Newman News Term 3 Week 6: From the Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians

New Principal 2023

This week I met with Mr Andrew Watson who visited our College. We will be meeting regularly over the coming months in preparation for his Principalship at Newman.

Book Week

Since 1945 schools and public libraries have been celebrating Book Week across Australia.  This year the theme is “Dreaming with eyes open”.  We held a number of events across the College throughout the week, including our annual book parade in the primary.

The creativity and imagination displayed by our students is a testimony to their enthusiasm for reading. A love of reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Every day I sit with my son Stephen and read to him or with him. He is growing an appreciation of literature based on interest but also because of my presence. My interest in his reading has assisted his development and hopefully a lifelong pursuit. One of the great joys in my leadership has been to read to students in the primary school. There is something very special in witnessing students listen with intent to the words that come off the page. The benefits of reading are many. For example, reading increases your imagination; enhances your knowledge; improves your concentration and memory; it reduces stress; expands your vocabulary and strengthens your writing.

Our Annual School Improvement Plan Priority Area – Transformational Learning – has prioritised Literacy over the last two years. We have seen learning gain in our reading across the College supported by our PK-12 Literacy Plan. In 2022 a key strategy has been the introduction of Talk for Writing across K- 10. Talk for Writing is a unique process that uses spoken activities to develop writing skills. Quality writing is created by first expanding and developing students’ oral language skills and then teaching the necessary steps for exceptional sentence, paragraph and text construction.

This strategy is starting to bear its fruit because we are seeing more student engagement in writing and reading. So, as we conclude book week, let us continue to encourage our students to read. Let us see it as a gift, one that can transform their learning and their lives.

Thank you to all staff and students for immersing themselves in the spirit of Book Week at Newman College.  Please see other reports and photos within this newsletter.

Da Vinci Decathlon

The Da Vinci Decathlon is an academic competition designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of school students. Students compete in engineering, Mathematics, code breaking, art and poetry, Science, English, ideation, creative producers, cartography and legacy tasks in a collaborative team of 8.

This week, I invited the teams to have lunch with me to celebrate their achievements:

  • Year 5 team won first place for Art & Poetry
  • Year 6 team won third place for Art & Poetry
  • Year 8 team won first place for creative producers
  • Year 9 team won third place for Mathematics

Congratulations to all students and to Mrs Lara Ognenis for her leadership and preparation of the students in this wonderful initiative.

Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat – National Assembly III, 26-28 August

The third National Assembly will be held at Mary Mackillop Place in Sydney this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The National Assembly is an opportunity for Marists to carefully discern where we are called to be and what we are called to do in our discipleship of Jesus.

Newman College will be well represented by Director Mission and Catholic Identity – Mr Simon Martino, Leader of Learning Primary – Ms Katya Anderson, Leader of Wellbeing Primary – Mr Stuart McClorey and me.

During our visit to NSW, Mr Martino and I met with several Principals from Marist schools, one of those being Matt Brennan, Principal of St Gregory’s College in Campbelltown. St. Gregory’s is K-12 College, co-education K-6 and a Boys Boarding School Year 7- 12.

As we move towards the second half of the Term let us continue to let our light shine in the weeks ahead.

John Finneran