Principal’s Update to Parents and Carers, 13 November 202013/11/2020
This week we have been celebrating NAIDOC week and on Wednesday we celebrated Remembrance Day and the anniversary of Catherine McAuley’s death in 1863. The importance of all these events is the story and ongoing legacy associated with each. In this age of Snapchat and Instagram they can be lost with the flick of a screen. We need to stop and contemplate their significance and realise their importance.
Today the Diocese launched the latest edition of the Source of Life document outlining the curriculum for Religious Education and how that will be integrated throughout our Learning and Teaching.
In the next week each family will receive a letter from the College outlining a refund on fees for this year. The letter was presented and approved at the Advisory Council on Tuesday evening and the context behind the determination, and figure, is explained in the letter. We understand that this year has caused hardship in many forms and this measure not only acknowledges the College’s appreciation of your support throughout, but also might reduce some of the financial pressure impacting so many families as we approach Christmas and the end of the year. As always, if any family wishes to discuss the matter further, or seek advice around additional support please call the College.
Today marks one of our longer stints of ongoing traditional learning for the year. There is no doubt of the impact of COVID on our students and staff. When observing student behaviour across the College, there are clear signs that the normal patterns of behaviour that we usually observe across the different year levels, and the students’ development, are very, very different this year. The lockdowns have caused a lot of social disruption and the normal flow of maturation and change that takes place naturally is different. This term, there has been a sense of re-orientation for many students in the classroom and in the yard. The impact of the lack of co-curricular experiences and celebrations has compounded the isolation and the affected the sense of belonging. Some students are struggling to assume the norms of routine and socialisation. The lack of access has impacted some of the basic social skills. The College has been patient in re-establishing the expectations and we are sensitive to each student’s context.
We are actively generating various forms of evidence and drawing comparisons with other Mercy and Diocesan schools to deepen our knowledge of the impact of COVID, to prepare for any contingencies arising from further disruption. Before the end of the term we will be seeking feedback from each household which will further complement the information we have to this point.
Graduation and Orientation
As I have stated throughout this year, there are still so many events and items that are in a state of flux, not only for the remainder of this year, but for the next twelve months. We are still awaiting on some updates from the State Government detailing what we are permitted to offer for events. For example, we are still waiting for information relating to Year 12 Graduation and Year 7 2021 Orientation. There are some significant announcements in the coming week that we hope will enable us to change what we can plan and offer.
Throughout this year the College has been reviewing the option of purchasing a bus that will allow us to create and coordinate our own service to Strathfieldsaye/Mandurang before and after school each day. This offer would allow students to travel directly to the College rather than via the Tom Flood bus transfer. There will be more information on this opportunity in the coming weeks.
I would like to thank the Advisory Council for their ongoing work. Before our final meeting for the year I want to extend my thanks on behalf of the Catholic College Bendigo and Catherine McAuley College community for the ongoing service and support that Mrs Fiona Russell has dedicated to the Council and to the College. Fiona has been the Chair this year and has been a great support and guide over many years. Fiona’s service will be recognised at our final meeting for this year and we hope that we will not have to be remote. The College is also delighted to announce that Justine Minnie has recently joined the Council and that we are still looking to appoint other parents who might be interested in joining.
Recently a whole school review of the College was administered by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA). A whole school review involves an enormous amount of organisation and preparation. The College is delighted to announce that the VRQA provided the College with a very positive review and commended many aspects of our offerings. The process is a very effective source of reflection and discernment. Thank you to all the staff who helped in the preparation, organisation and presentation of various material to the VRQA.
One shining light of joy this year has been the success of iGEN 2020. The program has been so popular with students, despite meeting remotely for most of the year, that we have increased student involvement next year. The staff at Bethlehem and Mercy Health have been able to maintain the program this year and we will continue to look at a range of options in 2021 to ensure we keep up the momentum of the program. The most important element of the program is the relationships that have been formed between students and residents. The highlights of iGEN will be added to our website in the coming weeks.
Our Year 12 exams are heading into their second week and we wish our students every success. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
On Monday 30 November, the Headstart program will kick off for current Years 9, 10 and 11 students so please add to your calendar.
At this time of year, we want students to get involved in the direction of the College and be involved in leadership roles. The Student Representative Council, House Captains, and College Captain roles are all important in the running and decision-making of the College and we hope that lots of students will consider the opportunity.
Mr Brian Turner, Principal