Principal's Update Week 3
Posted: 19-Feb-2020

This week I was fortunate to attend professional learning with Professor John Hattie on what works best in schools to optimise student’s performance. Hattie is an international academic who has conducted analysis. It was an affirming and challenging session to attend - it was affirming of Damascus’ approach to project-based learning through our Year 8 ESTEEM program, VCAL, HoLP and our commitment to our Professional Learning Communities for staff, but it was challenging in drawing educators back to measuring success by way of progress over achievement. Shifting measures of student success to how much each individual learner has grown is something we need to look to measure and affirm continually. Doing this in an education system that has one of its senior certificates founded on University entrance requirements is something we will continue to explore at Damascus.

Having spent a rich day immersed in learning theory, I am drawn back to the educator on which our educational ministry is founded; Jesus. Jesus’ ministry included educating, and he was an educator who drew heavily on storytelling and parables for his lessons. Hattie’s concepts on things that work in schools should be and are present in Catholic schools and our job at Damascus is to give those concepts life in this context for the benefit of our student population.

It has been great to get out to the Log Cabin Camp at Creswick this week, to see our Year 7 St Martin and Rice students. McAuley and Xavier students head out today and tomorrow, and I look forward to seeing them. It is a very busy two days for our youngest students, they all appear to be having an awesome time with their new classmates, and I thank Anne and Brendan Bawden, the House Leaders and teachers for facilitating this opportunity.

It is a big week in rowing with our girls performing well on the Barwon and our boys experiencing some strong results at the Victorian School Boy Championships, on Lake Wendouree, both on Saturday.

The Head of the Lake is a big day in the Ballarat interschool sporting calendar this coming Sunday. Members of the Damascus community have the opportunity to band together and support with pride Damascus students who have been preparing for the last six months for the Head of the Lake regatta. This year ten crews, who have trained hard to be a part of this competition, will represent the College. The Head of the Lake tradition comprises support groups known as “spit crews” to cheer on their respective peers in the regatta. Damascus has a tradition of celebrating the success of every rower who competes regardless of which school they come from – all rowers have worked hard! This is a lovely feature of our program. The regatta begins at 9.00am this Sunday. If your student would like to be a member of the Spit Crew but has not gained permission, could they please see Head of Sport, Nicole Hexter tomorrow.

I wish to flag for Year 7 families the Year 7 welcome and presentations evening that will take place next Tuesday 25th February. Could you please put this in your diary as it is a key element of the Year 7 student induction for 2020. Details can be found here.

It was great to be able to induct our student leaders at Mass last Friday, and I congratulate them on their appointment and thank those parents who were able to join us for the celebration.

The Bright Futures Breakfast will be held on Thursday 12th March 2020 with Judy Brewer OA as the guest speaker. Judy is from the Sacred Heart Class of 1979, is Chair of the Autism CRC since its inception in 2013. In 2017 she became Pro-Chancellor of Charles Sturt University. In 2019 Judy received a Churchill Fellowship. She is the mother to two amazing boys Harrison and Dominic and widow of the former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer. Please view Judy’s video provided for the breakfast. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

We extend our prayers to staff member Rebecca Anderson and her family on the passing of her grandmother. We also pray for the family of former staff member Loretta Kaval and her husband Roland and their family on the recent passing of Roland’s mother.

May the God of peace be with them.

Until next week


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