Principal's Message




Good afternoon Parents and Carers,


Parent Feedback from the Meet & Mingle Event

I would like to begin by thanking our parent community for their valuable feedback from our Meet and Mingle event earlier this term.  Although an overwhelming success, your positive and constructive 'Parent Voice' has provided the school with valuable information regarding the many benefits of the event, but also highlighted key areas in which we can maximise the event in 2022.    


The Introduction to Weekly Talk Homework & Big Writes K-6

This term has seen the introduction of weekly Talk Homework and Big Writes throughout our Kindergarten to Year 6 stages of learning.  The introduction of weekly 'Big Writes' (supported by weekly 'Talk Homework') is designed to provide students with an increased opportunity to demonstrate (and celebrate) their increased skills and competencies in their writing around their specific writing focus and goals.  Thank you to our parents for supporting their children with their 'Talk Homework' each week.  Talk plays an important role in the improvement of writing with our students.  The research behind Talk Homework and the Big Write is that if our students can't 'Speak it' (Talk/articulate about their writing) they won't be able to 'Write It' (Demonstrate the key skills necessary for writing improvement).  We are already seeing positive signs of the weekly introduction in areas of increased student engagement, confidence, along with improvements in structure, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation.   


Our New Tello Programmable Drones in Year 7

Last week our Year 7 Digital Technology students began a brand new and exciting unit for 2021 which will see our students develop the necessary skills and competencies required to program and fly (pilot) a small drone.  The beginning of the lesson felt a lot like Christmas, as the students unboxed our new fleet of Tello 4K Drones, before taking the drones to the hall for some test flights.  Along with developing the skills for programming and piloting our new UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), our students will also learn the rules and responsibilities associated with using these fun recreational devices.  Exciting times ahead for Year 7.


Date with Student Data - Term 2, Week 2

As in 2020, we will be hosting another 'Date with Student Data' in 2021 where parents will have the opportunity to schedule a short 10 minute meeting with their child's Leader of Learning to discuss their academic progress and learning goals in the areas of Reading, Writing and Mathematics.  The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and respond to 3 main questions:

  • How is my child going? (Looking at targeted learning data)
  • How do we know? (Looking at key learning evidence, ie Writing Samples, Formal Assessments)
  • Where to next? (Identify and discuss key learning goals for next steps of learning growth)

We are still finalising the dates, however, the 'Date with Student Data' has been scheduled for Week 2 of Term 2.  Further information regarding the event and how to book your appointment will be communicated early next week (Week 9) via a parent email and through the Compass Parent Portal.


Parent Voice around Semester 1 Reporting Format & Requirements

Throughout 2020 (as a result of COVID-19 and the introduction of COMPASS) St Philomena's parents were provided with two different reporting formats to showcase academic growth and progress.  Unfortunately, neither reporting option was ideal, and left a number of parents confused regarding the learning progress of their child(ren).  To ensure we as a school are delivering a document that balances both our reporting compliance requirements and expectations from our parent community, a survey will be sent out to parents in Week 10 to identify where our student reporting process/format (including Parent/Teacher Conferences) can be improved or fine tuned.  The student reporting survey will be communicated via a parent email and through our Compass Parent Portal.


Welcome to our New Families

Finally, I would like to warmly welcome all our new families that have joined our St Philomena's Learning Community over the past few weeks.  You are all most welcome and I look forward to seeing you at different times throughout the school year.  St Philomena's continues to be a positive and thriving place of learning as our school community continues to grow throughout the early months of 2021.


With Easter only a few weeks away, we still have lots of learning opportunities to unpack before we break for a very well earned term break.


God bless,


Jamie McDowall