St Clare's Catholic High School
September 22, 2017
Praise God by Your Life
To provide excellence in education:
- through quality teaching and learning
- by providing a safe and creative learning environment
- by challenging students to strive for academic excellence
- by being a place where faith and values are enriched and shared within the Catholic tradition.
As term 3 comes to a rapid close I would like to thank all staff, students and parents for their ongoing support and contribution in making St Clare’s a special learning community. Over the past term as a staff, we have been visioning and planning what learning will look like in 2018.
Inspiring and empowering students to meet the high expectations and standards that are being set by our school is part of our ongoing and steadfast commitment. Consequently, most of our students are not only meeting these expectations, they are exceeding them by raising the bar themselves. This is a testament to the positive learning environment, collaboration and collegiality that is sweeping the school across most areas. As you read the many articles in this newsletter, I hope you get a sense of how we are demonstrating the persistence and pride our students have for their learning and respect for each other and their teachers.
In many ways our school is reflecting and evaluating a range of areas across our school. Our inquiry at the moment is centred around the theme of transformation. This is an important time for us all as we aspire to meet the needs of our young people. As you have often heard me say, our core business is learning and it is to this end we must ensure we are setting all students up for success to be competitive, responsible and global contributors in our local and broader global community.
High Expectations for Each Student
As I have stated before, our expectations in terms of classroom behaviour and application are very high. As a school we have worked hard to provide students with an engaging curriculum that reflects an emphasis on authentic learning.
As such we expect students to actively engage in the learning that is taking place in the classroom. This means they need to have a high level of attendance and not be disruptive, thereby taking away from the learning time of others. We require all students to ensure they are respectful of our school rules and that they are actively engaging in positive relationships with peers and teachers.
We do have high expectations on the small details such as uniform because it gives an impression and an understanding that high expectations extend to other areas of the school. Attendance and punctuality still remain as constant challenges as our attendance level resides at 68%. It is critical that all students are attending school regularly. Thank you for your support and cooperation as we strive to improve this level of poor attendance. We aspire to have over a level of attendance over 90% as we embark on term 4.
Enrolments for 2018
At this stage of the year we are welcoming new families and students who will be joining us in Year 7 in 2018. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to meet and listen to the aspirations of both students and parents when conducting enrolment interviews for prospective students joining our community. Should you know any families still seeking a position for their son or daughter please advise them that we have positions available in Years 7-10 for 2018.
Parent Forum - Term 4
Our next Parent Forum will be held on Monday 6th November. The forum will commence at 7pm and conclude at 8.30pm. Tea and coffee and some light snacks will be provided. The focus of this forum will be on ‘Directions for 2018’. Some of the core areas we will focus on include;
Student learning and learning walks
Pastoral care and student wellbeing
Planning of workshops for parents in 2018 (numeracy, literacy etc)
If you are able to attend, could I invite you to email me via firstname.lastname@example.org so that numbers can be determined. It would be great if we had 5-10 parents per year group represented.
Assistant Principal's Report - Mr Hulme
Students return - Monday 9th October (Day 1 on timetable),
and by then we will also be in Eastern Standard Daylight Saving Time.
Student Equipment / Stationary
Over the last few weeks, many students have used all their equipment for use in the classroom. Could I ask all parents/carers to check that their child’s books have pages available. A significant number of students are arriving to school without writing equipment/stationary. Could I ask that this be a focus for all parents these holidays so students return with all the necessary writing and study equipment.
With two weeks of student vacation ahead of us, we must remind students of the clear expectations we have here at St Clare’s Catholic High School in regard to grooming. Students are reminded of the haircut policy we have in relation to the appropriate College Standard and consequences for inappropriate hair as indicated in the College Diary. All students are asked to check the requirements in the diary before getting their hair altered. This will save an embarrassing phone call on the first day back next term.
Term 4 - Summer Uniform
Students are also reminded in regard to our commitment to high standards with wearing uniforms in a neat and tidy fashion:
- Boys should have their shirts tucked into pants when entering and leaving the College and during class time. Boys should be clean shaven.
- Girls should have their skirts to knee height, no nail polish, and no false finger nails or makeup.
-Boys are not allowed to wear any earrings
- Piercing spacers/keepers (boys & girls) are not part of our uniform.
Travel to and from school
It is the expectation of the school, that all student travel directly home at the end of a school day. Students should not be loitering at the Plaza.
Recently we have had community concerns regarding some of our students riding bikes, skateboards and scooters through the Plaza carpark whilst in school uniform.
The holiday is a perfect time to check your child’s device. Do you know all the passwords so you can check all the files.
Please remove/delete unwanted games and files which could affect the performance of the educational tool.
This term the style of shoes worn by the students has been a concern. Before last school holidays I reminded all parents/carers of the correct shoes to assist with WHS requirements. I hope the following assists. Please discuss this with students who are wearing incorrect shoes.
Students who do not have the correct shoes will not be permitted into areas of the school that require extra safety eg workshops, kitchens and science labs.
Leader of Wellbeing & Learning - Mrs Nielsen
All students were issued with a new student planner at the start of this term. It is encouraging to see so many students writing in their homework and reminders. Parents and carers are encouraged to check their child’s planner at least once a week. Some things to look for:
- Merits- students receive merits for a range of reasons both in and out of the classroom. This is a great opportunity to discuss with your child the fantastic behaviour and/or work they have displayed in that week
- Bag duties and/or lunch detentions- students will be issued a consequence for not being organised for class, not completing work or unacceptable behaviour. Please take the time to discuss these notes as an opportunity to change behaviour
There is a space for you to sign to acknowledge that you have viewed the diary and also a section to write notes to teachers as required.
A message from the REC - Miss Cassar
Australian Catholic Youth Festival
Momentum is Building!
The ACYF journey has well and truly begun and our students are very excited as they prepare for this event which will be happening this December. The students have had one in-school Formation session led by our RE teachers and one Deanery Formation session which was led by the Diocese held at Patrician Brothers’ College, Blacktown. We have been fortunate to meet so many young people across the diocese who are also pumped for the journey ahead and we have been inspired by many different young adult leaders leading music, drama, dance and sharing their testimony.
Our next event is ‘LIFTED Live’ in the Forecourt at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta. We encourage everyone in our school community to come along and join in the celebration of our faith, diversity and creativity with Bishop Vincent and young people of our Diocese. There will be bands, artists, stalls, food and amusements to showcase the young heart of the Church. I am very much looking forward to celebrating with our students and teachers!
- Miss Stephanie Cassar
ACYF Update from Clare Wilkes (Yr 9 Students)
Year 9 students have been given the opportunity to participate in the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, or ACYF being held in Sydney during December. We’ve heard this event is going to be huge and we need to prepare our hearts so we can have the best experience possible. Over the last few weeks, we have participated in preparation days giving us a taste of the festival to come. Participants gathered in the SDC (San Damiano Center) for the first formation and were given further information about the festival. There will be performances, talks, activities, mass, and at the end a mini pilgrimage. I am looking forward to participating in social activities and seeing Mat Marr perform. I am also excited for the pilgrimage at the end when we take a very scenic walk over Harbour Bridge. This will give me time to reflect on my experience at the ACYF. For the second half of the formation we played socializing games, which I enjoyed very much. I talked to students and teachers that I wouldn't usually, and I built teamwork skills.
The second formation for the ACYF was held at Patrician Brothers College, and all the participants from the Central Parramatta diocese attended. There was a live band, we watched some videos, danced, played some games and heard some talks and testimonies. Personally, one of my favorite parts was when Mr Ahern, one of my teachers at St Clare, spoke in front of everyone about his experience at the 2016 World Youth Day. He talked about how he saw Jesus through others in a time of hardship. This really inspired me to try and see the face of Jesus in others at the ACYF. These experiences have been great and I’m looking forward to continuing my spiritual journey of faith as we reach the Australian Catholic Youth Festival. - Clare Wilkes
ALPHA Program at Good Shepherd ParishGood Shepherd Parish ALPHA program has begun:
Monday 18th Sept at 9.30am. Have you ever wondered is there more to life than this? Does God still heal people today? What is forgiveness all about, who is Jesus????
Each week a short DVD presentation is given followed by discussion and food! It's a great way to get the basics of Christian faith. Register at the parish to take part.
A message from the Counsellor - Ms Forwood
ProACTive Anxiety Group
Thank you to all the students and parents who have participated or are currently participating in our ProACTive program. Your contributions are helping to inform research run by the Westmead Children’s Hospital into the program based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Our current group concludes in Week 2 of Term 4.
The program is all about learning to accept that we will encounter difficult thoughts, feelings and sensations at times, but that we don’t have to let those thoughts, feelings or sensations take control of our day. We have the power to control what we want to think and feel, but it’s not always easy. These are some of the ways we have been discussing managing our difficult thoughts, feelings and sensations in ProACTive:
● Use mindfulness-based activities to clear the mind and practice redirecting focus to the present moment, that is, using our senses to notice what is happening around us. One simple way we can do this by focusing on our breath, be that through counting our breath, or simply noticing the chest or belly rising and falling as we breathe. Another popular activity involves holding an object (can be food), and noticing it as though we are looking at it for the first time using our sense of sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste (if applicable). Doing activities such as these helps our minds to calm and redirect our attention to one thing, the present, as opposed to the past or the future.
● Realising that thoughts are just thoughts. This may sound like an odd concept, but if we look at thoughts in a different way, we can gain some control over how we interpret them. For example, we can break thoughts down into the sounds, letters, and words that make them up, rather than attaching a meaning to it. Words like “loser” and “stupid” automatically have a meaning attached to them, but if we scramble them, or separate them into sounds and letters, they suddenly lose their meaning and therefore, lose the effect they have on our emotions.
● There are some great metaphors we can use to create distance from our thoughts. For example, we can imagine leaves floating down a stream, and placing our thoughts, feelings and emotions onto each passing leaf. You could think of a train passing by, or cars driving along the road. You can picture the waves at the beach pulling the thoughts away as they leave the shore. These techniques help us to see that thoughts are not embedded or “stuck” with us - they can be noticed from a distance. We often use the phrase “I am noticing …” or “I am having the thought that…” to help create this distance.
If you are interested in learning more about this program, or have any other questions, please contact Lauren Luthra through the school office.
Business Manager - Mr Wakeling
Unwanted / Surplus uniform
Any families with graduating students or where students have outgrown uniform items are invited to donate them to the school. While the school does not run an official clothing pool these items are used in emergencies or to assist families in financial difficulty. Please bring such items to the school office. Thank you.
Thank you to those parents / carers who have finalised payment of their school fees, or are completing payment plan arrangements. Please note that unless you have made formal payment arrangements with the school’s Finance Office, any school fees unpaid at this point in time are now overdue.
If you are not yet on such a plan, and would like to discuss this option, please contact the school’s Finance Office during school term dates on 9830 2400 (select option 2).
The school’s Finance Office is open during term weeks from 8.30am - 4.30pm.
Families who are experiencing financial hardship which makes it difficult to meet the financial commitment of your child’s education, can have their circumstances assessed for assistance with fees, over and above that of a payment plan. This will require that families provide certain income, expense and liability documentation to substantiate that they meet the requirements of Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta school fee management policy. Once the documentation is submitted, the Business Manager will assess and may require an interview with families.
Assessments are made for one year only and MUST be reviewed each year. These matters will be treated sensitively and with absolute confidentiality, and will not affect your child’s education.
Notice Required to withdraw a student or 10 Weeks fees in lieu of notice.Please note that section 5.7 of the Catholic Education Office Parramatta Diocese School Fees Management Policy, requires that when withdrawing your child from the school, one term's notice (10 school weeks) in writing must be given to the Principal. If no notice is given (or less than 10 weeks notice), then an additional 10 weeks fees will be payable. Under this policy only the Manager of the School Fees Liaison Unit, Catholic Education Parramatta has the discretion to vary this policy.
Leader of Learning Mathematics - Mrs Duffy
Just a reminder that every student at St Clare’s has access to either a MathsOnline account or a Hotmaths account.
These online programs deliver mathematics lessons when students need to catch up with any mathematical concepts or when struggling with a new concept or when there is a need to revise for upcoming assessments.
Both programs include interactive questions or optional printable worksheets, which test the understanding of key concepts.
Please encourage your son / daughter to use these programs on a regular basis.
Each student should have a login and a password. If this information has been misplaced please ask your child’s Mathematics teacher for details.
Leader of Learning HSIE - Mr Ahern
Term 3 in HSIE
Congratulations to all students who have worked hard in HSIE throughout term 3. We have had a very busy term as a faculty, with students participating in the Year 8 excursion, Year 9 Market Day and the Year 10 Law Courts excursion. As the term comes to a close we would like to acknowledge all the students who participated in these days and represented the school in a high manner.
Beginning next term, students will again have many opportunities within HSIE and I encourage all students to come back refreshed from the holidays, to participate in all the learning opportunities HSIE has to offer in term 4.
Leader of Learning PDHPE - Mrs Watton
Year 10 have been busy during term 3 in PDHPE. In August we attended the Bstreetsmart excursion in Homebush. This is a program designed to raise awareness of safe driving for teenagers. It was an interacting day, with speakers from the NSW Government, Doctors who work in the trauma ward, families who have lost loved ones on our roads and crash survivors themselves. There was a reenactment of a crash scene in which students were able to discover the contributing factors to the accident and think about possible preventative strategies. The day was a great learning opportunity for all students who attended.
Year 10 PASS students have been studying the unit of work “Coaching”. For the final assessment, they were required to design a one hour coaching lesson on the sport of their choice. The lesson had to include a warm-up, skill development and a modified game. The work that the students produced was creative and authentic. Once they completed their planning they then had the opportunity to teach the lesson to Year 7 students. All Year 7 students were really engaged and really enjoyed the day. Some students saying the Year 10s “are awesome”. It was a great day and again another authentic learning experience for both Year 10 PASS students and Year 7.
A few reminders for term 4:
● Students are not permitted to wear their PDHPE uniform to school if they have a practical lesson. Students are required to pack their sports uniform and to get changed in the change rooms during the allocated time.
● Students are reminded to take their diaries home each and every day so they know when they have a practical lesson and bring their full sports uniform.
● Canvas shoes are not permitted in PDHPE or sport.
● The weather is warming up and students are reminded to bring a water bottle and a hat for practical lessons next term.
● Students should not be taking valuables into the change rooms. All valuables need to be locked in their lockers during a practical lesson.
Leader of Learning CAPA - Mr Smolen
Congratulations to the Year 10 Elective Music students for the quality standard they produced for their performance assessment this week and full credit to their teachers Mr Brain, Mrs Benjamin and Ms Cassar for fostering their talent. Stage 4 Music have been working on placing music to film trailers with some very interesting results.
Well done to our Dance students particularly for their competitiveness in the PDSSSC Dance competition. The Contemporary dance group worked especially hard on their technique performance. Our soloists were also highly commended for the energy and spark they gave to their performance which made them a standout. I would like to give particular mention to Elijah Lauvao for his high impact performance and Tylah Sta-Ana for the elegance she brought to her performance. The Hip Hop team were tremendous against the great talent of their competitors and they ranked 3rd. Our Cultural teams exhibited individual heritage styles with one cultural group placing 1st. This is an outstanding achievement from our students under the direction and expertise of our dedicated and passionate dance teacher Mrs Naylor.
Our Mandatory Art students have submitted their wire sculptures inspired by insects and nature, demonstrating a wide range of creative ideas.
Year 9 Photography have just finished a unit on ‘Still life’ Photography with great results, their images could easily be used in a commercial publication.
All student work will be on display at our Annual Showcase next term. Parents and caregivers will also have an opportunity to witness our talented students perform at our Annual Showcase. I will be publishing details regarding this special event in the next newsletter.
Thank you for your ongoing support with the Creative and Performing Arts.Jason Smolen
Sport / PDSSSC Coordinator - Mr Geribo
Over the last few weeks our students have participated and represented the St Clare’s community at gala days in both Basketball and Oztag. A big congratulations to our Junior Boys Basketball team who made the Grand Final on Monday of Week 8. Unfortunately, the boys suffered a narrow loss to St Andrew’s but still progressed through to the CCC Gala Day, which will take place in October
Congratulations is also in order for the Intermediate Boys Oztag team, who came second at their event last Monday. The boys came runners up to Gilroy Catholic College and are also facing some stiff competition during Thursday sport.
The efforts and commitment of our staff should also be mentioned as it is not only appreciated but essential in the running of these days. A huge THANK YOU to Mr Luke Eisenhuth, Mrs Amanda Watton, Mr Nick Collimore and Mrs Toni Lee who attended these events, passing on their knowledge, expertise and at times much needed encouragement.
Boys Basketball Gala Day
- Vitoryna Vaifale, 10.2
On the 4th of September, I was privileged to attend the boys Basketball Gala Day and was given the chance to score at each game. Throughout the day, all the students were very encouraging and gave constructive criticism to better their game. The strong bond that the Inters and Juniors had with each other was one of the reasons why they smashed each game. The Juniors were successful to make the Grand Finals but lost by 3 points to St Andrews College, placing them 2nd. The Inter boys came 7th overall and smashed out their playoff game against Delaney Catholic College. Personally, this was a great experience for me to learn about other people's strength, abilities and also their weaknesses. I also got the chance to watch my brothers play and to cheer them on from the sideline. I am delighted to say that the variety of talent that is found within our school is the reason why our school spirit is so alive.
NSWCCC Athletics Championships
On Friday 15th September, Jessie Wilson and Elijah Lauvao attended the NSWCCC Athletics Championships in Homebush. Jessie came 4th in the 15 years Boys High Jump, while Elijah came 4th in the 13 years Boys Shot Put and participated in High Jump as well. Both of these young men should truly be commended and congratulated on their efforts, so congratulations boys!
Staff vs Student CompetitionOn Wednesday 20th September, the students took on the staff in the 4th round of the Staff vs Students Competition. Going into this game of Volleyball the staff led the series 2-1, following previous games in Soccer, Netball and Touch Football. Unfortunately, the students were victorious in the lunchtime game, beating the teachers 25-20 to level the overall scoreline at 2-2. The competition will be extended into term 4 to determine the winner.
SDC (Library) - Mrs Wood
What’s been happening in the SDC ?
The Library space, has been very busy every recess and lunchtime this term. Students find the library a safe and welcoming place to meet their friends, read a book, play computer games or even do some school work.
In the past month we’ve had a growing group of students enjoying the challenge of learning to play and playing chess each day. With the numbers growing daily, I have been making plans to run a Lunchtime Chess Competition during term 4. Details for sign-up and play will be shared with students through daily notices early next term.
NEW e-Library Interface
In the next few weeks St Clare’s Library Catalogue will be having an update. This is very exciting news for the staff and students of our school, as the new interface will be easier to use and give access 24/7 to not only our books, but also all the Electronic Resources (including databases, videos, ebooks ) made available by the Parramatta Diocese to all schools.
Watch this space for more news in the weeks to come, as we roll out this service that will change the way we all research.
Mrs Heather Wood
Leader of Year 7 - Mrs Watton
It has been a great term for Year 7, everyone is well and truly settled into the busy daily school life. Students have had some great learning opportunities and experiences in all of their subjects. This is evident from all the Merit Awards I have been writing daily. All students are encouraged to keep up the good work. I would like to congratulate all students on their efforts and achievements so far this year. Congratulations to the following students for achieving one or more Principal Awards so far:
Patrick Matthew Conde
Maria-Fay Su Blakelock
Rona Vaiouga Levi
Victoria Ioane Alefosio
Next term it is back to summer uniform for all students. If you require any garment of the school uniform please ensure you purchase these from the Uniform Shop before school returns.
Year 7 have a big excursion coming up in term 4 - Swim School. Students will be at Emerton Pools on 4th, 5th and 6th of December to learn how to swim as well as how to survive in tricky water situations. Students will also learn to how to preserve the life of others in danger near or in the water. This is apart of the Stage 4 PDHPE syllabus and all students are expected to attend. More information to follow closer to the date.
I wish everyone a safe and restful holiday.
Leader of Year 8 - Ms Calleja
By Alyna Arago and Elkah Pillay (8.3)
Year 8 has been a roller coaster for many of us. From fun excursions to stressful assessments.
Throughout term 3, Year 8 has participated in many events held at our school. As we celebrated Clare Day, a number of Year 8 students showcased their wonderful talents. In addition, there were spectacular stalls held by each Learning Group which were all successful (8.3 was the best one). The Athletics Carnival was another big occasion held this term. With all the Track and Field events, it was a fun day but also tiring. We also acknowledge the large number of Year 8 students who represented our school in the next stage, as well as in other PDSSSC sports. Behind all those fun, amazing events were our electives. As we are moving on to Year 9 next year, we all had to nominate two electives to study for the next two years. On the Information Evening, many students accompanied by their parents, came to listen about how it was going to operate to gain a better understanding of which electives to select.
Currently in Geography, Year 8 is studying the topic ‘Water in our World’ which is why we travelled to Warragamba Dam and Penrith Lakes in preparation for our Geography assessment task. On the day, we were educated about the many ways in which water is being managed and also enjoyed spending time with our fellow peers.
Leader of Year 9 - Mrs McArdle
As we near the final stages of Year 9, students start their journey into being leaders of our school. Across the 2017 Academic year so far, Year 9 students have been challenging themselves to earn a Principal’s Award in order to be eligible for a Leadership position in 2018.
Beginning early next term, students will have the opportunity to nominate their peers / themselves for the Leadership positions and then progress through the selection process, before being offered a Leadership position by Mr Morris.
I speak on behalf of the St Clare’s community when I say that we are looking forward to Year 9 becoming the leaders of our school and we are all excited to see their positive impact across a variety of aspects of our school community.
Leader of Year 10
Term 3 is almost at an end and Year 10’s departure from St Clare’s Catholic High School is coming near. To say that Year 10 have a lot on their plate is an understatement, especially with what is to come. We have just completed our final exams for the year. However, Year 10 do not plan on leaving without a legacy and here is what year 10 have achieved so far:
During August we were lucky enough to have our Clare Day. A day where multiple older students were able to come out of their shell and showcase their talent before graduation. Michael Balatbat being one of those students who left us “Feeling Good” with his Michael Buble cover and dance.
Another successful event that has occurred within this term is the Superhero-Themed Disco. A time where everyone from the school was finally able to come and party with one another and enjoy the experience. Creating those bonds and encouraging the younger year groups to participate are small things Year 10 try to do to make the experience for the younger years groups memorable.
Another instance of leadership and school spirit was the Athletics Carnival. The House Captains led by example in participating in all athletic pursuits, as well as motivating and inspiring their teams in cheers for everyone participating.
These are just a few things Year 10 have achieved within this term and there is more to look forward to in term 4.
Marvin Urbano - School Captain