Welcome back to the school year everyone!
The start of this school year has been characterised by a real sense of freshness and hope for the year ahead. I give thanks to God for the break that many enjoyed and the opportunities of the year ahead for our school community.
Our first week was extremely busy as both staff and families settled into term time routines. Prior to the return of students our staff engaged in a week of professional development which was split across topics of Christian growth, curriculum development, teaching strategies, and wellbeing topics.
This year we welcome over 180 new students and their families to our school. It was a pleasure to meet and talk with families from our big intake year groups of Kindergarten and Year 7, sharing a bit about family life and the hopes and expectations for the years ahead.
The start of a new year means a sudden speeding up for households as we shift gears and get used to daily school routines like ensuring there are enough uniform items for everyone each day, getting to school on time and responding to all the communications that help keep our activities running smoothly.
School is such a busy place. To help you stay up to date with all relevant information and calendar events, make sure you can access the School App and Family Portal. The portal provides access to school resources including Edumate, Primary and High School information, IT support, school documents, library and welfare information.
We have completed our first large scale events, the swimming carnivals, and while they were fantastic days for both the Primary and High School students, a great deal of work was required to gather permission responses for student attendance and participation. Can I encourage you to ensure your details of Edumate and the School App are functional and for you to respond to event notices. If you need assistance with this please contact our staff using the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org or completing the questionnaire at https://sites.google.com/wccs.nsw.edu.au/techhelp/parents.
I must admit that having written this first newsletter last week, I have found myself re writing this second half in response to the particularly heavy traffic during week 1 and 2.
The traffic in the first week of school is always heavy as families and students become familiar with the process, plus more students commute by private vehicles to help settle into the year. However, the traffic last week was notably heavier than previously experienced. A radio traffic report for Sydney on Monday included the comment that traffic across the city is at levels worse than 2019. It seems more people are using cars and less are using public transport than 4 years ago. This seems true for our community too and obviously makes the end of day carpark busier.
Our goal for this time of day is to ensure the safe and smooth departure of all our students from Prep to Year 12. To achieve this well it requires a cooperative approach from all members of our community.
Finding processes which assist has been a focus for the school’s leadership, engaging with traffic consultants in the second half of last year and discussing the matter further this term. Below are some key points that will assist in alleviating the volume of traffic to improve the end of the school day for everyone.
Family routines are busy and at times challenging, however, to help everyone benefit from improved traffic flow, I encourage you to consider how you can contribute to improving this part of the day. If we all make slight adjustments, then the overall benefit will be large.
If you haven’t already, please also read the WHS article addressing this issue.
Positive mental playlists
Last week I met with all our students from Years 7-12 and spoke with them about the value of maintaining positive and beneficial mental ‘playlists’. We all run a continual mental soundtrack throughout our days. Unfortunately, we often play broken ones which can have a negative impact on how we view ourselves, others and our situations. Picking whether these patterns of thought are true, helpful and kind helps determine whether the playlist is a broken one or a positive one. This is particularly relevant for our students if they play a fixed playlist that hampers their learning. A fixed mindset, such as ‘I’m no good at maths (so there’s no point in trying)’ can be harmful to building understanding. A ‘playlist’ like this is not true for anyone, and it’s certainly not helpful or kind. We believe that with appropriate levels challenge and support, all students can achieve great outcomes in their learning.
I also introduced a new partnership the school has established with Tearfund Australia. Tearfund are a Christian agency working for a just and compassionate world. Their work focuses on local partnerships which work to respond to poverty and injustice in the places where the need is greatest. They pioneered the concept of ‘useful gifts’ by which the funds raised through the purchase of a gift card for a friend or loved ones would be used directly for aid programs. You could ‘give a goat or chicken!’ to someone you love and benefit a community by providing nutritional support. If you’d like to know more follow this link https://www.tearfund.org.au/about/about-us-our-story
Our student leaders investigated a range of Tearfund projects and settled on a community school well program which provides safe water and training on hygiene, nutrition and sustainable farming practices in Zambian communities. Having safe water and hygienic toilet facilities improves student health and willingness to attend school. In turn, higher rates of attendance lead to improved learning for the young people of these communities. We are aiming for a target of raising $25,000 over two years to bring improved conditions to these schools. I invite you to join with us in this exciting new partnership. We are planning lots of fun ways to meet this target as a community – so stay tuned!
Yours in Christ
Mr Keith McMullen
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.