Term 2, Week 6 Newsletter, 2022
Most afternoons I walk around the school and lock doors and gates before heading home. Last Friday I found the note below next to one of the classrooms. I don’t know the author or the recipient and that’s not important. What is important is the reminder of how precious our children are and the important lessons we can learn from them. Have a great week.
Staff Development Day
“Just because we covered it, doesn’t mean they learned it. It is our role to ensure students understand the expectations and the path to being successful”
“How do we know that what we are teaching is having an impact?”
These were two of the big questions staff asked of themselves at our Professional Learning day at school last Friday. As a team, we are learning to develop clarity and coherence in learning and teaching, in order to build capacity in ourselves and our students. There was much rich discussion throughout the day and I am always in awe of the commitment and passion shown by staff to constantly look for ways to improve our teaching to optimise learning outcomes for all students. The days are so valuable for staff, and ultimately students, and we always appreciate the support we have from families especially when these days occur midway through the school term.
Class Parent meeting
Our second Class parent meeting for the year will be held this Thursday 1st June at the special time of 8.45am. This is to accommodate parents wishing to attend the Stage Two Mass commencing at 9.30am.
Agenda: Feedback from Mother's Day breakfast / Planning for Father's Day/ Ideas for class parents/ Upcoming events/ General Business.
What a fantastic sight having our two St Finbarr’s teams playing on the school oval yesterday morning. We hosted Byron Bay Public School and the games were played in a great spirit, with a high level of skill shown with the ball and in defence. All games were closely contested and we are hoping this will lead to more sporting opportunities for all our students. Also, our school AFL team participated in a Gala Day at the Cavanbah Centre today. Well done to all school representatives.
Parent Feedback: “The boys had so much fun this morning. It was great to come in and watch them play as a school team. It brought back memories of many a school sport match when I was in primary school.”
Thank you to everyone involved in getting them ready and organised! May there be many more. Go Finnies!
Last Tuesday night a number of students celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Sacrament of Confirmation is such a beautiful sacrament and it was such a special evening for our 18 candidates who were confirmed by The Most Reverend Gregory Homeming OCD Bishop of Lismore.
We sincerely thank Bishop Reverend Gregory Homeming and Fr David Gilbey who always ensure the candidates feel so welcomed and supported on this very special evening, acknowledging the excitement of each child during this very special part of their faith journey. Their words of God’s love and the gifts they are receiving are always expressed joyfully making this such a memorable evening.
The preparation of Confirmation is a beautiful journey and we thank all members of the Holy Spirit Parish for their prayers for the candidates during this time. As Father David mentioned on the night, there are many people who support the candidates in many ways in the preparation and once again we would like to acknowledge Pat Higgins and Kathryn Head who are always there during the preparation masses helping out in anyway they can and who every year take the time to prepare beautiful certificates for each of the candidates.
The celebration of the Mass is at the heart of Catholic life and worship with the purpose of every school Mass being to unite all present more closely to Christ, to deepen their love for Him and for others. Therefore, it is so wonderful for our students to once again be able to prepare, participate and celebrate Mass at St Finbarr’s.
Two Fridays ago, our Stage 3 students and teachers celebrated a beautiful Mass along with their parents and parishioners celebrating with the theme of We Celebrate the Risen Lord. The students created beautiful works of art depicting this theme which were placed up in the church for the Mass.
This week our Stage 2 students and teachers will be celebrating Mass on Thursday the 2nd of June at 9:30 am. Once again everyone is warmly invited.
This coming weekend Sunday June 5th, we celebrate Pentecost which is one of the most important feast days of the year. Pentecost always occurs 50 days after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and ten days after his ascension into heaven, concluding the Easter season and celebrating the beginning of the Church.
Pentecost is the acknowledgement and celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, other disciples and the Virgin Mary who were gathered together in the Upper room.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.(Acts 2:1-11)
As God’s children, it is at this time, we remember to open our hearts to receive the breath of the Holy Spirit so that we can flourish in God’s grace.
Mission & Additional Needs
National Sorry Day
Every year on 26 May, National Sorry Day remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities, which we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations’.
National Sorry Day is a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also commemorated by Australians right around the country.
Last Thursday we gathered together for a whole school Liturgy to begin the day. This was a beautiful ceremony to acknowledge, reflect and celebrate our commitment to doing better each day.
Learning and Teaching
Teachers are Learners Too
Last Friday the staff engaged in professional learning by looking at our current reality - where are our students at - and what can we do in our teaching to ensure growth for all.
Lyn Sharratt Learning Collaborative
The Learning Collaborative is a growth, development and research partnership with Catholic Schools Lismore and Dr Lyn Sharratt. The Lismore Diocese is committed to 'maximising the learning potential of our children and young people to be lifelong learners who are actively engaged with a range of people, places and disciplines as they grow as critical and creative problem-solvers who embrace society in all its diversity,' (Diocesan Literacy & Numeracy Strategy, 2021 - 2024). The Diocese continues this commitment through the partnership with Dr Lyn Sharratt, producing a continuously improving learning organisation of Lead Learners.
Leaders become even more deeply committed to their successes, using the research and the self-assessment tools developed to build teacher capacity and improve student achievement outcomes.
We are very lucky to be a part of this Learning Collaborative looking at how we can further improve the teaching and learning at St Finbarr’s. The Lyn Sharratt Team: Mr Bleakley, Mrs Piccoli, Mrs Magnus, Miss Hunnibell and Mrs Mac, have spent the last two days working with other schools, system leaders and Dr Lyn Sharratt to learn together, reflect on our current practices and plan for success so that we can improve the growth and achievement for all students at our school.
These days are very intense but extremely valuable and we are so excited to take our learning forward to the rest of the teaching team and the students.
"Learning, teaching and leading with consistent, persistent and insistent effort results in CLARITY of purpose and practice and a developed sense of shared responsibility and accountability, which matters MOST to raising the bar and closing the gaps for all students." Lyn Sharratt, Clarity, p.341
Semester One Reports
Parents / Carers are issued with reports at the end of Semester One and Two. All reports are written and will be sent home via COMPASS.
You will receive your child’s mid year student reports at the end of this term and we wish to draw your attention to important aspects of our assessment and reporting practices that will be reflected in the achievement grades. We hope this clarifies how teachers are assessing and reporting on the learning evidence, in particular what a C grade means.
The Common Grade Scale, developed by NESA, is used to report student academic performance for students in Years 1 to 6. Students are given an A to E grading which summarises the standard or quality of achievement and describes the depth of knowledge and understanding and the range of skills that students working at that standard typically show. Each grade level describes three important elements — the learning contexts, the quality of knowledge and understanding, and the quality of skills. Use of the Common Grade Scale enables our school to report consistent information about student achievement and supports teachers in their planning for the next steps in the learning process.
|GRADE||COMMON GRADE SCALE|
|A||The student has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the content and can readily apply this knowledge. In addition, the student has achieved a very high level of competence in the processes and skills and can apply these skills to new situations|
|B||The student has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the content and a high level of competence in the processes and skils. In addition, the student is able to apply this knowledge and these skills to most situations.|
|C||The student has a sound knowledge and understanding of the main areas of content and has achieved an adequate level of competence in the processes and skills.|
|D||The student has a basic kowledge and understanding of the content and has achieved a limited level of competence in the processes and skills.|
|E||The student has an elementary knowledge and understanding in few areas of the content and has achieved very limited competence in some of the processes and skills.|
Teachers are engaged in rigorous processes to collect and analyse student work samples and assessments to inform the learning and teaching.
Teachers are using a range of evidence to assign A-E Achievement Grades with the following in mind:
- The capacity of students to transfer what they know to new and increasingly unfamiliar contexts: D grades indicate students are likely to only be able to apply their understandings to the same, familiar contexts. C grades indicate that there is evidence that students can transfer their learning into new contexts (similar but different situations) at a SOUND level. For example a student may show evidence of understanding during today’s lesson. However, if they were not able to demonstrate that understanding to the same degree or better, tomorrow or later today in the same subject area, or in another subject area, they would not yet be demonstrating SOUND (C) level achievement. For students to progress to a B they must demonstrate a thorough capacity in new contexts and an A is an extensive understanding and capacity to transfer from one situation to another.
Kindergarten students will not be graded A-E.
Kindergarten students receive a written report based on the three levels of achievement:
- Working Towards the stage outcome
- Working At the stage outcome
- Working Beyond the stage outcome
We are developing expert learners who are more able to transfer what they learn and apply it successfully in new situations. Evidence of learning is not just in books or files, as we engage students in more collaborative learning; more focus on students slowing down and thinking more deeply; more focus on students processing and explaining their learning. Teachers and students are striving to develop new and improved ways to record and share evidence of learning.
Student reports are snapshots of each student’s learning at this time, based on evidence from a range of assessments. The reports do not stand on their own, but are an important element of the learning and teaching cycle and our reporting and communication practices. There should be no real surprises in your child’s report. The learning goals in the reports identify your child/rens next steps and are the focus moving forward and they will be monitored and adjusted routinely.
Learning and Teaching
Diocesan Cross Country
Well done to our 13 students who participated in the Diocesan Cross Country Carnival, held in Grafton last Tuesday. The conditions were wet, cold and very muddy!.
Congratulations to Roley, Jack, Will, Isla, Milla and Lucy who have qualified for the Polding Cross Country Carnival to be held at Eastern Creek, Sydney. We wish them all the very best!
K-1 Athletics Carnival
Next Thursday morning, our K-1 students will all be participating in their Athletics Carnival. This is a non-competitive event, focusing on learning Athletics skills and having fun. Students are to wear their sports uniform and ensure they have their school hat. Parents are most welcome to attend.
2-6 Athletics Carnival
This will be held next Friday and will run all day. This event will be competitive for all students, with a Zone Athletics team selected from the results. Students are to wear their sports uniform and ensure they have their school hat. Parents are most welcome to attend and bring a picnic lunch.
Diocesan Cross Country
Fee Support for Families Affected By Flooding
Fee support for families affected by flooding
Please see correspondence below, from Jenny Allen - Acting Director of Catholic Schools:
Dear Parents, Caregivers and Families,
We know that some flood-affected families and communities will continue to work through their response and recovery for some time. We understand that the financial impact of the flood event has been extensive for many families in the affected regions.
In recognition of this burden, the Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools Ltd (DLCSL) Board has approved support to schools and parishes to provide full or partial fee relief (50%). This fee relief will include levies.
Full-year fee relief will be provided to families that received any Australian Government financial assistance payment relating to the 2022 floods, including either the:
• Disaster Recovery Payment (property damage)
• Disaster Recovery Allowance (income)
Partial fee relief (up to 50%) may be provided to other flood-affected families at the Principal’s discretion. Although individual circumstances will vary widely, the following factors will be considered in approving partial fee relief:
• Extent of property damage
• Duration of loss of income
• Other factors as appropriate
If you would like to request the fee relief outlined above, please contact Alison Mason at St Finbarr’s School 66856 342 or email@example.com.
Fees that have already been paid can be refunded or carried forward as a credit for 2023. Please indicate in your application which of these options you prefer.
I thank you again for your ongoing support of St Finbarr’s. Our families and communities remain in our prayers. Please don’t hesitate to contact the school should you have any questions.
Acting Director of Catholic Schools