WEEK 2 - TERM 4
AS IF IT WERE JUST YESTERDAY
"Is it good to be back at school Elis?"
"No Mr Collis, it's amazing!"
On the gate news Friday
Prep student: Mr Collis, why have you made school so long now?
We simply could not have imagined a better transition back to school for our students. Although to be honest nothing surprises us with this crew. Their resilience and capacity to quickly adapt to school life affirms the quality of investment from our families and staff leading up to this return - it has been nothing short of faultless!
Finally we have the students back where they belong.
Visiting the 14 classrooms on Monday was quite an exceptional experience and whilst we know we had so many happy parents at drop off, this was amplified 10 fold by our staff and students as they settled so remarkably back into classroom routines. They were so thrilled to be back and it showed!
A Precious Moment
A beautiful observation captured outside our staffroom window this week as our Year 6 students sought a quieter place to re-unite and re-connect after so many weeks apart.
A Sneaky Highlight
This week, the Year 1 students have been presenting their impressive topic projects from Term 3. These presentations were nothing short of spectacular. Apollo remarkably recited his 'entire' extensive script without referring to his notes once. Poppy talked about Moonta, a town on the coast of South Australia, while Laine shared facts about one of her favourite places, Warrnambool. Thanks Maddie for sharing your project on Rottnest Island, also presenting with limited reference to her notes. Tom shared his fabulous family holiday to Uluru and his attention to detail was exceptional. The confidence and willingness of our junior students to stand up in front of their peers bodes so well and we certainly have the makings of some quite accomplished public speakers in the years to follow. A great skill set!
They have not skipped a beat
It truly has to be seen to be believed (sadly not at this stage by parents) at how well the students have settled back into their classrooms. After another daily visit on Friday to wish some of the children happy birthday and issue the weekly awards across the classrooms; collectively we have wondered if the children have even been away for an extended period. Their adjustment and transition back to school has been quite phenomenal.
As previously stated, the morning learning block has seen an increased focus on literacy and numeracy and the use of every available staffing resource has certainly supported this optimum learning period. Credit must be given to the students for their responsiveness to this revised learning program. Every precious minute is maximized throughout the day and this has clearly been acknowledged by our students. Thanks Year 6 for once again setting the student tone across the school - a positive lead to follow.
Our preps are so happy to be back at school with their friends. What a wonderful week it has been!
It is easy to see why I love my job so much! A few more visitors dropped by my office on Friday to share some stunning letters they had written about school.
A noted change in light of the new operational guidelines for schools has been the staggered breaks for our P-2 and 3-6 students. Whilst we anticipate moving back to whole school breaktimes (i.e. all children on the playground at the same time) in the playgrounds later in the term, this has been a most sensible approach as the children gently transition back to school and navigate the playground with a reduced volume of students.
On Wednesday evening we gathered 'outside' as staff on the new synthetic grass for our first 'onsite' meeting in nearly 6 months. Rather than gather via a screen, it was most refreshing for our staff to interact in this manner. It was also an opportunity to formally thank the staff for their significant contributions this year and congratulate them on the exceptional manner in which the students have returned to school; largely influenced by their preparations, care and attention to detail with their planning and focus on wellbeing and academics.
Whilst we acknowledged the superb efforts of all staff, it was important to highlight the newer staff members within our community, reflecting on their short but interesting journey at St Joseph's. What an extraordinary beginning they have had since joining our community. New school, new students, colleagues and families to forge relationships with, and a curriculum to deliver remotely for a large portion of the school year to date. To that end, we take our hats off and could not be more proud of their efforts.
In the coming weeks we will announce 'some' changes to our staffing for 2021. With a mixture of reshuffling, relocation, new roles and some well-deserved leave entitlements, we have some exciting plans for next year. An additional consideration will be to provide further support for the students and staff due to the interrupted 2020 school year.
We are incredibly affirmed by the calibre of our current staff (stepping up and aspiring) and also the quality of 80+ applicants who recently applied for a position at our wonderful school. Our reputation to attract such quality applicants and further build and draw upon their capacity remains one of our key strengths (draw cards) as an educational institution.
What a delight it has been in recent days to see the steady flow of students return to our office spaces to proudly share their amazing work. One of the many aspects of school life we have dearly missed. Long may it continue.
A must to check out Mrs Nugent's Teaching and Learning News. So much stunning student work to celebrate. Zach and Liam's handwriting is simply incredible.
STUDENT NUMBERS 2021
We politely remind families to fill in the recent Operoo form regarding student intentions for 2021. Whilst we excitedly look forward to be welcoming 52 Preps for next year and new families (and some returning from overseas) across various classes, these accurate student figures assist with funding and finalizing staffing plans. With a strong and healthy reputation, we are pleased to acknowledge another slight increase in student numbers for 2021 across the school.
SACRAMENTAL PROGRAM 2021
At this stage we are still awaiting clarity on how the sacramental program will be delivered next year should certain restrictions be applied i.e. How many can gather in the church? Clearly any such restrictions will determine how we deliver this program with Fr Varghese. Due to the postponement of the sacramental program this year, we will be required to double up on all sacraments in 2021 (Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation*). The logistics and undertaking of this important faith program will require much consideration. Whilst we hope to finalize some key dates in the coming weeks, we are mindful amendments may be required as more information comes to hand.
SCHOOL CAMPS 2020
As communicated earlier in the week, we are very disappointed to have made the call to cancel the Year 6 Canberra Camp scheduled for later this term. The uncertainty of border restrictions and commitment to buses and catering expenses influenced this outcome. In the meantime, we have tentatively locked in a regional camp program for our students as we believe there is greater likelihood of local restrictions being eased in the coming months. We continue to explore all options for our Year 6s to ensure they have a fitting end to their primary school journey.
At this stage, we still have the Year 4 camp booked until further notice.
KEY DATES & REMINDERS
- 23rd October - Grand Final Day/Thank You Day Public Holiday
- 2nd & 3rd Nov - Melbourne Cup Closure
- 18th Nov - Parent Info Night for Prep 2021
- 25th Nov - Prep Orientation # 1
- 2nd Dec - Prep Orientation # 2
- 4th Dec - School Closure - Student Handover 2021
- 11th Dec - Stepping Up Day for 2021
- 11th Dec - End of Year Mass (School Captains 2021)
- 17th Dec - Last Day of Term - 1:00pm finish
Thank you families for your cooperation and understanding with the drop-off and pick-up routines. What an easy process this has been each day.
It's just great to be back,