I would like to welcome everyone to this new term. It was a real joy meeting students on the first Monday as they arrived at school. They were keen to catch up with friends and get into all that this term has in store.
That said, the holiday weeks provided a welcome break or change of routine for both students and staff. Unfortunately, another bout of intense rainfall caused the creek level to rise significantly. It was a blessing that this weather occurred during the break and hence did not interrupt student activity, however, we were very mindful of the impact on homes in our region. There was minimal damage to school buildings, however the bottom (bush) carpark required remediation work in preparation for the first week. I would like to thank our maintenance team who juggled planned works for the break with this additional task. I am most thankful for the sunny start to term and looking forward to the grounds opening up progressively as they dry.
I would like to introduce two new members of our teaching staff, commencing this week. Mrs Smith is a very experienced Primary teacher, having worked in independent Christian schools both in metropolitan and regional schools. Mrs Smith will be teaching KB for the remainder for the year. Mr O’Regan is joining our Biblical Studies faculty in the High School. He has many years’ experience teaching Biblical Studies and Music. We welcome both teachers to the school.
As this is a winter term, ill health is always at an increased level in the community. This is also true for community levels of COVID -19. Schools continue to experience the strain in terms of absences for both students and staff. I was speaking with a principal this week, whose small school has 35 teachers, of which 19 are currently in isolation. We are in a much more fortunate position, however, we do have higher rates of absences than normal. To limit this, we continue to take steps to reduce the rates of transmission. Hence, we are strongly encouraging the use of masks when indoors or unable to socially distance. We are also continuing to ensure classrooms maintain good levels of ventilation. It is important that should a student have COVID-like symptoms, they remain home (even if a RAHT result shows ‘negative’). Undertaking a range of measures as a community will help maintain our health and safety.
Serve and Lead
Last week I spoke to Years 6-12 at a term commencement (online) assembly on the topic of the Carey Attribute, ‘serve and lead for the benefit of others’. This was a great opportunity to reflect on the examples of Peter Gibbs (a Gamillaroi man) who established the IPROWD program preparing indigenous men and women for a career in the NSW Police, who like Jesus Christ, lived out servant leadership (Philippians 2:1-11). This is the model of leadership we foster in our students. We also launched a new leadership program for Years 6 – 9 designed to support students to serve the school community, participate in authentic opportunities for ‘student voice’ and build leadership skills in organisation, relating to others collaboratively, and in public speaking. I look forward to receiving student nominations and establishing our new Year Leaders, plus witnessing them in action from Term 4 onwards.
CAPA HSC Showcase
On Monday evening of 1st August. the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) Department hosted their annual HSC Showcase. The evening included a display of students’ major works for Drama, Music and Visual Arts subjects. As well as showcasing our students’ work, it also provided the opportunity to refine performances in preparation for final practical examinations and submissions. The quality of student work never fails to impress and the same was true this year. It was a positive evening of encouragement and celebration. We are also mindful that our Year 12 students will be commencing their Trial HSC examinations next week. This can be a particularly stressful time for many students and so our staff a praying for their diligence, time management and stress levels through these weeks.
Year 10 road safety training
This week, Year 10 attended the ‘bstreetsmart’ training day. The purpose of ‘bstreetsmart‘ is to reduce the fatality and injury rates of young people by promoting safe behaviour as drivers, riders and passengers. The day will include presentation of a crash scene scenario, real life stories from those involved in collisions and the harm caused, such as brain injury and the impact on families, plus a demonstration of speed, reaction time and breaking distance. The interactive and highly relevant nature of this day is not only engaging for our students, but also an investment in the lives and safety of our young drivers for years to come.
As always, the term ahead has a full calendar for all parts of the school, and I look forward to opportunities to speak with students and families at the events we have planned to celebrate both learning, sports and community.
Mr Keith McMullen