MESSAGES FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Thank You for the resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. We want to celebrate Him every day of our lives. In a world that grows increasingly dark, help us hold up His light. Give us the courage to speak as boldly as Mary Magdalene did, and never be ashamed of proclaiming Your Good News. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. (Liz Curtis Higgs)
Welcome back to everyone in the St Ita’s school community. I hope you all had a holy Easter and that you got to have a restful break with family and friends.
There was a really nice buzz around our school as the kids arrived today. It seemed they were keen to reconnect with peers and to me it was like there was a genuine sense of normality as we came back for the second term of school. Let’s hope like the last one we have minimal interruptions related to COVID-19. Please see the Corona Virus updates further in the newsletter.
This term, we are going to do our best to continue building a sense of community in our school by getting parents back involved in a variety of aspects. We will be setting up our Advisory School Board and our Parents and Friends committee, I’m just waiting on some direction from DOSCEL in relation to our Advisory School Board in terms of its role and operation. I’ve outlined below an outline of our Advisory School Board and how it will operate in the future. If there are any changes, I will keep our community up to date.
Last term, I had the opportunity to see firsthand some of the challenge’s students faced as they returned to full term of learning onsite. Adapting back to school and getting into daily routines was a tough ask for a lot of our students. Reconnecting socially, working in teams, building up respectful relationships and sharing of time were some of the challenges our children faced on a day to day basis.
PRACTICAL PREPARATIONS FOR RETURNING TO SCHOOL AFTER COVID-19
Practical preparations can help the return to school go smoothly for your child. And a smooth transition can help your child with any anxious feelings too.
Here are practical things to do:
- Let your child know when they’ll be going back to school and how things will be different. It’s best to stick to the facts and use age-appropriate language. For example, ‘In the playground, you’ll need to stay in the Year 3 area. Your teacher will show you where that is’.
- Get your child back into their school routines. This includes your child’s bedtime routine and morning routines. You could try doing this the week before your child returns.
- Check your child understands COVID-19 precautions like RATs or how to wash hands and wear a mask if necessary.
- If your child has been away from school for a while, check your child’s uniform still fits and that their lunch box, bags and stationery are ready.
- If classroom doors and windows are being kept open for ventilation, check your child’s clothes are appropriate for the weather.
- If your child uses an out of school hours care service, let your child know about any changes to the way the service does things.
- When children are back at school after COVID-19 isolation or lockdown
- Starting back at school can be tiring, especially for younger children. Adjusting to school routines takes time. And schools will probably focus on helping children reconnect with friends and teachers, follow classroom routines, and learn to work in peer groups again. In some situations, this might even be more important than learning activities.
It means your child will probably have some ups and downs. That’s OK. The main thing is for your child to feel positive about being back at school. The rest will come with time and support.
These tips can help when children first go back to school:
- Make sure your child gets plenty of healthy food, physical activity and sleep.
- Make time for doing something special with your child in the afternoon or evening. It could be something like going for a walk after work or a cuddle and book before bed.
- Keep your family routines predictable, and make time for family activities. For example, try to make time for family meals as often as possible, or have family games or movie nights on the weekend.
- If your child is ready and has enough energy, get them back into some of their usual extracurricular activities.
- Try to stop what you’re doing and listen when your child wants to talk about school. Be patient if your child wants to tell you all the details.
- If your child doesn’t want to talk at all, try a conversation starter like, ‘Tell me one good thing and one bad thing about your day’ or ‘I noticed that you seem very sad today. I wonder why that is?’
- Help your child practise self-compassion if they’re feeling tired or finding it hard to adjust. For example, they could say, ‘I’m trying my hardest. It’s OK if I can’t remember how to do that maths problem’.
- If children are struggling with returning to school after COVID-19 isolation or lockdown
Signs that children are struggling include changes in your child’s behaviour and emotions, like:
- sleeping more
- eating less
- seeming less interested in doing things
- withdrawing from you
- not actively participating in conversations
- being more clingy, grumpy or angry than usual
- refusing to go to school.
If you notice these signs or you just feel worried about how your child is coping, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.
As a first step, talk with your child’s teacher. The teacher can let you know whether they’ve noticed anything unusual in your child’s behaviour or emotions at school. They might also have ideas for supporting your child or put you in touch with the school counsellor. You can also talk with your GP as they can help set a mental health plan.
SCHOOL BOARD ADVISORY COMMITTEE
As we slowly get back to normal I’d like to get the wheels in motions to get our school board and our Parents and Friends back up and running.
The School Advisory Committee operates as the principal consultative and advisory body in the school. The School Advisory Committee is advisory to the principal. This body acts as an adviser on strategic planning, support to the principal, school improvement and development, policy and general leadership, the sole purpose ultimately being to serve and work toward the mission and vision of the school
The purposes of the School Advisory Committee are to:
- act as an advisory body to the principal on matters concerning education in the school
- act as a forum for discussion on matters concerning education in the school
- provide a link between the parish priest, principal, teachers and parishioners in relation to the provision of Catholic education in the parish community
- promote community development by fostering a strong inter-relationship between the parish, the primary school and Catholic secondary colleges.
School Advisory Committee Responsibilities
The responsibilities of the School Advisory Committee are to:
- promote the Catholic ethos of the school
- provide feedback on and review of school policies
- plan for the future of the school and its ability to accommodate future enrolments
- provide advice on budget planning and finance-related matters
- contribute to the selection process for the school principal
- provide advice on the appropriate provision of faith development and Religious Education programs
- promote child safety in the school
The School Advisory Committee shall be composed of at least eight (8) members who appreciate, value and share the educational mission and ethos of the Catholic Church. It shall consist of:
- a) the school principal (acts as chair, unless the Principal nominates a chair)
- b) the parish priest/priests (if they wish to be on this committee)
- c) four (4) parents of children attending the school elected by the parents of the school, including a nominee of the parent and friend’s association
- d) up to three (3) parishioner representatives nominated by the parish priest
- e) other persons co-opted by the principal for a period of time to serve a particular need on the School Advisory Committee
All members of the School Advisory Committee must hold a current Working with Children Check or current Victorian Institute of Teaching registration.
The School Advisory Committee should meet at least five times per year and at least once in every two months.
A quorum comprises a majority plus one of School Advisory Committee members at the time of the meeting and members must be present at all times during a meeting.
Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the School Advisory Committee shall be held once a year.
A school annual report is to be presented at the AGM and communicated to DOSCEL.
The chair of the School Advisory Committee is the principal, unless nominated otherwise by the Principal.
School Advisory Committee Executive Committee
The School Advisory Committee shall form an Executive Committee which may comprise:
- a) Principal
- b) chair (if this is not the principal)
- c) deputy chair
- d) parish priest (if on the committee)
- e) non-ex-officio member of the Committee
The School Advisory Executive Committee provides support to the principal and the School Advisory Committee.
If you or someone you know would like to nominate to be a part of the St Ita’s school board we would love to hear from you. Please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org or via admin on 5623 7222.
WHAT A FANTASTIC EASTER RAFFLE
A super effort by all our students and families supporting our end of term Easter Raffle. A big thank you to Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Garner for the time and effort that they put into preparing and wrapping of the hampers. It was very much appreciated by all the staff, students and families of St Ita’s. The money raised will go to our landscaping and planting out the new boarder at the front of the school.
CHURCH CAR PARK ON MASS TIMES TUESDAY AND THURSDAYS
A reminder to parents and teachers to limit parking in the top tier of the Church car park on Tuesdays and Thursdays when Mass is on between 9.30am and 10.30am. Please park on the bottom tier car park on these days.
The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) will take place on line this year between Tuesday 11th May and Friday 21st May 2021.
Students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 participate in the annual NAPLAN tests in reading, writing, conventions of language (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy.
The assessment provides parents and schools with an understanding of how individual students are performing at the time of the tests.
NAPLAN is just one aspect of a school’s assessment and reporting process – it does not replace ongoing assessments made by teachers about student performance.
NAPLAN also provides schools, education authorities and governments with information about how education programs are working and whether young Australians are achieving important educational outcomes in literacy and numeracy.
NAPLAN assesses literacy and numeracy skills that students are learning through their regular school curriculum. All government and non-government education authorities have contributed to the development of NAPLAN materials. Students are assessed on the same literacy and numeracy curriculum content, regardless of whether they complete the tests online or on paper. Results for both formats can be reported on the same NAPLAN assessment scale.
All students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are expected to participate in the annual NAPLAN assessment. Students with disability may qualify for adjustments that reflect the support normally provided for classroom assessments. You should discuss the use of any adjustments for your child with your child’s teacher.
A student with a disability that severely limits their capacity to participate in the assessment, or a student who has recently arrived in Australia and has a non-English speaking background, may be granted a formal exemption. Your school principal and your local test administration authority can give you more information on special provisions or the process required to gain a formal exemption.
If a child is absent, schools may arrange for individual students to complete missed tests at another time during the school’s test schedule but not outside of it.
WATCH FOR SYMPTOMS
- If your child is unwell, even with mild COVID-19 symptoms, you must keep your child at home until their symptoms resolve and get your child tested with a PCR test (nose and throat swab) or complete a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).
- If symptoms continue, your child should stay home and take another RAT or PCR test in 24 hours. If that test is also negative, your child may return to school if another diagnosis is confirmed (such as an underlying health condition or medication).
- All students and their families are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
- Children aged 5 to 11 can now get vaccinated. Parents, guardians and carers are encouraged to book their child in for a vaccination at the first available opportunity.
- RATs will be provided to all staff and students at no charge. Schools will inform parents, guardians and carers on how these kits can be collected from the school.
- Students and staff should take a RAT twice-weekly on the morning before attending school. Test kits will continue to be supplied by schools during this time.
HOUSEHOLD AND HOUSEHOLD-LIKE CONTACTS
- Household and household-like contacts are no longer required to quarantine but are required to undertake the following additional safety measures in the seven (7) days that would have been their quarantine period:
- notify the school if returning during their seven (7)-day period;
- undertake daily rapid antigen testing five (5) times within the seven (7) days;
- wear a face mask indoors (if aged eight (8) and above) unless a lawful exemption applies;
- are not permitted to visit hospitals or care facilities unless an exemption applies.
- Household and household-like contacts are still permitted to participate in school activities, including camps and excursions, as long as they wear a mask when indoors (if aged eight (8) and above or have a valid exception) and complete five (5) rapid antigen tests within the seven (7)-day period that would have been their quarantine period.
- A household or household-like contact attending an off-site activity during this period must notify the school they are attending under these requirements.
- If a student, parent, guardian or carer cannot comply with the additional safety measures at any time, they must:
- quarantine immediately for the remainder of their seven (7)-day household contact period
- get tested on Day one (1) (or as soon as possible) and on Day six (6) of their household contact period
- not attend school until a negative Day six (6) test result is received.
COVID-19 POSITIVE CASES
- If your child has no symptoms and there is a positive COVID-19 case in their household, class, year level or other grouping, your child can continue to attend school in line with Victorian Department of Health advice.
- Staff and students who receive a positive RAT result must register it on the COVID-19 Positive Rapid Antigen Test Self-Reporting Form available on the Coronavirus Victoria website https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/report as soon as possible.
- Staff and students who receive a positive RAT or PCR test result must tell their school as soon as possible, and follow Victorian Department of Health advice.
- Students who test positive to COVID-19 must isolate for seven (7) days and not attend school during that period.
- Students who have recovered from COVID-19, are not required to get tested or isolate if they are re-exposed to a positive COVID-19 case within 12 weeks of ending their isolation period.
- If more than 12 weeks have passed since their isolation period concluded, students must follow the relevant testing and isolation advice depending on the type of contact they are.
- Schools will regularly communicate to parents, guardians and carers about the presence and impact of COVID-19 in their school community. Parents, guardians and carers should expect to be provided with details of any impacted grade, year level or other grouping.
- COVID-19 will continue to be considered in all activity risk assessments. Guidance will be provided to schools on applying appropriate safeguards across a range of activities, including school camps and excursions.
- Parents, guardians and carers will be made aware of the risk of exposure and will need to provide their permission for their child’s participation in extra-curricular, out of school hours or off-site activities.
- Visitors on school sites should be kept to a minimum to support essential school activities or student needs.
- Visitors will be required to comply with COVIDSafe measures, including physical distancing requirements and practise respiratory etiquette and good hand hygiene.
- The use of Service Victoria QR codes for electronic record-keeping is no longer required in school settings.
- Parents, guardians, carers and other adult visitors are no longer required to show evidence of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine if not performing work or volunteering at the school.
VISITORS AND VOLUNTEERS PERFORMING WORK AT A SCHOOL
- Any visitor or volunteer performing work at a school must be fully vaccinated (boosted) (with three (3) doses) with an approved COVID-19 vaccine or have a valid exception to attend on-site for the purpose of working.
- Visitors or volunteers working on school sites include, but are not limited to:
- Parent and Friends Committee members
- School Advisory Committee members
- volunteers performing volunteer work at the school (for example, parent helpers and those participating in a school working bee outside of school time)
- volunteers attending school camps or excursions.
- Schools must collect, record and hold vaccination information for all workers, including visitors or volunteers performing work at a school whether inside or outside.
RE SCHOOL CLOSURE DAY
A reminder to all parents that our whole school Religious Education Planning day is on Friday 10th June. There will be no school for students on this day as all teachers will be in team planning on this day.
On behalf of Warragul RSL, a big thank you to the students and families of St Ita's who purchased Anzac Day badges and merchandise. $650 was raised. The money raised will assist in supporting veterans.
SCHOOL FEES & CONCESSIONS
Term 1 fees were due and payable by 25th February 2022, if you have not finalised payment of Term 1 fees we request that you please tend to this at your earliest convenience. Term 2 fees are due and payable by 29th April 2022.
If any families would like to set up a weekly, fortnightly or monthly direct debit schedule for school fees, please complete the Direct Debit Form below and return to the school office. For any assistance regarding calculations of payments, please contact us via email on: email@example.com
For any families that have recently received a Government means-tested health care concession card, please forward a copy of your card to the office to check your eligibility, as a fee concession may apply. The card must be in the name of the parent/fee payer for a fee concession to apply.
If your current Health Care card is due to expire this year and your card is re-issued, please send a copy of your new card details to the office as soon as possible for the concession to be checked and applied for next year's fees, if not already done so.
We had a fantastic turn out for Monday’s Anzac Day ceremony and I would like to thanks all of the parents for bringing their children and participating in what I think is one of our most important days. It’s a wonderful opportunity to say thanks and value the courageous bravery that has been shown by so many so that we can live in a peaceful, democratic society. The Drouin Secondary School Captains who spoke on the day about what The ANZAC spirit means to them personally did an outstanding job.
Two of our students recently had book reviews published in the Geelong Advertiser, Rex Lockett in Grade 4K and Tilly Kensley in Grade 6B.
Teacher: Mrs Catherine McKenna
Introducing the Library Captains….
Isabella, Jess, Holly & Rylee
The Library Captains experience leadership at St Ita’s and enjoy the responsibility of guiding, assisting and helping others. These students, who are avid readers and love stories, are selected to carry out many roles such as borrowing, sorting, re-shelving, giving book recommendations and implementing their new ideas into the library.
Every Tuesday first half of lunch.
Book Club: Thanks to the families who support our Book Club. Commission assists in purchasing new books for the library. The most recent issue will be delivered soon.
This week’s staff profile is my good self, Mr Andrew Osler. I’ve been at the helm of St Ita’s for the last 12 years and I have to say its been an amazing journey of growth. Not that long ago, we were a small school of approximately 150 students and today we are approaching the 400 mark and growing rapidly. St Ita’s is a great school to work in. We have an amazing bunch of teachers with a wide variety of skills and talents all designed around the wellbeing and welfare of all our students. I love the friendly and respectful culture that exists in our school and this has been greatly supported by our Whole School Approach to Positive Behaviours that exist for everyone in our school students, parents and teachers.
Fishing doesn’t “float my boat” but even so I’ve often heard the expression “gunna drown some worms”, or “drop a line in”. It is a favourite Australian stress buster.
Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection are of course the primary images of the Easter season (and our Christian lives). But have a glance too at this third resurrection appearance in John’s gospel where the disciples seem to have found it all too hard, so they’ve gone fishing (John 21:1-19). No lines or worms here but we can imagine Peter saying to at least half his mates, “Wanna drop a net?”
Over a hundred kilometres north of Jerusalem, the fears, triumphs and intense spiritual experience of the resurrection are far behind them. They probably figure they need a stress buster! A safe, familiar circuit breaker from the disturbing challenges of the Jerusalem experience. How easy it is to slip back into comfortable, familiar ways of thinking and behaving!
But, to mangle a saying, disciples fishing on the Sea of Tiberias are safe, but that’s not what disciples are called to do. This is the juncture in John’s account when the fellowship finally takes off. Peter, it seems, takes charge as vicar and the apostles take his lead because the reading from Acts (Acts 5:27-32, 40-41) tells of the disciples back in Jerusalem obediently and courageously “stirring the possum”, “filling Jerusalem with (their) teaching” about Jesus. The authorities are not happy and the disciples know where that leads. They’d rather be fishing but “obedience to God comes before obedience to men” and “we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him” are witnesses to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. We are called to a share in that mission, in whatever way we witness, even when we’d rather be fishing.
Deacon Mark Kelly