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Term 1, Week 10
He is Risen – Alleluia!
“Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” John 20: 1 – 9.
Our very existence as Christians is based on the events of Easter. Without Easter, we do not have a faith. To believe in the risen Christ means we are Easter people. I personally do get in trouble with church officials from time to time, because I simply do not get the need for some of the bells and smells associated with our faith. I genuinely mean no disrespect, but for me, the whole concept of being a Disciple and being faithful is because of a belief in Easter! Everything else to me is not as important. Our faith gives us hope to live eternally if we believe in Jesus and follow his ways. Jesus cheated death by rising from the dead, on Easter Sunday. Happy Easter everyone. Rejoice in the resurrection of the Lord. Alleluia.
Stations of the Cross – Holy Week
Today the students across the college gathered in the hall to view the re-enactment of Jesus’ final days. This is very important for all in our school to watch, listen, learn and understand the meaning of Easter and why it is the bedrock of our faith. My thanks to the staff and students who were able to role-play for students and spread the message that Jesus gives hope to all humanity.
Holy Week Events
If you can get to the church today, tomorrow and Easter Sunday then you are a true witness to our faith. I would encourage all parents who have taken the time to enrol their child/ren in a Catholic school to spend a small amount of time and get to church to remember Jesus and to rejoice in the risen Christ on Sunday.
Teaching Arrangements 4 Wattle
We welcome Ms Bridie Cartwright who will join Mrs Whitmore as the teachers for 4 Wattle from Term 2 onwards. A time will be made early in the term for parents to meet the teachers. Bridie met the children today and I know they are all very excited!
Welcome Back Year 6 from Canberra
Some bleary-eyed teachers and students rolled into school today after a few days in our nation’s capital. I would like to thank the Parliamentary Education Office for subsidising our trip to Canberra. The students took part in visits to Parliament House, the Australian Electoral Commission and other key Democracy venues to learn about our democratic values, rights and responsibilities. My thanks to the staff who gave up their family life this past week to stay with the children as they learn about the importance of Canberra as our national capital.
Reminders for Term 2
As we head off into the break there are some timely reminders in readiness for Term 2. The official changeover into winter uniform is Monday Week 3 of Term 2. If however, it is cold before this time then parents are encouraged to send children dressed in their winter uniform, but not a mix of summer and winter. Girls are asked to return with no fake, polished or acrylic nails, and no hair dye or makeup. Hair for both boys and girls must be tied back and neat, and tidy, and only one pair of earrings is allowed. Hair ties must be the colours of the school or natural hair colour and no mohawks, zig-zag lines or undercuts for the boys.
Please ensure school shoes are black and polished and that the children wear joggers that are white or predominantly white. It goes without writing that all items such as jackets and hats must have names on them, otherwise, they will end up in the second-hand clothing store. Parents are also asked to check that children are not coming to school chewing gum and that all children have the necessary items for their learning.
Social media and chat rooms please be vigilant! The number of incidences involving children and the misuse of social media is becoming an avalanche for those who are left having to deal with the consequences. A scenario that plays out repeatedly and despite the numerous amounts of warnings, parent education offerings and general communication many children are the subject of online bullying, grooming and exposure to inappropriate material. This happens out of school time and yet the common thread is that it usually involves other children from the school and therefore becomes a school issue. My simple advice especially for parents who believe they have a full grip on their child’s virtual footsteps is to demand for passwords and ask to be a part of the chat rooms and really get to know what is happening.
Anzac Day Commemoration
The primary students will observe a minute’s silence and be involved in a prayer ceremony remembering the people who have served or are currently serving in our military services. This will take place on Wednesday 26 April when the students return for day 1 of Term 2.
Enrolment for Kindergarten 2024
At this stage, we have filled three classes for kindergarten in 2024 and are almost complete with the fourth class. So if you know of anyone wanting to come to our school for kindergarten in 2024, then they must submit their applications now to avoid disappointment. Interviews will continue to be held early in Term 2.
Enjoy the Easter Break and Thank You
Wishing all families a wonderful Easter break. May the love of the risen Christ reach you all and that you stay safe and enjoy the time with family and friends.
A thought for the Week…
“I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun – not because I can see it, but by it, I can see everything else.” C S Lewis.
Term 1, Week 9
Palm Sunday Gospel Account
“What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.” Matthew 26:14-27:66. This Sunday is known as Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday. It is the start of the greatest and holiest week in the church’s calendar. If I could have one wish for all families of our school is that you take the children to all the events of Holy Week to get a full understanding of why Easter is at the core of our beliefs. There will be a procession Gospel into the church where parishioners are asked to walk in with a palm which is a symbol of the time Jesus was triumphantly led into Jerusalem before his betrayal, trial, death, and resurrection. The reading of the word will contain a much longer Gospel account of his passion. Judas spoke the words above as he sold out Jesus to his captors. He later would kill himself and sold his soul for thirty pieces of silver. Judas quite simply was filled with greed. There is a message in his story for all of us as we sometimes get lost in our earthly lives that we forget what we are called to do.
Palm Sunday @ Assembly this Friday 1:20 in the Hall
The Year 6 students will re-enact the events of Palm Sunday to the children at this week’s Friday assembly. The stations of the cross will be re-enacted on Holy Thursday @ 11:30. Both events will take place in the hall where parents are invited to come along and witness. As I often say to the children, a believer of the Christian faith is also known as an Easter person. Our faith is about Easter. If we do not believe in this story, then all other stories are irrelevant!
Harmony Day and Second Step.
This week at MacKillop we celebrated Harmony Day. We engaged in CLAN activities about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background. These CLAN activities were after our Liturgy reflecting on how we are all equal. Students finished off the celebration with International Sausage orders. The German Kransky was a highlight. Thank you to all our Parent BBQ helpers!!!
At MacKillop, we are committed to learning and developing skills for life. These skills are taught in our Second Step, Social Emotional Learning program. Here is what the kids have said about Second Steps last week:
- We learnt about predicting people’s emotions based on their body language and how to show empathy towards other people. Aiobhinn 5G
- We watched a video that showed us how to look at somebody feeling sad and ask about their feelings appropriately. Jazon and Ava 5W
- We learnt how to ask each other how we are feeling and how to use language to explain how we are feeling. Teleah 5B
Christine Owen and Kellie Denneman
Easter Egg Appeal for the Elderly
A massive thank you to all of you who have donated a chocolate egg to be given to the elderly in nursing homes. We are still accepting eggs until they are distributed mid-next week by our Mini Vinnies students.
NAPLAN 2023 Completed
Well done to all the children and their teachers and support staff who completed this year’s NAPLAN for 2023. The tests are usually held in May so there was a lot of pressure on everyone to be ready for this assessment so early in the school year. Results should be back by June for teachers to use in their classrooms.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Congratulations to the students across the school who are making their First Reconciliation this week. This sacrament is a gift from Jesus so that we can say sorry for the hurt we have caused through our actions. It allows the person to receive a clean heart and to do penance to live a better life thereafter. My sincere thanks to the parents and staff who prepared the children for the sacrament celebrations held this week.
Kinder Nursery Rhyme Day this Friday
Excitement is building for the kinder Nursery Rhyme Day this Friday, 31 March. This is only for the kinder children and their teachers. My lovely wife whom I love dearly believes my favourite nursery rhyme is ‘The Muffin Man’ in reference to the fact that with my coffee I am always eating the sweet treats. Harsh but fair! Which is your favourite nursery rhyme? Mrs Kenney is collating data so let her know @ Sherylyn.firstname.lastname@example.org
Year 6 Canberra Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April
We wish the children in Year 6 all the best as they venture down to our nation’s capital on Monday to learn about government and democracy. In Australia, we often whinge and moan about things we do not have, but it is refreshing to know that at least we are given the opportunity to express our grievances. Sadly, there are many countries in the world in the year 2023 where this is not the case. It will also be an opportunity for the children to explore the sights and have some fun at places like Questacon.
Term 1 ends Holy Thursday 6th April and School Resumes for Term 2 on Wednesday 26th April.
ANZAC Day Event
Mrs Ferguson sent out a note to the whole community asking for any students wishing to march at the ANZAC service @ Toukley to let her know. Some teachers will be in attendance and children are encouraged to wear their school uniform to the event to march and show that we care, and we remember. Please let Mrs Ferguson know if you would like to join the event and represent our school.
When the children return to school on Wednesday 26 April, the Primary classes will take part in a special ANZAC Day ceremony to pay our respect to past and serving people of the armed services.
Enrolments for 2024 are Filling Fast
If your child is beginning Kinder in 2024 or you know of someone who is, then please obtain an enrolment form and return as soon as possible. Interviews are already being held and offers made so do not delay. Three classes are already filled, and we are on our way to filling a fourth where it will be capped. Spread the word now is the time to enrol.
A Thought for the Week
“Happiness in your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” Nietzsche
Term 1, Week 8
Fifth Sunday of Lent Gospel Account
“I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11: 1 – 45. By Lazarus rising from the dead illustrates Jesus’ absolute power of life and death. It shows he is both divine and human. He had the human ability to show compassion in a time of extreme need. By raising him from the dead also illustrates that he truly is the son of God, who has power over everything.
Harmony Day Tuesday 28 March
Harmony Day is a national celebration in Australia to celebrate diversity and the multiple different cultures that call Australia home. The children are encouraged to wear orange or the dress from their family’s ancestral roots and donate a gold coin for our Lenten Appeal. During the day the children will participate in a special liturgy after recess followed by CLAN activities on how to get along and belong. A sausage sizzle will follow for those who have made an order on QKR.
Parent Volunteers Needed to Cook Sausages for Harmony Day
Thus far we have three volunteers to help cook and serve the sausages on Tuesday but we really need a few more. Please let Tim Snelling know @ email@example.com if you can help. You would be required from 10:30 to approximately 1:30. We need your help!
Holy Week Events
Being Catholic or for that matter being Christian should mean we are Easter people. The events of Easter go to the heart of our faith. If you do not believe in the events of Easter, then dare I say events like Christmas lose their meaning. To faithfully commemorate the events of the Easter story our Year 6 students will re-enact the events of Palm Sunday at the Week 9 Friday assembly @ 1:20. On Holy Thursday the last day of Term 1 some students from K – 12 will re-enact the Stations of the Cross. More information will be sent home by Mr Snelling soon, but for now please note all parents are invited to these solemn events.
Key Events Coming Up
Many of our children will be making their First Reconciliation in the afternoons between Tuesday 28 – Thursday 30 March. This is a wonderful sacrament that has been given to all people of faith.
The Year 6 students will head to Canberra on Monday 3 April – Wednesday 5 April and the kindergarten children will enjoy a Nursery Rhyme Dress Up Day Friday 31 March.
The whole school will stop on April 3 to commemorate Anzac Day.
Second Step Parent Information Session Friday 31 March @ 9 am in the library
As you should be aware our school has introduced a new Social and Emotional Learning program for Years K – 6 to help students to learn how to develop social, emotional and personal development skills. Mrs Denneman and Mrs Owen our SEL Coordinators would like to invite parents along to an hour-long information session to learn about what is taught and the objectives of the program. More information specific to this event will be compassed out to parents.
Thank you thus far to the handful of parents who would like to be a part of our inaugural playgroup at MacKillop to hopefully commence next term. If you are interested, then please send an email to the office to register your interest.
Before School Drop Off
Parents are reminded that before school staff teacher supervision does not commence till 8:20 am in the morning, so try to drop kids off just before or around this time. Children being dropped off way earlier than this time are unsupervised. All children must sit down in the shade sail area until a teacher arrives for supervision. Please help us keep everyone safe!
Afternoon Drop Off – Almost Getting it Right
A big thank you to the parents who are doing the right thing for traffic to flow and for the safety of the children. Sadly, we still have some parents who do not comply with instructions and consequently the traffic snarls. Come on, everyone needs to do their bit!
Enrolments for 2024 Kindergarten are being filled now
Commencing tomorrow enrolment interviews are being held at the school for parents of children wishing to come into kindergarten in 2024. If you wish your child to be in kindergarten in 2024 or know of someone who wants to send their child here, then please do not delay. Come and collect enrolment forms from the office and lodge them as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
For Your Diary – Term 2 Commences Wednesday 26 April for Students
A Thought for the Week…
“Like attracts like. Whatever the conscious mind thinks and believes, the subconscious identically creates.” Adams.
Term 1, Week 7
Fourth Sunday of Lent
“I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” John 9: 1 – 41.
The story of the blind man is well known. What is not well known about this story is that people who had any sort of affliction such as blindness were seen in Jewish times as being cursed because of sin. In other words, people born this way was because of their parents’ sinning and the punishment was an eternal affliction. Heavy stuff really! By Jesus curing the blind man and daring to put his hands on him was tantamount to endorsing and not shunning sin, according to the Jewish authorities. How can Jesus be the son of man if he spends time together with the afflicted who are born of sin? Let us hope education has taught people that such thinking is redundant and simply not true. What Jesus did was heal not as a sign of how powerful he was, but to model that he loves us all. In Jesus we trust!
Mini-Mack’s Easter Egg Appeal for the Elderly
As part of our Lenten Alms Giving, we are asking for children to bring in Easter eggs so that we can distribute these to the elderly in nursing homes. Many old people do not have family or friends to care for them in their twilight years. Many do not receive presents or a simple chocolate at Easter time. We want the children to know it is important to care for everyone and to learn the lesson that not all of us enjoy the love of a family. Children are also encouraged to write a simple Easter Card message wishing the elderly lady or man a Happy Easter! A community looks after all its citizens and at MacKillop, this also means those in our local nursing homes.
Harmony Day – Tuesday 28 March
Across K – 12, the College will celebrate Harmony Day which is really about a celebration of diverse cultures and the inclusion of all. On this day children are encouraged to wear a cultural dress of their family origins or simply wear something orange which is the colour for Harmony Day. The children will participate in a liturgy followed by Social and Emotional Learning activities in their CLAN groups. All children can purchase a sausage sizzle lunch for $5 on the school’s Qkr App. Orders can be taken now. We would like a band of parent volunteers to come to cook and distribute the food. Please let Mr Snelling or myself know if you can help with the sausage sizzle.
School Playgroup for Term 2 Start
If you are interested in being part of a school playgroup and helping with its operation, please let the school know ASAP. We would like this to begin each Friday morning in the multipurpose room.
SECOND STEPS & PARENT INFO SESSION
The children in Years K – 5 have been focusing on skills for learning in their second-step lessons: listening, focusing attention, using self-talk to stay on-task, and being assertive when asking for help with a learning task. Teachers have been reminding students, about the skills which help students be successful learners. Year 6 lessons are currently focusing on Social Skills. All children are earning house points for following school rules and implementing the skills we are developing in Second Steps.
Here is what some of our students have said about their lesson this week:
Hudson (Year 1) said “I loved the song and using actions to remember how to focus with our eyes & ears”
1W even shared a video of their class using this song
Josh (Year 1) said “I loved playing the Your turn, My turn game with Puppy & Snail puppets. Puppy is very good & snail tries to trick him. I learnt if you listen hard, you can get everything right.”
Lucy & Lily (Year 6) said “On Friday we listened to videos about Leo & Stella’s trouble going to high school. We offered advice for ways they could face their challenges.
We thank the parents who have already created Second Steps accounts and used the activation codes to access family resources online. To further explore the benefits of Second Step here at MacKillop we invite parents to an Information Session on Friday 31st March at 9 am in the library. A summary will be uploaded after the presentation for those parents who cannot attend in person.
Seasons for Growth
Seasons for Growth offers children and young people a safe space to come together and share their experiences of change and loss. If this is something that you feel your child can benefit from then this year, we are running the program over several terms. Please see the attached note and complete an Expressions of Interest form so that your child can be included in the program for 2023. Seasons for Growth EOI
Sports Happenings with Mrs Denneman
Congratulations to Carter H for his outstanding placings in the State BMX Tournament. Well done to Aoibhinn T and Georgia H for progressing further in the NSWPSSA Girls AFL selection meet and will travel to Batemans Bay in May for games. Common to these pages is Krystal L who we know is an outstanding swimmer. This was affirmed further when she was named the swimmer of the Central Coast Catholic Schools carnival held at Mingara recently. Isaiah F was recently selected to represent Broken Bay in the under 11 Rugby League tournament and Ava N, Danika M and Hallie W for the Broken Bay Netball.
On Monday, the primary cricket team headed to Darren Kennedy Oval at Toukley to take on St John Fisher in the opening round of the Mark Taylor Shield cricket competition. We won the toss and elected to bat first. St John Fisher had an extraordinarily strong bowling lineup and restricted MCC to just 57 runs, but we did manage to bat out the full 30 overs. Byron was the top-scorer and most of the team got a bat.
With a small total to defend, it was always going to be tough. We tried our best, but St John Fisher were able to chase down the runs in the first ten overs—special mention to Byron, Victor and Bayley, who all took one wicket each.
As this competition is a knockout competition, unfortunately, that ends our run this year. Congratulations to St John Fisher and good luck in the second round. Our cricketers will get another chance in the Waratah Shield in Term 4.
Grace competed today at the NSW State Championships for Karate in Sydney and came an amazing 1st in u12 Kumite and is now State Champion for Kumite! We’re really proud of her! She’s still only 9 and she fought and won every fight with so much passion and sportsmanship!
Enrolment for Kindergarten 2024
It is vitally important that if you desire a place for your child in kindergarten in 2024 or know of someone who does, advise them to enrol ASAP. Places as expected are really filling fast and enrolment interviews are being booked. Please do not delay as demand may outstrip supply! Enrolment forms and packs can be collected from the front office or downloaded from our website.
Well done to the Year 3 and 5 students who sat their writing assessment this week for NAPLAN. Next week the students will be assessed in Grammar, Punctuation and Reading followed by Numeracy. It is one test for one day, but it does provide valuable teaching information on ‘where to next’ for each child’s literacy and numeracy pathways. You can do your bit by ensuring your child is well-nourished and rested before the tests each day.
A Thought for the Week…
“Peace of mind comes from not wanting to change others, but by simply accepting them as they are. True acceptance is always without demands and expectations.” Jampolsky.
Term 1, Week 6
Sunday Gospel Account for the Third Sunday of Lent
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:5-42. Jesus appeared to the Samaritan woman and uttered the words above. What is astonishing is that at that time in history Jews and Samaritans never mingled or mixed. She accepted he was the Messiah after he recounted to her what had happened in her life as well as his prophetic messages. Basically, the meaning of this text in today’s context is that once you have been given the word and know about Jesus then you have one of two choices. Believe or not believe. I am a believer, are you?
Primary Cross Country Carnival
Under humid conditions, it was wonderful to witness the children doing their best running around the Hamlyn Terrace Oval complex. Some of the children are now able to move on to the next level and represent our school at the Central Coast Catholic school’s carnival that will be held soon. Once again, we are fortunate to have Mrs Denneman organise and run another successful event. A big thank you to the parents who were able to help or be present on the day.
Open Afternoon and Kindergarten enrolment for 2024
It was wonderful to meet so many new faces and families as they came along for our Open Afternoon last night. The volume of people who have expressed interest in enrolling their children into the school for next year was heartening. Packages are now available for families new and old to enrol their child into kindergarten for 2024. Families who already have children in the school should not delay in enrolling straight away. It is our priority to give preference to siblings in the school, but sometimes demand outstrips supply. We do not have any spots left in our current primary school this year. Based on the number of expressions of interest from last night we are anticipating the trend will continue. Spread the word that if you want to enrol at MacKillop then do so without delay.
Under 6 Fun Morning – Kinder Connect
This morning a great number of pre-schoolers, who will begin kinder in 2024 came along for a fun morning of craft and physical activities. It is a great way to introduce them to our school environment and for potential parents to meet each other and make bonds. Please alert friends and neighbours that if they have a child beginning in kindergarten next year and their desire is for MacKillop to get the enrolment forms completed and submitted ASAP!
Beginning March 15 through March 23 the students in Years 3 and 5 will sit their NAPLAN assessments. In the past, these have been held in May but for the first time have been brought forward to March. If you have a child in either of these grades, please ensure that they undertake some revision work prescribed for them by their teachers, provide good nutrition and that he/she is well rested for them when the assessment days are on.
Expressions of Interest – Playgroup
We would like to establish a school-based parish playgroup in the school. The plan is to get it started in Term 2 this year. The morning would be each Friday in a dedicated room within the school. We will ensure a good coffee machine is installed and that there will be plenty of equipment and play material for the kids to use. We just need you and a band of volunteers to share the running of the group. It would be a great way to meet new people and for toddlers and pre-schoolers who will be coming to MacKillop to get to know each other. Please send an email to the school office if you are interested in joining a playgroup and if you would also be keen on volunteering with others to run it.
Secondstep SEL Program
We are approaching our third whole school lesson on the Second Step Social and emotional learning program. I would encourage parents to chat with their children about resilience and what it means. Children have been learning about what to do when anxious or when not getting along with others. We are also mindful that many children, particularly since covid, are experiencing anxiety levels beyond what would be considered normal. If parents feel that children need some extra support, we are fortunate to have Angela and Jade as our two school counsellors. They are qualified psychologists who have wonderful programs and therapy to help those who need it.
Catholic Schools Broken Bay Parent Council Representative
The school is fortunate to currently have Kirsty Liston as our CSBB parent representative. She has done an excellent job for many years. Her youngest child is now in Year 7, so it would be great to also have a parent representative for K-6. If you think you can contribute let me know and I will fill you in on the role.
Thank you to the majority of parents who are doing their bit to ease afternoon congestion. We still have parents driving through the Kiss n Drop zone without signs in windows and we still have some getting out of cars to load children. All this does is slow the traffic down for others. We can all do our bit!
A thought for the Week…
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mystery.” Einstein
Term 1, Week 5
Second Sunday of Lent Gospel Account
“Rise, and do not be afraid. “And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.” Matthew 17:1-9. This week’s Gospel account is The Transfiguration. On the mountain top prophets appear, but moreover, God’s thunderous voice can be heard from on high claiming for the Disciples to listen to Jesus for he is my son. This event emphasises the need to follow Jesus and understand that his pain and suffering and eventual death and resurrection is about following and believing. Lent is the time to get the house in order for the coming high season of Easter. We do this through almsgiving, asking for and showing forgiveness and prayer for the intentions of those who are worse off than ourselves. Help the children understand that Jesus modelled for us that the greatest commandment is to love God and one another. Encourage them to give pocket money to Project Compassion and to pray for people they know who are struggling in some way.
Door Stop Meetings with the Teacher
The love of a parent for their child is something to beholden. Sometimes we love our children so much that we want to hover around them and in some cases clear their paths so that they do not experience any discomfort. Some of us want to speak to teachers every day to get updates and to ensure messages are delivered. Some have been getting to school and then wanting the attention of your child’s teacher, which on the one hand is harmless, but it really is not fair on the teacher setting up for the day of learning. Please respect their time and drop kids to school and leave as soon as practical. If something is urgent use Seesaw, Compass, email or ring the office and ask for an opportunity to speak to the teacher. Please respect their role and the work they do.
It is no secret that one of the biggest drawbacks of our school is the pickup in the afternoon. Up until recent times, it was almost unheard of for parents to get their child delivered into the car and yet every school now has this in operation. There is no quick fix and studies have been done on how best to relieve the congestion. Until Mataram Road is opened at either end there will not be any significant changes. What we can do is be good at what we are currently asked to do. There is not a day that goes by without at least 6 or 7 cars not having the child’s name displayed on the passenger side. Do not expect that by now the staff on the microphone calling out names will be familiar with your car. It certainly helps the person on the microphone clear the congestion quicker if the sign is displayed as requested. If relatives are collecting your child, then please make them do a sign too!
Please consider allowing your child to walk or ride or catch a bus. This develops great independence. If there are a number of you, who live on the same street, then consider carpooling or take it in turn to create your own travelling bus. This means waiting at school and walking the children to another nearby street and thus delivering the kids to waiting for cars nearby.
Do not get out of your car to place a child in their seat, this slows the traffic even further. Please teach your child to place the restraint on themselves and ensure baby seats are on the driver’s side or middle of the back seat to allow the child to enter via the passenger side. I honestly understand your frustration, but if we all did our little bit, things can get better while we wait for the roads to become open.
Open Afternoon, Principal Information evening and Kinder Connect
It is that time of year again when we open our enrolment intake for 2024. If you know of any families wishing for their child to come to MacKillop for Kindergarten 2024, please inform them to come along to our open afternoon next Wednesday 8 March between 4- 6 pm. Classrooms will be open across the campus and there will be displays in the hall as well as performances from the children. Our Year 6 leaders will function as tour guides and can be asked questions about life at MacKillop. I will hold an information session in the library between 6-7 pm and the following morning, Thursday 9 March children aged under 6 starting kinder in 2024 can come along for a fun morning of Kinder Connect. Enrolment packs can be collected from the office beginning next week or are available to be downloaded from the website.
Enrolment demand for our school is exceeding expectations. Please do not delay if you have another child starting next year or know of families who do. We simply do not have any space left in our primary grades and we are anticipating the intake for 2024 will be like this year.
NAPLAN and My School Website
Recently a journalist from the Daily Telegraph contacted the school and was making enquiries into how our results as measured through NAPLAN have improved to be one of the highest-performing primary schools on the Central Coast. If you go to the My School website and type in our school and other schools in the local area (15 in all) we are at the top on all measures. We have changed the way we teach, and we have invested heavily in teacher development and coaching to ensure all children receive the best chance of success in these assessments.
Moreover, we are trying hard to ensure little or no bullying and to develop in each child social, emotional, and personal development skills where each child is valued, cared for and known. I know that we do not always get it right for each child, but I can assure you we try our best to deliver the absolute best.
By now all families should have been notified that the NAPLAN testing period is soon upon us commencing March 15 and March 27. If you are a parent of a child in these grades with any questions or concerns about the tests then please contact Chris Shilling, Cath Whitmore, Sherylyn Kenney or myself.
Cross Country Carnival this Friday
Children from Years 2 – 6 will walk to and from Hamlyn Terrace Oval to participate in the annual school’s cross-country carnival. We welcome parents and friends to come along and watch the children compete. Upon return to school, all children will receive a free Zooper Dooper as a simple gesture of thanks for their involvement and efforts.
Harmony Day Tuesday 21 March
Information will be sent home soon about our College Harmony Day which is about celebrating acceptance and diversity. The children will be engaged in their tribe activities for the day and will learn about tolerance, inclusion and acceptance.
Social and Emotional Learning
International Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Day is held on March 10 every year. SEL Day celebrates the significance of social and emotional learning, a central part of education programs. SEL is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, achieving success, and navigating society. These skills enable people to cope with challenges, problem-solving, self-discipline, emotion management, etc. It has been proven that SEL enhances academic success, improves relationships and communication skills, and prepares students for life. SEL however, is terribly lacking in many parts of the world!
Here at MacKillop, we are learning about SEL in our Second Step lessons each fortnight. We will celebrate International SEL Day, in conjunction with our Second Step lesson next week. At MacKillop, we have a school rule about Respecting ourselves and others. Our whole school focus this fortnight is Being Safe. Safe actions keep everyone’s bodies from being hurt. When we act in safe ways, we keep our hands to ourselves and don’t use them to touch others in hurtful ways. When we use safe words, we make sure nobody’s feelings are hurt. Safe words are kind and respectful. This week, think about how you can act and speak in safe ways in the classroom, hallway, and lunchroom and out at recess. Children are collecting house points for demonstrating safe behaviour when moving around the school.
Here is what the kids have said about Second Steps last week:
- “Empathy is about being kind and caring towards others, looking at how they are feeling.” Isabelle even did homework about Empathy. Isabelle F. 4B
- “Miss Owen tried her very best to distract us, but we used Self Talk to ignore the noises she was making. She was a real pest.” Giulia. C and Sienna. P, 3G
We hope parents have been able to access the Second Step platform, using the activation codes from last fortnight’s newsletter, we will have a Parent Information session later in the term for parents to attend and find out more about this platform.
Christine Owen and Kellie Denneman
A Thought for the Week…
“It is only an illusion that you do not have what you want.” Roman
Term 1, Week 4
First Sunday of Lent Gospel Account
“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4: 1 – 11. We are all striving for meaning to this life and along the way how to experience joy, comfort, and hope. We can get all of this through Christ’s love and kindness. It is through this nourishment the church leads us to experience Jesus as the bread of life. Our spiritual and mental development is through believing in Jesus. Only then can we experience the true meaning of life!
Students are asked to do three actions during Lent.
Almsgiving is offering food and money to those who are less fortunate than us. We do this through Project Compassion and give money to support our local Catholic Charitable works. Praying for those who are experiencing hardship of one kind or another. The people of Turkey and Syria where over 45000 people died is an example of where we should dedicate our prayer at this time. Forgiveness of those who hurt us but also asking for it when we have done wrong to another. This is especially important to those students who are bullied or bully others. Please reinforce the three actions all of us are asked to do during this time of Lent.
Krystal Lees aka ‘Dolphin’
Congratulations to Krystal Lees (Year 6) who has qualified for Broken Bay in all events & won Female Swimmer of the Meet for the CCC Carnival. She will be presented with this award at the beginning of the Broken Bay Carnival on 14 March. Essentially, Krystal is the fastest girl on the Central Coast from our Catholic schools. Way to go Krystal keep powering through the water girl!
Mufti Day in Wellbeing Week
It is time to hunt through your wardrobes and dress up boxes, because next Wednesday 1 March is ‘Teams and Tutus Day!’ As part of our college tradition, we hold unique events throughout the year to raise money towards the school celebration of the graduation of our Year 6 cohort. This year there will be one Mufti Day per term. On this day students do not need to wear school uniform. Instead, they will wear themed clothing for a gold coin donation. Our first one will be next Wednesday, 1 March. The theme is “Teams and Tutus.” Children can wear any team clothing items, or a tutu if they prefer. Please note that a hat is required, shoulders must be covered for sun safety (no crop tops) and shoes must have a closed toe (no thongs).
One of the sad realities of modern-day economics is the need to rank and create league tables on who is the best and not so best on anything that can be measured. NAPLAN, we (educators) were told was a tool to be used to look at a student’s results and then value add by designing programs to meet the next step in the learning challenges for each child with literacy and numeracy. Sadly, Rupert Murdoch got hold of it and started using it as a tool to rank schools on their performance. At MacKillop, we are, in the eyes of Rupert, a success story as we are one of the high-performing schools as measured through NAPLAN. So I as the principal should be gloating loudly about how good we are, but to be honest it is a terrible idea to rank as not all oranges are oranges and when you compare you open a can of wiggly worms. For example, did you know that some schools do not take on enrolments of children with problematic needs and what they deem to be low IQ students if it means the NAPLAN results would be compromised? Did you also know that many schools do nothing but just teach to the test and deny children opportunities in art and sport and creative pursuits?
We need to ask ourselves what is the purpose of schooling? Why do we exist?
At any rate know that our school does well in academics, but I for one am not a fan of ranking as some schools are often left with low ability students or limited resources and by ranking them as under performing does nothing to fix them. We all should be concerned about that!
NAPLAN 2023 for Year 3 and 5 students will be held between March 15 – March 27.
Photos for Kindergarten, New Students to School
On Monday 27th February all Kindergarten students and new students of other grades will have an individual face shot taken to be loaded onto our COMPASS system. If this is your child, please make sure they come into school looking their best.
Sacrament of Reconciliation ParInformationtion Night and enrolment tonight 7 – 8 pm in the church.
Primary Cross Country Carnival
Students from Years 2 – 6 will walk to Hamlyn Terrace Sporting Field on Friday 3, March and participate in the school’s annual cross-country carnival. Parents are most welcome to come along and cheer the children on.
Open Day March 8 and Kinder Connect March 9
It is that time of year again when we begin the enrolment process for 2024. Spread the word that any child wishing to start kinder in 2024 here at MacKillop our Open Day afternoon is on Wednesday 8, March, between 4 pm – 6 pm. Following this, I will deliver a Principal’s talk in the library 6 – 7 pm and the next morning children wishing to come to our school can participate in a fun-filled Kinder Connect morning on Thursday 9, March, between 9:15 – 10:45 am. Enrolment packs can be collected from this day. If you or someone you know is wanting to have their child attend MCC in 2024, to avoid disappointment or being placed on waiting lists, please come along.
Term 1, Week 3
Sunday Gospel Account before Lent
“When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.” Matthew 5:38-48. This verse is often used to illustrate the ideal way we need to act around others, especially those we despise. It is a challenging Gospel as Jesus wants us not to be so self-absorbed, critical, or cynical. It is so easy to have one’s buttons pushed. I know it is hard to believe that I would be someone who gets to a gym, but I am genuinely annoyed at most teenagers who sit on a piece of gym equipment on their phones and won’t budge. They rarely seem to use it and certainly do not follow gym etiquette of working in with others who would also like to use the equipment (rant over!) This Gospel passage is directed at me to show patience, but also the ‘gym hog’ who needs to be less self-absorbed! Two years ago, a terrible accident took the lives of three siblings and their cousin outside Oatlands Golf Course in Sydney. A drunk driver mounted the footpath killing the children. A tragedy beyond words! And yet Mr and Mrs Abdallah parents of the deceased have shown mercy and have embraced the driver. Rather than hold anger and admonish him in any way, they have forgiven him. How many of us would be so brave to do such a thing? They live the Gospel in action everyday – amazing people!
Ash Wednesday and Lent
The school will gather in the hall next Wednesday for Ash Wednesday but also to welcome in the new year. Kinder and Year 1 will remain in their classrooms to receive the ashes as the mass will be long. Two Year levels in Secondary will also participate in the ceremony by being in the theatre. We are mindful not to have an overcrowded hall but also to allow parents who wish to join us to do so on the day.
At this time of year some parents often ask what the rules around Lent are with fasting and abstinence. On Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays of Lent: Everyone of age 14 and up must abstain from consuming meat. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday: Everyone of age 18 to 59 must fast, unless exempt due to usually a medical reason. The rules do not impact the Primary children, but it is always wise to alert the children to what Lent is and what adults of a certain age are asked to observe.
Principal Coffee n Chat
This Friday 17 February @ 9am parents are welcome to come along to the library for a coffee n chat with me. During this time, we will discuss the term ahead, building program, parent involvement and much more. For those unable to join you can hook in live via zoom. Please register for zoom with the details below.
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Feb 17, 2023, 09:00 AM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Commissioning Assembly tomorrow Friday 17th @ 1:20 pm in the Hall
Tomorrow we will commission our new Year 6 school Leaders with a special blessing and presentation of badges. It is also our first assembly where we distribute awards for learning culture. Parents are most welcome to attend.
Afternoon Pick Up
If you are waiting near Kiss N Drop, please meet your child on the grassed area to ensure that the path and gate is free for parents leaving the grounds with their children. This is becoming a safety issue, so we ask you to help us out and make this zone clear. A reminder also that Friday 17 February is the last day of staggered pick-ups. From Monday 20 February pick up in Kiss n Drop will resume at normal 3pm time.
Parent / Teacher / Student Goal Setting Interviews
By now it is my hope that you have all completed the Goal setting information sheet and have returned these to your child’s teacher. Please ensure you have booked online your interview time for next week which begins on Monday 20 February and Tuesday 21 February. Go to https://www.schoolinterviews.com.au/code/t6mmm . K – 2 it is for teacher and parent only and for Year 3 – 6 it is for teacher, student and parent to discuss the year ahead. Use the 10 minutes time slot wisely to get to the point of what is to be achieved in 2023.
All absences can be logged through COMPASS, and we encourage you to do so prior to 8:45am if your child is away.
If you are intending on being away for a period time of 10 days or more, please complete an “Application for Extended Leave” form, prior to your child taking leave.
If your child arrives at school after 8:50am they must collect a late slip from the Front Office.
Second Step – Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Program
This year we are implementing Second Step, a social and emotional skills program teaching students about feelings and behaviours for life. Last fortnight, our schoolwide Second Step theme was ‘our school as a welcoming place’ where every student feels like he or she belongs. Students are to welcome others and act and speak in safe, respectful, and responsible ways. Each year groups completed their first second step lesson:
- Kindy and Grade 1: learning to listen
- Year 2: being respectful
- Year 3: Being a respectful learner
- Year 4 and 5: empathy and Respect
- Year 6: empathy and communication.
Here is what the kids have said about Second Steps last week:
- “On Friday we learned about Empathy and Respect and enjoyed the song Walk, Walk, Walk”. (Lochie. F, 5G)
- “I enjoyed singing ‘Follow Follow’” (Abigail. R, KG)
- “This week we sung about being respectful and practiced our ‘think, turn, tell’. I liked it when we got to role play how to ask for a pencil” (Olivia. H, 2G)
Next week we will introduce our next whole school focus, and students will continue to earn House Points for demonstrating these skills.
Get in on the action by logging in and viewing the parent resources on the Second Step website www.secondstep.org using the following activation codes:
KINDER SSPK FAMI LY70
YEAR 1 SSP1 FAMI LY71
YEAR 2 SSP2 FAMI LY72
YEAR 3 SSP3 FAMI LY73
YEAR 4 SSP4 FAMI LY74
YEAR 5 SSP5 FAMI LY75
YEAR 6 SSP5 FAMI LY12
Christine Owen and Kellie Denneman SEL Coordinators
Welcome Mass for New Families this Sunday @ 5pm in the Church
We are looking forward to seeing as many families as possible, new and old at the beginning of school year Welcome Mass this Sunday 19 February @ 5pm. This mass is especially important for all new Kindergarten, Year 7, and new students in other grades to be formally welcomed. Kinder students will receive a special MacKillop Teddy Bear. Following the mass pizza will be served for all who attend, please come along!
A Thought for the Week …
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happiness’ would lose it’s meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” Carl Jung.
Term 1, Week 2
Sunday Gospel Account 6th Sunday Ordinary Time
“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5: 17-37. This is a tough Gospel passage particularly for many people of today. It takes several goes to really understand what is going on in this passage, which seems at odds with Jesus’ other teaching and parables. A person who is always angry, arrogant, deceitful, jealous and those who slander, gossip, or tempt others are just as sinful as those who have committed grave sins. Only a pure heart and mind can get to heaven. This means not engaging in gossip or spreading rumours. Some people find this difficult, and others seem to rise above such triviality. The message is simple. Be a good person all the time and resist the temptation to do and think in bad ways.
Kiss N Drop Procedures
Until Friday 17th February Kindergarten children and the siblings of kindergarten children will be collected at 2:30pm. We did this to iron out any teething problems with how we can manage safely the entering of cars of an afternoon quickly and efficiently. After this time all children will be dismissed at the normal time to be collected via this method. Having witnessed what is going on in Kiss N Drop we all need some pointed reminders to ensure the smooth safe flow of traffic during this terribly busy time.
- Please have your child’s name displayed on big font on A4 paper on the passenger side so the person calling out names to bays can get the children ready. If other relatives or friends collect your child at other times, then they must also have this sign displayed.
- A child who uses a booster seat should do so until his/her shoulders no longer comfortably fit within the booster seat or when their eye-level is higher than the back of the booster seat.
- All children who are loaded into cars, even in booster seats must be taught by parents on how to safely ‘buckle up.’ Please do this on weekends as a matter of priority.
- Parents are never allowed to get out of the car to load bags or children into cars.
- Parents who have a baby seat in the car must put this in the middle or on the driver’s side. If your baby seat is currently on the passenger side, please try and move this so that your school aged child can enter the car via the passenger side.
- Children should never enter the back seat via the driver’s side.
- Up until Friday 17th February parents of children not in the kindergarten pick up at 2:30 should delay their arrival until 2:45pm.
- If it is safe to do so encourage your child/ren to walk or ride home or even get a bus.
- The traffic congestion will not change until the Mataram Road extensions are completed so until then we need to all cooperate and limit congestion as much as possible.
Goal Setting Parent / Teacher / Student Interviews
On Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st February our beginning of year Goal setting meetings are taking place. Please look out via compass in the next few days for the Goal setting information sheet and how to book an interview online. For Kinder – Year 2 these are for parent and teacher only. For Year 3 – Year 6 these are a 3-way conference between student, teacher and parent. At interview time you are to make sure that you have submitted the goal setting sheet to your child’s teacher to work through what is to be achieved in 2023.
Current School Enrolment Situation
We only have a handful of spots left for Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 3. All other grades are full and have waiting lists. We are incredibly grateful and delighted that so many families want to be a part of our school community. The main intake at present are children coming from other local public and independent schools. As the new estates are being developed directly adjacent to the school, the growth is expected to be picked up with the development of the new primary buildings that will begin to be built towards the end of this year. Please spread the word that often many of the children on the waiting lists do get placed. Equally it is always helpful for those wishing to come to the school to let us know if you are leaving MacKillop.
Principal Coffee n Chat Friday 17th February 9am in the library
Each term I always hold a coffee n chat morning to talk to parents about current programs and initiatives. If you can come along, I would love to see you. If you are unable to attend due to work, then you can hook in via zoom. The link will be placed on Compass early next week for those unable to be here for the chat.
Welcome Mass @ 5pm on Sunday 19th February
A welcome mass is extended to all in the College, in particular new families, kinder students, Year 7 students and their families. A special gift is presented to all new students and after the mass a lovely supper is provided. Please come along if you can and meet other families.
Year 6 Student Leaders Commissioned on Friday 17th February
At 1:20pm on Friday 17th February new Year 6 leaders for 2023 will be commissioned at our assembly. The leaders will receive their blessed badges and receive a special commissioning during this time.
Instructional Teaching @ MacKillop in 2023
This year we have introduced a new and improved method of instructional teaching to cater for the needs of all learners. Two expert teachers have been freed up from class loads to act as teacher coaches and instructors to model for and work alongside current class teachers. The teachers of each grade are also released at the same time each week to devise and revise teaching plans to optimise the learning for all students. If you have any direct enquiries related to maths, please contact Mrs Whitmore and for English Mrs Shilling. The school has been ranked as the 4th most improved school on the Central Coast as measured through Year 5 NAPLAN growth from 2019 – 2022. This is largely because of the new model placed in the school over the past few years which we have now refined further.
Second Step (SEL Program)
This Friday all the students from K – 6 will begin learning about the Second Step social and emotional learning program. Please go to secondstep.org to learn more about the program. Also watch out for a parent information session in the coming weeks to listen to our Second Step coordinators talk about this evidenced based program.
EOI from Parents MacKillop College Playgroup
It is our hope to begin a playgroup for our toddlers in the school in the coming weeks. In order to do this we need to hear from parents interested in being a part of the playgroup, but also from those who can take on some leadership roles to get it off the ground and make it a viable part of our school. If this is you simply email the front office expressing how you would like to be involved.
A Thought for the Week…
“Life is a pretty precious and wonderful thing. You can’t sit down and let it lap around you… you have to plunge into it, you have to dive right through it.” Crichton.
Term 1, Week 1
Fifth Sunday Gospel Account
“Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5: 13-16. The message is very clear in this Gospel account. Those who say they believe and have faith and follow Christ must do so in action and not just in words. This is where I believe the Catholic church gets itself in hot water with a lot of people who so want to believe but get turned off by some messages. I see it every Sunday at my local Parish church at Terrigal. A young mum juggling to get her toddlers and young ones into mass only to be looked down upon by the pillars of the church for the noise. I see it when hardened worshippers take the same seat each week and frown upon others who dare sit in it. I see it when they leave mass where the message is to love one another and yet they refuse to yield to let others in getting out of the car park. God knows our actions. Are you a selfish or selfless person?
Great Start to the Year
It is always pleasing to watch the children return in a settled and calm way. This was especially so yesterday when the Year 1 – 6 students returned in earnest and again today when the 101 Kindergarten students began their school journey. There were some tears but mainly from the parents in the kindergarten rooms. I am forever grateful to the dedicated staff we have here at MacKillop who are always so eager to make the learning meaningful and enjoyable for the children.
Kindergarten Tears n Cheers
Thanks to Lucy M, Zoe P, Matt C and Lisa R for making the first morning drop off for kindergarten parents a comforting one. A nice cuppa with cake helped settle the mixed emotions and it was appreciated by all. When the parents left it was fantastic to go into the kindergarten rooms to see settled children with no tears and no runners. A big thank you to the Kinder parents for turning their little one out so beautifully for their first day.
Kiss n Drop and Afternoon Procedures
Kindergarten students and those who have siblings who are collected via the Kiss n Drop of an afternoon, will be waiting in the Kiss n Drop zone at 2:30p.m. This will continue till Friday 17th February. Kindergarten children not going home via Kiss n Drop will be in their classroom with their teacher until the normal 3pm home time bell.
Children from other grades who do not have a kindergarten sibling will go to Kiss n Drop at normal home bell time. Unless you are a parent of a Kindergarten child, please do not line up at Kiss n Drop until at least 2:45pm to allow the first lot of students to be dispatched into their cars safely.
We are encouraging students to ride and walk home from school if this is possible based on safety considerations. The walkers will now assemble on the primary basketball court of an afternoon and walk across the oval to Sparks Road lights. If you are turning left into MacKillop Drive from Sparks Road, please be aware of the red arrow signal when children are waiting at the lights!
Tradespeople are working around the clock to make sure all demountables installed in the school are compliant and comfortable for learning and play. The OSHC building near Kiss n Drop should be completed by next week so that parents who us e this service will not have to traipse through the school to drop off and pick up their children. Please contact Catholic Care if you would like to use this service as they now have greater capacity to take on more children.
The Year 2 demountables are mostly finished, but there will be some adjustments to the entry and exit points to these rooms. We apologise for inconvenience caused.
Important Reminders and Key Dates
If you are waiting for your child of an afternoon on the school site, please do not wait outside classrooms or on verandas. Wait on the other side of the creek near the canteen, outside the Kiss n Drop gate or on the covered areas near the St Mary MacKillop iron statue. When the children come out for Kiss n Drop, please vacate these steps to avoid congestion.
If you wish to speak to your child’s teacher please make an appointment via compass, email or Seesaw for the grades who use this communication tool or through the front office. Do not hold up the teacher at the door of a morning or afternoon where the duty of care is to the children.
Mobile Phones and other gadgets such as air pods are not needed at school. If a child must have a mobile phone it needs to stay in his/her bag and not be brought out during the day or these will be taken and locked in a safe place for retrieval at day’s end. The school cannot be responsible for lost items such as these and they are not needed during the school day. If you need to reach your child, then ring the office and messages will be passed on to the child ASAP.
Welcome Mass Sunday 19th February 5 – 7pm for all new Kindergarten, Year 7 and new students of other grades and their families. The invitation is also open to any families who would like to join us for a beginning of year blessing, where the new students are presented with a gift, and all gathered will enjoy a lovely supper after the mass.
Parent/Teacher/Student Goal Setting Interviews will be held on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 February.
Ash Wednesday 22 February will be the first whole school liturgy where parents are welcome to be in attendance.
Cross Country Carnival Friday 3rd March. Athletics Carnival @ Mingara on Thursday 23rd March
Open Afternoon and Kindergarten 2024 Information night will be held on Wednesday 8th March and Kinder Connect Fun morning Thursday 9th March.
NAPLAN for Year 3 and 5 students will be held much earlier this year between 15 – 22 March.
Sacrament of Reconciliation will be held over three afternoons 28 – 30 March which mainly involves eligible students from Year 3. Easter liturgy Holy Thursday 6th April.
These dates are subject to change so please ensure you have the COMPASS notification APP on your smart devices and consult community calendar found on COMPASS.
Parents of children in Year 3 and 5 need to be aware that NAPLAN is much earlier this year. It is now held end of March where previously it was held in May each year. Adjustment and exemption forms will be sent home shortly to those parents who have requested these, and an opportunity exists to provide extra exam preparation before school beginning next week. Please go to https://forms.office.com/r/MZkK2h2cU5 if you would like your child to take part in NAPLAN preparation before school.
Parent / Teacher / Student Goal Setting Interviews
Information about these interviews will be sent home next week. Contained with this information will be a goal setting sheet for you to work with your child before the interview on the goals to be achieved for this year. Teachers use this information to design a contemporary class profile. Term Overviews of learning will be sent home by next week for you to learn about what your child will be learning in Term 1. All class teachers set homework where you can expect a reading fluency and comprehension component as well as Maths Mentals or problems. It is not the responsibility of the teacher to see that the homework is completed. Their responsibility is to set it and correct it. As parents the expectation is that you will supervise the homework at home.
Please note that there are no cash sales through the canteen and all parents need to establish an account through Flexi schools. Could all parents please go into Flexi schools and change the class allocation for your child to reflect this year’s class. Lunches are being sent to their old class from 2022. If in doubt call the office for help!
Each Friday an awards assembly is held in the College Hall @ 1:20pm. All parents are invited to attend. Tomorrow we will honour those students who did well at our end of year swimming carnival. Year 2 – 6 students will attend tomorrow’s assembly. Please be aware that the assemblies are held each fortnight Friday on odd school weeks.
Second Step Social and Emotional Learning Program
This year all students K – 6 will be undertaking the Second Step SEL program to teach resilience and to foster in all children healthy social and emotional development. Please go to secondstep.org for an overview. During the term Mrs Denneman and Ms Owen will be doing parent education sessions on this program and why it was chosen for our school needs.
Principal Coffee n Chat Friday 17th February @ 9am
Parents are welcome to come and have a chat with me on Friday 17th February. I will talk about the year ahead, building program, parent helping in rooms and much more. This will be in the library if you can make it. A zoom will also be set up for those unable to attend.
A Thought for the Week…
“Life is an opportunity and not an obligation.” Tao
Term 4, Week 10
Fourth Sunday of Advent Gospel Account
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1: 18 – 24. The greatest story of all is Christmas. It is a story that endures through time and is enjoyed more widely than just by Christians. Please get the children to church at Christmas time.
Another Learning Year comes to an End
We have much to celebrate and be grateful for as 2022 draws to a close. To the leaving Year 6 students I say thank you for being a wonderful bunch of children. Again, I wish you every great success in High School. For the families leaving our community, travel well and know you will always be thought of as being part of our community. My heart goes out to the families who this year endured loss and suffering. Find strength in God, family and friends. Losing my mum this year is one of the biggest hits to my own life. I can certainly empathise when it comes to grief! Thank you to all the staff, students and parents for being involved in our community which is ever-growing.
Staffing Change for Year 4 Wattle 2023
The teacher who was due to take up the 4 Wattle position has accepted a permanent role in another local school. At the time of writing, we have a selection of teachers to interview for this position. Please be assured this will be settled before the start of next year.
Enrolment status for 2023
We will start the year with 632 students in Primary. Kindergarten will welcome a fourth stream of 104 students. We have waiting lists for Year 5 and 6 and we are very reluctant to take on any more students in the other grades where we only have handful of spots left. In one way it is affirming that we have many families wanting to be part of our school community. This year we have seen a huge influx of children wanting to come over from schools already in the local area and are only now beginning to get enquiries from new families moving into the estates.
Growth Plan Moving Forward
As already flagged at the end of 2023 work will begin in earnest, with the main works completed in 2024 for the building of a completely new Primary School in the College. It is being designed as a four-stream school. The main idea is to have double storey blocks on the western boundary to open a much larger playing space area to accommodate our growing school.
Top 4 Most Improved School on Central Coast
It was wonderful for the staff to receive recognition in the local and Sydney press for being one of the most improved schools on the Central Coast as measured by NAPLAN for Year 3 and 5. It means that the teaching model we have put into the school in the past two years is proving fruitful for our students.
A New Social and Emotional Learning Program for 2023
In 2023 we will introduce the Second Step social and emotional learning program for students K – 6. We fully believe that for each student to reach his/her potential requires sound social, emotional, personal, physical, spiritual and academic skills. If you can be in the right frame of mind to learn and be situated emotionally to learn, then so much can be achieved. The plan is to do explicit teaching of the program every second Friday so that children have the tools to develop socially and emotionally.
Newly Elected Student Leadership Team for 2023
Congratulations to all the current Year 5 students who put themselves forward to be elected as a leader for 2023. I ma pleased to announce the following students who will take up specific roles for next year.
School Captains: Ella G & Dean W
Mission Leaders: Ava F & Ruby H
Wellbeing Leaders: Ava N & JR G
Learning Culture: Samantha G & Charlotte K
Temuka: Vivian A & Ethan B
Fitzroy: Bridgette C & Krystal L
Alma: Kaylee P & Adan Jojo S
Gesu: Angel W & Mikayla J
Penola: Georgia H & Scarlett C
Kincumber: Evangeline K & Alyssa McC
Mathematical Assessment Interviews (MAI)
By now all Year 1 – 6 families for 2023 should have received information on making a one on assessment booking for either 30 or 31 January for the MAI. This is an important component of our learning and teaching program. Please do so ASAP!
Last day of school for students today December 15, 2022
Staff return for school year January 27, 2023
K – 6 Assessment Days January 30 and 31, 2023
Kinder only Assessment Day February 1, 2023
Year 1 – 6 returns to full day of school February 1, 2023
Kindergarten first full day of school February 2, 2023.
A Thought for the Christmas Break…
For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9: 6-7.
Term 4, Week 9
Third Sunday of Advent Gospel Account
“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.
Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matthew 11: 2 – 11. Jesus said these words to those seeking him. He said them about John the Baptist, possibly the greatest prophet of all. John was a brave man. Without losing our heads, if we can all be a little like him in our faith, then eternity is assured.
Jesse Tree Ornaments
Thanks to the great work of Mrs Brown the children have responded well to choosing and designing their own ornaments for the playground Jesse Tree. It is wonderful to listen to the explanations given by the children for their designs. In the true spirit of Christmas, it is truly delightful to view these ornaments as a testament to each child’s understanding of the Bible stories.
Step Up Day Today
This morning we welcomed 22 new students and families to our school for Year 1 – 6 in 2023. All the children met their classmates and teachers for the 2023 school year. We will begin 2023 with a school population in primary of 632 students in 22 classes.
The class teachers for 2023 are as follows:
K Banksia Miss Abbie McBride
K Grevillea Ms Cathryn Paholski
K Myrtle Miss Jasmin Joyce
K Wattle Mrs Alicia Hanson
Year 1 Banksia Mrs Melissa Ellmore
Year 1 Grevillea Mrs Jo-Anne Smith
Year 1 Wattle Ms Brooke O’Connell
Year 2 Banksia Mrs Kathryn Williams
Year 2 Grevillea Mrs Allison Passafaro
Year 2 Wattle Ms Cassie Phillips
Year 3 Banksia Mr Luke Bondfield
Year 3 Grevillea Ms Christine Owen
Year 3 Wattle Mrs Samantha Mohan
Year 4 Banksia Mrs Colleen Heffernan
Year 4 Grevillea Mrs Lauren Jones
Year 4 Wattle Miss Natasha Ravenswood
Year 5 Banksia Mrs Jodie Kessler
Year 5 Grevillea Mrs Karen Jones / Mr Timothy Snelling
Year 5 Wattle Mr John Sullivan
Year 6 Banksia Mrs Catherine Brown
Year 6 Grevillea Mr Brian Colton
Year 6 Wattle Mrs Karen Dacey
PE Mrs Kellie Denneman
Music Ms Leanne Schillert
Learning Support Teachers Mrs Lauren Oliver Mrs Lyndal Mukherjee Mrs Jeanette Noonan
Learning Support Assistants Mrs Felicity Banfield Mrs Joanne Latham Mrs Christine Newell Mrs Alison Iceton Miss Erin Kessler
Librarians Mrs Jackie Crowe Mrs Georgina Martin Mrs Bronwyn Sandeman
Leaving Staff for 2023
Ms Bronte Doorn has accepted a position at Our Lady of the Rosary Shelley Beach. Mrs Peeta Gainsford is working at St Brendan’s Lake Munmorah and Mrs Simone Merrotsy at Star of the Sea Terrigal for next year. We wish them all the very best and thank them for their contributions to our school community.
Advent / Christmas Liturgy and Songs
Today it was wonderful to see so many families come to our Advent Christmas concert. The children really got into the spirit of the day and the liturgy was respectful of the great feast of Christmas. My thanks to Mr Snelling, Ms Schillert, and staff for preparing the children and for the army of volunteers who managed to cook and deliver 800 sausages to the hungry mass of people gathered.
Rotary Club Citizenship Award
The Northlakes Toukley Rotary Club recently held its local citizenship awards for primary students. Hannah Hallinan from Year 6 was one of the recipients for the award. Congratulations Hannah on a wonderful recognition. Thank you again Northlakes Toukley Rotary for always working for and with our local community.
Year 6 Graduation Ceremony
Last night was a wonderful celebration for the graduating Year 6 students and their families. The children participated in a meaningful liturgy followed by a beautiful dinner and disco. My sincere thanks to the Graduation committee for providing such a fitting farewell to a great bunch of children. The night was put together by Rochelle Muscatt and a band of parents and staff. I want to thank Rock Sloth (Balloons and Entertainment), Sabilicious Cakes, Central Coast Events, Kwik Kopy Tuggerah, Bop till you Drop, secondary students and staff and parents who all pitched in at the end to pack up the hall. Please favour these businesses when you are next planning a function.
MAI Online Bookings
Early next week parents will be invited to make an assessment booking once again for the start of next year. The MAI is an important part of starting the academic year for programming purposes. The two dates to make a booking for Year 1 – 6 are Monday 30th January and Tuesday 31st January. Kindergarten has a separate Best Start booking for either 30th January, 31st January and 1st February.
2023 Starting Dates
Executive Staff 20 January
K – 12 Staff 27 January
Assessment Days 30 and 31 January – Year 1 – 6
Assessment day 1 February Kinder only
Year 1 – 6 commence first full day of school 1 February
Kindergarten commences first full day of school 2 February
A Thought for the Week…
Term 4, Week 8
Second Sunday of Advent Gospel Account
“I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.I am not worthy to carry his sandals.” Matthew 3:1-12. John the Baptist is and always will be one of the greatest saints. He paid for his faithfulness and loyalty with his head! He is the great prophet who told the people that Jesus was and is the Messiah. The message for the second week of Advent is to get one’s house in order and to worship only one God and certainly not false idols.
Read all about it in the Daily Telegraph
“After joining MacKillop Catholic College from the Armidale Diocese where he worked more in an advisory capacity, principal Jason Hanrahan said he was amazed at his primary school colleagues’ ability to point out any child and know what level they were at with their literacy and numeracy.
“When your primary principal can tell you that without having to go to a spreadsheet, they really know what’s going on,” he said.
MacKillop Catholic College at Warnervale was one of the most improved schools on the Central Coast for NAPLAN results from 2017-21. Picture: MacKillop Catholic College
Mr Hanrahan said the school was also ahead of the curve when it came to evidence-based learning such as using “synthetic phonics”, which is only now just becoming part of the new syllabus.
MacKillop deputy primary principal Sherylyn Kenney said her, and primary principal Frank Cohen were in classrooms a lot more and took a “village” approach to education where everyone was involved in improving outcomes including teachers, other staff and parents.
She said this could not be possible without dedicated teachers.” Wednesday 30/11
Year 5 Leadership Camp
Excited Year 5 children went off to camp yesterday to Point Wollstonecraft. The Sport and Recreation Camp will provide an environment for the children to explore their leadership potential through collaborative building exercises. The children will also get to climb high ropes, paddle on the water and experience the best of what a camp can offer.
School Captain Speeches
Year 2 – Year 5 listened to aspiring school captain speeches in the church on Tuesday. To get to this stage, ten children were selected to move through to the speech round. The children in the Year 2 – 5 grades each will have a vote to nominate their new 2023 school captains. Congratulations to the following children who were eligible to give a speech
Dean W Ava F Georgia H
JR Gillett Ella G Ava N
Lincoln B Evangeline K
Charlie M Charlotte K
Swimming Carnival @ Mingara was a hit!
This year we moved our carnival to Mingara for the first time and the consensus is that it went very well. It was wonderful to see so many parents on the pool deck enjoying the races. There were some wonderful efforts in the pool and lots of fun out of it on the grass with unique novelty games. My thanks to all involved. As always anything in sport does not get done at our school without the great work of Kellie Denneman. We are lucky to have her.
Kindergarten / Year 1 Athletics Fun Day on Tomorrow
We are gearing up for another wonderful event tomorrow on the school oval. Parents are welcome to attend and watch the littlies in action as they compete in some athletic events. For their trouble the students will also receive a free sausage sizzle and popper. Let us hope the weather is kind and another great day can be had by all.
Events to Come
Principal morning teas will be held on 6/7 December for the those that have reached this milestone. The Year 6 graduation will be held on 7th December and the step-up morning into the new grades will be on Thursday 8th December. Also, on this day we are hoping to see many parents at our end of year Advent liturgy at 11:20 followed by each grade singing Christmas songs and a BBQ. Children are encouraged to wear Christmas gear to get in the spirit of the season. The annual awards day will be held on Friday 9th December and the Semester 2 student reports will be emailed home on this day.
MAI teacher meets to start the 2023 year
With the semester 2 reports there will be online booking information for you to book your child’s beginning of year math’s assessment. Please don’t forget!
A Thought for the Week…
“I saw life through the eyes of a child as I watched him clean his boat before putting it into the lake. We can learn from children.”
Term 4, Week 7
1st Sunday of Advent Gospel Account
“So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Matthew 24: 37 – 44. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. By being prepared it means to prepare for the final Advent that one day will come. Advent is the season of expectation, excitement and preparation for Christmas. The birth of Jesus is a celebration that touches most, if not all parts of the globe. We must use Advent as a time to remind ourselves that Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection is one of hope for eternal life.
The Jesse Tree is a way of preparing for Advent by journeying through the stories on Jesus’ family tree. For each advent week the children will be reading and listening to Bible stories about someone on Jesus’ family tree and on the playground a Jesse tree will have ornaments placed on it to symbolise this story. Mrs Brown each year takes leadership of the Jesse Tree for which we are very grateful as an expression of her own deep faith commitment.
At MacKillop we have adapted this idea to dig deeper, to really wonder about the stories of the bible that the children are familiar with, to get a deeper understanding of the biblical characters, the events, the family members. Each year we choose a different theme. This year is places of the bible.
In class, students have two weeks to design an image associated with a place they know from the bible. This could be a simple as a farm, or market, or as specific as Mesopotamia. Each class will vote for the one they like best from their own class. These winning designs are then presented at morning assembly in week 9 and hung on our Primary Jesse Tree for all to enjoy and share.
As is the school tradition, a set of Christmas gift tags, featuring these winning designs, will then be on sale in class from Friday 9th December, $1 for a set of 24.
Advent / Christmas Concert Thursday 8th December
The Primary Christmas Celebration is fast approaching. This will be held in week 9 on Thursday the 8th of December. Students will be allowed to wear Christmas attire for the day. The celebrations will begin in the Hall at 11:30 with a liturgy, followed by a BBQ lunch where each child will receive a free sausage sizzle. Then, year groups will be performing a Christmas musical number back in the Hall. Parents and Carers are welcome to attend.
The Santa Photo Booth will be available on the day which has been organised by high school students who are a part of the Red Earth Immersion Group and are raising money for their trip to the Northern Territory in April 2023. Pics are $1!
Zooper Doopers will also be for sale throughout the day, raising money for our World Youth Day pilgrims who are off to Portugal in July next year.
Classes for 2023
The teachers are working to piece together the classes for 2023. In each class the children undertake a sociogram where he/she indicates friends and who they work with best, so that we ensure all children have at least one friend in each class. As you can imagine this task does take time and we must ensure that children are matched to a group of students and teacher that is in the best interest for optimum development of each child. I respectfully ask that parents do not request where their child is placed for 2023. Step Up Day where children learn of their new class and teacher is on Thursday 8th December @ 9:30am.
Key Dates Coming Up
We are excited to be going to Mingara Swim Centre for the first time on Monday 28th November for our swimming carnival. Let us hope that children do their very best and a great day of enjoyment is had by all. Year 5 Leadership and Growth Camp is on 30th November – 2nd December @ Point Woolstencroft. The Kinder / Year 1 Athletics Day is a t school on December 2nd. The Leadership Speeches will be presented on 6th December and the Year 6 Graduation on 7th December. End of Year Awards are in the hall on Friday 9th December @ 9am and Semester 2 Reports are emailed home.
Towards the end of any given school year, some children tend to branch out and not want to always follow the school rules. Over the past week or so some students are coming to school chewing gum which needs to stop. No gum! Children still need to come to school wearing the uniform correctly and neatly. This is especially true for Year 6 students who seem to be flouting the rules a little. Please work with us to ensure all children are doing the right thing all the time and not just when it suits them.
Parents at School
Covid certainly threw us all a curve ball in relation to being present at school and what that means on the school site. I do ask that if there are any grievances between parents that these are aired well away from the school premises otherwise it will be well within our rights to ensure that such grievances don’t take place again with restrictions put in place. When waiting for children of an afternoon do not wait outside classrooms but please wait near the canteen area or near the top gate in kiss n drop. Please do not wait in the kiss n drop area as we need to move the children safely to pick up zones. Under no circumstances are parents of other children allowed to approach another child, particularly if an issue is between mature adults.
When dropping things at school for your child during the day do not go to the classroom. Please give what you need to pass on to the front office.
Please place your child’s name and or surname on A4 paper and place clearly on the driver’s side if you are using the drive through pick up of an afternoon. If relatives are doing the collection, please make sure they have a sign placed where it can be clearly seen.
All children must go to their dedicated area of an afternoon and not walk or be in areas where they should not be. It is also important for children who catch buses that it is a right not a privilege and as such their behaviour must be exemplary so as not to distract the driver or other passengers.
Congratulations to Alyssa from Year 5 who was selected to represent Broken Bay in the Primary Polding Girls Cricket Trials early next year.
A Thought for the Week
“Advent is a journey towards Bethlehem. May we let ourselves be drawn by the light of God made man.” Pope Francis.
Term 4, Week 6
Feast of Christ the King – Gospel Account
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:35-43. This Sunday we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King. Some churches celebrate the event with a pilgrimage walk in honour of Jesus our saviour who was crucified and rose again. It is the last Sunday before we begin the great season of Advent in preparation for Christ’s birth. His death and resurrection give hope to us all. Jesus showed us how to defeat death and in so doing provided us with a path to eternal life. Hail the King!
Tomorrow Ms Schillert will lead a combined schools’ choir rehearsal at Kanwal Public School and next Thursday 24 November is the 2nd combined rehearsal at Wyong high school from 9.30am -11.30am. After this our Koori students will perform with other children across the Coastal schools in a performance at the Assembly of Excellence at Wyong High School. Congratulations to all involved and well done to Ms Schillert on being selected to lead the combined schools’ choir.
2023 Leadership preparation
On Monday all of Year 5 gathered in the school’s theatre to listen to presentations on leadership. There were several speakers from different fields who spoke about the need to be honest, strong and humble. Leadership is about making decisions on what is right and not what is popular. In the coming weeks students in Year 5 can nominate to be captains with specific roles for next year. Before that time the Year 5 students will head off to a leadership camp to discern and take part in activities where leadership credentials need to be exhibited.
Our 2023 Carnival is at Mingara on Monday 28th November. We have moved the carnival from Wyong to eliminate sunburn which in years gone by, despite the best of efforts has not always been achieved for some students. Permission slips via compass need to be returned ASAP.
K & 1 Athletics Day
We are delighted to invite our parents and friends to share in the Kindergarten and Year 1 Athletics Fun Day here at school on Friday 2nd December. A rotation of activities will take place on the oval from 9:15am through until lunch time (normal recess break).
Children will be provided with a sausage sizzle and popper for lunch at the completion of the event.
Heats & finals will run in events before recess with ribbons awarded in the final of each activity.
SEL Survey Results are Completed
Thank you to the many parents who completed the recent SEL survey. In the last week the students from Year 3 – 6 also completed a similar survey on the same questions. In many respects there were a lot of similarities, but in some instances the student responses did vary from the parents. Some results are shown below
We have conducted research of multiple programs that will assist us in meeting the Social and Emotional needs for our community and have landed upon the Second Steps program. Go and have a look for yourself at https://www.secondstep.org/
Principal’s Morning Tea
Tomorrow children form K – 2 who are ready to receive their principal’s morning tea will do so at 10:30. Congratulations children on working so well. The children in Year 3 – 6 eligible will receive their morning tea next week.
MacKillop Portrait Art Prize Finalists
The MacKillop Portrait Prize entries have been handed in and sorted through. We have had so many marvellous entries this year, with a record number of entries from Primary students. Thank you to everyone who entered a portrait of a teacher who has inspired them. Voting will open up online on Monday for the People’s Choice Award. A link will be available on the MacKillop Facebook page so please keep an eye open for it and vote when open.
Advent Nativity Assembly and Christmas Songs
On Thursday 8 December @ 11:20am parents are encouraged to come along to the school hall to watch the Advent Nativity presentation followed by each grade singing a Christmas song. Children will be encouraged to wear any Advent/ Christmas clothing to get into the spirit of the event. Following the singing in the hall parents and families can enjoy a free BBQ lunch. Mr Snelling will be working with the children in the Nativity presentation and Ms Schillert is working with the children with the Christmas songs.
A Thought for the Week…
“You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and others without judgement.”
Term 4, Week 5
Prayer for Armistice Day 11th November
Ever-living God we remember those whom you have gathered from the storm of war into the peace of your presence; may that same peace calm our fears, bring justice to all peoples, and establish harmony among the nations, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
At 11am this Friday all the students across the College will stop and observe a minute’s silence at 11am to remember the end of World War 1, but moreover to remember the men and women who have fought in freedom conflicts. Following the silence will be a Remembrance Day prayer service which will also include playing of The Ode and The Last Post. Even as Australia’s makeup changes with each influx of new migrants to our shores, it is important to always remember the past, especially such conflicts such as World War 1 which as a fledgling European influenced nation, had such an impact on generations that would follow. Lest We Forget!
Surf Education Days
Students from Year 3 – 6 have enjoyed wonderful weather as they ventured out to Toowoon Bay Beach to learn about surf safety. We are blessed to live along the coastline, and it is an important component of the students’ education to know what to look for in surf conditions. My thanks to Mrs Denneman and staff for modelling and demonstrating safe surf skills and awareness.
Year 1 Lego Incursion
The Year 1 students enjoyed the world of Lego imagination this week with their educational incursion. Absolutely amazing what can be created with Lego, and it was wonderful to see so many children engaged in what can be dreamt can be created with Lego.
SEL Survey Closed but now Open for Students
As written about previously the SEL survey will now be student focused. Students this week will complete a child friendlier version of the adult SEL survey. We will collate the results to implement a new SEL program from 2023. Mrs Denneman and Miss Owen recently attended a SEL conference to explore and understand the latest research and best educational programs that will suit our needs here at MacKillop. The parent survey data if supported by the student survey data indicates we would be best served by a suite of programs under the Second Step banner. Go to https://www.secondstep.org/alignment-charts for more information.
Awards Assembly this Friday @ 1:10 pm in the Hall
Parents are welcome to attend this week’s award assembly. It is heartening to witness many students achieving their principal’s award and subsequent morning tea. The assemblies are no longer zoomed as we are encouraging parents to be back on site.
Lost Property Clothing Pile
The photo taken is the current pile of clothing items with no names on them. Parents are free to come and rummage for your child’s lost item. It goes without saying please label everything and remind your child that he/she is responsible for clothing items, not teachers or parents!
The students across the college will be participating in a short liturgy on Friday, the 11th of November to commemorate Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day, is a day of remembrance for all those who have lost their lives in war. A prayer, the ode, and minutes silence will be observed in the morning. Students will also be participating in K-6 clan activities on the theme of Remembrance Day in the morning before the liturgy.
Advent And Christmas
This year the primary school will be celebrating Advent and Christmas in Week 9. We will have a special mass celebration with Father Philip on Thursday, December 8th at 11:20. This will be followed by a BBQ picnic lunch on the oval and then musical performances throughout the afternoon from each of the primary classes. Parents and Carers are welcome to attend the festivities.
Our parish is also busily organising the Christmas Eve Mass celebrations. This Mass will occur in our school Hall at 5pm on Christmas Eve. The parish is organising a children’s choir for this event and is seeking any willing and able students who would be willing to participate to help celebrate on the evening. An expression of interest note from the parish will be sent out later this week if you would like your child to participate.
On Saturday, 5th of November, our parish and school community came together to celebrate a Multicultural mass and dinner. This community event was planned by the Parish Pastoral Council, in conjunction with the Parish leaders, to be a unique and meaningful way to share in our community’s cultural diversity. Mass and dinner celebrations were an enjoyable way to experience the colour and vibrancy of cultures from across the world in our local community.
There were many cultural performances by our MacKillop school community. Starting with an acknowledgement of country with accompanying didgeridoo players from the primary school. Our Indigenous group loved sharing their brolga dance with the community. The primary school performances kept coming with Indian cultural dancing by many members of the school and Parish community. So many cultures together, sharing, laughing and enjoying the night together as one MacKillop community.
First Holy Communion
Many students from our school and parish community have been participating in the First Holy Communion sacramental program every Sunday throughout November. Congratulations to these students who will receive their First Holy Communion at a special mass at the end of the month.
End of Year Key Dates
Edward the Emu Year excursion to the Arthouse 15/11.
Stage 3 Touch Gala Day 18/11.
Year 6 to Year 7 Orientation Day 25/11
First Holy Communion 27/11
Swimming Carnival 28/11 @ Mingara
Year 5 Camp @ Pt Wollstonecraft 30/11- 2/12
Aboriginal Awards @ Kanwal Public School 2/12
K / Year 1 Athletics Day @ school 2/12
Year 5 Leadership speeches and voting 6/12
Year 6 Graduation 5pm 7/12 followed by Graduation Dinner in hall
Step Up day into new classes @ 9:30 8/12
Advent Liturgy followed by BBQ and performances from the children 11.20am 8/12
Semester 2 Academic Reports Compassed to parents 9/12
End of Year Awards Day @ 9am 9/12
K – 12 End of School Year Mass 12/12
Year 6 cross the bridge on 12/12 @ 2:30pm
Last Day for students 15/12
As you can see from the long list there is a lot to do between now and the end of the year. Mr Snelling will provide more information with liturgy and masses coming up, but parents are most welcome to attend as many events as required.
Marien Family Trivia Night this Saturday in the Hall
Two tables of teachers will make up the crowd that will gather for a great fundraising and social event. If anyone is still interested in attending, then drop Tash our FLO a line for tickets.
A Thought for the Week
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction both are transformed.” Jung
Term 4, Week 4
Sunday Gospel Account
“They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” Luke 20: 27-38. The Sadducees and Pharisees once enemies joined forces to denounce Jesus as some sort of radical hippy! Jesus spoke of resurrection as something totally different to what people on earth had experienced. Moreover, despite these two groups testing Jesus with challenging questions, he replied that a person will be forever alive based on the sort of person he/she is in this life. It will be their lived faith that will determine a place in heaven and not being beholden to rules enforced by the hypocritical conservative religious leaders. Isn’t it amazing that in the year 2022 this passage has just as much relevance today as it did when Jesus was preaching?
Parents at School
Since all the COVID restrictions are now relaxed parents are most welcome to be here on the school site. Parents can also help in rooms and with excursions, carnivals and other events. If teachers require any assistance, they individually will send out a note asking for the help. Early next year we will hold a formal meeting to go through how to help in the classroom with literacy and numeracy.
A Few bad Habits are Creeping back in
My continual thanks to the parents who always send their child to school well groomed and dressed in the appropriate uniform. Of late there has been a lapse with some in the types of clothing being worn at school. Joggers need to be white or predominantly white and the children need to be in full summer uniform. It is not acceptable for the boys to have mohawks, undercuts and razor marks in their hair. Equally the girls should have no makeup and no nail polish. For both boys and girls, hair should be tied back neatly and only one pair of earrings are allowed.
Parents waiting for children of an afternoon are asked not to wait outside classrooms, but rather do so in the under croft near the canteen. If you are collecting children in kiss n drop ensure you have your surname or child’s name in big bold letters on an A4 sized sign affixed to the passenger side. Parents arriving with no sign are slowing up this process and causing traffic delays. Please also consider carpooling or allowing children to walk or ride to and from school.
Last Week for SEL Survey
If you have not completed the survey, please do so asap. We are using the results to help guide new social and emotional programs in the school.
Social and Emotional (SEL) Well-Being Survey
Social Media and Cyber Safety
As a parent you really do need to be aware of the virtual steps your child is taking in the social media world. Well done to those who do this consistently. For others it is naïve to think that your child is immune from the potential dangers that lurk in social media land. We have had several parents report to us Cyber Bullying taking place in chat rooms from children from other schools. It would seem chat rooms are being opened inviting others in and what usually starts out as innocent banter ends up in tears and torment for a child who gets targeted by most participants in these rooms. My advice is for parents in the first instance to know what their child is doing in the virtual world and if the unwanted targeted behaviour turns a particular flavour of nasty then go to the police. It is saddening to be called upon to deal with issues of this nature. I along with other staff can only shield and do so much, with most issues being perpetrated outside of the school, usually in homes after school and on weekends.
A Primary and Secondary group of performers went to Newcastle Civic Centre last Friday and Saturday to participate in the Junior Theatre Festival. Our performers were up against a huge number of schools. The Primary performers won excellence in music and Secondary excellence in acting, which is an outstanding achievement. Congratulations to Mrs Baird, Ms Schillert and the creative arts staff for preparing the children so well. This is on top of earlier success with our dance troupe winning their school dance spectacular competition in October.
As stated earlier we now have waiting lists for Year 2,3, 5 and 6 in 2023 and very limited space in the other grades. Please alert the office as soon as you can if you are moving from the school at year’s end. This will allow an opportunity for children currently on waiting lists.
Marien Trivia Night Fundraiser – Saturday 12th November
If you have not got a table together or would like to join a table, give Tash our FLO a call at school and get it done as soon as possible. It is shaping up to be a wonderful community social event and a night to lend a hand to one of our own.
A Thought for the Week …
“The great essentials to happiness in this life are something to do something to love and something to hope for.” Addison
Term 4, Week 3
Sunday Gospel Account
“Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19: 1-10. Zacchaeus the tax collector was a despised man in the time that Jesus walked the earth. He took from the poor, taxes meant for the rich Romans and so was very much hated. When Jesus came to the town, Zacchaeus proclaimed he would do everything to repent and repay those who were maligned. The message of the parable is that even those capable of the most heinous of crimes can be saved through repentance and belief in the risen Lord. Only God knows if you are truly sorry for your sins!
Awards Assembly this Week 1:20pm in the hall
Parents are welcome to come and join us for our awards assembly in the hall. These are no longer zoomed!
SEL (Social and Emotional Learning Survey)
A reminder that the SEL survey will remain open for another week. Thus far we have had approximately 100 families reply which is fair, but we want as many families to do the survey as we need the data to drive SEL programs moving forward.
Marien Family Trivia Night – 12th November
It is my hope that you are getting tables sorted for the Marien Family Fundraiser Trivia night. This should be lots of fun. Tickets are on sale now via Eventbrite see Facebook for details!
As our school continues to grow, we are enriched by the enrolment of families from different cultural backgrounds. This means as a school we need to adjust our teaching and learning programs to target the needs of students with English as a second language background. On Tuesday 22nd November all families, particularly from diverse backgrounds are asked to come along and listen to a presentation on how we can celebrate diversity every day in our local school community.
JTF and Waratah Shield
Many of our students will be off representing the school in theatrical and cricket events. Good luck to all and my thanks to the parents and staff who have given up time to help the children succeed.
Judo Joel Champion
Joel N from Year 4 competed in the Australian National Judo Tournament on the Gold Coast on September 23. From this event Joel placed 5th in one discipline and 1st in another, making him 3rd overall. He received a bronze medal for the Primary Division. This is an outstanding effort. Congratulations to Joel, his parents and coaches for helping him achieve such greatness at a young age.
Kinder Yana School Readiness
Re commencing on Wednesday 2nd November and every Wednesday until 23rd November our Kinder 2023 children will begin their educational journey in the Kinder rooms. They will do this without their parents. During this time parents will be offered some parent information sessions from school leaders, counsellors and external agency staff.
K-2 New Syllabus
From next year the students in Kindergarten to Year 2 will be taught using the brand-new NSW NESA syllabus for Maths, English and Religious Education. In the coming years this will then be implemented into 3 – 10 as the NSW government revamps the syllabus for each key learning area. For more information go to the NESA website.
New Grassed Playground Space
Land has been cleared and soon will be levelled and turfed behind the existing Year 1 and 2 classrooms. This will be ready for 2023 for the children to have a wider playground space to play. Also during the holidays the current OOSHC building will be removed opening a wider area for the oval.
For the families who currently use the after and before school service you would have already been informed that the current provider will finish here at the end of the year. Catholic Care will then take over the service beginning with this coming summer vacation. The existing building that currently houses OOSHC will be removed from the site and a new portable building installed near the kiss n drop area. Plans have been made for OOSHC to be housed in the new buildings that are planned for the site.
Surf Awareness Days
The students in Year 3 – 6 will venture to the beach to undertake surf awareness training. This will commence on November 7th for Year 3, 8th for Year 5, 9th for Year 4 and 10th November for Year 6. It is vital that all children know how to read the surf conditions and tides. I should know having been involved in a bad surf accident at the start of the year that the ocean can be quite dangerous for the unsuspecting!
Halloween Mufti Day Monday 31st October
A Halloween themed mufti day is planned for Monday 31st October. Children are asked to bring in a gold coin which will then go towards the Year 6 Graduation.
A Thought for the Week…
“Nothing can hurt you unless you give it the power to do so.”
Term 4, Week 2
Sunday Gospel Account
“…the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’” Luke 18:9-14. This Sunday’s Gospel is a parable about the righteous and the sinner who repents. Human history has a funny way of repeating itself and this Gospel is a classic example. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time were the sin catchers. The type of people we see today who sit in what I describe as the ‘stone throwers’ section of the church. They often gossip and whisper among themselves, passing judgement on others while maintaining what appears to be high levels of morality and following the church authority without blemish. In our very own Catholic church, there has been a massive fight going on between the conservative members, who are not fans of our current Pope and those who have a more liberal approach to humanity. When we do die and there is judgement, I reckon there will be a few nervous Parishioners, Bishops and Priests who have and continue to act more like Pharisees than the Tax Collector in this parable.
Principal Coffee n Chat this Friday @ 9am
Parents are welcome to come and have a chat with me in the library over a cuppa. At this informal gathering I will talk about the term ahead and what the children will be learning and the sorts of activities coming up. I will also chat about initiatives we are looking to introduce with Wellbeing and Social and Emotional Learning and the impact our Collaborative Coaching is having on student results.
Here is the link for the Principal Parent Catch-Up
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Marien Family Fundraiser Trivia Night
Earlier this year one of our lovely families lost their father and husband in Matthew Marien, who passed away due to some medical complications. Lucy is mother of Charlotte Year 4 and Holly Kindergarten. She is a terrific person who is well liked and highly valued in the community and is very supportive of all things MacKillop. To give the family a helping hand a Trivia Night is being organised for Saturday 12 November. Information has been sent out soon via Compass and Face Book. Please invite all the Trivia Wizards from your families and friends and come along to support a worthy occasion. Make a table or ask to join one. At any rate come and support Lucy, Charlotte and Holly.
Enrolment for 2023
Thank you to those families who have already indicated that they are moving from the area in 2023. So far, we have waiting lists for Year 2, 5 and 6 for 2023. We are experiencing huge demand from families already in local schools wanting to move across and some new families moving into the area. We have very limited vacancies in the other grades for 2023. Please alert those interested in being part of our community.
Social and Emotional Wellbeing Survey will be open on Friday
Please watch out for the wellbeing survey that will be released online on Friday. At the Coffee n Chat, I want to explore the survey with the parents present before opening it up to the community. Results from the survey and student survey will drive the SEL program for 2023 and beyond.
Early Morning Extra Math Classes for Year 2 and Year 4
Students in Year 4 are welcome to attend extra maths classes with me from 8:15 on Monday and Wednesdays each week. For Year 2 the classes are at 8:15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Mrs Kenney. Anyone in these grades is welcome to attend.
It is my hope that the children have been coming home and talking to you about having multiple teachers in their classrooms at the same time. For this term the focus initially will be in Year 4 and Year 2, with Year 6 towards the end of the term for transition to High School. Based on the results of class assessments children are then targeted with direct instruction from multiple teachers which include Mrs Kenney and myself. This is taking place each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings and targets specific literacy and maths tasks. This is on top of the normal class learning each would experience from their own class teacher.
Music Aviva and JTF
Thanks to Ms Schillert the children on Tuesday experienced performances from the Musica Viva group with amazing song and dance routines. We currently have children as part of the JTF group and the choir and Didge groups are busy rehearsing for performances coming up in theatre venues and nursing homes. The children love the experiences.
COGE (Certificate of Gifted Education) for Staff
New teachers to Primary and some Secondary staff will undertake their training in Gifted education in the coming weeks here at school. Staff from the UNSW will be on hand to deliver the training. This is a massive point of difference in our school compared to other schools in the local area where all our K – 6 staff are trained in Gifted education.
A Thought for the Week…
“The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.” Lao-Tse
Term 4, Week 1
Sunday Gospel Account – 29th Sunday Ordinary Time
“Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?” Luke 18: 1 – 8. Widows are mentioned often in parables. In this passage we learn about the widow who consistently petitions the Judge to act. The message for us is that through prayer we can achieve great things. But prayer isn’t something you set and forget. Jesus tells us that through prayer and having faith that what we truly ask for can be received. It is only God who knows why things are the way they are. Prayer is a tool given to us by God to give thanks and to petition for what is right. Is prayer part of your family life? If not, why not?
Principal / Parent chat and Coffee
Each Term there is an opportunity for parents to come to the school and learn about what is happening for the term ahead. The chat will be held in the library on Friday 21st October 9 – 10a.m. This will also be zoomed with the link sent home in next week’s Matters.
Sock-Tober (Crazy Sock Day)
Today the children wore crazy socks in exchange for a gold coin to help the Catholic Missions in their fight against poverty. It is important that children learn that living in a rich country such as Australia that poverty exists. To give is an example of social justice in action!
Term 4 full of Events
Beginning this week children in Year 3 – 6 will learn theory with surf education awareness. Later in the term they will then head to the beach and learn practical surf skills. Children will participate in the Music Aviva program and there is an opportunity for children to be a part of the Junior Theatre Festival in Newcastle. The choir will also perform in competitions, and it is our intention to once again perform in the local nursing homes to bring Christmas joy to our seniors.
Our cricketers will take part in the Mark Taylor Shield next week and there will be gala days for Year 5 and 6 in touch football. Our swimming carnival will be held at Mingara on 28th November. This is partly due to growing numbers but also to help with sun protection. Year 1 will be off to Edward the Emu excursion and Year 5 will go to Point Wollstonecraft on 30th November for a Leadership Camp. There will be lots of masses and liturgies with Year 6 leaders attending the Bishop’s Mission mass next week. Kinder Yana part two will also commence on 2nd November and every Wednesday thereafter concluding on 23rd November.
Thank you to the families who have informed us they are moving out of the area for next year. We have been able to fill those on the wait list for some grades. We have limited spots available for next year and can accommodate at least 2 more children for kindergarten. Please alert others to this information.
Tik Tok, Mobile Phones, Social Media and Gadgets
One constant in today’s world is that it never sleeps. With social media platforms making it so much easier to stay connected. For some this means great opportunities for creativity and commerce and for others they have become the tool of choice for cowards who like to pull others down with their words and in some instance videos and pictures. Perhaps futile, but again any parent who is not fully aware of their child’s virtual activities really needs to move beyond “I trust you” and insist in being privy to what is going on. Many children are being exposed to all that is not nice on the internet and in some cases, children where butter would not melt in one’s mouth are using platforms to make fun of peers. On Tuesday the children in the upper grades were shown a secure brief case that is lockable. If a child is seen with a mobile phone at all during school time these will be placed in the secure case and returned at day’s end. If parents need to contact their child during the day, please ring the office. Air pods are banned from school. We can’t be held responsible for these going missing so simply we ask for the children not to bring them to school.
Awards Assembly this Friday at 2pm in the church
Due to the HSC exams the assembly will be held in the church at 2pm. Parents are most welcome to attend. The assembly will not be live streamed.
Look out for the SEL (Social and Emotional Survey)
Surveys are not everyone’s idea of filling in time. However, next week a survey will be emailed home for you to complete. We want to design and, in some cases, purchase programs that will suit who we are as a community in meeting the needs of our students. We already know that 40% of pre-schoolers who start at MacKillop do so already highly anxious. We need to design programs that meet the SEL needs for students before meaningful academic achievement can be created. It is our hope that the information we gather from the survey will help drive what is best for SEL at MacKillop.
A Thought for the Week…
“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is its twin.” Gibran
Term 3, Week 10
Sunday Gospel Account
“My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.” Luke 16:19-31. The poor man and the rich man both dies. The poor man goes to heaven and the rich man does not. The message is simple enough. If you have been blessed with riches in this life don’t squander them through selfishness and being nasty. Look out for your fellow companion on the journey. God knows!
Tell Them from Me Survey
Although only 72 parents completed the survey along with all staff and Year 5 and 6 students the information provided will help us in our strategic planning. In general the responses are very positive with some comments that focussed on bullying and perceived inequities. We will certainly act on what has been written.
Social and Emotional Learning including Bullying
As I always inform parents when enrolling their child into the school, we as a school can never guarantee that there won’t be bullying. All we can ever do is do our best to stop it and place in consequences. I will make some observations that some parents may not like. Some of our children have a diagnosis that certainly makes getting along with each other not smooth sailing. Put simply, some children need to be taught how to socialise and engage with others. From simple turn taking to carrying out a civil conversation. In the younger grades this is prevalent. Sometimes these actions get misconstrued as bullying. When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once it is not nice, but this is not bullying. When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once it is mean, but not bullying.
Bullying is when someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they keep doing it, over a period, even when they are told to stop. The child who is the identified bully works with staff on correcting their ways. This also includes if required being suspended and then re learn how to act. As a last resort if the bully does not change course, then the parents meet with myself and we work on an exit strategy for another setting. Some parents would like that part of the process much quicker, but we have a duty of care to the bullied and try our best to curb the ways of the bully.
From experience there are always three sides to a story. Theirs, yours and in the middle the facts can be found. Some children tell their parents what is happening to them but rarely if at all tell what he/she is responsible for with the other person. Bullying is not nice and for the upper grades it tends to be around cyber issues. When I asked the Year 5 and 6 children how many of their parents have access to their online activity the show of hands was very low. Just this week we were alerted to a chat room conversation where the words would peel paint of a wall. All of this happened outside of school in homes and yet the school needs to deal with the issues.
Bullying is never acceptable, but we all need to play our parts rather than ‘fly off the handle’ and make accusations when often there is more than meets the eye.
In Term 4 we are changing directions. All parents will be asked to complete a Social and emotional learning survey with a view that we use the data to tailor programs to address challenges with the social and emotional development for all children. It could mean for example that for a short period of the week we may explore gender-based classes on how we are to interact and work with others. It may mean that we target resilience and anger training for some students. What ever we decide to do it will be based on the results of the survey.
The new Kinder is Myrtle for 2023. We are planning to welcome our fourth stream for 2023. We currently have 3 more spaces now available for Kinder next year as some parents have held over their child till the following year after going through part one of the Yana process. Spread the word for those who may be interested.
Public Holiday Tomorrow
Due to the memorial service for Queen Elizabeth 2 all schools are closed for tomorrow. School is open on Friday. Some parents have asked if today can be the last day for their child. If this is you, then that is fine to get the holiday break off to an earlier start.
Busy Term with Much to Celebrate
We end another busy term of learning at MacKillop. My sincere thanks to all parents, students and staff for enduring a very busy term where we had much to celebrate with personal, class and group achievements. Enjoy the break. School resumes for students on Tuesday 11th October.
A Thought for the Break …
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; it’s choosing what is right over what’s fun, fast, or easy; and it’s practicing your values, not just professing them.” Brene Brown.
Term 3, Week 9
Sunday Gospel Account
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” Luke 16:1-13. Throughout the parables which have been the Gospel readings of late there is always a moral coda to each; where basically good triumphs over evil. This parable is about God emphasising that you can not serve two masters. You cannot serve God and worship wealth. I often reflect on the righteous of the conservative right in our own church and the TV evangelists who always seem to drip in gold and live in plush suburbs. Do they listen to this Gospel and think it does not apply to them? And then I look at the battler who works hard and can secure a lovely home and then through time splurge on a speed boat or luxury car, does this passage apply to them? The parable is about keeping God at the centre and not worshipping earthly wealth in such a way as you forget that a God even exists!
Paul Kelly Cup State Champs
Our AFL Girls’ team headed down to Giants Stadium to play in the Paul Kelly Cup. The girls earned the right to be there having been earlier crowned Central Coast Girls AFL champions. They endured five tough games to make the Grand Final against Griffith. With minutes remaining and down by a point, the girls eventually prevailed by scoring a goal and winning the Paul Kelly Cup by five points. Outstanding effort from a team of girls who do not normally play AFL. Congratulations to all involved, especially Mr Snelling and Mrs Denneman who prepared the girls so well.
Mobile Phones, Air Pods, Joggers and Hair Styles
Over the year I have mentioned in these pages that some children need to address issues with uniform or personal grooming. We still have some children coming to school with mohawks and razor lines in hair styles. As with the expectation of having neat and tidy hair to prevent such things as hair lice, there is an expectation that children who attend MacKillop do so with acceptable haircuts and styles. If this is your child, then please fix this.
The school rule is for the children to wear white or predominantly white joggers. This has not changed and yet we have children coming to school wearing expensive multi coloured shoes.
Mobile phones should remain in bags all day and should never come out at school for any reason. If parents wish to contact children, they are to do so via the school office.
Air Pods are expensive and are easily lost. Children have no reason to have these at school and are not allowed to have these in during school time. Again, if they have these they must remain in bags.
Until the end of this term all mobile phones and air pods need to remain in bags. If they are seen during the day, they will be confiscated and not returned until the day’s end.
Beginning the start of Term 4, all children who have mobile phones and air pods at school must deposit these in a secure zip lock bag, which will then be placed in a locked box and remain there until the end of the school day. If you do not want your child to have their phones and air pods placed in the secure box, then please ensure they do not have these at school.
Summer uniform starts in Term 4.
K – 2 Swimming
The K – 2 swimming program is in full swing. The children seem to really enjoy the chance to learn the basics of swimming and water fundamentals. It is a big day for the little ones and thus far lost property is not proving a major issue.
Collaborative Coaching for Staff
This morning members of the school leadership team ventured over to Star of the Sea Terrigal to witness Collaborative Coaching planning with teachers. The plan for Term 4 and embedded next year is for grades of teachers to meet and discuss the formative assessment data for each class of students in English and Maths and then design the next point of need work. We have been doing something similar at MacKillop, which has proven quite fruitful for our school results, but we believe we can refine this further.
Social and Emotional Learning
We know based on the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) Data that 40% of our students entering Kindergarten do so with huge challenges with social and emotional issues and regulation. We also have 138 students in Primary who receive some type of assistance with learning with many children diagnosed with particularly behavioural challenges. To simply expect every child to sit dutifully in class and learn is an unrealistic expectation and the amount of work and adjustments that take place by our teachers is extraordinary. Early next term you will receive a specific survey on social and emotional attributes. We will then combine the data from the AEDC and the survey results to then decide upon a SEL program that works for our school. When it arrives, please engage with it as the results will determine how we can best meet the growing needs of children in our community.
Public Speaking Finals
Congratulations to all the children who made the finals for each stage of learning. The speeches were of a very high standard. All children received a finalist certificate, and the first three place getters were awarded medals. I am really thrilled with how this has developed over the last two years.
Early Stage 1
Evelyn M (Second), Jayden C (Third), Alana M (First), Shaun C, Charlotte P and Evie P
Chloe G (First), Emeline K, Jax W, Audrey G, Amy P, Maahi M (Third), Dean B (Second), Jahan L, Alex H, Caoimhe T, Xavier B B and Bethel G.
Taylor JH, Jett F (Third), Abby O (First), Isabella L (Second), Grace A, Amelia S, Audrey H, Amelia G, George H, Hannah C, Lochie F, Hallie W
Eli D, Scarlett C (Third), Ella G (Second), Ava F, Charlotte K, Rachel F, Thomas C (First), Julia D, Alexis J, Fredy D, Jewel S, Ryan J
New Kindergarten Class Name
A huge thank you to everyone who voted to name our 4th stream and the name of our Kindergarten class for 2023. We are excited to announce that Myrtle was the winner!! Lilly Pilly came in a very close second. View the results below.
Assembly this week in the Hall @ 1:20pm
Most of the Year 5 and 6 students will be at the netball gala day this Friday but we will go ahead with awards for the rest of the school. Parents are welcome to attend in the school hall.
Principal Morning Tea and Colour House Rewards
Children who have worked diligently to receive a principal’s morning tea will have this next Wednesday. This will also be the reward day for the colour house with the most dojo points.
Queen’s Memorial Public Holiday
There is no school on Thursday 22nd September to acknowledge the passing of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. School is still on Friday 23rd September and is the official last day for the term.
K – 12 College Staff Spirituality Day 10th October
Please be aware that school for the students returns on 11th October.
A thought for the Week…
“Throughout all my life and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.” QE2
Term 3, Week 8
Sunday Gospel Account
“I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” Luke 15: 1 – 32. This Gospel passage makes a lot of church goers uncomfortable. The Pharisees condemn the tax collectors and sinners as not being worthy in God’s eye and therefore why would Jesus bother with them. To Jesus however, he demonstrated that those who had sinned and wanted to repent their sins should not be condemned for ever more. If the sinner asks for forgiveness, but then goes back to sinning, then that is never ok in God’s eye. The New Testament is about giving humans a chance to make right their wrongs. I lament in my own parish at church on weekends. I see pious Dennis and Betty always looking in a derisory way towards a young family that only show up to mass at Sacraments or school events. They could well have a point, but it is up to God to judge what is pure in the heart of the young family. It is not up to Dennis or Betty to make judgement. At any rate I really believe the church in Australia is at an interesting point in its history and I reckon this Gospel passage holds the key to so much of it.
Yesterday was such a wonderful day for the children. It was fantastic to see everyone embrace the spirit of book week and dress up for the parade. My personal favourite was Macca the alpaca worn by Evelyn in Year 1, but seriously there were hundreds of great costumes. A big thank you to all the parents who took the time to dress the kids and bring the event to life. It was also wonderful to see so many parents at the school watching the proceedings. Well done to the library staff and Mrs Crowe and Mrs Martin for leading the parade in great style. Our librarians certainly provide multiple opportunities for the children to experience the wonder of books and this event highlighted it.
Part one of Yana has now completed for 100 children. By having so many pre school days is allowing our staff to begin the educational journey much earlier than before. It also enables us to meet with pre school staff and to meet with parents and get to know who each little person really is before they start. Our philosophy is to get the foundations right so that everything flows from it. A big point of difference in our school from previous years and compared to many of the local schools is that we take the AEDC (Australian Early Development Census) data seriously. We are aware that 2 in 5 children who start at MacKillop and for that matter in the Warnervale district come to us with high emotional and social needs. If these are not addressed early, they tend to manifest themselves throughout school making the childhood and teenage years difficult for many.
To be above the national average and statistically similar schools average on all areas for Year 3 and 5 is simply an outstanding achievement for our school. For some parents NAPLAN means little and in the scheme of things in life there is validity to this. However, our school over the years has waxed and waned with results. For the past two years our performances year on year are the best we have had which means that what we are doing academically is working for a whole cohort of students. For some individual results things could be better, but equally when you have some children in Year 3 and 5 scoring bands equivalent to Year 9 level then we truly can say we are catering for all.
Public Speaking Finals
Tomorrow Kinder, Year 1 and 2 will compete in the public speaking finals and early next week for the other grades. Names will be published next week, for all finalists and place getters. I want to thank parents and staff for helping the children prepare for such an important life skill as public speaking.
Yesterday the K – 12 staff met together to discuss the latest legislation with safeguarding and the steps and procedures that we need to follow to keep all children safe. Bishop Anthony, Bishop of Broken Bay encourages all families to look at the safeguarding website as it is everyone’s responsibility to care for the young and vulnerable. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org
Social and Emotional Learning
Plans are in place for the staff to look at the data that presents itself with bullying incidences, social and emotional needs of our students and data linked to the wider Warnervale district on the sorts of behaviours children display. After the data is interrogated, we plan to develop programs that will pinpoint exactly the pressure points that impact our children. We can never solve what takes place out of school, but we can do something about providing solutions to problems that are linked beyond our walls. This means that staff will then be trained in the SEL program to meet the needs of our kids. In much the same way we tailor the learning program for children we now know it is vitally important to do the same for the children who are in our school.
Uniforms and Personal Grooming
Every so often bad habits creep into the wearing of uniforms and some interesting hair styles turn up after weekends away. We thank all parents who present their children each day wearing the correct uniform and abiding by the personal grooming policy. We figure you pay a fee to send your child to MacKillop, so it is important that there are differences between our school and others. Sport joggers need to be white or predominantly white in colour. There are no mullets, Mohawks, undercuts, or zig zag shave lines allowed in hair. Hair should be neatly tied back and only one pair of earrings in ears at anyone time. There should be no nail polish or acrylic type nails. Please abide by the school policy.
A Thought for the Week…
“Success depends on where intention is.” Bellin.
Term 3, Week 7
23rd Sunday Gospel Account
“Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-33. When you read this Sunday’s passage if you take it literally it would mean to turn against your own flesh and blood and only love and adore God. It is a hard passage to get your head around. To carry one’s cross for God means to stop fighting wars, stop climbing up corporate ladders and in so doing chopping others down. It also means stop territorial wars such as China v Taiwan and Russia v Ukraine. It also means stop amassing fortunes while many go hungry. Life is a test and if we are to believe our faith the key to eternal life is to carry your own cross for God in the way we treat people. How many of you just take, take, take and not give? How many of you are blinkered for your own cause and family and can never see the pressure you put on others? How many of you give freely or is it only when others are watching? This is a challenging Gospel for us all to dwell upon.
It was wonderful to see so many men attend the liturgy and breakfast to celebrate our wonderful males in the lives of the children. Many dads loved the opportunity to go into classrooms and participate in an activity with their child. On behalf of all the staff I want to express my best wishes for all males who do so much for their families. I also want to pay my respects for the men in our lives who are no longer with us on earth but are most certainly with us in spirit. I do hope you all get spoiled on Sunday and that the children show their appreciation for all that you do.
Covid has and continues to play havoc on everyone’s emotional and mental wellbeing. This is quite acute for many children who are still feeling the impact of forced lockdowns and disruptions. The school currently has two full time psychologists who are doing amazing things, but right now they are fully booked! Some parents are requesting counselling for their child for a whole host of reasons. If the situation is urgent then unfortunately you will need to seek external support for the time being. This does not mean we do not care but we currently have a waiting list being triaged and when one of our psychologists can attend to problems presented, they will. Please be aware of the current reality.
NAPLAN Parent Envelopes out Today
Parents of Year 3 and Year 5 will receive their NAPLAN results envelope in your child’s school bag. You will note that as a school we are above the mean and in some cases way above the mean in all literacy and numeracy areas which is a fantastic achievement for our school. Some students did exceptionally, and some students still need support in challenging areas. My thanks to the Year 3 and 5 students and their teachers for wonderful results.
Broken Bay Athletics Carnival
The school had multiple representatives at the Broken Bay wide Athletics carnival at Narrabeen on Tuesday. From this event many have progressed to the higher Polding level in Newcastle next week. Congratulations to the following children:
Relay teams (Girls Snr & Jnr) to add to those above *
Tournament of the Minds
Ava, Dean, Charlotte, Samantha, Bronte, Ella and Isla from Year 5 represented our school last weekend at the Tournament of the Minds challenge in Newcastle. The genre was a STEM (Science, technology, Engineering and Maths) challenge. Mrs Kessler guided the children for many weeks prior, but the rules state can not give the children ideas or processes. These must be done by the children. Although the children did not win, they did achieve a commendation for their efforts and ingenuity. So thrilled and proud of their efforts – well done!
Public Speaking Finals
As you may know the children have been busy preparing and delivering their speeches for our whole school public speaking finals coming up.
The finals for Early stage 1 and stage 1 will be held in the hall on Friday 9th September @11:30a.m
For Early Stage 1 (Kindergarten) – 6 students (2 from each class).
Stage 1 (Year 1 and 2) – 12 students (2 from each class)
The finals for Stage 2 will be held in the hall on Tuesday 13th September @ 9:00a.m
Stage 2 (Year 3 and 4) – 12 students (2 from each class)
The finals for Stage 3 will be held in the hall on Tuesday 13th September @ 11:30a.m
Stage 3 (Year 5 and 6) – 12 students (2 from each class).
Parents are welcome to attend with children being notified before hand who has made the finals for each stage final. The first three place getters for each stage will receive medallions and every child who makes the final will receive a Finalist Certificate.
Book Week: 5th – 9th September
K – 12 Book Parade Hall 10-11.30 on Wednesday 7th September. Parents and guests are welcome to attend, with masks encouraged.
K – 12 Reading Hour during school quiet reading time on Friday 9th September
Scholastic Book Fair Library on from Monday 5th September all week.
Children are encouraged to dress as their favourite book character for the book parade. Parents are most welcome to come along and watch the parade.
Awards Assembly tomorrow in the hall @ 1:20pm
Parents are welcome to come along and attend our fortnightly awards assembly in the hall at 1:20pm tomorrow.
A Thought for the Week …
“When you’re young, you think your dad is superman. Then you grow up and you realise he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape.” Attell.
Term 3, Week 6
Sunday Gospel Account
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14: 1, 7 – 14. I guess this Sunday’s Gospel is about how we conduct ourselves in the company of others. Do we snub others because of their occupation or wealth? Do we only associate ourselves with people of means? Do we cringe when undesirables try and befriend us? Do we believe we are greater than another? The message from this parable is that Jesus expects everyone to be treated equally and with respect. God will have a way of levelling the playing field when our time on earth ends.
Primary Dance Troupe – Winners!
Today (Thursday, 25 August), a troupe of dancers from our Primary School went and competed in the ‘Your Next Step Dance Challenge’ and were voted the winners of all the Central Coast. What an outstanding effort. A big thanks to the mums for their support and Mrs Passafaro and Mrs Noah for training the girls so well.
Principal’s Award Winners Morning Tea
‘Yummy for my tummy!” This morning our latest lot of children who received their Principal award were treated to a scrumptious morning tea of donuts, cupcakes, hot dogs, chicken fingers, juice pops and fruit cups. Well done to all the winners. I will look forward to more morning teas with other children once they reach their lighthouse quotas.
Kinder Yana – Session Two
Kinder Yana is building momentum now with parents and children participating in hands on tasks and making new friends. It is lovely to see the children bound into school excited for the adventure ahead.
This week students sat for ICAS assessments in Science and Spelling. These are demanding tests for the brightest and the dedicated. It is great to see more and more children having a go each year.
Book Week and Public Speaking
Book Week will be celebrated beginning Monday 5th September. An activity is planned for each day with all staff undertaking Read Alouds to expose children to the love of literature and story. The Book Parade is on Wednesday 7th September so start getting your costumes ready.
Each class is busily getting the children prepared for whole school public speaking. There will be a stage competition held during Book Week. Finalists will receive a certificate and the three place getters will receive medallions for each stage of learning. Parents are encouraged to help children with speeches!
Gala Days and Sporting Events
Year 3 and 4 will participate in a soccer and netball gala day tomorrow and another event like this one will be held for the Year 5 and 6 children soon.
Years 3,4,5 and 6 will participate in the Central Coast Oz Tag tournament in September and K – 2 will begin their Learn to Swim program on Monday 12th September. The next level Athletics events are also taking place for some of our elite athletes in the school. We wish everyone the best of luck for all their events and activities.
We are experiencing strong enrolment enquiries in all grades. If families are leaving at the end of the year, could they please alert the office to this as soon as possible. We have wait lists and would like to place as many requests as we can.
Tell Them from Me Survey
Our College Principal, Jason Hanrahan, writes about the Tell Them From Me Survey in the newsletter this week. We would appreciate your time in completing this. You can find the survey HERE.
A Thought for the Week…
“Stop looking for a scapegoat in your life but be willing to face the truth within yourself and right your own wrongs.” Caddy.
Term 3, Week 5
21st Sunday Ordinary Time Gospel Account
“For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13: 22-30. This Sunday’s Gospel account is about Jesus challenging those who fervently believed they would get heaven’s rewards. He largely was speaking to Jews already on board with the idea of a salvation God. To get to heaven is about deeds and not words. Each Sunday in the church I quite often feel there is a ‘stone thrower’ section and those of us who sin all sitting under the one roof. Many in the church are moralistic and make judgements upon others. If my understanding of the Gospels is correct, then I reckon there will be plenty of priests and other religious who may be in for a surprise when entry to heaven is upon them. The point being only God will decide if what we have done on earth is worthy of entry to heaven. Sometimes the most vocal among us are often the hypocrites. Live good lives. Try and turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel!
Whole School Public Speaking Competition
This week each class has been busy learning how to write and deliver speeches in front of an active audience. This is a much-needed skill that requires composure and an ability to clearly deliver any messages of persuasion or information. In Week 8 of this term those children who have managed to make the finals for each stage will deliver speeches in front of judges, peers and parents. Please help your child as they begin the task of composing and then delivering speeches.
Father’s Day Liturgy, Breakfast and Open Classrooms
Similarly to what took place for our beautiful mums there will be an early morning liturgy on Wednesday 31st August @ 7:30 followed by a hot breakfast. Fathers will then be invited into each room classroom to see the learning in action but will be encouraged to read with their child. Find out more and RSVP by clicking the image below.
At this stage the Father’s Day Gift stall will be on Thursday 1st September but this needs to be confirmed.
Covid Information – The Latest
Based on NSW Health and Education guidelines it is business as usual for schools but with suggestions thrown into the mix. If children have any symptoms, they must stay home. Parents then must use RAT tests to establish if a child has covid. If a child has a positive result, then they must be registered on the Service NSW website, and he/she must stay in isolation from school for 7 days. Parents are allowed on the school site but are advised to wear masks and use hand sanitizers provided.
The Horses are on the Track
Braxton, Adam and Will joined some secondary students and competed in the recent schools’ dressage and equestrian events at Arndell College. All three of the boys did amazingly well winning first and place ribbons for the categories of events each participated in. Well done to all of you and your parents who make the effort to bring the love of horses into your lives.
Kinder Yana Begins
104 new kindergarten students and their parents began their educational journey here with us at MacKillop. Throughout this week parents worked with their children on play-based tasks, had big book time and jungle play. The bonds of connection were beginning to form and we look forward to them coming back next week for day two of their Yana experience.
A Thought for the Week…
“Some people walk in the rain. Others just get wet.” Miller
Term 3, Week 4
Sunday Gospel Account – 20th Sunday Ordinary Time
“Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?” Luke 12:49 – 53. Following Jesus comes at a price. The message of this Gospel account means to take up one’s cross for Christ won’t be a bed of roses. As we see in the world today, Christians are dying for their faith. In Australia where once our parliaments and governments were filled with people of faith are now being replaced by those rejecting it. At the last census more and more people are declaring no religious affiliation at all. It takes courage to follow Christ. If we are to believe in him then we must do so in the knowledge that our rewards will come in a heavenly way.
Today some classes got to experience what it is like to be vision impaired playing blind cricket. This was a very practical experience on what it is like to not be able to see and to rely on aides, such as a ball with a bell in it, to function. We are very grateful to Scott Jones form the NSW Blind Cricket Association for his modelling and patience with the children. A great initiative by all involved.
Happy Healthy Harold
Today the Healthy Harold bus arrived at the school for all grades to learn about PDHPE topics and concepts. Kindergarten will learn about friendship. Year 1 will participate in lessons to learn about safe and unsafe environment and in Year 2 about growing great friends. Year 3 lessons focus on the influences that impact the healthy functioning of the body. Year 4 will be looking at safe medicines and an understanding of medicine. The focus for Year 5 is on safety online and building and maintaining respectful relationships and Year 6 explores the decision-making process behind looking at choices, consequences, responsibilities, facts and influences.
Name the New Fourth Stream
In 2023 we are expecting over 100 students for Kindergarten which means we need to name a new fourth stream. We currently have Banksia, Grevillea and Wattle. These are all Australian native plants. We need to keep to the same theme but preferably with a plant native to Australia that does not start with the letters B, G and W. For now we are asking for families to have a think about the name and email into the office any suggestions. We will also ask the students for their input. The idea is to come up with different options that we will then vote on as a school community. Send in your names now!
Parent Education Meeting this Friday 9-10am in the library
Each term I like to talk to parents about what is happening in the school with programs and initiatives and to have a chat about all things MacKillop K – 6. This Friday parents will hear from Mrs Kenney, Mrs Shilling, Mrs Whitmore and Mrs Jones who will cover information on data, assessment, diverse learning, instructional teaching and learning opportunities for students for this term. If you can’t be present in person, please join via zoom @ You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Aug 12, 2022 09:00 AM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Public Speaking Competition K-6
Public speaking begins for all grades starting next week. Teachers will model for students how to write and prepare speeches which will be delivered in each class. From these finalists will be selected for each stage to take part in public speaking finals to be held between 5th -9th September. Parents are certainly encouraged to help children with speeches during homework time during this period.
Beginning next week we will welcome over 100 children who will begin Kindergarten at MacKillop next year. For the next four weeks children will take part in investigative play tasks with parents in the rooms helping with the activities. We are so looking forward to our new recruits who will start their school journey in 2023.
A Thought for the Week…
“We outgrow people, places and things as we unfold. We may be saddened when old friends say their piece and leave our lives… but let them go. They were at a different stage… and looking in a different direction.” Zambucka
Term 3, Week 3
Sunday Gospel Account – 19th Ordinary Time
“If the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Luke 12:32-48. The themes for the past few weeks focus on the need to do as God has requested. Moreover, we are asked to ensure peace is every where and that if we truly believe we should not be afraid. God has and will give us all we ever need in this world and beyond.
Parish Celebration of St Mary of the Cross Feast Day this Sunday @ 5pm
Year 6 student leaders and secondary parliament student leaders will represent the school at this special celebration of our patron saint. It will be a lovely celebration for Sister Marea who is retiring from all work in the school. Families are encouraged to come along and celebrate Sr Marea and all the sisters of St Joseph who for many years have completed God’s work in Mary MacKillop’s name.
Whole School St Mary of the Cross Feast Day Mass and Celebrations – Monday 8th August
A revised celebration of our feast day will take place on Monday due to some concerns related to COVID. A smaller gathering of some students, staff, invited guests and Sr Marea will gather in the church to celebrate the Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop @ 10a.m. This will be live streamed into classrooms, so that the children can witness a farewell celebration for our much-loved Sr Marea. On this day we would normally have all sorts of activities and stalls but on the advice of WHS officers in at CSBB we have been advised to hold off on such a big community celebration. The children will still receive a treat, but the focus on Monday is to honour Sr Marea and farewell her in front of invited guests and family who are coming to our school from many parts of Australia. A special morning tea will take place in the hall.
Parent Information and Education Session Friday 12th August @ 9am in the library
Each Term I like to invite parents who are able to get to the school to learn about events, happenings and programs taking place for all of the students K–6. This event will also be available via Zoom, and recorded for those who can not make it. Apart from learning about what is taking place, Mrs Kenney, Mrs Whitmore, Mrs Jones and Ms Shilling will present information on the Collaborative coaching, professional learning teams, gifted and high potential students and data driven teaching design. This will be an opportunity for parents to hear how we teach the children for English and Maths and what is being done to cater for the gifted and high potential students. The Zoom link will be available in next week’s Primary Principal’s newsletter.
Assembly this Friday @ 1:20P.M
There will be an assembly this Friday. This assembly will not be live streamed as the streaming is being set up for Monday’s Mass. Parents are allowed at the assembly, but if anyone is feeling unwell in any way, we ask that you do not attend. Apologies for any inconvenience caused with no streaming service available this week.
There is never a clear-cut reason or understanding for why some children target other children. At the school we do take bullying issues seriously and try and work through the reasons which often take us down paths that are external to school. The bully is often the victim of circumstances beyond their control, such as witnessing domestic violence or disputes. Sometimes there is deep hurt from loss or family break down and at other times it is related to a particular diagnosis. Sometimes parents will write me terse emails or make angry phone calls that the school is doing nothing to protect their child from bullying.
From experience there is always three sides to a story. There is the bully’s version, the victim’s version and somewhere in the middle the truth can be found. At the school we try and re teach and model appropriate behaviour and place in restorative practices. For the most part this works. When there is no change, we move into exclusion from school activities, suspension and as a last resort a conversation is had where the bully needs to move to another school setting. For some parents the process is not quick enough! The school has a duty of care to protect the victim, but also to change the behaviour of the bully.
In recent years the overwhelming majority of issues are cyber related. Children, despite the school’s effort to bring in police to talk about the virtual world and education around safe and responsible use, will still participate in online behaviour that is not appropriate. This online behaviour happens outside of the school in homes and yet the school needs to deal with virtual issues that are often beyond our control.
As a school all we can ever guarantee is that when we are aware of bullying, we try our best to do something about it. We can never guarantee that bullying won’t happen as issues elsewhere are often beyond our control.
Bullying is repeated targeted behaviour. Please alert your child’s teacher to any bullying taking place. Then if you are seeing no results let me know so we can address what is going on.
JTF, TOM and Dance Troupe
Throughout the term the children have been busy rehearsing for the dance, theatre and tournament of the mind’s competitions. My sincere thanks to the teaching staff who are giving up considerable extra time to prepare the children. Well done to the parents supporting the children in these endeavours.
Rahni in Year 6 is currently representing Polding at the state soccer tournament in Bathurst, and Malachi also from Year 6 is representing NSW schools in the Australian Rugby League championships. On top of this many children have tried out for higher pathway representation and tomorrow we have students representing our school at the CCC Athletics Carnival at Mingara. Well done to all children involved on your accomplishments.
A Thought for the Week…
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.”
Term 3, Week 2
18th Sunday Ordinary Time Gospel Account
“God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.” Luke 12: 13 – 21. Many people struggle with this parable as it implies all wealth is evil. In fact the opposite can be found in other Jesus stories. We are stewards of wealth provided in abundance to us from God. Why Jesus states that the rich man had best be careful in this parable, is that the rich man clearly talked only of himself. He did not talk of sharing his good fortune or providing for others. We all die, and we can’t take possessions with us. God is not against one becoming wealthy and setting up oneself and family for the future. He does get upset if that is all we focus on. No God No Peace. Know God Know Peace!
Confirmation this Saturday
We welcome Bishop Anthony who will confirm many children from our school and the Parish this Saturday at 10am and 12:30. Confirmation is a sacrament that confirms the wishes of the parents who baptised their child and now through confirmation children are knowingly receiving the Holy Spirit as a guide in their lives. Congratulations to all children and their families on this wonderful celebration.
A number of parents have asked will there be any changes with the rise in COVID cases being announced in the daily news. Thus far the advice is still the same, but that adults are encouraged to wear masks along with Secondary school aged students. Gatherings and excursions are still allowed, but this could change. As always safe hygiene practices including using sanitizer and having all learning spaces cleaned twice daily are still in place at the College. Tomorrow each child in the school will receive a RAT box which contain 5 covid testing instruments. If a child presents with any symptoms, then parents are asked to administer the tests. If at any time a child has a sniffle or cold like symptoms, please keep them home. As soon as we receive notification from NSW Health and Education authorities with any changes you will get an immediate alert.
Recently the school engaged a Professor from the University of Auckland to focus on improving the learning gains for students in maths. As a staff we have been digging deeper into how we can best move all students along the learning continuum, particularly with Multiplication and Division. Each Thursday a team of teachers move into allocated classes to work on ‘the next step’ based on the assessment data provided. Throughout the week each grade of teachers is released to work with a teacher coach to analyse student work and devise ‘on the go’ plans for direct instruction teaching. Our NAPLAN results of the past two years indicate we are on the right path with our reflective teaching practices.
Mary MacKillop Feast Day
On the 8th of August the school will celebrate our patroness and honour one of our very own great women in Sister Marea who is retiring. We will gather as a community in mass followed by market type activities and stalls for the students at the College. We will also use this occasion to farewell and say a hearty thanks to a terrific servant of God. Watch out for notifications in the coming week for details.
Extra-Curricula Activities this Term
On top of their normal schoolwork load, students will be provided with multiple opportunities this term to learn across a variety of creative and sporting domains. The JTF (junior Theatre Festival) rehearsals are in full swing and soon the Tournament of the Minds teams will be showing off their natural talents. There will be a focus on rugby league skills and games as well as a first with the NSW blind cricketers coming to teach the children the skills of blind cricket. Mrs Brown has her wonderful writing competition underway, and we have a troupe of dancers about to compete in Newcastle against other dance academies. Our whole school public speaking competition will take place towards the end of the term as well as our annual Book Week parade. K – 2 will participate in the Learn to Swim program in the last two weeks of the term and there will be sporting gala days for Year 3 – 6.
Enrolments and Kinder Yana
Our school readiness program (Kinder Yana) will begin in a few weeks and we are excited to be welcoming 4 classes of kindergarten students. There are still some spaces available now that we have gone 4 streams. There are very limited places in other grades as we are starting to build waiting lists for certain grade levels. At any rate spread the word to those considering our school.
Now we are in full swing for Term 3 could I ask that parents who use Kiss n Drop please place an A4 size label of family name in the passenger side window. This includes grandparents who are sometimes called upon to collect children. We ask that all parents stay in cars and that children enter the car from the passenger side, not the open side which exposes a child to potential danger. Even little ones can be shown how to put on their seat belts or restraints, so please model this for them.
Hair ties for children must be colour of the hair or school colours. Lightning bolts, undercuts and mullets for hair styles are not allowed! School uniform must be worn correctly which includes joggers that are predominantly white. Please abide by the rules!
A Thought for the Week …
“Life is an opportunity and not an obligation.” Tao
Term 3, Week 1
Sunday Gospel Account – 17th Sunday Ordinary Time
“For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11: 1 – 13. Often our prayers are about asking for things we want to happen. And just as often we know through experience that our prayers are simply not enough to stave off against illness or death or a situation that puts us and our family in peril. Many prayers are answered, and we are left scratching our head why some requests are answered, and others are not. I guess the key to prayer is to be consistent when the times are good and equally so when they are bad. Jesus gave us our daily prayer in the form of the Our Father. Ideally God wants us to pray to him each day with our requests, but equally balanced by our gratitude for what we do have. Faith does not make life easier, but it does make things possible.
NAPLAN Preliminary Results for 2022
While we are still waiting on detailed reports for our Year 3 and 5 students NAPLAN results, what we have received thus far is very encouraging and worthy of celebration.
Full results are not yet released
The numbers in each column represent bands. Although writing has not been released to schools, our results represent above state, national and statistically similar means which is worthy of celebration. Some of the individual results place some of our children in the top 1% for each domain which is simply outstanding. Full results are not released to schools until August 5th and then parent reports will follow that. In the last two years our results have been the best recorded for the school which is testament to the teaching and learning approach in operation and the hard work of staff and students.
Through the wonderful community work and care and support offered by health staff much needed funds were raised for Bryanthe so that she can receive the best support to get her back to full function. Lecelle, mother of Bryanthe is indebted to everyone for their contributions to the Go Fund Me page and the support at the recent disco. Bryanthe returned to school for a visit this week and after a team meeting with professionals we are pleased to announce she will begin her slow transition back to the classroom from Monday next week.
Marien Family Fundraiser
As you are well aware Charlotte in Year 4 and Holly in Kindergarten lost their father recently. Lucy is grateful for the love, care and compassion shown by all during this difficult time for the family. Tomorrow a team of parents will be meeting to discuss the upcoming school trivia event dedicated to support Lucy and her three beautiful girls. More information will follow soon, but please keep in mind that your support of this event will be greatly appreciated.
Recent Staff Development Days
Thank you for allowing the staff to get together and work on new initiatives that impact directly on the teaching and learning in each classroom. The focus was on working through on how best to move the learning along for all children based on the understandings and research of Professor Dylan Williams. Please google him and especially have a look at the BBC series titled: The Teacher Project. This will provide insight into the need for teachers to know their class and to cater for all learners of various ability levels.
NAIDOC Week Liturgy and Celebrations
On Wednesday the children participated in a wonderful NAIDOC liturgy that highlighted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in our community. Children in the choir sand beautiful Indigenous songs and everyone watched an animated story book of The Rainbow Serpent. Following the liturgy, children moved into their wellbeing clans and participated in activities such as artefacts appreciation, Brolga Dancing, Torres Strait library listening stories, boomerang puzzles and singing traditional songs. The children learnt about our indigenous culture and roots and enjoyed the opportunity to be creative in a fun filled atmosphere.
No Assembly this Week
Children will gather in the assembly time to work on Colour House cheers and chants with students from secondary. We want the children to participate in K–12 Community building and this is one example of how to do it. The award assemblies will resume in Week 3.
Kindergarten 2023 and all Grade Enrolments 2022
As you may be aware our school will be going 4 streams for Kindergarten in 2023, as such we do have some places still available so please spread the word. We also have some places available now for this year for our current Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 3. All other grades are full. All families placed on our waiting lists have been placed when children move out of the school to other areas. Please spread the word to those considering MacKillop.
A Thought for the Week
“Perception is a mirror not a fact. And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”
Term 2, Week 10
Sunday Gospel account 14th in Ordinary Time
“Whatever town you enter, and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'” Luke 10: 1 – 12. This Gospel account is quite confronting when you reflect on what Jesus is saying to the Disciples sent out to spread his good new story. Jesus is saying if people have been told about what his message is and understand the Easter story and reject it, then they do so at their peril. At any rate the message is clear that to believe is to act out in deeds and not just words in order to be rewarded with eternal life.
Bryanthe’s Disco Fundraiser
It is always heartening when a community bands together for a common cause. The disco was a roaring success thanks to the volunteers who helped organise and run it. All money raised will go to Bryanthe’s family to be used on much needed medical support. My sincere thanks to Deborah Bell, Julie Ferguson, Hayley Shuttleworth and Olivia Curtis who established a committee to organise the event. I also want to thank dozens of other parents and staff who worked together to make the two disco sessions a magical event. More pics are coming soon so stay tuned.
100 Days of Kindergarten
This week all the students in kindergarten celebrated their 100-day anniversary of being at big school. There is much to celebrate with the many achievements already met by the students in their learning. One of the major areas of focus during the first 100 days is to learn how to situate oneself for learning within a socially constructed learning environment. It is always wonderful to go into kindergarten and see happy and smiling faces. I especially love listening to the children read and am already marvelling at some of the academic milestones being met by this cohort.
Girl Power AFL Paul Kelly Cup Success
A team of girls went and played in the Central Coast Paul Kelly Cup competition with the winner progressing to state level. The girls did not lose a game as they battled other schools across the coast. This is a wonderful achievement, and we wish them well as they progress deeper into the competition. A big thanks to Mr Snelling for coaching and mentoring the children.
Term 3 Learning and Teaching Opportunities
Opportunities continue to be presented to the children for Term 3. We will enter several teams into the Tournament of the Minds competition at Newcastle University. More and more students have or are invited to sign up for the ICAS assessments to gauge how well he/she is going compared to some of the brightest across Australia and the Asian Pacific region. The times table challenge will continue next term and students in Year 2 and 4 will be invited to come along and be challenged by early morning maths clubs. Year 5 and 6 will go and participate in Dance Troupe opportunities and chess club will be open for all to join. Music Aviva will be introduced to students across K – 6 and there will be performance opportunities for students to enter the Junior Theatre Festival. We are also looking forward to Year 3 Confirmation. Towards the middle of the term all students K – 6 will participate in a Public Speaking competition, spelling bee and Book Week activities.
Collaborative Teaching Rounds
What may not mean much to those not directly involved is that at MacKillop we have slowly introduced different methodologies to teaching and learning that are well researched. Each Wednesday and Thursday a team of teachers meet to discuss, plan and design learning, based on ongoing assessment data and then team teach timetabled cohorts of students. The focus is on Maths and English, so that we can address immediate challenges to learning. Consequently we can proudly proclaim that our results as measured through such instruments as NAPLAN have improved considerably. We are also able to redirect some funds to engage with specific providers of Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy to work directly with individual students to address their specific challenges. In a school of over 600 students, we have 128 students with some specific learning challenge that needs to be addressed through direct intervention.
Staff Development Days
Today the staff have been working on formative assessment techniques as espoused by Dylan William, a university professor from the UK. It is our hope that as a staff we can use and refine some of his techniques in our teaching. Please google him or go to his website www.dylanwilliam.org to get a sense on why his cutting-edge techniques are now being used in all the good schools across the globe and why we will be adopting some of his strategies in what we are doing here at MacKillop. Tomorrow, a system wide day is planed where Bishop Anthony (Broken Bay Bishop) and Danny Casey our director of schools will address all staff. On Monday 18th June the staff will continue to design teaching programs incorporating Dylan William techniques as well as learn about essential information related to Diabetes, epilepsy, anaphylaxis, and asthma management. More and more of our students are presenting with these types of diagnosis and we need to confidently know how to cater for all these students.
Marien Family Trivia Night in Term 3
My thanks to the multiple number of parents who have put their hand up to be a part of fundraising committee for Lucy Marien and her 3 girls. As we now know, Matthew Marien unfortunately tragically passed away at such a young age and we now need as a community to rally behind Lucy in her time of need and grief. A small way we can help is get involved as a community in a planned trivia evening for Term 3. Tash Hartman our FLO will coordinate the committee, so if anyone has anything to offer, please direct your communication to her (email@example.com). A GoFundMe campaign has already been started and you can make a donation HERE.
As you well know we are mostly full in all grades moving into 2023. We have decided to open a fourth class for kindergarten, so we do have a handful of places left. Please alert others who may be interested in this as we will begin our school readiness program mid term 3 which is vital for all pre-schoolers coming to the school to be involved in.
Enjoy the Mid-Year Break.
We have a few families leaving our school for other areas during the break, we wish them well. We also welcome those joining us next term. Remember school begins on Tuesday 19th July. Please ensure children return in full winter uniform with correct attire and that clothing items are clearly labelled.
A Thought for the Break…
“I saw life through the eyes of a child as I watched him clean his boat before putting it into the lake. We can learn from children.” Rinder
Term 2, Week 9
Sunday Gospel Account
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Luke 9: 51 – 62. In this Gospel account, Jesus says some harsh things to his followers. The thrust of the passage is to dedicate one’s whole being to follow and believe in him and his message. There are no par-baked options here! Moreover, Jesus was stating that he was the son of man for all people. That he had no fixed abode, unlike the foxes who have dens and birds who have nests. To be a true follower of Jesus is to rest your head wherever you can. We see this today where priests from all over the world come to Australia to preach. To give your life fully to your beliefs is an amazing sacrifice.
Parent / Teacher / Student Interviews
Throughout this week you have had an opportunity to discus the contents of the semester one reports. I do hope it has been a time of praise, but also one of questioning. As a school it has been an extraordinary time. The number of students and staff who have been impacted by covid has caused considerable changes, almost weekly. The current teacher shortage is real and we along with every other school have been impacted by such shortages. One of the biggest areas of concern moving ahead is the lasting issues related to mental well being of everyone in the community. Anxiety and apprehension are two big by products of the pandemic. Our school counsellors are working to capacity, but I encourage all parents to reach out if they feel that their child needs support with wellbeing.
Fundraising for Bryanthe and Marien Family
Bryanthe continues to make slow progress on her path to recovery. Her GoFundMe page will remain open for one more week and the school will hold a special disco/carnival on 29 June. The cost is $20 per person, which includes entry, sausage sizzle, drink and 4 tokens for the stalls. Please note: This is a CASH ONLY event. We encourage parents to send cash in a closed envelope marked with your child’s name to school prior Wednesday 29 June, 2022. However, cash payments can be made on the night prior to entry.
If you wish to make a donation via the GoFundMe page for Bryanthe, you can do so HERE.
Today many in the community attended the funeral of Mathew Marien who died last week due to a medical complication. Please pray for Lucy and her 3 young girls and family in their time of loss and grief.
Next term a trivia night is being held to raise money for the Marien family to deal with the sudden loss of Mathew. Following the success of the Year 1 fundraising committee, who have done an amazing job with fundraising efforts for Bryanthe, we would now love to invite parents and carers of our Kindergarten and Year 4 classes to join a new committee being formed for the trivia night. Can you help? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up to help.
A GoFundMe page has already been established for the Marien family, and you can make a donation HERE.
Rugby and League Tournaments
Well done to the boys who went to Erina yesterday to compete in the Central Coast Rugby schools’ tournament. All the boys played really well, with one under 10’s team being crowned overall under 10 champs! Tomorrow our league teams will play in a similar tournament, so we wish them well. My thanks to the parents who helped, Mr Sullivan and Mr Bondfield for their work in training and preparing the children.
Junior Theatre Opportunity
Fresh from the success of the recent musical, Year 5 and 6 students have an opportunity to now perform in Newcastle at the Junior Theatre Spectacular. It is so heart warming to see children provided with opportunities to shine on the stage and the huge amount of interest the recent musical has provided for all the children.
Gifted and High Potential Students
Opportunities exist for all children to participate in the ICAS tests for such things as spelling, writing, maths, science and Computing. Please look on the website for form details. Currently we have approximately 11 students who are partially accelerated into other grades for maths and English. For example we have one kindergarten child who attends Year 3 for maths. Part of the advantage of having staff trained in gifted education is that we can differentiate the program within each class and as required allow children to flow into other classes as required. Expressions of interest for Tournament of the Minds will be sent out early next term, so please encourage your child to apply if you feel they have something to offer.
Staff Development Pupil Free Days
A reminder that the whole school will participate in 3 consecutive staff development days. On Thursday 30th June and Monday 18th July the K–6 staff will be learning about formative assessment methods based on the work of world-renowned professor Dylan William. There will be a focus on explicit use of data to drive the learning that is meaningful for the children. On these two days there is limited supervision available for children who have no care for these days. Please alert your child’s teacher if this is something you need for your child. Friday 1st July is a system wide staff development day where all schools in Broken Bay are required to tune in with head office and learn from system leads. There is no provision for supervision of children on this day. Please be aware of this as it is only next week.
Learning Culture Award Assembly this Friday @1:20pm
Parents are invited to come and join us at our fortnightly assembly. This is an opportunity to acknowledge the children who have been working well and for those who are to receive Assistant Principal and Principal awards. This week’s assembly will be held in the church. Parents are welcome to attend. No live streaming this week unfortunately.
A Thought for the Week…
“The more you talk about it, and the more you think about it, the further from it you go. Stop talking, stop thinking, and there is nothing you will not understand.” Seng-Ts’an.