Principal's Update Week 5
Posted: 16-May-2018

As I write today’s Newsletter, Year 7 and Year 9 students are sitting their NAPLAN reading test. It has been a source of some conversation in our house as we have  students in Year 5, 7 and 9 and they have been comparing the relative elements. Bench marked testing has value in measuring entire cohorts and their movement and enables us as a school to look at the impact of the entirety of our programs and the progression of groups of students with regard to literacy and numeracy. On the individual level, it is a snap shot on a day. It might be a day when a young person is struggling with social issues or illness and that is why, as educators, we always triangulate different assessment tools to gain a more accurate insight of a student’s progress. The ability to perform under exam conditions is not a measure of the worth of a person. Our Christian tradition is much more wholesome than that, we are each made in the image of God and God’s gifts are present in each of us and manifest in different ways. Reassure your young people that all assessments are learning tools, signpost to what we can do differently and a support for the student, family and teacher as to different possible approaches and efforts in future tasks.

It has been great to see so many families come in to discuss with their Teacher Advisor the progress of their young person. If circumstances prevented you being able to attend please make contact with your TA – the partnership between school and home is critical to the success of your student.

Yesterday Gemma Armeni of Year 12 was recognised at the Premier’s Awards for her result in Unit 3/4 VET Equine Studies. Gemma was supported by family, her teacher and her TA, Martin Ryan. More than 1100 guests attended the prestigious award ceremony, where Victoria’s top-performing VCE students from 2017 were recognised for their outstanding academic results. Congratulations Gemma!

Last week was enormous in relation to the happenings across the College. Year 8 Camps, Year 10 CPDA and Work Experience, Year 9 Science Career’s Expo, Observatory visit and SSMART ASSK were all really great learning opportunities for students and I thank all those who contributed to the planning and delivery. It was great to be present at the Year 11 & 12 Formal last Friday night. Students were well presented, polite and genuinely appeared to enjoy one another’s company. I am very thankful for the staff who made themselves available on a Friday night and for the House Leaders organisation, particularly Hannah Keating. Thank you to all those families who ensured their students were dropped off and picked up safely!!

This Friday evening is the commencement of Catholic Education Week. It is a diocesan initiative to celebrate the enormous contribution of our schools to the educational landscape.

There has been some concern over the past week regarding parents using the bus turning loop as a waiting area for students at the end of the day. This turning circle is necessary for the safe and efficient movement of buses on site and should not be used within the school day for any other vehicles. Could parents please avoid this area to keep it clear for buses only.

There is a Snow Trip meeting tonight at 6.00pm in the Undercroft for all students and families seeking to attend. Tomorrow Unit 3 & 4 Legal studies students will take part in an excursion to the Courts and the Unit 3/4 Environmental Science class heads off for a three day camp to support their studies. I thank Greg Dow and David Neate for their respective organisation. On Sunday our Timor Leste Immersion group have a planning day beginning with 9am Mass at St Alipius. I wish them well for a constructive day.

The College is currently preparing for the upcoming requirement to provide data for the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with a Disability. The NCCD is an annual data collection in which all schools must participate. In short, the NCCD counts the number of students with a disability and the level of educational adjustments they are provided. I draw your attention to two important information sheets attached to this newsletter that have been prepared by the Catholic Education System: The first information sheet relates to all families, as an increased number of students may be identified under this changed scheme. It is important to note that what is considered a disability can be quite broad under the Disability and discrimination act. To learn more please click below:-

NCCD Information Sheet - Parents NCCD Information Sheet - Parents (395 KB)

The second information sheet provides information for families whose students are currently funded and the changes that are in play. For the 2019 Students with Disabilities (SWD) Information Sheet for Schools, Parents, Carers and Guardians - please click below:-

SWD Information Sheet - Parents SWD Information Sheet - Parents (448 KB)

It is important to note that where Damascus includes a student in the data collection that it is with the intent of providing the best support for that child and is done in line with the College’s Privacy policy which can be found below:-

Privacy Policy Privacy Policy (181 KB)

Any questions regarding the process can be directed to myself or to Special Needs Coordinator, Cathy Prunty.

We pray for the AuchettI, Walker, Taylor and McCartin families. Cathy AuchettI passed away late last week and she was the wife of Paul and the Mum of Katie (Yr. 12), Brendan (Yr. 11), and Kade (Yr. 8). Cathy was also grandparent to Molly Taylor (Yr. 12) and Meenachi McCartin (Yr. 9). Our love and prayers go out to these families at this time.

We also pray for the family of Deb Hanson (Member of Staff) on the loss of a loved family member this week.

Tomorrow is the feast of the Ascension of Christ and it lies between the resurrection and Pentecost – The ascension is the celebration of heaven and earth of the full manifestation of Jesus’ Godliness. We pray that the promise of the fullness of God’s Kingdom is with all those who grieve at this time.

Until next week …

MATT

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