our students.
It has been delightful to witness our littlest campus incumbents confidently chortling around the playground this week. They have reconnected with friends, teachers, and significant College staff to ensure they know where the canteen is, how to access First Aid and meet Mrs Garratt. They’ve relearned how to cross the carpark and find their parents at the Kiss ‘n Go. In class, expectations have been re-established and much fun and laughter has been shared. Those gaps are already closing. For Year 12 we’ve coordinated a week of practice exams and seminars to help close the gaps of examination technique and refine expression and content to maximise their success in an unparalleled final year of high school.
I am continually impressed by the commitment of our teaching team across all sections of the College, and their capacity to pivot and adjust their programs to cater for the new season of learning that Term 4 presents. We will be working to ‘mind the gap’ to the point where looking down at the missed learning no longer feels like a deep cavern but a threshold that students can confidently step across, eyes up and secure in the knowledge that our Lord has already mapped this path for them. Donut Day was a reminder to us all of the assurance that our children will be provided for: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6). So whilst the fears and phobias of what returning to school may look and feel like may overwhelm at times, be assured that staff will be working with care to help students close the gap and step forward in their learning with confidence.
Linda Hogan Director of Secondary Teaching and Learning
We have been living with COVID-19 since 2019, and there have been a lot of changes that children, parents and teachers have dealt with during this time. Change is difficult for everyone, but it is especially difficult for those of us with physical health problems, mental health issues or who have a disability. When events constantly change there is always uncertainty and we have been living with this for two years now. The daily case numbers, the changes in health orders, the rules that we have to follow and the differences between the rules in the states of Australia can be very confusing at times. Everyone feels that they need to be constantly looking at public health updates to know what rules they need to follow.
Despite COVID-19 creating anxiety all the changes we have to contend with also creates anxiety in our society. Rules and restrictions have become a part of our daily lives and we don’t have control over the situation. Often, when we don’t have control over our circumstances we feel out of control and that can produce feelings of being overwhelmed or anxious.
Dr Jan Orman from GP Services Consultant Black Dog Institute says: “Some people are worried about their physical safety and catching or spreading COVID-19, but this is not the only concern. Caring for others' wellbeing, returning to socialising, or re-entering the workforce altogether after losing their jobs, are big adjustments for people to make,” says Dr Orman. “I find that unpacking people’s concerns and talking with them over their concerns is quite therapeutic for them and many people realise their anxiety has been growing disproportionately in the darkness of lockdown.” Talking about the situation is a matter of trying to get the risks into perspective, taking as much care as you can and noticing when your mind starts to project you into the future which usually leads to catastrophising.
Below are some helpful websites that may assist you in talking with your child about returning to school.
Applications for student travel in 2022 are now open. Students require a School Opal card or travel pass to catch public transport to and from the College. If you are new to the College, have moved address recently or are applying for a school travel pass for the first time, please visit the transport NSW information page https://transportnsw.info/school-travel-apply. It is best if this is completed prior to the end of Term 4 so that passes are ready for the new year.
P&F Meeting and AGM 2021
Wednesday, 10 November at 7:30pm via Zoom
The P&F will be holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) followed by a regular P&F meeting on Wednesday, 10 November at 7:30pm. Please note that this meeting will be a Zoom meeting and details are below.
The AGM is the forum in which annual reports are presented, the past year is reviewed, and elections are held for executive positions for the coming year. The positions to be elected at the AGM are President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. A google form will be sent during the meeting in order to vote for the Executive Positions. If you wish to nominate someone for an executive position, please do so by clicking here. Please ensure you have spoken with the person prior to nominating them.
Meeting ID: 851 7192 1157
Seed Academy Update - Week 3, Term 4, 2021
Lessons commence Week 4 and 5!
We are excited to start Seed Academy lessons again in Week 4 and 5. All of our tutors, including a few new faces, are looking forward to seeing you all again!
Please check your emails for communication from the Seed Academy administrator regarding lessons for the rest of the Term.
Year 7, 2022 Information Evening and Orientation
Year 7, 2022 Information Evening for Year 6 Students and their Parents Tuesday, 2 November at 7:00pm – Online
We are planning for our Year 7 2022 Information Evening to go ahead as an online event. The online event is an Information Evening planned to give parents timely and specific information about how to best help their child to transition into the Secondary Years. Presenters will address aspects of specific high school routines and expectations.
Year 7 Orientation and Assessment Days
The Orientation days, originally planned for Wednesday, 3 November and Wednesday, 10 November have been postponed until late in Term 4. The dates will be confirmed as soon as possible to ensure we comply with health advice and restrictions. The assessments that take place on these days are intended to inform the College of each student’s academic strengths and, along with information from our Stage 3 teachers, will assist with class placement. They are not intended to be exams for which students study and will be held over a short period in the morning session. The remainder of the day is likely to be spent getting to know the Secondary areas of the College and offers students a chance to meet their future classmates. This is always an enjoyable introduction to life in the Secondary Years. Students should dress in appropriate casual clothes eg T-Shirt (no singlets) and shorts and enclosed leather sports shoes. Students are also required to bring a hat, as some activities will take place outdoors.
Applications are now open for our 2023 Scholarships.
We will be offering Music, Academic and our Principal's Scholarship for entry into 2023 Year 7 and 2023 Year 11. Click here for more information.
To apply for a 2023 Scholarship or to purchase practice materials please visit the ACER website.
Primary Communication Notes
Click here to read the Primary Communication Notes.