Whilst we are challenged by the restriction of lockdown for the common good for COVID 19 the world is following the events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart and a deep disquiet about what lies ahead. All of us see the images of chaos, unrest, uncertainty and fear. Much lies in the balance. The hope and dreams of young Afghan girls and boys and all Afghani people. At this grave time we pray that all humanitarian needs can be met. Conflict has forced thousands to flee from their homes. We pray that all countries will willingly receive refugees so that we may all support the people of Afghanistan.
I would like to acknowledge our wonderful parents and carers who have supported our young people in remote learning. It is certainly challenging and we appreciate the generous spirit that you have given to this role. To our students also, you have connected with a determination and resilience that is admirable. It is not easy however we will often confront new challenges in life and if we take to them a mindset that we can do this the best that we can, life will provide us with opportuinities for growth and bring us deep moments of joy when we succeed in these difficult challenges.
As a community guided by the Catholic faith we look to Catholic social teachings to guide our thinking.
The principle of the Common Good in Catholic Social Teaching emphasises that we are connected with other people. The Common Good is about the general welfare of the entire human family where the rights and duties of individuals and groups are harmonised into the achievement of the common good. Our collective commitment to remote learning, COVID-safe principles and vaccination is a practical expression of our concern for the common good of our community.
So I encourage everyone to try to keep a positive mindset, acknowledge the new skills that you are developing, connect with others appropriately at every opportunity and if you need support at any time seek it out. Sometimes we give support and sometimes we accept it, that is the basis of a supportive community. Please don’t hesitate to call the school if you need assistance.
A GESTURE OF LOVE
Pope Francis recently described getting vaccinated as an act of love: "Love for oneself, love for our families and friends and love for all peoples. Love is also social and political.'
He went on to say that social and political love is built up through “small individual gestures capable of transforming and improving societies”.
So, if you have been vaccinated or you are getting vaccinated consider it a gesture of love, a simple way to care for one another and to support the common good.
We have the most wonderful group of young people entering the HSC year for 2022. There is a great diversity of talents and they willingly get involved and ensure that their talents are shared with our school community. Earlier this term they engaged in a Leadership Development Day and their collegiality was very evident. They work so well as a team. They were given the opportunity to nominate for a school leadership position, present an expression of interest and each nominee attended a forum where they responded to a question posed to them by the school executive. This and their expression of interest was shared then voting was undertaken.
Whilst we are very confident that each of the young people in this cohort will shine as a leaders we would like to acknowledge the elected school leaders for 2021:
NEW LEADERS IN OUR SCHOOL STAFF
This year Mr Aidan Leishman has been in the role of Pastoral Care Coordinator. He has now been appointed to the substantive position of Pastoral Care Coordinator. We are so blessed to have a leader who has such diverse experience in educational settings. He is very focussed on ensuring that all students are supported to learn and incredible competency in this role.
Mrs Leone Frank will be retiring at the end of this year and I would like to announce that Mr Brendan Gibson will be the new Vocational Education and Training (VET) Coordinator. He brings a wealth of experience to this role and has worked in many different schools in diverse areas. Mr Gibson has taught a number of VET areas including Hospitality and Construction. VET at St John’s has grown to include so many areas and next year we will also be adding VET Fitness for Year 11. I am certain that Mr Gibson will continue to ensure that this area of study is delivered with excellence and an engaging curriculum.
FATHER’S DAY - SUNDAY 5 SEPTEMBER
Father's Day is a day of honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. We wish all fathers in our school community a very happy Father’s Day this Sunday. We also honour those who take on this role for the many young people who do not have fathers in their lives.
Parenting can at times be so very challenging however it also brings with it immeasurable joy. Our children are such a gift and to have the privilege to be their mentor and guide is the gift of fatherhood. The advice from St Peter to the Corinthians is an excellent mantra:
Mrs Sandra Hogan
REMOTE LEARNING- A Guide for Parents & Students
- Remember to check in with your PALS teacher every morning. Fill in the survey each day and attend your Zoom meetings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- Avoid email notifications home
- Ensure you are in the appropriate uniform! Years 7-10 Sports Uniform, Years 11 and 12 School Uniform (Year 12 may wear school jerseys)
- Between periods students are encouraged to take short physical breaks. All lessons will finish early and start later to allow students to have a short break, stretch or go to the bathroom
- Some classes will be conducted using ZOOM allowing teachers and students to experience face-to-face contact.
- Year 7-10 One class per week per subject
- Year 11-12 Two classes per week per subject
- If parents wish to raise a concern with a teacher please email the school on firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded to the nominated teacher.
- If teachers are contacting parents it will appear as a 'no caller id' on your phone. Please answer. We want to support your child.
GUIDE FOR PARENTS ON RESTORATIVE BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT
Working with young people for positive behaviours can be challenging, especially during remote learning. Some strategies to assist parents/carers include;
- State the expectations clearly
- For non-compliance re-state the expectation and the effect the behaviour is having on others
- If non-compliance continues: use ‘Language of Choice’ with a consequence;
eg “please stay on the correct site and do not go to youtube or I will remove your computer for 15 min”.
The consequence should:
- align with the action
- Be inevitable rather than harsh.
If the behaviour persists the consequence should be implemented. The child should then be returned to what they were doing with the expectations clearly restated.
PARENT WEBINAR: SUPPORTING YOUR TEEN'S MENTAL HEALTH
Both a 30second snippet and the 40minute production are available by clicking below.
Mr Aidan Leishman
Pastoral Care Coordinator
YEAR 12 REMOTE HSC TRIALS
What a challenging time it has been for everyone. I would like to congratulate Year 9 on how well they have adapted again to online learning and how well they have been engaging with their work, teachers and peers. One of the things that I know they are missing the most is social interaction and I encourage students to stay in positive contact with their peers.
Students have been working well during remote learning with one of the highlights for them is interacting through ZOOM. Students have been engaging in PALS on ZOOM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It has been a great way for these students to continue their positive interactions with staff and peers.
This will be my last newsletter article for a while as I move to maternity leave for the remainder of this year and first term of next year. I will be returning as the Year Coordinator for this group in Term 2 of 2022 when students would have already completed first term of Year 10. I know that there will be growth and progress made by all students when I return. Ms Castles will be looking after the year group in my absence and I know that she will be welcomed by all with open arms. I will be keeping a close eye on the year group and look forward to my return next year.
‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me and loved me as yourself’
Mrs Sophie Daley
Year 9 Coordinator
PASTORAL FOCUS ON GRATITUDE
We are currently living in a time where we are unsure of what the future holds. What we can be sure of is what is happening around us on a day to day basis. Taking time to focus on what we have and those special people in our lives and to be Grateful everyday for even the smallest thing.
Our Pastoral Focus lesson was on Gratitude. Year 10 have been able to show their Gratitude for the things they feel bring music to their lives and where they see beauty all around them.
OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP AND ROLE MODELLING AT THE CLIFF-FACE
Twelve female and twelve male Bush Craft students assisted on the Year 8 Girls and Boys Mpowerment days. These days are about challenging a range of gender related issues. The Year 10 girls were wonderful role models for the Year 8 students as they climbed the various cliffs around Nowra Showground. The theme was that girls can do anything they put their minds to. The boys day at the same venue had a similar activity, however, the theme was using rock climbing as a metaphor to overcoming challenges. The boys demonstrated outstanding leadership skills. Every participant shared their bushcraft developed skills to make this activity safe and successful.
MARINE AND AQUACULTURE
Students in Marine and Aquaculture Technology have been developing skills relating to preparing and cooking seafood.
Students have learned how to make informed choices about sustainable seafood and are developing their seafood preparation skills in practical lessons. No excuses not to make dinner now!
The classes have been learning how to fillet and crumb a fish, prepare a Thai Laksa soup and learning about fish physiology through a practical dissection. The students are to be commended on their safe and mature approach to these activities as they learn valuable life skills using a hands on approach.
The world is in a climate crisis like never seen before, caused by human-made greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental impact of burning fossil fuels are well documented, however their true impact is now being seen and felt all over the world. These include intense and extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, extreme heat. These are impacting our natural systems to sustain our lives on this beautiful planet. Students in Year 10 Science are currently undertaking a depth study to investigate and research these impacts. Practical experiments for students to visually see and understand their theoretical research, whilst completing case studies on various regions of the world. We are so proud of the Year 10 science students for continuing their engagement in Science and their depth study during remote learning. Thank you Mr Chard for your wonderful practical videos.
Year 10 PASS students will be reflecting on the paralympics by viewing Rising Phoenix (2020). A film directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, Rising Phoenix is a Netflix original documentary that tells the story of how the Paralympic Games have become the third biggest sporting competition in the world. This feature-length documentary follows nine elite athletes as they reflect on how the Paralympic Games have impacted a global understanding of disability, diversity, and excellence.
“There is absolutely no doubt that this film will transform every single person who watches it. This is a film that will empower so many people around the world and further bring to life the vision of the Paralympic Movement’s founder Sir Ludwig Guttmann.”
– Andrew Parsons (IPC President)
The PDHPE faculty encourages all students to watch the Paralympics. We look forward to working with students to develop a greater awareness and understanding of the Paralympic Games, along with celebrating the diversity of sport and its ability to bring people together.
Students in The Arts have had the opportunity to express themselves through a variety of inquiries. In Visual Art we looked at Street and Installation art. The students were given the opportunity to look into a concept related to street art and produce a unique skateboard design.
We also had a double lesson creating an Installation sourced from nature, inspired by the wonderful art of Andy Goldsworthy. Currently they are busy working on their body of work, where they are given the opportunity to explore a concept and create a work of their own choice.
In Photography the students have been busy creating short animations and looking into The Surrealists and taking their own photographs through this lens.
Earlier this term, several of our Year 10 Food Technology students learnt the art of a barista, attending lunch time tutorials with Mrs Frank in our commercial kitchen.
"God has no hands but yours"
Year 10 PALS Teachers
Once again St John’s Indonesian students have taken to remote learning with an enthusiasm and engagement to be commended! Year 8 kicked off by celebrating ‘Hari kemerdekaan Indonesia’ -Indonesian Independence Day- and they celebrated Indo style. Students were given challenges like decorate themselves in red and white, cook something Indonesian inspired or hold an ‘Upacara Bendera’ -flag raising ceremony. Their submissions were uplifting and a joy to watch!
Before lockdown Year 10 had begun a fierce race to see which Indonesian island would become the ultimate winners of the IndOlympics.
Completing the first 2 events of Bulutangkis -Badminton, and Ejaan -spelling tournaments we were starting to see emerging victories from a number of island states. Sadly this was put on hold once we entered lockdown but we hold out in hope of crowning our first ever IndOlympics champions soon!
Year 12 Indo continuers sat their online trials last week. To a very special cohort who have undertaken more than their fair share of stres dan tekanan - stress and pressure - over both of their HSC years I commend you solidly! Whilst these times are tough and it may feel like groundhog day at times this will build resilience in you that will be life lasting. My topi is off to you and your support networks who continue to work tirelessly to reach your goals. Semoga sukses kelas dua belas!!
Walawaani njindiwan - Welcome everyone!
In what has turned out to be an ‘interesting’ term, Gooroon staff and students have been very active.
Prior to the lockdown, our dance troupes performed at several venues across the Shoalhaven including the Shoalhaven Community Pre-School and a wonderful visit to St Mary’s, Milton. Our students are so inspiring in the way that they have embraced the learning of culture and their willingness to share in this way. This is ably facilitated by Aunty Kate and Uncle Rory.
We welcome Aunty Chris Finney back to St John’s. Aunty Chris was instrumental in the formation of Gooroon, laying the foundations of educational support for our students. She has a great deal of cultural knowledge that is willingly shared with our school community and it is a privilege to have her back with us.
Work has continued on the Walawaani Garden at the front of the school. This garden has been planted with flowering natives and bush tucker species which will attract and sustain birds, make a visually attractive entrance to the school and provide some food for us at the same time. There is also a plan for the addition of artworks in the garden, so keep an eye out for those in the near future.
All of our AEA’s and Aunty Jo have been doing an amazing job in supporting the learning of students during the online learning phase. We understand the challenges of learning in this way and are here to help in a variety of ways. This assistance to students and families will continue for as long as required.
Many of the tasks that we are all doing at the moment require us to sit in front of a screen for long periods of the day. It is very important to take regular breaks, away from the screen. One way to do this is to connect with nature in some way. We are so lucky to live in the Shoalhaven, truly, one of the most beautiful places in the world. With some sense of irony, I highly recommend a new program on the ABC as a source of inspiration in connecting to our environment. ‘Back to Nature’ is a journey through the Australian landscape and the unique stories of the land, deepening our connection with nature. It gives an insight into the connections of various Aboriginal peoples from around Australia with their unique landscapes. Well worth a look, despite the additional screen time involved! Click here to view.
Mr David Muller
Eligibility criteria to participate in the Summer Skills programme:
- Must be a school leaver or aged between 16 and 24 (at the start of training)
- Living or working in NSW as an Australian or New Zealand citizen, permanent resident or humanitarian visa holder
- Signed out of school
Stage 1 in the process is an Expression of Interest Survey that requires students to either scan the QR Code on the flyer or click the link to the webpage to fill out a short survey indicating their preferences of course subjects and the areas of NSW they would want to undertake the courses/work.
Students can select multiple subject areas and parts of the state to undertake courses as the Summer Skills programme is aimed at allowing the School Leavers and young people aged 16-24 to take a “Gap Summer” in NSW, whilst interstate and international travel is off the cards. The courses will run all the way through to April 2022, so there are plenty of opportunities.
Stage 2 of the programme will see students notified of the available courses in their preference areas and subjects so they can actually sign-up for them. There will also be a website launching that students can access to find available jobs and accommodation around NSW, making even easier for them to decide where they might want to travel this summer.
Courses will be covered in the following industry areas based on the students EOI’s;
CAREER INFORMATION SESSIONS
- Trade Apprenticeships/Careers in Defence (exclusive to St John's students).
- Hair, Barbering and Beauty Pathways
- and an Auslan Careers Session
It is great to see students attending these online sessions to learn about a variety of industries and explore future pathways.
BLUESCOPE STEEL CAREER INFORMATION SESSION
Yesterday several students joined a valuable online careers session from Bluescope Steel, one of the biggest employers across the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands.
Students were provided with information on potential areas of work and jobs available within the steelworks, including: Engineering (Materials, Electrical, Mechanical), Trades (Electrical and Mechanical), Cyber Security and the Environment Department and were given the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session.
Mrs Carla Hill
Transition & Pathway Specialist
YEAR 7 RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
As part of Year 7 Religious Education's 'Stewardship of Creation' unit of work students have been able to reflect on the beauty of nature through a gratitude walk, describing what they are grateful for and capturing images of their favourite aspects of creation. Students produced some amazing responses!
MILTON PARISHClick here to access Milton Parish
Mr David Comensoli
Religious Education Coordinator
NATIONAL HEALTH & PHYSICAL EDUCATION DAY
NATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCE WEEK COMPETITION
Next week (Week 9) is National Social Science Week and our HSIE Department are acknowledging this event by running a fabulous challenge for students to complete a variety of History & Geography tasks.