Welcome back to 2020
Welcome to our first full newsletter of the year. As I said last week, the first few weeks of any school year is one full of buzz and excitement. The hope and potential of the year ahead is evident. It is important we build on this and create real momentum for the learning ahead. I am proud to say that the students are well on their way to settling into that journey and the teachers are reporting a settled start to the year. We are very much looking forward to The Opening School Mass and Wellbeing launch this Friday.
Welcome to our new Students
Last week, we welcomed our new Kindergarten class for 2020. It is so wonderful to welcome so many new friends and families to our school each year. Of our 29 Kindergarten students, we welcome 14 new families to our school community. We wish you all the best and are very happy to have you as part of the Corpus Christi family. In our next newsletter, we will share our newest member’s first 2-week journey in the Student Learning Report. Congratulations to our Kinder Super heros who smashed their first full week at big school.
We also welcomed children in other grades from the Stone Family (Patrick and Leo in Year 5), Jenkins Family (Evie in Year 5) and the Sido Family (Aicha in Year 6). We hope that you quickly become part of our school community and we look forward to many wonderful shared experiences together.
Mission, Vision and Core Values
It is important at the start of a school year to remind ourselves of who we are (what we stand for), what our core purpose is (what drives us), who we aspire to be (hopes) and how we share this with each other and the broader community. You might be familiar with the above core values but if we are to have them, the challenge is to reflect on what these words and images really mean to us. It is easy to simply have them and even recite them, but what do they really call us to be and do?
CORE VALUES AND MOTTO – Who are we?
Our school motto is drawn directly from the Charism of the school’s founding Order, the Dominican Sisters. Empowered by the gifts of the spirit, we seek truth, defend freedom and promote justice.
Our motto is ‘Veritas,’ which is Latin for Truth. It encourages us to not only be truth seekers but to proclaim that “truth fearlessly and confidently".
Corpus Christi is a Catholic school community founded in the Dominican traditions and centred on the core values of Prayer, Service, Learning and Community. Our core values fuel our mission daily and inflame our vision for tomorrow.
Mission Statement – What we do each and every day, Our core purpose
Together in Truth and Love
We are a community, journeying together. We are driven by love for God, Jesus, one another and the world
For the whole child, for now and the future. We educate lifelong learners.
Celebrate achievements, traditions and shared experiences. We celebrate and value how we are alike and how we are different.
We are hope filled. We are tomorrow oriented. We work forward, learning from behind. “We are prophets of a future not our own” (Oscar Romero)
Vision Statement – Who we aspire to become and continually grow towards.
Reflecting the Face of God
We are a faith community. At the heart of everything is Jesus Christ (CSO Mission Statement) and we are driven by this to reflect the Face of God in everything we do and enliven God’s Kingdom here on Earth
Equipping Students for the Contemporary World
Our world is ever changing. In amongst this world, knowledge/information and ‘small’ skills often change but the “big” skills do not.
The contemporary world requires skills of creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and adaptability. We seek to embed these skills across all areas of learning.
Excellence in Education for All
All children require the right learning at the right time. Each child has potential to learn and progress from where they are to where they might be. Excellence in Education is not about being THE best; it is about every child being THEIR best.
Code of Conduct 2020
In 2018, the CSO implemented a Community Code of Conduct to be signed by all new enrolments as part of the enrolment application process. This Code of Conduct continues to be part of all enrolment agreements within the school. It is an important and consistent agreement between the school and the home across the diocese.
If you would like to review the documents as they currently apply, I have attached copies below. I have no doubt this document is innately embedded in our school community anyway. The paperwork just puts it down for clarity.
As with any organisation, a school relies on all members of the community to support the processes and procedures that are in place for the successful running of the school day to day. As we start the new year, I have included the attached housekeeping brochure which summarises some of those key processes parents might engage with during the year. We appreciate parent support to ensure consistent responses and processes so that the logistics of managing an organisation are efficient and sustainable. The brochure includes the following information
- Notification of Absences
- Communication at School
- Money at School
- Raising Concerns
- Medication at School
- School Uniform Notifications
- Afternoon Dismissal
- Bike and Scooter Safety
Have a great two weeks,
Meet the Teacher. Parent Information Evening
We wil be holding our annual Meet The Teacher - Parent Information Night on Thursday 13th February. We wil gather for tea, coffe and refreshments and a short whole school introduction to the year. Parents will then have the opportunity to visit the classroom for a casual meet and greet with your child's classroom teacher. An Information letter outlining classroom expectations and planned learning for this term will be provided and will also be posted on COMPASS Friday 14th February.
Class Letters each Term
As we did last year, each classroom teacher or teachers will send home a note each term on a scheduled date (usually Week 2). These notes will outline the planned learning and classroom expectations/ goals for the term. The learning is drawn from a whole school approach for the systematic delivery of curriculum within each Key Learning Area. Emily will talk more about this in the Teaching and Learning Update of this newsletter. The classroom expectations are derived from the whole school Wellbeing framework (see the Student Welfare Update of this newsletter).
The note will also outline clear expectations around homework (especially any major projects expected from home that term), classroom resources required (if any) and any potential excursion to be scheduled for the term. We hope that this regular and school wide commitment to communication at the classroom level will give greater clarity to parents seeking to understand the learning that is covered in each term.
As mentioned, the Term 1 Class Letters will be handed out at the parent information evening but will also be posted on COMPASS the next day.
- Children will be able to meet their parents immediately following the 2.50pm bell. Having been dismissed from the classroom, children are permitted to move directly to their parents as they approach the undercroft. Please do not gather on the classroom verandahs this causes conjestion while dismissal is being finalised. If a student's parent is not present or students are waiting a car pick up from the front of the school, they are to move to the undercroft lines as always where they will be supervised.
- The breezeway and undercroft areas can only be described as hectic at this time. We love the connections between parents and the community feel of parent interaction. However, we do ask that parents move out onto the playground space to continue their conversations in order to alleviate the congestion that is dominating the breezeway and undercroft dismissal area. This is a particular issue because the gate in the Dominic courtyard is no longer used and the bus lines move through the breezeway.
- We ask all drivers to be continually patient during the intense minutes around pick up time. An extra lap around the block is better than a prang or a ticket. We will continue to be vigilant in moving the pick up on as efficiently as possible. As drivers pull up, please move as far forward as the space allows as often another car can fit safely in behind you.
- Please discourage your children to play on the play equipment once they have been dismissed as it tempts other children who are not in their parent’s care to join them. At best, children may play for a limited time if their parent is standing on the soft fall with them but the teachers will move any students who are there without parents.
- St Nicholas OOSH students move straight to the back of the undercroft where Lorie and Taylor will meet them. Students attending an OOSH service off site will wait inside the front gate under the supervision of teacher on Front Gate.
- Please do not allow pre-school age or school age students in your care to ride their bikes or scooters on the school playground.
- It is CSO policy that no family pets are to be on school ground unless this is specifically permitted by school staff (for educational purposes) and risk assessment procedures are undertaken. We understand that family pets are mild mannered and often gentle however it is difficult to make exceptions so best practice is that our school remains pet free.
Pupil Free Days
As part of our school improvement agenda, we are allocated 5 days a year as pupil free days during which the whole staff receives targeted Professional Development.
This gives us 5 Staff Development or Pupil Free Days for 2020. However, the first day of Term 1 and the last 2 days of Term 4 are permanently secured as 3 of the 5 days. We then seek to book the further 2 days dependent on the needs of the staff PD and availability of trainers. We will always endeavour to tie it onto a weekend or even holiday to ensure minimum disruption. Having said that St Nicholas OOSH will open on these days for enrolled families to utilise.
We have booked in Friday March 6th for one of these Staff Development Days - or Pupil Free Days. Staff will be attending a course on Indigenous Spirituality and how we can embed this into our curriculum perspectives and Catholic Identity. The second day yet to be planned is expected to be either late Term 2 or in Term 3.
A New Wellbeing Framework for CCW
Today, we launched an integrated approach to student and community wellbeing. Throughout the year, this Framework will be conitually referenced, explicitly taught and practised in the classroom and on the playground and celebrated with wellbeing awards each Friday. This is a vital aspect of becoming life long learners and living life to the fullest.
Learners, whether they be children or adults, respond better when they can see purposeful links between different endeavours working towards a larger goal. Isolated, one off lessons or rhetoric will not stick. Our Wellbeing Framework attempts to map out the many facets of this endeavour in a clear and concise way and link it to what we are already doing.
Our school is driven by the Dominican motto of Veritas (Truth) and the values of Prayer, Learning, Service and Community. We are a Catholic school community driven with Jesus at the heart of all we do. We already have a clear PBL structure in place with Be Safe, Be Honest, Be Respectful and Be a Learner embedded into every classroom. The MJR resource has some wonderful connections with the story and person of Jesus. So how can we overlay all these elements of well-being to one single framework? Below is a graphic that will become the visual for our school’s wellbeing framework and the text below expands on this.
The Centrepiece – Wellbeing
- Within the Be You circle is the MJR challenge of being the face of Jesus to others as a way of being true to you. Living the "Great 8" references the gospel values on which we choose to base our lives. (more in this in the RE update of this newsletter)
- This centrepiece to the framework allows us to keep the Be You government imitative at the core of the overall framework. The Be You government initiative itself is mostly teacher PD and research based information for parents and staff working with children in the area of wellbeing. However it is important to be at the centre because, just like our wellbeing framework, it is child focused.
The Inner layer – Core Values
- On the inner layer of our framework are the Dominican values and motto that drive our unique charism within the Catholic Community. Just like St Dominic and those that belong to the Dominican order, we keep Jesus at the heart of all we do by living a life of Veritas - To seek truth and defend it fearlessly. In doing so, we are called to a life of prayer, service, community and learning.
- Integrating these core values in amongst the well-being framework connects our charism to our sense of wellbeing, our purpose to our calling. We have aligned them as much as possible with the outer layer.
The Outer Layer – PBL/ MJR
Within our existing PBL Framework, we have the school rules of Be Safe, Be Honest, Be Respectful and Be a Learner. To this, and for purposes that we hope will become clear, we have added Be a Community. Throughout the outer layer PBL, you will find reference to much of the MJR resources (outlined further in the RE update.)
- Be Respectful is about relationships (this is
- Be Honest is another direct link to our motto of Veritas and to Jesus as
- Be a Learner is of course our core purpose. There
- Be a Community is a new addition to our schools PBL framework but is
This section of the newsletter will attempt to extract the Make Jesus Real program from the Well-being framework we outlined above. We have spent significant time embedding the MJR program within the framework, but for clarity of the program itself, we want to spend some time on it alone.
What is MJR?
OUR MAKE JESUS REAL (MJR) initiative is centred around the belief that we are the image of Jesus to all people around us. We are His representatives and our actions should reflect His values. In the scriptures, Jesus says that we are part of his family and that the way we treat others should be reflective of the way we would treat Jesus.
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)
- a quality, Christ-inspired education for our students so each will gain a strong relationship with God through Christ and his Church.
- a holistic approach so that all who encounter the MJR philosophy will be inspired by the words, actions and teaching of Jesus Christ.
- the opportunities and resources to students so they can discover the values, qualities and attitudes necessary for a faith filled, positive life.
- a positive outlook for the students for their future so that they can take their place in society and demonstrate compassion for the marginalised.
MJR is not seen as an ‘extra thing’ to ‘do’. As it is a values based philosophy, it becomes ‘the way’ we do all things.MJR filters through everything we do, and say during the course of any given day. TheMJR programme aligns with the School’sWellbeing Framework and Positive Behaviour for Learning Framework. It interconnects with our core values of prayer, learning, service and community. These values encourage students to do their best, treat others fairly, serve each other, and follow principles of moral and ethical conduct and stand up for the rights of others. It obviously has some direct links to the RE curriculum but encompasses more than the 30 minute lesson itself. MJR is about finding the Jesus moment in the everyday and to have Jesus at the heart of all that we do.
For a clear outline of the resources, you are invited to watch the following video.
SOME curious MJR terms:
‘God Moment/ Spirit of Jesus’ – community members begin to witness and articulate a God/Jesus moment in the everyday. This is about seeing, sharing and celebrating that Jesus is at the heart of all we do. An MJR focus on God/Jesus moments can lead to Jesus Moment walls, post it notes and gotchas.
‘The Great 8’ – Often the term Gospel Values is referenced in our school but the Great 8 is a deliberate focus on just what these are- Love, Respect, Kindness, Gentleness, Patience, Forgiveness, Being Thankful, Prayer.
‘Raising the Bar’ is a common expression that is applied to MJR. It asks students to examine themselves and reflect on how they can become better people, always continuing to think positively; even during the times of hardship that life can present.
Your Heart Room Your heart room is the place where you and only you can go to meet Jesus, talk to him and be at peace with him. This is done by finding a quiet space and speaking to Jesus in the silence of your heart. Christian Meditation is another way that we can spend quiet time with Jesus
Acronyms used in MJR
G.T.S - provides the importance of three key skills when interacting with anybody. We Greet, we Treat and we Speak in a welcoming, respectful and gentle way.
W.E.S.T.I.E. - provides a meaningful platform for students, teachers and parents to ‘live’ the values of MJR on a daily basis. The acronym stand for:
Welcoming - being friendly and welcoming to others
Encouraging - Saying positive things to self and others
Saying Sorry - admitting personal wrong doing and taking steps to repair relationships.
Thankful - showing appreciation to others.
Inclusive - being inclusive in words and actions to others
Enthusiastic - showing a positive attitude towards school work, peers and teachers.
E.A.S.T - this time of what not to do. We discourage the E.A.S.T. approach to relationships: Excluding, Argumentative, Sulking and Talking back.
T.E.A.M – Together Everyone Achieves More. This is an important focus as it builds on the importance of community and key skills of collaboration and communication.
P.O.V – respecting everyone’s Point Of View as integral to discussion and finding best solutions. This is key to critical thinking and problem solving
T.R.A – Taking Responsibility for our Actions is an important part of learning from our mistakes. The only failure is a failure to learn.
B.I.Y - Believe In Yourself - Builds confidence and faith in our own ability to learn, work tough and achieve. A growth mindset that develops resilience and contributes to well-being.
Please email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
What are we teaching our students and why is it important?
These two important questions are key to all education endeavours. Whether it be as broad as the development of the national curriculum or as specific as the maths lesson after lunch. As a Catholic school in NSW we are guided by curriculum in 7 Key Learning Areas. With upwards of 250 pages each, you might imagine the complexity of referring to these documents on a daily basis.
In order to allow teachers to access the curriculum efficiently, we have developed curriculum maps from K - 6 (attached) which show a spread of content across stages and classes. From that, we developed scope and sequences for each class in each KLA with explicit outcomes and content to be covered. The final step is developing the daily teaching and learning sequence that will develop student's skills and understanding to meet the designated outcome (using the content to drive the learning). So all that goes on before the teacher even stands in front of the classroom on Day 1. In order for parents to at least grab the overall picture in each KLA we have provided the curriculum maps for each KLA.
Why is it important?
We have all said at some point in our own school days "When are we ever going to use this?". In fact I remember saying it quite angrily. However, the more i think about it the more I realise that what is learnt in a classroom is not only the exact content but the skills set needed to learn it which is then applied at any time we need to acquire new information. This, in turn, makes us life long learners. In fact the skill set, values and higher order thinking stays long after the content is forgotten. Besides, we can google the content but not higher high order thinking or skill.
Having said that, some explicit content and skills are essential to master before beginning to grasps the next level concept. This is particularly true in English (specifically reading and spelling) and Maths. We cannot expect a child to be able to comprehend the complexities of a text, let alone develop a love of literature; if they are struggling to decode the written word. Similarly, we cannot expect a child to develop an understanding of fractions with out an understanding of multiplication and factors; or understand numbers to 1 million with our a solid knowledge of place value to 100, then 1000 and so on.
Bit by bit, day by day students build upon learning from the day before in order to engage with the learning tomorrow. It is a slow process, builds momentum, has peaks and sometimes even plateaus. One of the most important things to remember is that learning is strengthened by practise. When your child first learnt to walk, they didn't just leave it there. They walked a bit more each day, they began to run, hop, jump and skip to the level of expertise that it becomes automatic. Daily practise is essential to automatise learning. We cannot stress enough the importance of reading everyday with and to your children as well as playing counting and number games with you children.
As the year goes on, we will continue to update you on the different learning that is happening in the classroom and at school. Each term, teachers will send home a letter attempting to outline the learning for that term so that you might reference this is supporting their learning at home.
At our opening school mass, our 2020 Student leaders were inducted and presented with their badges. These student leaders will form the core of our student parliament that will meet regulary to discuss student perpectives and input for our school. They will also form the voice of this newsletter section. We look forward to a positve year learning from the insights of the students for who we build our school.
- Ethan Cerniauskas
- Lachlan Gough
- Lara McKelvey
- Elyssia Smith
- Dominic James Doherty Curtis Mulherin
- Patrick Tilsen Trotter Zeph Burns
- MacKillop Treston Ellis Isaac Scott
- Katelyn Anderson
- Mace Heffernan
- Hayley Hong
- Byron Logan
- Angel Harris
- Claire Jenkins