Principal's Update Week 10
Posted: 20-Jun-2018

This week we have commenced the second semester of the academic year and all students have been introduced to new content. This has required some timetabling changes, so as parents I encourage you to log into the Parent Access Module (PAM) to look at Learning Areas at the plethora of feedback that has been provided on student learning and to support your student regarding what days they have PE (for example). If you have misplaced your log in details, please contact the College office and they will put you through to Aleceia Smith, Reports Administrator, who will assist you to log in. PAM is a really critical tool in supporting students to be their best and it is important that parents/guardians, as partners, continue to follow their student’s progress and talk with them about their learning.

Tomorrow, the 15 Year 11 students and 4 staff head off for their Immersion experience in Timor Leste. They will be the 8th Damascus College cohort to venture across the Timor Sea. The generosity of the Damascus community in supporting our East Timorese neighbours has been absolutely outstanding. It is important to recognise that families fund the student’s trip and that they raise money for the local community. The 2018 group will distribute over $14,000 to the Ainaro community which is a remarkable effort. We wish all involved safe travels and look forward to hearing of their adventures upon their return.

Music and Drama students are showcasing their learning over the first semester with a Curriculum Showcase to take place next Wednesday, June 27th, evening. The work within the showcase will come from performance tasks set within the classroom and from a variety of extra-curricular performance opportunities available at the College. This event offers families and the general public a genuine insight into the innovative Drama and Music curriculum offered at Damascus. Performances commence from 7.30pm in the Valda Ward Auditorium. All are welcome.

This Saturday there is an opportunity for those with an interest in gardening or sustainability to take part in a composting workshop being conducted here at the College. More Information can be found here.

On Friday Nikki Hexter will accompany Eliza Lepair to the Pierre de Coubertin Awards where Eliza will be recognised for her sporting contribution across the College. Congratulations Eliza! Jake Jans of Year 8 also heads to Darwin this week to compete in the National BMX championships and we send Jake off with our best wishes!

Dancing with the Stars will take place at lunchtime on Friday and it is an opportunity facilitated by the Health and Physical Education Learning Area for staff and students to be active and have some fun across the different age groups together. Perhaps ask your student if they have their dancing partner lined up for lunchtime on Friday.

Next Wednesday morning, Year 12 VCE students will attend the Tertiary Information Service at the Federation University Mt Helen Campus (Theatre and Albert Coates Complex). This service is a really important support for students wishing to make a tertiary application.

Friday, 29th June will be the last day of term and we will finish at 2.17pm. Students will undertake 6 shortened lessons on that day.

Each year, the College is required by the Federal Government to complete an annual report that examines all aspects of College life. This report is available to all parents on the College website here and includes sections on Catholic Identity, Learning and Teaching, Student Wellbeing, and School Community. I encourage you to take a look.

Bishop Paul Bird has circulated a letter today outlining the response from our Catholic community throughout Australia and from our diocese of Ballarat to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Bishop Paul provides information regarding recommendations from the report that was handed down in December that require an active response that relate either generally or specifically to the Catholic Church. As members of a Catholic Church community I encourage you to read Bishop Paul’s letter that can be found here where you are also able to download a copy. It is important that I reiterate that Damascus College is a community where we work very hard to ensure that children and young people are safe. If you ever have any concerns regarding the safety of a child or young person, I encourage you to speak with our Child Safe Officer, Deputy Principal Chris Grant, or if you suspect a crime, contact the police.

On the staff front I congratulate Simone Butler on the recent arrival of her first grandchild, Harry! An exciting time for the extended Butler family.

Assistant Principal, Ashwin Pillai has some well-deserved leave this coming week as does Science Learning Area Leader, Ivanka Saric, Health and PE teacher, Wayne Forster. We wish all these staff well for their extended break and look forward to their return at the start of next term.

We keep in our prayers the family of Ben Fischer (Year 7) on the passing of his beloved paternal Grand Father. Thoughts and prayers also go out to Zarlie Smith (Year 9) and family on the recent loss of her Grand Father. Also to Alannah Neumann (Year 7) on the recent loss of a loved one. We ask for God’s blessings upon these familes in their time of grief.

Last Sunday’s Gospel from Mark 4:26-34 drew on the parable of the sower and lays for us the wonderful parallel of the emergence of young adults throughout the secondary schooling process. Adolescence is a wonderful phase; your sons and daughters are growing, testing and discovering life with you as their parents/guardians, and us as their teachers. It is a great joy to be a part of this growth and it is a loving God that brings us all together at Damascus College in that journey of growth.

Until next week …. 


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