Dear St John the Apostle families,
As you would be aware, there are a few staffing changes next semester which I would like to share with you.
Firstly, congratulations to Mrs Bree Dess who has been appointed as the Acting Coordinator for Semester 2. Mrs Dess has already been leading staff in the use of ICT/Digital Technologies and in supporting remote learning and we look forward to her having an opportunity to have even more positive impact on the teaching & learning opportunities for our students. Mrs Dess will teach in 5 Maroon from Monday to Wednesday and Mrs Kate MacDonald will co-teach 5 Maroon on Thursday and Fridays.
Mrs Lyn Griffiths will teach in a number of classes across the school, providing support for teacher development and school improvement programs. In particular Mrs Griffiths will teach 1 Blue each Thursday, allowing Mrs Mel Taylor to continue to work with all staff in the development of high impact Mathematics teaching practices.
Mrs Lauren Hudson has been employed as additional teaching support in Year 4 and will co-teach in both classes. Mrs Hudson is an experienced, friendly teacher that students have already begun getting to know.
Mrs Serae Love will take over teaching 6 Blue from Monday to Thursday. Mrs Stephanie Stewart will continue to teach in 6 Maroon for three days each week. We are currently finalising arrangements for the third teacher in the Year 6 team that will teach 6 Blue each Friday and 6 Maroon each Wednesday and Thursday. An announcement will be made when the process is complete.
End of semester student reports
On Thursday next week students will come home with a copy of their Semester 2 report. Due to the interruptions to the classroom program this semester this will include grades in English, Mathematics and RE. Teachers will also include grades in other curriculum areas where there has been an opportunity to both teach and assess student understanding and skills. There will be no written comments on the reports this semester.
All students who have Personal Plans will have an additional report where the teacher has made comments against some or all of their Personal Plan goals, indicating how students are tracking with them. There are over 90 students on Personal Plans at St John the Apostle. It takes great skill and planning to support all of these students. We have additional Inclusion Assistants this year and together with the classroom teachers, these students have benefited from a strong and coordinated team approach. The Personal Plan reports reflect this.
The Canteen is such a well-loved service at our school. We are very fortunate to have such a service when many schools are not able to sustain one. The Canteen is managed by St Francis Xavier College and Maria, the Canteen Manager, is loved by all of the students.
The Community Council are taking a moment this year to ensure that this helpful service also provides the healthiest possible options for our students, keeping them nourished throughout each day as well as providing parents with the opportunity to give their children an occasional treat.
So many of the foods available are homemade (i.e. not frozen and pre-packaged but made on site from scratch) including the bolognese sauce, the beef sausage rolls, the chicken schnitzels. It's comforting to know that the foods available to our students are healthier options than the fast food they might access elsewhere.
This year we will review some of the little treats that are on offer during Recess time to ensure there are plenty of healthy options. It is important to know that:
- the price of over the counter items ranges from 10 cents to 1 dollar;
- students cannot buy lunch items over the counter, lunches must be ordered using the Qkr app; and,
- there is a $5 limit to student over the counter sales and $2 is considered enough for a treat. There is no need to send children with more than this.
Watch this space to hear more news about the Canteen in the near future.
You may have noticed that the disability parking at the front of the school is being upgraded thanks to the ACT Government. This project will be completed during the school holidays.
I've noticed that a small handful of parents use these spaces for dropping children off in the morning or picking them up in the afternoon. These spaces must always be available for those with a disability permit. Disability permits are provided to those who have a genuine need for easier access to the school. Parking in these spots, even when one will 'just be quick' immediately prevents an unexpected visitor or parent having the access to the school they need.
As a community, lets keep these free for those who need such a support in order to feel welcome in the school.
Have a lovely weekend.
Matthew Garton, Principal
What are We Learning About?
Yesterday I spent some time with the Year Two teachers planning their conceptual integrated inquiry unit for Term 3. That is a mouthful isn’t it! So, let me briefly explain what that means.
A concept is ‘a mental contrast that is timeless, universal and abstract’. (Erickson, 2008, p.30). We integrate several subjects into one unit for example Religion, Science and Art. Finally, inquiry means that we do lots of investigation and problem solving. So, you can imagine that, planning like this is very different.
What I love about the process is that concepts like nourishment, tension and structure can be taught in Science, Religion, Art, History and Geography. Children come away with a much deeper and connected learning.
I will keep you posted on how Year Two and other grades are doing with their conceptual inquiry units next term.
I have a book that contains the daily readings and reflection. The reading for today is from Matthew and is the story of the Healing of the Leper. When a very ill man says to Jesus if you say the word I will be healed. And Jesus did. Lepers in the time of Jesus were socially, financially and physically isolated. Who are the lepers of our time? Pope Francis identified them as “the men and woman who live on our streets, in parks or in the stations, the unemployed, the sick without proper care, the illtreated woman and children, migrants’. Addressing a group of Fransican Friars he said, “Open your hearts and embrace the lepers of our times!”
Right now, there are many who are suffering. What can we do to help? It is different for each of us. But it is essential for each of us.
Pauline Greig, who was a long time teacher and REC at St Johns submitted this quote to the KIT (a daily newsletter being released by the Parish) http://www.stjohnkippax.org.au/index.php?page=kit-keeping-in-touch. How are you going to help another up today?
God bless,Steph Stewart
Religious Education Coordinator
Notices from the Parish
The last of three 30 minute marriage enrichment presentations will be live-streamed this Sunday 28th at 11.45am, straight after the 11am Online Mass at the Cathedral.
Join us at https://www.catholicvoice.org.au/mass-online/ to listen, make comments and ask questions of our West Australian presenter couple. Karen & Derek Boylen will elaborate on ‘a spirituality of beholding’ - a unique way of encountering Christ for married couples. Search ‘Marriage & Family Month’ on the CatholicVoice website for more info.
School fees are now past due. Prompt payment would be appreciated, unless paying by direct debit. If you are paying by direct debit please check the amount you are paying and that this amount will cover the cost of school fees by the end of the year.
Just as families have bills to pay, we as a school have regular bills that we need to pay. We have commitments to suppliers and if school fees are not paid we have to find the money from somewhere in our budget to meet our commitments.
If you are experiencing difficulties with meeting your fee commitments please contact our finance officer, Debbie Milne via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the school. Debbie is available Monday – Thursday 8am – 4pm.
Helping siblings resolve their fights
With family members living in close proximity during the current COVID-19 pandemic, parents may find an increase in sibling squabbles. This is understandable as any relationship is tested to its limits by excess time and lack of space. Sibling squabbles usually arise over low level issues such as space (“He’s sitting in my seat.”), possessions (“That’s my book!”) and fairness (“It’s not fair. I was here first!”). It’s enough to send most parents around the twist.
While it seems that kids in families are programmed to fight with each other, the good news is that parents have the power to facilitate learning.
According to a recent study, sibling fights teach kids important conflict resolution skills. In fact, parents who stop their children from arguing may well be depriving them of important learning opportunities. Researcher Laurie Kramer from the University of Illinois in the US found that kids who learned how to argue with their siblings had more advanced emotional development.
Many parents also worry that their children who fight with each other will not get along as adults. The evidence doesn’t support this view. The test for strong families is more about the willingness for kids to pull together when the chips are down, rather than the frequency of the squabbling.
Healthy families know how to fight well. When parents take an active approach to helping their children resolve their fights, they are teaching them a valuable life skill as well as reducing the incidence of fighting over the long term. Here are some practical strategies to use:
Model good conflict resolution skills
Kids wear L plates when it comes to solving disputes. Some kids will yell, get abusive or even get physical when they are settling disputes. Show them better ways of sorting out problems by talking things through with your partner, compromising and apologising when you’ve said something upsetting to your partner or your children.
Help kids manage their emotions
“Yep, it would make me mad too if someone said that to me.” Usually someone’s feelings get hurt when siblings argue so make sure you recognise their emotions without taking sides. This focus on feelings helps kids develop emotional literacy and promotes empathy in siblings as well.
Monitor sibling relationships
Keep your antenna up for the signs of discord within sibling relationships. Some disputes kids can sort out themselves, but you need to be ready to intervene and assist kids in the peace-brokering, or at least to act as a safety net when one child continually appears on the wrong end of a power imbalance.
Mentor them to sort out disputes
Kids need the chance to sort their conflict out themselves, but sometimes they need a little coaching. They often invite their parents to take sides, which is usually counter-productive. Rather than trying to sort out who started an argument, focus on possible solutions, provide suggestions such as taking turns, giving way, bargaining, swapping or even walking away.
Encourage them to make up
Kids often get over disputes far quicker than adults. They can be squabbling one minute and cuddling up the next, so it gets tricky intervening sometimes. However there are times when you need to encourage a child to mend bridges with an aggrieved sibling. This can mean kids have to swallow their pride, admit that they may be wrong, make an apology or make some sort of restitution such as doing a special favour. This type of restoration means kids must take responsibility for their behaviours and is a sign of growing maturity.
Conflict and siblings tend to go together. While sibling squabbles can be annoying, they also offer parents great opportunities to help kids to handle conflict effectively, which is a great life skill.
Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.