- Family Fundraiser for Blake
- Update on Blake
- Our New Learning Spaces
- Benefits of an Open Learning Environment
- Building Works and Entry into the School
- Parking around the School
- Enrichment Leave
- Next Assembly
What a fantastic community event on Sunday afternoon! Thank you to the many families and friends who supported this fundraiser. At last count we had raised just over $4900. Michelle, Luke and Blake have asked me to pass on their thanks to you all for your generosity. They are feeling quite overwhelmed at the support shown by the St Columba’s community.
A big thank you to those who generously donated items for our silent auction, to the many talented singers and musicians who so willingly gave up their time to entertain us, to the catering committee for assisting with the food, to David Bourke and Stephen Russell for organising the lighting and equipment and to the organising team of Nicky Russell, Megan Bourke and Kim Taylor for the amazing job they did preparing for and running the event.
Blake was very excited to have a visit from two of his school friends on Saturday and to FaceTime with staff and students on Sunday afternoon.
Blake’s recovery is slow going. It’s day 88 since the bone marrow transplant and the cells aren’t growing as well as hoped, but they are holding. Blake is still in semi-isolation staying in a unit close to the Royal Children’s Hospital with his mum, Michelle. In two weeks time, doctors will take a sample of Blake’s bone marrow to test and this will help determine if the cells are growing and what percentage of his bone marrow are donor cells. Ideally this will show a high percentage. At this stage the family are playing a waiting game while Blake remains isolated from any possible germs or infections as he has no immune system at all.
There were some very excited students on Monday morning when they arrived at school ready to start learning in their new spaces. We are very lucky to have such wonderful environments to learn in, and though they have been a long time coming, it is certainly worth the wait.
Last Thursday and Friday we had a large number of parents and staff assisting with the move and setting up the spaces ready for Monday morning. Thank you so much to those who offered their time - your help was invaluable!
We look forward to sharing our spaces with you this Friday from 12.00-4.00. Parents, grandparents and friends are invited to wander through the school visiting each of the Learning Communities.
Some thoughts from the Preps and Grade 3/4 ‘s about their new spaces: -
Elsie - “I like our new writing table”.
William - “The clouds are really cool and so is the couch”.
Zara - “I like having a new classroom”.
Aurelia - “Everything is very special”.
Chloe - “We have lots of room and you can find new friends”.
Jett - “It’s really cool. It’s different to the old classrooms because they were just big squares. This is more open”.
Ari - “There’s more room and you can choose where you sit”.
Hannah D - “I like it because there’s a lot more space and we can sit next to people from different classes”.
Agatha - “I like how it’s much bigger. I like being in a big area ‘cause I can sometimes see my friends. I like it because it’s near the Preps and my brother’s in there”.
Hannah J - I don’t have to walk through doors to get to the other 3/4 classrooms. The open area is good because there’s lots of different spaces - quiet areas, wet areas and creative spaces, which I like.
Tahlia - “I get to work with my friends. I like it because it’s all spread out”.
Archie - “Instead of just having to stay with our class, we can make new friends and to work with other classes”.
Over the last 4 years and, particularly over the last 6 months, the teachers have spent time exploring in detail what learning and teaching looks like in an open learning environment. At one of our recent professional learning sessions the benefits of this type of learning environment were explored. Teachers were invited to express this in a creative way. Below are a couple of examples:
Once upon a time there was a school with four walls for every class. At the end of every year the children and parents would feel nervous and wonder which teacher they were going to have next year. The teachers would also wonder what their class was going to be like next year. Suddenly, a light switched on for the teachers. “Let’s knock down the walls and pool our gifts and talents together!” they excitedly declared.
Because of that…each child was able to access the strengths of every teacher.
Because of that…the teachers were able to observe and learn from one another.
Because of that…the teachers worked together to share the load, to share the challenges and to share the celebrations.
Because of that…the parents knew that many teachers were enriching their child, not just one.
Because of that…the children didn’t have to wait until the break to see and to learn with their friends anymore.
Because of that…the children and teachers all flourished as a community.
Finally, the teachers, children and parents all realised that…
We are many parts, but we are all one body.
Once upon a time there was a school called St Columba’s full of energetic teachers.
Everyday we went into our four walled classroom with our own group of students.
One day we felt overwhelmed with the pressure of having to meet every individual student's’ needs on our own.
Because of this we got together and discussed how we could improve our teacher capacity so it wasn’t so hard.
Because of this we employed some very particular builders who knocked downs the walls, and we invested our professional development time in developing our knowledge of how to work collaboratively in order to improve student outcomes collectively.
Until finally we had a shared understanding of what the mantra of “High Levels of Learning for ALL” really meant. We all agreed to jump in the deep end, with the skills and knowledge we had and give it our best shot with the desire to continue to ‘learn by doing’ alongside our students.
Building Works and Entry into the School
The builders have begun work on the East end of the Columba Wing, converting the existing 4 classrooms into one open space for the 5/6 Learning Community. This space will be available for use in late August this year. Entry into the uniform shop is now through a wooden door off the Gregory Street entrance foyer.
While the building works are taking place, the Gregory Street gates will not be in use, unless in the case of an emergency.
Before and after school students and parents will be able to enter the school via the Gregory Street doors and the Armstrong Street gates. These will be opened at 8.30 and closed between 8.45 and 8.50am. Anyone arriving at school after this time will need to enter through the school office. The Howard Street gates will also be open in the morning and afternoon.
The Gregory Street doors and the Howard Street gates will be opened at 3.00 in the afternoon, while the Armstrong Street gates will not be opened until the bell rings at 3.15pm.
Thank you for your patience while we get used to the changes in entry and exit points.
Parking around the School
We have had concerns raised regarding cars parking in the ‘No Standing zones’ on the corner of Howard and Armstrong streets, especially at school pick up times. This has caused concerns for the safety of families trying to cross the road on the Howard/Armstrong Street corner. The Council has been notified and will be conducting random enforcement around the school. Infringement notices will be posted out to the registered owners of any vehicles parking illegally.
I will be taking enrichment leave for the last 3 weeks of this term and the first 3 weeks of Term 3. While I am on leave, Shaun Mohr will be taking on the role of Principal.
Enrichment Leave is available to Catholic School Principals after 8 years of service. Enrichment Leave assist principals in continuing their professional growth and is intended to enhance and affirm Principals in their leadership role within the local and broader Catholic community and be a source of ongoing enrichment to the school community.
This Sunday 11th June I will be departing Ballarat with a group from the Ballarat Diocese on a 2 week Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands as part of my Enrichment Leave. Fr Justin Driscoll will be leading the pilgrimage to Jordan and Israel, where a group of 24 of us will follow in the footsteps of Jesus. I feel extremely privileged to be travelling to the places where Jesus lived and preached - Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jordan, and Jericho to name a few.
I will then travel through Europe to the Island of Iona. Lying off the west coast of Scotland, the tiny Isle of Iona is where St Columba arrived in 563 AD with 12 followers and built his first Celtic church and established a monastic community. I will be participating in a week long ‘silent retreat’ while on Iona, before heading to Ireland where I will follow Columba through Ireland's north.
I look forward to sharing my travels with you on my return early in Term 3.
Our next assembly will be held on Friday June 16th at 2.30pm in the school hall and LG 10 will lead the assembly.
The following Prep students will be introduced at this assembly:-
Evie Morgan, Elliott Bourke, Eimear Toye, Mali Kinniburgh, Ebony Rogers/Clark, Hunter McAloon and Ethan Biggin.