8 September 2016
Dear ACK community,
This coming Monday, 16 students and four staff (including me) are off to East Timor for our annual immersion. These students have been through a rigorous selection process and, as part of their preparations, have led the charge in raising over $20,000 for the rebuilding of a primary school in a small village in the district of Quelicai. While in Timor, we will attend the opening of the new school buildings at Bercoli which, over the past four years, Assumption has contributed $40,000. We are so proud to have been able to work with the Bercoli community for this important purpose, and are looking forward to building a new set of relationships with the Quelicai school community. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers over the coming fortnight, and watch the school Facebook page for occasional updates.
Following on from the last newsletter, an email letter is being sent home to families tomorrow (Friday), to confirm the improvements being implemented for 2017. This will become an annual occurrence, as we seek to shift and improve the school to better respond to student need. I’m also pleased to announce that there'll be major renovations over the summer holidays and into early 2017 to ensure that the Upper and Lower William Wings, and the Kenneth Wing are in better condition. You would be aware that they have not had much TLC in many decades, and we are lucky to be in a position to be able to bring them up to the standard we enjoy in other parts of the school. Thanks to Joe Feery and Jenny Buckingham for their ongoing careful stewardship of our resources!
Every three years our staff positions of leadership are reviewed and appointments made. This year, to better respond to the projects of our Strategic Plan, we have changed a number of roles, and tried to better accommodate the roles to focus on our teachers' ability to improve their practice. We will be undertaking a new program of coaching for teachers (by trained mentors), and have also entered into a new program with the Catholic Education Office to engage in more focussed ‘visible learning’, which a number of you will be familiar with through the ABC program Revolution School.
In the last few weeks I’ve been made aware of a couple of rumours doing the rounds. The first is some scurrilous gossip that we were withdrawing from our Saturday sport program. Let me assure you that this is absolute nonsense. If anything, we are preparing for greater engagement and in recognition, have increased the staffing for this from term 4! The second rumour is about the continuation of the VCAL program. I have no idea how this might have developed, but can assure you that we are absolutely committed to this fabulous program and have no intention of closing it down. If anything, we are planning for growth and development of this program each and every year, and I encourage parents to consider it as a very strong option for their children when they reach Year 11 (especially now so many universities are enrolling students who complete the VCAL program).
This Sunday’s Gospel contains two of the lovely parables told by Jesus to explain the amazing love of God for those of us who lose our way! Each of us have times in our life when the path in life is not clear, when we think that our options are closing in, and when we’re not sure we have the capacity to go on. Jesus’ story of a lost sheep and a lost coin remind us that God is always on the look out for us, whatever our stage in life. What a lovely image…that God is constantly looking for ways to help us on our journey, whether that be putting the right person in the right place to ask us the right question, or even just to give us a hug! Since this is RUOK? Week, it’s worth reminding ourselves that God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, is always prompting us to test whether we are OK, and to lean into the love being offered by God’s presence.
Loving God, when I’m lost, let me remember to let you find me. Amen.
Peace and blessings,