Welcome to our third newsletter of Term 2. Suddenly we find ourselves past the midpoint of a very interchangeable term. We started with 100% Home Learning and very little indication of a date where we could return to normal. We were staying at home full time except for only the most necessary of excursions and Australia was only starting to see the benefits of flattening the Covid curve. Here we are, 6 weeks later, and we are back full time face to face learning, shops and services are opening up more and more and we are beginning to emerge from the restrictions. We may be doing it carefully and slowly but we are doing it joyfully and gratefully. I hope everyone manages to take an opportunity to enjoy the upcoming long weekend because we weren't even sure we'd be this free of restrictions by now when we were in lockdown over the Easter long weekend. In celebrating Australia's situation, I am continually mindful of nations and regions around the world still struggling with the impact of Covid, dealing with the devastating illness as well as mounting civil unrest created by fear, frustration and anxiety. I am also mindful of those of us still burdened by the economic impact of the restricitons and find themselves without employment, whether that be temporarily or indefinately. My prayers are as much petition for those still struggling as they are for thankfulness for Australia's current positive circumstances.
In our newsletter this week:
In this Principal's Report, I will outline the modified Academic reports for this semester. I also clarify some routines surrounding Assemblies and Gatherings as well as discuss how we willl use the Home Learning Page now that we have returned to Face to Face teaching.
In the Curriculum Update, David will outline the school's Homework Expectations as we transition back to normal. Our school councillor, Vanessa Peterson will continue to support student wellbeing during this transition time in the Student Welfare Update, we share important lessons as part of Reconciliation Week in the Classroom Update and Lisa York will share two important Feast Days,Pentecost and the Feast of Corpus Christi in the RE Update.
Assemblies and Gatherings.
Despite returning to some level of normality, there are still a number of restrictions still in place regarding the school site. The main restriction being that we need to maintain limited access to the site for all non-essential adults as well as limit the number of adults gathered in one space for any length of time. This continues to restrict our Awards Assembly, and other liturgical events we often share as a community.
So what do to moving forward? Firstly, our weekly awards will continue to be presented on COMPASS each Friday afternoon for families to share. The assembly will also be shown to the class on the following Monday morning during which the actual awards will be presented to the students in person as the Assembly is being played. The online assembly has the added benefit of providing an opportunity for students to witness and participate in the acknowledgement of country, national anthem, school prayer, vision statement and school song. All of which are such important elements of any community gathering. Similarly, this week's Reconciliation Week Liturgy and the previous Mother's Day liturgies represents a model of liturgy that allows classes and families to celebrate through prayer even though we are not able to gather in person.
Both these adaptations to our community events are working well and while they are taking us and the children in new directions in the planning, preparing and delivery of assemblies and liturgies, it is not to say those directions don't offer a new skill set and some pretty magical moments. The sounds of our choir singing in the fresh air of the Dominic Courtyard rising through the classroom was one such beautiful moment. Thank you to the students and staff involved in making these solutions come to fruition and exploring the possibilities of what else we could include.
As advised with the notification from the CSO on Wednesday 3rd June (on COMPASS and copy attached below), our school is currently responding to a modification in the way we report Academic Achievement for Semester 1. First thing to note is that the Reports themselves will not be published until the beginning of Week 3 next term (Monday, 3rd of July TBC) allowing staff the time to consolidate learning for the remainder of Term 2 before beginning assessment of that learning.
One of our priorities upon the return to face to face teaching, and for the remainder of the term, is to focus on those outcomes we consider to be foundational to future learning goals. The flexible options in the current reporting period allows each school to determine those KLAs on which they are able to confidently assess and report accurate achievement levels for each of the students. Given this, we will be assessing and reporting on the KLAs of English, Maths and RE for this semester. These achievement grades will not be using the A - E grades but more of a description of achievement of Towards, At or Above expectations for the grade at this time. The report will also offer teacher judgements for observable work habits and learning dispositions across classroom learning. Parents will have a clear idea of those same work habits and learning dispositions from the time spent supporting the learning at home, but perhaps they present differently in a classroom compared to the home learning context.
Following the actual report publication, the school will set up an opportunity to meet with teachers for a more focused conversation about the learning to date and setting some important goals for the remainder of the year. It is actually a really exciting reporting model as it once again promotes the importance of the partnership between home and school in the education journey of each student. I imagine you don't read too much in a school report that you are not already aware of, struggle with or celebrate in supporting your child. The events of the last semester means this is more true than ever, with a significant proportion of learning being completed at home. We look forward to sharing our insights with you about the learning for Semester 1, and vice versa, as we work towards this modified post covid reporting model.
Home Learning Page
As part of our support for Home Learning during the Covid crisis, we established a Home Learning page on the school's website that we hoped provided remote access to links, schedule of learning and PDFs to complete learning. We aimed for it to be a one stop shop for home learning.
With the return to Face to Face teaching, we have reworked the page itself in that it no longer needs to provide the extensive learning that is covered in class but it can be used to provide parents with further links to resources relevant to that learning as well as PDFs of the current homework or any ongoing home based projects that have been assigned. The idea being that parents can touch base with some of the independent learning tasks/ homework that have been assigned. This is especially relevant for the older students as they begin to develop their independent learning skills ready for the expectations in high school.
David will outline the school's Homework policy further in the Curriculum Update of this newsletter, but for now I wanted to map out the staff's plan to re-purpose the Home Learning Page into a Homework Platform so this great resource does not simply disappear. The page will evolve over time as we don't intend to inundate students with homework during this transition time, but in the new term I suspect we will begin to use the platform in its new structure. For now the pages will remain, with the most relevant links being on the Corpus Christi Library Page, where access on online books is still available as well as the Wellbeing page.
Corpus Christi Smile News Alert
Reports have been recieved that a group, calling themselves the "Secret Smile Club" have been performing random acts of kindness to elicit smiles amongst our Corpus Christi Community.
The first official report was received Wednesday morning 27th May at 8.15am, when teachers arrived to a staffroom table filled with flowers and messages from the club. Later that day all Corpus Christi students were also gifted a welcome message and lollipop on their way to depart for the day. Messages read "Welcome back we missed you" and "So happy to see you're back". This week, random surprises are being left for others to find letting them know how important they are and we are hearing rumours that others have been assigned secret missions of kindness to others. Could this be spreading?
I can solemly swear that it not me nor is it something sanctioned by the School Executive Team. So who is it? How are they managing it?
Several accusations have been made, including the suspicion that Mrs Haardt direct from her current residence in Germany is responsible. As yet, no firm evidence has been found to confirm the person or persons responsible. However, we can confirm that there was certainly a sea of smiles from both teachers and students as they all returned to school for first time since being in social isolation some weeks ago. Experts warn that the current smile epidemic is certainly spreading fast! Watch this space. Lets steepen this curve!!!!!
As I sign off for another two weeks, I wanted to share this prayer again. It seems something that still has relevance to the world we a currently witnessing from afar and navigating here closer to home. While I am feeling more every day that we are moving forward and emerging from this unprecendented time, my thoughts and prayers are remain with those still suffereing.
Have a great two weeks,
A Prayer during the Covid Pandemic.
In this challenging time Lord Jesus Christ, be merciful to us and bring those in need, your loving aid in these troubled times. Heal all our sickness and every affliction of your people. Drive out our infirmities of soul and body; calm fears and anxieties, free us from overwhelming strss and above all free us of all disease.
We place in your gentle Heart the elderly, the frail, people with disability, children, young people and families, our indigenous peoples, those who are poor, lonely and isolated. As you walk with us, free them from fear, and give them patience and hope together with your loving care.
We place our trust in you, the risen Lord, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Afternoon Pick Up Routines
Firstly I want to thank our parent community for your understanding and patience as we navigate the new afternoon pick up procedures that mean that we are currently not allowing parents to wait on site as students are dismissed. Instead, we are calling students to either the bottom or front gate. As a rule this is working well.
However, I do need to mention the 5 minute parking zone that comes into effect as of 2.30pm. It must be made clear that parking and sitting in your car from 2.30 onwards in order to pick up your kids once the 2.45pm dismissal starts is still a violation of the parking regulations for that zone. You could technically be booked and moreover, it hinders parents who are arriving to pick up their child earlier to get to a 2.45 appointment and who would otherwise quickly park, sign their child out and be on their way prior to normal dismissal.
I understand the temptation to use this practice and admittedly is was going on long before Covid restrictions were in place. I want to ask that parents take steps to avoid the situation which only adds to frustration of others and the efficiency of dismissal overall. Technically, these parks should not be taken by normal pick-up cars until 2.40pm at the latest which means they will only be in the spot for 5 minutes prior to the designated time.
This week, I followed up on parent inquiries about re-opening the Canteen given that the students have returned for full time Face to Face. I am aware that High Schools and even some larger Primary Schools have re-opened the canteens so was happy to investigate the possibility but also needed to be sure of due diligence. Here is an update on what i discovered this week regarding Canteens.
Firstly, as a rule, the school canteens that are operating are doing so under a paid employee (Canteen Supervisor) who is overseeing the regulated hygiene practices that must be in place for such a service.
Secondly, information from our Assistant Director this week included advice of conditions that must be met if a smaller school was hoping to reopen their canteen. Below is a list of those conditions
Opening a School Canteen can be supported if:
- Parent support for the canteen reopening is evident with regular, committed volunteers aware of and trained in Covid Hygiene procedures
- High levels of hygiene protocols are consistently adhered with.
- There must be 1.5 spacing of students as they line up.
- Food is of the pre-packaged variety
- There is to be no handling of money.
As you can see that while we may not be too far off the first four points that would enable us to reopen the canteen, the fifth recommendation presents the greatest limitation. We are a long way from online/non cash payments for a canteen servicing a school of this size. Given that challenge and after conversations with members of the canteen committee this week who were willing to try, I have decided that for now, our canteen must remain closed until we can at least solve the issue of money handling or the advice changes. I will continue to work on a solution and update the community in upcoming newsletters.
Hello parents and carers.
Everyone can have worries and fears from time to time, they are an everyday part of life. This weeks’ activities focus on helping children to recognise and understand worries and to introduce some ways to help with the little worries we can have.
Our body can give us signs that we are feeling some worry. The Body Mapping exercise is a great way to introduce kids to how we can feel when we are worried. When we are able to notice what is happening in our body and read the signs we can identify when to seek some help. There are so many things that we can do ourselves to help with our worries such as exercise, games, art and craft and playing with our pets. The Octopus tool is a terrific resource to help children choose which activities they might use to help when feeling worried. If your children wish to complete the activities, it would be great if you could help them.
Mindfulness can be used to reduce worry and stress. The whole family might like to practise mindfulness by using the Smiling Mind app https://www.smilingmind.com.au/
You might like to read this article for some more tips on how to help children to manage fears and worries https://childmind.org/article/help-children-manage-fears/
Click on the picture below to view the slideshow 'All About Wellbeing"
The next newsletter will have some more information to about anxiety.
Last Sunday was the feast of Pentecost. Pentecost celebrates the power of the Holy
Spirit coming upon the disciples and energising them to set about their mission of continuing the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus had breathed the Spirit upon them but it took the roaring wind to make a real impression on the disciples. There are
frequent references in the gospels to Jesus being ‘filled with the Spirit’. It is this Spirit with which he was filled that he breathed upon his disciples; it is that same Spirit that we receive sacramentally in Confirmation.
Historical Context – Pentecost
The word Pentecost comes from the Greek for fiftieth day. Pentecost Sunday ends the season of Easter and comes as a Sabbath day after seven weeks of seven days.
In Jewish tradition the 50th day after the Passover was celebrated as a blessing of the harvest and rather than the unleavened bread of Passover it was celebrated by leavening the bread. It was for this reason that the disciples were gathered together when they experienced the Holy Spirit empowering them. In Christian tradition, Pentecost is celebrated as the arrival of the Spirit, promised by Jesus, that animated the disciples to spread the gospel of Jesus and gather believers to form what would eventually become the Church.
Have you thought? The Spirit
We can sometimes regard Pentecost as the day the Holy Spirit came into the world However, the Spirit had long been active in the world before this event. In fact,
even the second verse of Genesis Chapter 1 tells us that the Spirit hovered over the waters. The Old Testament is filled with references in which ‘The Spirit of God came upon (him) with power’ and the Spirit was evident at Jesus’ baptism and throughout the gospels. Jesus is frequently described as being ‘filled with the Spirit’. So, from the very beginning of creation the Spirit has moved in the world and continues to energise it today.
Living the Gospel – Come, Holy Spirit
‘Come, Holy Spirit’, or its Latin, Vene Sante Spiritus, has become the basis of countless prayers and hymns over many hundreds of years. To this day, it remains a powerful invocation that can be used in prayer or meditation. Three simple words
convey a wealth of meaning. The invitation for the Spirit to ‘Come’ indicates recognition of the need for the Spirit’s intervention and openness to accept the guidance that the Spirit brings. It is a powerful, simple prayer that can be used at the outset of any significant undertaking or whenever you find yourself in need of inspiration.
Feast of Corpus Christi
This cominfg weekend we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, or the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, as it is often called today. For many centuries, the feast was celebrated with a Eucharistic procession, in which the Sacred Host was carried throughout the town, accompanied by hymns and litanies.
In the gospel passage this weekend we will hear how Jesus mentions a number of times about his followers eating his flesh and drinking his blood; ‘For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.’ In the Eucharist, we celebrate the ‘real presence’ of Jesus, understanding that
bread and wine is changed into the body and blood of Christ. This change does not occur in a physical, observable way. The Church teaches that the ‘substance’ of bread and wine (what makes them bread and wine in essence) is changed but not the physical attributes. This is known as ‘transubstantiation’ – change of substance.
How Can We Apply This in Our Own Lives Today?
Meals are very important events. Not only do we physically need food and drink to keep ourselves alive, but we use meals to mark occasions and celebrate events: birthdays; weddings; dates; achievements; disappointments; reunions. There is a sacredness about gathering with friends and family and sharing a meal
together. Stories are told; memories shared; the food is appreciated and more often than not there’s a drink to accompany the meal. Treating such occasions with gratitude – as blessed moments of grace – is living out the Eucharistic reality of welcoming Jesus into our lives and seeking to be more like him.
Prayers for National Reconciliation Week
All creation once declared your glory
Your laws were honoured and trusted,
Listen to our prayer as we turn to you.
Hear the cry of Jesus, your Son on the Cross.
Help us to replace your national shame, with true National pride by restoring the dignity of our First Peoples whose antiquity is unsurpassed.
May our faith and trust in you increase.
Only then will our Nation grow strong and be a worthy place for all who wish to make their home in our LAND.
by Aunty Betty Pike
God of holy Dreaming, Great Creator Spirit,
from the dawn of creation you have given your
children the good things of Mother Earth.
You spoke and the gum tree grew.
In the vast desert and dense forest,
and in cities at the water’s edge,
creation sings your praise.
Your presence endures as the rock at the heart of our land.
When Jesus hung on the tree
you heard the cries of all your people
and became one with your wounded ones: the convicts, the hunted, the dispossessed, the children taken from their families.
The sunrise of your Son coloured the earth anew,
and bathed it in glorious hope.
In Jesus we have been reconciled to you,
to each other and to your whole creation.
Lead us on, Great Spirit,
as we gather from the four corners of the earth;
Enable us to walk together in trust
from the hurt of the past
into the full day which has dawned in Jesus Christ.
Have a great fortnight and be kind to yourselves!
Mrs Lisa York
Religious Education Coordinator (Acting)
Homework – an eight letter word likely to spark an immediate headache from the parents and moans from the children.
As parents reading this, many of you will have agonised over it, marked it and, at one time or another, questioned whether it's worth the time, the anxiety and effort ... for you and for your child.
Homework and it’s effectiveness as a tool of learning. continues to be a hotly debated topic. Despite the stigma, homework and regular revision contributes to better learning achievements as well as developing important study and time management skills. Most importantly it allows parents a chance to be engaged in their child’s learning.
I often say to my children at the beginning of each year, ‘if we want to be good swimmers then we need to practice in the pool; and the more we do it the better we become.’ Learning is the same.
A positive outcome from the Covid isolation was the opportunity for parents to reconnect with their child in an educative sense. It may have been forced on us, but it allowed us to be more involved with our child’s learning. Parents went from asking their child what happened in school today pre-covid, to now knowing exactly what they are doing.
Our school website with its Home Learning Tab became the focal point for all families to launch into the new week of work. We intend to keep the momentum going with the website and make this space the place for our Homework. There are many amazing ideas how we can best achieve that for families but if the quality of the Homework is anything like the quality and success of the Home Learning then we are all in a good place.
Before launching the Home LEarning tab in its new form, we thought it wise to revise the school's current approach to and expectations regarding homework. The table and information below can be found in our school's Homework Policy and Procedures.
This table shows the minimum daily commitment and mandated inclusions in homework.
Minimum Daily commitment to Homework
Early Stage 1, Stage 1
Other key features of homework at Corpus Christi is its flexibility. Homework and completing homework SHOULD NOT place any undue pressure on students and their families. As was the case with Home Learning, student and family wellbeing is paramount and homework expectations should not rob the children of time to develop other life skills, like recreational and artistic activities and social interaction. Homework is counterproductive if it places pressure on family life, when parents would be encouraged to spend quality time with their children, by choosing to instead reading to and playing with them.
There are many pros and cons of homework. There is however strong evidence and general agreement that homework in infants (revision and drills) and the primary
grades plays an important transitional role in preparing students for secondary school and beyond. Homework also helps the parent to understand the progress the child is making or otherwise and can therefore help make parent-teacher interviews more meaningful.
There are many forms and types of Homework to be given: There are four main types of homework that might be set for students at Corpus Christi K-6 are:
- Practice Homework - providing students with opportunities to apply knowledge; or to review, revise and reinforce newly acquired skills in literacy and numeracy appropriate to grade level. These tasks may include reading, spelling, number sense and multiplication facts. This encompasses the compulsory inclusions of Reading and Maths mentioned previously in this policy.
- Connecting Homework – providing opportunities for students to self- select a homework task which connects with the current learning being undertaken in class. These tasks (often appearing on a matrix) may incorporate learning opportunities involving a variety of learning styles, so that students can select the task/tasks they are motivated to complete.
- Assignment Homework - encouraging students to pursue knowledge and learning individually and imaginatively. These assignments can be from any Key Learning Area eg. Speeches for Talking and Listening; Design and Make tasks from Science; Research presentations for HSIE-- more suited to older years, when marking criteria is explicit, this also prepares the senior students for assignment work in High School.
- Life Skills Homework - providing opportunities to acknowledge the educational value of time spent with family, religious activities, building new friendships, doing chores, learning new skills and in extra-curricular activities so that students see that both home and school value such learning.
Successful schools see education as a collaborative process between the student, parent and the school, and consider parents to be ‘partners’ in their children’s
education. Home Learning through the Covid Pandemic, has helped re-establish that partnership and we would love it to continue, giving your child every opportunity to learn, to succeed, and be happy. In the meantime, watch our Home Learning Page as it is slowly remodelled to a Homework Platform in the coming weeks.
National Reconciliation Week.
This week we commemorated National Reconciliation Week which is marked by the National Day of Apology on the 26th May and Mabo Day on the 3rd June. This is a very important week for all Australians. It is so important to acknowledge past wrongs and the trauma enacted on the Indigenous people by different governing bodies in the last 230 years of white settlement. Embedded in the apology is the hope that we can move forward in a spirit of reconciliation and heal relationships. Together, we can work for a renewed vision for Australia with a more equitable and respectful future for all.
Our school has marked the occasion with a beautiful liturgy shared in classes throughout the week. Each class and other learning spaces throughout the school have been presented with a beautifully designed cross that combines the Catholic Identity of the cross with Aboriginal Spirituality and Story. The crosses were created by local artist, Samantha Harris and to each cross there is a story, or rather the use of symbols that tell a story. The students spent some time this week looking at how important Aboriginal Painting is to the spiritual traditions of the Indigenous people, with it actually being about the sharing of story and history. It is more than the visual aesthetics. It is used as an important way to communicate between tribes, generations and nations. The students created their own crosses to be displayed as a sign of their own commitment to reconciliation.
While we are only beginning our journey as a school to understand the many important aspects of Aboriginal Culture, this week proved to be a positive experience for all and we look forward to embedding more symbols of interconnectedness between our Faith and Indigenous Spiriruality that we have the privelege to celebrate and share. This is one of the goals we set oursleves in the 2020 School Improvement Goal and I want to acknowledge the work of Mrs Karen Chapman (our Aboriginal Education Teacher) and Mrs Lisa York (Our Religious Education Coordinator) in leading this initiative in our school.
Goal 3: Make visible and active links between a shared Catholic Identity and the indigenous spirituality and culture of the land on which our school stands
Meeting our Staff
We miss our contact with parents and while some staff are visibly connecting with parents (Face to face) as part of their roles in the school, we have many different staff members doing amazing work in their different roles within our school. However, due to the nature of their roles, they may not be as well known to the parent community as other staff members especially at the moment when we are unable to connect with parents onsite.
In the absence of whole school community events to celebrate in the newsletter, we are going to use the Community Update section to introduce some of our hardworking team members who may not be known to all. This week, we would like to introduce Mrs Karen Chapman, our Aboriginal Education Teacher.