Term 4 Week 2 Newsletter 2021
Welcome to Term 4!
It’s so good to be back at school and the children have settled into school routines with ease. We’ve all become quite adept at checking our school communication as lockdown and vaccination information is updated on a regular basis. Thank you, once again, for the manner in which you are all supporting the school and the NSW Public Health Orders.
As we welcome you back, to what is usually a very busy term, let's take a moment to pause, reflect and pray for those in our community who may be struggling during this difficult time. Thank you to Miss Shelley Clark who created this beautiful staff prayer recently, which is timely for us all.
We believe that the more normality, consistency, care and support we can provide for each child at school will go a long way to keeping them happy and focused and their wellbeing healthy. This year throughout the school we have been focusing on six key learning dispositions which are attributes to encourage our students to develop into confident and responsible citizens.
I thank Danielle Cordina (Alexander Yr 2) who has used her graphic design skills to provide a wonderful set of posters for each class.
We are excited to be able to offer our Mini Fins Transition to School program beginning in the next few weeks. More information will be sent to families shortly as we ensure we will be complying with the latest Covid regulations and guidelines. At this stage we will be looking at three sessions for our 2022 Kinders to enable them to meet their teachers, fellow students and experience school life in exciting anticipation for the first year of schooling.
Recently I attended a meeting with Fr David Gilbey, architects and representatives from the Catholic Schools Office in relation to our proposed new building plans. At this meeting we were informed that the two school demountable rooms will be removed during the Christmas school holiday period. This is the exciting first stage of the new building works that will commence in the new year. Unfortunately this will result in the Funhouse Afterschool Care centre being unable to continue to operate on the school premises from Monday 6th December. Due to Work. Health & Safety requirements, there will be fencing around the school grounds and heavy machinery in operation during the building process which is expected to continue into mid 2023.
The safety of our children is our primary concern, and unfortunately there is also no other suitable space available on the site for the program to operate. The reason we have been granted funding for our new buildings is due to our limited space for the growing student population and also the flooding issue in the classrooms underneath the school hall. I have met with Kim Hennessey from Funhouse who is aware and understanding of the situation. I believe Kim will be investigating other possible venues around the town in an effort to continue to run this valuable service which is used by St Finbarr’s families after school and during holiday periods.
We are aware that this service has been very much appreciated by school families for several years and Kim’s friendly, caring and welcoming spirit will be missed in the St Finbarr’s community. If you are aware of any potential spaces to rent or have any questions regarding the service please contact Kim at email@example.com. The Funhouse is not a school operated service and is privately run through the Department of Education.
We currently have waiting lists for enrolments in all grades for 2022 with Buffy and Alison fielding calls from prospective families most days. If you will be leaving the St Finbarr’s community at the end of 2021 or in the near future could you please inform the school office as soon as possible to enable the school to finalise classes and enrolments for next year.
Term 4 were issued this week. Please access and view your invoice in the Compass app. Statements will be issued on 31st October.
The preferred method of payment is via the Compass app or via Bpay.
Welcome Cindy Clarke who will be working with us as a School Counsellor in Term Four.
Cindy will be with us each Wednesday this term and support the wonderful work presently done by Caroline Bailey.
We also welcome back Alison Mason in the front office who joins us after a well deserved break from her role.
Have you got the COMPASS mobile app yet?
This app (on your smartphone or device) will allow you to;
- Monitor your child's attenance
- Enter explaination for student absense or lateness
- Update your family contact details
- View the school calendar
- Download and view your Semester 2 Reports at the end of this school year.
- Pay and monitor your school fee accounts and any upcoming excrusions or events.
Please note; at this stage we will continue to use the Flexischools App for all canteen ordering.
See the helpful video below in how best to use this online platform.
Digital Technology Plan
Technology use in Australian schools has been a bit hit and miss to say the least. As technology has developed, schools have often made short term decisions with limited funds allocated. This can result in students being disadvantaged by having a variety of devices with varying programs and inequity in the quality of the device.
We are excited to announce that after much research, planning and consultation St Finbarr’s will be moving to the use of Apple Ipads 2022 and beyond. In Year Three to Year Six students will be provided with their own device which will be available for home use. We have come to an arrangement with our suppliers to lease the devices on a 24 month plan which ensures we will keep up to date with the latest software and general wear and tear. Stage 3M have been our trial group this year utilizing 1: 1 devices and trialling educational software and the progress and quality of work the students have produced during this time has been phenomenal. Unfortunately information sessions planned for parents have not been permitted due to the Covid restrictions; however we will disseminate as much information as possible through newsletters and links throughout the year. All St Finbarr’s staff are currently engaged in Professional Development to ensure we are best equipped to meet the needs of the students.
I am aware that some students may already have access to a reliable device at home however by having the school provide and service all students with the same device model, apps and programs we can ensure consistency with our learning and our focus on cyber safety across the school. Students in Kinder to Year Two will have access to devices with a 1:2 ratio however only the Stage Two and Three students will be permitted to take home the devices for school related activities. Representatives from Apple have worked with the Catholic Schools Office to provide a very competitive pricing agreement which we believe is fair and reasonable for the service provided. Please keep in mind that this has been a decision that has been made over an 18 months consultation period with our school team tapping into the experiences of many successful cutting edge schools in the state. This new Technology plan will necessitate a slight increase in fees in 2022 for the technology component however we believe the educational value of the technology plan is well worth the investment.
As we begin a new school Term I ask that you check your child’s uniform and other belongings. Regarding the school uniform, there are very clear expectations that all students wear the correct uniform at St Finbarr's, and this applies from Kinder all the way through to Year 6. This includes appropriate footwear; black leather school shoes or black leather joggers with navy socks. Sports shoes on allocated sports days are to be predominantly white or black (not coloured). Please note: Converse and/or skate shoes and socks are not to be worn. We ask that you please make time to check your child’s uniform before they arrive at school.
Students will be asked to remove any items that are not part of the school uniform where possible, but we would very much appreciate your support on the matter. Where your child is unable to wear the correct school uniform for a limited time, we ask that parents write a note to their class teacher to inform them of your situation and a timeframe for when the matter will be rectified.
Wearing the St Finbarr’s school uniform is more than just about developing a sense of belonging and school pride. It also helps to prevent groups and cliques forming based on clothing, reduces the daily issue of peer pressure to buy and wear certain clothing, diminishes economic and social barriers between students, and encourages discipline.
Please see attached link to the School Locker, which is where our school uniform can be purchased or alternatively we have a St Finbarr's Second Hand Uniform Facebook page if you are seeking second hand options.
Thank you to all those parents who ensure their child is neat and tidy in the correct uniform everyday. It is a constant investment of energy by parents, but it is appreciated! This helps to reinforce the importance of taking pride in themselves and their school.
St Finbarr's School Uniforms
Learning & Teaching
This week your child’s teacher will be sending home the Term 4 Overviews for all areas of learning and teaching. This gives parents a wonderful insight into the content being taught in the classroom and areas of possible support that you may wish to provide at home.
Although we were engaged in Blended Learning for many weeks in Term 3, Teachers are still expected to create Semester 2 Report Cards. At this point in time we are unsure of the format of our Semester 2 Report Cards, but the leadership team will consult with all teaching staff to ensure our reporting method to parents best reflects the learning and assessment practices that have occurred during lockdown and Blended Learning. Teachers will commence their work on student assessment and reporting in the upcoming weeks.
Unfortunately we are unable to host face-to-face parent meetings at this point in time, however we ask that you make contact with your child’s teacher if you have any concerns or questions regarding the learning and teaching your child will be engaged in this Term.
Holy Spirit Parish Update
Fr David has informed the parishioners that both St Kevin's and St Finbarr's Churches will be closed for 2 weeks in accordance with NSW guidelines and the roadmap currently in place by NSW Government and NSW Health.
In the meantime you are invited to view +Bishop Greg's Sunday Mass livestream by following the link from the Lismore Diocese website and clicking on the "Youtube Channel" (top right). The live streaming is Sunday 900am each week, however each Mass remains accessible on the Youtube Channel to access at a later date
The Most Holy Rosary
As always, a new Term brings forth so much excitement. It is always such a wonderful sight to see all of our students arrive back at school and observe the joy and beautiful smiles as they reconnect with their peers, classroom teachers and all of the members on staff at St Finbarr’s.
Term 4 winds us through to the season of Advent which will arrive before we know it. It also begins in the month of October, the month of The Most Holy Rosary.
The Rosary helps us to meditate on the great mysteries of Divine interaction with humanity. The main focus is on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Rosary consists of the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be which are repeated throughout. Our Father, the prayer taught to us by Jesus, Hail Mary, inviting us into the wonder and awe of Jesus’ Mother and The Glory Be reminding us of the Trinity in which it is embraced.
The Rosary, in its beauty, is the repetition of these prayers, that when prayed, can help to create peace and stillness in our somewhat busy and at times, stressful lives. The Rosary helps us to remember we are not alone, allowing us to connect, to know and trust that God will bring us through our difficult times, helping us to find inner peace.
The Sacrament of Holy Communion will be celebrated this term with 'in school' preparation for registered students beginning this week.
Due to our current circumstances and the changing nature of Covid-19 restrictions, the Sacrament will run a little differently this year and will be offered over four Masses. This will help to limit the amount of people at each Mass, complying with social distancing and square meter rulings in accordance with NSW Health.
In order to do this, parents will receive a registration form which will list the dates of the four masses offered. It is here we ask that you indicate your preferred date along with the amount of attendees in your group.
This form will be sent home with registered candidates Friday the 15th of October and must be returned back to school by Friday 29th of October.
Please understand, registration is essential and due to the uncertainty of restrictions, your first preference may not be available, however, we will do our best to make it work for all families. As always do not hesitate to make contact if you have any questions or concerns.
Please see the dates that will be offered below:
6pm on Saturday the 13th of November at St Finbarr’s Church, Byron Bay
9:30am Sunday the 14th of November at St. Kevin’s Church Bangalow
6pm on Saturday the20 th of November at St Finbarr’s Church, Byron Bay
9:30am Sunday the 21st of November at St. Kevin’s Church Bangalow
St Finbarr’s will be hosting a Catholic Mission ‘Kicking Goals Shootout Day’ on Wednesday the 27th of October. This is a fundraising event which allows our School Community to put their faith into action. More information about this event will come home with your child by the end of the week.
Leader of Evangelisation
Congratulations to our student award winners this week!