Friday, 27th March, 2020
Thank you again for your patience with the school, and our responses to the requirements put on us. Yesterday’s news happened extraordinarily suddenly, and the school, and even CEWA, was required to respond way too quickly with a clear message to our schools, who then needed to translate the message to their communities.
So parents are aware, the only children who should be at school next week are those who must be due to family or parent work circumstances. We ask that every child who does not need to be sent to school, is not sent to school. We are aiming to provide the safest environment possible for our staff and students who NEED to be here.
I thought I’d try and speak a bit more ‘from the heart’ in today’s message to try and clarify our viewpoint. I don’t believe any of our parents will use my blog today as an ‘easy out’ or excuse, we value the efforts of our staff, and we value the importance of our children’s education, but we must be realistic about the challenges we’re facing.
Parents, it’s OK to:
- Feel overwhelmed and panic about the Online Learning! You are new to this. We are new to this. We learn together, but the most important thing is that we don’t give up on the education of our children.
- Be completely bamboozled by Microsoft Teams and Seesaw. Our teachers had a two year head start, and they are still learning! It’s the best we have, and we will be patient and learn together.
- Feel like you are struggling to ‘Keep up with the Jones’ – I like the saying about Social Media – “Never compare someone else’s Highlight Reel to your ‘Behind the Scenes'” and whilst I love the idea of parents sharing their ideas, resources or things they’ve done to drive away the insanity, it’s OK (and normal) to sit back and wonder how they found the time or energy to pull it off!
- Make a mistake on Teams, put a comment in the wrong spot or miss an activity. It’s OK.
- Skip an activity here and there, whilst our ‘new lives’ take shape. If the school work is stressing you out it’s OK to have a break every so often and do something else with your kids, especially if you feel it keeps you sane!
- Take the initiative and change it up, make it meaningful at home.
- Prioritise the education of your kids, if you feel like there’s too much being sent, especially if you have children across multiple ages. Personally I feel for parents of students in Year 11 & 12, and I understand if the supervision and assistance of these students becomes one of your main priorities. I also understand (as a parent of a Pre Primary student), if a parent decides to dedicate time to the younger students in order to support reading, speaking, counting and listening.
- Be a day behind with activities – if it suits your family to do activities at 5pm, then thats OK too. The only thing we ask parents to remember is our amazing teachers have been ordered (by their mean old boss) to only be online from 11:30am-1:30pm
- Be a parent. Make the call on what’s best for your child, yourself and your families health, safety and sanity!
Are we being boring? We have intentionally held off from all of the online games, subscriptions, resources. These will come in time. We need to make sure our families and staff are comfortable with our new expectations and systems. The introduction of these new ideas will come soon enough, but small baby steps are needed. This is not to say there are not great ideas out there at the moment, it’s amazing what resources are available, but not yet, not for us.
One of our main aims is to make sure (in the event that Term 2 looks ‘different’ and involves more Online Learning) that all families and staff feel confident with these models for when the term starts in late April.
Online Learning may be more formal in Term 2, with more structured (i.e. timetabled lessons) and we want to know that over these next couple of weeks we did everything in our power to set every student, teacher and parent up for success.
One of my goals, besides everyones health, is to make sure that everything we do at St Damien’s, in this period, makes all our families feel cared for, respected and – most of all – not forgotten. Contact us if you feel like you need help, or are worried about fees or financial support moving forward. You are our world and I will be honest, saying goodbye to the 91 kids in the school today was the hardest part of this entire saga for me as a Principal, I hope you can all help in looking after our precious students who we ‘loan’ to you each night and weekend!
Stay safe, we’ll see you all soon.
Thursday, 26th March, 2020
It is essential that all families read, understand and act accordingly in response to the following 2 notes:
You are all amazing, and in our thoughts during this time.
Wednesday, 25th March, 2020
Letter re Support
Today I have sent home an important letter that reflects the school’s position on supporting our families through this time.
I’d like to take this time to acknowledge the School Board, who (as parents of our school) are extremely mindful of our families current situations, and how we can best support families, and the long term interests of our school.
Please see a link below for the letter if you were not able to access by email.
I also sent an important email (they all seem to be these days!) which asks families to check how they’re prepared for Online Learning, please check this email, if your answer is “No” for any of the questions, please contact our school.
Professional Development Day
Next Monday 30th March, St Damien’s Catholic Primary School will have a Staff Professional Development Day. All CEWA schools have the option to arrange this day with unprecedented short notice, in response to supporting our teaching staff through these times.
One of the conditions from CEWA: It is reasonable that we ask all families to keep students from school on this day (to allow teachers to focus on their planning); however, any family that NEEDS to send to send their child to school, may do so, with the knowledge that they will be supervised by our staff.
It should be agreed that our teaching staff have done an amazing job in the school and deserve this chance to review what they’ve accomplished, and build further resources and material in the event of further Online Learning.
Families will be notified if there is Online Learning to be provided on this day.
Ruby Jones – World’s Greatest Shave
Well done to Ruby Jones for going ahead with the Worlds Greatest Shave! She did an amazing job, and thank you to all of our parents who watched online with our school’s first ever attempt at ‘Facebook Live’, your feedback was being watched by Ruby the whole time, and you were amazing.
Please be advised of the schools current daily timetable in regards to Online Learning. Activities undertaken at school currently reflect this timetable, with the main difference being that from 9am-11am, 11:30am-13pm and 2pm-3pm all students have access to a supervising teacher.
The school’s timetable (both currently and in the event of a ‘shutdown’)
By 9am – Daily Work Upload: By 9am each day teachers will have uploaded reminders, resources and instructions for the Daily Tasks (These tasks will be on the ‘Weekly’ Planning Sheet; however, there may be some alterations).
9am-11:30am – Teaching Face to Face / Planning Time: Teachers are not present online. This time is used for ‘face to face’ teaching (if the school is open) and for teacher planning, collaboration and resource gathering. The school acknowledges that all teachers have family responsibilities and, in the event of a shutdown, allows this time for teachers to attend to their own commitments and needs.
11:30am-1:30pm Teacher Online Presence Time: In this time there will be at least one Teacher, per year level, present on Microsoft Teams to provide support or feedback to parent’s questions in regards to the daily activities. Microsoft Teams is the only platform the school will use for this support. Please see our support page if help is needed.
1:30pm-2:00pm Teacher Break Time
2:00pm-3:00pm Staff Professional Development From 2:00pm-3:00pm each day staff will be online only for the purposes with collaborating with other StDCPS Staff, School Admin or CEWA Professional Collaboration Networks. In this time they will not be expected to collaborate with families. Whilst the school remains open this may involve one teacher online, whilst the other teacher supervises students across both classes, with the support of an Education Assistant.
Monday, 23rd March, 2020
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
In line with the latest advice from Commonwealth and WA Governments, St Damien’s Catholic Primary School is planning to remain open at least until the end of term to provide the best possible education to your children.
In line with Prime Minister’s and the WA Minister for Education’s advice, parents may choose to keep their children at home during this unprecedented time.
Please make your own family decisions based on not only what you feel is best for your safety and well-being, but for the safety and well-being of others. Families are expected to adhere to any guidelines for absentees (e.g. recently returned from overseas).
We ask that all parents, in whatever course of action they choose, remain respectful, flexible and patient with the staff at the school, who are planning and learning new technologies at an unprecedented pace.
State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers have committed to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee advice that says that it is safe to keep schools open.
In considering the potential risks associated with COVID-19, our school has been working with Catholic Education Western Australia in conjunction with the WA Department of Health and the Department of Education throughout the evolution of COVID-19 to ensure we have the best possible preparedness and response strategies in place.
I am aware at this time that different schools in Mandurah are reacting differently. We maintain what is best for our school, whilst working with our expectations as a CEWA school.
We are working hard to ensure our teaching and learning continuity plan supports students to engage in remote learning should our school be required to close. Those students who are not attending school because parents have chosen not to send them willbe able to engage with their learning by:
- Testing their Microsoft Teams account from Monday 23rd March
- Accessing Student Work from the StDCPS Website from Tuesday 24th March(to test if parents can retrieve the work).
- Engaging with Teachers online from Wednesday 25th March, asking for feedback and guidance.
- Parents using the resources provided to best help guide their children through the activities when directed to by teachers (ongoing).
- Online Learning Activities can be completed with correspondencefrom teachers from Thursday 26thMarch
Please be aware that the teachers, and the school, are currently developing realistic and efficient work environments and expectations for our teaching staff to pull off this enormous task. If we do not meet the above deadlines, I will communicate with the community.The health and well-being of our teachers is a priority.
A decision was also made today to send home the Year 3-6 iPads for Online Learning.
Please be assured that whilst the school remains open, social distancing will be enforced and cleaning regimes will continue to be completed to the highest possible standards to mitigate risks associated with the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I ask that you also have conversations with your child about the importance of these measures. If your child is feeling unwell in any way, please keep them at home.
In acknowledging the far-reaching impact of COVID-19 for families in our school community, I also assure parents that we remain determined that no family seeking a Catholic education for their child be denied the opportunity due to financial difficulty. Catholic Education Western Australia is addressing potential concerns relating to fees and affordability that may arise as a result of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a changing situation that is affecting many areas of our lives, and it is normal for all of us to feel anxious and worried, your child included.
Our teachers and other school staff are doing a wonderful job in providing pastoral support to students at this challenging time. It is important to remember that as parents, you can help your child process all the information they are receiving and the changes that are taking place around COVID-19. You can stay informed and provide factual, age appropriate information about COVID-19 that will help your child feel informed and empowered, rather than afraid.
Everyone in the community has a part to play in helping control the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to follow the latest advice of the Department of Health. I will keep you informed about any changes for our school as updates become available.
Thank you for your support at this time, and as a Catholic community I encourage all of you to pray for those coordinating our response in Australia, and for all of those in Australia and abroad affected by COVID-19.
As always, I ask that you contact me directly if you have any concern that may relate to your child.
Mr Brett Crebert
20th March, 2020.
What a week and what an honour is has been for our staff to have felt so much support and appreciation from you, the school community. I would not call many of the positive events in our school this week a ‘miracle’ simply because staff, families and students attitudes were at the level we had previously come to expect – no surprises there!
I would like to acknowledge Mrs Caroline Leighton for her outstanding support of the school, students and families this week, her correspondence with families, and support in making some challenging decisions. Mrs Stevenson, Mrs Salmeri and Mrs Stoove have also been unflappable in handling the situations that arose throughout the week.
And the teaching and support staff….wow!
Please click below on the parent survey that will allow the school to gather information about the supplies, resources and skill sets available in our community, from which we can adjust our planning.
The last question is for open feedback, may I please request that this remains only for the purpose of information regarding the families capacity for Online Learning.
From next week we will begin to send home PARENT HOMEWORK!
Our staff will work with our families to set up help and support so that parents can test and get support on our Online Learning capabilities.
Unfortunately all aspects of the Year 3 Reconciliation have been cancelled today. Mrs Leighton worked with the Year 3 families to come to a realistic way for the event to occur, but the ‘powers that be’ decided to cancel all School Sacrament preparations today. We must work in conjunction with these decisions.
We have done everything we can at St Damien’s to ‘hang on’ to as many of our activities as possible, and we will hang on as long as we can!
Closing Message for the Week
I’d like to say “Enjoy your weekend, put your feet up and enjoy the footy!” but unfortunately many of our families still have parents working and committed. I believe many of our families need to be applauded for their roles in keeping on at work, supporting either their family, or the community at large. Everyone is playing their part and the positivity is evident.
19th March, 2020
From the School Board
Our School Board, chaired by Mr Matthew Edwards, met tonight (19th March) and had very clear and constructive conversations about the School’s current and future positions, in both the current world-wide climate, and if events were proceeding ‘as normal’. It was clear that our previous Principals, Mr Joe Bartucciotto and Mr Steve Dowie, had set up the school in a manner that we are as well-prepared financially and structurally, for any instances, as a school could be. This level of excellence could not have been achieved without the amazing skillset that our School Bursar, Mrs Michelle Farcich, has provided over the 15 years of the school.
In order to respond to the quickly changing dynamics of the modern world, the School Board has agreed to hold more regular meetings to discuss any changes that may be relevant to the operation of our school, initially by holding another meeting next Thursday at 7pm.
The School Board has clear priorities of monitoring and maintaining the financial well-being of the school and this includes maintaining a line of support for our families. It is understood that many parents have a lot of priorities to consider at the moment, and decisions to make. The Board invites all families to reach out the school if any level of support, or clarification, is required to guide families through the times ahead.
From the Principal
Thank you to our community for the feedback we have received about our communication. I am very mindful that we have sent a lot of emails and updates, but we hope that families have felt we’ve provided enough information that clarifies our school decisions, our thought processes and our plans moving forward. Our planning has moved at a hectic pace; however, we have been deliberate in what we have chosen.
I’m trying personally to limit my own Social Media time at the moment (however we are absolutely loving all the hilarious memes about home-schooling currently out there!) and there is currently an enormous amount of ideas, resources, and free subscriptions out there for parents and schools to access. I would like families to know that the school is very aware of all of these great ideas, but will not initially be using them as recommendations for our students for Online Learning. The school will only support, and provide feedback for, resources and platforms that we have indicated as part of our programs. In saying this, we reserve the right, if awesome online ideas and resources seem manageable for our school, to make them part of our program!
Communications to the Principal
May I ask the parents direct all of their concerns or queries to me via the school email at email@example.com? Our School Leadership and Administration Team are working together closely at the moment and all members of this team are in a position to potentially help, if I am unavailable. I am finding that currently it is taking me longer than 24hrs to reply to parents, and I don’t feel that is fair for you, if there was an opportunity for other staff to potentially help.
If the matter is sensitive, or a direct reply to individual correspondence I have sent, then please feel free to email me.
Friday Beach Sport has been cancelled as will other gatherings that may have involved bringing in large groups of people (e.g. Class Liturgies etc). Our decisions are made with consideration to a large amount of directive and internal support factors.
We are traditionally a very ‘busy’ school, we aim to provide an immense amount of extra-curricular and pastoral offerings for students. Sadly, as we cancel these events it has proven to be a reminder of how important these activities are for the students morale and enjoyment of school life. Please know we are open to ideas and feedback from the community in ways we can continue to support our students, in order to keep an ‘upbeat’ environment.
Today we will trial a new way of handing out our awards. We invite all parents of children receiving awards to be present at your child’s class at 8:45am for the Classroom Teachers to present the awards.
At 8:55am I will announce over our loud speakers all award winners, and give all kids in the school my blessing to cheer as loud as they want when they hear their team-mates names called out. I want everyone in Dawesville to hear the roars!
After re-reading my blog from Wednesday, I reflected my language may have seemed ‘harsh’ (I re-emphasise that the school is not endorsing students staying away from school (without legitimate reason). Families may be aware that even our politicians are using more direct language when discussing the situation many families are facing.
I understand families may though be finding it challenging to understand the exact rulings on how should / should not / can / cannot attend school. Currently schools and families are required to consider all directives from the government and consider these. I ask, that if you are having troubles understanding these, please email the school at firstname.lastname@example.org
At St Damien’s, we believe we are providing a safe and supportive environment for our children, and we are working hard to provide this consistently.
An important parent survey will be sent home today for all parents to fill out in regards to families capacity to support online learning. We ask all parents to fill out the questions. It will be simply a ‘tick a box’ type of survey. I understand the parents may wish to contribute other thoughts and feedback, however the school does not, at this point in time, have a capacity to process all of these requests and give them the time required.
18th March, 2020
Thank you for the amazing support you have given our school this week. St Damien’s would not be the school it is without you.
Online learning support packs have gone home today, as was indicated in yesterdays email.
I re-emphasise that the school is not endorsing students staying away from school (without legitimate reason). The best access to education is still through attendance and participation at school, with our amazing staff.
Our reasons for sending the packs home is to support students who are unwell, or have, according to Health Department Regulations, reason to isolate and/or self-monitor. We also believe that it is our responsibility to be adequately prepared for the most unpredictable of all circumstances – a school shutdown.
Our staff spent an enormous amount time considering the implications that these packages may send the wrong message, we thank all parents for understanding they are only intended to be sent for extreme circumstances.
This morning Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced further expectations upon Australians in regards to our conduct and capacity to hold certain events. We take such notification in addition to our own internal feedback and capacity when making decisions.
Unfortunately this morning we cancelled the Year 3 Liturgy and the PP Assembly, which was intended to be shifted to a student and parents of Pre Primary only event, but unfortunately, that could not proceed.
The following events have also been cancelled;
- Runners Club
- Interschool Swimming Carnival (Year 4-6)
- Term 2 Interschool Winter Sport (Year 5/6)
A decision will be made tomorrow about Friday Beach Sports.
Today I have also sent home two notes regarding Microsoft Teams use and School / Parent communication.
17th March, 2020
In the last 48hrs the staff at St Damien’s Catholic Primary School have worked extremely hard and put in an enormous amount of consideration to ensuring that the students of St Damien’s have access to the best, safest and healthiest schooling experience possible. We are contending with factors, variables, resources, media influence and the ‘court of public opinion’ that are wide, varied and constantly changing.
Please know we make all our decisions with the priorities of:
* The health and well-being of our students, staff and families.
* Guidelines, laws and regulations we, as a Catholic School, are required to follow.
* Best knowledge and judgment of how we can modify, if possible, our events, or cancel if decided.
May I ask parents to please be aware of the following:
Unfortunately our Canteen may experience some supply issues with items used to create our delicious lunches and recesses. Best efforts will be made by the canteen staff to update our Online portal as to what foods are not available. If you use the ‘paper-bag method’, or the online portal has not been updated, our canteen staff will do their best to:
- Find a similar item in price and type. (Mrs Rubie and Mrs Taylor know what kids like!)
- Have the student come to the canteen to pick another item.
- Send home change (after exhausting all efforts to find suitable food replacements)
In the event that some of our providers are still able to supply items that we usually only allow one day per week (I know you’re all wondering about the pies and sausage rolls!) we may consider extending these days temporarily.
Note home today
I have emailed a note home today to all families in regards to the schools current plans for “Online Education” in the event of mass absences, or School Shutdowns. There is currently no indication from our governing authorities that either are predictable, set in place or have an outlined timeline; however, as a school we believe it is crucial to be well-planned. Catholic Education WA is advising schools to involve students and parents in ‘testing technologies’ as soon as possible with the students at school, and with families at home.
We are fully aware that by taking these steps, parents and students may get the impression that these events are closer than expected, and it may concern some families. I ask all parents to take the time to talk with their children, use the resources available (e.g. what I sent yesterday) to make sure they have the chance to understand why we are taking these steps. It is crucial that parents at home support these decisions and show that this is in best interest of the children. Obviously we would love to know that all our efforts with preparing Online Education were not required, but we are not in a position to take that chance.
Attendance and Community mis-information
We are aware of many families who are making the decision to keep their children at home at the moment due to concerns about health and well-being. All current advice from the governments of Western Australia and Australia is that school absences are required if there are certain international travel circumstances, confirmed exposure to or diagnosis of COVID-19 and personal health signs and symptoms that may indicate possible infection (in which case it is recommended families seek Medical Advice). Many of these circumstances can be clarified by calling the Coronavirus Hotline, checking with WA, Australian and CEWA Information pages, or even contacting the school.
We will not exclude a student from our school without proper consideration of what is legally expected and / or without opening up an open dialogue with the parents.
We hope that all families see our school as a safe environment that they have no real reason to keep their children away from without valid reason.
Please ensure that if you have heard anything about a family, student or staff member at the school, you take measures to contact the school directly to either notify or get clarification on the circumstances before making a decision and discussing with other families. The school has spent an enormous amount of time today trying to clarify mis-information in our school and it has taken away from other important tasks. We understand parent concerns, and wish to be available for support when required.
Currently, we are focusing our efforts on preparing and responding to as many situations as possible. May I ask that families please be mindful of the nature of the individual requests being put forward to our Administration Team and Teachers at this time?
Student Health, urgent matters, and whole-school planning are our current priorities, and we would like to make sure that our whole team is able to direct their efforts accordingly.
As stated, our teaching staff are currently developing plans for Online Learning in the event of higher absentee rates, or other circumstances. As they are developed we are confident in these being accessed by students who are sick, or, for various reasons, required to stay away from school; however, until they are finished I will not be asking teachers to prioritise sending home work for students who are absent. Currently their priorities must be the education of those students at school, and the planning we are undertaking.
16th March, 2020
Yr 5 Triatholon – 17th March
Yr 6 Triatholon – 19th March
League Tag – 20th March (No 7am training sessions either this week)
Water Polo – 20th March
All assemblies until further notice ( Monday morning, Friday morning and Friday afternoon).
Awards will be handed out in class.
We apologise for any inconvenience.
Please see below advice from Western Australian Health. Click here for WA Health Page
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough etiquette. This includes:
- frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand gel
- refraining from touching mouth and nose
- if coughing or sneezing, covering your nose and mouth with a paper tissue or flexed elbow – dispose of the tissue immediately after use and perform hand hygiene
- avoiding close contact with anyone if you, or they, have a cold or flu-like symptoms (maintain a distance of at least 1 metre).
Please see below the updated version of the CEWA Coronavirus Page Click here for CEWA Page
Updated: 16 March 2020
Information for Parents and Caregivers
Catholic Education Western Australia is acting on the advice of the WA Department of Health to take the necessary precautions for schools and staff.
If there was to be a confirmed COVID-19 case at a school, the decision to close a school is based on the expert advice from the WA Health Department’s Chief Health Officer.
The Chief Health Officer will, if there has been a positive COVID-19 test result in a school, close the school temporarily while assessment and tracing of exposure is conducted. A thorough school clean will then be carried out to make the school safe for the return of students and staff.
In this situation, all families will be immediately contacted by the school and provided with the relevant information.
The Prime Minister has announced that as of 12.00am 16 March 2020, all people returning from international travel must self-isolate for 14 days after the date of return to Australia.
Parents/carers must notify their school that their child will be absent from school for the isolation period and confirm the date of arrival into Australia.
Parents may want to seek alternative arrangements for their child’s remote learning keeping in mind that the isolation period, provided the person remains well, is a maximum of 14 days.
Students do not require a medical certificate or clearance to return to school but must remain at home until 14 days.
The Australian Government has announced that all organised, non-essential mass gatherings attended by more than 500 people must be cancelled from Monday 16 March 2020.
Each school will inform parents/carers about events and activities that will need to be cancelled or postponed.
Updates will be provided as any new information becomes available. Please check back regularly to ensure the information you have is up to date.
The Department of Education, Catholic Education Western Australia and The Association of Independent Schools of WA will continue to respond as a collaborative team to advice from the WA Department of Health and provide updated advice to schools and staff as appropriate.
For more information
- WA Department of Health: www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/coronavirus
- Call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
- For general or travel related queries about coronavirus please go to the healthdirect website.
- Visit the Australian Department of Health website or details about the novel coronavirus.
- You can also visit the World Health Organisation website for more information about coronavirus and for updates.
12th March, 2020
It is with pleasure that the school supports one of our Year 5 students, Ruby Jones, on her quest for raising awareness and funds for the Leukaemia Foundation. Over the next couple of weeks, the school would like to support her in the following way:
- Ruby is appearing live on Breakfast Radio 92.9FM on Friday 13th March to share her story (with rumour that Xavier Ellis may shave his head!). We will try to get access to this interview and play later in the day for the kids.
- On Monday, 16th March, Lauren from the Leukaemia Foundation will talk to the students at our Monday Assembly.
- Over the period of 16th March – 24th March, Ruby will promote awareness in our school.
- On Wednesday the 25th March, Ruby would like to do the ‘World’s Greatest Shave’ in front of the school, and she would also like for the entire school to have a ‘Crazy Hair Day’ to support her (obviously – we said “YES!”)
- On this day, we are working at setting up some engaging and fun filled experiences for the kids, in addition to the Crazy Hair Day.
Whilst the school will set up means for families to donate to the Leukaemia Foundation, either online or in ‘money tins’, Ruby has made it clear that her main goal is raising awareness in our School Community. Ruby’s efforts have been amazing within the Mandurah region and I encourage all families to support her cause, in whatever way possible.
Ruby’s idea of a whole school ‘Crazy Hair Day’ is a great initiative, and I would like to support all families in doing what needs to be done to enjoy the day (I’m even happy to let colours stay in until the weekend); however, I ask all families to consider if they are in a position to spend money on their ‘hair-dos’, would it possibly be an opportunity to spend a little bit less on colouring, gels and accessories and maybe consider donating a little bit more to this great initiative?
Thank you again for the way our community has responded to the Coronavirus concerns. At this point in time I feel that the information and guidelines provided by the media is generally correct (from a school’s perspective) but I continue to ask parents to confirm and clarify any concerns or questions with a authorised body before taking any action. Please feel free to contact the school; however, sometimes an email may be more appropriate, as it allows our Administration Team time to consult and more accurately provide feedback.
Family, Staff and Student cooperation with these guidelines and expectations is essential for our collective health and continued delivery of education.
Do you remember being at school and needing to write a story, report or poem and being told “Here’s what you need to do, it’s due in two weeks.”? There is very little about that process that actually supports student academic growth, especially when, along the journey, a student is offered minimal guidance or feedback.
At St Damien’s we use an approach called “Talk 4 Writing” Click here for Talk 4 Writing Link which allows the teachers and students to break down story creation into small, meaningful phases.
This week we had the pleasure of Dean Thompson, a Talk 4 Writing consultant from England, come to our school and work with staff for a day, on developing our school’s capacity to deliver such a program. We hope all of our parents see great progress and creativity in all of our students’ written pieces. I thank all staff for their enthusiasm towards this program.
Thank you to the P & F for putting on a fantastic Movie Night. It was an absolutely wonderful turnout and the children loved their viewing of “Secret Life of Pets 2.” We ask all parents to consider if they can attend, contribute or participate in any small way with our P & F. Hopefully parents feel it’s a great two-way network for parents to contribute to the school, but also to help parents feel that they are a valued member of the school community.
Our Weekend Children’s Masses were a fantastic success and yes, the rumours were true, ice-creams and choc-chip muffins were offered to all the children who attended. Will this be something that happens again at future Weekend School Masses?
Guess there’s only one way to find out……
5th March, 2020
How the world changes in a week…
Good morning families,
We have received communication from Bishop Gerard Holohan regarding precautions our Bishops are putting in place during all Masses to reduce the potential of contracting coronavirus.
Considering our School Masses are this coming weekend, we felt it necessary to inform you of these changes prior to Fr Vincent discussing them during Mass.
The following changes will be put in place in preparation for our Masses this weekend:
- Holy Water will be removed from the entrance of the church.
- There may be hand sanitiser available at the entrance.
- During the ‘Sign of Peace’, we will say the words “Peace be with you.” rather than shaking hands.
- The host (bread) or ‘Body of Christ (after consecration)’ will be the only species of Communion offered, there will not be any wine or ‘Blood of Christ’.
Father Vincent will discuss these changes at Mass this weekend and we look forward to seeing you on either Saturday night at 6pm or Sunday morning at 8:30am.
Thank you and God Bless.
We’d like to thank the teachers, families and students of St Damien’s for their conduct, patience and understanding with what is happening in the world with the Coronavirus.
We believe the parents and teachers of the school community are doing an amazing job at keeping our children as safe, healthy and as mindful as possible, without placing undue concerns or worries onto them. Stress and anxiety is certainly a concern for the young in our communities, and the current world situation should not be added to young people’s load.
Our children need to see that we are calm and measured in our actions, but they also need to listen when we tell them “wash your hands again, properly this time…..”
As information comes through from CEWA and Health Departments we will keep families informed. I can assure you that the authorities above our school are tirelessly developing plans and responses to support the students.
The main directives we are operating at the moment are:
* Not to travel to China or Iran.
* All International School Trips (except to New Zealand, Canada or the USA) are to be cancelled.
However, as new communication comes through, we will send updates to our parents.
We received the above communication this morning from Bishop Gerard Holohan in regards to safe practices being asked in church. The advice makes complete sense as a church is an open community, with varying ages of members.
This weekend’s Masses remain special ones, as they are both the Year Three Reconciliation Enrolment Masses as well as the Staff Commissioning Masses. The St Damien’s church is still a safe and welcoming environment, and I warmly invite all families to attend (6pm Saturday or 8:30am Sunday) to come along and share the celebration, but just to be mindful of these small changes.
I am proud to be a part of a Church that is so swift to look at their own practices and put in place sensible and realistic measures to support their community.
Last night’s P & F Meeting was a positive event for our school, especially for our Kindergarten and Year 6 classes who had funding requests granted. The Kindergarten will see new, bright and engaging equipment in their area and the Year 6’s are purchasing a group set of the Morris Gleitzman book “Boy Overboard”. I’d not only like to thank the attendees for voting to approve these items, I would also like to thank all the parents who assisted with our initiatives (Mothers and Fathers Day Stalls, Colour Runs, Easter Raffles as well). We hope that all parents who helped with these initiatives feel proud of their contributions.
In saying this, please be aware that being a part of the P & F does not mean you will be allocated a job instantly. It is perfectly acceptable to attend a meeting simply to hear what is happening, share a voice or opinion, or even just to help discuss with your friends about what is being done in this amazing group.
One of the greatest joys to witness at a P & F is where a parent is able to share an idea, perspective or contribution that they had no idea, going into the night, that they would have had the opportunity to share.
Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each Month, in the staffroom at 7pm. All are welcome!
Thank you to Miss Kimberly Welten, Miss Rayne Lynes, Miss Tahlia McMahon and Mrs Nikki Budgen for their undertaking of the Early Years Testing over the last couple of weeks.
Their patience and understanding in administering these assessments, whilst ensuring that their classes have strong, meaningful lessons planned for the relief teachers, is sensational.
I could not acknowledge their effort without also giving thanks to Mrs Kerrie Brion, Mrs Meagan Glenn, Mrs Jessica Mondello, Mrs Katie Moore and Mrs Tracey Honter who, as EA’s (Educational Assistants), have also been the reason classes have run so smoothly. I’d also like to thanks Mrs Fiona Stoove for her endless efforts in making sure the classes have good, reliable relief teachers. We are truly fortunate to have them on our team, I hope all the parents and students know how lucky they are to have these educators in our school.
Policy in Focus
Thank you for your support of the Crunch N Sip initiative at St Damien’s Catholic Primary School. “Crunch N Sip” is in full effect in our school and we are inviting all families to feel they are welcome to take part. As this initiative is a new one, we are slowly introducing allowed fruits and vegetables, and we appreciate the support of all families, in following the policy below.
Please click on the below link for our Crunch & Sip Policy:
I hope to see as many families as possible at the Movie Night tomorrow night (Friday 6th March, 7pm – Secret Life of Pets 2) and the School Masses on the weekend!
Mr Brett Crebert
27th February, 2020
First of all I will remind all families of what the kids (and teachers!) already know – there’s no school on Monday! (Labour Day Holiday) Enjoy the extra day, we hope the weather is great for families.
I always ask teachers and parents to be mindful of the ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’ reported about teaching, education and learning that can be found on Social Media and blogs, there is definitely truth and research based evidence to be found, but there are also sponsored content and reflections that may have best suited other children and families, but may not be relevant to ours, in many cases both perspectives can be right.
In saying this – I’ll admit it – I follow Maggie Dent’s Facebook page, and she often shares great material. Recently she promoted a quick blog page in which the benefits of handwriting were outlined. Link to Handwriting article As educators we are always mindful of our approaches to teaching handwriting: there are times when technology, art or drama is a better method of communication, there are times when having students simply write without the pressure of ‘being neat’ also has it benefits.We also want to encourage all kids to draw, colour-in, paint and build in experimental ways. We believe in the opportunities that iPads provide, but they are never intended to replace handwriting.
There can be little doubt; however, that the development of handwriting has its critical applications in developing fine motor skills and retention of information. At St Damien’s our classes are investigating a focus on student handwriting in order to support this development, which will initially see our Year 1-3 students working with a specific Handwriting textbook.
Every fortnight a student from each class at St Damien’s receives a “Wicked Work” Award where we acknowledge a piece of ‘pride’ work, a document where the student has specifically focused on their best presentation. The samples of work from these students can be seen on display in our front office and we congratulate all of our winners, especially those who have focused extremely hard on improvement, and are able to show their progress and efforts.
On 15th March at 2.20pm our Extension Performing Arts students will perform at the Crabfest Festival. Students from Years 4 to 6 are participating. We will be performing the Footloose dance and some special solo performances from Year 5 and 6.
Other Upcoming events:
Friday 6th March 7pm March P & F Movie Night – Secret Life of Pets 2
Saturday 7th March School Mass (Year 3 Reconciliation/Enrolment Mass) 6pm
Sunday 8th March School Mass (Year 3 Reconciliation/Enrolment Mass as well as Staff Commissioning Mass) 8:30am
I thank the school community for their understanding and co-operation with many of the new staffing structures we have at St Damien’s CPS. Mrs Brooke Dunning (Year 5), Mrs Emma Hicks (Staffing Support) and Mrs Meena Pachimuthu (Year 3) have all taken on roles in classrooms to support teaching staff with extended responsibilities, all of which should be able to be seen in the growth of our students.
St Damien’s is extremely lucky to these 3 teachers as part of our team in these roles and when called on for relief.
There were two main stories that have dominated the news cycles in the past week, both of which have gained world-wide attention for the devastation and impact on the families, but also the manner in which the voice of the Australian people has, with one voice, shared great sympathy for the families. A school Newsletter is not the place to dwell on the details of these stories; however, it’s can be a place to put forward a few resources to support students, families and educators. A website should never replace the support that good, human interaction can provide; however, the advice and resources within can be a helpful guide.
Policy in Focus
Walking on paths, playing on grass!
We are extremely proud of our grounds at St Damien’s and we love nothing more than seeing the students playing on our ovals, grassed and nature play areas. We also love seeing parents sit down in the afternoon on our grass and catch up. It is a privilege to offer our grounds to community sporting teams when they wish to train at our school, and the feedback we receive from visitors is that our grounds are second to none.
We strategically place an emphasis on caring for our grounds to help reinforce to our students about taking pride in their school, we have provided amazing facilities and we have a shared responsibility to maintain it.
It is asked that in our school the students, families and visitors, reinforce this by using our paths to walk on, and using the grass for play and relaxation. It would be fantastic to see more of the students to take the little bit of extra time to follow the paths, rather than take the short cuts. Will a child cutting across the grass to get to the office, deliver the canteen box or get to class quickly ruin it? Absolutely not, but as the year progress there are some key points of wear and tear on the grass which we’d like to keep as green and lush as possible. When kids play, they are amazing at distributing the wear and tear evenly!
Well done again to Melros for their victory in the Year 3-6 Interhouse Swimming Carnival. The final results were:
1st Melros – 434 Points
2nd Bouvard – 413 Points
3rd Florida – 393 Points
4th Wannanup – 357 Points
Our next Interschool Carnival is Cross Country, in Term 3; however, there are a lot of other events to occur in the meantime!
20th February, 2020
At the time of writing this Newsletter our Year 3-6 Swimming Carnival is in full swing (I’m sneakily typing this part from the scorers tent!) and I would like to thank the school community for their support of this event. I am especially proud of the standard of swimming of our students, congratulations to our champions and to all our swimmers who gave their best efforts. A special mention must go to the kids who know that swimming is not one of their strengths, but in order to help their house, or prove a point to themselves, they pushed on!
I thank Miss Jaimie Shanahan for all of her efforts in putting together such a well run carnival, and to all the teachers and parents who supported all of the students – we could not have had the day without you!
Whilst on the subject of determination and facing adversity, at Monday’s Assembly I showed the students one of my favourite all time video clips this week. If you have a moment, search for the video “Everyone needs a friend like #50”. It is a great video from a child’s basketball game. I encourage all of our students to “Be like #50” and when you see a friend, classmate, or any student from our school (or anyone for that matter!) in need of help, consider how your own small actions can mean the absolute world to someone else.
Thankyou for your support of the Heartkids fundraiser last week, we raised $479.50. Throughout the year we will continue to support Heartkids initiatives and we appreciate our school community taking the time to support this cause. Some families may have also seen an article in the Mandurah Mail recently where one of our students, Ruby Jones, is on her own personal crusade to raise both funds and awareness for the Leukaemia Foundation. More information will come through the school about her plans (and she most certainly has a few rippers!) and how she would like to engage and educate the school community.
On Tuesday we held our PLC (Professional Learning Community – it’s a fancy term for “Staff Meeting”!) in the Library and our staff broke down the Catholic Education WA’s document “Vision for Learning” Click here to access “Vision for Learning”
This is a great planning document that feeds further requirements that Catholic Schools are expected to work with, however a key point from our session was how strongly the StDCPS Staff emphasised one of five target areas, “Quality Relationships” as critical for a child’s success in education.
All schools face the challenges of catering for a large variety of student and family needs and we are very fortunate to have such a great staff who make enormous efforts for our students. We always invite parents to maintain a constant and constructive dialogue with our school if it is felt that there are areas in regards to their children in which we can help in supporting.
We are introducing “Crunch N Sip” at St Damien’s Catholic Primary School in 2020. Our staff have been collaborating to decide what the program will look like within our school. A “Health Committee” was formed and discussions about how the program will look have occurred. Families need to be aware that we did not take the lists directly from the “Crunch N Sip” Program, we have modified based on the schools needs. It is the intent that as we move forward there will be opportunities to grow and expand the program, however it is important that the start to the program is a smooth one. Whilst we finalise our policy and present parents a version that includes all details, I will let parents know that to begin the program, only the following foods are allowed:
- Carrot sticks
- Celery sticks
- Capsicum slices
- Cucumber slices
- Broccoli bits
- Cauliflower bits
- Sugar snap peas
- Apple slices
- Pear slices
Other fresh fruits and vegetables are still allowed at Lunch and Recess (in accordance with our Healthy Foods Policy). This initiative will not replace any aspect of Lunch and Recess.
Policy in Focus
Students on School Grounds before 8:15am and after 3pm
At St Damien’s we understand that our parents and families are very busy and the work demands faced can sometimes be challenging, especially with drop off and pick up times.
Many of our families have taken advantage of the Before and After School Care Program we offer through our providers “Fun-A-Rama” Click here for Fun-A-Rama Website and we are fortunate to have this service on-site.
In reminding families about our school’s rules in regards to students being on the grounds outside of school times we ask that you remember the ‘duty of care’ is on our school when students are on our premises. I hope that St Damien’s is never required to be a school that needs to consider locking all gates overnight, as we intend to work with families to support their needs, however our capabilities in providing staff and supervision are not unlimited.
We ask of students and families:
- No students should be on StDCPS grounds before 8am unless in a directly supervised program or event (Fun-A-Rama, Runners Club, Meeting with Class Teacher). In these circumstances, students only stay in a supervised environment.
- All students arriving between 8am and 8:15am are to move to the fenced Kindy Area. We ask that this includes students with their parents also.
- Students in the Kindy Area are asked to sit down with their friends / family until the 8:15am bell rings.
After 3:00pm students still on school grounds are assumed to be under the direct supervision of a coach, teacher (running a program such as Lego) or their parents. We ask that all students on the grounds follow school rules that apply during the day, including staying in uniform, with shoes and socks on. Student safety is not only our concern, but as stated, our duty of care, and we wish nothing more for our students than that they remain safe and happy.
Quite a few events are on the calendar to occur over the coming weekends: P & F Movie Nights, School Masses, St Damien’s Parish Beach Day. Keep an eye out for these events as a lot of our staff and members of the school and parish communities put in an enormous amount of effort to make these events the best they can be for our students. We’d all love to see as many families there as possible.
Mr Brett Crebert
13th February, 2020
Holidays are now a distant memory, although you wouldn’t know it from watching our Year 3-6 students swimming at Avalon Beach everyday! At St Damien’s we not only value, we prioritise student safety and understanding of being safe in our waterways, as we are surrounded by water. It fills us with great confidence to see so many of our students swimming in open water at such a competent level. We receive the most glowing feedback from the Swim Instructors in regards to both the standards and behaviour of our students. It’s great to see proficient stroke techniques, but it’s even better to see smart, aware, fit and healthy children tackle the beach and waves with such confidence.
Miss Jaimie Shanahan has worked hard in preparation for our Year 3-6 Swimming Carnival. Tomorrow (14th Feb) our students will have their Swim Trials, which allows the students to be put into the most perfect, and fair, race divisions and next Thursday (20th Feb) the students will swim in the carnival at the MARC. Our swim carnival is always a great event and we look forward to another strong turnout from parents in support.
This Friday, 14th February (Valentines Day!) we are extending the invitation for all of our students to bring a gold coin donation and wear red (anything – shirt, shorts, socks, hats) in support of Heartkids https://www.heartkids.org.au/
Those familiar with the history of the story of our school will be aware that we have students and families in our community that have been impacted by various heart conditions. Heartkids has been an amazing support for those families and it is always a privilege to be able to support this organisation in return for their amazing efforts.
On Tuesday we held our Parent / Teacher Information Sessions. We used a format that the school used in years past to ensure that all meetings happened on one date and we could coordinate our message. I recognise that there were challenges, especially for parents who had children in two (or more) grades; however, we don’t feel the numbers were significantly lower from previous years. If any parents feel that the presentations, either in class, or by the School’s Leadership Team, left questions unanswered, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher, Mrs Leighton or myself, and we will do our best to ensure you get the information you require.
This week I had the pleasure of attending both the P & F Meeting and the Parish Pastoral Council and was thrilled to see and hear the enthusiasm for ideas and initiatives that involve engaging and supporting our students, parents and families not only in what we do in the school, but what we do in our community.
There were many great ideas put forward that show that both groups have one key priority – bringing people together.
The school fully supports any initiatives that the P & F and Parish Pastoral Council puts forward, as we understand the enormous amount of effort and consideration that goes into their events.
The first event we’re looking forward to is a P & F Movie night on March 6th. This will be a free screening of The Secret Life of Pets 2 and all of our school families are invited to attend. The Parish is also hosting a Family Beach Day on Sunday 23rd February at 10am, down at South Florida Beach.
This year is shaping up to be a big one for our team, and our new President Rebecca Cattanach, and I invite all parents to attend the meetings and feel free to have both a listen and a say. The conversations held are relevant and allow the voice of the community to be heard. You don’t need to be a class representative to attend, and it most certainly does not mean you will be allocated a job if you are at the meeting! In saying that, ‘many hands make light work’, and if you would like to help in a small way, or are unable to make meetings and you would still like to contribute, please reach out to Rebecca, your class representatives, or the school and you will surely be listened to.
Policy in Focus
At the P & F Meeting last night, there were two main areas of concern / clarity raised that will involve further communication from the school to the parent body: Traffic Concerns and consistency of message for our Healthy Food Policy.
The school will continue to provide information to our families about issues we have with traffic, with the concerns raised being about traffic congestion having two schools share such a small space, and some general ‘courtesies’ we’d like parents to be aware of:
- We would like to ask all St Damien’s parents, if it is appropriate for their needs, to consider exiting the school ‘precinct’ onto the Highway on the exit via the Caltex Service Station. This would help alleviate the traffic in front of Ocean Rd.
- Please be mindful, if using Kiss and Drive in the afternoons (pick up at the church) that when the queue is long and extends into our school carpark, that waiting cars do not block empty carparks or cars waiting to leave.
- At the intersection of cars at the roundabout near the church, we ask that cars please respect a ‘one for one’ exiting approach where for every car that turns right off Nyabing, one car from the ‘dirt track’ at the back of the school is allowed to exit.
Last week I wrote about the need for drivers to be mindful of their speed, I’d like to reemphasise that the dirt track is not a road and should be driven very slowly and carefully, and I thank all parents who drive around our school with student safety in mind.
The school will continue to push out information in regards to the Healthy Food Policy, mainly our reasons for the Policy and why it is structured in such a manner and also the justification and efforts we have made historically to ensure our canteen operates in a manner that is consistent with the healthy food message and principles.
Thank you to the kids at St Damien’s. The students of our school are not only the reason for our existence, but the beating heart of all that is wonderful within our community. What an amazing group they are and the start they have had to the school year has been outstanding.
Mr Brett Crebert
6th February, 2020
Welcome Back! (or even simply “Welcome” to our new families). I hope that all families have had a wonderful and refreshing summer holiday and are keen and excited to start the 2020 school year. There were many different angles I was pondering for this first Newsletter; however, I’d like to share a quick story, and why it’s important.
We have had many highlights already in such a small space of time, but I’d like to share one from our Staffroom, at this week’s PLC (Professional Learning Community).
One grade excitedly shared their class’s spelling results from the start of year “pre-test”, and the levels of student performance were exceptional. We celebrated the efforts of the students, teachers and parents (I’ll come back to the parents in a minute!). We reflected on this group of students learning Spelling under a consistent program and approach all the way from the beginning of their schooling, in Kindy. The school has collectively, in recent years, analysed, evaluated and rebuilt its Spelling Program and we are proud to see the work and efforts put in translate to student learning.
It was a great way to start the year – with a celebration and it made me remember once being at a Seminar with some amazing Educational Speakers, having vigorous debates and sharing lots of facts, statistics and research and one quote about ‘what works in homework’ stuck with me:
“The success of homework in supporting learning all hinges on whether or not the student, teacher and parents are all on the same page.”
Now back to the parents! I thank the supportive parents of students who play such a strong role in the growth of their children. You may not even be aware of what you did to help, you helped with Sight Words, you practiced correct pronunciation or you may have pushed yourself hard to remember to read a story before bed each night; however, I am confident in saying that such great results could not have occurred without the excellent teaching and support staff of our school, and the commitment parents show in supporting their child’s learning and growth.
This is true across all of our school. As you send your children back to St Damien’s, we know that you do so with faith in our school, but with a willingness to play your role in supporting our children in their development. It is when the kids see and feel that the school and families are a cohesive unit, that they flourish.
Our children are very fortunate!
The transition of staffing between 2019 and 2020 has been quite sizeable at St Damien’s, but the standard of professional discussion and planning that has been occurring is fantastic. As teams are formed and new, exciting ideas have been shared, we look forward to what this great team can bring.
Mr Joseph Bartucciotto and Mr David Logue have taken leave from the school for the first 6 months of 2020, with our beloved “Mr B” taking the opportunity to guide and support schools and Principals in the CEWA Network. Mrs Natalya Simon has moved to another education role and we wish her all the best.
We welcome Mrs Trish Fernando to our school (Year 4) as our only “new” teacher. Mrs Janelle Bright and Mrs Michelle Doy have worked at our school previously and have returned in 2020 to teach Year 3. Mrs Emma Hicks will be joining our Early Years Team in the 3 Year Old Kindy. Mrs Jackie Craig has transitioned from her role as Canteen Manager to being the Education Assistant in our Year 5/6 Block and we also are proud to extend the employment of Mrs Fiona Stoove, Mrs Katie Moore, Mrs Jess Mondello and Mrs Shae Chalwell, all of whom had various relief / temporary roles with our school in 2019. Mrs Lynette Rubie and Mrs Kelly Taylor are running our School Canteen to its usual excellent standards.
In 2020 we will be working with an increasing number of staff into various Leadership Opportunities, and these roles are being warmly embraced. Mrs Fiona Anderson and Mrs Katelin Lampard will be part of the School’s Leadership Team, and we are grateful that they have taken on these roles whilst balancing the classes and other responsibilities they share.
Parent Information Sessions
Next Tuesday (11th February) we will be holding our Parent Information Sessions. These Sessions have been strategically timetabled to all occur on the one afternoon. We apologise if any families are unable to attend all their classes (due to multiple children); however, the teachers are more than happy to help you catch up on any important information you may have missed.
What we are planning in 2020 is two sessions from the School Leadership Team. In these sessions, Mrs Leighton and I will talk about a variety of school, and Parish policies and programs. There may be time for Q & A during these sessions; however, it is best thought of as a presentation. We will notify all families early next week as to the content of the Presentations; however, it will include School History and Culture, School Policy Explanations, Sacramental Information, Students with Special Needs, Accessing School Support Services, Year 3-6 iPad information etc.
Student Supervision We will be able to provide support for Kindy and Early Years classes; however, from 4pm there will be no Student Supervision Services Provided. Children are welcome to sit with their parents at the 4pm-5pm sessions; however, we ask that they are respectful. Supervision will occur in the Kindy play area when offered.
The times for the sessions are:
2:15pm-2:40pm School Leadership Presentation for Kindy Parents (Staffroom)
2:50pm-3:20pm 4-Year-Old Kindy Parents Information Session (Kindy Rooms)
3:30pm-4:00pm Pre-Primary – Year 2 Parent Information Sessions (Classrooms)
4:00pm-4:30pm School Leadership Presentation for Parents (Steve Dowie Hall)
4:30pm–5:00pm Year 3 – Year 6 Parent Information Sessions (Classrooms)
“High Expectations” and St Damien’s Uniform, Hair and Lunchbox Policy.
In 2018, I was blessed to have my first experience as Acting Principal of the school and upon reflection, one of the most rewarding aspects of the role was interviewing potential new families to our school, especially in Kindergarten. To have the opportunity to learn what parents wished for, and expected, from St Damien’s was a fascinating, and re-affirming insight. The most consistent response from parents to the question “Why St Damien’s?” was “High Expectations” and “High Standards”.
At our school, we are fully aware that our expectations regarding Uniform, Hair, Behaviour and Healthy Lunchbox are at this high standard, we pride ourselves on it, and the positive environment and results they have fostered. We believe strongly in the core values that underpin our approaches. A commitment to enrolling your child at St Damien’s carries with it the understanding of these expectations and the agreement to comply with the school standards.
Uniform and Hair notes have been sent home this week to students who, for various reasons, may not have returned to school in accordance with these policies. We understand that is not what some students or families hoped for in their first week, and there may have been circumstances (white sport shoes shortages across stores in Mandurah!) that were out of your control.
We ask though, that all families take the swiftest possible action in ensuring that their children are presented each day in the manner expected, ready for a great day.
Speed Limits and Parking
At St Damien’s we are realistically aware of the parking and traffic challenges we face, and we are in constant discussion with the council in order to ensure the best circumstances exist for the safety of our children.
We have requested an extension to our School Zone Area of 40km/h, to go further than it does currently; however, I ask all parents to please consider all of the roads around our school precinct as 30km/h (not a typo!) as the amount of children, families and cars around our school(s) is quite high. (See picture below roads in yellow) The dirt track behind our school is also a very busy area and I cannot see reason for cars to be travelling over 10km/h in there. We also request parents reverse park in our carparks, and in the vacant areas around our school to provide maximum visibility. I am aware I cannot legally enforce this; however, as a School Leader and a parent of 3 children in the school, I feel strongly about the safety of our kids and I know many of the parents in our school feel the same way.
Mr Brett Crebert
12th December 2019
I wish you all a very happy, healthy and holy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Thank you to the staff for their care and attention of the students. Thank you also to all the children who have worked hard so hard throughout 2019 and to all those parents who have given us such excellent support.
I will be undertaking some work for Catholic Education WA in Semester of 2020 but am pleased to leave the school in the very capable hands of Mr Brett Crebert, who will be in the Principal’s Role and Mrs Caroline Leighton who will be continuing her wonderful work as Assistant Principal assisted by some senior staff. I know that with the support of great staff, parents and students, 2020 will be yet another wonderful year.
5th December 2019
Congratulations to all children and staff for a fantastic End of Year Awards Evening. It was wonderful to hear the various spectacular items and having the opportunity to acknowledge the recipients of the many awards. What was even more gratifying was hearing the conversations and deliberations teachers were having deciding which of the numerous worthy recipients to whom they would actually allocate the awards. We are indeed blessed here at StDCPS with many, many talented and hard-working students who deserve recognition for their efforts irrespective of whether they are the final recipient of an award or not.
May I pass on my thanks to the staff for coordinating and conducting such a magnificent evening, to Mr Crebert and his band of assistants for the organisation of the events, the 2019 student leaders for conducting the proceedings, the children for their excellent items, the parents for their participation and support and to the staff for their wonderful conclusion to the night.
Congratulations to all award recipients and student leaders. Congratulations to them and a special congratulations to all those other wonderful students of St Damien’s who equally deserve to be acknowledged for their efforts and dedication.
28th November 2019
Congratulations to all the students in Year Six for the magnificent manner in which they conducted themselves throughout camp at Rottnest. From all reports the children had a great time, learned a great deal about themselves and working collaboratively with others. Well done to all involved and thank you to all the staff who assisted at camp and took on extra duties at school to enable so many staff be away. Thank you also, for the trust you placed in us knowing we would look after the children in such a careful and diligent manner.
I look forward to catching up with the youth of the parish (9yo ish to 40yo ish) on Sunday for a quick game of 5-a-Side soccer or netball, basketball on the school oval at the conclusion of mass. Stay for half an hour, hour or a couple of hours. Free sausage sizzle and drinks available. No cost involved but younger students will require parents to be on site for supervision.
The next few weeks have many, many, many different things going on and I implore you to keep the school website calendar as a favourite on your browser or phone for the very latest pertinent information.
This year reports WILL NOT be given out after the concert; however, there is a spectacular event at the conclusion of the evening and it is an expectation, as well as common courtesy, that all children remain for the entire evening (rugged up and warm, please).
Reports will be delivered to families on the last day of school along with the name of their teacher for 2020. There have been a number of staff movements made for the 2020 school year on order to deliver the very best educational opportunities to all students.
I would also like to once inform you that the Director of CEWA, Dr Debra Sayce, has offered me the position of School Improvement Advisor for a six month period commencing January 2020. I really do apologise for the lateness of this announcement; however, the position was only recently vacated.
I know the wonderful, supportive and nurturing community of families for which St Damien’s is renown will ensure that the culture and values built up over many years will retain the standards of excellence that have been a hallmark of St Damien’s throughout its history.
Mr Brett Crebert will once again undertake the Principalship of the school as he did previously. He will again be ably assisted by Mrs Caroline Leighton and all staff. Special extra duties will also be undertaken by other senior staff. I have full confidence that the Leadership Team will maintain the improvement trajectory the school consistently strives to achieve.
I look forward to returning at the beginning of Semester Two, to complete the 2020 school year.
21 November 2019
I am pleased to report that all our Year Six campers from Rottnest have returned safe and sound; albeit, very tired and full of stories. We now enter that period of the year when things go from moving fast to frenetic as we get everything prepared for the end of the year. Please keep your eyes on the school calendar, notes and other communication from the school to keep abreast of all that is going on. It should be a wonderful end to what has been a very successful year.
Last night we held the Board and P&F AGM and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to hear the reports of the various executive members as well as having the opportunity to personally thank them, on our behalf, for all their work, support and guidance. It was sad to farewell Mrs Andrea Kelly (P&F President) who will be leaving the school as her daughter will be graduating at the end of the year, Mrs Claire Reid (P&F Secretary) who will be undertaking other roles in her life Mrs Amanda Reid (Board Treasurer) who has other commitments that will preclude her from completing her duties for the school. I sincerely thank them all for their contributions and wish them all the very best. Mrs Rebecca Cattanach was elected to the post of P&F President, Mrs Kristie Tonkin was appointed as our Vice President of the P&F in her absence, and Mr Ben Dell is our newly appointed Board Treasurer. I thank them for offering their services and we will be soliciting others to nominate for some still vacant roles in both groups in the new year.
We are still working on the final composition of both teacher and student placements. Thank you to all parents who registered their preferences. While we would like to accommodate everyone’s requests, I am certain you understand that this would be patently impossible. We will always make every effort to place children into the classes with peers and teachers who will be able to provide them with the very best opportunities to grow, learn and thrive. At present we are working on ascertaining which teachers will be returning and which may choose to undertake opportunities elsewhere. While there is generally little variance from this point forward, we are keenly aware that changes may be required right up to the very last day. I thank you for your patience and for following the protocols in registering your preferences.
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.
14th November 2019
A warm, warm greeting from all the fortunate campers on Rottnest. From the reports I have been receiving they are having a wonderful, albeit exhausting time not only discovering new sights, sounds and experiences but in also spending quality time with their friends. My sincerest thanks to their teachers and the staff who have gone over to ensure they remain, safe, sound and happy. We look forward to seeing them return tomorrow afternoon, exhausted but all the better for the experiences they would have encountered.
Last week I had the pleasure of being with the Year Fives on camp at Fairbridge. I want to commend the children on their excellent behaviour, demeanour and for the wonderful collaboration and leadership many students displayed. Again my thanks is extended to the staff who made the camp such a huge success. Thanks also goes to those members of staff who, while not on camp directly, contribute through the extra jobs they pick at school to ensure everything remains smooth for the students of St Damien’s.
The St Damien’s Parish is having an informal sport day at school on Sunday 1st December, following the 8.30 mass. Youth (between 9ish to 40ish) are invited to come along after mass and take part in some 5-a-Side Soccer / Basketball / Table Tennis for a couple of hours, have a free sausage sizzle and drink and spend time with their fellow parishioners. We look forward to seeing kids and their families come along after mass and enjoy some fun. Thank you to Fr Vincent and the Parish Youth Committee for organising this event.
Could you please complete the RSVP attached to the newsletter so we can have an estimate of numbers for catering.
We look forward to the Colour Run being staged by the P&F on 29th November. (PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ensure your child has old light coloured clothing to wear for the event and appropriate change of clothing if going home by bus). This is the event that the students selected as their choice for a fundraiser and I believe it will prove to be a great deal of fun. Thanks again to all involved.
I have noticed that some students are attempting to leave school on their scooters or bikes without wearing the legally required helmet. Quite apart from the $50 fine that can be meted out by the police (as they did recently to one member of our school), it is potentially very unsafe and our school rules clearly state that it is a requirement that children riding to and/or from school are required to wear an appropriate helmet.
Finally, as the weather warms up please encourage your children to remain SunSmart.
Wishing all a safe and relaxing weekend.
7th November 2019
Greetings from Fairbridge. Today the students in Year Five have been exploring the wonderful experiences offered on camp at Fairbridge Farm. I am certain they will gain a great deal from their activities and from the opportunities to share challenges, good times and friendships with their peers. We look forward to returning tomorrow all safe, sound and exhausted but most of all, thoroughly enriched by their many and varied opportunities to learn about ourselves and others.
I also wish the Year Six students Godspeed for their ‘Rotto’ Camp next week and I look forward to hearing many fabulous stories come back from their time away.
Congratulations to the Year Fours on their liturgy yesterday. Thank you to all the parents who came along to support the children and to the teachers who worked in preparing and running the Liturgy. As always, thank you also to Fr Vincent for his wonderful words of wisdom.
The parish has organised a Sport Fun day on Sunday 1st December. Please refer to the flyer accompanying this week’s newsletter.
Wishing all a safe and happy (and warm) weekend.
31st October 2019
Congratulations to all involved in yesterday’s Italian Assembly. The students’ performances were extraordinary, and all present were enthralled by the quality, fun and celebration evident throughout the event. It was a pleasure to have Mayor Rhys Williams, The Italian Consul, Dr David Balloni, Mandurah Councillor Merv Darcy and Catholic Education WA Language Consultant Marisa Schiavi attend the assembly. Along with all others in attendance I am certain they thoroughly enjoyed the many and varied acts. The event began with a stirring acknowledgement to country and continued with its accustomed frivolity and fun. It was evident to all, that language learning is a vibrant enterprise at our school.
Many thanks to Signora Bava for her preparation and coordination of the extravaganza; it was yet another hugely successful fun-filled assembly. Thanks also Ms Hilson for her technical support, Mrs Burns for the musical accompaniment, Mrs Craig for the lovely Italian treats and to all staff, especially Mr Logue (although I do question his dubious casting choices) who went over and above the call of duty to ensure this event retains a special memory in the hearts and minds of all involved.
This week there will be a special survey going home to ‘allow’ parents the ability to pass onto the administration team any information they would like us to consider before we place students into their 2020 classes.
THIS WILL BE THE ONLY MEANS BY WHICH WE WILL CONSIDER YOUR STUDENT PLACEMENT SUGGESTIONS.
In the previous two years, in which we have allowed parents to have the opportunity to have input into the process, we have received letters, notes, phone calls, napkins with suggestions and many other forms or correspondence. Sometimes important information, worthy of note, has not been received until the very end of the year, (and even the beginning of the new year) when it is far too late to make adjustments. Please feel free to discuss placement with your child’s teacher; however, ALL PLACEMENTS ARE MADE BY THE ADMINISTRATION TEAM. Teachers are NOT in a position to promise you that your request will met.
The closing date for the return of the surveys is Thursday, 14th November.
The St Damien’s School community passes on its sincerest condolences to Mr Steve Dowie on the sad loss of his beloved mother, Maxine. We offer Steve, Jenny and their family our deepest sympathies and will keep them all close in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.
24th October 2019
Congratulations to all students who participated in the PSSA Athletics carnival last Friday. There were many meritorious efforts and several children achieved personal bests in both their accomplishments and in their representation of the fine name that our school has developed over the years since its inception. We are always proud to honour those children who achieve top academic and athletic results; however, as a school we are equally as proud to know that each and every person who represents our school and wears our emblem, does so in a manner which pays homage to the high standards we purport to hold.
Well done to all our athletes, our supporting peer students and teacher/staff trainers who attempt to maintain the highest of standards at all times. I also offer a sincere thank you to the parents who invariably support our efforts to achieve excellence in determination, effort and progress.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy end to the week and an enjoyable weekend.
17th October 2019
Welcome back to what promises to be yet another exciting, educative and fun-filled term. I hope you had some time to recharge, recuperate from the winter chills and prepare yourselves for another great term at St Damien’s. The year has certainly passed quickly and we now find ourselves at the point of honing our children’s skills, knowledge and learning.
This term we welcome Mrs Katelin Lampard and Ms Emma Hicks to Year Two Gold. We know that having two such talented teachers take the helm will allow us to continue the great work commenced by their previous teacher, Mrs Peta Ryan who unfortunately needed to resign at the end of last term. We are fortunate to have two wonderful staff to run the class and I am certain that their collaboration, co-planning and wonderful fresh ideas will only enhance what was already a fantastic class.
During the past weeks we have received a number of ‘report’ cards on our school’s performance; NAPLAN and our Registration Audit Report. Both have shown that thanks to the hard work of staff, the support of parents and the endeavour of students, StDCPS is progressing very well educationally and our policies, governance, catholicity, structures and practices are conducive to providing a sound education to all students and a safe environment to all who work and visit our school.
My congratulations to all involved in making this school such an exemplary institute of learning and in carrying forth the wonderful vision commenced many years ago by previous administrators, staff, parents and students.
As mentioned, this is a very busy term, so I advise that you refer to our planner which went home yesterday, and to circle significant dates. I also commend you to support our wonderful advertisers on the planner as their contributions to our school deserve our patronage.
For the most up to date version of our calendar ALWAYS refer to our website calendar which can be found at http://www.stdamienscps.wa.edu.au/calendar-new/ as dates and plans can change.
Good luck to all our athletes competing in tomorrow’s PSSA Interschool Carnival at Frederick Irwin Anglican Primary School, Meadow Springs. We wish them all the best and thank them and their trainers for their endeavours.
I wish you all a successful, safe and fruitful term.
19 September 2019
I was a real joy to be a part of the wonderful Interhouse Athletics Carnival yesterday. The spirit in which the children competed was exemplary and the support shown by families for all students displayed the spirit and culture we enjoy at St Damien’s. They say that it is the ‘one percenters’ that make the difference between good and great. Yesterday I saw at least three. The first involved a mum who congratulated another parent whose child had just pipped hers in a race, the second was a little group of our senior boys who were encouraging one of their peers, from a different faction, because they genuinely wanted him to do well and, though not related to the whole sporting theme, I don’t know of many P&Fs who would eagerly suggest that the funds raised through their Cake Stall, around $550 be donated to a charity, Asthma Australia, rather than go into their own coffers.
If this doesn’t define a real catholic school, culture and community then I have been in the wrong game for too many years. Congratulations one and all!
Well done to our overall House Champions- Wannanup and to our Team Games Champions- Melros.
Special thanks to Miss Jaimie Shanahan for organising such a great carnival and to the far too many to mention helpers, supporters, assistants and mentors for making it such a wonderful. Greatest thanks to all the students for letting us share your journeys with you.
Tomorrow we officially open the Wardarn-bo Djenabidi Indigenous Bush Tucker Garden. Thank you to all who assisted in creating this wonderful resource for our children and for allowing our students to gain a greater understanding of the fact that the land upon which we walk, live and learn forms part of a culture of custodial stewardship that spans well over 40 000 years.
12th September 2019
The condolences, kindnesses and messages of support have been graciously and gratefully received by the Parker family and by all of Bethany’s friends and loved ones. They have been a wonderful source of grace for Michelle. D’Arcy, Regan, Cameryn and their families at this most unimaginably difficult time. As a school community, there have been incredible gestures of love that are as poignant as they are beautiful and caring.
I have no words that can make sense of this tragic loss. I only know that we were blessed to have had Bethany with us at St Damien’s for the time she was amongst us and we are honoured to have had her share her life with us. May God bless her and all those who walked with her on her precious journey.
May her legacy to us be the continuation of that compassion, empathy and love that permeates our school community at this time. May we truly treat each other with the dignity, love and respect that each one truly deserves. We are not in control of the length of time we have but we are in total control of the quality of life we live during each and every second with which we have been gifted.
5th September 2019
On behalf of the St Damien’s Catholic Primary School family, I offer my deepest and sincerest condolences to Michelle, Darcy, Cameryn and Regan Parker, along with their extended family, relatives and many friends, on the sad passing of Bethany, their beloved daughter, sister, relative and school mate. There are no words to adequately convey the grief we feel about Bethany’s death, nor is there any way in which her passing can be fully comprehended. However, the outpouring of love, prayers and support has been indicative of the calibre of this community. St Damien’s has been tested on numerous occasions and in my experience, it is yet to be found wanting.
I pass on my thanks to staff for the ongoing support they are providing Michelle and the family, to the parents for their many offers of assistance and to the children for the precious messages of love they have passed on.
I know that the sentiments, the love and the offers of help are simply a part of the wonderful culture St Damien’s has developed and strives to maintain every day and it is an honour to be a part of this community.
My sincerest thanks one and all.
29 August 2019
This week we salute the wonderful dads in our school for the pivotal role they play within their families. There is a visibly special bond between a child and their parent and it is always a joy to see the way children seek the support, love and reassurance of their dads and mums. At St Damien’s we are blessed with parents who have the best interests of their children at heart and paying homage to them is always a joy.
I was fortunate enough to be in a Three Year Old Kindy class at the end of the day a few weeks ago and to witness the love and affection children received from their parents as they left at the end of the day. It reaffirmed to me, as have similar scenes across many other year levels, just how loved, revered and fortunate the students at St Damien’s are.
In our society there are various iterations of family; however, the essence always stems from love and that bond that is inexorable, life-giving and a true reflection of God’s desire, irrespective of any individual family’s makeup.
To our wonderful dads, who in conjunction with our mums, provide such a nurturing environment for my precious students, I offer my gratitude and thanks for the unwavering support, love and joy you bring.
I also wish to honour our beautiful mothers and dedicated fathers who at times work on their own to cover both roles and who do such magnificent jobs bringing love to their children.
Parenting can be a complex task and their contributions can never be extolled highly enough; however, the rewards parents receive are immeasurable and beyond description. A sincere thank you to all our parents; mums, dads and carers for who you are, what you do and for offering us the privilege and honour of having your children with us at St Damien’s.
We wish all our participants in tomorrow’s One Big Voice all the very best. There have been many, many hours of rehearsals and the children are extremely excited. Special thanks to Mrs Majella Burns for her dedication and for putting in the all the extra hours to prepare the children for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Congratulations to all the students from Year Six who received the sacrament of Confirmation last Sunday. Special thanks to Fr Tony Chiera for conferring the sacrament, Fr Vincent for his ongoing guidance and assistance, our wonderful Prayer Buddies for their support, Mrs Anderson and Mr McCloskey, and to all the staff, parishioners and families for sharing the celebration with the children.
Happy Fathers Day to all dads and carers.
22 August 2019
Today we have been participating in an audit of our school’s processes, procedures and practices. The audit is part of the registration process conducted by the government to ensure that St Damien’s is fulfilling its duties under its charter. As always, audits are wonderful ways to highlight those aspects of our operations that are going as expected as well as identifying those that may benefit from realignment and improvement. I am pleased to report that preliminary feedback has been positive and has provided a great summary of the areas in which we may continue to improve. My thanks goes to the many staff, parents and students involved in the process. Their input is greatly appreciated and has provided excellent data. Special thanks to Mr Brett Crebert, who with the assistance of Mrs Caroline Leighton and the staff, have overseen the data creation, collation and collection process, and to Mrs Fiona Stoove, along with many others in the office, for recording and conveying all relevant information onto the relevant authorities.
In week seven of this term, we will be sending out a survey from CEWA in order to continue to align what we do as a school to the needs of our students, families and the relevant authorities. I hope as many response as possible are submitted so that we can glean the most complete summary of the perspectives our stakeholders hold.
This Sunday morning the students in Year Six will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. I wish them all the very best and I sincerely thank their teachers, Fr Vincent and their parents for the faith formation and modelling that has been provided to them. All families are warmly invited to come along and support Fr Tony Chiera as he bestows the Spirit’s blessings, gifts and graces upon them all.
If you have a spare moment this Sunday (after Confirmation of course), feel free to come on down to Bunnings in Halls Head where the Dads from the StDCPS Fathering Project will be conducting the sausage sizzle. Thanks to all the Dads who have volunteered to assist. It should be lots of fun, as these occasions generally end up being.
Have a wonderful week.
15 August 2019
Today, the students had the pleasure of attending the mass offered in celebration of The Assumption of Our Lady. Special thanks to all involved and to Fr Vincent for once again presiding over another meaningful and joyous celebration. The children in Year Six were blessed to have had a visit from Fr Tony Chiera in preparation for their reception of the sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday the 25th August. Fr Tony has the wonderful gift of bringing together faith and action. His words of wisdom were gratefully accepted by the students who were fortunate enough to chat with him.
We have started to implement some of the new uniform requirements as mentioned previously and others changes are on the way. There will always be some teething problems during these transition periods and I ask that you let us know of any concerns and queries. I would like to thank all involved in this process. May I remind you that if you wish to purchase a new uniform article from our school, you can come in when the shop is open or, if you know the size, simply call the office, pay by card and the item will be sent home with your child or you may pick it up anytime from the office? Special thanks to the P&F, Uniform Committee and the School Board for their diligence. Thanks also to Mrs Michelle Stevenson for all her work behind the scenes to allow the changes to occur with a minimum of disruption and cost to families and the school.
We look forward to all the fun and excitement of the Book Week dress up next Monday. I just want to remind you that the theme for this year is ‘Reading is my Secret Power’. I know that while many excited students are already preparing their outfits for Monday, others may test their parents’ secret powers by letting them know Sunday evening or as they drive in on Monday.
Could I please reiterate that parents/guardians must follow our parking and Kiss & Ride rules. You are not to stop in the carpark to collect students or drop them off. In the interests of child safety, we expect all parents/guardians to park in one of the allocated bays before the children are collected or disembark. We are still encountering a number of cars stopping in the car park blocking others and children can be seen going in between parked cars to get to the footpaths. I will not allow our children’s safety to be compromised. I realise that on occasions, someone unaccustomed to the school may drop the children off and may not be familiar with our directives. Please inform them and request that they adhere to our rules.
I hope all families have a great long weekend. Staff will be participating in Professional Learning at school in order to gain competence in providing ‘Culturally Responsive Pedagogy’. We thank you for the opportunity to participate in this invaluable learning opportunity.
Wishing all a safe, successful and happy week.
8th August 2019
Last weekend our school community celebrated the Eucharist with the children preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation on the 25th of August. Thank you to all the children, staff and families who came along to participate in these special masses. Special thanks also to the choir, altar servers and special ministers for their support and help.
We also conducted our Busy Bee on Sunday and to say it was a great success is an understatement. Not only did the work completed exceed our expectations, the fun, camaraderie and sense of community enjoyed by the 70 or so people working in harmony at the school was wonderful. The Indigenous Area and Bush Tucker Garden looks fantastic as does the other work that was done around the school. It was a brilliant community building exercise.
While my sincerest thanks is extended to all who came along to help, special mention and thanks go to the P&F for their support, to Mark and Shae Chalwell for organising us this opportunity and coordinating the input and support of ALCOA. Thanks also to Wayne Goring for the endless supply of mulch, machinery and workmanship to ensure we had everything in place to complete the various projects around the school, to Jules McKay for assisting with the horticultural needs on the day, to Clifford McCombes for assisting with the relocation of the fencing and gates, to Chris Salmeri for conducting all the preparatory work and donating the centerpiece stone of the garden and to ALCOA for providing funds and workers to assist on the day.
The area looks grea and will be a wonderful link between the current students and families at our school and the Indigenous children and families who roamed in this same locality for possibly as long as 40 000 or so years. There will be an opening ceremony on the 20th September, attended by a number of dignitaries including Zak Kirkup and parents are most welcome to come along to the opening.
As you know our Code of Conduct aims to drive our actions and interactions as a school and therefore, it is valuable to revisit it periodically to understand what the expectations and responsibilities are for all in our school community. I have included links to the Staff/Parent Code of Conduct and the Students’ Codes of Conduct along with the System for Students in the newsletter for you to revisit. The students are aware of their code and what they can do to offer suggestions, raise concerns or make complaints.
Parent feedback and student feedback buttons have been added to the school website and we will be adding new features by the end of the week. Please spend some time, from next week, in looking through the many ways in which parents and students can raise concerns, present ideas and suggest improvements.
Parent and student ideas have led to many new initiatives being implemented throughout this year. In conjunction with the in-class learning opportunities offered throughout the school day, we provide numerous ways in which all children at St Damien’s may have fun, progress and excel. Thank you to the parents, students and staff for providing us with many great ways to continue to improve what we do at St Damien’s.
Some of the extra curricula activities currently on offer include Miss Shanahan’s Running Club. Thanks to the families and the children who advocated for the running club and are now participating in it and supporting it. We anticipate that as the weather becomes more favourable, there will be even more children, staff and families in attendance. There were about 50 participants in the first session and around the same yesterday morning from 7:30 am. Special thanks to Mrs Parker, Mrs Newbold, Fr Vincent, other staff members and the parents who came along to help and have a bit of fun.
Thanks also to Mrs Carmody-Blythe and Mrs Cadwell, who are assisting children in the upper years with the production of a school newspaper. The children who have chosen to participate come together fortnightly, on Thursday afternoons, to compile this wonderful production.
Art Classes, Music Instrumental Tuition and Swimming Training are going from strength to strength and will continue for families choosing to avail themselves of these offerings. Thank you to Veronique Besson for coordinating the swimming.
Mrs Burns also conducts the choir and a wonderful performing arts program for students who will excel in their performances in the’ One Big Voice’ performance on the 30th August at Perth Arena. All children who auditioned received prominent roles and will perform in front of 7500 other students from 135 schools as well as a full auditorium of spectators.
Robo-Cuppers will show their wares at the statewide competition held tomorrow at Curtin University in Bentley. Thanks to Mr Crebert for the many sessions before and after school and during school holiday sessions he has made available to the teams who have nominated for selection in the Robo-Cup and First Lego teams. First Lego students have built their robots and are using some wonderful technology and problem solving in preparation for their completion on the 8th of December in Secret Harbour.
The Mathematics Extension Classes are in full swing and the children are finding innovative ways, every second Thursday afternoon after school, to solve real world problems using logic, problem solving skills and mathematics. Thank you to Mr Logue for assisting the children to develop a love of everything ‘Mathematics’.
There are certainly lots of extra curricula activities which together with excellent lessons in class and the sporting opportunities that take place during the regular program of events at school, provide avenues for all children to gain the most from their time at St Damien’s. Thanks to all staff for providing so many ways to engage the students, in and out of the class, ways that motivate them, extend them and most importantly, allow them to have fun.
I look forward to hearing from students, parents and staff about other ways in which we can improve our offerings to all students at St Damien’s.
1st August 2019
This weekend, the children and families are invited to attend our Family Mass on either Saturday evening or Sunday morning. The children in Year Six will also be attending these masses in order to enrol for the Sacrament of Confirmation. I look forward to catching up with as many families as possible at these liturgies.
Last Tuesday evening, the Year Six teachers, Mrs Anderson and Mr McCloskey, led a highly informative parent and student Confirmation information session. My sincere thanks to them and to the families who came along to participate.
This Sunday 4th August, we will be conducting a Busy Bee. Although the weather does not look overly promising, it is our intention to still complete as many of the allocated tasks as possible, especially the Bush Tucker garden. Thank you to the families who have already signed up to come along and assist. We have decided not to send out task cards as we anticipate a number of jobs may be weather dependent. Please just come and see me when you arrive and we will allocate an appropriate job. Again, a huge thanks to ALCOA for their generous support through the provision of volunteers and resources.
St Damien’s Running Club commenced this week and was a spectacular success. Miss Shanahan was happily inundated with runners, all keen to take part. I look forward to its ongoing success.
Congratulations to the students who participated in the Inter House Cross Country carnival last Friday afternoon. There were many meritorious efforts and numerous excellent displays of long distance running prowess. The children followed this up with a very successful Inter School Cross Country Carnival this week where they again excelled and achieved well above their anticipated level, coming 4th in Division A. Well done to all the athletes on their great results and even more importantly on the excellent manner in which they deported themselves and the excellent sportsmanship they displayed when representing their factions and school.
Term Overviews have been sent home by all class teachers in order to keep parents informed about what will be covered by your child at school throughout the term. These overviews allow families to assist their children as they encounter new adventures and undertake new learning opportunities. Copies of all Term Overviews can also be found on our school website.
We have been asked for help by one of our parishioners, Mr Tony McAlinden, who is heavily involved with working with families of those who have been incarcerated, to help make the lives of these prisoners just a little less stressful. As we may imagine, often these situations impact adversely on all members of the prisoners’ families and sadly the children are often the most vulnerable.
Tony has asked if we can assist by collecting any unwanted toys, either new or in good condition, to help make the environment less dour for the children who need to go to visit a parent at Bunbury Prison. Boxes have been placed in the front office and I thank you for your consideration.
Have a great week.
Christ Shines25 July 2019
Welcome back to all students and families to what promises to be yet another productive and enjoyable semester. Hopefully the fine, sunny weather will start to peek through once we have received sufficient rain. It has been wonderful to catch up with the students and with many parents over the past week. I wish you all every success this term.
At the end of last term, the children from Pre Primary to Year Six, received their progress and achievement reports. I sincerely hope you have had the opportunity to go through the reports with your children so that you could discuss with them the things they need to do in order to continue to succeed. It is also vital to look at the ways they may develop new skills and practices that will allow them to progress even further and achieve even greater results. As always, my advice is for you to see the class or specialist teacher if you ever have any concerns or queries.
As mentioned last term, on Sunday 4th August, St Damien’s will be conducting a Busy Bee. Thank you to those families who have sent back their forms. We will be sending out ‘Task Cards’ next week so that everyone can be gainfully occupied on the day. Sincerest thanks to all who responded and to ALCOA for their generous sponsorship and allocation of workers for the day. We will be working on a number of projects throughout the day and many hands will make light work.
I would also like to acknowledge the great training and skill development being achieved by the children attending Swimming Club Training through the “Dawesville Sharks” on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. I would like to thank Mrs Veronique Besson for taking on the coordination role voluntarily and for ensuring all goes well before, during and after the sessions. I am certain she would appreciate some help from other club members’ parents. It is important to note that the club runs solely through the efforts of volunteers. While it is associated with the school, it operates as a separate entity and all funds, supervision and responsibility is borne by the parents of children in the Dawesville Sharks. Some places are still available for children on certain mornings and if you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact Veronique via email at email@example.com.
This term, the children in Year Six will have the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on the 25th August. Sacraments are important milestones in children’s development. The families and sponsors of these children play a vital part in the sacraments. They set the values, faith and beliefs as children prepare to receive the sacrament, they stand with them when they receive it and they support them in the years ahead. Their roles are pivotal and without their endorsement, modelling and support, the chance of the sacrament transcending beyond a mere celebration, special event or series of lessons, is significantly reduced. Thank you also to the staff, Fr Vincent and the parish for their support and assistance.
I am thrilled to inform families that St Damien’s Running Club will be commencing shortly. Special thanks to Miss Jaimie Shanahan for her efforts and coordination. I look forward to seeing as many students as possible having fun, developing their fitness levels and enjoying the company of others. All the best to the students taking place in the Interhouse Cross Country carnival this Friday afternoon. We hope to see lots of spectators there to show their support for the athletes.
We have had some requests from families to allow online uniform ordering. The office staff are very happy to accommodate, but the logistics of going to online ordering makes the process more involved than it needs to be and also requires you to pay the online company a processing fee. However, we believe we have an even better solution. If you know your child’s size, please call the office anytime and the ladies will collect your order and deliver it to your child. You will need to pay by card over the phone to avail yourself of this service but there is no extra fee to pay. If you are unsure of your child’s size, feel free to talk with them when you call and they will be only happy to help.
Have a wonderful week.
4th July 2019
I would like to thank you for your support during the first semester of 2019. I look forward to continuing to work with the children, families and staff in providing high quality education. I wish all families a safe and refreshing vacation and I look forward to seeing everyone back in the new term.
Over the past few weeks I have had numerous discussions with students, staff, parents, P&F representatives and Board members to hear concerns, opinions and ideas that will allow St Damien’s to better serve the needs of our current and future students. One recurring point pertained to the school uniform, and while it remained very clear that everyone wanted to see the high standards for which our school is known maintained, a case for making adjustments that better suit our students’ comfort was clearly made by the students, parents and staff. The cost of the uniform was also discussed. A committee was consequently formed and met last week. The committee proposed a number of recommendations which will now go to the Board to be discussed, costed and in all likelihood, ratified. Thank you to all concerned. A full list of the ratified outcomes will be published following that Board meeting.
On a troubling note, I am extremely fearful of the potential for a tragic accident to take place in the car park on Nyabing Pass, adjacent to the Kindy and Administration building. While the vast majority of parents go over and above the call of duty to ensure their children and all others are safe, some parents, a small but significant number, are stopping and letting their children disembark without actually parking. This is not only inconvenient to other parents and students, but more importantly, it places all children at risk and will not be allowed in our school car park.
I am also concerned with the speed at which some parents are driving in and around school, especially if they are running a little late. Quite apart from the danger and illegality of the practice, there is simply no reason to do so as I can assure you that no child will be left unattended after school if they are waiting in the designated areas.
I do wish to sincerely thank the vast majority, as mentioned previously, who take all precautions to ensure safety is paramount in their actions and I call on those who do not, to raise their standards for the sake of all our precious children.
27th June 2019
Congratulations to all of our Year Four students who received the Eucharist for the first time on Saturday evening. The mass was a wonderful celebration of this pivotal moment in their spiritual development. It was a pleasure to see the Prayer Friends also honoured for their development, commitment and support. I wish all students who received Communion and the Prayer Friends who supported through their presence and friendship, all the blessing our Lord may bestow upon them.
We would like to thank Fr Vincent for leading us in the liturgy and for his assistance in preparing the children to receive Communion. Thanks also to Mrs Parker and Mr Logue, who along with many staff members and parents prepared the children over many years, to receive the Eucharist. Thanks to Mrs Leighton who prepared the liturgy, staff and parishioners who offered their ministry, the choir and liturgical dancers and all others who assisted in the sanctity of the liturgy through their presence and prayerful participation. Thank you to all the parents who braved the weather to share this sacred meal with their children and their friends, and to all the Year Three families who prepared the supper for the children to enjoy after mass.
Congratulations to all the students who auditioned for roles as soloists, rappers and comperes for the upcoming One Big Voice Children’s Choir at the Perth Arena in August. I am thrilled to announce that all six of our music extension students were successful in securing extremely several of the coveted roles. They will perform in front of at least 7,500 students and what will no doubt be a full Perth Arena on Friday, 30th August.
- Ruby Arbuckle secured a position to display her wonderful singing skills in the special talented vocal group,
- Amelia Pavlovic and Madeline Clarke were selected to showcase their rapping prowess,
- Clodagh and Daniella Naglewicz, were asked to provide their compering talents to the performance and
- Bronwen Jones was recognised for her extraordinary singing talent by being chosen to sing in the vocal group and three individual Solo performances, one of which will be to sing the National Anthem of on her own to open the concert.
A huge thanks to Mr Burns for providing the children with the opportunity to audition for this wonderful event and for assisting them through their journey.
We wish all our PSSA competitors all the best for tomorrow. Thanks to all participants for the effort they have put into training and a special thanks to their coaches.
We hope the Term 2 Fathering Project – Peel Thunder v Swan Districts on Saturday at Rushton Park, (kick off 2.15pm), is a great success. Thanks to the organizers for providing yet another great opportunity for our fathers and father figures to network and have some collegial fun together.
20th June 2019
Thank you to all the parents who were able to come to school on Tuesday to attend the Parent/Teacher Meetings. There were over 300 families who booked appointments and it was a great opportunity to conduct formal meetings to share information, records and wisdom that will be used to assist children in attaining their very best level of achievement across all areas. Thank you to the staff who prepared, conducted and listened so diligently, professionally and caringly. Please remember that while these formal meetings are invaluable, you can always have a quick chat with the teacher or make an appointment at any convenient time to discuss your child’s progress.
We also had a large number of families come in on Tuesday morning to enrol their children into Three Year Old or Kindy for 2020. They had a great tour and asked many great questions. Many thanks to our Enrolment Officer, Mr Michelle Stevenson, Mrs Caroline Leighton and all the staff and students for the way in which they rolled out the welcome. It was a pleasure to chat with both existing and new families as they commenced new and exciting journeys.
Today we have sent home a sign-up form for a Busy-Bee we will be having on Sunday 4th August. The day will enable us to catch up on some jobs around the school. We will also be completing, with much appreciated sponsorship from ALCOA, a ‘Bush Tucker’ garden at school. We would love to have you come along for as long as you would like on the day, regardless of any skill set you may or may not have. If you have equipment, skills or experience in any particular areas that may be useful, please let us know so that we can plan and allocate appropriate tasks where we can? Children can also come along and play although there may be limited supervision. Please return the form before the end of this term to help us with our planning and catering.
Thank you to all who completed the Uniform Survey or indicated that they were satisfied with the current uniform as it exists. We have collated the responses and they will be discussed by the Uniform Committee comprising of representatives from the P&F, School Board, Staff and Admin. There was an extremely wide array of views as was expected; however, there were also some common themes that certainly warrant consideration and possible action.
This weekend the St Damien’s school and Parish community come together to celebrate the reception of First Eucharist by the Year Four students. I would like to thank all families, staff, especially the Year Four teachers, parishioners, Fr Con and Fr Vincent for preparing the children for the reception of this spiritual nourishment for the first time. I look forward to sharing this sacred meal with those children for many years to come.
I would like to wish Happy 40th Birthday to Fr Vincent for tomorrow. We thank him for his gentle guidance and direction and we pray that God blesses him abundantly for the wonderful work and presence he provides to our school and parish.
I have just received notification that our poets from Year Six have scooped the prizes at the Lion Club’s “Bush Poets Competition” run this morning at Port Bouvard Recreation and Sporting Club. First Place was awarded to Clodagh Naglewicz, Second Place to Kalahni Brown and Isla Menzies was awarded an Honourable Mention. Congratulations to all our participants, to their poetry mentor, Mr John Pannell and to their teachers, Mrs Anderson and Mr McCloskey for the fabulous support they have provided to all the children involved.Well done one and all!
13 June 2019
The children have done well over the past week navigating the showers. While the rain is certainly welcome, we look forward to a few less interruptions to Phys Ed and Sport access, and Recess and Lunch play times. Hopefully the weekend ahead will provide children and families with opportunities to get out and enjoy our beautiful environment.
Super Hero Dress-up
Super Hero Dress-up Day last Friday, was a fantastic way for the school community to stand alongside those children who undergo treatment for not only Congenital Heart disease, but for all who suffer with conditions that impact upon their lives and those of their families. Children and staff dressing up as characters who have super-human strength is a great analogy for the heroics of many children, their families and their friends. To see so much support on Friday, as is always the case at St Damien’s, speaks volumes of the ongoing care and compassion of this school community and is a poignant acknowledgement of past, present and future struggles. Together we managed to raise $602 for Heart Kids. Congratulations one and all!
Enrolment and Affordability Forums
Over the past month I have been conducting a number of Enrolment and Affordability Forums. Thank you to the parents who attended and gave their invaluable input. We have also sought student feedback and I will be meeting with the Student Council again tomorrow to continue those discussions. Some issues that have been raised are being attended to, and a number of sub-committees are already operating. You will have noticed a survey regarding school uniforms went home earlier this week. Please fill the form in and return it if you would like to have your ideas considered. This feedback will be collated and submitted to the Board for their consideration and to allow our school to plan for the future.
I had the pleasure of attending our Pre-Primary Liturgy on Wednesday morning. Never is the altar more resplendent than when it adorned by precious little faces praying. Thank you, Fr Vincent, for allowing the gospel to live and thrive in our church, Matthew 19:14 – Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”.
We are also looking forward, as a school community, to celebrating First Eucharist with the children in Year Four on Saturday 22nd June at 6.00 pm. Their spiritual preparations are going well and they are gaining a rich understanding of the meaning of receiving Eucharist in communion with others.
Parent Teacher Interviews
Next Tuesday we will be conducting the Parent Teacher interviews to allow parents to discuss with the teachers how their child is progressing. This year, as I am sure you are aware, the process has been placed online in order to streamline it and allow efficient, effective and fair allocation of interview time slots for all parents. Please consult the information that went home earlier in the week to book your time. If you have any queries, feel free to call the office.
Have a wonderful week.
I hope the extended mid-term break was a good chance to refresh, recharge and relax. The staff were busy on Friday working through a number of policies, practices and procedures to ensure we plan for, and maintain the best environment in which all children can thrive, achieve the very highest of standards and enjoy the journey.
Tomorrow is the day children are invited to come to school as their favourite Super Hero to raise funds for Heart Kids. I look forward to seeing lots of heroes come to school dressed up to honour the memory of Amber Field and to stand alongside all the Heart Kids who battle against the odds each and every day.
Thank you to all those who have sent their recommendations, ideas and suggestion regarding –
What, if any, are the impediments to enrolling at St Damien’s?
What barriers do you believe currently exist, real or perceived, that may stifle applications?
What is it about an education at St Damien’s that is appealing and worth your patronage?
We have had a number of extremely useful ideas come to us already and I look forward to hearing from as many families as possible. You can attend one of the two remaining forums listed below or simply email your suggestions to Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 7th June 2019, 9.30AM St Damien’s CPS Steve Dowie Hall
Wednesday 12th June 2019, 9.30AM St Damien’s CPS Steve Dowie Hall
Later in the year, we will be sending home a more detailed survey from Catholic Education WA, to look at what we can do as a school community to further our improvement journey.
Thank you to all who came along to the masses last weekend to support the children enrolling to receive the sacrament of First Eucharist on the 22nd June. Thank you to Fr Vincent for leading the celebrations and to all staff members who attended and assisted in the preparation and running of the liturgies.
NAPLAN for 2019 is now over and I would like to convey my sincerest appreciation to the staff and students for the way in which they handled the IT issues that arose throughout the country as ACARA transitioned to online testing.
Congratulations to the Year 5/6 girls who participated in the PSSA GIRLS AFL DOCKERS CUP at Rushton Park on Tuesday. The girls once again made us proud with their effort, skill and fair play. Both girl’s teams had a great time and St Damien’s A was narrowly beaten in the Grand Final. The girls have been training for many weeks and it paid handsome dividends on the day. Special thanks to Mr Logue and Miss Shanahan for their training and coaching, and to the parents who came along to support the teams. Well done one and all!
There will be a number of forums continuing next week to allow families to come in and assist us in making decisions for our school’s future. Please check the calendar on the website for times, dates and venues. Later this year a more formal survey will be sent to families, from CEWA, to continue to assist us in learning what our St Damien’s school community is telling us about our school’s strengths, challenges and opportunities for growth.
We hope all families have an opportunity to recharge their batteries over the midterm break. The staff will be undertaking some Professional Learning during part of that time (as well as recharging their own batteries) so that they can continue to hone their skills and keep on improving our educational policies and practices.
Thank you for your ongoing support of our great school so far this year and I look forward to seeing families back on Wednesday next week.
We will celebrate the feast day of the Patron Saint of Australia, Our Lady Help of Christians with a school mass tomorrow afternoon at 2.00 pm. The Church prays that through Our Lady’s intercession, God will “grant wisdom to our leaders and integrity to our citizens”, so that “under her protection Australia may be granted harmony, justice and peace”. Thank you to all involved in the preparation of the mass and to all who will use their ministries to share the liturgy with our community. While all families are welcome to this mass, being during the day it is predominantly for students.
However, this Saturday evening and Sunday morning we will also be conducting our weekend masses to which all families are invited. These masses will incorporate the Communion Enrolment Masses. There will also be a collection at the end of mass in support or our parish’s work with leprosy, the main ministry of St Damien. I have asked children to see if they can bring along some of their own ‘earned’ or ‘save’ money to donate rather than merely asking their mums or dads to contribute. The intention is to provide an opportunity through which their donation contributes not only to a dollar amount to this very worthy cause, but also informs their social conscience and builds loving hearts.
There some very exciting extracurricular activities coming on stream over the next few weeks to try to provide as many opportunities as possible for students to find ways to enrich their physical, social, spiritual and educational experiences at the school. Numerous teachers give up innumerable hours of their own time to provide these experiences and I sincerely thank them for their efforts.
Thank you to Ms Michelle Parker, Mr David Logue, Mrs Caroline Leighton, Mr Brett Crebert and Fr Vincent for leading the children and their families through the First Eucharist Information Evening on Tuesday. It was a very informative and educative evening and we look forward to joining the Year Four students at this weekend’s masses as they formally enrol into the preparation program to receive the sacrament of First Eucharist on Saturday 22nd June.
I would also like to invite you all to the Amber Field Memorial Round – Mandurah Makos on Sunday, in celebration of Amber’s beautiful life and soul which we still miss each and every day. The day also raises some valuable funds and awareness that may assist other precious HeartKids.
Good luck to our PSSA Year 5/6 AFL Girls Team who will be taking part in the Dockers Cup next Tuesday at Rushton Park. We know they will be great ambassadors of our school and worthy competitors.
Over the past two weeks the students in Years Three and Five have undertaken the NAPLAN suite of Assessments. I am proud of the way the students and staff have approached all NAPLAN tests and I wish all children success. While all generally went smoothly, there was one writing task that encountered various, serious connectivity issues throughout Australia. The parents of children in Year Five have been consulted regarding the opportunity for their children to re-sit the test next Wednesday, as re-sitting the test is optional.
The issues encountered were significant and could have an impact on the validity and reliability of the results when they are forthcoming. I have written to MCC to outline my concerns and my desire to ensure that no St Damien’s student is unduly penalised as a result their 2019, Year Five Writing Assessment. I am certain that MCC is aware of these widespread issues and will deal with them in their usual professional and pastoral manner.
NAPLAN is administered by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). I have had to have numerous discussions with SCSA, which is our WA authority, over the past days I must report that they have shown a genuine care, compassion and understanding of the issues. Furthermore, at no time have I felt that any decision they made have had anything but the best interest of every student at the core of their determinations.
In my opinion, they are to be commended for the measured, caring and wise manner in which they resolved the problems encountered by many schools.
16th May 2019
I hope all mothers had a lovely day last Sunday and that the gratitude and extra care continues throughout the rest of the year, as it so richly deserves to do. A special thanks also to all those, be they mums, dads, grandparents, cousins, aunties, step parents, partners and others who often step in unselfishly and have as their only intention to love, care for and raise our beautiful children. It is a privilege and joy to thank our mums but equally we offer our love and gratitude to all the other, often unheralded, precious and loving role models in our lives. As the saying goes, it truly does take a village to raise a child.
Child Safe Framework- School Community Information Session
Last week we offered two sessions to discuss the measures we employ at St Damien’s to ensure all children are both safe at school and also have the opportunity to learn the practices and habits that will enable them to remain safe beyond the confines of the school. Please follow the link in the newsletter to see a copy of the presentation. Ensuring our children are safe is one of our very highest priorities.
NAPLAN Writing Assessment- Year Five
As I mentioned previously, there was a serious issue with the NAPLAN Writing Assessment for Year Five on Tuesday. Some students encountered connectivity obstacles that were beyond their control and outside the scope of our school’s systems. Special thanks to their teachers for maintaining calm and nurturing environments in the midst of the potentially distressing circumstances that arose from the issues attributable to Australia wide difficulties emanating from out of school system failures. The teachers, test supervisors, support staff and NAPLAN Coordinator (Mrs Caroline Leighton) all did a superb job. Thanks also to Ms Sandra Hilson for ensuring all the connectivity within our control operated as it was intended, that our systems were secured and that all the devices were operating effectively. For the very latest information regarding this matter, please read the memo from Mrs Eileen Climo- Director of Teaching and Learning from Catholic Education WA. Click here to access document
9th May 2019
This Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. The traditional cuppa, the breakfast in bed, the gift or the handmade card are memories we will treasure forever. We will recount anecdotes from Mother’s Day fondly from time to time, but the hugs, the love, the sweet little kisses will form part of our hearts, minds and souls every single day of our lives even when they are distant memories somewhere in the deep recesses of our busy minds. The miracle is that these beautiful hugs, kisses and love are so very, very precious because they are given by, received by and form the lifeblood of both the giver and the receiver.
We know that our Mums gave us life and we also know that they can support us as we grow into the person we will eventually become. I would like to pay tribute to all those mothers who work tirelessly each and every day in a myriad of ways, often with wonderful support from their families and partners, sometimes against great odds, to sustain the life they have helped create and form it into the blessed and unique creation God always intend us all to become.
In my privileged position as a principal I am always in awe of the many valiant, hardworking, selfless, tenacious and loving mothers I encounter, who want only the very best for their children.
From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank all mothers, and if I can be indulgent, I would like to personally thank and send my love to my own mum, Maria for the life, love and influence she has had in my life.
02 05 2019
Welcome back to all families. I sincerely hope you all had a restful and joyous Easter break. Term Two is always a very busy one, especially leading up to the mid-year reports. I believe it is important to remind children at every opportunity that the best results in any pursuit are achieved through consistent and sustained efforts rather than irregular spurts of exertion.
I would also like to thank the following sponsors of our recent Fathering Project Sleep out for their kind patronage of this wonderful event. Special thanks to Bunnings Halls Head, Woolworths Miami and Spud Shed in Mandurah. Their extremely generous assistance is greatly appreciated.
I wish all our competitors in the PSSA interschool sporting fixture this Friday against Lakelands all the very best. I wish to thank their coaches for their dedication and all supporters for their generous backing.
This week the swimming squad, renamed as the St Damien’s Sharks has recommenced thanks to the wonderful dedication of a number of parents especially Mrs Alicia Sun and Mrs Veronique Besson. The squad only has a couple of places available for the Wednesday Training Session. This is a fantastic achievement and will benefit the children attending greatly. Thank you to all concerned with reforming the squad.
I would also like to thank the P&F for their excellent Easter Raffle and to all the students who generously provided Easter Eggs as prizes. Thanks also to the P&F for once again providing opportunities for the students to purchase a gift for their precious mums at the Mothers’ Day stall being run next week. There is a great deal of planning, care and attention that goes behind providing this service and I appreciate their efforts, as do all our students (and mums).
Have a wonderful week.
Catholic Education WA requires all schools to maintain relevant and comprehensive forward planning documents (these documents are available for your perusal on our website). Periodically I will add excerpts from these plans to indicate how and why we may be undertaking various programs or decisions throughout the year.
This month I would like to highlight the following:
From our – Strategic Plan- Learning
Point 7. Introduce the tenets of New Pedagogies for deep learning
1. Character education — honesty, self-regulation and responsibility, perseverance, empathy for contributing to the safety and benefit of others, self-confidence, personal health and wellbeing, career and life skills.
2. Citizenship — global knowledge, sensitivity to and respect for other cultures, active involvement in addressing issues of human and environmental sustainability.
With the addition of the Champion Life Program and the maintenance of the various long established recycling/sustainability programs and life skills initiatives, including our Healthy Food Program, I believe we a are not only providing lessons on Character Education, we have continued to supply the means by which children can build their skills through the daily opportunities St Damien’s provides for us all to ‘walk the talk’. The recent ANZAC Day Commemoration showed the reverence, gratitude and admiration the children have for those who have made great sacrifices to maintain our freedoms as well as an deep understanding of the value of peace and the need for tolerance and mutual respect for all.
From Our – School Improvement Plan- Accountability – Embed Keeping Safe curriculum-
Staff received more training on Mandatory Reporting on Monday’s Pupil Free Day to ensure all staff are aware of their duty in regard to keeping children safe as well as ensuring they are fully capable of exercising their duties judiciously
From Our – Evangelisation Plan -The Experience of Christ and Church
Being drawn closer to God through Christ’s redemption
Deepening awareness, being loved by God
Inspired by Jesus as the model of holiness
Deepening experience of God – changing us from within –
Through various liturgies, Monday Gospel reflections, Parish Priest visits, Sacramental retreats, School Masses, Patron Saint Mass for St Damien of Molokai, Our Lady Help of Christians Whole School Mass, Communion Preparation Masses and Whole School Weekend Masses children continue to be given opportunities to be provided with in school and out of ways to embrace God’s love in fellowship and communion with other members of our school community and parishioners.