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.email@example.com
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.