This week we have experienced many changes to our usual routines. This can be an unsettling experience for families, students and staff however I would like you to be assured that we are trying to keep things as usual here as possible.
Throughout the week we have seen our numbers slowly drop from 70%, to 50%, to 45% to 35% today. We understanding if people wish to keep their children at home and also if they wish to send them to school, and we are supportive of your choice.
Staff have prepared resource packs of activities for the students learning at home. They are also still providing face-to-face teaching and preparing for Remote Learning, in the event we are asked to close the school. We have had a few staff, late this week, requiring leave until the end of the term, for various reasons. As our numbers reduce classes will combine, however, I can assure you our supervision requirements will still be met.
If we close the school and the staff still have access to the school we will be able to provide a blended learning approach - activities through Google Classroom and parallel print activities, for those who require them. If, however, we are asked to lockdown, staff will not have access to school facilities which means all our delivery will need to be online or via email. This I realise will create issues for a small number of our families with no or unreliable internet service. If this is you, and you did not complete the survey I sent out last week could you please call Belinda this afternoon or tomorrow. By working together I am sure we can cater for every child and a way that suits every family.
Your child's education, both academic, social and physical is important and remains our top priority.
As mentioned above, staff are currently preparing to move to Remote Learning in the event that the school is closed.
Our St Mary's Remote Learning Hub can be accessed from our school website www.stmarysc.nsw.edu.au
Go to the Education option in the navigation bar and then choose 'Remote learning Hub' from the drop-down options. When this page opens click on "St Mary's Remote Learning Hub'. This will take you to our weebly site http://stmarysc.weebly.com/
The Remote Learning Hub has been designed to support families who are accessing the curriculum from home. The Hub contains the necessary information and links to access learning platforms and resources.
The main platform we are using is from the Google EDU suite for education - Google Classroom. This platform allows teachers to post work and provide feedback. Parents will be emailed with your child's email address and login instructions next week. Students can work through set tasks at their own pace throughout the week, in a manner that suits each family. We are mindful that families will be sharing devices and that some internet connections are sporadic, so keeping this in mind staff will set a variety of digital and print activities.
Now might be a good time to stock up on your home office resources including paper, scissors, glue, pencils and ink.
If the school is closed and you are having trouble accesses materials or completing tasks, your child's teacher can be contacted via email or you can email Belinda or me for administrative or technical support through Office.Stmarysc@cg.catholic.edu.au. The School phone will also be diverted during this time.
Please be aware, unless your child has been told to access Google Classroom already by their classroom teacher, the activities will not be available on this platform yet. Teacher planning and professional development are currently still occurring.
We acknowledge the unprecedented economic impact on families as a result of COVID-19 and associated government directives.
Consistent with our enrolment policy “no child is to be denied Catholic schooling simply because of an inability (as opposed to an unwillingness) of a parent/guardian, to meet financial requirements”.
Effective immediately are the following fee relief measures:
- Credits (for amounts paid) will be placed on fee accounts for cancelled excursions (excluding non-recoverable deposits), sporting events or activities as a result of COVID-19.
- All debt collection activities will be suspended until further notice
- Fee concessions will be available on outstanding fees at the end of Term 1 for those families eligible for Government COVID-19 supplement payments.
- Fee concession will be available for Term 2 fees for families eligible for Government COVID-19 supplement payments.
We anticipate delaying fee statements for Term 2 until there is greater clarity about the duration of the pandemic. General fee concession arrangements are being considered and will be communicated once finalised.
If you have been financially impacted by COVID-19 or have any concerns around fees, please contact me directly.
Congratulations Rorey, Katyanna, Riley, Ava, Lauren, Zoey, Addin, Joe, Ava and Chloe who received the Sacrament of Reconciliation last Thursday evening.
Thank you to Fr Joshy, Sr Rosemary, Belinda Cudaj, Janet Haynes, Sharon Hickey and Therese Skelly for their involvement in the organisation and delivery of the program.
CleverTouch Interactive Panels
Our new Clever-Touch panels have arrived and are due to be installed tomorrow, Friday 27 March.
We are giving away three interactive whiteboards with projectors to anyone who would like them, the only catch is you will have to remove them yourself. They would make a great addition to a man-cave!
Last Friday we celebrated Harmony Week with a mufti day and tabloid activities provided by our responsible Year Six students. It was a fantastic day focusing on the fact that Everyone Belongs and we're all it this together!
Nut Aware School
Please be aware that we have students at St Mary’s who suffer from a severe anaphylactic reaction to peanuts/tree nuts. These reactions can be serious and even life-threatening.
We need to take all precautions necessary to minimise risk of life-threatening anaphylaxis.
As a community, we can work together to minimise risk associated with being exposed to these foods that act as a trigger to such attacks.
Management at School
- Parents/caregivers being encouraged not to send food that contains nuts to school with their children. This includes peanut paste, Nutella, Muesli Bars, all nuts and cooking oil containing peanut oil, as well as foods containing nuts (but does not extend to ‘foods that may contain traces of nuts’)
- Staff supervising students whilst they eat their lunch.
- The Tuckshop will not have ‘for sale’ food items that contain nuts, but does not apply to food labelled ‘may contain traces of nuts’.
- No food sharing between children.
- Staff participate in annual First Aid training to assist with understanding and dealing with anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction).
- Awards of food/sweets will not be given that contain nut ingredients e.g. chocolates.
- Parents are asked not to send peanut butter or nutella on sandwiches, biscuits etc. (to minimise the risk from person to person contact).
- Emphasise the importance of washing hands when eating food at home and at school.
NAPLAN Online - Education Council Communique
Education Ministers met last Friday 20 March and decided that NAPLAN will not proceed in 2020. The NAPLAN test window was scheduled to be held from 12 to 22 May.
All Education Ministers acknowledge and thank all of our school leaders, our teachers and support staff for the essential work they do every day educating our children and young people, particularly during these challenging times. They are all playing a vital role in managing the response to COVID-19.
Education Ministers reiterated that the National Cabinet has agreed, on the advice of the chief health and medical officers, that “pre-emptive closure of schools are not proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time.”
The decision to not proceed with NAPLAN in 2020 has been taken to assist school leaders, teachers and support staff to focus on the wellbeing of students and continuity of education, including potential online and remote learning.
Further, the impact of responses to the COVID-19 virus may affect the delivery of NAPLAN testing, including the operation of centralised marking centres and the implications for nationally comparable data if an insufficient number of students are available to do the test.
The decision to not proceed with NAPLAN in 2020 also means that the scheduled testing of the NAPLAN Online platform, known as the Coordinated Practice Test (CPT), will not proceed. Ministers acknowledge the work that departments and schools have undertaken in preparation for the anticipated CPT which was due to commence next week on 23 March.
A TIME TO REMEMBER GOD’S LOVE FOR US
A TIME TO PRAY/FAST/GIVE
In these troubling times it is sometimes difficult to remember how much God loves us. The Scriptures are there to remind us of this unfailing love and compassion. In the Gospel reading for this Sunday, Jesus – who was fully God and fully human – wept at news of the death of his friend Lazarus. Scriptures record only two instances where Jesus ‘wept’. The first time was when he entered the city of Jerusalem to be welcomed as a king (we remember this on Palm Sunday – next weekend). In both instances Jesus weeps for his people, who he wants to gather to himself and reassure of God’s unfailing love, compassion and mercy; of God’s promise of eternal life.
God wants to fill us with love and hope in the promise of new life. This is why Jesus came, lived, died and was resurrected. Do you believe? Do you have hope?
If Lent has slipped us by and we haven’t opened our hearts to God, it is not too late.
We can still PRAY, FAST and GIVE
PRAY - Your way through Your day… Say a little prayer whenever someone or something makes life difficult; when someone does you a favour; when you experience great service; or when something joyful happens—you will soon find yourself praying your way through the day. This habit will make you aware of God’s constant presence in your life and bring you peace.
We may not be able to physically attend Mass, but the Scriptures are a great way to pray and reflect on God’s loving presence in our lives. The following link will take you to Mass online as well as other online spiritual reflection tools:
GIVE - Who have you ‘served’ this week?
Have you taken time to listen to others? Have you reached out in kindness? Have you helped another? Let us take time out from busyness and over-indulgences to serve others compassionately as Jesus did… GIVE of Yourself… Give encouragement to the doubting, give praise to the insecure, show kindness to someone who could use a friend, and offer thanks to those whose service to others often goes unappreciated. Give the gift of your attention to someone who simply wants to be noticed. Don’t be stingy with your smiles—give them freely to everyone you meet. And most important, give your love to those close to you. Hug them, hold them, and tell them what they mean to you.
Weave moments of service into even the busiest moments of your daily life. In this way you open your heart to God.
FAST - Have you ‘fasted’ this Lent?
Fast every day from… self-doubt, intolerance, impatience, criticism, gossip, judging others, or passing on rumours?
No matter how busy you are in life, with some greater awareness and new perspectives you can consciously pray, fast, and give of yourself for the remainder of this Lent—and you will be ready to celebrate joyfully on Easter
Responsibilities during remote learning
Parent responsibilities during remote learning
Provide support for your children by:
- establishing routines and expectations
- defining a space for your child to work in
- monitoring communications from teachers
- beginning and ending each day with a check-in
- taking an active role in helping your children process their learning
- encouraging physical activity and/or exercise
- checking in with your child regularly to help them manage stress
- monitoring how much time your child is spending online
- keeping your children social, but set rules around their social media interactions.
Student responsibilities during remote learning
These responsibilities should be adjusted according to the age of your child:
- establishing and/or following a daily routine for learning
- identifying a safe, comfortable, quiet space in their home where they can work effectively and successfully
- regularly monitoring digital platforms and communication (Google Classroom, Seesaw, email, etc.) to check for announcements and feedback from teachers
- completing tasks with integrity and academic honesty, doing their best work
- doing their best to meet timelines, commitments, and due dates
- communicating proactively with their teachers if they cannot meet deadlines or require additional support
- collaborating and supporting their classmates in their learning
- seeking out and communicating with school staff as different needs arise.
Establishing routines and expectations
Your child’s teacher will provide your child with a schedule or timetable for their learning. This will include regular breaks for activity, eating and drinking. In the activity breaks, it is important that students get up and move around.
From the first day, you will need to establish routines and expectations. You should use the timetable or schedule provided to set regular hours for school work.
Keep normal bedtime routines for younger children and expect the same from your older primary and high school-aged children too.
It is important that you set these expectations as soon as distance learning is implemented, not several days later after it becomes apparent a child is struggling with the absence of routine.
Setting up a learning environment
Try to create a quiet and comfortable learning space. Your child may have a regular place for doing homework under normal circumstances, but this space may not be suitable for working in for an extended period of time.
A space/location for extended learning should be a public/family space, not in a bedroom. It should be a place that can be quiet at times and have a strong wireless internet signal, if possible. Above all, it should be a space where you or another adult is present and monitoring your children's learning.
Being confined to home for an extended period of time can cause stress and conflict. Tips for looking after your children during isolation include:
- Talking to your whole family about what is happening. Understanding the situation will reduce their anxiety.
- Help your children to think about how they have coped with difficult situations in the past and reassure them that they will cope with this situation too. Remind them that the isolation won't last for long.
- Exercise regularly. Options could include exercise DVDs, dancing, floor exercises, yoga, walking around the backyard or using home exercise equipment, such as a stationary bicycle, if you have it. Exercise is a proven treatment for stress and depression.
- Encourage your children to keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email or social media (where appropriate).
Communicating with your child
We encourage you to start and finish each day with a simple check-in. These check-ins need to be a regular part of each day and start straight away. Not all students thrive in a remote learning environment; some struggle with too much independence or lack of structure and the check-ins help keep them on track.
In the morning, ask:
- what are you learning today?
- what are your learning targets or goals?
- how will you be spending your time?
- what resources do you require?
- what support do you need?
In the afternoon, ask:
- what did you learn today?
- acknowledge one thing that was difficult. Either let it go or come up with a strategy to deal with the same problem if it comes up again
- consider three things that went well today. Why were they good?
- are you ok? Do you need to ask your teacher for something? Do you need help with something to make tomorrow more successful?
These specific questions matter because they allow your child to process the instructions they have received from their teachers and help them organise themselves and set priorities. Older students may not want to have these check-ins with parents (this is normal!), but they should anyway.
Helper Thank you
A big thank you to the intervention helpers and our class reader helpers for all they have done this term. We hope to see you all back next term.
Reading at Home
Practical tips to help your kids enjoy reading
- Together find information and interesting facts about things that interest your child in books, magazines or on the internet. Read and talk about what you find out.
- Retell stories of all kinds including favourite stories read or heard, fairy tales, movie plots, local news stories, family history, poems and rhymes.
- Make things together. Ask your child to read out simple directions, eg recipes, instructions.
- Your child could write simple stories on the computer. Re-read and talk about the stories together or send an email response to them.
- Do crosswords and other types of word puzzles or word games together in books, magazines or on screen.
- Read the TV guide together before watching a program.
- Play games like ‘I spy'. Read directions and signs when driving and shopping.
- Read and write notes, cards and letters to family members and friends.
- Play board games together and read the rules, directions and clues.
- Provide your child with plastic letters, crayons, pencils, chalk, pens and writing paper.
- Make spelling words out of playdough, shaving cream, pipe-cleaners. Cut out letters from magazines to make spelling words.
Reinforced Reading with your child
The following sites may be useful for some of you during the coming weeks/months:
Virtual storytime online
Storybooks brought to life
(1 month free subscription)
Reading and Literacy apps for children
ABC for kids
Latest Rep Sport Trial Update
CSNSW are planning to suspend all student registrations on their website until further notice.
Registration levies will be refunded to parents and they are looking at the most efficient way of doing this (hopefully within the next few weeks).
Today, the NSWPSSA and NSWCHSSA announced that due to the COVID-19 outbreak and ‘social distancing strategy’ all of their programs for Terms 1 and 2 are now cancelled.
- 6 – 7 April 2020 NSWPSSA Swimming Championships - Sydney Olympic Park
- 5 – 7 May 2020 NSWPSSA Boys Basketball Championships – Terrigal
- 5 – 8 May 2020 NSWPSSA Tennis Championships – Broadmeadow
- 19– 21 May 2020 NSWPSSA Girls Football Championships – Rooty Hill
- 19 – 21 May 2020 NSWPSSA Boys AFL Championships – Byron Bay
- 26 – 28 May 2020 NSWPSSA Boys Football Championships – Griffith
- 26– 28 May 2020 NSWPSSA Girls Hockey Championships – Unanderra
- 2 – 4 June 2020 NSWPSSA Boys Hockey Championships – Newcastle
- 16 – 18 June 2020 NSWPSSA Boys 11 years Rugby League Championships – Kiama
- 23 – 25 June 2020 NSWPSSA Open Boys Rugby League Championships – Tamworth
- NSWPSSA Knockout Competitions
Please note these events are ‘cancelled’ contrasted to ‘suspended’ or ‘temporarily ceased’, this implies to me that they will likely not be re-scheduled.
They will update their webpage to reflect this announcement including the flow-on effect this will have on our selection trials etc.
The Student of the Week Award recipients this week are:
Kinder - Sofia Lawson and Vincent Moloney
Year 1 - Anna O'Brien and Flynn Reeves
Year 2 - Sophie Culley and Alex Storrier
Year 3 - Kaitlin Francis and Lachlan Pascoe
Year 4 – Saxon Greenwood and Jack Peden
Year 5 - Georgina Culley
Year 6 - Bree Hearne
Hello families and friends, hope you are all keeping well, both physically and mentally.
Given current circumstances and the advice given by Government and the State Premier, we have decided to have our tuckshop doors shut till at least next term.
This was done as a precaution measure to reduce the amount of external exposure that our kids are subjected to.
Some of you also work in highly sensitive and vulnerable settings, like hospitals, aged and disabled care facilities, and other fields. I feel it would be very insensitive and inconsiderate to those that are within those settings.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped and supported tuckshop. It’s running and functioning would not have been possible without you.
Stay safe, keep well, till next time...
New homes required for our Bovine family
We currently have two cows with calves who are looking for new homes. If you have some space and would like to take one or both units, please contact James McCormack.
St Mary's Church closed
St. Mary’s Church is now closed with all masses cancelled.
Fr Joshy will be doing Mass on line. It can be accessed through our facebook page. "St. Mary’s Church Crookwell".
Masses can also be accessed through the Catholicvoice.org.au
Maybe parents could help grandparents to access on line masses.
All sacraments are on hold for now.
All Baptism are on hold for now.
If any enquiries please contact Parish office
For Parish and Sacramental matters please forward your enquiries to Parish Secretary, Janet Haynes or Pastoral Associate Sr Rosemary via email or call into the Parish Office at the Old Convent Building on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
Phone: 48321 633
Address: 55 Wade Street (the Old Convent Building)