Principal's Update Week 6
Posted: 13-Nov-2019

This week I am doing a course in Melbourne to support our College Board to provide the best governance for the College. While I have been here, I get little snippets of what is going on in the many different activities of the College. One vignette that made me laugh was of some of our Year 9’s who have had a difficult learning - as they have tipped out of their canoe and into the water. As I understand it, they forgot they had their packs on board. Dave Myers and Hannah Keating communicated that they were in the process of getting some of the clothes dried back at base camp and then returned to the students…. Learning takes many different forms and camps, and retreats provide some of the best learnings our College offers.

In Sunday’s Gospel from Luke (20:27-38), Jesus was put to the test by the Sadducees, and they posed questions of him to try and trip him up. For our students, at this time of year when there are lots of tests and assessments taking place, it is important that we keep communicating that these assessments are not about tripping them up. At the heart of our tests and assessments are learning and teaching and opportunities, and that is exactly how Jesus approached these men. He took his test as an opportunity to teach and for them to learn of each of our place as children of God and the eternal gift of God’s love. Please continue to reinforce with your young person/people that the assessments are a tool for them to be the best learners that they can, and it is improvement that is important and not the number or result.

Our Musicians did an amazing job at the Ballarat show over the weekend under very trying climatic conditions, and I congratulate them on their efforts. I thank Performing Arts Coordinator, Maria Russell and staff members Jason Harrison and Instrumental Teacher Krissy Withers for their support. Please click here to view all the performances from the show.

Damascus students proudly represented the College at the wreath-laying ceremony in Buninyong on Monday to commemorate Remembrance Day. I congratulate Tara Orchard and Samuel Henwood, supported by Assistant Principal Andrew Robertson, on being such appropriate ambassadors. The leadership displayed by Tara and Sam was a great continuation of the leadership shown by our senior students at our school-based reflection last Thursday, and I thank Gerard Macklin for his facilitation of this commemoration.

Many of our Year 12 students will sit their final exam this week ahead of their Graduation Mass and dinner next Wednesday evening. Year 11’s are also concluding exams this week. Year 10’s are out on Retreat, and then CPDA or they are on Work Experience this week and as I have already mentioned Year 9’s are in the Strathbogies. Year 7 and 8 are completing their final assessments ahead of Early Start next week.

Students in Years 9 and 10 will work an alternative timetable next Monday addressing a variety of content including study techniques for the senior years, wellbeing, driver safety and testing. Students who have missed exams from Year 9 – 11 will have the chance to make them up on Monday. Year 7 and 8 students will have classes as normal, and Year 11 students are not required at school unless they have missed an exam.

A number of students will finish their time with us over the coming days, and I thank them and their families for being part of the Damascus journey. I wish those students well as they commence this important next stage of their life journey.

Next Tuesday 19th November is a student-free day – it is a professional practice day for staff as they prepare to begin the Early Start program on Wednesday 20th and conclude correction of assessment of this semester’s work. As I have indicated previously, all students will move up to their next year level on Wednesday 20th. Students will need the resources outlined in the Early Start Booklist. Student timetables will be available through SIMON and PAM throughout the day on Tuesday. It will be important to note the days that students have PE to ensure students are appropriately equipped for their classes.

Within the Early Start program, where we have new staff starting at the College, we have tried to engage them for this period. Where that has not been possible, we have drawn on existing staff, particularly Year 7 teachers to ensure that students begin their program with consistent and quality teaching, ready for the next staff member to pick up the learning program. These next two weeks are assessable learning and will contribute to Semester One grades for 2020.

We keep in our prayers this week all those in NSW and Qld under threat of bushfire and those families whose lives have been changed by this disaster. We also remember Seth Duggan (Year 9) and his family as his grandfather passed away in the last week. We ask our loving God to be with them at this time.

Until next week …


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