We are now into the second week of term and well underway in what will be another productive and rewarding term. I trust that your Easter break was a wonderful time with family and friends and that you are recharged to enjoy the eleven week term.
Loss and Renewal
In this post Easter period our mind is turned to the mystery of the Cross and the resurrection and that the pattern of transformation is always death transformed to something greater. We can’t lose sight of that.
‘Our world is a pattern of down and up, loss and renewal, enslavement and liberation, exile and return, transformation through darkness and suffering’ (Richard Rohr) and this is quite clear in what is happening in our immediate world.
In reflecting on life at St James this year, we have had a number of parents and children experience loss and renewal with the loss of a parent and grandparent. In time and with the support of family and friends they will hopefully be renewed to continue the legacy of those that have left them.
The suffering and darkness of worldwide conflicts and with our current focus placed on ANZAC Day this week, also speaks of the darkness and suffering we have experienced as a nation and hopefully put an end to the folly of our world engaged in conflict.
The enslavement of our Manus and Nauru friends locked up, and who will also hopefully soon receive liberation through a just policy and a process that respects the freedom and dignity of the individual, ensures care and compassion for those that are demonised, and that a genuine honesty and truth is always pursued by Government authorities. Interestingly these values plus understanding, tolerance, inclusion, fair go, integrity and doing your best are part of the values for Australian Schooling!
The meaning of Easter should not leave us. Jesus transformed his society and that of the early Church. We can at times read from Gospel writers, ‘he takes away the sin of the world’. This is not Jesus working some magic in the sky that saves the world from sin and death.
His actions and words dramatically exposed the real sin - of ignorant hatred and violence. Jesus did not adopt the usual purity codes. We can’t either. By refusing the usual patterns of selfishness, egoic ways and vengeance he challenged existing structures. Jesus identifies with our humanity, the dark times and our ‘uncomfortableness’. This is rising above our deathly states. The cross and resurrection is a transformation to goodness. The high point of our faith, Easter and the Jesus story, calls us to understand, face and challenge loss and be renewed now and into the future.
Let’s keep doing it for others.
Grandparents and Special Friends' Day
Yesterday was a special day in the life of our school with our annual Grandparents and Special Friends' Day. Our grandparents and significant others have a unique bond with our children.
We have a great deal to learn from grandma, nan, grandpa, pop, pa and gramps or whatever term of endearment that we like to name our special person in our life. Grandparents are truly remarkable people.
Through their interaction with our children they display patience, a deep wisdom, life experiences, tenderness, tall stories, empathy, a willingness to listen and share, generosity etc. They are probably different people from the time that they were a parent. It is a special role and one as a community we should acknowledge. The elders in Indigenous communities are given the utmost respect. Our elders have much to offer our society and today was a great way to acknowledge their presence in our lives.
Many thanks to Ms Coelli and the teachers and staff who planned a wonderful afternoon. Again special thanks to Annie O’Donoghue and the team of Mums and Dads who provided afternoon tea and ensured that our grandparents left St James nourished in many ways having spent some quality school time with their grandchildren.
The Catholic Identity Survey that all schools are asked to complete, is being be distributed to all families via email and this is a reminder for all families to commit the time to complete the survey. The data will give us a better understanding how our Catholic Identity is expressed in work and practice here at St James.
It is important that we gather a strong number of responses to ensure that we have an accurate picture of St James, especially with the changing circumstances of our Church and school today.
Could I ask that you do complete the survey by Wednesday 10th May.
Lately I have fielded a few questions about the library arrangement this year. I have included a section from an earlier newsletter item as well as some updated information from Ann Nicola that explains the important resource of providing reading material for our children.
"We have converted the 2016 Library space into an exciting Foundation space, and our new Foundation students are having a great time. As a result of creating a further classroom this year, the Library as we know it has been decanted to areas of the school, where the resources are more available to the children and teachers. Having the resources appropriate to your year level, at your fingertips, is important.
Providing traditional content and knowledge resources and e-content opportunities is our strategy for success. Mrs Ann Nicola is currently organizing the knowledge centres around the school and some classes to date have commenced library borrowings. Connected spaces and places allow the school to make regular use of educational opportunities."
Students are now familiar with the library borrowing process, with the books being housed at different levels throughout the school. It has been a learning curve, however it is expected that every student will borrow a library book on a regular basis, so please remind you child to bring their bag every Wednesday.
Ann Nicola - Librarian
National Child Safe Standards
Homework for Mum and Dad
With the introduction of the Victorian Child Safe Standards all schools are asked to develop strategies to ensure child safety. This is an ongoing requirement. In Term 1 parents were asked to read the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct will be sent via CareMonkey for parents to read. Once it is read could parents please sign off that they are familiar with the code.
CareMonkey is the mode whereby St James collects information and distributes information. Privacy is an important consideration for our school. I have included the link which details the protection offered by CareMonkey and explains the privacy and data security matters that can arise.
The Governing Principle for the Parish Education Board
Recently I have been approached to explain the structure of the School Board.
Within the provisions of Canon Law, the Parish Priest, (Fr Martin), in consultation with the parish community is responsible for providing Catholic education.
The purpose of the Board is to:
provide advice to Fr Martin in the operation of the school.
act as a confidential advisory body to the Parish Priest and the Principal, on matters concerning the education in the parish.
act as a forum for discussion, provide feedback, and assist in developing strategies on matters concerning education.
provide a link between the PP, the Principal, the Catholic Education Office and Parishioners in relation to the provision of Catholic education in the parish community.
The Board has responsibility to:
promote the Catholic ethos of St James and support the Religious Education program
provide advice on the development and review of school policies
plan for the future including the ability to accommodate future enrolments and strategies for the retention of existing students
the Parish Priest, in consultation with the Principal, will appoint members
The School Board membership is as follows:
School Board members
Fr Martin Dixon
Jo Small (Chairperson)