Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends,
Welcome to week 4 of an already very busy Term 1. This week we celebrated the commencement of the year and welcomed new students and staff with a wonderful celebration of the Eucharist with Father Peter Lamont from St Mary’s at Rydalmere. We were blessed to have our old boys from St Patrick’s in Harrington Street join us.
Each year at this time, I like to share with students some of our priorities and plans, and I share this with you today.
"Good Morning, what a wonderful way to start our school year
I thank everyone involved in this morning’s mass, Mr Paton for his organisation, Father Peter for celebrating mass and help and for his ongoing support through the year, our Alter Servers, Year 12 leaders, Mrs Lyons and the Tech Crew, Ms Andrews, Mrs Voronov, the choir and band for the beautiful music.
This morning we come together in community as we have for 146 years before us, to celebrate the start of a new year and to formally welcome our Year 7 students to this very special place. The world is a vastly different place than 1872, but fundamentally the core of who we are and strive to be and achieve remains unchanged.
2019 is the 147th iteration of St Patrick's Marist and yes we are commencing a new year, but really we are simply commencing the next chapter in the story of St Patrick’s Marist College, what has been and continues to be an outstanding and welcoming community.
I Know that we will continue to do our tradition proud, together, to live our our rich heritage. We keep the spirit and heart of what it means to be Marist alive. To act with strong minds and gentle hearts, in the way of Mary, to model Mary our good mother.
We Celebrate today with the Eucharist, the source of our Christian life,
It invites us to give thanks for who we are in the sight of a gracious and tender god. A god who loves us and saves us. We are a community of faith and hope with Christ at the centre of all our endeavours.
Every day you walk past our symbols and core values “Presence, simplicity, family spirit, love of work, in the way of Mary”.
This is what we aspire to live out and you will always be held accountable to these. They are not just words on a board, to be discussed at whole school gatherings. I invite you to be truly Marist and to be enormously proud to do so.
This year we continue to build our focus and learning on positive education to ensure the language of our learning and the language of our being reflect that.
There are 6 words that underpin and are driving our agenda and priorities in 2019 and beyond. “Connect, Empower, Grow through developing Clarity , Challenge and Culture”.
Clarity is essential in every part of school life and for every person. It is key to ensuring that all students in our school are successful, confident, assessment capable learners.
It is through providing clear learning intentions, what you need to know, what you need to understand – concepts, connections and what you will be able to do – how do you apply your knowledge, skills and understanding. Through success criteria, that covers surface, deep and transfer learning, that tells you where you need to go, what success will look like.
Knowing your success criteria and getting feedback as you go allows you know where you are and what you need to do to achieve the outcomes
The SRC will be working with the College to develop clarity with our college expectations that align with our wellbeing framework ensuring respect for self, for others and for our environment both in and out of the learning spaces.
We will challenge you, you can’t learn deeply unless you are challenged, stretched to think critically and creatively. We need you to develop the skills of being innovative problem solvers this is not just a school skill, this is a life and work skill. We will challenge you to be the best version of yourself.
We work together to continue to build a positive education culture: Building a culture of professionalism, that includes students
- A culture of confidence
- A culture of inclusion and acceptance
- A culture of service
- A culture of clear and high expectations for all in every aspect of college life
- A culture that focuses on growth as well as achievement
- A culture of feedback to improve learning and positive behaviours
- A culture of collaboration
We want to ensure wellbeing is flourishing as a part of our daily life here at the College.
We want you be to connected – a sense of belonging enables us all to thrive, the human mind is social, which is to say it is designed to work together with others. The human brain is designed to connect with others, therefore relationships are powerful and important, they matter. Emotions are the gatekeeper to learning. How we feel and how we think are deeply connected. And our relationships with our peers and teachers play a key role in these emotions. We each play a key role in creating a positive environment for others. Let’s work on building strong positive connections with everyone.
We want you to feel empowered – through compassion, through mutual respect through valuing diversity and by encouraging success. One key focus for 2019 is improving student voice. In 2019 we will be reviewing and updating our SRC to play a more active and more useful, authentic role in the College, working with students we aim to expand our leadership to include Junior school leaders in Year 9. These leaders will work with our year 12 leaders to better develop with students the processes and practices of our SRC, to create greater representation and voice.
Student voice plays a vital role inside the learning space as well. Teachers value feedback that assists in ensuring that the learning in the learning space is meeting the needs of learners. Many teachers already ask for their learners for regular feedback about their practice, how they teach and work with you.
As we work to develop student voice to help you feel more empowered, I encourage you to give respectful feedback if asked. Don’t just say good, you may say I really like how you are clear about the success criteria, or I liked the way you explained…, this activity really helped me to understand… I liked the way you challenged me to… Or this is very challenging for me, I need more surface learning or some additional help to understand. Answering OK, is the same as a teacher telling you something is good or needs improvement, this is unhelpful unless they describe to you what that means, It is good because…, it needs improvement in these areas, in these ways.
One of the most important aspects of student voice, is the voice of young people in raising concerns, whether it is about yourself, a friend or peer. You need to know that you will be heard. This takes courage, but can ultimately have a significant impact or our own or the wellbeing of others.
Ultimately we want you to grow, to flourish, to be happy, successful, self aware young people who are inspired by the gospel to be disciples of Jesus in everything that you do.
I am looking forward to a fantastic 2019 and walking the journey along side each of you.
May God bless each member of our community as we begin this new year."
Over the last few weeks the Staff Marist Association has commenced “Breakfast Club” on Thursday mornings from 8am. The turn out has been overwhelming and it has been great to see students from all years coming together. I thank Mrs Ledesma for her leadership and the many staff who are actively participating and contributing.
This Saturday we have our first working bee for the year. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet other members of the community and help improve our environment for students. If you haven’t responded to the call you are welcome to come along between 8.00am to 12.00 Noon.
In the coming weeks we have our Year 7 parents evening, followed by our first P&F meeting for the year on the 27th of February and our fabulous P&F Cocktail Party on the 15th March.
Open Day is fast approaching on the 4th March, we have already had many enrolment applications for 2020, enrolments close at the end of Term 1. Can you please remind family, neighbours and friends of this date.
Mrs Angela Hay