Dear Parents & Carers
As we come to the end of 2017, this a perfect opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the year. Again I refer to these three questions:
How are we going?
How do we know?
What are we going to do next?
I worked with Year 8 last week on reflecting on their learning in 2017. I reminded them that at O’Connor, learning encompasses our faith learning so integral to our mission as a Catholic school, academic learning so that every student achieves the best learning outcomes and wellbeing and resilience skills so important for a healthy, balanced life. I asked the students to rate themselves on how they have gone this year and why they ranked themselves there. I then asked them to write two things they are most proud of achieving this year. It was affirming for the students and our school the number of students who were most proud of improving in their learning. I too am proud of the hard work of our students and their capacity to reflect and move forward with their learning.
I would like to thank the staff of O’Connor for all they do to put learning at the core of what we do. We are a community founded on faith and focused on learning. The dedication, resilience and talent of our staff is exceptional and I am always grateful to work with such a great group of educators.
We have some staff changes next year. We have some staff who will be leaving us and I would like to thank them and wish them the best for their future endeavours.
They are Ms Ellen Newberry, who is taking up a new appointment at St Joseph’s Aberdeen. Ellen has had a significant influence on both the HSIE KLA and the school as a whole and she is professional and hard working. We will miss her along with Mr Glenn Watson, who will be retiring this year. We have some staff who will be finishing a significant contract of work with us and we hope to see them back in the future; Mr Bradley Powers, Ms Catherine Simmons and Mrs Caroline Chapman. Two teachers will be taking a year's leave and we wish them the best; Mr David Lush and Mr Scott Mudge.
Mr Glenn Watson was awarded a Diocesan Distinguished Service Award at our Presentation Day on Tuesday. This award acknowledges dedication and commitment to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Armidale. Here is some of the citation from Glenn’s award:
Glenn started at O’Connor Catholic College in 1990 and in 1992 was appointed to the position of Head of Technological & Applied Studies (T.A.S). Glenn has been an outstanding professional, mentor teacher a generous and collaborative member of staff who has made a significant contribution to the spiritual, academic and cultural life of O’Connor Catholic College.
Glenn has very successfully counselled many senior students through the Higher School Certificate in the courses of Construction & Design and Technology. Glenn will leave many legacies upon his departure from O'Connor Catholic College but probably his biggest one will be the work he put into the design and overseeing of the construction of the current Benilde building, after it was destroyed by fire on June 30th 1994. A day Glenn or ‘Watto’ as he is more affectionately know, will always remember .
As the T.A.S Coordinator and (V.E.T) Coordinator Glenn was an integral part of the building of the new Food Technology rooms and Trade Training Centre for Hospitality and Construction at O’Connor Catholic College.
We wish Glenn all the very best for the future and congratulate him on the outstanding service he has provided to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Armidale.
New staff joining us in 2018, will be:
Bryan Allerton - Science
Candice Savell - Science
Natalie Mellowship - PDHPE
Ian Yensch - TAS and Construction
Elitia Parry - Literacy
We look forward to these teachers joining our Catholic Professional Learning Community.
There are a number of other changes for 2018. Our Pastoral Academic Care Leaders will be
Year 7 Miss Melita Roache
Year 8 Mr James Russell
Year 9 Mr Mark Fulloon
Year 10 Mrs Vicki Channon
Year 11 Ms Camilla Clydsdale
Year 12 Mr Andrew May
Mr Jon Hawthorne will take on the Leader of Learning (Technological & Applied Studies and STEM). Ms Eli Simpson is our new Leader of Pedagogy. Mr James Russell will take on a new role, (ATSI Focus Teacher) supported by the Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Armidale. James will work with Aboriginal students to plan and reflect on their learning to attain the best educational outcomes they can.
We will be changing our timetable from a six period day to a five period day. The periods will be an hour long and the new arrangement will be: PAC Time, Periods 1 and 2, Break A, Periods 3 and 4, Break B, Period 5 and then PAC Time. This will allow for deeper learning experiences and less transition times. It will also focus on using the key learning time in the morning more effectively.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the O’Connor Community, students, staff, parents and Parish for your support this year. I would like to wish you a happy and holy Christmas and hope that you have some time to rest and reflect this Christmas time.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and I look forward to working with you in 2018.