Principal's Message

7 February 2019

Dear Parents and Carers,

Welcome to the year of being ‘Wholly Holy’!

On behalf of the staff, I welcome all parents and carers to the 2019 school year. The Leadership Team and I have been extremely impressed with the way our community has settled into the routines of Term one, especially given the added complexity of housing, at very short notice, a primary school!  The teaching staff have commented frequently over the past week that there is an extremely positive attitude coming from the student body, and in particular, a very determined and focussed ‘vibe’ emanating from the Year 12s. The Year 7s seem to have settled in quite smoothly, and their youthful exuberance (and sheer volume!) has been a delight to have in our midst. Welcome, especially to our new families. We look forward to getting to know you and hope that you quickly feel ‘at home’ in our school community. We Assumption people are a privileged people. In our 126th year, we stand on the shoulders of the giants of education and the generous mums and dads to gave their time and their energy so that the school might be recognised as one of welcome and achievement.  I look forward to you joining our community in this same spirit.

Our staff have been very busy over the recent weeks, preparing new courses and developing activities for a new year of learning. We continue to focus on providing diverse learning experiences and timely and growth oriented feedback for students. You will continue to see our programs shift and grow as the year progresses, with special focus this year on students’ reading literacy, their study skills and capacity to reflect metacognitively on their learning, a program to help students to better understand their test data (especially the PAT-R and PAT-M testing) and some new socio-emotional programs including building respectful relationships.

The Marist Schools Australia theme for the year, ‘Wholly Holy’ invites us to find those moments in everyday life with the sacredness of the spiritual makes itself known. Be it a quite moment in nature, a moment of true connection with another person, or the gift of unexpected tears, we invite everyone to seek the moments of ‘bread and butter holiness’ and to share them, unapologetically and joyfully with those with whom we walk our days.

May God’s blessings be on each of you and your families at this time of new beginnings. Rest assured that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

The PAM Calendar and Daily Notices

PAM is each parent/carers one stop shop for all key dates and information about upcoming events. I would strongly recommend that you make a regular time to check in with the Daily Notices and upcoming calendar events so that you can ensure your child is ready for their week ahead.  All co-curricular updates and invitations for students to join new clubs/groups around the College are advertised in the daily notices, as well as information about expectations or changes to the daily program. Keeping up to date with this information is a great way to support your child to do well at school.

Learning Mentor Conversations – make your appointment now.

The next two Monday afternoons have been set aside for parents/carers to meet with their child’s learning mentor, set goals for the upcoming year and hear what the College has planned for their child this year. Our Learning Mentors are keen to start this year setting a high bar for your son/daughter, and it takes all of us to be on the same page to ensure that a consistent message and common goals are being targeted. Your Learning Mentor also hopes to learn a little from you about your child’s temperament at home, so that as much as possible, we can help them grow into young adults of integrity, who are able to use their metacognitive and emotional skills to respond resiliently and confidently in challenging situations. Please make an appointment (via PAM) as soon as possible with your Learning Mentor and don’t miss this important opportunity to ensure their year of learning is purposeful and well supported by all the key adults in their life.

Student medical details and permissions on SIMON

Thank you to all those parents who completed their child’s medical details and various permissions promptly for the beginning of the school year. A reminder that it this is not attended to or kept up to date,  your child will not be permitted to attend excursions or incursions where additional permissions are required. The nurses are currently making follow-up phone calls to parents who have provided information that is not complete or where further/clearer instructions are required.

Student and Parent Codes of Conduct

As part of the improvement of our procedures and policies, from the beginning of the 2019 we have now introduced a new Student Code of Conduct, and instigated, for the first time, a Parent Code of Conduct.  This document has been prepared with the assistance of the P&F, Catholic Education Melbourne and our College lawyers. It outlines and rights and responsibilities of parents and carers, and ensures that in times of uncertainty or high emotion, we have a suitable and appropriate set of principles to guide behaviours. You have received an email asking you to acknowledge that you have seen these new Codes and understand their content. If you have not already done so, please see to this matter as soon as possible.

Knowing who to speak to…

We completely appreciate that when you have a matter that you need to speak to someone at the College about, it can be daunting to know who the right person is! Our front office team are very experienced at listening and triaging parents/carers to the correct person to respond quickly and appropriately to a matter. As a very large organisation (190 professional staff with many varying responsibilities), we have processes and procedures to ensure that we can respond as promptly and thoroughly as possible. Please rest assured that our staff are very well trained at determining when a matter should be raised to a higher level (to Deputy Principal or Principal level), and will do so should the need arise. The Deputy Principals and their respective professional teams manage most of daily operational and social matters around the school, so in the vast majority of instances, it is they and their teams that will respond to your enquiry or concern.

Co-Curricular Requirements

All Assumption College students are required to complete one co-curricular per year (they can join more if they choose). The Winter Sports sign-up is occurring this week, and I would like all parents/carers to take some time to discus with their child which co-curricular they will be participating in this year and ensuring that they complete the online forms. Team sports and the other co-curricular activities are one of the many ways that we help young people learn healthy choices, resilience and communication skills. Our sporting and broad co-curricular heritage is part of the fabric of life at Assumption College and is one of the many reasons why we are able grow such wonderful young adults with strong social connections and a positive outlook on life. I look forward to see you out on the fields, supporting your sons and daughters over the coming months.

Upcoming opportunities for parents/carers

Following the hugely successful ‘Tuning into Teens’ program for parents in 2018, stay tuned for dates for this year’s program.  On Wednesday 13th March we have arranged for adolescent behaviour expert, Adam Voigt to host an information and training evening for our parents. You might know Adam from his work on ‘The Project’ and his articles about schools and adolescents in the Herald Sun.  This evening session will be a practical one and our staff, who spent a day with Adam at the end of last year, would all vouch for his great humour and entertaining style of presentation to help everyone respond proactively, calmly and purposefully to unwanted adolescent behaviours!

Catching people!

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus heads out fishing with a group of his friends, and helps them bring in a miraculously big haul. As they brought the catch back to shore, the men realise that the charismatic and impressive Jesus is someone who has gifts and a way of being beyond their simple humanity.  Feeling overawed by Jesus’ presence and countenance, they let him know that they feel like they’re not worthy of his time and attention, but Jesus, sensing something more in them, invites them to join him in ‘fishing for people’. That Jesus recognises something in these ordinary fisherman and wants them to join him in his work of brining goodness and justice to the world should encourage us all. We can all help others see and ‘catch’ the goodness within themselves. In fact, we should help others see and ‘catch’ the goodness within themselves!

Loving God, let us too be ‘catchers’ of people.  Help us see their hidden gifts and goodness and through our notice and attention, may they be brought to the fullest, most joyful and extraordinary version of themselves. Amen.

Blessings

Kate Fogarty