Michael Gray, Principal
Dear St. Joseph’s School Community,
I write today as we all start Week 4 in Term 2. With regards to recent media reports, I can confirm St. Joseph’s is continuing to follow the advice of the Chief Health Officer and working with the Victorian Catholic Education Commission and Victorian Department of Education and Training regarding current arrangements and the future transition to in-person teaching. Once the return to a full in-person teaching plan is confirmed I will inform all.
For now, our current arrangements are to continue; this includes the current remote and flexible off-site program and the on-site care and supervision arrangements. St. Joseph’s teaching staff, learning support officers, our administration team and facility staff are all working with your children and all families to ensure quality learning; and most importantly the safety and wellbeing of all.
The next step for the current arrangements will be our teachers commencing planning and resourcing the Week 5 through to Week 9 program. Teachers will work over the next two weeks to complete two “on-site planning days” in their grade teams. These teams will be rotated over several days so that not all staff are present at school at any one time. With this increase in staff on-site we will continue to strictly adhere to all health precautions, including temperature testing, social distancing and hygiene procedures.
On these team planning days, teachers will develop the next Learning Plans, which will include the new adjusted planning document of a daily teaching guide. The daily guide is as per the feedback we have received from the parent survey. On these planning days, staff will also copy and post hard copies of the work similar to what was previously sent home. With teachers working on-site in these small teams over the next two weeks they will not be available for the same number of home contacts.
A highlight for me in this new reality is in this newsletter The Wellbeing and Resilience overview support put together by Mrs Maryanne Evans is very helpful and important for all families to consider. Maryanne has collated our parent survey and what follows are excellent parent endorsements for supporting resilience capacity building. There are also several brilliant activities included for year levels to add to your remote program this week.
Everyone has done an amazing job thus far; this week is about pausing and reviewing how we are all going. Focus on wellbeing; re-set, create down time and be fair on yourselves and focus on what is important. A bit like if the students were in classrooms teachers would play a game of “dead fish,” “dodge ball” or engage in “quiet sustained reading” or individual drawing. This week think outside the square, give yourself permission to review, reflect and re-set. This newsletter has great help for that. There are also some great language (Japanese) and physical education plans to use if you are yet to get to these.
Mother's Day is fast approaching and usually, the school has a stall to support gift buying for our students; obviously, in this current climate of social distancing, self-isolation and hygiene protocols, we have cancelled this opportunity. However, this may be a great opportunity for locals to support locals. There are many great quality local retailers promoting Mother’s Day specials, including gift shops, florists, food retailers and clothing stores. All have simple delivery plans, Facebook sites or click and collect options.
Deputy Premier and Minister of Education
In making the decision to move to flexible and remote learning The Hon James Merlino (Deputy Premier and Minister of Education) also reminds families of the importance of “students continuing to attend school every day whether on-site or remotely”.
Child Safe Standards
All Victorian schools are required to comply with the Child Safe Standards; this means staff always consider any risk of child abuse that might arise in a remote/online school learning environment, including grooming. Teachers and also Parish Priests are mandatory reporters and must make reports to Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Child Protection if, in the course of practising their profession or carrying out their duties, they form a reasonable belief that a child or young person is in need of protection as a result of physical injury or sexual abuse.
Race Day Public Holiday
The local Warrnambool Public Holiday has been transferred to Melbourne Cup Day Tuesday 3rd November, 2020.
NAPLAN The Australian and State Governments have decided that NAPLAN testing will not proceed for 2020. The disruption caused to schools by COVID-19 to more flexible learning programs, including remote learning essentially means it cannot occur.
A big thank you to all for your support of this new initiative in the Botanic Gardens, Warrnambool. The Friends of the Gardens have planned, developed and are now co-ordinating the nature-based play area construction started last week. See the following article from the Warrnambool Standard.
Secondly: Wellbeing and Resilience Project and our own Parent Survey
In the current reality, it can be a challenging time for all families and it is really important to try and stay well, and this means being mentally healthy too. Sometimes this may even mean you just need to hit the reset button and start afresh and if that means leaving the formal program aside for a day and doing some of these other activities then that is completely ok and a worthwhile decision. Here is a link for the Resilience project at home which has some great ideas for things to do at home to keep mentally healthy.
Third: Very important parent learning as shared from survey and resilience activities
Last week many families took up the opportunity of completing the parent survey on the newsletter and shared many positive stories about how they have been practising gratitude. Research into the daily practice of this over 21 days shows that people start to see the positives before the negatives and some of the families have found this in their practice.
I will share some insights from families practising this at home.
- The gratitude activity is very useful when we find everything is getting a bit difficult.
- We are doing daily check-ins.
- Trying not to complicate it.
- It has been good for them every night before bed to spend some time thinking about some good things, especially as at the moment everything is the same.
- They are more aware of the positives and the great things in their lives.
- Remembering that life is still full of happiness and goodness even though life is very different.
- It is benefitting me because they often say they are grateful that I am teaching them!
- Also, they are thinking more widely about being grateful for people in the community and our government and medical leaders.
- We were already doing daily gratefulness reflections.
- What I’ve seen over time is her ability to identify a broader range of things to be grateful for.
Fourth Key Point: Mindfulness
This week you may like to focus on Mindfulness. Mindfulness is about our ability to be fully present in the moment. Mindfulness meditation is one way of practice to truly experience the current moment and bring that awareness into your everyday life. Smiling Mind is a non-for-profit web and app-based meditation program developed by psychologists and educators to help bring mindfulness into your life. We practice this by slowing down and concentrating on one thing at a time. There are ways to practice this in everyday life - this could be noticing our breathing, completing a colouring sheet or noticing the noises we can hear.
In the upper primary section, there are 5 activities. You do not have to do these activities, but you and your family might like to. If you really liked one of the activities, send a picture to your classroom teacher or Mrs Evans at email@example.com and it might make it onto the Wellbeing section of the newsletter next week!
Fifth Key Aspect of this Newsletter: Critical Awareness Advice
With our young students now online for more time at home it is important we are vigilant and aware of the abuse that happens on the internet, facilitated through technology like computers, tablets, mobile phones and other internet-enabled devices (Department for Education, Department of Health, Australian and Victorian Government).
It can happen anywhere online that allows digital communication, such as:
- social networks
- text messages and messaging apps
- email and private messaging
- online chats
- comments on live streaming sites
- voice chat in games.
Children and young people can be re-victimised (experience further abuse) when abusive content is recorded, uploaded or shared by others online. This can happen if the original abuse happened online or offline.
- Children and young people may experience several types of abuse online:
- Emotional abuse (this includes emotional blackmail, for example pressuring children and young people to comply with sexual requests via technology)
- Sexting (pressure or coercion to create sexual images)
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual exploitation.
Children and young people can also be groomed online: perpetrators may use online platforms to build a trusting relationship with the child in order to abuse them. This abuse may happen online or the perpetrator may arrange to meet the child in person with the intention of abusing them.
What is grooming?
Grooming is "a process by which a person prepares a child, significant adults and the environment for the abuse of the child" (Craven, 2006). Grooming can happen anywhere, including:
- in organisations
- in public spaces (also known as street grooming)
Children and young people can be groomed by a stranger or by someone they know – such as a family member, friend or professional. The age gap between a child and their groomer can be relatively small.
Grooming techniques can be used to prepare children for sexual abuse and exploitation. (Australian Government).
As I have shared over these weeks new challenges and wonderful opportunities are arising in this environment. Being informed, proactive and grateful for what we have, who we are and what we can be, is critical. We are Stronger, Together. As always if help is needed or you are unsure of any of the above items feel free to contact our office team. The first contact points are Alecia, Kellie and Cathy. If they cannot help they will direct you to the best place for answers, clarifications or advice.
Michael Gray. Principal.
Happy Birthday to children celebrating their birthday this week.
Leo Di Cesare, Jed Lilley, Charlie Brooks, Amy McGorm, Lewis Austin, Suemin Lee, Seb Bartlett, Harrison Greenwood, Jack Hall and Chanel Templeton.
Happy Birthday to children who have already celebrated their Birthdays this term.
Harry Chapman, Grace Hickey, William Pearson, Gano Akoch, Lillee-May Jennings-Reason, Sophie Parker, Sophie Price, Oscar Stewart, Lachlan Astbury, Jacob Ward, Kiera Marshall, Jaxson Byron, Ned Russell, Jago Darcy, Jasmine Cox, Mason Murrell, Olivia Finnigan, Frank Farley, Rylee Foreman, Brecken Schneider, Lucy Beaumont, Layla Kane, Sophie Brown, William Farley, Charli McGovern, Ella Monaghan, Fletcher Monaghan, Alexis Hernan, Nicholas Mugavin, Lenny Buckle, Isaac Duncan, Bella Telford, Eva Madigan, Emma Bean, Jessica Happ, Mason McArthur, Georgia Ierodiaconou, Jenson Jago and Patrick Ralston.
Happy Birthday to children who have already celebrated their birthday during the holidays.
Connor Greening, Patrick McGennan, Eva Agnew, Layla Nicolson, Monty Darcy, Theodore Smith, Kayla Wallace, Jack Gibson, William Porter, Koa Fary, Theodore Uren, Frankie Wolff, Tyler McCosh, Austyn McInerney, Ethan Thomas, Mya Amos, Halaynah Beaver, Rebecca Coghlan, Elouise Flett, Chelsea Kao, Ethan Alexander, Mackenzie Davies, Darcy Drummond, Harlem Field, Jackson Rogers, Isaac Rae, Chris Vu, Harry Clark, Luca Dwyer, Milla Riordan, Hayley Astbury, Will Molan, Maya Duynhoven, Amelia Dunphy and Archie Stewart.
Message from Pope Francis to Pray the Rosary in May
Pope Francis has asked Catholics to make a special effort to pray the Rosary during May and has composed two new prayers asking for Our Lady's intercession to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Caritas Online Concert - 9 May, 2020
On Saturday 9 May, Australian singer, songwriter and musician, Gary Pinto will lead a a free concert for Project Compassion. Gary wrote a song for Project Compassion titled “Walk With Me” this year and wanted to do more to help so he is bringing Australian and international musicians together in support of Caritas Australia. Through this free concert, he is urging thousands of school children, teachers, churches and families across Australia during this challenging time, to stand in solidarity with those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Father John included this message in the Parish Bulletin.
Warm greetings to you all as the season of winter has arrived!
Hope this finds you well. Those who live on their own I hope you are being supported by friends.
We have endeavoured to keep in contact through our weekly Mass that can be viewed via the internet. It seems this may continue for some time yet. We look forward to the day when our church doors are opened again.
It has been most heartening to receive many messages of support and appreciation of the Mass during this time of isolation. May it continue to sustain and provide a connection for you with our larger faith community.
May the flame of the Easter Candle warm your hearts and shine upon you.
Muscular Dystrophy is a muscle wasting disease that generally affects only boys, but in rare cases can also affect girls. It is a disease that slowly progresses and the average life expectancy is mid to late 20’s. Currently it has no cure.
In Term 1 our school leaders dressed up in green and promoted the cause by talking to each of the classrooms. The leaders did a great job with this and are to be commended for their efforts.
Unfortunately we had to postphone the Term 2 fundraiser for this worthy cause.
The Warrnambool City Council have reported that "The public holiday in Warrnambool that had been scheduled for the first Thursday in May will be substituted with a public holiday on Melbourne Cup day.
Changes to the May Racing Carnival program, social distancing rules and the potential burden on some businesses were behind the decision to change the holiday date."