Week 2 Term 3 2021
From the Principal
Dear Staff, Students and Parents
A formal welcome back to Term 2, although after a fortnight the holidays now seem a distant memory for most of us. It is good to be back after my short time away and I particularly thank Mr Michael Campbell for his work as Acting Principal during this time.
Today we farewell Ms Melissa Rainbird after twenty-five years on staff. Ms Rainbird has been a well-respected teacher of Senior Chemistry and Science, along with her involvement in numerous co-curricular activities over the years, and most recent work as our High Potential Learners Coordinator and Assistant Year 10 Coordinator. We wish Melissa all the very best in her new role at Summerland Christian College. We are currently finalising the process of recruiting her replacement.
Given the rapidly changing COVID-19 space currently being experienced in NSW and other parts of the country, the Catholic Schools Office is moving from a stance of ‘reacting to COVID’ situations to ‘working with COVID’, even if a lockdown is declared. To this end, the College’s Leadership Team has been busy updating our Education Continuity and COVID Response Plans, should we be required to move into a period of Blended Learning.
NESA has produced a ‘Stay Healthy HSC hub’ and already made a number of changes to this year’s HSC (including postponing Trial Exams to 9-23 August) which will all be of assistance to our Year 12 students, who have been provided with this advice under separate cover.
Dr Sally Towns, our Director of Catholic Schools, wrote to all parents in the Diocese earlier in the week. This correspondence also included a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page which I urge you to read, if you have not already done so.
The current COVID outbreaks across the state and beyond make it imperative that students who are displaying even the slightest signs of illness remain at home. Should a student become unwell during the course of a school day they will be required to be collected from the Student Services Office ASAP to minimise the risk of cross-infection.
As per NSW Health advice, people displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, headache) are advised to get tested. A student or staff member who has been unwell cannot return to school unless proof of a negative COVID-19 test has been provided. There are several local testing centres aside from your local GP, including Lismore Base Hospital and Ballina Respiratory Clinic. Visit the NSW Health website for further details.
Current Public Health Orders can also be found at: health.nsw.gov.au by clicking on COVID-19 (Case Alerts). These include the compulsory wearing of masks on public transport (ie. school buses) with $200 fines for non-compliance. Lists are updated daily and if you have recently travelled you must follow any relevant mandatory isolation guidelines stringently.
Additional cleaning measures remain in place at the College and students have been asked to refrain from close interactions with other students and staff.
Finally, as we have just celebrated NAIDOC Week at the College, I include the following reflection from Fr Frank Brennan SJ for your perusal:
‘It is legitimate for settler Australians to be seeking stories about the most urgent question of our times: how to live with integrity on this threatened earth. There will be stupidity and superficiality in this discussion, but it is important not to dismiss the quest. Accessible and nuanced stories are needed to inform not just our understanding of the continent’s past but also the burning conversation about its future.’ We need the academics like Sutton and Walshe. But we also need evocative writers like Pascoe. The road ahead to truth-telling is also long, winding, and fog bound.
As we pray for the healing of our country this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, let’s thank God that we live in a country where Aboriginal leaders like Chris Sarra and Megan Davis can be heard, where elected politicians like Andrew Bragg can find the space and political moment to write, and where thinkers like Bruce Pascoe, Stuart Rintoul, Keryn Walshe and Peter Sutton can respectfully call us all to account for our past and our commitment to the future.
Let’s remember that Jesus was not alone when he reflected, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country among his own relations and in his own house.’ There’ll be no healing of the country, there’ll be no constitutional recognition, and there’ll be no truth telling unless more of us hear the call: ‘The spirit came into me and made me stand up, and I heard the Lord speaking to me.’
Enjoy the fortnight ahead.
From the Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching
Method 1 Reporting - Stages 4 and 5
Throughout each semester, all students in Years 7-10 will undertake a variety of in-class learning activities and one Common Summative Assessment Task during the scheduled examination week in Term 4. Of these in-class learning activities, some will be common and moderated across the cohort to inform the Common Grade allocation on the Semester Reports. It is important for parents and students to be aware that all learning activities completed in class are used to identify what students know and understand and are used as a measure of their progress against syllabus requirements. Students will receive feedback on learning activities and through the RFL reports issued twice per term. All students are encouraged to reflect on their learning and utilise feedback to set future academic goals.
Year 12 Trial Examinations
Year 12 students and parents have received correspondence regarding the date changes for HSC Trial Examinations. The new dates are scheduled for examinations to run between Monday, 9 August through to Monday, 23 August. Students who do not have an examination scheduled for Monday, 23 August are expected to return to normal classes on this day. We wish all Year 12 students success with their preparations and exams.
Year 10 into Year 11 Subject Selection Interviews
The Year 10 Subject Selection Interviews were held this Friday via zoom. This was an important step in students finalising their choices for Stage 6. Thank you to students and families for making themselves available. Any follow-up that is required will take place across Week 3. Students will be able to access the Subject Selection Portal on Friday, July 30 to enter their next round of choices.
Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching
Head Heart Hands
Our students are at the centre of all we do in our Catholic Schools. The Lismore Diocese, which stretches from the Tweed in the North down to Laurieton in the South, aims to promote the Fullness of Life Framework. Each person engaged in the vocation of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Lismore is called to leadership to serve the mission of the Church as entrusted to them by Jesus Christ at the heart of this mission, based on John 10:10, ‘to enable each student to achieve the fullness of life’. The Fullness of Life’ Framework provides a way of ‘working together’ to live out this mission. We are always looking for opportunities for our students and staff to attain this.
Our student free days are designed for staff to come together and establish goals in the Mission and Learning and Teaching domains. Our Mission session focused on ways to further build and promote community and acknowledge those staff who are visible witnesses of Christ. We would like to acknowledge the following staff who were nominated for being active witnesses through their relationships, their treatment of students and staff and the way they recognise the dignity of all those they encounter. Weekly witness winners: Catherine Graham-Smith, Sally Ryall, Darren Magner, Stephanie Darke, Sharon Robotham, Paul Somerville, Bernie MacDonald, Debbie Melino, Justine Kennedy, Ross Towns and Brad Ryall. We will be promoting our staff each week. I would like to encourage families to consider emailing staff and affirming their commitment and ability to be visible witnesses.
‘Heal Country’ is the theme of this year's NAIDOC celebration. Our Indigenous students shared a reflective Liturgy with the College on Monday. We are truly blessed to have this opportunity to reflect on the theme and our relationships. I have included one of the prayers that was included in the Liturgy. We also have a link to the message from our students to the College about what 'Heal Country' means to them.
May the God of truth
– open our ears and eyes to the wind whistling through the Grass Trees.
May the God of justice
– open our minds to the flowing actions of the waters from refreshing rain, to gentle brook, from mighty river to raging sea.
May the God of love
– open our hearts to the beat of the Clapsticks calling us into rhythm.
Now go. . . to pursue Jesus, with truth, justice, and love.
We are always searching for opportunities for our students to grow and develop. The EMPOWER U group has donated ten $550 scholarships for our students to take part in their program. We were introduced to this program through Jack Oates, a past SRC member of the College. The program aims to teach students how to set goals and achieve them, to take accountability and responsibility and ownership for their own decisions and actions, to maintain a positive mindset and build emotional intelligence and resilience. I have included some photos of the group who will participate in this program that was advertised to the whole student body in a number of forums.
Building relationships and community are the focus of our Sunday youth group. This is organised by our amazing Youth Minsitry Officers and I would like to encourage any students from the College to attend. This Sunday, 'The Carnival' is the theme for the activities that are developed around faith and fellowship. Please meet the team at Doyle House, next to the Cathedral, at 5.30pm. Cost is $5 that includes dinner. All age groups are welcome.
‘Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.’ Ephesians 4:32
Uniform/Personal Grooming Guidelines, St John’s College, Woodlawn
The policy on school dress standards has been determined by St John’s College Leadership Team, in consultation with the P&F and Student Representative Council. It is designed to contribute to and support a healthy and safe learning environment which allows all students to participate in all College activities. The policy is also reflective of Work Health and Safety regulations. Families affirm their commitment to the policy as a condition of their enrolment. Final determinations regarding Uniform and Personal Grooming Standards are at the discretion of members of the College Leadership Team.
Anti-Discrimination Act NSW (1977)
Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act (1984)
Work Health and Safety Act NSW (2011)
The principles of appropriate school dress and personal grooming standards at St John’s College include:
- Dignity, respect and inclusivity;
- Responsiveness and sensitivity;
- Access and participation;
- Upholding community expectations;
- Fostering College community awareness and identity.
All students are required to wear the community approved, correct school uniform and wear it appropriately. This policy is reflective of the dignity of students and gender equity. If the circumstances are such that a student cannot wear the requisite uniform on a designated day, a note from parents/caregivers giving the reason must be provided. The College reserves the right to provide the student with uniform for the day. In exceptional circumstances where a student is unable to wear the approved uniform, a uniform exemption pass may be issued for a negotiated period of time, by the Assistant Principal - Mission, in consultation with the family.
Students must be clean, neat and tidy at all times.
- Extremes in hairstyle, cut or colour are not permitted (ie ‘mullets’);
- Hair longer than shoulder length must be tied back;
- Hair accessories should be in keeping with College colours;
- Students must be clean shaven at all times;
- Make-up should be kept to a natural appearance;
- Nails should be kept to neutral shades or French tips.
These are not to be visible.
Students are permitted to wear:
- No more than 2 plain rings on each hand;
- No more than 2 earrings per ear. These are to be studs or sleepers;
- NB - No other piercings are acceptable;
- 1 necklace;
- 1 watch;
- 2 plain bracelets or bangles.
These are not exhaustive lists.
Members of the College Leadership Team are the final arbiters on what is deemed acceptable in relation to all Uniform/Personal Grooming matters.
Assistant Principal - Mission
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Welcome to Term 3, in what for many is a shift from normal operations due to the return of COVID-19. This can be a challenging time as we adjust to routines and practices that are out of the ordinary.
As we see the increased incidence of young people vaping, there is a need to keep updated with relevant information. Our local health district has arranged a parent information session on this topic. If you are interested, please use the QR code below to register.
Support for Mental Health
Headspace North Coast is offering sessions to assist parents and caregivers on ways to support a young person when they are concerned about their mental health. There are two options available locally on September 7 and 13. Please follow the links below to register.
Students may experience stress at different times during the school year. This could be as a result of academic concerns, social issues, health matters or family concerns. These times can be challenging. How students deal with these challenges is important.
ReachOut.com advises that teens coping with stress in a healthy way involves building stress reducing strategies. This can mean helping your child to identify what is causing them stress, and what actions are within their control to manage it.
If you are not sure how to cope with teenage stress, it can help to talk with them about the following things:
- What are the things causing them stress?
- Is it something they can control, such as feeling unprepared for exams, or is it something outside of their control, such as world events?
If the cause of the stress is within their control, assure them that there are things they can put in place to help, and that you’ll be there to offer them support. Encourage them to write down the things that are within their control and discuss together how they will manage them. For example, if your child is stressed about doing badly at school, help them to identify what they need to do to succeed. You can then make a plan together to help them achieve that result.
Encouraging your child to write down the things that are causing them to feel stressed and then working through them in this structured way will help them become aware of what they can do to keep stress under control, and will give them confidence that they’ll be able to get through stressful times.
You might also want to suggest that your teen consider adopting some mindfulness techniques, including deep breathing or meditation. If their anxiety seems to go beyond normal feelings of stress, you might consider encouraging them to see a medical professional such as your GP.
Find out more at: https://parents.au.reachout.com/common-concerns/everyday- issues/things-to-try-stress/help-your-child-develop-coping-skills-for-stress
Previous Newsletters have given suggestions for study skills. These will be useful for Years 11 and 12 students as both year groups have examinations this term.
If students are looking for some scientifically proven steps to study success, ReachOut suggests the following tips:
- Break your study up into manageable twenty minute chunks;
- Talk about it or say it out loud. When you say something out loud, you'll find it much easier to remember it. Chatting with someone about what you're studying is even better;
- Remove the distractions. Put your phone on silent and out of reach, and turn off the pop-up notifications on your computer. Research shows that it can take up to twenty minutes to refocus on what you're doing once you've been distracted;
- Take breaks. If you plan your study chunks with breaks in between, having the time away can help you to come back refreshed;
- Get some sleep! Getting a good night's rest helps your brain and body to rest and recharge. In fact, you'll do better at your exams and remember more of what you studied if you get a good night's sleep, rather than if you stayed up late studying.
Other things you can do include eating the right foods, perfecting your time management skills, and knowing when to take a break from studying and getting some physical activity or social time in. Find out more at: https://au.reachout.com/articles/5-steps-to-study-success
Mental Health Fitness Challenge
This term in Pastoral Care lessons, Years 7 - 10 are participating in a Mental Health Fitness Challenge. Coordinated by the Black Dog Institute, among other topics, students will develop skills around friendships, learning how to deal with stress, how to set goals and stick to them. The overall aim is to improve the wellbeing of our young people.
The focus of Session 1 is Gratitude. Gratitude is the positive feeling you get when you stop to notice and appreciate things in your life. Gratitude is not just saying the words ‘thank you’; it’s actually all about the positive feeling that comes with being grateful. And it’s not just to have manners - it’s all about habits. If you get into the habit of noticing the things to be grateful for in your life, you’ll begin to see more of the brighter side.
What are the benefits ?
Apart from the obvious positive and wonderful feelings you’ll get from experiencing gratitude, experts have found that it can also improve your overall happiness. When you tap into those positive feelings of gratitude, you can use them to help you become closer with friends and family, lower any negative emotions such as anxiety, and fight off the black dog (depression). You will also find it easier to bounce back from difficult moments, and have space to enjoy the important stuff in life.
How can parents/ carers help?
Help your young person build gratitude into their everyday life. The trick to becoming more grateful is simply to pay attention to the big AND little things in your life you can be grateful for. As a family, you could share a funny moment or a favourite song. Let your teen lead how you and your family can practice gratitude.
Leader of Student Welfare
The full version of the Careers Update can be found at this link. Newsletters are listed on the left side of the page. Select the week for the most up to date news. Don’t forget to check the Calendar for Open Days, events, Career Expos, new dates and closing dates, etc.
In this fortnight’s news University information continues to flood in. It is worth looking at the RAS Rural Scholarships if you intend to study at TAFE or University next year.
A reminder to Year 10 that the dates for the second round of work experience in Term 4 will be from 29 November until 3 December. We need to be aware of and work within all COVID regulations in place at the time. If anyone is interested in undertaking work experience with animals, for example with a Vet practice, we ask that you arrange this well before these dates. All working with animals work experience needs to be sent to Sydney for approval so we need to submit it well ahead of time. Thanks in advance for your assistance with this.
Vocational Pathways Coordinator
Catholic Schools Parent Assembly
The Parent Assembly supports parents as they seek to improve their understanding of child development and parenting skills. Opportunities are provided for parents to enhance their knowledge and skills through seminars, topical workshops and expert guest speakers. Since its beginning in 1995, the Parent Assembly has provided parenting education opportunities for parents in the following areas:
- Prayer and family life
- Drug and alcohol education
- Christian personal development and human sexuality
- Cyber safety
- Bullying in schools
- Boys and girls education
- Parenting skills
Commonwealth School Data Collection Notice
Census Privacy Notice
Next Friday, 6 August, the 2021 Non-Government School Census will be conducted. Please find attached a Privacy Notice explaining what information we collect as part of Census and Special Circumstances Applications, why we collect this information, and how this data is used.
Parents & Friends' News
Parents and Friends' Meeting
Due to current NSW Health orders the Parents and Friends'meeting which was to be held on Monday, 19 July was cancelled.
The next scheduled meeting will be on Monday, 23 August at 5.30pm in the College Library (pending COVID restrictions). We appreciate and welcome all to attend.
CANCELLED - Trivia Night Friday, 13 August
The St John's College Parents and Friends' Association regretfully advise that the Black Friday Trivia Night scheduled for Friday, 13 August is CANCELLED due to the current NSW Health Orders and COVID-19 restrictions. We were looking forward to hosting a social activity for our school community and are disappointed that this event can no longer go ahead. We thank you for your understanding.
Parents and Friends' Association - Secretary
The cash free way to pay! - REGISTER NOW
Paying for lunches is now safer and hassle free. With cashless cards there's no need for students to bring cash to school.
The College has Flexischools to allow students to pay at the Canteen using their existing student ID card. Paying for lunches and items at recess or lunch is now safer and hassle free. With cashless cards there's no need for students to bring cash to school. Parents can set daily spending limits and view transactions online. Parents can also top-up funds at anytime.
The Canteen has introduced a Fast-Track line for students who have pre-ordered to collect their lunches, making it much easier and quicker for students.
We encourage all students to register. This will allow for those days when your student may have forgotten their homemade lunches.
Please follow the link below to register now:
Second Hand Uniform Shop
Our Second Hand Uniform Shop opens on the first Wednesday of every month.
Date: Wednesday, 4 August
Where: Colin Centre, Woodlawn
No EFTPOS facilities available. Cash only.
Students are able to access the Second Hand Uniform Shop at recess or lunch.
Items of school uniform given to the shop are done so as a donation to the P & F Association; however, $50 will be given for second hand blazers. No monies will be exchanged for other uniform items.
All items held by the Uniform Shop will be sold for a sum, at the discretion of the P & F Association, with monies utilised for the ongoing needs and services of St John's College, Woodlawn.
School Locker - School Uniforms
Student Uniforms and supplies are available at the following stores. Please click on the links below for more information and opening hours.