The disruption to the 2022 school year has continued with the increased number of COVID-19 cases in the community. As families are aware, we are working closely with WA Health through AISWA (Association of Independent Schools Australia) in determining procedures for supporting students and staff who test positive to COVID-19. This has not been an easy time and the challenges presented to our community have been commensurate to an ever-changing landscape.
As per my last communication to families of 24 February (published on the College website), the process for contact tracing and identification of COVID-19 cases has been refined due to the quantum of work required to provide more timely information. Contact tracing will now be conducted by the College. To ensure an efficient and effective process, we have created an addition to our College COVID-19 web page so that parents can complete our ‘Reporting Form’ should their child test positive for COVID-19. I wish to assure families that students who test positive or who are identified as close contacts will be well supported by the College.
I recognise that there has been some frustration in our community but am grateful for your patience and ongoing support. I am very pleased at the way our students have commenced their learning this year and responded with youthful exuberance and resilience to this crisis. One of the key pillars of a successful school is a settled environment. Despite the myriad changes, our students have adapted quickly which bodes well for the term ahead.
As more information is provided by AISWA, we will inform parents and guardians of the impact on our local context.
High Achievers Assembly
On Wednesday 16 February we celebrated our 2021 High Achievers. Our assembly was planned to be held in the gymnasium with 1130 Years 7-12 students to celebrate our High Achievers of 2021 and our Years 6 and 12 student leaders. But due to the announcement of new COVID restrictions in WA, this occasion was presented online.
At the assembly, I spoke of this year marking 150 years of Marist Education in Australia in which the first school class occurred in 1872 at the Rocks, Church Hill, in Sydney. As part of the 150 years celebrations, all Marist schools were invited to engage with a special initiative, the Marist Alumni Project. The project has been designed to identify and celebrate significant contributions that Marist educated women and men have made to our Nation over the past 150 years, echoing the dream of Saint Marcellin for Marist education, ‘to form good Christians and good citizens’. The outcome of the project is the creation of an Anthology of Outstanding Australian Marist Alumni.
I spoke of the significant achievements of some of our past alumni and suggested that one or two 2021 High Achievers, of whom we were celebrating, might also go on to become an Outstanding Alumni in the future.
Please click here to view my speech in full.
Newman College Council Meeting
On Thursday 17 February the College Advisory Council commenced its meetings for 2022. At the first meeting we welcomed new member, Greg Wheeler, to the Finance Committee and Advisory Council and look forward to his contribution, given his diverse financial and past student experiences.
The key theme of the meeting was the commencement of the new company, Marist Schools Australia Limited, the newly established entity which has the single focus on the governance and administration of Marist schools, including Newman College.