St Clare's Catholic High School

Hassall Grove

2 July, 2018

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.

A Prayer in preparation for NAIDOC Week 2018

NAIDOC Week is July 8 to 15, 2018

Prayer God of our past, present, and future, You have been present to this continent from the moment of creation.

You witnessed Uluru push up through the earth, the first crashing of waves on sandy beaches, the rise and decline of megafauna and the amazingly diverse creatures that succeeded them.

You gave life to the Indigenous nations that belonged to this land since time immemorial and grieved their displacement and the decimation of their cultures after European colonisation.

You have been present as cities emerged, populations grew, wars were fought and a modern nation built.

With tender heart you watched each of us breathe our first breath, and have followed us all the days of our lives. Throughout all this history you have witnessed the good and the bad, the joyous and the painful, the honourable and the shameful.

God of our past, grant us the ability to face up to the shameful and painful parts of our history as readily as we celebrate the honourable and the joyful.

God of our present, grant us the compassion to hear the cries of those who continue to be wounded, the courage to repent, the willingness to learn and change.

God of our future, grant us the courage to do what is necessary now to safeguard the future of our environment, the courage to do what is necessary now to bring healing and reconciliation between Australia’s first nations and its newer arrivals, and the desire to celebrate now the history, culture and achievements of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters.

*This prayer has been adapted from an A Just Cause Prayer Tool,

Principal's Message - Mr Morris

Farewell to the St Clare's community

Last Thursday, I announced to the staff and students I would be finishing up as Principal of this great school at the end of this term. I made the decision to move back to the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Head office, to take on a leadership position as Manager, Student Services. I see this as a new and exciting opportunity to continue to support students, families and school leaders to continue to provide quality Catholic education for students with additional needs to access and participate in schooling. My three years at St Clare's has enabled me to experience first hand the privileges associated with being the Principal of such a vibrant and diverse community.

My decision and discernment to take this next step in my working life was not an easy one. However, with the support of my family and our School Director, Performance, Ms Christine Howe and Mr Greg Whitby, Executive Director, my decision was very much supported and respected by system colleagues and the School Leadership team and staff.

I also acknowledge our Parish Priest Fr Vincey for supporting my decision as well. I know that you will provide ongoing support to the Relieving Principal, Mrs Cheryl Merryweather who will commence on at the beginning of term 3.

I would like to thank the many parents who have written to me since the announcement providing me with their vote of thanks and appreciation for my commitment to the students and community at St Clare's. I have always been committed and strived to promote the dignity of each student who attends our school. I know that my three years here at St Clare's has taught me a few things, I would like to share my learnings and takeaways with the students to set them up for success into the future.

1. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. Sometimes, we have to name the things that impact on the daily life of students, teachers and families. Even though school is primarily a place for learning, it also needs to be a safe place for each student. I urge all students to remember that you need to have pride in yourself and model the 4P's in everything you do. Remember to be a peacemaker, demonstrate your passion for learning in and outside the school, be persistent and take new risks to improve your learner confidence and lastly, be the best you can be.

2. Know that you can be anything you want to be. I once heard a student say, we cannot do that because we are from Mt Druitt - our postcode defines our future. After I gasped, I then directly responded - you can achieve whatever you want in life. I often have instilled in the students, each student CAN and WILL learn given the right support. I stand by this mantra and know that each student at St Clare's can and will be a valued member of the community in their chosen field or aspirations. Believe in yourself always and never give up.

3. Immerse yourself in all opportunities school has to offer you now and into the future. As our school transforms, students (and teachers) will be afforded many opportunities to put St Clare's on the map as the greatest school in the greater Mt Druitt region. The planning for expanding our school has commenced and I will keep you and the community in my thoughts and prayers as the new learning spaces take shape and the site emerges as a contemporary learning precinct highlighting the cultural strengths of this exceptional community of learners. I urge you to build a strong relationship with each other and with your teachers. The staff of St Clare's are a committed team who foster a love of learning and an ethic of care for you - the students. Remember, your parents and broader community want to see young men and women who can give back to the community; as you have been given the gift of a Catholic education founded on love, compassion and respect.

Thank you to you, the parents, for instilling this expectation of commitment and persistence each day in your child's life as they entered the school gates. The modelling that you offered your child has enabled myself and the whole staff to engage with students who are nurtured, faith and hope filled and resilient to the many challenges and experiences that each day brings.

God Bless to you and the whole community in bringing this aspiration to life in the coming years.

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Supported School Transport and the NDIS - Workshops Announced

The Australian Government has released a discussion paper about ‘Supported School Transport and the National Disability Insurance Scheme’ on their website

As the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolled out across Australia, this paper asks for your feedback on how supported school transport could work under the NDIS.

This is your opportunity to have your say via a submission on how you would like to see supported school transport operate in our State. The consultation period will end on 20 July at 5:00pm.

There will be some face-to-face consultations held throughout the state, full details will be updated on their website when they are available.

For any further information about the discussion paper or submission you can email

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Assistant Principal, Teaching & Learning - Mr Hulme

Important Dates:

Student / Parent / Teacher Interviews: Tuesday 3rd July: 3 - 8pm

Athletics Carnival: Friday 6th July

Term 2 Concludes: Friday 6th July

Term 3 Begins: Monday 23rd July (Monday Week B on timetable)

Clare Day: Friday 10th August

Student / Parent / Teacher interviews

A reminder to parents and students the term will conclude this week and our Year 7 – 10 Semester One Student / Parent / Teacher interview will be held on Tuesday 3rd July.

We are anticipating distributing reports on Monday afternoon. In the event that delays are experienced similar to the onsite technology issue last week (no internet/network communications across the school) we will inform parents.

We look forward to welcoming all parents and students to these highly valuable learning discussions. Interviews will run from 3:00pm until 8:00pm. It is the expectation of the school that students attend these interviews with their parent[s] in full winter school uniform.

Please bring the student report to the interviews.

A reminder to parents that each scheduled interview is for 5 minutes and that if there were a need for further discussion at another occasion, that can be arranged, and in doing so will ensure a timelier flow of interviews.

We look forward to having open three-way conversations centred on learning at these interviews and refocussing efforts for the remainder of the year.

Academic Reports:

The Student Academic Reports will look a little different to previous years due to our school being a pilot for a new school management system. Whilst we have been extremely impressed with the accuracy of the data, we apologise in advance if there are some data errors on the reports. Please notify school office if you feel there has been an error, or if you would like us to look into a correction or reprint. We thank all parents and students in advance for your support with the implementation of this new system.

Over the coming terms we anticipate rolling this system out to students and parents providing timely access to marks, grades, attendance data and student celebration for good deeds and actions.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones are increasingly becoming a fundamental component of everyday life. It is at the stage where many people could not imagine even a single day without their phone.

Problematic Mobile Phone Use (PMPU) has increased as phones have transitioned from being communication between two people, to our smartphones which provide a range of online activities accessing the internet.

PMPU is sometimes called “mobile phone addiction” or “smartphone addiction”.

It has the potential to become one of the biggest behavioural addiction challenges of the modern era.

The impact upon a user’s mental health is similar to other substance addictions. Adverse symptoms from overuse include, sleep disturbances, withdrawal, decreased real life social interactions, aggression, lower academic performance and negative impact on relationships.

Here are some interesting statistics around Australians and their mobile phone habits:

91% of 14 -17 year olds, own a mobile phone

85% of adolescents exceed two hours screen use per day

45% say they cannot live without their mobile phones

42% of online time is via a mobile phone

42% report using the phone whilst driving (aged 18 and over)

On average Australians access their phone 30 times per day, which equates to 2.5 hours per day.

At St Clare’s, smartphones may be used to listen to music outside of school time or as instructed by teachers. However, no device is to be used for photographing and sound or visual recording at school without teacher permission.

Speakers are not allowed to be used at school and must be left at home.

Students may use their phone during recess and lunch for essential communication. For example, contacting parents, work or confirming medical appointments. As a matter of courtesy, please ask a teacher prior to using your phone.

Recess and lunch is an opportunity to build friendships and relationships with your peers and teachers, a time to eat, and for some to take part in physical activities. It is not a time to spend on your phone.

Phones are not be used for communicating on snapchat or other social media sites during school hours. Students are not to use or have earphones protruding from their clothing during school hours.

Thank you to all parents, carers and students, for your support and cooperation.

Student Devices - laptops

The school holiday time is an ideal opportunity for parents/carers to inspect personally owned devices. The expectation of the school is that every students brings a full charged laptop to school for educational purposes. We would usually suggest that only 2 games are installed on the device.

Could we ask parents/carers to please clean up devices to minimise distractions in the classroom.

If parents were updating/replacing devices, we remind parents that only laptops should be purchased. iPads are no longer a suggested device at St Clare's due to the distraction in the classroom due to installed Apps and social media.

Leader of Wellbeing & Learning - Ms Nielsen

Year Group Picnics

In Week 9, all Year Groups had a picnic event in Passive Area. Students were encouraged to attend their Year Group picnic to share lunch, play some games and spend some time with their peers. The days of the picnics were as follows:

Monday- Year 10

Tuesday- Year 9

Wednesday- Year 7

Friday- Year 8

Time for Toast Program

Last week, we launched our Time for Toast program. Each morning, all students are invited to join us for toast in the Amphitheatre from 7:45 am to 8:10 am. The aim of this program is to ensure all students start the day with breakfast. We hope to see all students joining us for breakfast. We are hoping to expand our breakfast selection as time goes on.

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Leader of Diversity & Learning

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Painted by Bigambul woman, Cheryl Moggs, from Goondiwindi, the painting portrays the 2018 theme, Because of Her, we can! showing the courage and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Cheryl shares in her own words below, the inspiration behind the artwork.

The painting has three sections with image overlays depicting stories. Uniting as one!!! (Spiritual and cultural connection) Across the stars (skies), connected to our lands and waterways. Keeping our dreaming stories, song lines, language, knowledge and future strong for all First Nations and generations to come.

Due to NAIDOC WEEK occurring during the holidays, St Clare’s community will celebrate NAIDOC Week in the beginning of Term 3.
Post School Options - PBL - Produce Based Learning

A number of students from schools across Parramatta Diocese are undertaking a supported work experience program by participating in a simulated small business enterprise. The aim of this experience is for the students to develop employability skills of merchandising, money handling, customer service, problem solving, product knowledge, technology skills, time management and retail product marketing. The program runs for 8 weeks and Zachary and Grant Pilcher from St Clare’s are embracing this learning opportunity enthusiastically.

They have visited Riverview Produce and Llandilo Egg Farm to see first hand the mechanics of fresh produce operations and where the fruit, vegetables and eggs are produced. Zachary and Grant have shown great initiative and positivity whilst developing their social and employability skills and are to be commended for the manner in which they are representing St Clare’s Catholic High School.

Leader of Learning English - Ms Mitchell

We launched our Year 7 Novel Study film project last week. Our Year 7 students will be creating short films based on the novels they’ve been studying this term. This project runs for four weeks and will culminate in a film festival to be held on Thursday 5th July. There’s been a lot of enthusiasm from the Year 7’s for this project and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.

You can find the launch video for the PBL Film Study project on our school Facebook page and here:

Our Year 8 - 10’s are finishing their work on their novel study units this term too. Students are reminded that they should still have their novels until the end of the term as work is continuing on these. There have been a range of activities from deep analysis, to research projects, to short film projects and a number of interesting writing tasks that have been taking place. We continue to strive to improve student writing and foster their creativity.

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Leader of Learning Mathematics - Mr Hulme

Global Mathematics Competition - Education Perfect

Last week our students were given the opportunity to enter the Education Perfect Mathematics Championships. It was encouraging to see so many students attempting Maths questions over the weekend and on weeknights. Every student has access to this wonderful resource that assists in many Key Learning Areas. Please ask your child to demonstrate the valuable learning opportunities.

The outstanding statistics for the 7 day events are listed below:

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The Award winners from St Clare’s in the 2018 Maths Championships are listed below.

Certificates will be distributed once they arrive from Education Perfect NZ.

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Leader of Learning CAPA - Mr Smolen

Last week our Year 8 students attended a Music incursion hosted by professional guitarist Terry Murray and his partner Julian. Terry Murray is an English born performer whose musical experience covers all styles and mediums. He has toured and worked with a variety of performers including The Four Tops, The Temptations and Hot Chocolate as well as Tom Jones, Jimmy Barnes, Lee Kernaghan, Marcia Hines, Tommy Emmanuel and other well known artists. He has appeared on Australian television including ‘The Footy Show’ several times. Murray has also worked in theatre and in consultation with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Students learnt about the development and connections between music genres from early Blues and Rock music. Students identified and related to a variety of familiar songs and were introduced to some of the classics from Janis Joplin, AC/DC, The Beatles, Led Zeplin, Jimi Hendrix Deep Purple, Joan Jett and many more.

Students participated and responded enthusiastically by singing along, naming the relevant artists and answering questions.

I would like to thank all students, parents and caregivers for their ongoing support of the Creative and Performing Arts.

Leader of Year 8 - Ms Calleja

On Monday 18th June all Year 8 students travelled to YMCA at Yarramundi for their three day camp. The following reflection was written by Year 8 students - Alana Cassar, Reanna Dakic, Daniel Santos and Dranjae Cuillermo:

“Camp was an amazing experience for all of the Year 8’s. It taught us how to work as a team, cooperate with each other, develop communication skills and learn how to conquer our fears through various activities.

During the three days at camp the whole year either worked with their core classes or they were in mixed groups, getting to know new people and working to build new friendships. Due to popular opinion, the food and the showers weren’t the best but it really set the camps atmosphere and even showed us all how to work together to get what we need.

As mentioned camp taught us new skills and we got to conquer our fears. We had the opportunity to participate in activities like the giant swing, abseiling and high ropes. When we participated in the giant swing, your whole group had to work together to pull the person up to the top. During the giant swing activity we all used communication skills to ensure the person reached the top and we had to work together as a team to pull the rope. We participate in other activities where we had to have trust in yourself, your team, and your group instructor. We also had initiatives as an activity where we participated in game which taught us communication skills. We learnt to trust one another, we learnt better ways to work as a team and how to communicate using other senses.

During the night we had night activities which included a disco and a movie. Our first night activity was a disco which was a great time to talk to friends about what we participated throughout the day and it was great fun participate in the disco with friends. For our second day we had a movie night as our campfire was washed out due to the rain. This night was a great time to just relax and to be with friends before going to bed. On the last day of camp our last activity that we participated in was the scavenger hunt, we used everything we learnt throughout camp which were communication skills when we were looking for the pictures, teamwork when we were using the map and trust when we had a leader showing us the way they thought was right.

During the three days at camp we learnt a lot, most of us made new friends and we had a lot of fun. It was sad saying goodbye to our camp instructors and say bye to the camp but we were all left going home with knew memories and many stories to talk about”.

Leader of Year 9 - Mr Eisenhuth

Technology and the internet has become an important part of everyday life. It is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, find new information or keep yourself entertained. There can however be some potential risks for people who use technology too often or not in a responsible manner. It is important that we are guiding children to make better decisions about their use of technology so they can stay safe. Some ideas that need consideration include:


This is how much time your child is spending on devices (phone, tablet, laptop, gaming, watching TV) each day.