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Newman News Term 2 Week 2: From the Principal

08 May 2020

Welcome back to Term 2!

As indicated in my most recent letter to families, Update #12, on Monday 11 May we resume face to face teaching PK-12. We look forward to transitioning students back to school, conscious that there will still be some families who choose to keep their children at home.

The last few weeks have been an incredible journey that has revealed the very best of our College. The collaboration, perseverance and commitment of our community in responding to this crisis has been inspirational and demonstrates a high level of trust and confidence in the time ahead.

Shine through Discovery – Let your light shine, Matthew 5:16

The foundation of our Vision for Learning – Shine through discovery, let your light shine, has been in the implementation are our pedagogical pillars – Challenge, Collaborate, Create and Celebrate. This vision has aligned our leadership and our systematic delivery of curriculum and provided a cultural framework that has enabled this school to deliver a student experience that is purposeful and meaningful. Moreover, it has given our staff an agility and flexibility to develop their own capacity as teachers in how they themselves became learners and ultimately co-learners with our students.

The advent of this crisis brought to the fore the incredible commitment, innovation and creativity of our teachers to adapt to new ways of learning. Our Remote Learning Plan has become an instrumental professional learning tool for our teachers in their own development in engaging in these new ways of learning. The response in engagement of our students and their experience of learning reflects this. I have been astounded by our students’ engagement and creativity and capacity to respond to this crisis.

We have been challenged to work more closely than ever in partnership with our families, and our Marist charism has underpinned this success. We have consistently communicated with families; from the Executive to the PCG and classroom teachers. We have relied on families to place trust in our Remote Learning Plans, and are so proud of the way our community has been able to respond and work in collaboration in the education of students from PK-Y12.

The College has found new and innovative ways to continue our wellbeing program. We have increased our use of technology to facilitate engagement with students and families. This has included live YouTube streaming of assemblies, liturgies and prayer. We have developed YouTube series for students to engage in. We have leveraged the power of technology to enhance our learning programs. These are changes that will be adopted to enhance our engagement moving forward.

Key Learnings

At this point, it is important for us as a community to consider the key learnings that have emerged as a consequence of COVID-19 and the impact it has had on the life of our school; more specifically, teaching and learning.

The Leadership Team will be engaging with teachers, students and families in the weeks ahead to seek feedback on how these learnings can be integrated into the life of our school into the future. These learnings will also provide stimulus for our Strategic Directions Plan 2020-2022 which is currently being developed.

Thank you again to all families for your incredible support of our school. The heart of this community is in the relationships that are cultivated, consistent with our Marist charism underpinned by our family spirit.

Newman Parents Consultative Committee (NPCC)

This morning, Vice Principal Lisa Fogliani, and I met with the Executive of the NPCC – Caterina Celisano, Laura McFadgen and Kathy Blitz-Cokis. At that meeting, the decision was made to conduct an NPCC meeting during mid Term 2 to provide information regarding the learnings we have garnered around the COVID-19 crisis, as well as our Annual School Improvement Plan.
In the meantime, I warmly welcome families to tune into our Newman Parents guest speaker, Justin Coulson – Australia’s most respected and popular Positive Psychology & relationships speaker, facilitator, author, and researcher. The topic is “Inside the Mind; Raising an emotionally intelligent Child.” The Presentation will be live streamed on Wednesday 20 May at 7.00pm via Zoom. This will be a 90 minutes presentation followed by Q&A. More details to follow.

Mothers Day

I hope that many will have the opportunity to spend time with their mothers this Sunday. For some families, like myself, we are unable to be physically present to our mums, but we can be there in spirit and hopefully through word. I remind myself every day about the amazing impact my own mum has had on my life – the unconditional love, care and support which has sustained me to this day.

We are so blessed to be part of a Marian family which emphasises where our founder, St Marcellin Champagnat, asks of us to draw nearer to Mary and her example. Her strength, resilience and love inspires us today to do the same.

Wishing all families a happy Mothers Day.