St Michael's School
St Michael's School
Message from the Principal – Newsletter 31
Dear Parents and Caregivers
Welcome back to Term 4! I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday and are refreshed and ready for the final term!
This morning, Ms Laura Marzo and I represented the school at the annual CEWA Staff Breakfast where the recipients of the Quality Catholic Schooling Awards and Catholic School Parents of WA awards were announced. Numerous staff members who have dedicated 30 and 40 years of service to Catholic Education were also recognised. This annual event acknowledges the work of staff in Catholic schools and this morning we were addressed by Dr Debra Sayce, Executive Director of Catholic Education and the Hon. Sue Ellery MLC, Minister for Education and Training. Both speakers expressed their sincere thanks to all staff working in Catholic schools, particularly for their unwavering dedication to students this year during the COVID-19 pandemic. I thank all the staff in our wonderful school who dedicate themselves to supporting our students each and every day!
Next week is Book Week which coincides this year with our book fair. Please take some time throughout the week to visit the library where you can pick up some great early Christmas presents and support the school, with funds raised going towards purchasing new library books.
On Friday 23 October we will have our book parade at 9am in the hall. All students are asked to come dressed as their favourite book character.
More information about Open Night can be found in the Assistant Principals’ section of this newsletter.
Wellness Week – Week 3
During Week 3 this term (26 – 30 October) we are celebrating Wellness Week where students, families and staff try to slow down and focus on taking care of their mental and physical health.
On Monday 26 October, students are asked to wear jeans and their favourite t-shirt for a gold coin donation to raise money for Wheelchairs for Kids. Numerous wellness and mindfulness activities will be provided for students over the course of the week, such as yoga and meditation. This will be a week of no homework and no before or after school meetings to allow all families and staff to focus on family and wellbeing.
“Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace which is right for each individual child.” Magda Gerber
It is so important to remember that childhood is a period of time in a person’s life, it is not solely about learning the lessons found in the classroom. Yes, these are very important, but so too are the lessons we learn whilst reading with dad, throwing the ball with mum, playing with imaginary friends in the back yard, cooking with nana or sitting on pop’s shoulders as we walk around the garden. I strongly encourage you all to make a special effort to enjoy time with your children during Wellness Week. It’s a great opportunity to introduce “Reading Night” to your families- a night where the TV and other electronic devices get switched off and the family comes together to read, discuss books and share the joy of literature. Have a “screen free pledge night” with your children where you all pledge a night free of the screens that encroach on our lives. This may even spark a permanent screen free night one day a week. If you usually eat in front of the tv, choose one night to sit down and have a meal together at the table with the tv switched off. Make the most of the no homework week and perhaps go for a family walk, bike ride or midweek picnic or visit other family members such as grandparents who you don’t normally catch up with midweek. Have a family cooking night! Maybe walk or ride your bike to school with the children. Plan healthy recess and lunches and prepare these with your children. It’s all about our wellness and finding time to take care of our own health and wellbeing. Start planning ahead and make it a special week. You will never get these early years back again. So spend them, live them, enjoy them and make treasured memories for life.
2021 Specialist Subject – Science
Recently, after much consideration, we have decided to change our specialist focus from Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) to Science next year. This allows us to examine how we can promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) within the school as part of our Critical & Creative Thinking focus. Also, given our crowded curriculum, this also allows classroom teachers to integrate HASS with other subject areas more easily than they can with Science.
End of Year Events
As mentioned in the last newsletter, this year on our awards night (Monday 7 December), we will be trialing something different. Instead of a musical performance, we will have our Edudance concert on this evening (once the formalities of the awards night have concluded). Our choir will also perform a number of items.
Making Appointments to Speak with Staff
At St. Michael’s, we pride ourselves on the strong relationships that we foster between home and school and will always endeavour to make ourselves available to meet with parents to discuss any thoughts or concerns. In order to give parental concerns the thought and consideration they deserve, we ask parents, out of professional courtesy, to make an appointment to speak with any staff member so that a suitable time can be arranged to give due consideration to the matter at hand. A reminder that the professional process in place to address concerns is to speak directly to the appropriate staff member, such as the classroom teacher. If parents still have concerns following this meeting, they are then invited to meet with an Assistant Principal and then with myself. Parents wishing to address any concerns with me are reminded, out of professional courtesy, to announce themselves at reception and ask to make an appointment so that I also can give the matter the thought and consideration it deserves. It is not fair on either party to simply wander into my office unannounced. I thank parents for all they do to respect the professionalism of our staff.
On our student free day on Monday, teachers participated in professional learning on our school focus of Critical and Creative Thinking (C&CT). Mrs Jemima Saunders recently engaged in some professional development (PD) around C&CT facilitated online (due to COVID-19 travel restrictions) by Ron Ritchhart. Ritchhart’s work on making thinking visible stems from the research from Harvard Project Zero (at Harvard Graduate School of Education). Jemima was able to integrate this learning into our PD day by facilitating a highly engaging day which incorporated some of Ritchhart’s thinking routines. Teachers have now set themselves a goal for this term to incorporate C&CT thinking into their teaching and will report back on their experiences and development at a PLC later in the term. It has been pleasing to note during our investigation into C&CT that our co-operative learning focus (Kagan) is a terrific vehicle, already embedded into our school, to support C&CT within teaching and learning.
Currently, the junior primary staff are working on a more streamlined approach to phonics development across all junior primary classrooms. At the moment, they are experimenting with the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness program which is recommended by the Dyslexia Speld Foundation. The team will meet this term to make a final decision about which program we will use as a school from 2021.
Have a wonderful weekend
Dr Siobhan Galos