Welcome to our new year and all that it promises here at Sacred Heart, Highgate for 2020.
This is the first of our school’s fortnightly Newsletters, after what I’m sure has been a chance for families to enjoy a wonderful Summer break, enjoy plenty of rest and the opportunity to recreate together.
Catholic Identity-Inspiring Christ centred Leaders (CEWA Strategic Directions 2019- 2021)
On behalf of all our teachers and staff, I extend a very warm welcome to you all and to our new children and their families who have joined Sacred Heart this year.
My hope for you as parents is that your association with our school is a long and happy one, that you experience a partnership that enables you to offer your support your involvement in, and enthusiasm for your children’s learning and faith development. It is now widely accepted that when a strong partnership exists between schools and parents, children fare better in their achievements and wellbeing.
We began today with our Assembly this morning, and as always, sang our very special school song with the children, which focuses on our story, and on the pioneering work of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions and Bishop Gibney, having founded our school. We concluded with our final verse, noting that this is the work of us all-
The firm foundation that was laid,
Continues now today, as we live out our faith.
Moving forward now with pride,
to do our best we strive,
With Jesus as our guide.
These wonderful words inspire us to continue in 2020, to Strive for Excellence at Sacred Heart.
This year, we are very privileged to welcome the following new staff members to our school:
Mrs Deanna Saraceni to the role of Music Specialist Teacher and Miss Bronte Manuk to the roles of part time Support Teacher, and tandem partner in our Year Four classroom. We also welcome to Sacred Heart Primary School this year Sienna, Evan, Adam, Isabella, George, Odette, Paris, Ethan, Errol, Henry, Valentina, Grady, Carter, Annabelle, Hamish, Jagger, Ella, George, Evie, Scarlett, Reuben, Darcie, O’Hara, Laila, Kasper, Corbin, Oliver, Cooper, Annabel, Joshua, Padraic, Vincent, Blake, Thomas, Krishnav, Zarene, Daniel, Oliver, Alexander, Madeleine, Georgia and Lyna. I am sure that our School Community will make all our new and returning staff and students, feel at home and supported in their journeys here at our wonderful school.
Our teachers have settled smoothly into routines, planning and timetables after their holiday break, and are delighted with the enthusiasm of their classes, as everyone tackles their studies.
In addition to my welcome accompanying today’s Newsletter, is a message from the Executive Director of Catholic Education (CEWA), Dr Debra Sayce.
Education- Catholic Schools of Excellence (CEWA Strategic Directions 2019- 2021)
Next Monday 10th February, we conduct the 2020 Parent Information Sessions in classrooms. These sessions are planned as an opportunity to inform parents about curriculum content, classroom rules and routines, homework expectations etc. Our Teachers have prepared comprehensive handouts and digital presentations, and if parents are not able to attend, information packs will be sent home. Please note that parents of children in Years Three, Four and Six will commence the evening in the School Hall, to hear from our Parish Priest, Fr Mark Payton about the 2020 Sacred Heart Parish Sacramental Programme that their children will encounter.
The coming weeks are important as a data collection period, and once assessments and standardised tests are completed, teachers are able to plan for both enrichment opportunities, and any necessary intervention strategies. As always, preparation for any testing situation begins with adequate rest- these first weeks at school can be very tiring, and combined with warm weather, really can affect our boys and girls- early nights are called for! All good work is grounded in good communication, and I urge parents to always make contact in the first instance, with their child’s Class teacher, if they have queries regarding their child’s learning and progress.
The expected warm weather that usually accompanies February, will see our school provide adequately for the children’s learning in their air conditioned classrooms, and their break times will see the Hall and its air conditioning being utilised. Please don’t forget to freeze water bottles and send along fruit for the afternoon’s Crunch and Sip break.
Community- Catholic Pastoral Communities (CEWA Strategic Directions 2019- 2021)
I value and appreciate the building of strong and positive relationships with all our community. It is so vital in a Catholic School that we communicate with each other through the eyes of understanding and compassion – our attitude each day, will be a model of reflection to our students, parents, and to our community. I have been very impressed with the level of engagement that our students have already demonstrated this week. I was able to chat with our senior students this week, to outline some of the opportunities that they will experience this year, including Camp in Week Five, and what we expect of them this year, as leaders and role models within our school.
I look forward to our special Blessing and Commissioning of our senior students at next Monday’s 2020 Opening Mass in the Church at 9.00am. We will be ably led by our Year Six class. Thank you to Ms Renee Byrne-King, Mrs Leonie Wyre, and our other staff for their work in preparing the children for this special liturgy. Our student leaders will be blessed and commissioned to their duties at this Mass, and we encourage and welcome all our parents and families to join us for this special occasion. Our staff will also be blessed and commissioned to their “vocation” or calling, to work in a Catholic School. Father Mark Payton continues his role as Parish Priest of Sacred Heart, Highgate this year, and eagerly awaits his involvement in all our activities here at school.
Accompanying today’s Newsletter is all the information about the 2020 Welcome event- the Movie and Picnic on the School Oval, on Friday 21st February. Please join everyone for a fun filled and family night, where we can meet and engage with one another and meet the Parents and Friends Association Executive members, and our 2020 Parent Class Representatives.
Stewardship – Accessible, Affordable and Sustainable System of Schools (CEWA Strategic Directions 2019- 2021)
This week, you are reminded of the information regarding timetables and the 2020 Term One Planner – these can become the important fridge details! Please read these carefully and hopefully, the next weeks should run fairly smoothly.
Once again this year, Sports Uniforms on Friday will see our students wear their white Sacred Heart sports shirts, and their coloured Faction sports shirts are to be worn on Mondays or Tuesdays, at their Physical Education lessons with Miss Kate Witkowski.
In coming weeks parents will receive a printout of their child’s confidential details that are currently on our Administration system (AoS). Parents are asked to read these forms carefully, and make any necessary changes and updates, and return these forms to the School Office in order for records to be updated. Similarly, parents are asked to return their consent for publication permission forms immediately if these are outstanding. Next week, all families will receive the information regarding their Payment Plan options for the 2020 School and Tuition Fees.
Discipleship -How did I live out the teachings of Jesus today?
In the realm of Discipleship, I have witnessed a genuine spirit of generosity within our school community as this year has commenced. As we strive to lead by example and follow the call of Jesus’ service to others, we unknowingly have a profound effect on others. I would also like to acknowledge the hard work and preparation that you, our parents and guardians have accomplished over the summer break.
The love and care that you have shown for your children, helps them in turn, to show love and concern for their friends and family. Thank you for fulfilling your vocation as a parent and guardian. This has such a positive influence on our boys and girls.
In closing, can I call for prayers for all families within our school community who may need them, and wish everyone well for the weekend. I thank you all for your hard work in getting the children back to school so well prepared and fully equipped.
Enjoy next week!
Many thanks and God Bless
Mrs Tanya McGuire
2020 Welcome Message from CEWA Executive Director Dr Debra Sayce
A new decade is here and with it the start of a new school year.
I hope that as you read this you are feeling refreshed from the holidays and full of hope for 2020. For many of you today was the first day with students back at school, marking the start of a year in learning, teaching, faith experiences, and growing old and new friendships in your school community.
The 2019 school year certainly finished on a high point with thousands of young people, including many CEWA students and former students, as well as staff members, joining the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Perth in December. The theme ‘Listen to what the Spirit is saying’ was expressed in many ways, including prayer, music, presentations and workshops, and silence and stillness as well as high-energy activities. It was a wonderful celebration of the Church amongst our young people and a beautiful snapshot of our Catholic faith alive today.
The holiday period, however, has also been a trying and devastating time for many people in Australia affected by bushfires. There is a long road ahead for many communities, but I am heartened that our schools collectively, as well as staff, students and their families, have already been raising money, sewing wildlife pouches, and helping practically where they can. I ask that you keep our nation in your prayers as we rebuild our communities and care for the natural environment in its recovery. We also keep in mind any students and staff who are missing the start of school or have otherwise been affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak, as well as those affected in China and elsewhere overseas.
In the first weeks of this year we have been finding out how our 2019 Year 12 cohort fared in WACE achievement, as well as VET and ATAR outcomes. I would like to acknowledge our 2019 Year 12 students for their commitment to striving for excellence in their studies, as well as the expertise and care given to their learning and wellbeing by staff, and of course the vital support of their families. Parents and educators across the State are no doubt filled with pride in seeing what this group of young people achieved in their culmination of their secondary schooling.
There are so many experiences that contribute to what a student or group of students get out of their school life. Even as they are busy with study, tests and exams in their senior years, there are retreats, camps, sports, exhibitions and performances, Christian service activities and liturgical events that are all a significant part of their learning.
While we celebrate recent achievements and success, the start of the year is also a time when we welcome so many new children and families, as well as staff members, to Catholic school communities throughout WA.
For some, you have chosen a Catholic school for your child setting out in the earliest years of their education in three-year-old Kindergarten or Kindergarten, or perhaps some are joining us for the start of Year One. Others may be making the move to Catholic education for the start of high school – whatever the case, we welcome all and look forward to working with students, staff and families to provide a safe, welcoming and faith-filled learning environment where they can thrive.
For new staff joining a Catholic school for the first time in 2020, welcome, and thank you for bringing your unique skills and experience to serve the students at your new school. There are six guiding principles for our Strategic Directions, one of which I bring to your attention now: At the heart of all our decisions and actions is the dignity of each child. I thank you for committing with us to upholding this principle as you go about your work each day, and as we seek to create truly engaging and faith-filled learning environments for those in our care.
There are a few noteworthy changes in our system for 2020. Our total number of schools will increase this year to 163; what was previously operating as Bunbury Catholic College’s Mercy Campus opened its doors today to the first students of Our Lady of Mercy College in Australind, and later in the year St Martin de Porres School will open as our system’s fifth CARE (Curriculum And Reengagement in Education) school. Catholic Education Western Australia is also now incorporated as a publicly listed company for the first time. While very little will change in practice for our staff, students and families, this governance structure will strengthen CEWA overtime through increased clarity, accountability, and improve our ability to ensure the sustainability of our system. I am also excited to welcome three new members to the CEWA Executive Team; Ms Mandy Connor will be taking the reins as Director Teaching and Learning, Dr Chris Cotter is the new Director Religious Education, and Mr Wayne Bull has commenced his role as Deputy Executive Director.
Many members of our school communities have been involved in the Plenary Council process since it began in 2018, listening to what the Spirit was saying to them about the Church in our day. This year will be a uniquely significant year for the Church in Australia, with the Plenary Council sessions beginning in October. Much will take place before then – the ‘listening and discernment’ period is still open now – and the Plenary journey will be a special one in 2020. I encourage you to pray the Plenary Council prayer for the Catholic Church in Australia.
I hope that wherever you are in WA, this week is a great start to the academic year. The Executive Team and I are excited to meet many of you at your schools in the coming months, and to hear stories of the learning, joy and service coming from our wonderful Catholic schools.
Dr Debra Sayce
Catholic Education Western Australia