20 June 2023 (Term 2 Week 9)
Dear St Joseph’s Community
In Sunday’s Gospel, we hear of Jesus' compassion towards the crowd, who were "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). This becomes the impetus for Jesus’ mission of healing and restoration. He commissions the twelve apostles, instructing them to go to the lost, proclaim the good news, and heal the sick–to bring hope, comfort, and light to those who need it most.
There are two main themes we can draw from this scripture for our children: compassion and service. Compassion, as shown by Jesus towards those in need, is a virtue that we seek to cultivate in our school community. We encourage our pupils to demonstrate compassion and kindness towards their classmates, family, and the wider community.
Service is a fundamental aspect of our Catholic faith and education. Jesus' call to his apostles to go out and help others, serves as a model for us all. Just as the apostles were guided to help 'the lost sheep of Israel', we are called to serve others in our community. This doesn't mean we need grand gestures; small acts of kindness and service can make a significant impact.
We aim to inspire our students to carry these lessons into their everyday life. As we continue with our school year, let's join hands in encouraging our children to look at the world with compassion, to serve others with love, and to become the kind of individuals who make a positive difference in the world, following Jesus' example.
Our teachers have been very busy these past weeks with finalising assessments and composing the Semester 1 Academic Reports. I frequently hear our teachers talking and discussing the learning experiences they have led your children through and the improvements they have made, the ‘next steps’ in their learning journey as they discern the most appropriate grade for each learning area. Reporting is not an easy process, and there is much time, thought, conversation and deliberation put into arriving at the final result. I congratulate all of our teachers on their hard work and their commitment to ensuring that students’ reports are an accurate reflection of student learning progress and effort. School Reports will be published in Compass on Tuesday, 27 June.
With the move to the new K-2 English and Mathematics curricula, there have been some necessary changes to the structure of the K-2 reports. To provide clarity for our parents on the nature of the reports, we have composed two documents outlining how to understand report grades and the Learning Conversations comments section of the report. The links for both are found below.
Our Parent/Carer-Student-Teacher Interviews with your child's pastoral teacher will be held in Weeks 1 and 2 of Term 3, before and after school.
These are now available to book under the Conferences section of the Compass app or website. This page of the Compass for Parents Website has instructions to show you how to book.
Your child's attendance at these meetings is essential. It is an opportunity to share successes and engage in discussions about their learning improvement areas. This active involvement is a key part of making these conversations productive and meaningful.
We look forward to the opportunity to discuss your child's learning with you.
Last week we had four school reviewers joining us for three days to be immersed in our school and to engage with all members of the community, students, parents and staff. I thank those parents who gave their time to participate in this process.
The review was an incredibly rewarding experience, and the feedback we received on Friday was incredibly affirming. Our school is doing amazing things, and the feedback from the review was a wonderful confirmation of this fact.
The review highlighted a number of significant areas of commendation and affirmation, which I will summarise for the community below.
- The mission is alive and well, and wellbeing is the focus for all that happens within the school. Relationships are built on respect and care.
- Staff model, support, and build Catholic faith, identity, and mission. There is a strong sense of pride, belonging and inclusiveness.
- There is a strong improvement agenda that is well communicated and data is used well to guide this.
- There is a whole-school belief that every student can learn and have success.
- The school utilises internal and external resources well to ensure all students are supported.
- Staff have opportunities for rich peer learning and professional development.
- Our support staff and enrichment tutors are highly valued members of the school community and make a significant difference for students.
- Our transition program into Kindergarten, through Junior Joey’s, is exemplary.
- We are narrowing and prioritising our improvement goals and staff are highly engaged in this work.
- There is a high level of teacher collaboration and openness to learning.
- The implementation of the K-2 curriculum has been effective and is having a positive impact on learning.
- Professional learning teams are strengthening and engaging more deeply with data to improve student outcomes.
- Strong learning and teaching practices are in place, such as direct, explicit instruction and Project-based Learning,
- The LAP program as a community-school partnership, benefits both students and volunteer mentors.
- Connections made with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community provide a safe and welcoming learning environment for students
The review has provided three broad recommendations to continue our school's improvement journey. These recommendations, provided below, will guide our work going forward.
- Developing a 2024-2026 annual strategic plan that is co-designed, narrow and sharpens our improvement focuses, employs tangible targets, is regularly reviewed and is communicated effectively.
- Ensure that our approach to curriculum delivery and pedagogical practices is evidence-informed by reviewing current practices, co-designing relevant areas for improvement and aligning these to our pastoral care approaches.
- Build a whole school professional learning community through improved structures and by providing feedback and coaching opportunities.
The review was incredibly affirming of the amazing work our school is doing and will provide us with an excellent platform for the development of our 2024-2026 school Strategic Plan. We look forward to engaging our families in this process.
Gardiner Chess Tournament
Last week, we had a number of students attend the Gardiner Chess Tournament hosted by Emmanuel College, Ballina. We congratulate all participants, but in particular Katie Bullen, who received a merit ribbon, and the team consisting of Katie Bullen, Lily McVey, Lily O'Connor and Myf Richardson, who placed third in the teams event. All players showed tremendous sportsmanship and gained much from the competitive experience.
We thank Mrs Danielle Bullen for her amazing work in coordinating this event and Lyn Rowling for her support on the day.
Family Connect Remote Service
St Joseph’s is fortunate to now have access to a new service called Family Connect, supported by the Catholic Schools Office. This has been an incredibly successful initiative in a number of schools across the diocese.
The service can help families to connect to services to ensure they are being as supported as they can be with the challenges that can come with raising a family. Ours is a ‘remove service’, which means that we do not have a coordinator on-site, but we do have access to a local coordinator. Our local Family Connect coordinator is Cassandra Finucane. A short message from Cassandra to introduce herself and her work is provided below, along with a poster to explain what the service does in more detail.
All families are invited to make direct contact with Cassandra (her mobile number is on the poster), or you are welcome to reach out to me, and I can help to put you in touch with the Family Connect service.
Hi, my name is Cassandra Finucane, and I will be supporting your school as the Social Futures Family Connect in Schools program worker.
I’m here to support you and your family. I will listen with compassion and partner with you to identify any challenges you are living with. Together we will look at what support is needed to make positive changes in your lives.
I can assist families in a wide range of areas, including NDIS, parenting, flood recovery, employment, Centrelink, housing, anxiety and mental health support, counselling, family violence and addiction services.
I am strongly committed to our region and believe in the value of healthy, well-supported, and connected families and communities. I have experience in both case management and disability service management, and am a mother of three boys.
I encourage any of our parents/carers to contact me if they would like more information about the help and support I can provide.
I’m looking forward to meeting and working with you and the Catholic School System.
Acknowledgement to Country
Jingi Walla ( Jin-gee-wah-la ) Hello….
As we journey on this land of the Bundjalung Nation on which St Joseph’s stands, we pay our respects to the Elders - the past, present and emerging leaders of the Bundjalung Nation. We acknowledge and respect their culture, their heritage and their beliefs as stewards of the land, sea, the earth and heavens, animals and vegetation.
Vinnies Winter Appeal
It was wonderful to have so many students participate in our soup and rice day. Thank you to all our families and community members who generously donated a pot of soup or bread roll. With your help we raised funds to purchase warm Nakie blankets and the opportunity to become more aware of those who are vulnerable in our community, particularly during the cold months of winter.
Our Stage 3 Social Justice leaders have also organised a Winter Woolies casual clothes day on Thursday, 29 June. Please bring a gold coin donation and join in the fun of this day. (We are aiming to buy 5 Nakie blankets for Vinnies- that’s $1 000! all up!) Weather permitting, we hope to share our lunch as a picnic out on the playground so we look forward to seeing everyone in their warm, winter woolies (or sun safe clothing). Please remember to wear fully enclosed shoes and your school hat (not baseball-style caps), for safety.
Our Journey, Together
Australians will be asked to vote in the upcoming 2023 Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum. With some help from Caritas, Catholic Social Services and Jesuit Social Services, NATSICC have created the all-new website ‘One Journey, Together,' which provides Catholics with an array of information to help with their discernment on the upcoming referendum. The website can be accessed at: https://indigenousvoice.church/
NATSICC is the peak advisory body to the Australian Catholic Bishops. Since it’s establishment in 1992, it has “supported and empowered our First Nations communities to bring together their culture and faith as well as educate the wider Catholic Church on the gifts that Australia’s First Peoples bring to the Church” (One Journey, Together 2023).
Parent Information Night First Eucharist: Wednesday 28 June, 6pm
Children in Year 4 or above who have received the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Reconciliation are eligible to make their First Eucharist this year. Candidates and their parents are asked to attend our Information Evening on Wednesday 28 June at 6pm in the school staffroom to learn more about the Sacrament. Please bring along your enrolment form (available from the school office) or collect one on the night.
Learning & Teaching News
🧱 Sentences- The building blocks of good writing 🧱
As part of our writing we have had a whole school focus on sentences, with the belief that these are the building blocks to good writing. We have been creating learning experiences to guide students to write complete sentences, vary their structure, and use strong vocabulary in all content areas of teaching. This has involved modelling the structure of a simple sentence, compound sentence and complex sentence. Students create sentences guided by the teacher and independently based on the content they are learning. Sentence-level activities are manageable for students who are still grappling with grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation. We also build knowledge of grammatical language such as nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs as well as conjunctions, prepositions and phrases.
When reading books to your child at home, see if you can both identify simple, compound and complex sentences.
The Write On Competition has now closed. Well done to Morris Green, who wrote an adventure narrative for entry. His story was about explorers searching for treasure who encountered a number of problems along the way including killer pythons, dust storms, confusing maps and even quicksand! It was very imaginative and he challenged himself with the use of his vocabulary and variety of sentences. Well done Morris, you can be very proud of your effort, good luck!
Mr Phil Crosby, Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching
We are all very excited for our Joey’s Athletics Carnival this coming Friday!
The program of events will be added to the Resources tab in the Compass Event this week. Our day is set to formally start at 10:00a.m. and be finished around 1:30pm. If you are attending and plan on taking your child early, please speak to a Stage teacher first.
Please remember that permission on Compass MUST be given prior to the day.
Diocesan Cross Country
Congratulations to Josie Layland who finished 6th at the Diocesan Cross Country held last week. Josie will now represent Polding at the State Cross Country later in July. Her Lismore team finished first as they had 5 girls in the top 10.
Ms Linsey MacDonald - Sport Co-Ordinator
Coffs Harbour Rugby Gala Day
The Lismore Diocesan Rugby Union Gala Day was held last Friday at Coffs Stadium. There were 6 school teams who attended the Gala Day: Holy Family Skennars Head, St Joseph's Alstonville, St Carthage's Lismore, St Augustine's Coffs Harbour, Mary Help of Christians Sawtell and St Joseph's Kempsey. What a great day of Rugby with fantastic skills, effort and sportsmanship displayed by the students.
We took a team with the majority of our players being new to the sport and trying something unfamiliar to them. This is something they can be really proud of. The more experienced players led by example with some strong runs and defensive efforts.
A massive thank you to Heath Conlon who volunteered to drive the bus, which is a massive help and we wouldn’t be able to do it without him. Also to Phil O’Connor who joined us in support for the day.
Mr Phil Crosby
Stage 1 Excursion
To culminate the Stage 1 unit, Living things in our Local Environment, we will walk down to Maguire's Creek to study the turtle habitats and the surrounding environment.
Stage 1 students will walk to Maguires Creek. While at the park, students will observe the natural environment, and hopefully witness a turtle living in it's habitat.
When we return to school, students will use their learning to create their own turtle nests/diaramas.
This Event has been published in Compass. There is no cost for this event, however permission is required for students to leave the school grounds by TOMORROW. We ask parents to give consent in Compass as soon as possible.
This term Stage 3 has been appreciating Australian Indigenous Poetry. Last week we wrote haiku poems using inspiration from Indigenous seasonal Calendars.
In Stage 3 last Thursday we had Mitch King come in and tell us about his career. He also told us about how he writes his own poetry. He gave us some tips on how to improve how we write and perform our poetry. He shared a poem of his own and he also performed a dance piece for the class. We all really enjoyed and appreciated him coming in and sharing his expertise in these areas. He has inspired us to create our own performance poetry!
By: Sophia & Penny
With the holidays fast approaching it is time for all student books to be returned this week. If your student has borrowed a library bag from the library could you please return it with the books too. Stage 2 students are asked to return their books on Thursday, due to the athletics carnival being held on their scheduled library day.
Students wanting to borrow for the school holidays can do this before school or at lunch time. I encourage everyone to use this opportunity to borrow widely so they can continue reading over the break. Please note take home readers for students in ES1 and S1 will not be supplied during the holiday period.
In our Maker space we have been exploring recycling. Students have taken great delight in making sun-catchers out of old CDs. Our library is adorned with these sparkling creations.
Please click on the link below to see the school calendar to view upcoming events: