Principal's Update Week 1
Posted: 10-Oct-2018

Welcome back to Term 4

As we kick off the final term of 2018, I have reflected on some writings about Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, by Sister Madeleine Duckett. In one of the reflections written by Madeleine about Catherine, she speaks of Catherine McAuley as a woman who would be quite at home in our times and the busyness of life. Catherine was many things to many people and her efforts to bring relief to the poor constantly presented her with challenges. As students approach this coming term of consolidation of their learning and multiple assessments, it is valuable to remind them that we have a glimpse in Catherine’s words of some of the anxieties she experienced and her ability to quieten her fears with an ever-growing trust in divine providence. Catherine wrote; “We have one solid comfort amidst this little tripping about, our hearts can always be in the same place centred in God. For whom alone we go forward or stay back. Oh, may God look on us with love and pity and then we shall be able to do anything God wishes us to do, no matter how difficult to accomplish or painful to our feelings”.

We pray for our young people and ourselves that we can quieten our anxieties with trust in divine providence and a constant sense of hope and gratitude this term.

While classes have not taken place over the past two weeks, there has been plenty of activity around the College. Senior students have been in regular attendance for trial exams and revision classes. I congratulate those who have engaged with this process and encourage them to continue to seek the support of their teachers in the build-up to the exams.

I thank VCE Coordinator Matt Hallowell and assistant Taneka Gardiner for their facilitation of the VCE trial exam period over the holidays. These trial exams provide a genuine opportunity for the senior student to experience the exam conditions while gaining invaluable feedback on their revision and progress to date.

Families of Year 12 students should have received an invitation to the formal assembly on Wednesday, 24th October from 1.30PM. If you have not, could you please contact the office.

While we begin the process of concluding one group of students’ education, this Saturday we will welcome for the first time the 2019 Year 7 students for a morning of testing and assessments. Families with a student coming into Year 7 should have received a communication outlining the details of the morning. If you have any questions, please contact Assistant Principal, Joanne Kennedy.

Fourth term is a busy time. At Damascus, we work hard to ensure students have the optimal learning experience and a feature of this is our Early Start Program which is undertaken in the last two weeks of the year. The goals of the program are;
• to improve the continuity of learning from one calendar year to the next;
• to optimise valuable learning time, and
• to increase organisational efficiency.
From the students perspective, they will commence their next year level for the last two weeks, and this will be built upon once they return in 2019. This is the continuation of the program that we started in 2016 which supported students for a positive start to this year.

In the meantime, there is a lot to be done; please support your student by logging into the Parent Access Module (PAM) to check assessment dates and engage with teacher feedback. This will support your student on their learning journey.

On Friday evening the families of the 2019 Timor Immersion Group will gather for a shared meal in the staffroom. Students and families of previous immersions are welcome to attend. More information can be found here.

If you have not yet commenced your Christmas shopping (it is just over ten weeks away!) the Emmaus Catholic Primary School community are conducting a fundraising shopping trip to the factory outlets in Melbourne, which will be a fun day with other parents to start getting some bits together; more information can be found here.

In the last two days, we have had experience in diverse weather. Students are permitted to wear their summer or winter uniform for the first two weeks of this term, so if you feel that the weather is decisively cold, advise your student that it is OK to wear their winter uniform.

On the uniform front, please do not allow students to come to school in the wrong uniform. It is time-consuming to follow up and creates the potential for conflict, all of which distract from learning and teaching. We go to significant lengths to be explicit about uniform and need families support. Of particular concern this week has been the wearing of black socks by some students and summer dresses that are too short. Could I ask for families support, please.

Congratulations to Rory Ludeman (Year 9) who went to Queensland to play Futsal in the holidays and he has been selected to play in Brazil in August next year. Well done, Rory!

Today, we remember in our prayers former staff member Mary Cooper and her family as Mary’s second anniversary occurs this week.

We remember all those who are in need at this time.

Until next week …

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