Principal's report

13 August 2015

Dear Parents and Guardians

Strategic planning

Thanks so much to those students, parents and friends who made their way to our strategic planning day last week. There was certainly terrific energy in the room for all five sessions, and lots of terrific ideas for how we should speak about ourselves, and for what our goals should be over the coming five years. For those who couldn't attend, but would still like to contribute to this important document, you can do so here: Strategic Plan

Over the coming weeks the writing team will be busy again, discerning from the suggestions the most appropriate and necessary goals for our school. The survey link above closes on Wednesday, August 19 (one week), so get in fast if you’d like to have your say.

Re-enrolment for 2016

Registrar Bernie Jephson has asked me to remind you that enrolment of current students for 2016 will be assumed unless we hear differently from you. This is a reversal of the previous process, in that you now only need to contact the school if your child will not be attending Assumption next year. Please remember that if this is the case, we require one term's (10 weeks) notice of intention to leave, or your family will be billed as if the student has attended school in first term,  2016. We have waiting lists at years 7-9, and only a few spaces at years 10-12 (which we anticipate will be filled by new boarding students). We would appreciate it very much if you could give us sufficient notice so we can alleviate another family’s anxiety and let them know that there is a place for their child at Assumption.

Can you give up your phone for a good cause?

In term 3 we raise money for the ‘Marist missions’. Mostly, this means providing money for our year 11 immersion students to take to Santa Teresa and East Timor, to assist with educational projects that Marists undertake there. In Timor-Leste, especially, the schools are astonishingly basic (this is literally a 35 minute flight from Darwin), without furniture, pencils, paper or learning resources.  I’ve been going to Timor-Leste annually for just on 10 years, and while there are some improvements in the way teachers are trained, the basic infrastructure that students endure is not conducive to good learning. The money we provide pays for a range of different educational support efforts, but we are usually only working on improving one school at a time; a very slow (but meaningful) way to make improvements. 

Each year our fundraising is a challenge. We know that it is our responsibility to help support children and families in impoverished nations to receive their fair share of the world’s resources (including ‘knowledge resources’ like a life-giving education), but it can be hard to get motivated. In 2016, we are asking you to consider whether someone in your family – teen or parent -  could be sponsored to give up their phone for 30 hours. The ’30 Hour Phone Famine’ begins at 9am next Thursday morning, and ends on Friday at 3pm (when phones will be returned to their traumatised owners). We’re asking you to ask your family, friends, work colleagues to sponsor you (by the hour), to live without your phone. We will collect phones in the front office at 9am and keep them in a safe, or you might like to trust a family member to keep your phone secure. Either way, it’s really the sponsorship that matters (oh, and that peace and quiet). Click here and here for further information and sponsorship forms. They're also available on SIMON and PAM, so come and join the rest of us in raising money for a good cause.

Assumption-Sacred Heart Exchange

Yes, it’s nearly here, and we look forward to seeing our families drop by during the weekend. Even if you’re not billeting an SHC student, it would be terrific to see you on Saturday evening or some time on Sunday. It’s a great outing for the family, and there will be a canteen there with proceeds going to Marist missions. In advance, and on behalf of all of us, I thank Peter Jongebloed and Maureen Kurzman for their generous work in getting the exchange up and running again. They have a good team in support, but can really be credited with keeping the whole show on the road. See you there.

Peace! Be still!

In this Sunday’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus is out on the boat with his friends when a storm threatens them. Jesus wakes up and immediately calms the storm with his words 'Peace! Be still!'. 

While we might find the stories of Jesus’ miracles challenging, on a very simple level, it is worth noting that Jesus finds himself in a difficult situation, and his first response is to take a big deep breath and call for calm. What a lovely reminder for us – when things get out of control and we’re struggling to stay focused and rational, let our first thoughts be of calm and stillness. If we can send ourselves this important message and through our actions de-escalate others’ anger, hurt and pain, what a more pleasant day we would have. 'Peace! Be still!' is more than a command of Jesus to the waves, it is a good mantra for us all - everyday.

Peace and blessings,

Kate Fogarty