- Welcome to 2018
- Parent Information Sessions
- Opening School Mass
- School Communication
- Parent Communication
- Family Fees and Fee Assistance
- Fruit Snacks
- Foundation Numeracy Assessments
The format of the St Columba's newsletter will stay the same each week. Each area of the newsletter will have it's own section that will require you to click a 'Read More' button. Upcoming dates will be listed each week and parents are able to access the yearly calendar as well. This calendar will be updated regularly.
Whilst students began this week, staff have been hard at work preparing learning spaces and engaging in professional learning. Last Monday all Catholic schools in the Ballarat region gathered together to celebrate our opening year mass. As part of this mass Bishop Paul called us ‘to serve in solidarity, to enrich and empower students and colleagues to reach their fullness of life.’ This call to solidarity was further reinforced during our own staff liturgy with a focus on growing together in gratitude. It is a powerful reminder that together we can achieve so much more.
This year we welcome three new staff members, Kate Snow, Danni Stephens and Sarah Jones along with 48 Foundation students and their families, we also welcome Jie and Lun Newton-Powell in year 1, Joel Molloy in year 4 and Abbey Molloy in year 6. I’m confident all our families will make them feel a welcome part of our wonderful school community.
At St Columba’s we continue to be driven by our vision of creating a school that is engaging, inspiring and empowering. With our 2017 review completed we are now in an excellent position to build on the foundations already laid to ensure we continue to create the best learning opportunities possible for all students in our care. This learning culture extends beyond our students and includes the staff and parents who make up our school. This year there will be a number of opportunities for parents to be active learners themselves and this is something our School Advisory Council will be investigating in greater detail.
Parent Information Sessions
As mentioned above one of our major focus’ for the year is looking at ways we can enhance parental involvement in the learning process. In Week 4, on Wednesday 21st of February we will be holding a parent information evening, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the year ahead in each learning community. We would also invite all families to come along for a shared BYO dinner between sessions. Further information will be sent out in the coming days via the Skoolbag App.
Please be aware we have a number of students this year who for various reasons have highly susceptible immune systems or health risks. We ask parents and carers to please be mindful of this and avoid sending students to school when they are unwell, what may be a simple cold for you can be life threatening for them.
Opening School Mass
On Friday this week at 12.00 pm we will be celebrating our opening school mass, parents are invited to join us in celebrating the start of our school year. Following the mass we would invite families to come across to the school for a shared lunch.
The school has a wide range of communication tools in place to allow us to share as much information as possible with our families. Each tool serves a slightly different purpose within the process. We have the school website which is useful for general information and policies, the things that don’t change rapidly. As a way of sharing celebrations we maintain a school Facebook page, please review the expectations when making use of this. Here you will find regular updates from within the classrooms and particularly the major events. Facebook is rarely used to advise people about upcoming events and dates within the school.
The Skoolbag app is used for this and I would encourage all parents who don’t already make use of this to follow the instructions later in the newsletter and get this setup. We will also continue to make use of Caremonkey for our medical and permission form information. In addition to this we are investigating the use of SIMON(our reporting program) to take over the medical side of things, during this transition you may need to double up on filling in some details however it is the best way for us to ensure we have all relevant information to keep your child/ren safe. Staff are also investigating the use of SeeSaw as a reporting/sharing tool so keep an eye out on future newsletters for more information about this.
Caremonkey is an app/database that allows us to quickly access student medical information and contact information, particularly when off the school grounds on excursions. For our new families you will have received an email requesting you create a profile for your child(see the attached information on how) for our existing families please take some time to ensure that all current details are up to date as soon as possible. Caremonkey is only as useful as the most up to date information you have provided. A reminder for families with Asthma or other medical plans to also check the renewal date on these and book into your GP if needed.
One of our fundamental beliefs at St Columba’s is the concept of partners in education. In order to best support this, regular communication is critical. Students have their own personal diary and these can be made use of to share quick pieces of information or notes with their teachers. If you require a further conversation with staff please use the diary to make a time to meet. Teachers are often in meetings before and after school and making a meeting time allows them to manage their time around these. These meetings should be conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect and a focus on the students in our care.
As always I would remind people that St Columba’s School will not tolerate any action that undermines a person’s right to feel safe. Every person at the school has this right and any person who harasses or bullies another is denying them the right to feel safe. Violence or aggression towards staff will not be tolerated. This includes verbal abuse directed at staff or slander. Should you have an issue with a staff member we ask that, where appropriate, you raise this with them first before coming to leadership. Please see our complaints and grievances policy located under the school community section of our website.
Family fees and fee assistance.
Fee Statements will be sent home via the students this week. The account will contain all fees and charges for the year (with the exception of keyboard fees which are charged termly). Existing fee balances from 2017 will carry forward to this year’s fee statement. Families who foresee any difficulty in meeting payments should contact Shaun Mohr to discuss.
Please see below for full details on the Camp, Sport & Excursion Fund scheme for eligible families. Please see Chris in the office for an application form and bring your current Health Care Card along so we can make a copy of it.
We are continuing our practice of encouraging students to take healthy snack breaks throughout the day and we would encourage families to pack a fruit snack that can be eaten in class (nothing too messy). Each community will manage this slightly differently so be sure to check with one our your teachers if you are unsure.
Foundation Numeracy Assessments
Our foundation students are required to attend a Numeracy Assessment session over the coming Wednesdays. Parents will have received this week an email with details of how to book a session. If you have any questions regarding these bookings please speak to the office staff or your child’s teacher.
I would like to take the chance to thank all of you for the welcome and support I have received already as I step into my new role for 2018. The success of this school relies so much on the incredible community we have here and I look forward to working with you all throughout the coming year.
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