Mrs Ryan's Fortnightly Reflections

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I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone as we reach the halfway point of the term. Life at school moves quickly, and it's hard to believe that we are already halfway through another term. The days are still beautiful and bright, but the mornings and evenings are getting a bit chilly. We are noticing an increase in illnesses leading up to the winter months, and we appreciate our families for being vigilant in keeping their children at home when they are unwell. Our staff members are also starting to experience health issues, but we are working hard to maintain a normal learning environment.


I want to express my gratitude to all the mothers who attended our Mother's Day morning tea and activities last week. We had over 200 special women join us for these events, and I appreciate all those who took the time to participate and connect with our school community. It was a wonderful sign of a successful event when we had to encourage people to leave! I understand that some mothers had to rearrange work commitments to attend, and I hope it was worth it for you. Thank you also to the local businesses that donated prizes for our raffle, adding an extra special touch to the day.


This week, there have been some important issues in our local media that directly affect our community. The Victorian State government has announced plans to provide $400 per child to families of children in state schools for educational support. As Catholic schools educate around 20% of the student population in Victoria, we believe our families face similar financial challenges and come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. School principals have met to address the inequity and discrimination in this decision. I will be sending a letter to our community, urging everyone to speak up and advocate against this unfair treatment. Our Executive Director is also seeking support from the media to engage in further discussions with state leaders. I plan to speak with our Member of Parliament to advocate for our families and children. I hope that our government representatives will stand up for all. Kate Fogarty, our Executive Director, has already advocated for Catholic schools in the Riverina Herald this week.

Another important issue that has come to our attention is the recent decision to have the Murray Valley Highway crossing unmanned. We were informed of this yesterday and have been in contact with the Campaspe team, who are working to find solutions to ensure community safety. The Campaspe council, along with the Department of Transport and local police, are working on interim and long-term safety measures for those using the crossing. While these solutions are being developed, I encourage families to discuss safety measures and consider alternative crossing routes to keep their children safe. This news was highlighted in the Riverina Herald online this week, and I have also included direct correspondence from the Council of Campaspe in the 'Community News' section.


On a lighter note, we have successfully completed the initial stages of enrolment for children for 2025. Our school tours and open evenings were well attended, and we are excited to meet all our new families and potential students in the coming weeks. If you are an existing family and have not completed the necessary documentation or scheduled a family interview, I urge you to do so. These interviews are invaluable for us as leaders to get to know your child on a deeper level.


We have introduced a new practice this term called SME TV (St Mary’s TV), where school leaders provide a weekly focus area for students and teachers. This initiative helps everyone understand what is expected across the school and provides positive feedback on behaviours, learning, and upcoming events. This has been well received and will be summarised in the newsletter each week to keep parents informed.


This fortnight, we have focused on promoting hands-off play to address physical problem-solving among learners. We have a strict no-tolerance policy for physical or verbal violence in our community and are committed to restorative practices to ensure everyone feels safe at all times. We encourage parents to support their children in using words to resolve conflicts and regulate emotions, rather than resorting to physical actions. While we have seen improvement, we will continue to educate students on appropriate behaviour in the school environment.


In the coming weeks, our school will receive and analyse important data sets to aid in future planning and learner progression. We will share aspects of this data with our community to explain our decisions and goals for improvement. We have NAPLAN data coming in and our Year 3-6 learners are completing the PAT Social and Emotional Wellbeing survey, which I'm sure will be of interest to you.


I have heard concerns about the illegal and unsafe use of our blocks on the Murray Valley Highway by our families. Traffic flow and congestion are ongoing challenges, especially during peak times. I am in discussions with Catholic Education about implementing aspects of our master plan to alleviate these issues, including building an additional carpark and exploring fencing options. In the meantime, I urge families to drive safely and avoid driving over curbs and pathways to ensure the safety of all children at St. Mary's.


As we approach the end of this term and prepare for semester two, we will see some staffing changes at the school. If your child’s classroom teacher is leaving for maternity leave, the replacement plan will be shared with you soon. 


Have a fabulous end to the week everyone. 


God Bless You All, 


Jasmine Ryan