I offer an enthusiastic welcome to both new and existing families to the 2018 academic year at McCarthy Catholic College. Once again we embark on that collaborative journey with our families to support and grow the learning of our wonderful students. The 2018 Annual Improvement Plan (AIP) presents the theme - ‘Learning is our Work’ arising from Jesus’ words in John 10:10 to bring full flourishing as a human being. In other words, our holistic work is to fully develop all students to the best of their and our ability. Our focus is to not only have students “touch the gate and switch on to learning” but to ensure that students grow in self-awareness of their learning through explicit Learning Intentions and Success Criteria for every lesson. Similarly, by teachers intentionally identifying the learning stages of the lesson and setting high expectations, students can take more ownership of their learning to achieve greater than one year’s worth of growth. As I suggested last year at this time, I encourage families to discuss at home how this positive approach to learning can be supported. Some examples might include changes to home study spaces and/or management of the number of hours that students are spending at sport and part-time work.
The College community congratulates the Class of 2017 on their outstanding HSC results. Our hard working students achieved 27 Band 6s, up from 18 in 2016. The Dux, Jack Murray, is the recipient of the Sr Patricia Rowe Award for Dux 2017 with an ATAR of 97.35. Jack will receive his award in front of the College community next Wednesday after the Ash Wednesday Liturgy. I also publicly acknowledge Jack and Karie Mayman (Vice-Captain 2017 and 96.55 ATAR) for their generosity and imparted wisdom as they returned to McCarthy to speak to the 2018 Year 11 and 12 students. Their targeted and ‘real’ advice about work ethic and work-life balance was deeply appreciated and valued by the students.
I welcome new staff to the College for 2018: Mr Michael Larkin (English KLA Coordinator), Mr Brad Mitchell (PDHPE), Miss Lauren Ryan (HSIE/RE), and Mr Daniel Glasson (IT Assistant). Please make them feel welcome in our community. We also congratulate Lauren on her recent engagement to Phil Windle. Similarly, we congratulate Dane and Kerry Kelly on the safe arrival of the beautiful baby daughter - Peyton.
It is with regret that I announce the resignation of Mr Gavin Baker. Gavin has only been with us for a short while, however, in that time he has made a genuine and committed contribution to this community, both inside and outside of the classroom. We wish him well as he moves onto new career directions. Advertising has begun for suitably qualified staff.
At this time I publicly endorse the wonderful contribution that Mr Ian McKenzie has made as PDHPE Coordinator over many years at McCarthy. While Ian remains on staff as a talented teacher in the PDHPE faculty, his meticulous work as coordinator is to be commended and I thank him for his dedication to improved learning outcomes at the College. Similarly, I commend the generous work of Miss Kathryn O’Sullivan during the majority of 2017 as the Acting English KLA Coordinator. In stepping into the role, Kathryn displayed great skill, humour and dedication to ensure that the students were given contemporary learning opportunities in their English classrooms. Thank you Ian and Kathryn!
2018 Role Changes
I congratulate the new Acting PDHPE Coordinator - Mrs Ashleigh Jones, who steps into the role for 2018. Ashleigh is a long term staff member and ex-student of the College who brings great organisational and innovative learning experience to the role. With the departure of Mr Matt Feltrin at the end of 2017, the College has appointed Mr Brad Mitchell and Mr Damian Kenniff in a shared role as Sports Coordinators. With Brad being new to the Diocese and Damian being heavily involved with our sports program over a number of years, we feel they bring a professional edge to this busy position. And finally I welcome our new VET Coordinator - Mrs Julie Kellahan to this newly formed role to support the growing area of vocational pathways for both HSC and non-HSC students in Stage 5 and 6. Thank you and congratulations to these four staff members!
New Mobile Phone Policy
The use of technology in classrooms is certainly very different from when most parents and staff members were at school. From my own school days I can still remember when the first Overhead Projector arrived to begin the replacement of the old purple-print handouts! So, when the media get on the bandwagon and start condemning the use of technology in classrooms, they do so with little understanding of the contemporary learning landscape. Interactive technologies that can operate in real time to allow students to share and contribute in a collaborative context take many forms. Laptops and Chromebooks are good examples, but so too are mobile phones or smartphones. Our teachers are working all the time to engage students collaboratively and are using smartphones in the classroom as a quick and useful aide to learning. To ensure that students understand the correct and responsible use of technology we have modified our Mobile Phone Policy to ensure that there is no disruption to learning. Please check out the graphic poster below that is printed in every classroom at the College. Put simply, the default for all students is to put their phone in their bag or locker or in the red box at the front of the classroom. If it’s going to be used at some point in the lesson, the teacher will indicate the level of use. If a student uses a phone without permission during class time the phone will be confiscated and taken to the office to be collected after school. Regular non-compliance will result in parent contact. The school accepts NO responsibility for the loss/damage of any mobile phone. Parents should contact their children by telephoning the office on 67610800.
Assembly and Academic Pastoral Care
As a College committed to ongoing improvement, we have modified our student meeting schedule to allow dedicated time for student’s to meet within their Mentor Groups to focus on the holistic development of each individual student. As most research suggests for students to achieve well at school it is extremely important for students to pay attention to their own personal well-being. At McCarthy we are intentionally providing a time for students each week to pause and take stock of their current effort and reflect on how they can achieve their learning goals. Students will be instructed and supported to learn such skills as work-life balance, well-being strategies, study scheduling, study skills, goal setting, etc. While Assemblies, Year Meetings and House Meetings will still occur these Academic Pastoral Care meetings hopefully ensure that not only students become more capable in managing their own well-being but they know that they have at least one teacher (their Mentor Group teacher) who knows their full academic and pastoral profile and can assist them in making better decisions and efforts to become a full flourishing human being (John 10:10).
McCarthy Executive Staff for 2018
Principal: Mr Geoff McManus
Assistant Principal: Mrs Sally Sparke
Mission and Spiritual Formation Coordinator: Mrs Cate Allen
Teaching and Learning Coordinator: Mrs Raelene Maxworthy
Pastoral Care Coordinator: Mrs Libby Molony
Leader of Pedagogy: Mrs Briony Martin
Five Period Day
To assist in promoting our ongoing commitment and effort to enhance comparative learning gain, we have lengthened the learning periods this year. Contemporary research in schools would suggest that a longer lesson allows for more effective teaching and learning to occur. In shifting from fifty minute lessons to one hour lessons we lose one period from the previous routine of a six period day. Students will now experience a five period day with sixty minute lessons and two equal break times of thirty minutes each for Recess and Lunch. The starting and finishing times are not affected. The new bell times are listed below:
8:45am - 8:50am Movement Bell (5 mins)
8:50am - 9:00am Mentor Group (10 mins)
9:00am - 10:00am Period 1 (60 mins)
10:00am - 11:00am Period 2 (60 mins)
11:00am - 11:30am Recess (30 mins)
11:30am - 12:30pm Period 3 (60 mins)
12:30pm - 1:30pm Period 4 (60 mins)
1:30pm - 2:00pm Lunch (30 mins)
2:00pm - 3:00pm Period 5 (60 mins)
New Email Addresses
Across the entire Armidale Diocese there is a strategic move at play to migrate all email addresses in schools to a single email domain. From the beginning of 2018, students will be migrated from the domain @mccarthy.nsw.edu.au to a domain ending with @armstu.catholic.edu.au. This intervention will allow students to move more easily from their Catholic primary schools without losing all of the work saved in their Google Drives or Google Classrooms. Staff and Administration emails will also change to @arm.catholic.edu.au to support consistency and portability across the Diocese for staff. New contact details are on the website.
New Administration email: [email protected]
Association Meeting - AGM
The Annual General Meeting for the McCarthy Association (7:00pm) will be held on Tuesday March 20. I strongly encourage current members to stand for office bearer positions as they become available next month. The enormous commitment that the current executive have dedicated to their roles is to be commended. As a community, McCarthy Catholic College is indebted to the wisdom and hard work of current members. Most recently the Association purchased $13,000 worth of gym equipment to be accessed by students in their extended break times and after school. The students are very fortunate to have such a hard working and generous group of parents dedicated to supporting the holistic growth of our student body. They are also in the final stages of purchasing new picnic benches for our grounds.
Twilight Swimming Carnival and Day in Lieu
The upcoming Twilight Swimming Carnival, being held at Scully Park Pool from 2:30pm – 7:30pm on Thursday February 22, presents an ideal opportunity for students to contribute to the growth of school and House spirit. While elite swimmers are given the opportunity to shine in front of their peers, other students receive the intrinsic reward of contributing to their House team by participation. I commend this opportunity as a rare time during the school year when students can enjoy a casual and spirit-filled afternoon and evening of fun and camaraderie with their peers. As the College allows for the extra commitment of the twilight event to be repaid with a student-free day the next day, I encourage all students to attend and enjoy a wonderful community event.
Please note: there will be no supervision available at the College after 2:00pm on Thursday. The following day, Friday 23 February, will be a non-school day. The College will not be open on that day.
Year 7 Welcome Barbeque
The McCarthy staff warmly invites Year 7 students and their families to a Welcome Barbeque at the school on Monday 12 February from 5:30pm – 7:00pm. It is a casual event that enables parents to meet some of the teachers who will be working with their children this year. A letter was sent home this week.
Enrolments for Year 7 in 2019 close Monday April 9 2018
McCarthy Catholic College extends an invitation for students seeking enrolment into Year 7 in 2019. The only round of Year 7 applications for this year will close on Monday 9 April. Fully completed application forms and the $100 application fee need to be lodged at the College on or before Monday 9 April. Open Day will be held on Saturday 3 March from 11:00am until 1:00pm.
Contact the Enrolment Officer, Mrs Jo O'Brien, on 6761 0802 or jo[email protected] for an application pack and/or more information.
School hours are from 8:45am until 3:00pm.
The playground will be supervised from 8:30am and until the last bus leaves in the afternoon. Before school, students are to congregate in the quadrangles outside the hall or library. After school, early bus travellers meet in the bus waiting area. Other bus travellers meet on the terrace before moving to the bus waiting area.
Pedestrian Entry and Exit
Students who walk to or from school must use either the Children’s Crossing in Tribe Street or the designated section of Johnston Street at the end of the oval. We had a visit from Tamworth Police, Sergeant Buko, during the week who reminded our staff that police patrols are targeting School Zones for the beginning of the 2018 school year.
Pick Up Area
The pick up area for collection of students after school is located adjacent to the College hall and is accessed via the service road. There is a turning bay behind the hall. We have also begun opening the lower gate near N-Block that has a small parking and turn around zone for early parking and pick up. We trust this extra space will take the pressure off the service road pick up zone. In the interests of student safety - PLEASE DO NOT PICK UP STUDENTS IN THE MAIN CAR PARK, BUS BAY OR IN FRONT OF THE OFFICE.
Government regulations require that schools document all student absences with reasons eg. illness, approved leave etc. Please provide the school with an explanation of your child’s absence within seven days by way of a letter upon their return or a phone call (phone: 6761 0801) on the day of their absence. Follow-up text messages will be forwarded to parents/guardians seeking explanation if this has not been provided. It is very important that students attend Mentor Group for roll marking or sign in via the office if they are late to school (after 8:45am). If a response to the text has not been received within seven days, the absence will remain as unexplained and will NOT be able to be changed. Alternatively you can email absentees to [email protected] or via the Skoolbag App.
Attendances - Leave
As per government requirements, if a student is going to be absent from school for five days or more for a sporting/extra-curricular activity, an 'Application for Exemption from Attendance' form must to be completed and returned to the office before the event. For all other leave of ten days or more, an “Application for Leave” form must be completed and returned prior to the leave taking place. These forms are available from the office.
If someone other than a parent is collecting and signing a student out from the school, a written note or email is required from the responsible parent/carer. Please address notes or emails to the Attendance Officer, Mrs Leah Jones [email protected] .
Students Late for School
The bell for the beginning of school goes at 8:45am. Students who arrive after this time are required to complete an entry in the late book in the office. Parents need to bring late students to the office and sign them in or provide the student with a note.
Parents are required to sign students out when they leave the school before the normal finishing time of 3:00pm. This also applies if the student is returning to school later in the day.
Illness at School
Students are reminded that if they fall ill at school, they are to inform their teacher and report to the office where the Sick Bay is located. Office staff will assess students and contact parents if necessary. Students are asked NOT to phone their parents on their mobile phones as this is the legal responsibility of the school.
The school office is open from 7:30am until 4:00pm. Student access to the office is restricted to before school, recess, lunchtime and after school.
The McCarthy iNewsletter is published each fortnight. It is emailed to students and parents on Thursday, Day 9, of the timetable. The iNewsletter is also available on the McCarthy website, the school Facebook page and the Skoolbag app.
The school has a Skoolbag App. It can be accessed by searching “McCarthy Catholic College Tamworth” in the Apple iStore or Google Play Store.
All students will be issued with a Student Planner. These Planners contain important information about the school and its expectations, along with excellent support material to assist students to plan and manage their learning. They are to be used for communication between home and the school and as a record of aspects of the student’s academic program. Please check each child’s Planner regularly and encourage them to use this resource effectively. If a Planner is lost a new one can be purchased from the office.
No medication will be given to a child without the written permission of a parent/guardian. All medication must be clearly labelled with all relevant information provided by parent/guardian. Students are expected to present themselves at the office at the appropriate time for distribution of their medication.
Students have been issued with a locker and combination lock. Students are NOT to move allocated lockers.
The College strongly recommends that students do not bring valuables or large amounts of money to school. Any money brought to school e.g. for excursions etc, should be handed in at the office as soon as the student arrives at school. The school accepts no responsibility for the loss or damage of valuables.
It is expected that students wear the correct uniform at all times. If at any time a student is unable to wear the correct uniform, they are to have an explanation note signed by a parent. This issue noted should be addressed as a matter of urgency. A list of uniform requirements is available from the office or on the school website and in the Student Planner.
On days when students have practical Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) they are permitted to wear their sports uniform to school. The PDHPE teacher will notify students of these times. Sports uniforms may NOT be worn on other days.
As notified late last year the College is in the final stages of changing the sports polo. Final samples were viewed and approved by the Executive today and should be ready for purchase from Lowes by the end of the term. Please keep an eye on the Facebook page and the Newsletter for updates.
The Clothing Pool operates each Wednesday from 8:00am – 10:00am. The Clothing Pool is located at the southern end of M Block. It can be accessed by parking in the bottom carpark (just above the oval) and walking up the stairs and to the left.
Lost property is retained in the office and disposed of at the end of the year. Parents are asked to ensure that their child’s uniform and possessions are labelled clearly.
The school canteen complies with state and federal healthy food regulations. It is open five days a week at recess, lunchtime and immediately after school. Lunch orders are to be filled in at the canteen before school or via the new Qkr! app before 9:30am.
McCarthy Facebook Page and Skoolbag Mobile App
The official McCarthy Catholic College Facebook page keeps our school community informed of current information and events.
Please like our page to ensure you receive up to date information.
The McCarthy Skoolbag App is another option for the school community to receive newsletters, update personal information, receive urgent alerts, notify the College of absentees as well as view the College calendar.
The Student Mailbox is located outside the student reception area for depositing notes etc. that DO NOT contain cash. If students are paying the College by cash, they MUST hand it in to the Finance Office directly either before/after school, at recess or lunch.
Please ensure that the College office has your correct email address as we move towards utilising email as our major source of communication.
Change of Student and Parent Details
It is imperative that the office be advised about any change of details from last year, such as change in family situation, address, workplace, email addresses, phone numbers – mobile and landline for home and work.