23 March 2017
Dear Parents, Guardians and friends of Assumption
A number of parents would not be surprised at how frustrating it can be for teachers to have to repeatedly ask students not to use their phones during classes. To this end, last Thursday at assembly we reiterated to students that in classrooms, unless their teacher tells them otherwise, the presumption is that they will not have their phones with them, and that if they do, it is out of sight and out of mind for the whole lesson. Some staff, in some situations, allow students to listen to music while they work, however this is only when the task requires low-level cognition. Our young people need to learn to self-monitor this, but while they are still learning, our rules will apply. It might be worth having a discussion with your child about your expectations of them during class time, so that they know that just like out in the "real working world" there is a time for phones, and a time for disengagement.
We’ve also had a few incidents in the yard recently where students have used their phones inappropriately. One common societal rule is that it is not appropriate (or indeed legal), to take a photo of someone else without their permission. Again, a reminder discussion with your child might be appropriate here. Our standing rule is that phones should not be used during recess and lunch. If a student does need to use their phone during these times, this should be done from student reception, otherwise, phones should not be seen during the school day.
Damian House won today's successful Interhouse Athletics Carnival. Frayne was second (after winning the last few carnivals ) and Austin was third. It’s so wonderful to see students joining in for a competitive and fun day of events. Once again the year 12s wowed us with their fabulous costumes and the willingness of our staff to work together to make the day such a success is a real pleasure.
Thanks to all the parents and friends who came down early this morning to help with the set-up – we really couldn't do it without you! Stay tuned in the next few days for some exciting footage of the day from our new drone. You’ll be amazed at some of the fantastic that were captured.
Tomorrow our year 10-12 students and four staff (including me) head off on the annual French Study Tour. This year we’ve included students from French language, history (Revolutions & World War I), politics, art and food technology classes in the group, and as well as the usual sites, we’re visiting Geneva to spend some time at the United Nations.
A highlight will be to spend a day at La Valla, a small village outside Lyon where Saint Marcellin Champagnat started his mission to education rural youth. Some budding film-makers are travelling with us, so there’ll be some great images to share with you on our return, especially in this, the bicentenary of Champagnat’s mission. Keep an eye on Facebook for updates on the other informative and interesting places we'll travel to in coming weeks.
As I mentioned in the last newsletter, I’ll be away for all of term 2, completing study and attending meetings on behalf of the Australian Marist Association. I wish you all the best for a lovely Easter and second term, and look forward to sharing my adventures with you when I return in term 3.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus heals a blind man and then confronts the crowd who don’t want to "see" that the blind man deserved to be healed. Sometimes, I feel like we can behave like the mob in this story, unable or unwilling to accept that others deserve the mercy and healing that we would likely hope and expect for ourselves.
Our new Restorative Practices program at school works from the presumption that in response to every poor behaviour there is an opportunity for the community to teach, heal and forgive. For some, this new approach, where punitive punishments are a last resort, is challenging. It asks us to start from the presumption that relationships can be healed, that everyone can improve and that everyone deserves forgiveness, even for those who break our trust or harm us. Jesus’ ways were challenging for the people of his time, just as they are for us today – quick answers might be expedient, but they are usually less effective in the long term.
Loving God, help us to be restorers of dignity and courage to others. Let us build up, rather than tear down, knowing that every time we help another to understand their behaviour as changeable, we move one step closer to the kingdom of God. Amen.
Peace and blessings,